Week 17 Fantasy Football pickups: Tops options for title chase

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Minnesota Vikings' Adam Thielen celebrates his touchdown catch against the Green Bay Packers. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Minnesota Vikings’ Adam Thielen celebrates his touchdown catch against the Green Bay Packers. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Each week throughout the NFL season, we identify six players to target on fantasy waiver wires, plus a lightly owned D/ST. All are available in a majority of Yahoo leagues. Add as needed. Go get a championship.

Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings, 29%

If you happened to start Thielen on Saturday … well, congrats. You were the recipient of a holiday fantasy miracle. Thielen produced a career-best performance, hauling in 12 of 15 targets for 202 yards and two spikes, and his huge stat-line wasn’t some garbage-time fluke. He was heavily involved throughout, and nearly uncoverable. Just check the highlights. He enters the final week of Minnesota’s season just 40 yards shy of 1000 — which is perhaps 500 more than anyone dared to forecast. Thielen has topped 80 receiving yards in three of his last four games, and he’s a virtual lock to reach that mark in the season-ender against the Bears. He’s legit. Make the add.

Rest of season schedule: Chi.

FAAB bid: Whatever it takes, you guys. It’s title week.

[Sign up for the $17K Holiday Crossover Classic]

Zach Zenner, RB, Detroit Lions, 2%

Zenner unexpectedly served as the featured back for Detroit in the final game of Week 16, and he managed 92 scrimmage yards and two spikes on 14 touches. Dwayne Washington filled a supporting role as Theo Riddick (wrist) remained sidelined. Zenner isn’t the shiftiest back you’ll ever see, but he’s a pile-mover capable of gaining every inch that’s blocked, then dragging a linebacker a few yards more. If Riddick isn’t ready to return for the end-of-season matchup with Green Bay, Zenner should see another 15-18 touches, with goal-line work included. He’ll clearly belong in the starting conversation.

Rest of season schedule: at GB.

FAAB bid: Much FAAB.

Anquan Boldin, WR, Detroit Lions, 34%

In case you hadn’t noticed, all Boldin does is score touchdowns. He’s up to seven spikes on the season with two games remaining to play. Boldin has been one of the league’s most heavily targeted red-zone receivers this season, a preferred option for Matthew Stafford in the biggest moments. He’s a viable fantasy play on Monday night at Dallas, facing the NFL’s 28th ranked pass defense, and he’s an even better start at home against Green Bay in Week 17. The Lions are in no position to coast, so there’s little chance he’ll be an afterthought in the money weeks. Boldin is unlikely to deliver a significant yardage total, but he’ll find the end-zone at least once in Detroit’s final two games.

Rest of season schedule: at Dal, GB.

FAAB bid: All of it.

J.J. Nelson, WR, Arizona Cardinals, 26% owned

It’s tough to argue with a guy who’s crossed the goal line in four straight games. Nelson is a blur, a terrific vertical threat, and he’s seen 18 targets over the past two weeks, catching eight for 170 yards and two spikes. The end of the Michael Floyd era has been good to him, fantasy-wise. Assuming he draws another 7-10 looks in Week 17 against the Rams, he’s a great bet for another 60-plus yards and a score.

Rest of season schedule: at LA.

FAAB bid: All. Of. It.

Alfred Blue, RB, Houston Texans, 8%

Houston clinched the AFC South on Saturday, so it’s tough to imagine the Texans rushing Lamar Miller (ankle) back into action. Blue is, um … well, he’s not great. He’s averaged 3.7 YPC for his career, he isn’t uncommonly elusive, and he only rarely catches a pass. But Blue has also proven capable of handling substantial single-game workloads, as he did in Week 16, carrying 21 times for 73 yards and one score against Cincinnati. This week, he’s facing a Tennessee team that was just eliminated from playoff contention, and he’s in line for another 20-plus touches. He’s a reasonable DFS option and a respectable flex play.

Rest of season schedule: at Ten.

FAAB bid: Every dime.

Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas Cowboys, 4%

Dallas has clinched everything there is to clinch, so there’s absolutely no reason for the team to put Zeke Elliott at risk in an utterly meaningless Week 17 game at Philly. DMC is the next man up in the Cowboys’ backfield at the moment, and you might recall that he was a 1089-yard rusher last year. If you’re playing in a league that decides its title in the final week of the NFL regular season (note: very bad idea), he and Alfred Morris are clearly on the radar. No matter what Dallas’ decision-makers suggest they’d like to do down the stretch, it would be wildly irresponsible to expose guys like Zeke, Dak and Dez to injury. Expect to see plenty of this team’s JV squad next Sunday.

Rest of season schedule: Det, at Phi.

FAAB bid: You can’t take it with you into 2017, people.

Indianapolis Colts, 5%

Yeah, sure, Blake Bortles played a clean-ish game this week — no picks, two sacks, only one fumble, 8.6 Y/A — but he’s still tossed 34 interceptions over the past two seasons. When in doubt, pick on Blake. He remains a gift to D/ST streamers.

Rest of season schedule: Jax.

FAAB bid: Whatever you’ve got.

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