Week 17 Waiver Wire December 24, 2013  |  gregsauce


Can you feel it, fake footballers? We’re finally alone. It felt as if those 16-weekers would never leave. There’s no sense in stopping the fantasy football fun when there’s still a week left to play. Now we can get down to the nitty-gritty. The Week 17 Waiver Wire is here to help you navigate the final week’s myriad pitfalls and potholes. Don’t be afraid to cut bait with big-name players for the options listed below. This is the end of the line. Good luck in your championship tilts and enjoy what is likely to be the most aberrant and unpredictable week of the season. Fake football, true degenerates.

 

QUARTERBACKS

Standard League Streaming Options:

– Ryan Tannehill vs. NYJ
– Kyle Orton vs. PHI
– Kirk Cousins at NYG
– Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. HOU

All of the above QBs are available in more than 50% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues. Ryan Tannehill posted 24 fantasy points against the Jets in Week 13. The Dolphins need to win to make the playoffs, so look for Tannehill to come out and sling it against New York’s generous pass defense. Tony Romo’s availability is in doubt for Dallas’ win-and-in this week and Kyle Orton is the next QB in line. Orton will have plenty of weapons to throw to against the NFL’s third-worst defense against fantasy passers. He’s definitely worth a look if you’re streaming. Kirk Cousins and Ryan Fitzpatrick both have decent match-ups on Sunday, but their respective inconsistencies make me prefer most other options.

Deep League Options: rsz_tp2

Much to his agent’s chagrin, Terrelle Pryor has been named the Oakland starter for Week 17 against Denver. We saw was Pryor was capable of in the first half of the season when he averaged 17 fantasy points per game over 7 starts. He’ll have his work cut out for him against the Broncos, but the points Pryor puts up with his legs give him a nice margin for error when it comes to turnovers.

Buffalo hopes to disengage the T.H.A.D.B.O.T. autopilot this week and go back to E.J. Manuel. It should be pretty smooth flying for whomever the Bills use against a Patriots team that allows an average of 18 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs. If you’re losing Tony Romo, Alex Smith, or Matt McGloin in your 2-QB league, Manuel is a solid last-minute replacement, assuming he plays.

 

RUNNING BACKS

Eddie Lacy aggravated the ankle injury he’s been playing through on Sunday and is questionable for this week’s early playoff contest against Chicago. The Bears are a sieve against the run and James Starks will be a top-10 option this week if Lacy can’t play. It will be risky to rely on Starks leading up to Sunday, but the potential reward is high enough to make him my top waiver target of the week.

The Chiefs have nothing to play for this week and fantasy MVP Jamaal Charles is likely to get some well-deserved rest before the real-life playoffs. Knile Davis will assume the bulk of Kansas City’s rushing workload as Charles is rested. Davis has performed well in limited action this season and he’ll have the opportunity to finish as a top-15 running back if he touches the ball 20-plus times against San Diego

Edwin Baker has fully usurped the featured running back role in Cleveland. He’s scored in two straight games and will square off against a Pittsburgh defense that just allowed 35 fantasy points to Green Bay’s running backs. Baker is a fine consolation for owners who could miss out on Starks and Davis.

Other RB options: Jonathan Grimes (HOU), Shonn Greene (TEN), Michael Cox & Peyton Hillis (NYG)

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

I touted Rueben Randle in last week’s Waiver Wire, but it was Jerrel Jernigan who once again led the Giants receivers in targets, receptions, and yards (12/6/80) while scoring the team’s only receiving touchdown. With the G-men eliminated from playoff contention, they should continue to feature Jernigan in Week 17 to get a better read on his capabilities for next season.

Marvin Jones disappeared for a few weeks after his 4-TD explosion in Week 8, but he’s scored at least 9 fantasy points in each of the last three weeks. Cincinnati will be vying for the 2-seed early on Sunday against Baltimore. The Ravens play the run well and will certainly be keying on A.J. Green in the passing game, so Jones could step up and be the hero for both the Bengals and his fantasy owners.

Nate Washington quietly returned to fantasy relevance over the past two weeks with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. He won’t score a TD every week, as he did on Sunday, but his team-high 8 targets and 6 catches in a game where Delanie Walker and Kendall Wright both played bode well for Washington’s chances to stay relevant for one last week.

If you’re desperate for a wideout, consider playing garbage time bingo with the Oakland receiving corps. Andre Holmes has been the best of the bunch lately, but Rod Streater and Denarius Moore could also post nice numbers as the Raiders try to keep up with the Broncos.

Other WR options: Mike Brown (JAC), Andre Caldwell (DEN), Brandon LaFell (CAR)

 

TIGHT ENDS

You might be able to afford a Mercedes if you’ve been cruising with Marcedes Lewis in fantasy over the past few weeks. He scored for the fourth-straight game on Sunday and has generally been Chad Henne’s most trusted receiver since losing Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts. Those two wideouts are still missing, so Lewis is in for another healthy dose of targets in Week 17.

While unexciting, Ryan Griffin gave us the type of game we’d expect and count on from a third-string TE thrust into the starting role on Sunday. His 66 yards on 5 catches mirrored the 6-for-62 line he posted in Week 15 and that sort of production is exactly what I’d expect in Week 17. If a six-point performance is what you need this week, by all means add Griffin, but chances are you can do better.

When it comes to quality readers, on the other hand, I couldn’t have done any better this year. Thanks to all of you who battled through another season of fake football with me and the rest of the crew here at The Fake Football. I couldn’t do this without your support and feedback. My only hope is that I made more good calls than bad ones for your fantasy teams this season. I have a few more pieces to post here at TFF through the real-life playoffs, but it’s been a lot of fun bringing you the waiver finds every week. Take care this holiday season and have a happy new year!

 

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