Fantasy Football: Some Waiver-Wire Pickups for Week 17
If you're reading this post, chances are your league has its championship in Week 17 and, more importantly, you're playing in it.
Depending on your perspective, one of the great things about Week 17 in fantasy football is many players that would otherwise get limited work can step into bigger roles this week due to the postseason status of their team.
Then again, it's harder to predict player workloads.
In addition to being valuable to fantasy owners (based on talent and/or opportunity), there are two criteria that we use for a player to be eligible for our waiver-wire list: (1) they weren't on the previous week's list and (2) they are owned in 50 percent or less of Yahoo! leagues.
Here are some waiver-wire options for Week 17:
QB - Kyle Orton, Chiefs (owned in 19 percent of Yahoo! leagues): Although Orton has only one passing touchdown as a Chief, he has thrown for 299-plus yards in back-to-back games. Not only has Orton racked up some solid yardage totals in the past two weeks, Orton gets another favorable matchup against the team that released him. The Broncos have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year.
QB - Joe Webb, Vikings (one percent): Christian Ponder, the team's first-round pick, suffered a concussion last week and even if he's cleared to return, the Vikings might be cautious with Ponder, especially considering how well Webb played in relief last week. While Webb threw only five passes, two of his four completions went for touchdowns and he ran for 34 yards and a score as well. In Week 14, Webb ran for more than 100 yards and a touchdown as well.
RB - Toby Gerhart, Vikings (43 percent): With the Vikings losing Adrian Peterson to a torn ACL and MCL, Gerhart will be the team's featured back in Week 17. In relief of Peterson last week, Gerhart had his first-ever 100-yard game (109 yards on 11 carries). That said, it was his fifth consecutive game with double-digit fantasy points. In those five games, Gerhart has scored a total of four touchdowns (three of them on receptions).
RB - Kahlil Bell, Bears (34 percent): Although he had his first-ever 100-yard rushing game of his career last week, it was Bell's second consecutive game with at least 100 yards from scrimmage. In addition, it was his third consecutive game with at least four receptions. During that three-game span, Bell has 47 carries for 226 yards and 14 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown.
RB - Evan Royster, Redskins (five percent): Depending on the status of teammate Roy Helu for Week 17, Royster could be the recipient of a heavy workload. With Mike Shanahan calling the shots, in fact, Royster could still get a ton of carries. Starting in place of Helu, who was inactive last week, Royster rushed for a career-high 132 yards on 19 carries and caught two passes for 19 yards.
WR - Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (41 percent): In his past four games, Thomas has had a minimum of 76 receiving yards each week. During that span, Thomas has 22 receptions for 414 yards and three touchdowns. Coincidentally, he has the same exact totals (22-414-3) as Calvin Johnson, a player to whom he has been compared due to their alma mater (Georgia Tech) as well as their size and athleticism.
WR - Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders (31 percent): For the third straight game, Heyward-Bey finished with 70-plus receiving yards. In his past four games, DHB has 20 receptions for 326 yards and two touchdowns. Like Thomas and the Broncos, DHB and the Raiders play in a meaningful game, which is always a positive for any player you might start in Week 17.
WR - Vincent Brown, Chargers (11 percent): Depending on the status of Vincent Jackson, Brown could find himself in the starting lineup against the Raiders this week. Considering that the Chargers have been eliminated from playoff contention, it seems unlikely that Jackson will play. The potential for an increased role comes at the right time as the Raiders have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.
WR - Brandon LaFell, Panthers (four percent): It's unlikely that LaFell will duplicate (or come close) to his fantasy production from Week 16. With a 91-yard touchdown, LaFell finished with 103 yards and a score (or 16 fantasy points in leagues that use standard scoring). The Panthers face the Saints next week and they could find themselves in a shootout against the Saints' high-powered offense.
TE - Jared Cook, Titans (27 percent): Cook has been inconsistent this season, but he's saved his best two games of the season for the past two weeks. In those two games, Cook has 17 receptions for 272 yards and a touchdown. While I don't expect him to extend his 100-yard game streak to three games, he did score one of his three receiving touchdowns in his first matchup against the Texans in Week 7.
Our Week 17 rankings (including point-per-reception (PPR) and flex rankings) will be available Wednesday or Thursday at TheTipDrill.com, our fantasy section.
Good luck in Week 17!
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