Fantasy Football Week 17 Waiver Wire Pickups and Advice

If you’re still playing in Week 17, I have a couple thoughts to share with you.

First off, congratulations!

Second, what the hell are you thinking?

Playing fantasy football in Week 17 is the ultimate crapshoot.  Some teams are going all out, others have already packed it in, and which end of that spectrum teams fall on can change throughout the day based on other results.

My best advice is to focus on players whose teams have something to play for.  (Here are the playoff scenarios for the two leagues: AFC | NFC.)

But while I may be judging you for playing in Week 17, I am still willing to help you out with the waiver wire.  By now you know the drill, players listed here are owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues.

Fantasy Football Week 17 Waiver Wire Pickups: QB

Matt Moore (20%), Miami

The matchup against the Jets is definitely a tough one, but after tossing three TDs against New England, Moore now has eight total TDs in the last four weeks.  Consider him a QB2 based on how well he’s been playing lately, but if you need a desperation play, there are probably better options out there.

kyle-orton-chiefs-waiver-wire-pickups-week-17Kyle Orton (19%), Kansas City

Orton racked up 300 passing yards against Oakland, and this week he gets a chance to stick it to his old teammates when the Chiefs travel to Denver.  He now has 599 passing yards in his two starts with KC, and the Broncos have given up some big games to opposing QBs.

John Skelton (4%), Arizona

It’s unclear whether Kevin Kolb will start the finale against Seattle, but Skelton rebounded from a disastrous performance in the early going to throw for nearly 300 yards and two scores against Cincinnati.  Over his last three games, he’s averaging 297 passing yards with six TDs.  He’s also thrown six picks, but it’s not like Kolb was lighting it up either.

Joe Webb (1%), Minnesota

With Christian Ponder sustaining a concussion against the Redskins, Webb may be in line to start against the Bears in Week 17.  He tossed two TDs and ran for another in relief of the rookie, and he passed for one TD and ran for another when he played against Detroit in Week 14.  His running ability gives him an added dimension as a fantasy QB, so consider him another QB2 option with some upside.

Fantasy Football Week 17 Waiver Wire Pickups: RB

Toby Gerhart (43%), Minnesota

Gerhart is once again the starter in the Minnesota backfield after Adrian Peterson tore his ACL and MCL.  He ran for 109 yards on just 11 carries against the Redskins, including a 64-yard run in the third quarter.

toby-gerhart-fantasy-football-week-17 - Jim Mone/AP via credit: Jim Mone/AP via MPR News

It was his fifth straight game with double-digit points, and even though the Bears are tough against the run, he’s at least a flex play based on his ability to contribute in the passing game as well.

Kahlil Bell (34%), Chicago

Regardless of his health, it’s tough to see the Bears turning back to Marion Barber given how well Bell has played in recent weeks.  He tallied 108 yards and a TD in Week 15 then followed that up with 121 rushing yards along with four catches for 38 yards against Green Bay.  Much to the chagrin of his owners, Bell narrowly missed scoring on a pair of goal line attempts.

He has been particularly valuable in PPR leagues given his 14 receptions over the last three weeks.  Bell is a solid RB2 against the struggling Vikings this week.

Kendall Hunter (27%), San Francisco

With the 49ers already locked in as the two seed in the NFC, don’t be surprised to see them rest Frank Gore for the playoffs.  If that comes to fruition, Hunter is a solid option against a Rams defense that has been flat out awful against the run.  Hunter ran for 73 yards on 12 carries against Seattle and is also an able receiver out of the backfield.  Consider him a RB2 if the 49ers confirm he’ll get the bulk of the carries.

Isaac Redman (5%), Pittsburgh

Playing him would be a huge gamble, but if the Steelers once again employ a run-heavy attack against Cleveland’s suspect run defense, Redman might find his way into the end zone for a second straight week.

Evan Royster (5%), Washington

Since Roy Helu was hurt, I guess we can’t chalk Royster’s 19-carry, 132-yard effort to yet another Shanahanigan.  That said, the fact that he played so well should earn him the start against Philadelphia in Week 17.  With Shanahan, you really never know, so consider him a flex play…and start him at your own risk.

Chris Ivory (4%), New Orleans

Depending on what the Saints do Monday night, the Saints may not have anything to play for, which could lead to Ivory getting plenty of touches against Carolina.  The Panthers are among the teams who have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs, making Ivory a strong flex option (or maybe more) depending on New Orleans’ situation.

Stevan Ridley (4%), New England

The Patriots need a win to lock up home field advantage in the AFC, and against a Buffalo team that has been shredded on the ground over the latter half of the season, that could be good news for Ridley.  He got the bulk of the work in the second half against Miami and has rushed for at least 60 yards in each of the last two weeks.  Consider him a RB2.

