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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 17

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Mon, 01 Jan 2024 . 6:52 PM EST

Waiver Wire Targets

It’s championship week!

(For most leagues.)

If you’re playing for a title, it’s natural to feel like every lineup decision is magnified even further. But really, it’s just another week on that front.

That’s not to say you should blindly roll with the lineup you’ve started most of the season. We’ll certainly be digging into all the matchups, trends, and injury news in setting our Week 17 rankings. And just like every week, your Team Intel page will factor in:

  • those projections
  • your scoring and lineup settings
  • and player upside

Keep an eye on that throughout the week for the latest updates.

But try not to second-guess your decisions because of the week’s importance.

As for the waiver wire: If you’ve made it this far, then your team is probably in good enough shape without adding any free agents.

But we just watched Isiah Pacheco, T.J. Hockenson, and others leave with injuries. So if you need a piece this week, here are some suggestions among the players available in more than 60% of Yahoo fantasy football leagues …

TIP

Want to know EXACTLY who we'd recommend grabbing in YOUR league? Check your Free Agent Finder.

 

Quarterback

Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints

Carr delivered the second-most fantasy points among Week 16 QBs (depending on your format) … just like we all predicted.

That’s not enough to push him inside the top 12 of our Week 17 QB rankings. He still sits just 29th in fantasy points per game for the season.

But two straight weeks of 3 TD passes plus a matchup with the Buccaneers make Carr an option if you don’t have a sturdier starter. Tampa Bay has allowed the fifth-most QB points for the season, while remaining a tough rushing matchup (thus encouraging more passing).

 

Running Back

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

He’s still the same CEH. The career-low 3.3 yards per carry for the season will help you remember that. But Edwards-Helaire looks likely to lead K.C.’s backfield in Week 17.

With Jerick McKinnon already on IR, the Chiefs watched Isiah Pacheco leave the Raiders loss with a concussion. That doesn’t automatically mean Pacheco will miss the next game, but it’s more likely he’ll be inactive Sunday against Cincinnati.

That matchup adds significant upside to CEH. The Bengals sit just midpack as a RB-scoring matchup, but they’ve allowed 401.8 total yards per game over the nine weeks since their bye. That stretch included 397 to the Steelers on Saturday and 424 to a Vikings offense featuring QB Nick Mullens and RB Ty Chandler.

Edwards-Helaire should be a strong bet for touches and TD upside in Week 17.

Zamir White, Las Vegas Raiders

White landed on a roster in just 30% of Yahoo leagues before his 22-145 rushing line in the surprising victory at Kansas City. That marked White’s second straight start in place of Josh Jacobs and his second straight top-20 fantasy week.

White might not be a factor in Week 17. Vegas listed Jacobs as questionable for the Chiefs game. But he managed just a single limited practice and didn’t ultimately seem close to playing.

Jacobs was dealing with both a quad injury and an illness. We’ll assume the latter issue will clear up ahead of Week 17. But we’ll have to watch reports on the quad.

White’s certainly worth a pickup where available while we await Jacobs’ status.

TIP

CEH and Zamir White already claimed in your league? Looking for RB insurance rather than a sure starter? Consider stashing the top backup to one of your current RB starters -- just in case a practice injury pops up.

Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens

Gus Edwards found a home in most fantasy leagues ahead of Monday night’s win at San Francisco. Hill, however, sat available in 80% of Yahoo leagues and 77% of Sleeper leagues. 

Edwards rewarded you with a rushing score if you used him. But Hill led the team in carries and led the backfield in passing work. He edged Edwards 10-9 in carries (though tallied just 26 yards on the ground) and caught all 3 targets to tie a pair of teammates for second in receptions.

Hill played on 30 of 44 Lamar Jackson dropbacks, doubling Edwards’ work in that facet and ranking fifth among Ravens in routes. He did so in an offense that passed on 65% of plays.

We wouldn’t bet on so heavy a passing lean against the Dolphins in Week 17, but Hill should be plenty involved either way against a softer defense. He’ll have usable upside in deeper fantasy situations.

