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Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
It’s Week 17, and while many of you already have your championships
decided, a host of leagues will still be playing for keeps during
the NFL’s final regular season installment.
Manziel topped the 100-yd rushing mark,
but he'll need to find the endzone as a passer to hit value.
Bradford, PHI – If you need a final week plug-in with
some upside, consider the humble Bradford, who’s available in
over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and has a good matchup against
the Giants. Bradford accumulated 380 passing yards in garbage
time on Saturday night and Chip Kelly probably wants to run in
the neighborhood of 100 plays from scrimmage in the regular season
Manziel, CLE – The Steelers can’t get in the playoffs
unless they win and the Jets lose, so my gut tells me they’ll
come out firing against the Browns. This leaves Manziel with enormous
upside playing catch-up, as it’s likely they’ll abandon the run
and do some throwing of their own. It’s one of the best positional
matchups of the week and Manziel is a dynamic (108 rushing yards
last week) if inconsistent performer (13-for-32 for 136-0-1 passing
– same week!) capable of scoring some fantasy points. If Ryan
Fitzpatrick isn’t available, there just aren’t a lot of QBs to
trust in Week 17.
Manziel may be involved in yet another drinking incident,
this time on Christmas Eve. Mike Pettine hasn’t ruled out
benching him for Week 17, and it’s obvious that Manziel
either wants out of Cleveland or has a serious drinking problem
if this is how he’s going to carry himself.
Hoyer HOU –UPDATE:Hoyer is probably getting cleared (concussion) to play this
week, and he’s got an excellent matchup versus the Jaguars.
He’s a Top 10 QB for Week 17.
Bridgewater, MIN – Per his normal output, Bridgewater
saves his best games for the worst matchups, and vice versa. He
finished with just 168-1-0 and 12 rushing yards against the Giants.
UPDATE:Osweiler has been named
the starter for Week 17 after a comeback win over Cincinnati on
Monday night. He wasn’t incredibly sharp but made a few
big-time throws and is a better fit in the running offense. Peyton
Manning is himself involved in a semi-scandal, as a report surfaced
(one that was then retraced by the source, but not the journalist)
of HGH being delivered to his home, allegedly for his wife. Regardless,
it appears that Osweiler has earned the confidence of his coaches
and the Broncos will ride him through the playoffs.
Gabbert, SF – Gabbert had 225-2-0 and a lost fumble
at Detroit. He’s not on the fantasy radar for Week 17.
Tannehill, MIA – Tannehill had another bad week and
faces the Patriots in Week 17. I don’t trust him at all anymore,
though he could rack up some numbers playing from behind.
Sims, TB – Sims had four carries for 45 yards and 3-72-1
in the loss to Chicago. Not a huge volume of touches, but Sims
seems to make the most of his limited opportunities. He should
get a decent amount of work in Week 17 at Carolina, and could
see 6-8 targets as the main passing down back.
Brown, SD – The matchup isn’t great for Week 17, but
Brown had 14 carries on Thursday night (17 rushing yards and 3-33-0
receiving) and could handle goal line carries again this week.
There’s not too many decent backs on the waiver wire at this point,
but Brown could punch one in for the Bolts.
Carey, CHI – Carey was used around the goaline, notching
both rushing and receiving TDs on just eight total touches. He’s
a deep-league flex with minimal upside, but could see more work
in the finale at Detroit.
Riddick, DET –UPDATE:I keep coming back to Riddick, who’s one of the best
PPR options in relation to his value in standard leagues. He had
seven carries for 20 yards but 7-63-0 receiving against the 49ers.
Jump on him if he’s still out there.
Jennings, NYG – Jennings totaled 74 rushing yards and
2-62-0 receiving on Sunday night and remains the go-to back for
Gillislee, BUF – Gillislee had 91 rushing yards and
a TD on just nine carries and added 2-16-0 receiving. He and Karlos
Williams are in a firm timeshare.
Williams, BUF – Williams finished with 76 rushing yards
on 17 carries and added 2-21-0 but lost a fumble. The Jets defense
represents a tough matchup for both backs.
Michael, SEA – If you trusted C-Mike in Week 16, you
haven’t been paying attention.
Jackson, NE – Jackson received just seven carries (15
yards) in his Pats’ debut but should be more involved in Week
Artis-Payne – Artis-Payne disappointed with only five
carries (albeit for 49 rushing yards) and 1-7-0 receiving, but
it wasn’t his fault, since the Panthers didn’t really give him
much work. Stay tuned to the status of Jonathan Stewart for more
insight into how this plays out on Week 17.
UPDATE:Stewart may practice
on Wednesday but is not guaranteed to take the field in Week 17.
Artis-Payne makes the most sense for the bulk of touches.
McKinnon, MIN – Despite an active AD, McKinnon finished
as the third-best fantasy back on Week 16 with 89 rushing yards,
two TDs and 2-8-0 receiving. He’s worth a look at flex in Week
Powell, NYJ – Powell had 56 rushing yards and 5-34-0
receiving. He didn’t find paydirt but looks like a solid RB3 or
low-end RB2 for Week 17 in Buffalo.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Inman, SD – The Chargers depleted WR corps has vaulted
Inman (just 5-10 percent owned) into relevance this season, and
his Week 16 performance (8-82-1 on 13 targets) represented his
best game of 2015.
Garcon, WAS – Garcon (owned in 65 percent of fantasy
leagues) is coming off a solid game (7-80-1 on 12 targets) and
should be owned in all formats and deployed in Week 17.
Britt, STL – Britt had 3-49-1 in the win over Seattle
and could get more targets in Week 17 at San Francisco.
Douglas, TEN – Douglas had 6-79-0 with a lost fumble
on 12 targets in Week 16, and could be worth adding in deeper
Martin, NE – UPDATE:I’m willing to give Martin another shot, and he’s
just valuable enough for you to find on the occasional waiver
wire – and good enough for the Pats to target in Week 17.
McDonald, SF – McDonald’s 5-61-1 was a welcome fantasy
line for those who took a shot on him when he garnered the starting
role, but he’s still owned in just 5 percent of fantasy leagues
and has a decent matchup in Week 17 against a tough Rams defense
that’s somewhat vulnerable to opposing TEs.
Randle, NYG – Randle salvaged what would have been
a horrible day with a 72-yard TD, giving him 2-80-1 on the day.
He wasn’t in sync with Eli Manning and represents a limited-upside
play in Week 17.
Humphries, TB – Humphries had just 1-0-0 on two targets
as Winston looked more toward Mike Evans, his RBs and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins
Strong, HOU – Despite the absence of Cecil Shorts and
little reason to give work to veteran Nate Washington, Strong
had just 2-18-0 on five targets. Why not play with your new, younger
toys on Christmas weekend?
Ertz, PHI – Ertz had another monster PPR day, racking
up 13-122-0 with a lost fumble on 17 targets. That’s 30 targets
in his past two weeks.
UPDATE:Kroft hauled in four
of six targets from AJ McCarron for 46 yards in the OT loss to
Denver, but failed to find paydirt. He’ll probably grab
another start before Eifert is activated in the postseason.