Welcome to the Week 17 waiver wire. If you are reading this then I need to tell you two things. First, convince your league to use Week 16 as its bowl week, it makes for a much more sane finals experience. The second thing is congratulations, it’s good to play for all the marbles. That said, there will be some challenges as many players will be sitting or worse — playing limited and unpredictable snaps. I’ll be assessing the posture of all 32 teams as we move through the week and I will try to lay out some good options when I post this week’s starts and sits on Friday.
You might think that I am about to get some rest with the fantasy season winding down. I’ll get a little, but if you were a Rotobahn reader in 2014, you know that our content just keeps going. We’ll be releasing our rookie scouting reports just like last year and it all starts in early January. Last year, I told all our readers about the best class of receivers our scouting staff had ever seen. The early sense on 2015 is that it’s a seriously deep running back class. We’ll be bringing it all to you either here or at Rotobahn and it’ll all be free. We’ll also be making another trip to the NFL Combine, so check back for that. Last year, we met the likes of Martavis Bryant, Jordan Mathews, Tre Mason, not to mention Tyler Gaffney, a guy all Patriots fans will be getting to know in 2015.
I will be posting my usual expanded waiver wire over at Rotobahn this afternoon. It’s free, so head on over if you play in a deep format or are looking for some defensive teams to stream in Week 16. Next week, I’ll be back with a look at playoff pools. Like last season, we’ll have an article on rankings and strategy and there will be a lot of Patriots in the early rounds, thanks to their potential to go deep into the postseason tournament, if not all the way.
As always, the ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that.
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Eli Manning, Giants – 60 percent
I recommended him last week and all he did was light up the Rams in St. Louis, so I will stick with Manning and Odell Beckham this week at home versus the deflated Eagles. Manning is the plum of the waiver wire if he’s available.
Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings — 11 percent
Bridgewater was one of our favorite players going into the 2014 NFL Draft. Why he slipped was beyond our ability to comprehend. The rookie has really settled down the last month or so and he’s been been fantasy-viable four out of the last five games. That viability should continue this week at home against a staggering Bears defense.
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers — 61percent
He’s one of the guys you do not have to worry about this week as his team travels to Atlanta to play a must-win game. Stewart is a RB1 candidate in all scoring formats and league sizes this week, and he should be your top priority if he is available in your league.
Matt Asiata, Vikings — 49 percent
With the Vikings moving the ball, Asiata has been getting goal line chances and converting them. He’s a solid option this week as a RB2 and you can get him in about half of Yahoo! leagues. He can help you if you need a back.
Dan Herron, Colts – 62 percent
There’s a classic Grateful Dead song, written by the late great Levon Helm and the chorus goes like this:
‘Tennessee, Tennessee, there ain’t no place I’d rather be. Baby won’t you carry me, back to Tennessee.’
This is a song being sung by all NFL running backs after facing the Titans, who play the run about as well as the Jets draft quarterbacks. Herron gets the Titans this week and he should get enough touches to be a fantasy factor in Week 17.
Andre Williams, Giants — 64 percent
He has looked very good and had a sweet 49-yard scamper last week against the Rams. Williams should get plenty of touches this week as the Giants close out their season at home versus the Eagles. He has strong RB2 appeal as long as Rashad Jennings doesn’t return to make the start and there’s little reason for the Giants to push him back. Get Williams if you can.
Brandon Oliver, Chargers — 35 percent
Starter Ryan Mathews could be ready to return, so this is a speculative add. The Chargers have plenty to play for after making a miracle comeback in San Francisco last week. Oliver is clearly getting more love than Donald Brown, so he’s the guy to play if Mathews misses one more game. The Chargers travel to Kansas City this week in a game with playoff implications for both teams.
Toby Gerhart, Jaguars — 40 percent
Keep an eye on him this week. He’ll be the guy if he can get healthy, but he has a rib injury that could keep him out when the Jaguars travel to Houston. If Gerhart is healthy, he makes a solid RB2 option because Denard Robinson is out for the year. If Gerhart cannot go, then Jordan Todman is the back to add in Jacksonville. He looked good last week after Gerhart departed.
Charles Johnson, Vikings – 37 percent
He’s had two mediocre games in tough matchups, but he has serious big game potential this week against the Bears, who seem to have gone into hibernation early this season. Johnson is one of the more high-end options out there and you can get him in many leagues.
Eddie Royal, Chargers — 21 percent
He plays in a game that could matter and he will be targeted plenty because the Chargers are very thin at receiver with the injury to Keenan Allen. Royal is a nice add, especially in deeper formats. He had 10 catches and a touchdown against San Francisco in Week 16.
Albert Wilson, Chiefs — 0 percent
He is available and he is still gaining steam. Wilson is a guy we liked pre-draft but he is the kind of small school guy who gets easily lost in a year that features so many incredible rookie receivers. Wilson is quickly becoming the receiver to own in Kansas City. His usage has risen consistently over the last few months and he makes a very nice add this week in PPR leagues.
Marquess Wilson, Bears — 26 percent
He had 10 targets last week and has been active since the injury to Brandon Marshall. He should see similar targets this week against the Vikings. Chicago is in full-blown developmental mode and Wilson is one of their developmental players. He can help fantasy owners in Week 17.
Andre Holmes, Raiders — 13 percent
Speaking of developing talent, Holmes has seen an uptick in snaps and targets lately, and it makes sense given the Raiders’ situation. He’s a nice option in bigger formats when the Raiders travel to Denver this Sunday.
Kenny Britt, Rams – 20 percent
He’s worth mentioning because he has been playing very good football in recent weeks. In fact, Week 16 showed Britt moving about as well as I’ve seen him move since before he ripped up his knee back in 2011. It’s been a long road back for Britt and he is a player to watch for 2015. As for Week 17, Britt is worthy of consideration, but is more flex than WR3 because the Rams finish up in Seattle — a nasty place to play.
Jordan Cameron, Browns — 54 percent
This will be his fourth game since returning from a bad concussion. Cameron finally broke out last week and he’ll be a big part of the offense this week when the Browns close out their season at Baltimore. Cameron is a decent option if a tight end is what you need.
Luke Willson, Seahawks – 1 percent
Breakout alert — Willson has always been an interesting player since coming out of Rice last season. In Week 16, it all came together. Wilson was finally healthy and he was the every down tight end. The result was a monster effort and he may be able to build on that this week against the Rams. With five NFC teams tied at 11-4, the Seahawks have plenty to play for.