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Working the Wire: Week 17

By Josh Tinelli | 12/26/23 |

Each week I’ll provide you with a rundown by position of key waiver wire adds. We’ll evaluate not just breakouts based on past performance, but also who could deliver this week based on a soft matchup. Stats will be provided based on a 12-team PPR league, with players less than 75% (preferably less than 50%) ownership being considered. Good luck in your fantasy championship if you made it!

Week 17 Byes: N/A


Derek Carr, NO @ TB

Carr had a nice outing against the Rams, going 319-3-1, making it back-to-back games with 3 passing TDs. Up next is a great matchup against the Buccaneers, who have allowed the most passing yards to opposing QBs, although they held him to only 127 yards back in Week 4.

Joe Flacco, CLE vs NYJ

Flacco has been quite the gunslinger since stepping in for the Browns, throwing for multiple TDs in every game and over 300 yards in his last three games, but also throwing 7 INTs. Up next is a revenge game against the Jets, but caution should be exercised with him going against the 2nd-toughest QB defense in the league, and should know his weaknesses. He’s got the hot hand but it would be tough to trust him in your fantasy championship against the Jets.

Other QBs to consider: Bryce Young CAR (@ JAX)

Last week’s waiver adds:

Jake Browning, CIN @ PIT: Browning had a rough day against a tough Steelers secondary, going 335-1-3 in a loss to their division rivals. However, he’s thrown a TD pass in every game and has passed over 300 yards in three of his last four games, so he could be a streaming option in a shootout against the Chiefs.

Baker Mayfield, TB vs JAX: Mayfield had another solid day against the Jaguars, going 283-2-0 throwing. That makes 8 passing TDs (plus a rushing TD) in his last three games. Unfortunately, he gets a much tougher matchup this week against the Saints.

Aaron Rodgers, NYJ vs WAS: Rodgers has been (smartly) held out and is done for the year. Hopefully he’ll be able to return in 2024 and have a solid campaign.

Running Backs

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC vs CIN

Isiah Pacheco ended up playing but suffering a concussion in the second half, so his status in Week 17 is in doubt. Edwards-Helaire ended up with only 4-6-0 rushing and 3-3-42-0 receiving, but he would be in line for a lot more work if Pacheco sits since Jerick McKinnon was placed on injured reserve.

Kareem Hunt, CLE vs NYJ

Hunt is the clear RB2 behind Jerome Ford, but that’s good enough for around 10 opportunities per game. This week he went 7-11-1 on the ground and 4-2-5-0 through the air, and up next is a favorable matchup against the Jets.

Khalil Herbert, CHI vs ATL

Chicago has been using a maddening three-headed RB committee, but with D’Onta Foreman out, Herbert ran roughshod over the Cardinals, going 20-112-1 on the ground and chipping in 2-1-9-0 through the air. It will be difficult to trust any RB against the 3rd-toughest RB defense in the NFL, but Herbert might be worth a flier if Foreman is still out.

Zamir White, LV @ IND

White carried the load while Josh Jacobs was out for a 2nd straight week, and he had a nice day on the ground, going 22-145-0. Jacobs may return for Week 17, but if not, White would get an excellent matchup against a Colts defense that gives up the 3rd-most points to RBs.

Other RBs to consider: Tyler Allgeier ATL (@ CHI)

Last week’s waiver adds:

Antonio Gibson, WAS @ NYJ: Gibson saved his fantasy day by scoring a touchdown, going 9-30-1 on the ground to pair with a 2-yard reception. If Chris Rodriguez Jr. (right foot in a boot after the game) is forced to sit and Brian Robinson Jr. is still out, Gibson could be in line for major touches against a tough 49ers defense.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC vs LV: See above

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Romeo Doubs, GB @ MIN

Doubs managed 5-4-79-1 receiving against a Panthers secondary that hasn’t given up a lot of points to WRs. Up next is a Vikings defense that ranks in the bottom 10 against WRs, so if Christian Watson and Jayden Reed are out again, Doubs should feast. He went 9-4-18-1 against them in Week 8.

Curtis Samuel, WAS vs SF

Samuel tied for the team lead in targets against the Jets but only managed 1 catch for 16 scoreless yards. He should find more success against a 49ers defense that has forced teams to throw.

