Fantasy Football Week 17 Cheat Sheet: Deep Sleepers to Grab on Waiver Wire

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 29, 2021

Fantasy Football Week 17 Cheat Sheet: Deep Sleepers to Grab on Waiver Wire

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    If you're scouring the waiver wire of your fantasy football league, you're likely looking for a player to start in Week 17. That's because this is championship week for the majority of leagues, and after Monday, another fantasy season will be complete.

    There are only two teams still standing in most leagues, and those managers will be going head-to-head for a championship. Even though you've made it this far, you may be looking for a player to plug into your lineup to fill in for either an injured player or somebody who's on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

    Here's a look at several deep sleepers who should be available on the waiver wire in most leagues and could potentially be used as late fill-in options.

Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    Last week, Ronald Jones II was among the most heavily targeted players on the waiver wire after Leonard Fournette was placed on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury. Jones then came through with a solid performance, rushing for 65 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers' win over the Carolina Panthers.

    However, Jones wasn't Tampa Bay's leading rusher in that victory. Instead, it was Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who had 70 yards on seven carries. He flashed his big-play potential, as 55 of those yards came on a touchdown run in the first quarter.

    Even though Vaughn is behind Jones on the Bucs' depth chart, there's the potential for both to be fantasy relevant in Week 17. That's because Tampa Bay is going on the road to face the New York Jets, who allow the most fantasy points to running backs per game in the league, per

    The Buccaneers should build a big lead, and that could lead to increased opportunities for Vaughn. So he's a high-risk, high-reward fantasy play for Week 17.

Kendrick Bourne, WR, New England Patriots

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Kendrick Bourne's fantasy value has been dependent on him getting into the end zone this season. He was a strong play in Week 12, when he had 61 yards and two touchdowns against the Tennessee Titans. However, he hasn't had a TD in any of the Patriots' past three games, notching only five catches during that span.

    But Bourne has a strong opportunity for a bounce-back performance in Week 17, as New England has a favorable home matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Pats' should have no trouble moving the ball through the air, and Bourne could get back into the end zone in the contest.

    If you start Bourne, you're going to be hoping he scores a touchdown against the Jags. But there's at least a decent chance of that happening, and perhaps he could even put up decent yardage. So there are much worse flex options out there, making Bourne somebody worth considering.

John Bates, TE, Washington Football Team

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Even though Washington is still alive in the NFC wild-card race, it's a long shot to get into the playoffs. At 6-9, it's possible the team will start playing more of its youngsters over the next two weeks to evaluate them heading into next season.

    Last week, John Bates scored his first NFL touchdown in Washington's lopsided loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The rookie tight end has been getting more time on the field in recent weeks, as he has multiple catches in two of his past four games.

    Unless you have one of the top fantasy tight ends, then Bates could be worth considering as a streaming option. He's facing the Philadelphia Eagles, who allow the most fantasy points to tight ends per game in the league, per, so the matchup is a strong one.

    Bates is a risky play, but Washington should be playing from behind and passing a good bit, so he has high upside for Week 17.