NFL Waiver Wire: Week 17 Deep Dive

NFL Waiver Wire: Week 17 Deep Dive

This article is part of our NFL Waiver Wire series.

We've reached championship week for the majority of leagues, so well done to all those still in contention. Chances are most lineups are fairly set and it's not a waiver-heavy week, but it's still worth taking a look at some adds capable of pushing teams over the top when it matters most.

Quarterbacks

Mike White at Seahawks (14 percent ESPN)

White's return as the starting quarterback may have come just in time to save the Jets' playoff hopes. While he's become something of a legend to fans, he's been inefficient in his last two starts. Even so, volume has helped make up for White's efficiency shortcomings, and we can project that again in what could be a pass-heavy matchup at Seattle.

Carson Wentz vs. Browns (seven percent ESPN)

It may be hard to remember, but Wentz notched a few massive performances to begin the season with over 25 fantasy points in Weeks 1 and 2 and a 21.9-point performance in Week 5. Cleveland has been a tough matchup all season, so I wouldn't expect a ceiling performance. And there are worse options out there.

Teddy Bridgewater at Patriots (two percent ESPN)

New England still gets the reputation of being a tough defensive opponent, but they've been league-average against opposing QBs all season. The available pool at the position is weak on the waiver wire, so the matchup plus the Miami skill-position players vault Bridgewater into consideration for teams needy for a signal caller.

Mac Jones vs. Dolphins (10 percent ESPN)

We've reached championship week for the majority of leagues, so well done to all those still in contention. Chances are most lineups are fairly set and it's not a waiver-heavy week, but it's still worth taking a look at some adds capable of pushing teams over the top when it matters most.

Quarterbacks

Mike White at Seahawks (14 percent ESPN)

White's return as the starting quarterback may have come just in time to save the Jets' playoff hopes. While he's become something of a legend to fans, he's been inefficient in his last two starts. Even so, volume has helped make up for White's efficiency shortcomings, and we can project that again in what could be a pass-heavy matchup at Seattle.

Carson Wentz vs. Browns (seven percent ESPN)

It may be hard to remember, but Wentz notched a few massive performances to begin the season with over 25 fantasy points in Weeks 1 and 2 and a 21.9-point performance in Week 5. Cleveland has been a tough matchup all season, so I wouldn't expect a ceiling performance. And there are worse options out there.

Teddy Bridgewater at Patriots (two percent ESPN)

New England still gets the reputation of being a tough defensive opponent, but they've been league-average against opposing QBs all season. The available pool at the position is weak on the waiver wire, so the matchup plus the Miami skill-position players vault Bridgewater into consideration for teams needy for a signal caller.

Mac Jones vs. Dolphins (10 percent ESPN)

I wasn't kidding when I said this is an ugly position group this week. Jones has been subpar most of the year, but he's posted a few 17-plus fantasy point performances over the last five weeks. The hope this weekend is a positive matchup and New England will have to throw to keep pace with Miami's offense. 

Colt McCoy at Falcons (one percent ESPN)

This is mostly to note that McCoy has cleared concussion protocol and is slated to start for Arizona. That's better news for his pass catchers than his own fantasy value, but he could matter in 2-QB leagues.

Malik Willis vs. Cowboys (one percent ESPN)

Tennessee's game Thursday is meaningless for the standings. That could mean the Titans let Willis open up the offense a bit more than we've seen in the past, particularly with Derrick Henry unlikely to go. If nothing else, Henry's absence could make Willis the center of the Titans' rushing attack.

Jarrett Stidham vs. 49ers (zero percent ESPN)

There isn't a scenario where I'd feel comfortable starting Stidham. But like McCoy, it's worth mentioning he's now the starter in Las Vegas. With offensive weapons like Davante Adams, it's possible he throws a couple TDs – though it's an extremely difficult matchup.

Running Backs

Hassan Haskins vs. Cowboys (one percent ESPN)

Derrick Henry is listed as doubtful, which would open up a lot of carries. Despite clearly being the next in line in Tennessee's backfield, there's still plenty of risk attached to Haskins. First, Malik Willis could soak up a lot of those vacated carries. Also, the Tennessee offense could be so poor that Haskins remains irrelevant despite the increased workload.