Demario Douglas, NE @ BUF

Douglas had another nice outing against a stingy Broncos secondary, going 8-5-74-0. Up next is another solid defense in the Bills, but he produced 6-4-54-0 against them in Week 7 and should see a strong target share, especially if TE Hunter Henry and JuJu Smith-Schuster are out again.

K.J. Osborn, MIN vs GB

Osborn has been the WR3 behind Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, but with Addison leaving early, Osborn saw more looks and went 7-5-95-1 against the Lions. Up next is a rematch against the Packers who he torched for 10-8-99-0 back in Week 8 (without Jefferson playing). If Addison sits, Osborn would be a near every-down player and a worthwhile start.

Noah Brown, HOU vs TEN

Brown had a ho-hum performance against the tough Browns defense, going 7-3-38-0. However, this week he gets the Titans, who he torched for 11-8-82-1 just over a week ago. The Titans have allowed the most receptions to WRs in the NFL.

Demarcus Robinson, LAR @ NYG

Robinson is the clear WR3 behind Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua, but he’s scored a TD in four-straight games. Up next is a favorable matchup against the bottom-5 (against WRs) Giants defense.

Gerald Everett, LAC @ DEN

Everett has three-straight games with at least 8 targets, and now gets the league-worst (against TEs) Denver defense. Look for Easton Stick to continue to find his security blanket, especially if Keenan Allen is out again.

Chigoziem Okonkwo, TEN @ HOU

Okonkwo spiked a TD in Week 16, going 6-6-63-1 in a loss to the Seahawks. Up next is a favorable matchup against the Texans, who have allowed the 3rd-most fantasy points to TEs (and most receptions). He only put up 3-3-36-0 against them in Week 15, but if Ryan Tannehill is forced to start, he could be a favorite target again.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Rashid Shaheed NO (@ TB), Jonnu Smith ATL (@ CHI), Juwan Johnson NO (@ TB)

Last week’s waiver adds:

Curtis Samuel, WAS @ NYJ: See above.

Josh Palmer, LAC vs BUF: Palmer tied for the team lead with 8 targets, but was only able to convert 5 receptions for 47 yards against the Bills. Up next is a tough matchup against the Broncos but he should see a solid target load if Keenan Allen is still out.

Zay Jones, JAX vs TB: Jones had a limited practice on Friday and was ultimately held out versus Tampa Bay. He looks to return in a tough spot against the Panthers.

Hunter Henry, NE @ DEN: Henry was a late scratch for the game against the Broncos. Mike Gesicki ended up scoring a TD and could be an option if Henry sits again.

Cade Otton, TB vs JAX: Otton was a dart throw against a terrible Jaguars TE defense, and he didn’t deliver, managing a 1-1-7-0 receiving line despite the blowout win. Up next is another favorable matchup against the Saints, who he scored a TD against in Week 4.

Defense/ Special Teams

Jaguars vs CAR

The Jaguars struggled to contain the Buccaneers, but that shouldn’t be a problem this week against Carolina. Carolina has allowed the 4th-most sacks and scored the 4th-fewest points, while tied for 2nd-most D/ST TDs allowed. The Jaguars should feast at home in a winnable game against the league’s worst team.

Raiders @ IND

The Raiders have been playing great defense since Antonio Peirce took over for Josh McDaniels, including back-to-back games with 2 defensive TDs (and a combined 7 turnovers). Up next is a solid matchup against a Colts team that just gave up 6 sacks while only scoring 10 points against the Falcons.

Texans vs TEN

The Texans managed a sack and two turnovers, plus a return TD to save their day in a loss to the Browns. Up next is another favorable matchup against a Titans team they played a week ago and generated 7 sacks against and held to 10 points.

Last week’s waiver adds:

Broncos vs NE: The Broncos managed 2 sacks and a turnover but couldn’t come up with a win against the lowly Patriots. Up next is a favorable matchup against the Chargers.

Packers @ CAR: The Packers only managed 2 sacks and gave up 30 points to a team that hadn’t scored 30 points all season and had only scored over 20 points three times. They don’t seem capable of taking advantage of favorable matchups, which they’ll get again versus the Vikings in Week 17.

Texans vs CLE: See above