Fantasy Football Week 17 Waiver Wire Pickups: WR

Nate Burleson (43%), Detroit

The Lions locked up a playoff bid, so it’s unclear how much they will play their starters at this point.  With six catches and 83 yards against the Chargers, Burleson now has at least five catches in six of his last seven games and has at least eight fantasy points in five of those contests.  If he plays, he’s a solid start in PPR leagues against a Packers team that has nothing to play for at all.

David Nelson (41%), Buffalo

With New England’s porous pass defense on the schedule, Buffalo wideouts are sure to be hot commodities.  While Stevie Johnson is the best option, Nelson looks like the second choice.  He hauled in six balls for 84 yards in Buffalo’s first matchup with the Pats, so he’s a solid gamble if you’re in a jam.

Demaryius Thomas (41%), Denver

Once again, Thomas led the Broncos in targets, finishing with 76 yards on four receptions.

demaryius-thomas-broncos-week-17-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-pickupsPhoto Credit: Andy Cross, The Denver Post

He now has at least that many yards in each of the last four games.  Thomas will continue to be Tim Tebow’s go-to receiver in a must-win game against the Chiefs, who got burned by a couple big plays against Oakland on Sunday.

Doug Baldwin (32%), Seattle

The Seahawks couldn’t get much going in the passing game, but Baldwin did catch a touchdown and led the team in targets.  He should find more room to operate against the Cardinals, but keep in mind that he’s caught two or fewer passes in three of the last four games.

Darrius Heyward-Bey (31%), Oakland

DHB’s long reception in overtime set up the game-winning field goal for the Raiders.  He finished with 70 yards for the game, and he now has 17 receptions for 303 yards in the last three games.  The Chargers just got torched by the Lions and have nothing to play for, which makes Heyward-Bey a decent WR3 option at worst.

Damian Williams (23%), Tennessee

Williams had a field day against Jacksonville’s secondary, finishing with eight catches for 83 yards.  Houston’s coverage will most certainly be a notch or two above that, but the Texans are also locked into their playoff slot.  The Titans need to win and get some help, so they’ll be playing all their starters throughout, making Williams a potential flex option in deep leagues.

Andre Roberts (3%), Arizona

After catching six passes for 75 yards, Roberts now has at least six receptions and 60 yards in three of his last four games, and he caught a TD in the other one.  With Larry Fitzgerald drawing so much attention from opposing secondaries, Roberts should continue to find room to operate against Seattle this week.

Fantasy Football Week 17 Waiver Wire Pickups: TE

Brent Celek (49%), Philadelphia

Celek caught a TD for the second straight week and has been a relatively consistent contributor over the latter half of the season.  The Eagles finish their disappointing season versus the Redskins, against whom Celek racked up 42 yards and a TD in Week Six.

Jermaine Gresham (47%), Cincinnati

While he had a solid game with five catches and 56 yards against the Cardinals, Gresham and the Bengals close out the season against a Baltimore defense that has shut down opposing tight ends.  He had three catches for 48 yards in their first meeting this season.

Jared Cook (27%), Tennessee

I guess it’s better late than never for Cook, who was picked by many as a sleeper heading into the season.  If his owners held onto him, they have finally been rewarded for their patience with 17 catches and 272 yards over the last two games.  There’s no one hotter at the position, but beware of a Texans defense that has been stingy against opposing TEs.  As I mentioned with Damian Williams though, Houston doesn’t really have anything to play for.

Streaming Defense(s) of the Week

Seattle (45%) at Arizona

The Seahawks have allowed over 17 points just twice over the last seven games, and the Cardinals showed last week just how mistake-prone they can be.

Atlanta (29%) vs. Tampa Bay

Thanks to Chicago’s loss on Christmas, the Falcons are in the playoffs, but if they beat New Orleans on Monday, they still have a chance to win the NFC South.  The Bucs come in losers of nine straight games, and they have scored over 20 points just once over that span while turning the ball over 28 times.  If you look up “playing out the string” in the dictionary, you’ll find Tampa Bay’s team photo.

About the Author

Andy Bottoms

While Andy was born and raised in Indiana, he would like to point out that he grew up shooting hoops in his driveway and not against the side of a barn like you see in all the March Madness promos or in the middle of a field like Jimmy Chitwood. Andy ranks among the top bracketologists according to the Bracket Matrix and has provided his projections to Fox Sports for the past three seasons. When not compiling excuses for missing work during the NCAA Tournament, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is a proud IU graduate and co-hosts The Assembly Call postgame show following every IU game. Twitter: @AndyBottoms