Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 17

by Nick Mariano | @NMariano53 | Featured Writer
Dec 26, 2017

While many fantasy football leagues came to their conclusion on Christmas, we here at FantasyPros are still here for you warriors who play on through Week 17. We didn’t see many injuries befall players in Week 16, though it’s worth noting that players such as Joe Mixon and Sterling Shepard appear unlikely to play in the regular season finale. An injury to Monday-night duds like Alshon Jeffery and Michael Crabtree may have been easier to stomach, so here’s to those who lost on that, or the last-second defensive TD by Philadelphia, or the lack of an extra point from Jake Elliott. Ah, don’t you just love this game?!

As usual, ownership levels discussed here are taken from Yahoo leagues.

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Priority Pickups – <30% Owned

Mike Gillislee (NE – RB) 31% owned (25% FAAB)
What’s one percent between friends? Gillislee parlayed his six rushes into 28 yards and a touchdown thanks to getting a third-quarter drive to himself, though the 15-yard reception may be the most surprising development of his return to the playing field after a six-week streak of being a healthy scratch. He played on just 22 percent on New England’s snaps in a game that was much tighter than the 37-16 final score implies, though Dion Lewis (75 percent) was clearly the primary RB. With no Rex Burkhead or James White, Gillislee is the only one who can really spell Lewis. Brandon Bolden technically got in on five snaps, but let’s be real. The Pats are opening as 16.5-point favorites at the books for their regular-season finale against the Jets, which is the best game script possible for Gillislee to act as a hammer.

Antonio Gates (LAC – TE) 22% owned (25% FAAB)
After failing to top five targets in any of the Chargers’ first 14 games this season, Gates saw eight targets with Hunter Henry on IR. He would turn those looks into six catches, 81 yards and a touchdown against the Jets in a gritty 14-7 victory. He played on 80 percent of LAC’s snaps after failing to top 40 percent in any of the previous six games, as it seems they aren’t afraid to roll out the veteran. With Melvin Gordon‘s left foot in a boot (I reeeally don’t want to recommend Branden Oliver), Gates and Keenan Allen might be the only reliable weapons for LAC in their Week 17 showdown with a Raiders team that was just embarrassed on MNF.

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF – QB) 29% owned (25% FAAB)
Garoppolo continues to improve with every passing week, as his latest accolade saw him dismantle a Jacksonville defense that entered Week 16 as the No. 1 defense per FootballOutsiders’ DVOA metric. He didn’t lean on stretching the field, electing instead for quick-hitters over the middle and in the flat to mitigate the pass rush. In the end, his 242 passing yards, three touchdowns (two passing and one rushing) alongside one interception were enough for the 44-33 upset. If he’s still available in your league, Jimmy G will be a top-12 play in Week 17 against a Rams team that should afford SF yet another shootout scenario.

Wayne Gallman (NYG – RB) 10% owned (20% FAAB)
Gallman’s work in the passing game kept him afloat despite the Giants getting goosed by Arizona, as the rookie turned eight targets into six catches for 44 yards alongside 18 ground yards into a decent PPR day. Gallman played on an incredible 78 percent of snaps, easily blowing his previous high of 49 percent out of the water, while Orleans Darkwa played on just 18 percent, Shane Vereen on nine percent and Paul Perkins on four. Big Blue has their eyes on the future and is finally seeing what they’ve got in Wayne. His versatility as a runner and pass-catcher will give him a solid floor despite his surroundings against Washington in Week 17

T.J. Yeldon (JAX – RB) 11% owned (10% FAAB)
T.J. Yeldon put up a 5-13-1 rushing line alongside a healthy 7-64-0 receiving line on 10 targets in Jacksonville’s shootout loss to the San Francisco Jimmy G’s. We can’t project a team like Jacksonville to get into a game like that in Week 17 against a Tennessee team that just lost one of its key pieces in DeMarco Murray, but it’s possible that Leonard Fournette sits or is limited with eyes on the playoffs.

