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Week 17 Deeper Waiver Wire Sleepers: Standard Leagues

What's up RotoBallers. Welcome to my deeper standard league sleepers column for Week 17 of the NFL season. In this weekly article we are going to take a look at some deeper waiver wire options for standard leagues, who could help out your team in this upcoming week.

For reference's sake, we are looking at standard scoring leagues and will be using ownership percentage data from Fleaflicker. In order to qualify as a deep sleeper, a player must be 20% owned or less.

Let's get to the picks!

Editor's Note: Once you're done here, be sure to read about even more Week 17 waiver wire recommendations, for all fantasy-relevant positions. Just click on any link: ALL - RB - WR - TE - QB - DEF



Matt Barkley (CHI) @ Minnesota Vikings

(Ownership: 7%)

Barkley has been fun to use in fantasy over the past few weeks, topping 300 yards in three of five games. Sure, he's going to throw his share of picks, like the five (!) that he managed last week, but he's also been a solid bet for multiple touchdowns whenever he takes the field. Barkley has managed that feat in all but two of his starts this season, with one main outlier being the Week 13 slugfest against the 49ers in terrible weather. The matchup against the Vikings is not especially appealing, but Minnesota was just roasted by Aaron Rodgers last week amidst questions of whether the secondary ignored a coaching edict regarding who was to shadow star wide receiver Jordy Nelson. This was possibly an overblown story, but there's also the chance of an end of the season implosion for a once-promising Vikings team is eliminated from the playoffs and has nothing left to play for. Go ahead and stream Barkley in deeper two-quarterback leagues one last time and get festive at this joyful time of year.


Running Back

Alfred Blue (HOU) @ Tennessee Titans

(Ownership: 13%)

Blue is a must-add for anyone who plays in a league with Week 17 championships on the line. Starting running back Lamar Miller missed Week 16's game with an ankle injury, a game in which the Texans won to wrap up the AFC South division title. With nothing left to play for in Week 17, it would be a huge shock if the team trotted Miller out there. Blue will be in line for a huge workload a week after logging a workman-like 73 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals. The Titans do represent a stout matchup for running backs, but Blue is still a great play on projected volume alone.


Wide Receiver

J.J. Nelson (ARI) @ Los Angeles Rams

(Ownership: 17%)

It's surprising that Nelson remains this widely available. The second-year receiver has now scored a touchdown in four straight contests, totaling five overall in that span, as he's become the top outside option in Arizona's passing attack. With Larry Fitzgerald running out of steam, John Brown dealing with sickle-cell disease-related symptoms, and Michael Floyd now in New England, the once robust wide receiving corps of the Cards is now quite depleted. That bodes well for Nelson's chances to stay productive in Week 17. He hasn't been a high-volume receiver this season, totaling five or more receptions just twice this year, but he's sure making the most of his chances. The touchdown dependence makes him a better option for standard leagues, which is why we're here anyway. The Rams have struggled against the pass this season, ranking just 19th in DVOA. Pick up Nelson this week, even if you don't need him, to play keep away from your opponent.


Tight End

Jesse James (PIT) vs. Cleveland Browns

(Ownership: 20%)

James took on a bigger role in Week 16 due to Ladarius Green sitting out with a concussion. Don't expect the playoff-bound Steelers to rush Green back to action in Week 17 in a game which they will likely rest their starters most (or all) of the game against the hapless Browns. James, a second-year tight end, most likely has not earned the stature to sit out of a meaningless game in early January, so expect him to be active as a full-time player. Cleveland's defense has been horrid against tight ends this season, allowing the most fantasy points per game to the position. That includes just coughing up eight catches for 94 yards and a touchdown to an aging Antonio Gates who has been sputtering through what may be his last year. All of those were season highs for Gates this year. James shapes up as a touchdown-or-bust option, but you have to like the odds of a touchdown in this one.


Defense/Special Teams

Tennessee Titans (TEN) vs. Houston Texans

(Ownership: 19%)

The Titans continue to be a decent deep league fantasy defense as they pull yet another plus matchup late in the year. They will take on a Houston team that has already locked up the AFC South and will likely be looking to rest several starters on offense this week. Even if Houston doesn't rest anyone, they haven't exactly been an offense to avoid with fantasy defenses. The Texans have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing fantasy defenses. Sure, replacing Brock Osweiler with Tom Savage has helped, but Savage isn't exactly Aaron Rodgers back there. Tennessee is currently a three-point home favorite in a game with an extremely low 40 point over/under.