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2023 NFL fantasy football waiver wire, Week 17: QB Baker Mayfield, TE Isaiah Likely among top targets

This is it. It all comes down to this. If you're here, you're probably competing for the fantasy championship. (Or you're a monster like me, who will scratch and claw to win that third-place game). 
Either way, I've got a full list of Week 17 streamers to plug those last-minute holes heading into the most important weekend of the year.

As always, these are the most intriguing players who are rostered in less than 60 percent of leagues. If you have questions, my DMs are open: @MattOkada on Twitter ... or X ... or whatever it is.

And of course, have a happy new year!


Baker Mayfield
Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Mayfield has my vote for Comeback Player of the Year and he’s in the running for Stream of Championship Week as well. The matchup with the Saints isn’t all that great, but Mayfield is simply too hot to ignore at this point. He’s averaged 23 fantasy points per game over the past three weeks, with 808 yards and eight touchdowns combined over that stretch. This weekend, he’s playing to lock the Bucs into a division title and potentially himself into a long-term contract. I’m willing to trust him to captain my squad in the fantasy ‘ship and you should too. 

Derek Carr
New Orleans Saints · QB


Say what you want about Carr (I know most of it won’t be great), but the veteran has posted 20-plus fantasy points in two straight outings with three touchdown passes against both the Giants and the Rams. Still, it would take a whole lot of chutzpah and a great matchup to start Carr in the finals ... a matchup like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. No team has allowed more pass yards this season than the Bucs. That’s right. They’ve allowed more than 280 yards through the air on average, setting Carr up for a great shot at his seventh 300-yard game of the season. If you’re streaming at QB, I don’t think you’ll find a better option than Mr. Carr. 

Joe Flacco
Cleveland Browns


Is Flacco matchup-proof? We’re about to find out. After his fourth straight game with 250-plus yards and multiple touchdown passes, Flacco takes on the Jets on Thursday Night Football. The Browns clinch a playoff berth with a win and Flacco is playing some of the best ball of his career (and in Cleveland franchise history). I’m well aware the Jets are the toughest matchup in fantasy. But this one feels like a narrative-beats-numbers start. If you’re feeling dangerous, I think you can stream Mr. Elite against Gang Green. 

Tyrod Taylor
New York Giants · QB


I’m gonna make you an offer you absolutely can refuse, and this is a desperation play in two-QBs leagues only. Assuming the Giants stick with Taylor after benching Tommy DeVito at halftime on Christmas Day, I’ll be mildly intrigued heading into championship weekend. In just a half of off-the-bench football, Taylor scored 11.42 fantasy points (excluding what was essentially a Hail Mary INT as the clock hit zeroes). He has always brought fantasy value with his legs and will also need to throw plenty against a red-hot Rams team this week. The aforementioned Derek Carr just tagged L.A. for 25 fantasy points, and the Rams allowed 18 per game to QBs over the last five weeks. Again, you can refuse.  


Ty Chandler
Minnesota Vikings


After he tagged the Bengals for nearly 25 fantasy points in Week 15, it was pretty frustrating to watch Chandler total just 7.7 (almost all of it on a fortunate TD run) against the Lions on Sunday. That said, it wasn’t all that shocking, as Minnesota trailed for the entire game against a superb run defense. The Vikings are actually favored at home on New Year's Eve against the Packers, who have allowed the third-most rush yards in the league this season. Meanwhile, Chandler played 65 percent of snaps on Sunday, while Alexander Mattison played just four snaps in total. This is Chandler’s backfield, and he’s got a good shot at an RB2 finish in championship week. 