 

Wide Receiver

K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings

TE T.J. Hockenson’s done for the season. WR Jordan Addison is “week-to-week” after spraining an ankle in the same game. That means opportunity for Osborn.

We already saw his playing time jump to 85% in that game, vs. 54% and 71% the previous two weeks. Osborn finished second among Vikings in targets (7), receptions (5), and yards (95) while snaring one of Nick Mullens’ 2 TD passes.

Week 17 holds WR3 potential for him against a Green Bay defense that just allowed a crazy 312 passing yards to Bryce Young in Week 16. Osborn tallied an 8-99 receiving line in this year’s first meeting with Green Bay, a game Justin Jefferson missed but Hockenson and Addison played.

Demarcus Robinson, Los Angeles Rams

Tutu Atwell returned last Thursday night after missing Week 15 with a concussion, but he played just 4 total snaps. Robinson, meanwhile, enjoyed his best outing of the season:

  • 6 receptions
  • 82 yards
  • TD for the fourth straight game

That came two weeks after Robinson tied for the team lead with 10 targets in the Baltimore game Atwell left early.

HC Sean McVay has said he needs to “figure out a way” to involve Atwell. That should mean more playing time Sunday against the Giants, which could then challenge Robinson’s role. But McVay also doesn’t sound like he wants to switch back to Atwell as his clear No. 3 WR.

The uncertainty makes Robinson tougher to like in Week 17 fantasy lineups. But there’s upside for deeper situations. And the matchup should allow the Rams to tally yards and points however they prefer.

 

Tight End

Chig Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans

Okonkwo’s 6 receptions and 63 yards in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks both marked season highs. And his TD catch (from Derrick Henry) marked his first end-zone trip of the year. But his recent usage uptick is worth noting.

Okonkwo has seen 6 targets in three of the past four games, a level he reached just twice over the first 11 contests. He has averaged 4.3 receptions and 51.8 yards over that span and topped 60% playing time each of the past three weeks.

That followed a three-game playing-time dip for the second-year TE. And he averaged just 2.9 catches and 22.8 yards through the first 11 games.

If you just lost Hockenson, want to insure Cole Kmet (knee), or have just generally struggled at TE, Okonkwo could help this week. He faces a Houston defense that has been third-friendliest to TE scoring, according to our adjusted fantasy points allowed.

Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints

Johnson is not a trustworthy option or even a high-ceiling guy worth reaching to play this week. But he did tie his season high in targets (7) last time out. Johnson also set a season high in receiving yards (48) and scored for the second straight week.

His playing time jumped in that loss to the Rams after three straight down weeks, but that 72% snap share was in line with Johnson’s earlier role. And Derek Carr has tossed 3 TD passes in consecutive games.

They’ll get an upside spot this week against Tampa Bay, which has allowed the league’s most passing yards.

 

Defense

Chicago Bears

The Bears remain available in 68% of Yahoo leagues as of this writing, and we woudln’t be shocked to see that increase after this defense failed to pay off in fantasy against Arizona.

Chicago fared fine on D in that game, though, allowing just 16 points and limiting the Cardinals to 306 total yards (matching their season average).

Before that, the Bears racked up 12 INTs and 2 fumble recoveries over the previous four weeks. And they’ve tallied 4 sacks in two of the past three games.

Now comes an Atlanta offense that ranks in the league’s top half in giveaways and sack rate allowed.

 

Season-Winning Strategy

Your waiver wire strategy needs to fit your overall plan to win your season. Matt and Jared talk more about that in this video.

Matt Schauf Author Image
Matt Schauf, Editor
Matt has earned two Fantasy Pros accuracy awards for IDP rankings and won thousands of dollars as a player across best ball, dynasty, and high-stakes fantasy formats. He has been creating fantasy football content for more than 20 years, with work featured by Sporting News, Rotoworld, Athlon, Sirius XM, and others. He's been with Draft Sharks since 2011.
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