Week 17 is tricky at best. Injuries and resting players are the norm for this week. So what do you need to do? Hit the waiver wire of course. Let’s take a look and help you with exactly that.
Week 17 playoffs are exciting to say the least. You have lots to think about besides your normal group of injured players. You also have some players playing the hardest they’ve played all year because for some of them this game determines whether or not they get into the playoffs, so in essence they are playing in a playoff-type atmosphere.
Some players will be packing it in because they are on a team that is out of contention and they are not in a contract year so they are not going to risk injury on the last meaningless game of the year, and yet some will not be worth starting because the head coach will be resting them due to the fact that their team is in the playoffs but cannot increase their playoff position, so why risk an injury before the playoffs start?
Of all those listed above there is only one good scenario, the first one, and my guess is that if you are reading this article you have players that fall into the latter. So let’s dive in to this week’s waiver wire to see if we can help you figure out exactly what you need to get you the league trophy, as always we’ll start with quarterbacks.
Blaine Gabbert looked pretty good this last week and is available in 96% of leagues. Gabbert threw for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns on Sunday against the Lions. He will be getting the start this next week and you know he will be trying to impress his current team as well as any potential suitors so you would think that he would be a good QB to pick up if you need the help, right?
Not really. On second thought, Gabbert is a game manager on a team with little offense. To put some emphasis on my recommendation of passing up on him he plays the Rams in Week 17. This is a Rams team that has a great defense and is starting to play like the good team that they are. They can also seriously get after the quarterback, just ask Russell Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks.
It would be in your best interest to stay away from Gabbert in your championship week if you need help at the QB position and instead take a look at Kirk Cousins.
Cousins has been one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL over the last few weeks and he is still able to be picked up in 50% of leagues. Even if you don’t need him, I would consider picking him up just to keep your opponent from grabbing him and using him against you, he’s doing that good lately.
Cousins has had 2 games in a row 300+ yards and 4 touchdowns. To top that off, he finishes the year against the Cowboys. I’ve said a couple of times this year but it is criminal that this guy is still available in so many leagues.
There is a warning to heed when it comes to Cousins though. There is a very good chance that he is either limited this week or does not play at all since Washington has already wrapped up the 4th seed in the NFC. Head coach Jay Gruden has already hinted that this is a distinct possibility. So be aware. If you are picking him up just in case he plays then I would say go for it, but if you really need a QB due to injury or resting then you may want to consider Sam Bradford instead.
Bradford is available in 82% of leagues and is coming off of a 380-yard performance with 1 touchdown on Saturday night against Washington. He has had 2 games in a row with 360+ yards, so needless to say he is running very hot right now and gets to finish his season against the Giants and their very fantasy friendly defense.
If you are in need at the QB position Bradford represents the best opportunity from the waiver wire this week.
As far as running backs are concerned, Jerick McKinnon has given us a few good weeks now. He ran for 89 yards and 2 touchdowns Sunday night against the Giants and also had 2 catches for eight yards in the game.
Most owners would assume that if you need running back help he is a ‘must grab’ but on second thought, I believe you could do better this week. McKinnon is available in 88% of leagues, which again is very nice, but the great production he has seen lately has come mostly in garbage time.
Next week, the Vikings face the Packers for the NFC North title. There is not going to be much garbage time in this game. You can fully expect Adrian Peterson to get the lion’s share of snaps this week, making McKinnon almost worthless as far as fantasy is concerned.
The last two weeks would have been great to have McKinnon, but if it is this week that you need help you should turn you attention to Mike Gillislee.
Gillislee ran for 93 yards and a touchdown and caught 2 passes for 16 yards in Sunday’s game against the Cowboys. He did all of that damage on just 11 touches, but the best part is he is still available in 91% of leagues.
Buffalo finishes the season with a divisional game against the Jets. Though the Jets have been tough lately, intra-divisional games are always hard fought and with Gillislee having 3 straight games with touchdowns and averaging 10.4 yards per carry, he will definitely continue to get chances. Feel confident in him this week if you need RB help.
Travaris Cadet is available in 99% of leagues and if you happen to be in PPR you should seriously consider picking him up. Even if you are in standard, he could be a big help to your lineup as last week he caught 3 balls for 69 yards and a touchdown.
He does not carry the ball much, but this Saints team likes to throw and Cadet appears to have moved right back into the position of being the running back that Drew Brees likes to throw to. New Orleans grabbed him off of waivers this last week and immediately gave him the opportunity to make an impact and he took advantage of that opportunity.
Tim Hightower is still the lead back but Cadet gives Brees a nice change-of-pace look as well as 3rd down and passing down help.
The Saints finish the season with Atlanta who sports a very porous defense that Cadet should carve up nicely for your fantasy championships. Do not be afraid to claim him if you have a RB need in any league but if you are in PPR you should put in a claim right now and hope it goes through.