Malik Davis at Titans (zero percent ESPN)

Tony Pollard hasn't practiced this week due a thigh injury. While Jerry Jones has insisted he will play, that's hardly a certainty. We've seen Davis mix in behind Pollard when Ezekiel Elliott was out earlier in the season, and he could do so again if Pollard is inactive.

Joshua Kelley vs. Rams (five percent ESPN)

Austin Ekeler has started each of the last two weeks with an injury - first a shoulder, and now a knee. Neither seems overly serious, though Kelley could pick up a few extra carries. Add in the Chargers having locked in a playoff spot – they can still improve their seed, but can't win the AFC West – and they could opt to sit Ekeler.

Situations to Watch

This isn't typically a part of the column, but there are a few injury situations worth monitoring throughout the week - even if they don't necessarily require immediate adds.

  • James Conner landed on the injury report Wednesday due to an illness. Keaontay Ingram would be the add if Conner looks like he will miss Sunday's game against the Falcons.
  • Miles Sanders was a non-participant Wednesday due to a knee injury. The Eagles are heavy favorites to lock up the top seed in the NFC, so they could rest him while keeping the playoffs in mind.
  • Alvin Kamara was not present at Saints' practice Wednedsay due to a personal issue. It's unclear how long that may keep him away from the team. But if he is out on Sunday against the Eagles, we could have David Johnson turn back the clock to 2018.

Wide Receivers

Isaiah Hodgins vs. Colts (three percent ESPN)
Richie James vs. Colts (seven percent ESPN)

Hodgins and James have joined Darius Slayton as reliable contributors in the Giants' passing attack. Hodgins has been touchdown-reliant for his production, but he does have at least six targets in three of his last four games. Meanwhile, James is more of a reliable PPR producer with 26 targets across his last three outings. The downside is the Giants aren't likely to be in a pass-heavy game script against the Colts.

Rashid Shaheed at Eagles (two percent ESPN)
 
Shaheed's run of big games came to an end against Cleveland, at least in part due to weather. He's up against more subpar context heading into a Week 17 matchup against a tough Eagles' defense. Chris Olave could also return after a one-game absence, though Shaheed should return to his role as the Saints' big-play producer.

Romeo Doubs vs. Vikings (15 percent ESPN)

Doubs saw his snap rate jump from 32 to 61 percent from Week 15 to Week 16, in large part because Christian Watson was out for most of the game. Watson was also out of practice Wednesday, so Doubs could once again gain a bigger role. Even if Watson does suit up, Doubs could get extra snaps in favor of Randall Cobb, though he becomes riskier in that scenario. 

Demarcus Robinson vs. Steelers (nine percent ESPN)

Robinson has been far from spectacular, but he's a decent PPR option with at least six targets in four of his last six games.

Terrace Marshall at Buccaneers (nine percent ESPN)

Tampa Bay has been a positive matchup for opposing pass catchers in the last few weeks, allowing double-digit .5 PPR scores to six wide receivers during that span. The Panthers want to run their offense on the ground, but Marshall has nine receptions of 20 yards or more from his last nine games. While that hasn't translated to reliable fantasy production, he's capable of a big effort.

Greg Dortch at Falcons (four percent ESPN)

Dortch went from no role in the offense to a career-best performance last week. Trace McSorley is no longer the quarterback and Colt McCoy didn't target Dortch in Weeks 14 and 15. Even so, Dortch has to be mentioned.                                         

Tight Ends

Jelani Woods at Giants (one percent ESPN)

In two games without Kylen Granson this season, Woods has earned an average of seven targets and scored 12.5 PPR points per game. After missing last weekend, Granson missed Wednesday's practice and that could mean Woods will be relevant once again.

Cade Otton vs. Panthers (six percent ESPN)

Otton hasn't recorded major statistical performances, but he's managed at least five targets in three of his last four games. That usage is worth noting, even if it hasn't led directly to fantasy-relevant performances yet.

Trey McBride at Falcons (three percent ESPN)

Like most of the Arizona offense, McBride lost out on production with Trace McSorley under center. He should be able to bounce back to a solid, if unspectacular, outing against Atlanta to put him back on fantasy radars.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Marcus
Dan started covering fantasy sports in 2015, joining Rotowire in 2018. In addition to Rotowire, Dan has written for Baseball HQ and Rotoballer.
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