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Fantasy Football waiver wire targets for Week 17 of 2021 NFL season

This is it, championship week. Therefore, we all play this game we love so much, for a chance to win a title and brag to your friends all year long. If this is not your championship week, I must tell you, friends don't let friends play in Week 18! But with it being the final game of the season, the waiver wire is completely different. Any player you are not starting this week is expendable. That means any player who is not playing due to injury can be cut. Any backup who you have for depth can be cut. This year with COVID-19 rearing its ugly head it would be wise to hold some depth, but you get the point. The biggest waiver pickup of the week is the one who helps your starting lineup the most, whether that be a more traditional running back or receiver pickup, but it could be a QB, TE or even a defense if you have been streaming those positions. Also, you can use your bench spots to block your opponent. Think about it, you wouldn't do this all year because you would cut some good players. But this week you only must worry about one team and there are no weeks after it. So, if you can grab a player who you think your opponent could use, do it. For example, this past week I grabbed Jaret Patterson because my opponent had Antonio Gibson, with him up in the air in a late game my opponent had to bench Gibson. Use stuff like that to your advantage!

Check if available: Darrel Williams (top pick up if out there), Ronald Jones, Devin Singletary, Amon-Ra St. Brown.

You can drop: Anyone you are not starting in Week 17.

Defenses to Stream: Bears (vs. Giants), 49ers (vs. Texans), Seahawks (vs. Lions). If available: Patriots (vs. Jaguars), Saints (vs. Panthers).

Quarterbacks

Trey Lance may be a fantasy football hero after all. Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a chipped bone and torn ligament in his right thumb and is in doubt for this weekend, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Lance would start against the Houston Texans, who give up 141.3 rushing yards per game, tied for the second-most in the NFL. I would expect Kyle Shanahan will look to take advantage of that with the running backs, Deebo Samuel and with Lance's superb rushing ability. He scored 14.58 fantasy points in his lone start against the Cardinals, but this is a much better matchup this time around. We also saw him score over 20 points in one half against the Seahawks this season. This is a tough week when it comes to streaming QBs, and Lance instantly becomes the best option on the waiver wire. He is currently ranked as the QB12 heading into Week 17, but his upside is much higher than that.

Tua Tagovailoa plays on Monday night, but regardless of that performance he is in play as a streaming option in Week 16 against the Titans. The Titans are in the top 10 in fantasy PPG allowed to QBs this season and give up an average of 265 passing yards per game. Tagovailoa has played well enough where he gives you a safe floor, even if he doesn't always bring the highest of ceilings. Streaming QBs has become very tough, so a safe floor is more than many can offer.

Running backs

Jeff Wilson Jr. carried the ball 14 times for 45 yards and a touchdown and caught all three of his targets for 12 yards against the Titans. It wasn't a huge game, but it was good for 14.7 fantasy points, a week after he saw 23 touches for 119 yards and nearly 20 fantasy points. If Elijah Mitchell is out again, Wilson should be good for at least 15 touches. Those would come against the Texans, who allow 121.5 rushing yards per game to backs, the most in the NFL. That sort of volume in that matchup would make Wilson a strong RB2 worth starting, with even more upside.

Miles Sanders exited the game against the Giants and was ruled out with a hand injury. In his absence, Jordan Howard played 35 percent of the snaps with nine carries for 37 yards, while seeing four targets, tied for the second-most on the Eagles. He caught two of them for 19 yards. Boston Scott played 32 percent of the snaps and carries the ball 12 times for 41 yards and a score. Both would be in play next week as flex options against the Washington Football Team if Sanders can't suit up. Howard is the preferred option due to his overall usage, but both would be closely ranked and it likely would come down to which one scores the touchdown.

Rex Burkhead went off for a career high 149 scrimmage yards on 24 touches, good for 28.9 fantasy points, the second-most in his career. It was more than double his previous season high. Expecting similar production next week would simply be point chasing, but the volume he has been seeing makes him still worthy of a pickup in fantasy football.

Dare Ogunbowale is suddenly the new lead back for the Jaguars after James Robinson suffered a torn Achilles. Carlos Hyde was placed on IR just earlier last week, so Ogunbowale will be asked to carry the load for Jacksonville. In Week 16, he played 83 percent of the snaps with 17 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown. He was also targeted four times, catching two for 15 yards. He will have a tough task facing the Patriots next week, but volume alone puts him in play as a flex option.

