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The final week of the NFL season always brings a high degree of uncertainty, unexpected breakouts, and a slew of DNPs for star players. This is why the majority of fantasy football leagues play their championship in Week 16. If you are in a league that waits until the final week for its Super Bowl or perhaps uses a two-week cumulative point total to find the champion, then you still need help. Maybe a lot. You won't find a better time to plug and play someone off waivers than Week 17, so let's look at the best options.

In this weekly waiver wire series, we provide a curated list of fantasy-viable players that are typically owned in less than half of all fantasy leagues, so that you can make an educated decision about who to add or claim that might be available in your league. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all eligible players that could be picked up, nor is it ranked in priority order - that's what our Lightning Round is for! These are also not all strict recommendations to add, simply a list of options. As always, it is up to you, the fantasy owner, to see who's available in your league and make the best-educated decision possible.

Let’s look around the league at the players who may be worth adding or bidding on as we move on to Week 16 of the 2018 NFL season. Be sure to also check out our other waiver wire articles, including FAAB auction bidding recommendations, for even more in-depth analysis an all positions heading into Week 16.

Editor's Note: Stay on top of our fantasy football analysis and NFL news all year round. Read our daily articles about risers and breakouts, 2019 redraft rankings, the NFL draft, dynasty leagues and much more. It's always fantasy football season here. Read More

 

Quarterbacks - Waiver Wire Options

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (52% owned)

Winston was dumped in many leagues due to a tough road matchup with the Cowboys. He wound up with a nice game after all, throwing for 336 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. He made up for that by fumbling twice, though. Winston should get one more chance to pile up meaningless stats this year and gets to play in sunny Tampa against the Falcons. It's the best matchup of the week for lesser-owned quarterbacks, so grab him if he's available.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (45% owned)

The Ravens are still in the Wild Card race, so Jackson will give it all he's got in Week 17. You already know what to expect with Jackson - he's going to finish between 120-200 passing yards, one touchdown, 70-90 rushing yards and possibly a score on the ground. He's a high-floor option in an average matchup with Cleveland, so play him if you don't feel like rolling the dice on some of the riskier options on here.

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (27% owned)

If you counted on him in your fantasy final or semi-final in Week 16, you were sorely disappointed. Allen ran for just 30 yards and was held out of the end zone. That wasn't enough to offset his usual passing numbers of 217 yards and one TD with two INT. It's always a gamble to play a rookie quarterback, especially against a division-leading opponent. Luckily, he gets the reeling Dolphins, who must travel to Buffalo in a game that is for bragging rights only after the Fins got eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Jags. In what could be the final game for head coach Adam Gase, this could be another letdown game that plays into Buffalo's hands, as they've played hard all year despite never really being a serious playoff contender.

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (23% owned)

A road game facing the Chiefs could be a perfect recipe for a big game by Carr. You may recall he threw three touchdowns and 285 yards back in Week 13 in the first matchup between these two. The Chiefs defense remains not-so-good and there is a chance they take the foot off the gas pedal if they decide that staying healthy for the playoffs is more important than home field advantage. Carr's got great upside this week.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles (15% owned)

Foles is only owned in 15% of leagues, huh? There are a few of us that might have benefited from his 474 yards and four touchdowns last week... While it was hard to imagine he would go off like he did, it can't be denied that he is simply a stud. In a game the Eagles must win to keep their playoff hopes alive, he will throw it early and often once more against a Redskins team that is an average pass defense and is ready for the offseason.

Nick Mullens, San Francisco 49ers (6% owned)

After a must-sit matchup in Week 16 with the Bears, Mullens could be a sneaky good start in Week 17 despite playing a team with an even better record. The Rams could very well sit some of their stars in order to prepare for the playoffs. If Aaron Donald is among those who play limited snaps, that could work in Mullens' favor. You may want to check the inactives list for this game late in the week before you consider streaming Mullens.

