Fantasy Football Week 17 Waiver Wire: Desperation Adds for Championship Games

Alex KayContributor IDecember 28, 2021

Fantasy Football Week 17 Waiver Wire: Desperation Adds for Championship Games

0 of 4

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    The fantasy football season is coming to an end for most leagues this week.

    While only a few unfortunate managers would have any reason to utilize the waiver wire at this point, it's still important for those competing for a championship to make some last-minute lineup tweaks.

    Those who have been relying on guys like James Robinson to produce will need to find a suitable replacement for their injured star running back.

    Waiver claims are also a way to deny your opponent startable talent for the title game.

    If you notice the opposing team has been impacted by an injury or has a glaring roster hole, picking up the best replacement players—the ones most likely to be deployed against you—and sitting them on your bench is a worthwhile tactic.

    With that in mind, here are some of the top free agents to bring aboard going into Week 17.


    Players are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.

RB Dare Ogunbowale, Jacksonville Jaguars (1 Percent Rostered)

1 of 4

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    DK DFS Value: $5,100

    James Robinson's fantasy managers suffered a huge blow Sunday when the Jaguars running back went down with an Achilles tear against the New York Jets. The second-year player left the field in the first quarter, finishing his day with just three carries for 10 yards.

    With Robinson done for the season, backup RB Dare Ogunbowale is the next man up.

    The Jags seemed confident in Ogunbowale's abilities, giving him 19 touches against Gang Green. The 27-year-old rewarded the team with a decent showing, notching 72 yards and a score from scrimmage in the 26-21 defeat.

    While the fifth-year veteran isn't likely to become a breakout star at this point in his career, his volume alone should push him into the low-end RB2 range during fantasy championship week.

    Unfortunately, Ogunbowale and the Jags are staring down a tough Week 17 matchup with New England Patriots.

    New England's defense has only allowed 17.3 points per game this year (tied for the best mark in the NFL), but the unit has been susceptible to the run, allowing 121.9 yards on average (a bottom-10 ranking).

    If Ogunbowale notches another 20 or so touches against the Pats, he should put up the type of numbers that will make him well worth a start with a title on the line.

RB Rex Burkhead, Houston Texans (14 Percent Rostered)

2 of 4

    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    DK DFS Value: $5,000

    The Houston Texans backfield has seen a revolving door of poor performances from below-average talent in 2021, but the team finally had its first 100-yard rusher of the season Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.

    This showing came from an unlikely source, as starter David Johnson missed the contest with a quad injury. The door was then open for Rex Burkhead to shine.

    The 31-year-old turned back the clock with a monster 22-carry, 149-yard, two-touchdown performance.

    He even added a little more value in points-per-reception (PPR) leagues, catching both of his targets in a 41-29 victory, although the receptions went for a net gain of zero yards.

    Johnson could return as early as next week to face the San Francisco 49ers, but Houston's coaching staff shouldn't be in any rush to get the veteran back on the field after Burkhead's performance.

    The washed-up starter hasn't rushed for more than 39 yards in a game all season and is a large reason why Houston's rushing offense ranks dead last in yards per game (84.8) and touchdowns (eight) this year.

    With Johnson being so ineffective, the Texans will want to find a way to heavily feature a surging Burkhead over the final weeks of the campaign.         

WR K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings (34 Percent Rostered)

3 of 4

    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    DK DFS Value: $N/A

    K.J. Osborn was a popular waiver-wire addition during the two games that Adam Thielen was sidelined, but many fantasy managers benched or dropped him when the starting wideout returned in Week 16.

    Thielen's return was short-lived, however, as the veteran couldn't make it through the first half against the Rams on Sunday. With his high-ankle sprain flaring up, Thielen only saw 23 of a possible 63 snaps.

    Osborn took advantage of the extra work, securing five of seven targets for 68 yards and a score.

    It was the third time in four games that the second-year receiver has scored. In December, Osborn has reeled in 15 catches on 26 targets for 219 yards in addition to those three touchdowns.

    Thielen's managers and those in need of a wideout for the fantasy championships will want to keep a close eye on this situation.

    Osborn may not be a surefire starter just yet, but managers should still take a flier on the 24-year-old wideout if they can afford the roster spot.

    If Thielen seems to be trending toward missing Week 17's meeting with the Green Bay Packers—a team that has allowed 27 receiving touchdowns in 2021, tied for sixth-most in the league—Osborn will become a fantastic plug-and-play option.   

WR Isaiah McKenzie, Buffalo Bills (1 Percent Rostered)

4 of 4

    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    DK DFS Value: $4,300

    Isaiah McKenzie became a surprisingly large piece of the Buffalo Bills offense this past weekend amid absences from both Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis (COVID-19/reserve list).

    With two of the team's top wideouts missing, McKenzie exploded for 125 yards and a score on 11 catches.

    The receiver had only totaled a meager seven catches for 38 yards across his 12 prior contests.  

    While Beasley could return after missing Week 16, Davis will also miss Week 17's matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. He has to quarantine for 10 days because of his vaccination status. Beasley is also unvaccinated but was put on the list before Davis.

    McKenzie may not get another 12 targets if Beasley is back in the lineup, but the 26-year-old should still be a solid option who gets enough looks to do some damage against a weak Atlanta defense.

    The Falcons have allowed 244 passing yards per game and have been torched for 28 receiving touchdowns (tied for the third-most in the league), so any of Buffalo's top-three receiving options look like a great play.

    Davis is only rostered in 1 percent of leagues, making him a perfect pickup for those in deeper formats. 

    Eligibility restrictions apply. See for details.