Ke'Shawn Vaughn played 36 percent of the snaps and saw seven carries for 70 yards and a touchdown. The bulk of his damage came on a 55-yard run, but that sort of explosiveness should excite you. Vaughn should continue to operate in a secondary role, but the Bucs face the Jets next week, who allow the most fantasy PPG to RBs. The great matchup paired with the explosives makes him worth a shot in deeper leagues.

Wide receivers

Isaiah McKenzie was targeted 12 times, the second-most on the Bills. He led the Bills in both catches (11) and receiving yards (125) and scored a touchdown. He stepped up in the absence of both Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis, who are both on the COVID-19 reserve list. Davis is already ruled out for Week 17 because he is unvaccinated. Beasley, who is also unvaccinated, has a shot at returning. But McKenzie could have earned a larger role, even if Beasley returns. The Bills face the Falcons next week, who allow the fourth-most fantasy PPG to WRs. McKenzie is a strong streaming option for those in need of receiver help heading into Week 17.

Kadarius Toney returned for the Giants in Week 17 and saw a team-high nine targets. He did not turn it into much production, catching four for 28 yards, but the volume is great to see. The Giants face the Bears next week, who coming into Week 16 were in the top 10 in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to receivers. Toney brings a low floor because of the Giants offense, but he also brings high upside considering the volume, matchup, and his explosiveness.

Josh Palmer saw six targets, catching five of them for 43 yards and a touchdown. The late touchdown was able to salvage his day as the entire Chargers offense outside of Justin Jackson struggled against the Texans. But Palmer could be in a spot to operate as the Chargers' No. 2 wide receiver again next week. Mike Williams is on the COVID-19 list and his status for Week 17 is unclear, meaning Palmer could once again be in play against the Broncos.

Robby Anderson saw 10 targets in Week 16, the most on the Panthers. He was able to catch five of them for 58 yards. Anderson has seen at least eight targets in each of his last three games, with 30 total in that span. He has scored at least nine fantasy points in all three of those games and showed his ceiling a bit going for over 21 a couple of weeks ago. Next week he faces the Saints, who have been better against receivers as of late but are still in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to the position this season. If you are going a little deeper for a streaming option, Anderson is an option.

Zay Jones saw a team-high eight targets, catching six of them for 50 yards against the Broncos in Week 16, good for 11 fantasy points. Jones now has at least seven targets in three straight games and in four of the past five. He has topped double-digit fantasy points in two straight games and in three of his last five. Defenses are giving more attention to Hunter Renfrow, and the Raiders have needed someone else to step up. Jones is the one who has risen to the occasion and is getting the consistent volume. He is a streaming option for those in deeper leagues against the Colts next week.

Tight ends

Gerald Everett saw five targets, catching four of them for 68 yards and a touchdown. That was good for 16.8 fantasy points, his season-high, but he has now scored double-digit fantasy points in four of his last five games. He also remains a consistent option for the Seahawks in the red zone. He is a strong streaming option next week against the Lions.

Tyler Higbee caught five of his six targets for 41 yards against the Vikings. It was his first game since Week 13, but Higbee has now scored at least nine fantasy points in two straight and four of his last five games. He also faces the Ravens, who are in the top five in fantasy PPG allowed to tight ends this season.

Cole Kmet saw five targets catching four of them for 49 yards playing with Nick Foles against the Seahawks in Week 16. He now has at least five targets in five straight games with over seven in four of them. He brings more upside when Justin Fields starts, but if you are looking for a streaming tight end with a safe floor, Kmet provides that.

Ricky Seals-Jones was outplayed by John Bates in Week 16, but that could be because it was a blowout or it could be a changing of the guard for the Football Team. Bates played 74 percent of the snaps while RSJ played 46, and Bates out targeted Seals-Jones three to one against the Cowboys. The whole reason for interest in either is they face the Eagles, who struggle mightily against tight ends. Two weeks ago, Seals-Jones saw seven targets against Philly. He would be the preferred option of the two, but the uncertainty makes both deeper streaming options for Week 17.

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