This is the week you have worked towards your entire season – championship weekend for your fantasy football seasons. All of the tireless work you have put in from the offseason draft to the in-season moves all comes down to Week 17 – and your waiver wire pickups for this week are crucial for that reason.
Injuries and positive COVID tests have impacted your teams so far this year, so making sure you have everything covered for this week is important – as always, all players below are rostered in less than 50 percent of all ESPN fantasy football rosters, boosting the likelihood you will be able to add them through your waiver wire pickups this week.
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Week 17 Waiver Wire Pickups
10. Josh Palmer – WR
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are going to be without WR Mike Williams for Week 17 due to a positive COVID test, which kept him out of Week 16 as well. Rookie wideout Josh Palmer has ascended to the WR2 spot in the past, and his 5/43/1 was one of the better outputs from Sunday.
Palmer has received six-plus targets in two of his last three games, and he is the most proven entity behind Keenan Allen on the depth chart – the Chargers host the Broncos, and his snap share alone puts him on the WR2/3 radar.
9. Braxton Berrios – WR
New York Jets
Braxton Berrios is moonlighting as the proverbial WR1 for the New York Jets – cross it off if you had that on your bingo card.
With Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Jamison Crowder all either out for the year or missing time, it fell to Berrios to lead the WR unit, and his 5/37 on 6 targets led the team in a low passing output from Zach Wilson. Facing the Buccaneers in Week 17 will help boost the likelihood that Berrios is targeted heavily yet again, and with the sieve that the Bucs have for their secondary, he could be a sneaky FLEX play this week.
8. Carson Wentz – QB
*Update – Wentz was placed on the COVID list and will miss Sunday's game – pivot to NE's Mac Jones or SF's Trey Lance if a QB is needed.
If you are down your QB heading into your fantasy football championship, then you may have an insurmountable hill to climb – but if you feel as though that is all you’re missing, then Carson Wentz could be that plug-in option that can help.
The Colts face the Raiders on Sunday, and with LV being near the middle in all major metrics, it could fall to Wentz to actually become a reasonable fantasy football option this week – obviously Jonathan Taylor is the key for the Colts, but Wentz looked startable against the Cardinals and should produce around the same numbers against the Raiders this week.
7. Marquez Valdes-Scantling – WR
Green Bay Packers
Upon his return from the COVID list, Marquez Valdes-Scantling will slide back into the WR2 role for the Green Bay Packers, who have a juicy matchup against one of the worst defenses against the pass in the Minnesota Vikings.
MVS has not yet been activated, so keep an eye on his status as the week goes on. If he is inactive for another week, pivoting to Allen Lazard is an option too, seeing as how Lazard has been the biggest beneficiary with MVS missing time. MVS is Green Bay’s best deep threat, and he and Aaron Rodgers have been on the same page many times for chunk gains, making him more of a high-ceiling option.
6. Isaiah McKenzie – WR
With Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley on the COVID list, it fell to Isaiah McKenzie to be the target hog for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday against the Patriots, and that he was. 12 targets turned into 11 receptions for 125 yards and a TD for McKenzie, who had not received more than three targets in a game this year.
Davis is already out for Week 17 and Beasley’s status is still unknown, and with the Bills facing the Atlanta Falcons and their disastrous defense, McKenzie profiles to have another strong week for your fantasy football team. If Beasley returns, McKenzie becomes a WR3/FLEX option, but if Beasley remains out, bump McKenzie up to the WR2 for your waiver wire pickups this week.
5. Boston Scott – RB
With Miles Sanders having suffered a broken bone in his hand, the backfield for the Philadelphia Eagles will yet again be manned by the likes of Boston Scott, Jordan Howard, and Kenneth Gainwell.
Scott stands out from the others for a few reasons – with Howard, he suffered a stinger that has put his status up in the air for Sunday’s game against Washington, and Gainwell looks to still be battling the rookie learning curve in this offense. For Scott, he earned the most carries of these three on Sunday and turned it into 40+ yards and a score, and he likely will remain in that leading role this week.
4. K.J. Osborn – WR
Adam Thielen tried to come back from his ankle injury, and while he was out there for the majority of the first half, a re-aggravation of it could take him out of Week 17. If that’s the case, then K.J. Osborn inserts himself back into the WR3 category for the Vikings, who get a stingy Packers secondary.
5 receptions for 68 yards and a TD helped return Osborn to fantasy football relevancy this week, and while he still has a role when Thielen is on the field, his ceiling is majorly increased when Thielen is not there taking away snaps.
Watch for Thielen’s status this week, but Osborn sits as a WR3 value currently, with the potential to increase to FLEX value if Thielen is forced to miss time.
3. Taysom Hill & Justin Fields – QB
48.6% & 20.8% Rostered
New Orleans Saints & Chicago Bears
Both Taysom Hill and Justin Fields have great opportunities to help lead teams to fantasy football championships this week, provided they are healthy enough.
For Hill, his bout with COVID knocked him out for Monday’s affair with the Dolphins, and with the Saints hosting the Panthers in Week 17, Hill would vault back into QB1 territory if activated from the COVID list.
Fields missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, and no one actually wants to see Nick Foles play in a game, so here’s to hoping Fields is able to produce more than one limited practice this week. The Bears face the Giants in a great spot for Fields to produce QB1 numbers.
2. Rex Burkhead – RB
No one likes to base a fantasy football championship on players from bad teams, but Rex Burkhead could very well become that outlier in that conversation.
Burkhead turned in a career effort in David Johnson’s absence, earning 22 carries for 149 yards and 2 TDs against the Chargers. While the Texans face the Niners this week in a much tougher battle, Burkhead likely will earn the lion share of touches, providing a safer floor – provided Johnson is out or held to a low snap count.
1. Dare Ogunbowale – RB
An absolute unknown in the fantasy football community, Dare Ogunbowale has inserted himself into one of the most important weeks of the year and should headline your waiver wire pickups for Week 17.
With James Robinson having suffered a season-ending Achilles injury, combined with Carlos Hyde already being on the IR, and you have the makings of Ogunbowale being the lead back in a putrid Jacksonville offense.
In Robinson’s absence after the injury, Ogunbowale stepped in, earning 17 carries for 57 yards and a TD while hauling in 2 catches for 15 yards. Getting the Patriots in Week 17 is not easy, but Ogunbowale figures to earn the RB1 role in this offense, setting himself up for a safe floor and putting him at the top of your waiver wire pickups this week.