Vance McDonald (PIT – TE) 0 % owned (10% FAAB)
While McDonald has battled durability woes in his first season as a Steeler, he showed up in Week 16 against Houston with four catches for 52 yards on five targets. He easily outpaced Jesse James — who had one target — which is sensible as McDonald is more athletic than James. Pittsburgh gets to pick on Cleveland and their poor TE defense in Week 17 (they’ve allowed 10 TDs to TEs thus far) so as long as Vance stays healthy throughout this week of practice, he should be a solid TE2 in the finale.

Chris Godwin (TB – WR) 1% owned (10% FAAB)
With DeSean Jackson sidelined, Godwin stepped up with three catches for 98 yards against Carolina in the Bucs’ fifth-straight loss. Tampa Bay has lost each of their last three games by a field goal, but their issue was settling for FGs on Sunday. Godwin put them in position for one of their three-pointers by exploding downfield for a 70-yard gain, though he showed his downside by dropping a touchdown over the middle despite the ball being uncontested. Godwin played on 98 percent of Tampa Bay’s snaps and will remain a solid upside play against New Orleans in Week 17 with Mike Evans sure to draw Marshon Lattimore’s coverage, assuming D-Jax doesn’t return for a rather meaningless game.

Deep League Targets – <10% owned

Alfred Blue (HOU – RB) 0% owned (10% FAAB)
One week after Blue split work with Lamar Miller against Jacksonville (and looking better than the “starter”) we saw Blue provide a spark with 108 yards on 16 carries in an otherwise terrible performance by Houston. We haven’t seen much out of Alfred throughout his career, and he’s going to be a free agent after this season (compared to Miller, who has two years left), but we can’t fight momentum, and Blue has that heading into a road date with the Colts next week.

Roger Lewis (WR – NYG) – 1% owned (10% FAAB)
Lewis and his 4-40-0 line isn’t going to have you all scrambling to click “add,” but he has seen double-digit targets in each of his last three games and may now be the Giants’ leading WR with Sterling Shepard (neck) and Evan Engram (ribs) banged up. Of course, that could lead to a steady diet of Josh Norman in Week 17, but maybe the Giants will be smart enough to move Lewis around and sacrifice Kalif Raymond or Hunter Sharp to Norman instead. If the Giants protect the health of Shepard and Engram in Week 17 then look for Lewis to once again score double-digit targets, though we still recognize the floor is low here.

Tion Green (DET – RB) 5% owned (8% FAAB)
Green led all Detroit RBs with 43 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries against Cincinnati in Week 16 despite the Lions ruining their chances of a playoff run by losing 26-17. He has a size advantage over Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick, while Dwayne Washington and Zach Zenner are on the backburner. This should yield goal-line opportunities against a broken Green Bay squad in Week 17 at home with Brett Hundley playing with the competency of a middle schooler at the carnival.

Michael Clark (GB – WR) 1% owned (5% FAAB)
Clark’s 3-36-0 line may not look like much, but he saw nine targets and 182 air yards — the second-most on the week behind Josh Doctson‘s 191. He stands at 6’6″ with a 217-pound frame and really stepped in once Jordy Nelson was forced from Week 16 with a shoulder injury. Of course, Davante Adams is also dealing with a concussion so now the starting trio is Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison, and Clark. Starting anyone tied to this offense seems like a bad idea, but nine targets in a game with a big body is decent enough for a dice roll by deep-leaguers against Detroit in Week 17.

Jakeem Grant (MIA – WR) 1% owned (5% FAAB)
Grant showed off his 4.42 40-Yard Dash speed in Week 16 by torching Kansas City for a 65-yard touchdown to fuel a 4-107-1 line. We can’t ignore that he’s still behind Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and Kenny Stills — he played on just 20 percent of Miami’s snaps — but he’s landed long TDs in two of his last three games, which jives with Jay Cutler‘s slinging ways. Miami hosts Buffalo in Week 17, which may not land the Dolphins in a situation where airing it out is necessary, but if you’re playing in two-week championships and need a big-play threat then Grant is a cheap add.


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Nick Mariano is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Nick, check out his archive and follow him @NMariano53.

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