Sam Darnold, New York Jets (6% owned)

Darnold wants to finish his rookie season the same way he started - with a bang. His numbers have gone up each of the last three games, up to 341 yards and three TD in Week 16. Darnold gets to face a Patriots team that is tougher in the secondary, so it might be a mistake to assume he'll put up another huge stat line.

 

Running Backs - Waiver Wire Options

Jeffery Wilson, San Francisco 49ers (48% owned)

Brace yourself for this news: Matt Breida left last week's game early with an injury. He's been ruled out for Week 17, which leaves Wilson to carry the load. As with Mullens (above), this matchup could be far easier than it looks on paper. The Niners are playing tough down the stretch and Wilson is one of those young players looking to establish himself to prove he deserves playing time next year. He could see a surprising amount of touches and be one of those players that leads a fantasy team to victory. Wilson figures to be a high-end RB2 with upside for more.

C.J. Anderson, Los Angeles Rams (44% owned)

Of course you knew to stash Anderson all year just for the final two weeks of the season in case he was signed by the best team in the league to be a starter. Anderson is the new Gurley, at least in the sense that he is taking the majority of carries for the Rams. Then again, he ran for 84 yards and a touchdown against Arizona in the first half alone. He finished with 167 yards, tied for second-most in his career which he first accomplished back in 2014. The Cards' run defense is the worst in the league, which explains a lot of that production, but San Fran also resides in the bottom half. It appears Gurley will rest for the season finale, so believe it or not, Anderson now looks to be a fantasy RB1 in the season's final week.

Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos (43% owned)

The tough news that Phillip Lindsay's excellent rookie season is over due to a wrist injury now gives an opportunity for Freeman to show what he can do with a full workload. Freeman should see upwards of 20 touches against the Chargers in Week 17 and he'll need it. He hasn't topped 50 yards since Week 4 and hasn't scored since Week 11. Freeman is a talented player who now has a chance to prove that he was worth a third-round pick after UDFA Lindsay took over the starting job early on. The Chargers grade out as average against the run but just gave up 159 rushing yards to the Ravens and 144 to the Bengals two weeks earlier. If the Broncos don't get pass-happy, Freeman could perform like an RB2.

Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins (39% owned)

Now is the time to take a chance on the rookie from Arizona St. We knew it was a bad matchup in Week 16 with the Jaguars on the other side. We didn't know his own coach would conspire to make Ballage a non-factor though. Even with Frank Gore out for the year, Adam Gase showed no interest in seeing what Ballage could do after his 123-yard outburst in his first true taste of NFL action. Instead, Ballage touched the ball six times all game, as they opted to trust Brandon Bolden in the red zone instead and couldn't generate much offense all day. The sledding might get slightly easier against Buffalo next week but it's still tough to trust him based on his coach's lack of trust and a possibility for snow in the forecast on Sunday.

Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts (24% owned)

A one-yard touchdown plunge made Hines a decent flex play in Week 16 but it was his first score since Week 4 and was accompanied by 43 total yards. Hines doesn't have the upside of many other backs on the waiver wire because Marlon Mack is getting the majority of touches. Indianapolis is in must-win territory this week, so they'll likely ride Mack against a tough Tennessee defense with Hines seeing a few dump-offs and likely needing another touchdown to make his day.

Mike Davis, Seattle Seahawks (23% owned)

Among backup runners, Davis might have the most upside this coming week. He faces a Cardinals defense that was just shredded by C.J. Anderson and now ranks as the worst in the league. Davis is averaging 4.5 yards per carry on a team that runs the ball more than any other. He's also capable of racking up receptions, as he's done with four games of 4+ catches this year. If you're going deeper into the wire, Davis is a tempting option.

Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots (19% owned)

Burkhead lives for Week 17. OK, it was just one good game but one that forever lives in infamy. Burkhead came through for savvy owners that snagged him two years ago when he took the lead RB role for the injured Jeremy Hill/Gio Bernard duo and ran for 119 yards and two TD in the final game of the season. It's doubtful he will come through the same way but he could see a bit more work if the team gives Sony Michel a bit of a break before the playoffs considering his injury history. If recent history is any indication, Tom Brady won't necessarily sit out, even if the game is in hand early. Last year against the same Jets, Brady stayed in all game and threw 37 times. Dion Lewis ran it 26 times in that game. Burkhead can be flexed but he is not, I repeat, not going to be the focal point of the offense in Week 17.

Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (8% owned)

Last week it was Smallwood doing the damage out of the backfield but this week it was Sproles. He scored on a 37-yard catch-and-run, finished with 108 total yards on the day. You'd think he isn't getting enough touches to be a reliable fantasy player but with the way this offense is clicking under Foles, the upside is tangible.

D'Onta Foreman, Houston Texans (7% owned)

Out goes Lamar Miller, in steps Foreman. In his first game of the year, Foreman's rushing stats were horrible. He managed to lose one yard on seven carries. He caught a 27-yard touchdown pass, however, and looked to be every bit as quick as he was last year. With some of the rust and nerves shaken off, Foreman could be more productive in his next game. Unfortunately, the Jaguars are coming to town. Foreman is still a risky start even if Miller returns for Week 17.

Zach Zenner, Detroit Lions (5% owned)

Maybe Matt Patricia just hates to see the running game succeed. Even though Zenner is averaging five yards per carry this year and put up 45 yards on eight carries, LeGarrette Blount saw more carries (11) and did nothing with them. Blount also managed to drop a couple of easy passes and lose five yards on the two he did catch. If Patricia comes to his senses, he'll feed Zenner the ball more. That's not something you want to count on, though.

Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals (2% owned)

Edmonds did nothing special running behind David Johnson in Week 16, going for 20 yards on four carries. The question is whether he'll be running behind Johnson in Week 17, as the Cards have nothing to play for and may give DJ a breather. Edmonds figures to be more of a DFS tournament play than anything but you never know how many carries the rookie might see in the season finale.

Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons (0% owned)

In his first extended action of the season, thanks to Ito Smith's season-ending injury, Hill ran for 115 yards. Of course, most of that came on a 60-yard jog in the penultimate play of the game before the Falcons kneeled down. The garbage time stats don't change the fact Hill was averaging almost eight yards per carry before that play and he clearly showed some burst. The Falcons don't have anything to play for in the final week of the season, so they could see if Hill can prove why the team spent a fifth-round pick on him last year. He gets the best matchup of all, facing the hapless Bucs, so try to make room for Hill on your roster.

Others to consider: Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders (43% owned); Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens (21% owned); Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles (15% owned); Cordarrelle Patterson, New England Patriots (8% owned); Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Bucs (1% owned)

 

Wide Receivers - Waiver Wire Options

Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons (43% owned)

Not only did Sanu re-appear on the WR leaderboard for the first time in a while, he has a great chance to do it again in Week 17. The Falcons face Tampa Bay, which in itself gives Sanu a great chance to score. The thought that Julio Jones may sit out or be limited with his recent hip injury could make Sanu one of the better waiver wire choices of the week. Sanu finished with 110 yards and a touchdown this past week and was the top target among all receivers in Atlanta. If nothing else, Jones owners should make him a priority add to hedge their bets.

Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars (41% owned)

Who's going to play QB for Jacksonville in the season finale? That question may not be answered until late in the week but it won't matter much as far as fantasy is concerned. Westbrook has been the team's leading target for the majority of the season and did it again with seven catches on eight targets for 45 yards. There's a decent floor in full PPR leagues but perhaps not a huge game in store.

Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers (41% owned)

You might not have interest in Samuel or any Panthers receiver with Cam Newton on the shelf. You should know that while Samuel only managed 41 yards with Taylor Heinicke at QB, he was targeted 13 times. That kind of usage can't be ignored. The Panthers could be throwing early and often against the league-leading Saints in the Superdome.

