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Week 17 NFL Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

Welcome to the post-Week 16 installment of the Waiver Wire weekly series for the 2016 fantasy football season. As always, the ownership numbers are taken from Fleaflicker leagues.

For many, the 2016 fantasy football season is nearly over, with only Monday Night Football of Week 16 standing between your league and crowning a champion. However, there are still a select few out there who play into Week 17 and we will never forget you. That said, these will be briefer reports with no long-term plans to consider.

Week 16 was a rough one for injuries, headlined by Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota suffering fractured fibulas alongside Carlos Hyde tearing his MCL. Tyler Lockett appeared to suffer an ugly lower right leg injury, and fellow Seahawk Thomas Rawls has a bruised shoulder and did not play in the second half. Tampa Bay’s Cameron Brate absorbed a hit to his lower back that took him out of the game, with Donte Moncrief (shoulder), DeSean Jackson (jaw), Kenny Britt (shoulder), T.J. Yeldon (ankle) and Chris Ivory (hamstring) also being forced from their respective games. Whew.

Be sure to also check out our weekly rankings and analysis columns, with in-depth analysis for all options heading into Week 17.


Week 17 Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups

Jacquizz Rodgers (RB, TB) – 26% Owned

Rodgers was the starter with Doug Martin as a surprise inactive (coach’s decision) in Week 16 against the Saints. It’s unclear why exactly Martin was given the day off, whether it had to do with ineffectiveness or health (there had been a bug going around in the locker room), but this writer’s money would be on ineffectiveness. Jacquizz showed why he was able to be successful earlier in the season, rushing it 15 times for 63 yards and a touchdown as he out-touched pass-catcher Charles Sims 17 to 7. Keep an eye on news coming out of Tampa Bay, but Rodgers is definitely the one to own for Week 17’s date with the Panthers.

Shaun Draughn (RB, SF) – 11% Owned

Draughn had an awful rushing day against the Rams in Week 16, with only 10 carries for 17 yards, but salvaged things with six catches for 48 yards. He’s always been better in the passing game, and will likely have a similar game in Week 17 against the Seahawks at home. The kicker here is that he’ll be the lead back with Carlos Hyde on the shelf, though he’ll still deal with DuJuan Harris (8% owned) mixing in -- possibly on short-yardage plays.

Ty Montgomery (RB/WR, GB) – 54% Owned

Montgomery wasn’t called upon much in Week 16 with Aaron Rodgers slinging it with ease against the Vikings, as TyMont only tallied 23 rushing yards on nine carries with four catches for 17 more yards. Montgomery was never going to beat his wild Week 15, but he should do better than this in a Week 17 matchup against a Lions defense that is susceptible to shiftier, pass-catching RBs.

Alfred Blue (RB, HOU) – 13% Owned

Blue got the nod as the starting running back for Houston with Lamar Miller’s ankle injury keeping him out of their Week 16 tilt against the Bengals, and delivered with a strong 21-carry, 73-yard effort with a touchdown on top. While the line was strong based on volume, he’ll have a tougher time in Week 17 against a Tennessee defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to RBs on average over the last four weeks.

Kenyan Drake (RB, MIA) – 11% Owned

Drake had a wonderful 45-yard rushing touchdown that not only fueled most of his Week 16 stat line (4-56-1), but also cements his status as Jay Ajayi’s backup. This may come into play in Week 17 if Ajayi’s left shoulder injury, which is described as an AC joint injury, limits him in any way. Miami may not be able to run it much against a New England team that has been solid against the run and can force a team into catch-up mode early, but Drake’s status is worth noting.

Jerick McKinnon (RB, MIN) – 42% Owned

McKinnon had a solid Week 16 against the Packers, rushing the rock 11 times for 50 yards and catching five balls for 35 more yards. He was in for 54 snaps with Minnesota trailing early and often, which meant that the Vikings needed their more versatile receiving back in. Matt Asiata only tallied 25 snaps. It appears they’re happy to let the more athletic McKinnon work, which should leave him as an RB3 in Week 17 against a listless Bears defense.

Matt Asiata (RB, MIN) – 35% Owned

While Asiata did operate as the clear backup to McKinnon in Week 16, he still totaled 68 combined yards (34 on the ground, 34 in the air) and may be able to resume his vulture ways in Week 17 against a Chicago defense that has really imploded lately.

