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Waiver Wire Roto Wizard Waiver Wire Free Agents week 17 2022
Before I dive into player recommendations and touch upon the "week that was", I wanted to take a moment and wish you and all your families a very Happy Holiday season. No matter what or how you celebrate, I hope that it is spent in the company of loved ones with plenty of laughter and warmth! As the last portion of this horrific bomb cyclones leaves the States and we are able to de-thaw, my fingers are crossed that your family was spared from too much hardship.
My hope is that you were met with more Santas than Grinches this past weekend, although the theme is sure to be the horrific play of Fantasy studs, due both to ineffectiveness and poor weather conditions. For the majority of leagues, Week 17 marks the finale, so take any waiver recommendations below with a grain of salt - consider carefully the benefits to playing anyone mentioned over a starter that has carried you this far. Keeper/dynasty formats are certainly different, as players who catch on during the conclusion of 2022 have the opportunity to carry over strong play until next season. So which players make my cut this week? Read on.
Gardner Minshew (27 percent rostered) - Shortly after my column came out last week, it was reported that Jalen Hurts suffered a shoulder injury that had the potential to keep him out of several games, thrusting Minshew into action instead. To his credit, Minshew finished within the top-10 point-scorers at the position, throwing for 355 yards and two touchdowns through the air, and chipping in a rushing score as well. Minshew has the benefit of working with the strongest supporting cast of his career, behind an offensive line that affords him plenty of time allowing plays to develop. It is unclear if Philadelphia will rest Hurts for another week or not as of this moment, but if they opted to be conservative and hold him out again, Minshew would be the top add at the position. The Eagles take on the very stingy New Orleans Saints in Week 17, and they rank within the top-5 DSTs of lowest completion percentage allowed (61.2%), fewest passing yards allowed (2,856) and fewest passing touchdowns allowed (16). Still, the combination of A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith coupled with a now-healthy Dallas Goedert will make Minshew a low-end QB1 streaming option for teams that are looking to pivot.
Recommendation: Spend $5-$10 to add Minshew as a streaming option in 12-team leagues or larger if he receives an additional start over Hurts.
Brock Purdy (28 percent rostered) - I discussed Purdy on air last week with Bob Harris and Mike Dempsey, stating that he was a "safe" streaming option moving forward, and he proved that take to be correct yet again. In his four starts under center for San Francisco, Purdy has thrown two touchdowns in every contest and has increased his passing yards total in each of the last three weeks. The 49ers square off against Las Vegas in Week 17, which is a phenomenal matchup for quarterbacks. The Raiders defense has the second fewest interceptions in the NFL, has allowed the second-highest completion percentage (67.9%) and allows nearly 7 yards per completion. Purdy has developed an obvious connection with George Kittle that the 49ers will continue to exploit, and has phenomenal short/long range options between Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk. Purdy makes for the "safer" addition at quarterback over Minshew yet again, and has the easier matchup of the two teams. At this point, one has to wonder what sort of internal decisions San Francisco will make at quarterback for the 2023 season.
Recommendation: Spend $3-$5 to add Purdy as a streaming option for teams that have a shaky frontline starter such as Russell Wilson, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers.
Tyler Allgeier (39 percent rostered) - Ordinarily, the cutoff line that I use while considering recommendations is 30 percent (or lower, if possible), but the running back position on waivers entering Week 17 is absolutely barren. Allgeier is the most obvious name to bring up, given his recent string of success for Atlanta. Over the last two weeks he has 35 rushing attempts for over 210 yards, and the Falcons were able to involve him more in the passing game this past weekend against a stout Baltimore Ravens front. Having topped 100 scrimmage yards in consecutive contests, it makes sense that the team would continue to provide him with opportunities to gauge his talent for next season. He is clearly the future in this backfield over Cordarrelle Patterson, who will turn 32 in the offseason and is entering the final year of his contract. Atlanta will square off against Arizona in Week 17, and with both teams now mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, Fantasy players should see a healthy dose of the rookie from BYU.
Recommendation: Spend whatever FAAB may be remaining to add Allgeier as a strong mid-range RB2 candidate in all formats.
Chuba Hubbard (27 percent rostered) - Hubbard makes my recommended list yet again, following a strong performance against Detroit on Saturday. Even though he received a limited workload (just 12 rushing attempts), he made the most of the opportunity, rushing for 125 yards against a Lions defense that was a total sieve. This marks the third time in four games where Hubbard has received double-digit carries, and his upside catapults him into FLEX discussion for most formats. The yin to D'Onta Foreman's yang in the rushing attack for Carolina, Hubbard's slashing style lends itself well as a complimentary piece in this offense. The Panthers face off against divisional rival Tampa Bay in Week 17, in a matchup that could determine which team takes the NFC South title and moves on to the playoffs. It stands to reason that Carolina will continue to rely heavily upon their 1-2 punch in the running game, as success on the ground has propelled this team back into contention.