Robert Foster, Buffalo Bills (36% owned)

It was hard to ignore Foster after his recent production but it was also a tough matchup against the Patriots' cornerbacks. He wound up with 52 yards on four receptions and was held out of the end zone. A home matchup with the faltering Dolphins could pay much better dividends this time around. If Foster is available, he should be one of the higher priority WR adds of Week 17.

Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles (38% owned)

It's a grand revival for the old Philly offense ever since their new (old) quarterback came around. A week after posting a one-catch game, Agholor went for 116 yards and a TD, most of which came on a busted coverage that led to a bewilderingly wide open Agholor walking into the end zone for an 83-yard score. You can't count on that happening again, nor a high target total for Agholor. He's become more interesting, however, and could be considered in this week where many top options are going to be out.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers (27% owned)

After five weeks as a complete non-factor and disappointment to all who added him mid-season, MVS steps back on the scene. While Valdes-Scantling went for 75 yards on five receptions, he finished behind fellow rookie ESB and still hasn't scored since Week 8. We don't know what to expect of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in a Week 17 tilt with the Lions that doesn't matter for either side. He figures to be a risky flex option.

Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins (22% owned)

The Washington offense isn't inspiring these days but Crowder is the one to trust. His reception total has gone up the last three weeks, culminating in a five-catch, 78-yard game in Week 16. The way the Eagles have been playing, there is hope for Crowder to keep building on his rapport with Josh Johnson.

John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals (9% owned)

If you like short touchdowns, Ross is your man. He scored for the seventh time this season, but it was his only catch of the game. Ross has caught more than two passes in a game twice all year and hasn't reached 40 yards since Week 4. In PPR leagues, there is too much risk on a TD-dependent player on a bad team to take the chance he scores again.

Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys (8% owned)

Gallup finally managed to score touchdown number two in his NFL career, finishing with 53 yards against the Bucs. The matchup won't be quite as easy in Week 17, although the Giants aren't a defense to fear either. Gallup's usage is inconsistent at best, so he's best targeted in deep standard leagues.

Ted Ginn, New Orleans Saints (5% owned)

The Saints activated Ginn off IR just in time for their showdown with the Steelers and he was involved from the jump. Ginn caught five passes for 74 yards and his eight targets were second-most on the team behind only Michael Thomas. The matchup is great, as the Saints face the reeling Panthers. Ginn has never been more than a WR3, even last year in New Orleans, but he is among the safer choices on the board.

Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco 49ers (1% owned)

If Bourne can put up 73 yards against the Bears, what might he do against the Rams if he faces Marcus Peters? Probably not much more, as that yardage represents his season-high. If you believe the Niners have a chance to put up a fair amount of points in a game that means more for their pride than it does to the Rams, who sit at 12-3, then take a chance on Bourne as your WR3 or flex.

Jake Kumerow, Green Bay Packers (1% owned)

In a game where the Pack put up 44 points and 442 passing yards, why wouldn't Kumerow be involved? He caught a 49-yard TD pass, finishing with 68 yards on three catches. As long as Rodgers plays, Kumerow may have enough upside to consider as a flex in deep leagues, especially if Equanimeous St. Brown misses the game with a head injury suffered late in Week 16.

Trent Sherfield, Arizona Cardinals (0% owned)

Sherfield, an undrafted free agent out of Vanderbilt, has quietly become the WR2 in Arizona with Christian Kirk on IR. He caught all six of his targets for 62 yards in Week 16 and has averaged six targets over the past three weeks. We don't know if Josh Rosen will suit up in Week 17 but that shouldn't severely handicap the passing offense. Sherfield does have limited upside in this offense, especially facing a Seattle team that just punched its ticket to the playoffs.