Charles Sims (RB, TB) – 48% Owned

Sims still didn’t have a great fantasy day despite Doug Martin being inactive and the Bucs playing from behind all game long, as Jacquizz Rodgers pretty much stepped into Martin’s shoes with the amount of touches he saw. Sims registered seven touches, three rushes for 12 yards and four catches for 30 yards, to have an okay PPR day. Sims is an RB3/4 in PPR formats for Week 17 against the Panthers.

DeAndre Washington (RB, OAK) – 29% Owned

Washington exploded on the Colts in Week 16, rushing the ball 12 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns with an 18-yard catch tacked on. It was a gorgeous stat line from the last piece of the Oakland RB trio that we’d have expected this from considering he had been inactive in Weeks 12-14. He logged a few touches in Week 15 against the Chargers before this delightful game, where Oakland clearly felt comfortable riding his momentum throughout the second half. It’ll be tough to rely on any one Oakland RB against Denver in Week 17, but Washington has clearly thrown down the gauntlet here. Jalen Richard (22% owned) also had a strong game with 66 rushing yards on six carries alongside three catches for 13 yards and a TD, but his first-half hotness was overtaken by Washington after the half.

Paul Perkins (RB, NYG) – 21% Owned

Perkins turned 15 carries into 68 yards in Week 16 against the Eagles, tacking on two catches for nine more yards as he looked to be the sharper runner compared to Rashad Jennings yet again. Of course, Jennings is still the one to come in toward the goal line, which limits Perkins’ ceiling. With the Giants locked into a wild card berth, Perkins and company will trot into Washington for a Week 17 divisional battle against a defense that has allowed a 100-yard rusher in each of their past two games.

Alex Collins (RB, SEA) - 6% Owned

Collins was called on be Seattle's running back when Thomas Rawls was forced from the game, and he rushed for 28 yards and caught four balls for 19 additional yards in the relief effort. While his own play isn't all that exciting, the fact that Seattle gets to face San Francisco in Week 17 and Collins could see plenty of work in the game is not something to pass up. For the supremely risky deep-leaguers, Rawls could simply reinjure his shoulder and be forced from the game around halftime yet again. It's not much, but sometimes that's all you've got.

Robert Turbin (RB, IND) – 8% Owned

Turbin is clearly a real short-yardage option for the Colts right now, as he followed up his two-touchdown Week 15 with a receiving touchdown out of a goal-line package in Week 16 against the Raiders. While facing Jacksonville’s defense in Week 17 isn’t an ideal setup, opportunity may be enough for some of you desperate deep leaguers to justify flexing him.

Rex Burkhead (RB, CIN) – 6% Owned

Burkhead was given a bigger role in Week 16 over a less-than-100% Jeremy Hill on a Bengals team that is on its last legs. Cincinnati’s pass-catching RB ran the ball 12 times for 42 yards with another 28 receiving yards on five catches for a decent PPR day. He’ll have to do battle with Baltimore’s stout defense in Week 17, but the Bengals really don’t have anyone else to utilize at this point.

Travaris Cadet (RB, NO) – 4% Owned

Cadet continues to be sprinkled in as New Orleans’ pass-catching RB in games that call for more air action, as he caught all five Week 16 targets for 30 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs. The Saints won’t have anything to play for in Week 17 outside of pride, but they’ll still be going up against an Atlanta team that needs to win in order to solidify its spot as the #2 seed. The Falcons can certainly put up points, so Cadet’s chances of turning in roughly 10 PPR points are alright here.


Week 17 Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups

Adam Thielen (WR, MIN) – 23% Owned

There are an awful lot of blissful fantasy football owners hoisting their league’s trophy right now thanks to Mr. Thielen, who topped 200 yards with multiple scores in a losing effort against the Packers. The 16 targets, 12 catches, 202 yards and two touchdowns were all season-high marks for the 26-year-old, who looked no worse for wear after suffering a neck injury in Week 15. He should be a solid option in Week 17 against the Bears in a game with only pride on the line, but Minnesota will likely look to get Thielen over 1,000 yards on the season (he currently has 960).

Steve Smith Sr. (WR, BAL) – 58% Owned

Smith delivered a wonderful Christmas line against the Steelers in Week 16, as he caught all seven of his targets for 79 yards and a touchdown. He even sprinkled in a two-point conversion as a stocking stuffer. He’s now found pay dirt in each of his last two games, and should be able to finish his 2016 season strong against a Cincinnati defense that won’t intimidate anyone.