Khalil Herbert
Chicago Bears · RB


With D’Onta Foreman out due to a personal matter last week, Herbert took 20 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. It was perhaps the most cut-and-dry backfield split we’ve seen from Chicago all year (even with Justin Fields stealing 97 rushing yards of his own). While it’s nearly impossible to predict whether Foreman will be back in the lineup for Week 17, it’s worth ‘staching Herbert in the event that he isn’t. He won’t have the 19-point day he had against the Cardinals (and their terrible defense), but he’ll be a confident start. 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Kansas City Chiefs


This move is highly contingent on Isiah Pacheco’s status heading into Week 17. The Chiefs’ starting back took a knee to the helmetless head on Christmas Day and could be at risk of missing this game in the concussion protocol. If he does, Edwards-Helaire would be an excellent start against the Bengals with Jerick McKinnon also on injured reserve. ‘Stache CEH early in the week and keep your ear to the Kansas City beat report.  

Zamir White
Las Vegas Raiders


I expect Josh Jacobs to be back in Week 17, but if Christmas Day taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared for a late scratch. If that happens, White will once again be a strong plug-and-play against the Colts. If you have Jacobs, you absolutely must ‘stache White on the bench. And if your opponent has Jacobs, you’d do well to steal White away for the same reason. 

Chase Brown
Cincinnati Bengals


If you’re diving deep -- really deep -- you could do worse than Brown. He has averaged nearly 10 touches per game over the past month and more than six yards per touch on the season. With that kind of output, he really just needs a touchdown to return value in your fantasy lineup. Those won’t come easy against the Chiefs but a few extra catches to help raise the floor might. Just manage your expectations. 


Noah Brown
Houston Texans


The injury report broke the worst possible way for Brown last week, with Nico Collins back in the lineup but C.J. Stroud still inactive. Brown did draw seven targets from the oddball combo of Davis Mills and Case Keenum, but that attention only translated into 6.8 fantasy points against a stifling defense. As such, this pickup hinges quite a bit on Stroud’s return in Week 17. If he’s back, Brown will be an excellent option against a Titans defense that’s been generous to wide receivers all season.  

Rashid Shaheed
New Orleans Saints


If you’re heavily favored in your fantasy championship, I’d skip over Shaheed. But if you’re an underdog, the boom-or-bust Saints receiver is an excellent play against the Buccaneers. He’s scored 18-plus fantasy points four times this season (the four games he’s scored a touchdown), including last week against the Rams. As noted in the Derek Carr section above, no team has allowed more passing yards this season than the Buccaneers. I’m willing to bet on a couple big plays from Shaheed. 

Demario Douglas
New England Patriots


Douglas managed to cobble together five catches for 74 yards on eight targets in the Patriots’ upset win over the Broncos on Christmas Eve night. He has been the clear No. 1 pass catcher for this team. With Bailey Zappe and New England likely doing a lot of throwing against the Bills on New Year’s Eve, Douglas has a great shot at significant targets. 

Josh Palmer
Los Angeles Chargers


In a second straight game without Keenan Allen, Palmer was far less productive against the Bills (9.7 fantasy points) than he was in Week 15 against the Raiders (21.3). It seems unlikely the Chargers are going to rush Allen back or overwork him even if he returns given the lost season. The Broncos’ secondary is extremely tough, so this will very likely require a big play (like the 79-yard TD he scored in Las Vegas). But if it hits, it could make Palmer’s week on its own. He’s basically Rashid Shaheed in a much tougher matchup. 

K.J. Osborn
Minnesota Vikings


Monitor Jordan Addison’s status this week. He exited Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, and Osborn put together a season-high 20.5 fantasy points with an excellent showing against the soft Lions secondary. Things will be tougher against the Packers on New Year’s Eve night, but if Addison’s out and Osborn sees eight-plus targets as a result, it likely won’t matter. He’d be a solid WR3 in that scenario. 

D.J. Chark
Carolina Panthers


Some people will call me a points-chaser, after Chark scored a season-high 27.8 fantasy points against the Packers on Sunday. That’s more than he’d had in the previous six weeks combined. Honestly, I am “some people.” I’m a points-chaser. In an offense that has failed to find any passing game production since it stopped feeding Adam Thielen, maybe the Panthers are interested in chasing the points as well. Importantly, the Jaguars have been an exquisitely juicy matchup for receivers. Chark is a high-risk, high-reward flex play. 

