If you’ve made it to the finals in previous years, you wouldn’t need to know which waiver wire pickups are trash for Week 17. However, two things have changed. The obvious one is the expansion to an 18-week schedule. The other has impacted the NFL and the way the season operates for years to come.
The NFL reported 106 cases of COVID on Monday, roughly doubling the previous record for reports in a day. The Browns (12 players on COVID), Ravens (12), Lions(13), Colts (12), Jaguars (14), Chargers (12), Jets (19), Saints (21), and Texans (22-oof) are all considered teams scrambling to field a roster. With the shortened COVID Protocol, we could see many of those players return in time to play. However, one thing is for sure:
You work all year to build the perfect roster, only to get it torn down by COVID. However, you can choose to sulk, or you can choose to embrace the madness.
I strongly recommend checking out Jeff’s piece from a couple of weeks back. It’s focused on the reality of the fantasy playoffs and how even without COVID, they were never and will never be predictable. So just make a plate of nachos and enjoy the chaos. But, while you do so, there are certain avenues you can exploit to take home the Ultimate League Trophy.
Exploiting the Week 17 Waiver Wire Trash
COVID hit defenses just as hard as offenses. Pay attention to the reports and take advantage of them. The Week 17 waiver wire might be littered with garbage, but focusing on a game like the Raiders @ Colts could be a gold mine. The majority of linebackers and safeties are out for the Colts. On Monday, the Raiders added Casey Hayward, Cory Littleton, Patrick Onwuasor, Denzel Perryman, Darius Philon, and K.J. Wright to the COVID list.
Jonathan Taylor and Josh Jacobs are obvious must starts. You’re likely rolling out Michael Pittman and Hunter Renfrow as well. However, if you made it to the championship with Darren Waller, can you trust him to bring home the Title Belt?
I don’t want to bring up autostarts, however. The aspect of this matchup worth mentioning is the handcuffs. With Marlon Mack and Braden Smith getting added to the COVID list, insurance for Jonathan Taylor and Nyhiem Hines is vital. Now is also the perfect time to be a cockblock.
Regardless, even if neither you nor your opponent has Taylor or Hines, Deon Jackson should be a legitimate threat to finish as an RB2 if given the opportunity. 25-percent of his carries on the season have come inside the red zone, and his 33-percent juke rate presents an enticing option in the receiving game—a role he thrived in at Duke. In addition, the Raiders have been porous against such players, allowing a 7.16 (No.31) DOCE Score and 10.2 points per game to pass-catching backs.
And there I go, rambling again. If you want to check out an article about deep plays for Week 17, check out Mike’s articles which come out on Thursday. Here, you can find his Week 16 piece, where he nailed Devin Singletary and Davis Mills. Now, let’s dive into the players you don’t want on your rosters for Week 17.
The waiver wire for Week 17 isn’t complete trash. I don’t hate the Eagles backs (for once), receiver is incredibly deep, and tight end has some pretty solid options. Hell, even quarterback has four guys I want to play.
But please tell me, what are people thinking suggesting Rex Burkhead (!) as a player you want to roll out?
Yes, Burkhead had a great game in Week 17 against the Chargers, who allow the third-most rushing yards and second-most rushing touchdowns to running backs. However, the 49ers in Week 17 are a completely different story.
Week 16 was only Burkhead’s third time this entire season to finish as an RB2 or better—the other two times were RB22 and RB2. Of those two, he saw four targets - both season highs - against teams who have bottom-ten DOCE Scores. The 49ers 4.48 DOCE Score should hold Burkhead to a minimum in the receiving game while their dominant front seven keeps him in check on the ground.
The Week 17 Waiver Wire Trash is not about saving FAAB at this point; It’s about preventing stupid decisions.
Right now is the first and only time I will trash a player, not once but twice on waivers. However, the people who are suggesting him blow my mind. So, for the third time, do not pick up Ricky Seals-Jones.
But he plays the Eagles!
John Bates is now the tight end for the Washington Football Team. You would have to be a complete Jerry to think otherwise. I discussed it in my Week 15 piece:
“Head coach Ron Rivera has come out multiple times throughout the season stating his desire to keep his team young. He had issues doing so while in Carolina and wants to avoid an aging roster before it’s ready to compete. Although he won't admit it, this team is not ready to compete so developing a young core is crucial to the eventual run he will try to make. Although Seals-Jones is in no way an old dog, Bates is clearly in the future plans of Washington. You won’t see a 90-percent snap share on this go around for Seals-Jones—just like Week 14, Bates might be the one playing more.”
Not a Thing
Robby Anderson is the first player in NFL history to have 95+ targets converting them for fewer than 45 rec and 460 yards.— Chase Vernon (@ff_intervention) December 28, 2021
He is on track to have one of the worst receiving seasons in NFL history, and yet he still somehow has 99 targets. 🤯
Can't tell me Marshall is worse.
Robby Anderson is setting records; However, they aren’t the records you want to see. Not only is he on pace to be the worst receiver in 2021, he’s also about to have one of the worst receiving seasons in NFL history. You have to love when people scream about volume and targets.
It doesn’t matter if you do nothing with them.
Similar to how running backs correlate with offensive lines, great players can overcome nonideal situations. However, receivers who were average in the first place don’t belong on rosters when their quarterback is complete dog shit. So avoid Anderson even while facing the Saints.
Week 17 Waiver Wire Dumpster Fire
There weren’t many receivers I wanted to trash this week outside of Anderson. Advantageous matchups with COVID make it difficult to predict outcomes for Week 17 for trash players sitting on the waiver wire. However, one player caught fire in Week 16 and should be stomped out before your house goes up in flames.
Analysts are touting Josh Palmer as if he’s the next savior of fantasy football, but there’s an issue. The Broncos haven’t allowed a single receiver to get double-digit fantasy points on the outside since Week 10. The best output while not in the slot was Josh Reynolds snagging three receptions for 53 yards. Mike Williams might be out, but even Williams struggled in Week 12, only catching four of his eight receptions for 39 yards.
If you’d like to give your opponent a Championship Ring, be my guest. Palmer is a hell to the no in Week 17 if you don’t want all your hard work throughout the season wasted.
After you win your leagues be sure to tag Chase Vernon on Twitter with all those gorgeous Championship Trophy photos!