Week 17 Waiver Wire: Breakout Pickups, Targets and Tips for Fantasy Football
With Week 16 of the 2022 NFL season nearly complete, many fantasy managers in season-long leagues are already looking ahead to Week 17—which will be the championship round for a lot of fortunate fantasy enthusiasts.
Navigating Week 17 won't be easy, though, as injuries and potential resting starters could come into play. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts both missed Week 16, while New England Patriots tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are among players who were injured in games and did not return.
The San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs have already secured division titles. They could be extra cautious with injured players, as could eliminated teams like the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns.
With this in mind, let's examine some potential waiver-wire targets and fantasy tips for Week 17. All players listed below are available in more than 50 percent of Yahoo and/or ESPN leagues as of Sunday evening. All picks are based on point-per-reception (PPR) scoring.
Top Pickups and Breakout Candidates for Week 17
Player (Yahoo, ESPN Roster %)
Brock Purdy, QB, San Francisco 49ers (37%, 28%)
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (12%, 9%)
Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens (41%, 31%)
Tyler Allgeier, RB, Atlanta Falcons (49%, 39%)
Zack Moss, RB, Indianapolis Colts (44%, 42%)
Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders (23%, 30%)
Elijah Moore, WR, New York Jets (32%, 43%)
Isaiah Hodgins, WR, New York Giants (2%, 1%)
Noah Fant, TE, Seattle Seahawks (24%, 40%)
Tyler Conklin, TE, New York Jets (27%, 36%)
Trust the 49ers to Play Starters
While the 49ers might exercise caution with a few players in Week 17, managers should trust that the team's top players will start if healthy. San Francisco might already have a division title, but its players are looking to go into the postseason with momentum.
"Even if the Eagles and Vikings win out and we're still the three-seed, I want to win all three games because then we're hot going into the playoffs," tight end George Kittle said before Saturday's game against the Washington Commanders, per The Athletic's David Lombardi.
Trust players like Kittle, Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk to fare well against the Las Vegas Raiders next week. Also trust rookie quarterback Brock Purdy to provide another solid fantasy floor.
While Purdy did throw an interception against Washington, he tossed two touchdown passes for the fourth consecutive game. He'll next face a Raiders team that allowed an average of 20.5 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks through the first 15 weeks of 2022.
Managers with unfavorable quarterback matchups—or awaiting the statuses of Jackson or Hurts—should put in a waiver claim for Purdy immediately.
Don't Be Too Concerned with Washington's Quarterback Quandary
The Commanders likely surprised a few folks when they turned back to quarterback Carson Wentz late in Saturday's game. Taylor Heinicke had supplanted Wentz—who was dealing with a finger injury—weeks ago, and it felt like Wentz may never return to the lineup.
Wentz (2-4 as a starter, 86.3 passer rating) was not particularly effective before Heinicke took over. However, he played well against San Francisco, completing 12 of 16 attempts for 123 yards and a touchdown in limited action.
Heinicke was pulled after back-to-back turnovers.
Managers leaning on Commanders star receiver Terry McLaurin should trust him in Week 17 regardless of who is under center. Managers should also try to scoop up rookie wideout Jahan Dotson if he's available.
Dotson had a terrific game in Week 16, finishing with six receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. He has found the end zone in each of the past three weeks and has logged 15 receptions over that span.
Washington will face the playoff-irrelevant Browns and might take advantage of a Cleveland team that has nothing to play for.
Target Isaiah Hodgins as a Breakout Candidate in Deeper Leagues
While New York Giants wide receivers haven't been all that fantasy-relevant this season, recently claimed wideout Isaiah Hodgins has begun to break out in recent weeks.
Hodgins, who was claimed off waivers in early November, has caught at least four passes in each of his past three games. He has found the end zone in three of the last four and finished Week 16 with eight catches for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Though Hodgins is a player on the rise, he's virtually unrostered in both Yahoo and ESPN leagues. Even managers in deeper leagues should have a good shot at landing him.
Richie James, who is rostered in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues and just 2 percent of ESPN leagues is also worth a look. He and Hodgins have become two of Daniel Jones' favorite targets.
James and Hodgins were targeted 12 and 11 times, respectively, on Saturday. James finished with eight catches for 90 yards.
The Giants will face a tough Indianapolis Colts defense in Week 17—Indy allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers through Week 15—but James and Hodgins should provide a solid PPR floor.
*Fantasy scoring and roster information via FantasyPros.