Pierre Garcon (WR, WAS) – 48% Owned

Garcon turned in yet another solid performance in Week 16 against the Bears, catching four of his five targets for 94 scoreless yards in the victory. He has now topped 13 PPR points in each of his last four games, including six of his last seven. He’s been a reliable WR3 in the second half of the 2016 season, and will look to end the regular season strong in a tough test against the Giants in Week 17. If Janoris Jenkins is out against for NYG, then Garcon’s outlook will be greatly improved. This also holds true if DeSean Jackson is limited or out.

Malcolm Mitchell (WR, NE) – 36% Owned

Mitchell has all but disappeared over the last two weeks after an incredibly strong four-week tear put him on the fantasy radars. Week 15’s flub against Denver was predictable. Week 16’s three-catch, 29-yard whisper against the Jets was not. We know the Patriots are an unpredictable bunch, but Mitchell should have a solid chance of reappearing in Week 17 against a Dolphins team that has been skewered by Robby Anderson and Sammy Watkins over the last two weeks.

Brandon LaFell (WR, CIN) – 34% Owned

LaFell was a casualty of the offensive horror show that was Cincinnati vs. Houston on Saturday night before he broke the game open with an 86-yard touchdown on a shallow crossing route where the safety took an awful route toward him. With A.J. Green shut down by the ownership, LaFell will finish out the season as Cincy’s #1 receiver in Week 17 against a Ravens defense that may be without top cornerback Jimmy Smith again.

Cameron Meredith (WR, CHI) – 27% Owned

Meredith’s workload has been increasingly in each of the last four weeks now, with it culminating in a beautiful 9-135-1 line on 12 targets against Washington in Week 16. With Josh Norman taking on Alshon Jeffery, Meredith thrived as Matt Barkley’s hot read. While this is encouraging, Meredith and the Bears’ receivers will be in for a tough test against the likes of Xavier Rhodes and Terrance Newman of Minnesota in Week 17. Of course, perhaps the Vikings DBs will go rogue again.

Dontrelle Inman (WR, SD) – 39% Owned

Inman was unable to capitalize on his highest target total since Week 4 (he saw 10), as he only caught three balls for 44 yards against the Browns in Week 16. While San Diego is still likely diverting lots of its attention to getting Antonio Gates his receptions, Inman is the most reliable receiver right now. The Chargers will look to finish strong at home against a scary Chiefs defense in Week 17, but Inman should be necessary with SD unlikely to push Melvin Gordon (if he can even go).

Taylor Gabriel (WR, ATL) – 47% Owned

Gabriel’s “bust” side of the “boom-or-bust” moniker finally showed itself in a 3-15-0 line against the Panthers in Week 16. With Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu both healthy alongside him, let alone both RBs being healthy, Gabriel just wasn’t called on as much. His four targets were his lowest mark since Week 8, though at least his “boom” truthers can look forward to a home matchup with the Saints in Week 17.

J.J. Nelson (WR, ARI) – 17% Owned

Nelson showed up in a big way against Seattle’s defense in Week 16 thanks to his big-play ability, as he turned only three catches into 132 yards and a touchdown. He has now scored five touchdowns (four receiving, one rushing) over his last four games, and has now seen back-to-back weeks of healthy targets (18 combined looks) after he was surviving on only two targets per week in the first two games of his TD streak. He should be a solid WR3 candidate against the Rams in Week 17.

Ted Ginn (WR, CAR) – 28% Owned

Ginn only managed to log three catches for 29 yards on nine targets, as Cam Newton was pretty much just heaving the ball on a wing and prayer in Week 16 against the Falcons. Most of the prayers were not heard, apparently. The good news for Ginn is that he’s seeing around seven or eight targets per game, making him a solid deep-threat lottery ticket for owners who can withstand some risk to their lineups. Carolina will look to end Tampa Bay’s slim hopes of making the postseason in Week 17.

Marqise Lee (WR, JAC) – 21% Owned

Lee rebounded this week against the Titans after Week 15’s zero-catch effort against the Texans, which had a pretty good chance of occurring considering how bad Tennessee is at guarding wide receivers. He still only caught three-of-seven targets for 37 yards and a touchdown, but we’re not going to argue with production. The TD was his first since Week 12, but Weeks 13-15 saw him go up against three dynamite secondaries (DEN, MIN, HOU). He now gets another soft matchup in Week 17 against the Colts, so put him down as a WR3/4 in PPR formats for that.

Jermaine Kearse (WR, SEA) – 9% Owned

Kearse saw a bit of bump in usage after Tyler Lockett went down, turning in a solid 4-37-1 line for fantasy owners who were desperate enough to start him. He also tied his season-high mark in targets with nine but continues to be a very inefficient WR overall. However, his usage pattern cannot be ignored and neither can a matchup against a soft 49ers defense in Week 17.