Recommendation: Spend whatever FAAB may be remaining to add Hubbard as an RB3/FLEX option in PPR leagues that are 12-teams or larger.
James Cook (45 percent rostered) - I won't expand too much upon Cook as he is certainly rostered in deeper formats, but in shallower 10 or 12-team leagues where he remains on the waiver wire, the time is now to pounce. Cook has broken the double-digit mark in PPR formats in three of the past four weeks, and he set a career-high rushing total in the recent game against Chicago, finishing one yard short of the century mark. Buffalo has made a concerted effort to work him into the offense as the team hurdles towards the playoffs, and I'd anticipate more of a 50/50 split in the backfield between him and Devin Singletary for the rest of 2022.
Recommendation: Spend whatever FAAB may be remaining to add Cook as a RB3/FLEX option in all leagues that are 12-teams or larger.
Jahan Dotson (30 percent rostered) - Dotson has continued to impress me as a rookie, and is clearly over the hamstring issue that cost him the middle part of his season. Over the last three games, Dotson has 15 receptions for 235 yards and three touchdowns, and has leapfrogged over Curtis Samuel as the clear-cut WR2 option behind Terry McLaurin for Washington. Even though the quarterback position is murky for who will be under center in Week 17 between Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke, Dotson will remain an upside WR3 option with big-play capability. Despite not having a large frame, Dotson's ability to high-point contested catches coupled with his elusiveness in open space reminds me of a young Antonio Brown (prior to the mental issues). The Commanders face the Cleveland Browns in Week 17 in a do-or-die game to make the playoffs. I would anticipate Dotson to continue his string of strong play and garner consideration on rosters.
Recommendation: Spend whatever FAAB may be remaining to add Dotson as an upside WR3 option in 12-team leagues or larger. He's especially enticing in non-PPR formats.
Isaiah Hodgins (1 percent rostered) - Several weeks ago, Bob Harris proposed the question to me on Sirius XM of "is there anyone other than Darius Slayton on the New York Giants that should be considered in the passing game, and if so, who?". That answer is Hodgins. His addition to the team from Buffalo was a total afterthought that went largely unnoticed until Week 13, but since that time span, he has produced three touchdowns in four games, and his target share has steadily risen. The one sure-handed option on the team (both Richie James and Slayton suffer from butterfingers), Hodgins provides quarterback Daniel Jones with a MASSIVE catch radius, thanks to his enormous 6'3, 201 lb. frame, and he slots into the mold that Kenny Golladay should have, a large downfield threat. Fresh off his career-best performance against Minnesota (8 catches for 89 yards and a score on 11 targets), look for Hodgins to be the "go to" option for Jones to use. In extremely deep leagues that are looking for a final FLEX option, I think he is worth taking a second look at.
Recommendation: Spend a minimal bid ($3-$5 of FAAB) and start Hodgins as a final FLEX option in 14-team leagues or larger.
Russell Gage (22 percent rostered) - Gage was one of the hotter "sleeper candidates" this season, as the WR3 option for Tampa Bay has produced Fantasy-relevant production over the last few years with Tom Brady. Finally healthy after battling through injuries all season, Gage has come into his own over the last two weeks, securing 13 receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns over the last two matchups (even with Julio Jones being active). His 18 targets over that time span have eaten into the workload of Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, and is it evident that he is the favored chain-moving option on third downs for Brady to utilize. Tampa Bay faces Carolina in a crucial contest in Week 17, and I'd expect the Buccaneers to implement an ultra-pass-heavy gameplan, to contest with the Panthers time of possession.
Recommendation: Spend a modest $5-$7 to add Gage in deeper PPR formats as a low-end WR3 option.
Taysom Hill (46 percent rostered) - Let us be honest - tight end is a barren wasteland for Fantasy points outside of a few select players. Hill is rostered in all deeper formats, but in shallower 10 team leagues where he may have been dropped in favor of Shane Zylstra-esque one-week wonders, there is a chance he remains available. Hill is an option to do anything (or nothing) in each week for New Orleans, and his possible range of outcomes is extreme. That said, Fantasy players looking to shoot the moon at the position with a Hail Mary effort need look no further, in what projects to be a clear comeback effort against Philadelphia next week.
Recommendation: Spend $5-$7 in shallower formats to add Hill as an upside-play at the position.
Noah Fant (39 percent rostered) - Fant has hauled in three touchdowns over the last four weeks, and I'd expect him to continue to serve as the 1B option opposite D.K. Metcalf in the red zone for Geno Smith in the absence of Tyler Lockett. Like so many others at the position, Fant is a touchdown-dependent option with modest upside and a basement floor at the position. His inclusion here against the New York Jets next week is due to the expected game script, with Sauce Gardner and Co. blanketing Metcalf and forcing Seattle to find alternative options.
Recommendation: Spend a minimal bid to add Fant as a mid-range streaming option in 12-team leagues or larger.