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Working the Wire: Week 17

Mark Stopa

Mark Stopa

Mark Stopa has been sharing his fantasy insights for Rotowire since 2007. Mark is the 2010 and 2012 Staff Picks champion (eat your heart out, Chris Liss) and won Rotowire's 14-team Staff League II in consecutive seasons. He roots for the Bills and has season tickets on the second row, press level to the Rays.

Those of you who rode Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and/or Dallas Clark to your fantasy championship game in Week 17, I feel bad for you, but only a little. After all, you should have known better than to have your championship decided in Week 17, when many teams are resting starters or otherwise not fielding a full lineup. The Colts in particular have had a history of resting starters.

Week 17 is such a crap-shoot with playing time, it's hard to give waiver suggestions with much confidence, particularly this early in the week (before we've received injury updates or reports about playing time). That said, here's who I'd have my eye on if you're still battling for a title.

Jay Cutler, QB, Bears: Cutler has been awful most of the season, but he should finish well against the Lions last-ranked pass defense. (And for what it's worth, I wrote that before his four-TD performance on Monday night.)

Matt Moore, QB, Panthers: Moore has a 6:0 TD:INT ratio the past two games, making many people wonder why the Panthers didn't switch QBs sooner. This week, he faces a Saints defense that has not been the same since losing both starting corners in the game against the Patriots a few weeks back. Steve Smith's broken arm doesn't help, but the Bears' victory over the Vikings on Monday night does, as it may compel the Saints to rest some starters.

Donald Brown, Mike Hart and Chad Simpson, RB, Colts: Whoever gets 20 carries for the Colts at RB has an excellent chance at posting good stats against the Bills' last-ranked rush defense. I doubt Joseph Addai will play much, if at all, so watch for reports this week on how the running back carries will be divided for the Colts.

Cadillac Williams, RB, Bucs: Coming off a season-high 129 yards, Williams makes a nice play this week against a mediocre Falcons run defense. Unlike so many other situations around the league, Williams should at least play a full game.

Lex Hilliard, RB, Dolphins: Hilliard got some playing time last week after Ricky Williams went to the bench with a shoulder injury. Hilliard made the most of his chance, scoring twice and catching nine passes for 74 yards. If Williams is out again this week, Hilliard makes a fine play. The matchup against the Steelers isn't great, but if the Dolphins are playing from behind again, Hilliard showed last week that he can be useful as a receiver out of the backfield.

Arian Foster, RB, Texans: A running back has finally emerged in Houston, as Foster converted 19 touches last week into 97 yards and a touchdown. The Week 17 matchup against the Patriots could be better, but the Texans are still alive, and playing at 1pm, they'll certainly be going full tilt on Sunday.

Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers: Hines Ward has been hobbled with his hamstring injury and may miss this week's game. Even if he plays, he's clearly not 100 percent. Wallace has been productive at times this year when given the chance. This week, against a porous Miami secondary, in a must-win game, he could help.

Devin Aromashodu, WR, Bears: I had Aromashodu's name on this list *before* his seven-catch, 150-yard performance on Monday night. Why? He had 12 and 10 targets the two prior games. This week, against the Lions, Aromashodu should turn those frequent targets into solid fantasy production. So long as Devin Hester is out again, Aromashodu should be started in all formats.

Greg Olsen, TE, Bears: Yes, I'm picking on the Lions.

Broncos D/ST: The Broncos play at 4 pm, but they will still be alive for the playoffs regardless of what happens in the 1 pm games, as the Jets play at 8 pm and the Ravens at 4 pm. As a result, expect a solid effort from the Broncos, at home, against a hapless Chiefs offense.