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NFL Waiver Wire: Week 17 Pickups

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

This column is geared toward "standard" 12-team leagues and based upon a $100 free-agent budget. Please, please adjust for your league based on both the number of teams (I'm in a 24-team league, for example) and budget. This column will run every Tuesday to, hopefully, accommodate the various waiver schedules. I'll update it in the comments section during the week; please keep in mind a lot can change from Tuesday to Sunday.


Primary Targets

Blake Bortles, JAC -
Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota owners are looking for replacements this week, and Bortles is likely the best option on the waiver wire. He's owned in 57 percent of Yahoo leagues. The matchup against the Colts is ideal; they're likely going to put up points but are giving up the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. The connection with Allen Robinson returned last week, and Marqise Lee has showed the ability to make play recently. FAAB: $25-$50

Hail Mary

Matt Cassel, TEN -
Cassel will start this weekend thanks to Marcus Mariota's season-ending injury. The Titans get the Texans home this weekend in what should be a run-heavy affair for both teams. That said, Cassel in this matchup is more attractive than Matt McGloin at the Broncos, if you're really scraping the bottom of the barrel for a quarterback this weekend. FAAB: $1-$2

Matt McGloin, OAK -
The Raiders' hope of a Super Bowl run likely ended Sunday with the injury to Derek Carr. McGloin will be under center this weekend but has arguably the worst fantasy matchup with a game in Denver. Still, in two-quarterback leagues he has value and the duo of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree at his disposal. FAAB: FCFS or $1


Primary Targets

Alex Collins, SEA -
Thomas Rawls' availability this week is uncertain, potentially putting Collins in line to start at San Francisco. The possibility of starting and double-digit touches against a terrible San Francisco defense makes him the top running back option this week. The Seahawks need a win to keep their hopes alive for the No. 2 playoff seed, which might put Rawls in play if he's close to healthy. However, it also means that if Rawls is out, Seattle will try to put as many points on the board as possible. Collins as the workhorse in the backfield would then be in line for a huge fantasy day. FAAB: max bid, especially if Rawls is out

Secondary Targets

Ronnie Hillman, SD -
Kenneth Farrow was placed on IR on Monday and it makes zero sense to push Melvin Gordon back into action. Gordon is just short of 1,000 rushing yards, so even if he's active it's likely Hillman still sees more touches than him. Hillman has a ton of upside, the volume should be there and the Chiefs are middle of the league in giving up fantasy points to running backs. FAAB: $5-$10

Shaun Draughn, SF -
Carlos Hyde is already ruled out for this week, putting Draughn in line to start and handle the bulk of the workload in the 49ers backfield. He gained 65 yards on 16 touches Sunday in relief of Hyde, which included six catches. Draughn would be considered higher this week given the perceived workload he should have, but the matchup against the Seahawks is less than ideal. FAAB: $4-$8


Primary Targets

Adam Thielen, MIN -
Thielen had a career day Sunday in a game where the flow put Sam Bradford in a position to attempt 50 passes. The flow will almost certainly be different this week, but a matchup against the Bears is a great one. Thielen now has at least 86 receiving yards in each of his last three games that he's finished and clearly appears to be the top target in the offense. He's in play this week as at least as a flex in most formats this weekend. FAAB: $15-$25

Secondary Targets

Paul Richardson, SEA -
Just when it looked like Tyler Lockett had become a big part of the Seattle offense a gruesome injury (broken leg) ended his season. Next man up for Seattle with a similar skill set to Lockett is Richardson. Like Lockett, Richardson runs a 4.40 40 and is on the slighter side at 6-foot-0, 180. He finished Sunday with a 4-42-1 line, showing Russell Wilson has no problem targeting him if he's open. The matchup this week is good against the 49ers, who have had all kinds of trouble defensively this season. FAAB: $3-$6