This week’s waiver wire column will be noticeably shorter. There are numerous players you could target in Week 17 and while that may be a blessing for anyone still playing fantasy football, it’s also a bit of a curse. Only a handful of teams really have anything to play for in the final week of the NFL so why would you want your fantasy success dependent on a player who may be rested for the playoffs? We’ll try to gauge the free agency market for Week 17 and give you the best advice. But really the best advice is this: move your 2019 fantasy championship to Week 16. Happy holidays to everybody in the FANation and Family!
Nick Foles (QB – Philadelphia Eagles) – Foles is in play for Week 17 because the Eagles have something to play for. This past Sunday he threw for over 470 yards and four touchdowns. He did have two turnovers, but who cares when he’s putting up a massive stat line. The Eagles still have a fighting chance of making the playoffs on the back of the guy who led them to a Super Bowl last season. In Week 17 they’ll play the Redskins on the road so expect Foles and Co. to be aggressive in their last gasp effort to make the playoffs.
C.J. Anderson (RB – Los Angeles Rams) – The Rams should feel no pressure to start Todd Gurley this coming Sunday against the 49ers. However, if they want to avoid him being rusty they may consider letting him log a few snaps before likely getting a first-round bye in the playoffs. In his replacement for Week 16, C.J. Anderson collected 167 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Next week the Rams play the 49ers who have given up a touchdown to opposing running backs in each of their last five games. If Gurley’s out, Anderson’s a phenomenal Week 17 play.
Jeff Wilson Jr. (RB – San Francisco 49ers) – Speaking of the Rams’ opponent next week, Jeff Wilson might be in line for a nice workload against the Rams after Matt Breida went down with another ankle injury. Credit to Breida, he plays hard and does his best to play through injuries. It might be wise for San Francisco to shut him down and save him for 2019 when Jerick McKinnon and Jimmy Garoppolo will be healthy as well. For Week 17, if Breida’s a no-go then Wilson’s a decent streaming play, but he may already be stashed by someone else in your league.
Curties Samuel (WR – Carolina Panthers) – I have to give credit to Brandon Marianne Lee. In her Week 16 Contrarian Corner video she listed Taylor Heinicke as a contrarian play, but also said Curtis Samuel was his favorites target in the preseason. Four months later and the love was still there. Samuel didn’t find the end zone on Sunday, but he did have seven receptions for 41 yards on a whopping 13 targets. The Panthers close out the season against the Saints on the road so it’s a tough matchup, but if the targets are there then Samuel is in play for Week 17.
D/ST to Stream – The Seahawks are possibly the best streaming D/ST this week. They put up a goose egg against the Chiefs this past Sunday, but that’s to be expected. Next week they’ll play the Cardinals at home. Josh Rosen has looked awful in his rookie campaign, so this is a good matchup to target the Seahawks despite the fact they’ve already locked up a playoff spot.
Sam Darnold (QB – New York Jets) – Darnold has looked like a competent starting quarterback the last two weeks. In his last two games he’s thrown for 594 yards and five touchdowns and you shouldn’t expect the Jets to just roll over next week against the Patriots. Don’t expect a shootout on the same level as last week against Green Bay, but Darnold’s a solid streaming option in 12-team leagues or the deepest of leagues. But I’m operating under the assumption that you may have a better quarterback to play in your championship matchup.
Nyheim Hines (RB – Indianapolis Colts) – Fortunately for Hines’ fantasy prospects the Colts will be in a competitive matchup next week against the Titans in primetime. It’s basically a win or go home scenario as the winner will be awarded a playoff spot. But over his last four games, Hines has 20 catches so he has some flex appeal in PPR formats.
Alfred Blue /D’Onta Foreman (RB – Houston Texans) – Assuming Lamar Miller misses another game, both Blue and Foreman should be owned for Week 17. If being objective, I feel better about Foreman than Blue. Neither guy was particularly effective this past week with Miller sidelined, but at least the Texans felt confident enough to get Foreman nine touches (and a receiving touchdown) in his first game of the year. I do hope your championship matchup doesn’t come down to one of these guys.
Jordy Nelson (WR – Oakland Raiders) – Nelson has been getting peppered with targets lately. In each of his last four games he has at least six catches and seven targets. With a matchup against the Chiefs coming up in Week 17 it’s likely Nelson has another big game to finish the season strong. It could also be Nelson’s swan song as well. He’ll be 34 years old next year and while he’s finished strong, it was a pretty frustrating year for Nelson. He should see plenty of targets and maybe the Raiders get him into the end zone next week.
DeAndre Carter (WR – Houston Texans) – There’s a decent chance Keke Coutee returns in Week 17 for the Texans and they’ll certainly need him after Demaryius Thomas went down for the season and he’ll now miss the playoffs. Carter turned in a career performance against the Eagles. He caught six of his seven targets for 61 yards on Sunday. With Houston still playing for a first-round bye its possible Carter is heavily involved this Sunday against Jacksonville even if Coutee returns.
Chris Herndon (TE – New York Jets) – With Darnold projected to be a viable option this week, Herndon is right there with him. Herndon has at least 50 receiving yards in three of his last five games. The Patriots have given up eight touchdowns to opposing tight ends so its perfectly feasible that Herndon scores in Week 17.
Deeper League Options
Rex Burkhead (RB – New England Patriots) – The Patriots locked up the AFC East this past Sunday and unlike most season’s they should still be competitive in Week 17. They’ve got to win to ensure they have a first-round bye in the playoffs so I like Burkhead’s chances in deeper leagues. Even with Sony Michel and James White ahead of him on the running back depth chart, Burkhead still had 17 touches in Week 16. With Tom Brady struggling, the Patriots have established a pretty formidable running game so Burkhead could be in play for Week 17.
Brian Hill (RB – Atlanta Falcons) – With Tevin Coleman leaving Sunday’s game with a groin injury, Brian Hill took over and made the best of his opportunity. He turned eight carries into 115 yards against Carolina. If Coleman can’t go in Week 17 one has to wonder what Hill could do against a weak Buccaneers defense. This game could give the Falcons something to look forward to in 2019. It’s possible they let Coleman walk in free agency and they may want to see where they stand with their running backs behind Devonta Freeman .
Rod Smith (RB – Dallas Cowboys) – With the Cowboys locked in as the NFC East champs, and with no real way to improve their playoff seeding, the Cowboys may opt to rest Ezekiel Elliott for their divisional round game in two weeks. Smith is a play for the most desperate of fantasy players, but he does draw the Giants defensive front who have given up eight touchdowns to opposing running backs in their last nine games.
Chester Rogers (WR – Indianapolis Colts) – Rogers caught all seven of his targets for 54 yards and a game-winning touchdown on Sunday. Considering the Colts are playing for a playoff spot in Week 17 you have to figure he’ll be involved once again since Indy has something to play for. I don’t know if he sees seven targets again, but five are well within reach.
D/ST to Stream – In their last game against the Titans, the Colts held Tennessee to ten points and they forced a couple turnovers as well. If Marcus Mariota is unable to go (let’s be real, he’ll probably make a case to play), then the Colts are worth streaming if Blaine Gabbert is under center. In three of their last six games the Colts D/ST has delivered double-digit fantasy points so there is some upside here.