Paul Richardson (WR, SEA) – 2% Owned

While Kearse saw his usage creep up a bit, it was Richardson who saw the biggest jump in snaps and targets in the wake of Lockett’s injury. The speedster hauled in four-of-five targets for 42 yards and a touchdown, which was his first of the 2016 season. Considering how Lockett’s role was that of a downfield burner, Richardson’s skill set best matches him as a replacement option. With a cupcake matchup against San Francisco’s defense in Week 17, Richardson is a nice deep-league add.

Jeremy Kerley (WR, SF) – 15% Owned

Kerley caught five balls for the third straight week here against Los Angeles, which also marked his third straight week of seeing at least eight targets. He was able to collect 62 yards in Week 16, his highest total since Week 10, and should be a decent PPR dart throw in Week 17 despite the matchup against Seattle.

Russell Shepard (WR, TB) – 2% Owned

Shepard isn't anything special, but he just caught three-of-five targets for 61 yards in Tampa Bay's Week 16 loss. The Bucs' special-teams captain did have that decent two-week stretch where he caught a couple of touchdowns in Weeks 7 and 8. It appears he has an opportunity here in Week 17 against the Panthers secondary, especially if Cameron Brate is out or limited for the affair. The Bucs are still alive in the playoff hunt and need to use every player they've got. If Carolina tilts their coverage towards Mike Evans, look for Shepard to get some solid involvement.

Rod Streater (WR, SF) – 1% Owned

Streater caught six of his seven targets for 63 yards and a touchdown in Week 16 against the Rams, showing himself to be a decent asset for a crippled San Francisco team that's desperate for a playmaker. While Streater isn't going to be extraordinary, or even consistent, he has an opportunity as a starting WR and now has some momentum heading into Week 17. Unfortunately, that brings a date with Seattle's tough secondary.


Week 17 Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups

N.B. – The top-20 QBs are owned in roughly 70% of leagues or more.

Joe Flacco (QB, BAL) – 52% Owned

Flacco just completed 30-of-44 throws for 262 yards, a touchdown and an interception on Sunday against the Steelers. While it wasn’t an amazing effort, he continues to sport some additional life in his arm compared to early in the season. Week 17 brings a road date with the Bengals, where Flacco should look to end his season strong against a Cincinnati squad that is running on fumes.

Colin Kaepernick (QB, SF) – 36% Owned

Kaepernick accounted for 281 total yards (266 passing, 15 rushing) and three total touchdowns against one interception in Week 16 against the Rams. The first half wasn’t pretty, but Kaep really put it together in the second half to deliver his best fantasy performance since Week 12’s outburst against the Dolphins. He also gave San Francisco its first victory since Week 1. Unfortunately, this recent hot stretch will run headfirst into a strong Seattle defense at home in Week 17. Seattle has already clinched the NFC West but could jump out of the fourth seed spot with a victory.

Sam Bradford (QB, MIN) – 31% Owned

Bradford had his best game of the season in Minnesota’s Week 16 loss to Green Bay, with a season-high 34 completions, 382 yards and three touchdowns in the effort. He is dealing with an ineffective rushing attack around him, and a brash defense that apparently thought they were better coaches than Mike Zimmer. When their brilliant scheme resulted in an early lead for Green Bay, Minnesota was forced to air the ball out. While Week 17 against Chicago is unlikely to follow the same game script, Bradford could still provide a decent floor for desperate owners.

Matt Barkley (QB, CHI) – 7% Owned

Barkley delivered quite the hot-and-cold performance in Week 16 against Washington, as he threw for 323 yards and two touchdowns, but also got picked off five times. This comes after four turnovers in Week 15 against the Packers, but it’s clear that he won’t be dissuaded from pushing the ball downfield. While he isn’t Chicago’s QB of the future, he could be of use as a sneaky flier against a Minnesota defense that is in the habit of beating itself these days.

Tom Savage (QB, HOU) – 5% Owned

If you watched the Saturday night game in Week 16, then you saw how ineffective Houston’s offense looked with Savage at the helm and no Lamar Miller to run the ball. The thing is, they didn’t have to take any chances with an equally, if not more, watered-down Cincinnati squad opposing them. On the one hand, this could be the case against in Week 17 against a Tennessee team that just lost Marcus Mariota and is out of the playoffs. On the other hand, Tennessee’s pass defense is atrocious. If Savage and the Texans play most of their starters in the passing game then he could be a fine Hail Mary to toss.