Others worth consideration: Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears (38% owned); Daesean Hamilton, Denver Broncos (33% owned); Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys (21% owned); Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills (15% owned); Chris Conley, Kansas City Chiefs (11% owned); Jermaine Kearse, New York Jets (2% owned)

 

Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Options

C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals (32% owned)

The Bengals predictably leaned on Uzomah more this game with Tyler Boyd out. It resulted in 49 yards and a touchdown, the first time Uzomah hit paydirt since Week 7. His matchup is far worse in Week 17, however, as they travel to Pittsburgh to face a team in a must-win situation. Uzomah may get more opportunities than usual but it will be tougher to envision a big game from him.

Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers (29% owned)

No Cam Newton, no problem. If you added Thomas after his Week 14 breakout and stuck with him, you were rewarded with 48 yards and a TD in Week 16. Thomas is averaging six targets per game since Greg Olsen went on IR and should be one of the better pickups at TE this week.

Chris Herndon IV, New York Jets (13% owned)

The rookie out of Miami finished as one of the top-scoring tight ends in Week 16, catching six balls for 82 yards and a touchdown. This was against a defense that was second-toughest against the tight end. The Patriots are ninth-worst defending the tight end, so it would go without saying that he has a good shot to be productive once more.

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens (3% owned)

Andrews made the biggest splash play of Saturday's games with a 68-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Like all Ravens in the passing game, his floor is pretty low so you're still counting on a tight end or big play.

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (2% owned)

Now that there is no pressure to win and the season is coming to a close, could the Dolphins give Gesicki a chance to shine? It's possible but a risky proposition to gamble on. If you're looking for a deep sleeper with upside, Gesicki is more physically gifted than the majority of tight ends out there.

Mo Allie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts (1% owned)

On a team that loves throwing to the tight end, Allie-Cox could be the only option heading into Week 17. Eric Ebron left with a concussion, a week after the team released Erik Swoope. Don't forget that Jack Doyle is still on IR. So Allie-Cox would seem to be in prime position to at least find the end zone, except that his opponent, Tennessee, is the only team not to allow a TD to a tight end all season.

Jason Croom, Buffalo Bills (0% owned)

With Charles Clay out, Croom was the primary tight end and came through with 55 yards on four receptions. He had a costly fumble but it shouldn't stop the team from utilizing him in the last game of the year.

Others worth consideration: Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams (19% owned); Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys (5% owned); Demetrius Harris, Kansas City Chiefs (0% owned)

 

Defenses - Waiver Wire Options

Seattle Seahawks (54% owned)

Considering their most recent opponent was the Chiefs, it's understandable that this defense didn't produce much in the way of fantasy points (zero sacks, one turnover, 27 points allowed). The Seahawks will stay at home to face Arizona in Week 17. That matchup is easy enough and could be even better if the team decides to sit Josh Rosen in order to protect their QB of the future from potential injury.

Philadelphia Eagles (52% owned)

They aren't earning much favor in leagues where points allowed are weighted more heavily, but the Eagles' pass rush came up with four sacks and a fumble recovery in Week 16. Of course, four sacks isn't much for the Texans to give up. Philadelphia will be on the road in Week 17 to face Washington and fourth-string QB Josh Johnson, who threw two picks last week.

New Orleans Saints (51% owned)

The Saints are only half-owned despite playing lights-out defense the past few weeks. They return home to face a Panthers team that should roll out Taylor Heinicke once again. Heinicke was picked off three times by the Falcons, who had 11 INT in their first 14 games. Needless to say, the ceiling is high for this unit.

Buffalo Bills (34% owned)

If you're forced to go deeper into the waiver wire, Buffalo has the most favorable matchup among the less-productive units. While the Dolphins haven't turned the ball over too often and the Bills are simply mediocre when it comes to forcing them, a home game that could feature inclement weather against a non-contender is a decent recipe for some action.

More Waiver Wire Adds and Pickups


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