It’s finally here. The fantasy football championship week has arrived and while most of us won’t be getting to partake in the stressful roller coaster of the weekend, it’s still important to keep up with the waiver wire.
While COVID-19 continues to ravage through the league at unprecedented levels, we have to keep a keen eye on the waiver wire. As we’ve seen this month alone, a key player in your fantasy lineups could be rendered useless if they test positive on the day of a game.
So we’ll keep a focus on which available players are best to help you win your championship this week.
We’ll be taking a look at players rostered in fewer than 50% of ESPN leagues. If you have any questions about prioritizing a certain player over another, don’t be afraid to hit me up on Twitter (@KevinHickey11). Your questions and comments are always welcome!
Here are the top waiver-wire targets (along with my top streaming options) in fantasy football for Week 17:
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As Jimmy Garoppolo deals with a torn ligament in his thumb, this may lead to the start of Lance’s reign as the starting quarterback. It’s extremely risky to plug-and-play the rookie in your lineups during the biggest week of the season. But we’ve seen what he can do with his legs and the matchup against the Houston Texans is a favorable one for quarterbacks. You might have a safer option to employ, but few have the upside of Lance this week.
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With Austin Ekeler out due to COVID-19 in Week 16, it was the Justin Jackson show. He dominated the backfield touches against the Texans with a nice 69% running back rush share and a ridiculous 26% target share. He was the RB1 in Week 16 and even though Ekeler should return in Week 17, his handcuff needs to be added regardless of whether you have Ekeler or not. In the off-chance they get a split workload and ease Ekeler back in, Jackson could have value.
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The Eagles already ruled out starter Miles Sanders, who broke a bone in his hand during the Week 16 win over the Giants. As Jordan Howard (stinger) also works his way back from an injury, we could be heading into a week where Scott sees a ton of volume against a vulnerable Washington defense. Scott needs to be added given the upside he brings if he’s the starter or even the leader in a spilt backfield. Kenny Gainwell (10.4% rostered) can also be a deeper add.
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The matchup against the Patriots isn’t all that enticing and he’s more of an emergency start but Ogunbowale steps into a starter’s role after the Achilles tear will knock James Robinson out for the season. Ogunbowale took 17 carries for 57 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown while adding two receptions on four targets for 15 receiving yards in Week 16. If you’re in desperate need of a FLEX option, Ogunbowale could have value.
RB Rex Burkhead, Houston Texans
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Burkhead bursted onto the scene with 149 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. The Sexy Rexy train may have vaulted several fantasy managers into the championship game if you had the intestinal fortitude to start him. The matchup against the Niners is enticing seeing as they’ve allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs in the last eight weeks.
WR A.J. Green, Arizona Cardinals
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It was a dud of a performance from the entire Cardinals offense in Week 16, and Green wound up with just one catch on three targets for 33 yards. That makes him difficult to trust in championship week, but he could find his way into a solid game against the Cowboys, who proved their offense can still put up points with the best of them. With DeAndre Hopkins on the injured reserve list, Green has seen 21 targets over his last three games. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have given up the 11th-most fantasy points to wide receivers over the last eight weeks.
WR K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings
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Even with Adam Thielen returning, re-injuring his ankle and then returning again in Week 16, Osborn still had a strong role in the Vikings offense. “The Goblin” has now seen at least seven targets in three of his last four games. In those games, he finished as WR21, WR13 and WR17, respectively. With a per-game target share of 20% in his last four games, Osborn is a solid FLEX play in what could be a high-scoring matchup against the Packers in Week 17.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
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Out due to COVID-19 protocols in Week 16, MVS is a deeper play that brings a lot of upside. As the Packers look to continue their dominance of the NFC, they draw a matchup against the Vikings in Week 17 at Lambeau Stadium. Over the last eight weeks, the Vikings have given up the most fantasy points to wide receivers and the last time MVS played against the Vikings in Week 11, he finished as the WR5 on the week. As long as he clears the protocols, he should be a high-upside FLEX play.
TE Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks
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The Seahawks passing offense is difficult to trust but there have been some positives in recent weeks. Most notably, Everett has carved out a bigger role in the offense with at least four receptions in four of his last five games. Since coming out of the bye in Week 10, Everett has finished as TE8 or better in four of those games while seeing a per-game target share of 17.4% during that span. The Lions have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to the position in the last eight weeks so Everett finds himself in a strong spot to be a top streamer in championship week.
Chicago Bears D/ST
AP Photo/Duane Burleson
The Bears are likely going to be my top streaming defense this week because of their matchup against the Giants. As Robert Quinn leads the way with 17 sacks on the season, the Bears defense should feast against a Giants offense being led by either Jake Fromm or Mike Glennon—both of which have been benched for the other in consecutive weeks.