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Week 17 Quarterback Waiver Wire Adds and Pickups

Why are you still playing season-long fantasy? It's Week 17 for goodness sake. Let's make like the Raiders and pack it in for the year. There's a golf course in Tampa with Jon Gruden's name on it. Well, if you are still playing the good news is there are plenty of interesting quarterbacks on waivers this week.

Lots of highly-owned quarterbacks face tough matchups this week. Mitch Trubisky and Kirk Cousins could both have a rough go in the CHI @ MIN game. Philip Rivers takes on the Broncos, Deshaun Watson faces the Jaguars, Russell Wilson takes on the Cardinals, and Baker Mayfield challenges the Ravens. Drew Brees owners should also have a backup plan in place. The Saints have clinched home-field advantage and may sit their star quarterbacks. Then again, most Drew Brees owners are probably eliminated at this point thanks to a few lackluster performances over the last two weeks.

In standard one-quarterback leagues, the waiver wire is usually pretty rich with talent at the position, unless the league is full of owners that like to hold backup quarterbacks. In two-quarterback leagues, nearly every starter is rostered, and the waiver wire tends to be quite barren for quality arms. That’s why a few quarterbacks owned in 15% of leagues or less are included, so even owners in deep leagues have someone to consider. Ownership is based on Yahoo leagues and is current as of December 23.

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Week 17 Waiver Wire Quarterbacks

Jameis Winston – TB vs. Atlanta Falcons – 52% Owned

Winston hasn’t been quite as good over the last two weeks thanks to a pair of tough matchups, but he gets some reprieve against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17. Going into Week 16 Atlanta had allowed the most points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and Winston put up a season-high 32.7 points on Atlanta’s secondary back in Week 6. In games Winston has started and finished, he’s averaging 20.11 fantasy points, and in Week 17 there is little risk of Winston getting benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. After this season Tampa Bay isn’t sure whether Winston is their starting quarterback going forward, but they know it’s not Ryan Fitzpatrick. Winston is the top choice on waivers this week where available, thanks to the matchup and history. He’s a high-ceiling option for Week 17 championships.

Lamar Jackson – BAL @ Cleveland – 45% Owned

For as exciting as Jackson can be on the field, he sure is boring in fantasy. In his six starts, he’s gone over 20 points just once, but he’s never scored fewer than 16 points in a game either. He did set a career high in passing yards this week, throwing for 204 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers. He also had his highest passer rating (101.3) and fewest rushing yards (39) as a starter. It’s both surprising and encouraging that Jackson played this well against the Chargers, since on paper the Chargers are by far the toughest pass defense he’s faced. Cleveland, Jackson’s opponent this week, has been a neutral matchup against quarterbacks this season, but in odd fashion. They’ve allowed the 17th-most points per game to opposing quarterbacks, but have allowed the third-most passing yards this season. The Browns have the third-most interceptions this season and the second-best TD:INT ratio in the NFL. Interceptions aren’t necessarily a predictive statistic; they can be too contingent on opportunity. Cleveland has faced the most pass attempts this season, giving them the best chance to get interceptions. Jackson has been careful with the ball and his high-floor play-style makes him a safer alternative to Winston.

Derek Carr – OAK @ Kansas City Chiefs – 23% Owned

Carr had one of his best games all season against the Chiefs back in Week 14, and he’ll get another crack at this porous secondary this week. Kansas City’s biggest weakness this year has been against the pass, as they have allowed the most passing yards in the NFL this season. They are also tied for the third-most fantasy points per game allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Part of the reason Kansas City’s defense has been so susceptible to big passing numbers is the prowess of their offense. The Chiefs defense has seen the second-most pass attempts in the league compared to the 12th-fewest rush attempts. Opponents need to keep up with the high-scoring Kansas City offense and often put up numbers when trailing or in garbage time. That’s exactly how Carr put up numbers against the Chiefs last time. Carr threw for all three of his touchdowns in the final 19 minutes of playtime, and Oakland trailed by double-digits all throughout the second-half until kicking a field goal with 34 seconds remaining. A repeat scenario is likely, so we can call Carr the garbageman this week, a fitting nickname for Oakland’s quarterback.


Deeper League and Two-QB League Options

Nick Foles – PHI @ Washington Redskins – 15% Owned

Foles had a shocking performance against the Texans this week, throwing for 471 yards and four touchdowns in a clutch victory to keep Philadelphia’s playoff hopes alive. He scored more fantasy points in this game (31.94) than he had all season (31.54). The matchup this week isn’t super tantalizing. Washington has been middle-of-the-road against quarterbacks this season, allowing the 15th-most points per game this season. They’ve been stingier over the past few weeks, having not allowed more than 211 yards passing any of their last three games. However, the opposing quarterbacks for those games were underwhelming to the say the least. Eli Manning, Cody Kessler, and a 50/50 split between Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert. Foles is no superstar, but he’s at least better than the latter two on that list. There is a chance Carson Wentz plays in this game, but Foles is the top deep league option, so he’s worth an add in deeper formats in the event he starts.

Sam Darnold – NYJ @ New England Patriots – 6% Owned

Darnold has perhaps his best game as a pro last week against the Packers, setting a career high in passing yards (341) and passer rating (128.4). He took advantage of a beat up, deflated defensive unit for a big fantasy day. Darnold gets another decent matchup against the Patriots this week, as New England has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points per game and are tied for fourth-most passing touchdowns allowed. The Patriots are sort of like a less extreme version of the Chiefs. They’ve faced the fifth-most pass attempts this season because they are often up big on their opponents, but don’t give up fantasy points to the same degree as Kansas City. Still, they make for a decent matchup for a quarterback like Darnold. Darnold has played much better since returning from injury in Week 14, and over those three weeks, he has fostered an excellent relationship with Robby Anderson. Anderson has averaged 104 yards and a touchdown per game since Darnold returned, and the two are making for an intriguing pair for the 2019 season. For this week, they both are good options, as the Jets will likely be facing a deficit in this game.

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