Wiretapping: Week 17 Pickups

By A.J. Weinberg (@Fantasy_AJ)

So, like me, you’re in one of those leagues that goes to week 17? Luckily, it doesn’t seem like too many big name players will be riding the pine for the final regular season game. However, in the games in which important players could be resting, there are backups eager to take on the added reps. There have been two big QB changes in the week. Tony Romo has a herniated disk in his back and will require surgery and Kyle Orton will start in his place for Week 17. As well, the Oakland Raiders have benched Matt McGloin leading the way for Terrelle Pryor to start once again against the Broncos. However, neither of these new starters will be discussed as pickups here. Weak armed Kyle Orton has been an underwhelming QB for his career, as his career passer rating of 79.7 would be 27th among 2013 QBs, smack-dab between Kellen Clemens and Case Keenum. Meanwhile, Pryor’s passing has been the stuff of legends. If it were not for Geno Smith, Pryor’s 66.0 QB rating would be by far the lowest of all qualified passers. Therefore, I don’t believe either will lead you to a fantasy championship. In this article, I will outline five guys that I believe if the opportunity presents itself, have a chance to. With that said, for the final time this fantasy football season, I present to you my top waiver wire adds of the week.


Knile Davis (Kansas City Chiefs, RB – 1.3%)
Remember when I said that not many fantasy studs are potentially sitting in week 17? Well, Jamaal Charles is the one exception. He has been fantasy’s best back all year long, but unfortunately he could see the bench in week 17. Davis has seen backup reps to Charles this season, and would presumably be the starter if the Chiefs do indeed rest Charles. He has gotten very limited time in the backfield in his rookie season, getting most of his work in the kickoff return game where he has been effective. A third round pick from Arkansas, Davis certainly has potential to produce if given the chance in week 17. However, after two fumbles this past weekend, it remains to be seen whether he will get full starters carries if Charles is to rest. Which leads me to my next name…


Cyrus Gray (Kansas City Chiefs, RB – 0.2%)
If you want to know why I am recommending Gray, you must have fallen asleep in my Knile Davis section. Go back and read that second last sentence and come right back. All caught up? That’s right two fumbles for Knile Davis in Week 16, and with Jamaal Charles looking to get the day off, there is opportunity for Gray to step up. Gray has been the third string guy in KC this season, and has only seen 7 carries this season after seeing the same number his rookie season the year before. Clearly, he’s inexperienced. The Chiefs, however, have obviously seen enough from Gray to keep him around for two years on the active roster. So, while Davis has been the backup all year, I don’t think it’s at all a lock that Davis dominates carries or even starts on Sunday. Yes, this is not an exciting position for a fantasy RB to be in, but the options are limited at this point in the season. If you own Charles, you should definitely add Davis and consider adding Gray if you have someone you can afford to drop. Wait to see the reports coming in leading up to Sunday but Gray could be a flex play if starting on Sunday.


Robert Turbin (Seattle Seahawks, RB – 2.9%)
If you’re RBs are in good shape or if you aren’t in a shallow league, you shouldn’t be picking up or starting Turbin, but in a deep league? He’s a guy that could have a tremendous opportunity come Sunday. The Seahawks face the Rams, a team they should have little trouble beating in Seattle, especially now that their best linemen Jake Long was just lost to a serious knee injury. Additionally, a San Francisco loss to Arizona would solidify the #1 seed in the NFC even if the Rams manage to shock the world. Therefore, there is a increased chance that Lynch will end up getting rested by the end of Sunday’s game. Despite early speculation in the preseason that Christine Michael would be the man behind Lynch, Turbin has clearly been in that role this year. So if Lynch gets a light work day, Turbin would be the man scooping up all the carries in his wake.


James Starks (Green Bay Packers, RB – 17.5%)
With Eddie Lacy re-aggravating his ankle injury in the Packers’ week 16 loss to the Steelers, Starks could potentially see a lot of carries in the final regular season game. The first reports from coach Mike McCarthy were non-committal as far as Lacy’s status goes. McCarthy said Lacy was “sore” and likely won’t practice until Thursday. This, however, has been the case for the past few weeks as the Packers treat Lacy’s ankle injury cautiously. While we won’t get a clearer picture of Lacy’s status until later in the week, Starks is well worth a speculative add for owners who want to get a piece of the Packers backfield. If Lacy were to be unable to suit up, Starks could be in for a big game against an NFL-worst Bears’ run defense. Starks is the only true must-add player this week.


Marcedes Lewis (Jacksonville Jaguars, TE – 0.7%)
Lewis is really the only player not listed due to an injury or the potential benching of a starter. Rather, he is here because he has proven to be the top redzone threat on a Jaguars offense that is depleted of offensive weapons. Lewis has a touchdown in each of his last four games, and at least 40 yards in three of those contests. With the TE position as thin as ever, Lewis is definitely worth waiver consideration. If you are a Jordan Cameron owner still looking for a replacement, Lewis is as good of a bet as any waiver TE to post a 10+ point game in week 17. His upcoming match up against the Colts could be better, as only five teams have allowed fewer points to opposing TEs this year, but if you are scraping the barrel at TE, you can’t be too picky.

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A.J. Weinberg

About A.J. Weinberg

AJ calls the Windy City his home, and is a huge White Sox, Bulls, Bears, and Blackhawks fan. He’s played fantasy for just about 6 years focusing on football, baseball, and basketball (although he did also play one year of fantasy hockey…and won). He goes to a small high school in Chicago, and hopes to study Sport Management or Business when he attends college next year. His hobbies include playing baseball, watching TV, and complaining about how terrible the White Sox are. Follow AJ on Twitter @Fantasy_AJ!