Demarcus Robinson
Los Angeles Rams


I’m baffled to see that Robinson is this available after his presence in this column and excellent play over the past month. The eight-year vet has scored a touchdown and topped 13 fantasy points in four straight games. Against the Saints on Thursday Night Football, he logged season-highs in catches (six) and yards (82). Matthew Stafford and the Rams are red-hot, which means there’s room for Robinson even with Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua getting theirs. For a roadmap on the fantasy potential for this trio against the Giants, look back to the Cowboys in Week 10. CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup each had 15-plus fantasy points and combined for 86.8. Robinson is a strong start.


Gerald Everett
Los Angeles Chargers


Everett is what Evan Engram and Logan Thomas were earlier in the year: a near guarantee for around eight to 12 fantasy points. In fact, he’s scored between that margin in five straight games. I see little reason for that to change in Week 17 against the Broncos, and Everett always has a shot at registering 14 to 18 points with a touchdown. 

Isaiah Likely
Baltimore Ravens


Given the lack of a significant rostership bump for Likely, it would seem the vast majority of fantasy playoff teams are set at tight end. If, however, you are not one of those lucky few, I’ll echo last week’s thoughts. Likely is in a conversation with David Njoku for best play at the position outside of the elite four: Travis Kelce, T.J. Hockenson (who is at risk of missing time), Sam LaPorta and Trey McBride. He managed 56 yards and 8.6 fantasy points -- which is more or less his absolute floor -- against the 49ers. Add him and stream him next week against Miami

Juwan Johnson
New Orleans Saints


After playing second fiddle to Taysom Hill for most of the season, Johnson has come alive of late, scoring double-digit fantasy points with a touchdown in back-to-back weeks. You can refer to the Derek Carr or Rashid Shaheed sections above for my feelings about this Tampa Bay pass defense (hint: it’s bad). If Johnson can snag the touchdown that Hill or Jimmy Graham are always a threat to steal, he’ll be a worthy stream yet again. 



OK, the “stream-the-Colts-on-repeat” strategy came up short in Week 16, as they scored a whopping zero fantasy points against the Falcons. I’m calling it a fluke. They had averaged 15 fantasy points over the six games prior and draw the Raiders at home on Sunday. I’ll be rolling them right back out in my fantasy championships, and you should too. 


The Broncos were honestly a disappointing stream against the Patriots on Christmas Eve night (just five fantasy points), but their offense did them absolutely no favors. I think better days are ahead. Specifically, the last day of 2023, when they face the Easton Stick-led Chargers at home in a must-win divisional game. There’s a great chance Denver is the No. 1 defense on the week. Let’s ride. 

Houston Texans
2023 · 8-7-0


The Texans defense has been solidly consistent for fantasy over the past couple months, scoring seven-plus points in five of its last seven contests. The last time Houston faced the Titans (albeit with a different quarterback), it logged seven sacks, allowed just 10 points and scored a season-high 13 fantasy points. We’re back for seconds in a game the Texans need to win in their fight for a playoff berth. 

Las Vegas Raiders
2023 · 7-8-0


Since the Week 13 bye, the Raiders D/ST has scored 12, 25 and 21 fantasy points. That 21 came against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Las Vegas scored two defensive touchdowns in each of their last two games. Antonio Pierce has Maxx Crosby and the boys playing hard, and I’m willing to stream them against Gardner Minshew and the Colts without a second thought. 

Los Angeles Rams
2023 · 8-7-0


The Rams D/ST has scored double-digit fantasy points once all season, and it was back in Week 6 against the Cardinals. So what are we doing here? Well, we’re doing the “sack the Giants QB” thing. Aaron Donald and Co. will be “battling” an offensive line that’s allowed a league-high 77 sacks this season -- the next-most allowed by any team is 61. Five sacks incoming. Book it. 

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