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Week 17 Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds

The end of the NFL regular season is here, and if your fantasy football league’s season did not end last week, it surely will this week.

If your fantasy football season is heading into its Super Bowl week this weekend and you are lucky enough to be playing in it, let me be the guy to find you the perfect tight end for Week 17! I know tight ends like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra knows how to rev-up Christmas classics! So if you somehow reached your league’s championship contest despite having Geoff Swaim and Charles Clay as your tight ends, let’s see if we can find you a last-minute upgrade for your title tilt!

Without further ado, here are the best tight ends to pick up heading into Week 17. Good luck RotoBallers!

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TE Waiver Wire Options for Week 17

Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers – 25% owned

Greg Olsen’s replacement has 20 receptions on 25 targets over his past four games as Carolina’s top tight end. While you would think Thomas’ production would go down because Cam Newton has been shut down for the season, it may be a blessing. Newton’s sore shoulder was not doing any of Carolina’s receivers or tight ends any fantasy favors, and Thomas had four receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown this past Sunday with Taylor Heinicke as the quarterback. Yes, Taylor Heinicke!

Thomas will be attempting to find openings in New Orleans’ pass defense, which Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown and JuJu Schuster showed is not hard to do this past Sunday. The Saints have home-field advantage wrapped up in the NFC, so they have nothing to play for and will be resting anyone important. If Heinicke can hit Thomas on a half-dozen passes, the rookie tight end could turn them into 60 yards and a touchdown for fantasy owners who need production in the worst way from a waiver-wire tight end this week. 

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens – 18% owned

The Baltimore tight end situation has been harder to figure out this season than all of the playoff scenarios in the AFC. Andrews has now wrested back the top tight end spot in Baltimore from first-round pick Hayden Hurst on the strength of averaging 45 yards per game over his past five contests, including his 83 yards and a touchdown this past weekend. Andrews and slot receiver Willie Snead have been the only Ravens pass catchers who have seen their fantasy value go up with run-first rookie Lamar Jackson at quarterback.

Andrews is slated to face Cleveland’s 30th-ranked pass defense in the friendly confines of Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium. While Baker Mayfield and the Browns have been playing with more vigor in recent weeks, Andrews has a superb opportunity to break a big play against their shoddy secondary and give fantasy owners a bombastic boost at the tight end position. He is certainly one of the best tight ends available in leagues entering Week 17.

Chris Herndon IV, New York Jets – 37% owned

Herndon’s ownership tally has increased in the past couple of weeks as I have sung his praises more than President Trump sings his own, yet he is still unclaimed in more than half of fantasy leagues. This is a crime against fantasy football humanity. While Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham are ruining fantasy players’ seasons and playoff dreams, Herndon keeps delivering solid stats on a weekly basis.

Herndon just had his best outing of 2018 with six snags for 82 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay and has been eating up targets and receptions with Quincy Enunwa out due to injury. He is up against a New England defense he had seven receptions for 57 yards versus a month ago. With rookie signal caller Sam Darnold throwing his best balls of the season, do not be shocked if Herndon posts numbers that will give many fantasy owners a happier holiday than they could have ever imagined.


Other Tight End Options

C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals – 30% owned

Uzomah has been the model of consistency, even if his numbers are about as flashy as a pair of Dad jeans. He has had 27 yards or more in six straight games and is coming off his best fantasy effort of the season (5-49-1). While his matchup this week against Pittsburgh does not look good on paper, he did have a season-high six catches for 54 yards against the Steelers earlier this year.

Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers – 62% owned

While owned in the majority of fantasy leagues, McDonald is still out there in more than one-third of leagues despite being the third-best option in one of the greatest passing attacks in the NFL. With a dream matchup against a Cincinnati secondary that covers about as many people as a defunct insurance agency, McDonald is a must-sign tight end if you need one and he is available in your league.

Jeremy Sprinkle, Washington Redskins – 1% owned

Sprinkle can only do so much with journeyman Josh Johnson as his pitcher. While Johnson has been better than Mark Sanchez (not saying a lot), he has not been turning his pass catchers into Pro Bowlers. Yet Sprinkle has six catches for 41 yards and a touchdown in two games as the replacement for injured veterans Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis and could sneak in another TD this weekend against Philadelphia’s 31st-ranked pass defense.


Follow Craig on Twitter @craigrondinone!

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