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Week 17 Tight End Waiver Picks and Streamers

The last week of the NFL’s regular season comes down to one day.

No Thursday games, no Saturday games, no Monday night game. Everyone is suiting up on Sunday in the NFL this week as the fantasy football season ends for leagues that did not already have their Super Bowl during Week 16. If you have not moved onto fantasy hockey or basketball yet and are either playing for your football league’s championship or trying one final time to win a six or seven-figure payday in a DFS contest, keep on reading --- especially if you are in the market for a tight end for this final week.

Without further ado, here are my tight end waiver wire picks for Week 17!

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!


TE Waiver Wire Options for Week 17

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams – 49% owned

If you are in your league’s championship game and you desperately need a tight end, and there is no rule that freezes rosters at the beginning of the postseason, if Higbee is available and you do not pick him up you are dumber than an NBA superstar who thinks the Earth is flat. Higbee has now racked up four straight 100-yard games now. Only New Orleans megaman Michael Thomas has a longer streak this year among pass catchers. Even with former starting tight end Gerald Everett back from injury, Higbee was undeterred and nine receptions for 104 yards against San Francisco’s stingy pass defense.

To say that the Arizona Cardinals have been inept at covering tight ends this season is like saying that kale will never be on a McDonald’s menu. The Cards have been the worst at it from start to finish and will undoubtedly allow Higbee to roam around as uncovered as a visitor at a nudist colony. Higbee will be high-priced in DFS contests but should still be well worth the money, and he could win a fantasy title for many whose leagues are on the line this Sunday.

Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans – 22% owned

Injury-plagued veteran Delanie Walker has not been missed in recent weeks as Smith has taken over the top tight end spot and probably will not give it back for several seasons. Smith has accounted for 209 combined yards and two touchdowns over his past three games as he has flashed as much big-play ability as any tight end in the NFL. Surprise of the Year Ryan Tannehill has elevated the fantasy values of all of his playmakers (unlike Marcus Mariota), and Smith has been one of the biggest benefactors.

Smith will run his routes against division rival/division winner Houston, whose inconsistent defense and secondary play this season has made it a favorite for fantasy players to take advantage of. Smith has 123 yards and a touchdown over his last two games versus the Texans and should exploit their defensive backs and linebackers in a game that has no meaning for Houston. Feel free to use him in any DFS format or any fantasy league Super Bowl you participate in this weekend!

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins – 38% owned

Gesicki has provided fantasy players with three great games, one average game, and one clunker over his last five contests. He saved his best for this past week, however, as he posted the first two-TD game of his short career and added six catches for 82 yards against the hopeless Cincinnati Bengals. This has now cemented him as a fantasy force and a guy who should be a top-10 tight end in fantasy circles in 2020 and beyond.

Gesicki’s problem in Week 17 is he has to get open against a New England secondary that does not allow many pass catchers to get open. Worse, the Patriots have a first-round bye to play for, so they will not be resting their regulars. Gesicki had two catches for 20 yards in three career contests against the Pats, but that trio of games happened before the light went on inside his helmet and he started piling up some serious stats. Miami’s passing attack has been on fire thanks to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, so Gesicki should not be counted out completely since he is playing the best ball of his pro life, but he is a risk in a big spot this week due to his opponent.


Other Options to Consider

Noah Fant, Denver Broncos – 44% owned

Fant’s 10-yard dud this past weekend might have ruined the Super Bowl hopes of thousands of fantasy owners, but he should not be overlooked as an option this week. Fant is faced with an Oakland pass defense that remains near the bottom of the rankings, so Fant has a better chance of being a hit more than a miss. He is also not dependent on touchdowns to make him valuable since he has averaged 60 yards per game over the past three weeks.

Jacob Hollister, Seattle Seahawks – 40% owned

Hollister has lost some shine on his shoes now that he has not scored a touchdown over his last five games, but Seattle will have no choice but to throw this Sunday with running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny out for the season with major injuries. Hollister’s volume of targets should be on the uptick due to this development.

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals – 25% owned

Eifert is averaging 50 yards per game over his last three outings and looks healthier and faster than he has all year. He also has scored five touchdowns in his last four games against the Cleveland Browns, who are his Week 17 opponent.

Darren Fells, Houston Texans – 42% owned

Fells has fallen off in recent weeks after having the most productive stretch of his career during the middle of the season. He should not be ignored during Week 17, though, since there is a chance receivers Will Fuller and Kenny Stills might be rested because of injuries they are dealing with. Of course, since Houston clinched the AFC South title, quarterback Deshaun Watson will probably be rested, too, which would not help Fells’ fantasy worth.

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 22% owned

With wonderful wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin shelved with hamstring injuries, Tampa Bay head honcho Bruce Arians has had no choice but to incorporate his talented tight ends into his passing plans. Brate might be a one-week stopgap for your fantasy squad this week as he faces Atlanta’s below-par pass defense, but if you are in a dynasty league and think he might be traded his offseason because he does not fit into Arians’ future, then picking him up on the down low is a decent idea. Brate did score 20 touchdowns over the past three years before being ignored this season.

Nick Boyle, Baltimore Ravens – 5% owned

Boyle is Baltimore’s third-best tight end, and third-string tight ends usually have the same fantasy value as holders, snappers and punters in fantasy football. That said, I would not be shocked to see Baltimore bench Mark Andrews for its meaningless game against Pittsburgh, which would open the door for Boyle to garner more playing time and targets. Hayden Hurst would obviously get a bump in both as well if Andrews does sit out.


Don’t Forget About…

Rob Gronkowski, Free Agent – 18% owned

It sure seems like Gronk is enjoying the retired life between all of his television appearances, pictures of him partying, and frolicking with Camille Kostek, but there is still that glimmer of hope that he comes out of retirement in 2020 and becomes Tom Brady’s top target once again. New England could certainly use the help since the tight end trio of Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo has done little to erase the memory of Gronk in the minds of Patriots fans. I would say there is a five-percent chance Gronkowski comes back, so stashing him in the last spot on your fantasy roster in a dynasty league is not a horrible idea if you have the room.

Irv Smith Jr, Minnesota Vikings – 21% owned

Minnesota’s two-tight-end formations have not worked wonders for the fantasy values of Smith and veteran Kyle Rudolph this season. The only time the duo did much on the fantasy scale was when No. 1 wideout Adam Thielen missed several weeks due to his hamstring injury. Smith will definitely be better and utilized more often in 2020, though, so you cannot forget about him dynasty leagues where you could get him on the cheap or in standard leagues where you could draft him in the late rounds.

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