Matt Moore (QB, MIA) – 2% Owned

Speaking of Hail Mary’s, how about Matt Moore? All he’s done is come in to throw six touchdowns against two picks on a combined 28-for-48 passing these past two weeks. Both were road contests, and now he’ll come home to face a Patriots team that may be feeling overly comfortable with their respective red carpet into the playoffs. The Pats have not been good against the pass this season, and the Dolphins may not push a less-than-100% Jay Ajayi with a playoff spot locked up.


Week 17 Tight End Waiver Wire Pickups

Charles Clay (TE, BUF) – 43% Owned

Here I was thinking that Clay was simply a product of a broken play in Week 14 and playing the Browns in Week 15, but then he went and one-upped those performances with an awesome eight-catch, 85-yard and two-touchdown effort on 10 targets against the Dolphins in Week 16. He hadn’t scored a touchdown until Week 14, and now he has four on the season. With a date against the hapless Jets on tap for Week 17, Clay should be viewed as a TE1 next week.

C.J. Fiedorowicz (TE, HOU) – 36% Owned

Fiedorowicz returned to action in Week 16 with a 4-42-0 line on seven targets after missing Week 15 with a concussion and has shown himself to be a decent TE2 in PPR formats. Even with the quarterback change, Houston just doesn’t try to outdo itself on offense given their talent at the moment. While C.J. hasn’t topped 50 yards since Week 11, he does have a good matchup against a weak Tennessee defense in Week 17.

Vernon Davis (TE, WAS) – 34% Owned

Davis was a nonfactor in Week 16 despite Jordan Reed being out, but should still be viewed as a TE2 if Reed cannot go against a Giants defense that has looked susceptible against more athletic tight ends this season. While the G-men have held TEs under 40 yards and out of the end zone in each of their last four games, the opportunity should be there with Davis being swifter than the likes of Jason Witten and Jesse James.

Jared Cook (TE, GB) – 35% Owned

Cook is still involved in this offense, but not at a capacity where he can really be relied upon. He only caught three balls for 37 yards against Minnesota in Week 16, which paints him as a dart-throw TE2 in Week 17 despite a good matchup against a Detroit team that has allowed 9 TDs to the TE this season. That said, they haven’t allowed a single one in the last five games, so don’t count on him for much here.

C.J. Uzomah (TE, CIN) – 2% Owned

Uzomah caught five passes for 28 yards in an ugly Week 16 tilt against the Texans on Saturday, with most of that coming on Cincinnati’s hurry-up final drive. With Tyler Eifert likely out for Week 17, Uzomah should draw the start again against the Ravens. Other than the fact that he’s listed as a starter, most of these circumstances are ugly. He’s for the truly desperate PPR owners only.


Week 17 Defense Waiver Wire Pickups

Houston D/ST – 56% Owned

The Texans have been sporting a solid defense all season long, even without J.J. Watt, and are coming off of a solid showing against a Bengals offense largely composed of backups. Say what you will about them, but now they get to face Matt Cassel and the deflated Titans in Week 17. Cassel is serviceable in good conditions, but facing the Texans defense isn't even "neutral".

Baltimore D/ST – 48% Owned

The Ravens may not look great by any means right now, as they’re coming off of a loss to the Steelers on Christmas and are still without starting cornerback Jimmy Smith, but Week 17 is a new day. A day that sees them travel to play the toothless Bengals, who just looked miserable without A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard in Week 16. Neither team has anything to play for, but Baltimore should still look to beat up on a division rival to end their season on a high note.

Pittsburgh D/ST – 46% Owned

They get to face Cleveland, that’s about it. So you need more than that? Fine. While the Steelers did give up 27 points to Baltimore on Christmas, before that they had allowed 20 points or fewer in each of their last five games. They've recorded at least one interception in each of their last six contests. Cleveland may be without Robert Griffin III (concussion), and Cody Kessler is not someone to be fearful of.

Oakland D/ST – 21% Owned

All of the focus is on how the Raiders’ offense will suffer without Derek Carr under center, or even in the shotgun. While some of that will trickle down and affect the defense, they still have playmakers like Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin who can disrupt play and force turnovers. Enter the Denver Broncos, who have only scored 23 points combined over their last three games. That is awful, and now they’ve just been eliminated from playoff contention. The Raiders could rally around their defense and destroy a listless Denver squad.

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