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Playing the Waiver Wire for Week 17

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Fantasy owners who play in Week 17 always run the risk of an unpredictable scoring period. There are playoff teams who rest starters, injuries and a slew of uncertainties that usually occur.

This time around, the Chiefs are the only playoff contender who might rest their starters since they are locked into the No. 5 seed in the AFC. That means you should plan to be without Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe and Alex Smith. Don't count on the Chiefs DST as well.

The significant injuries this week are Tony Romo (back) and Steve Smith (knee) being out, and Eddie Lacy (ankle) is likely to sit. We could also be without Adrian Peterson (foot) and Calvin Johnson (knee), but we won't know their status until later in the week.

The most prominent free agent to add for Week 17 will be James Starks if Lacy is out because of his matchup against the Bears. Knile Davis also makes sense since he could start for the Chiefs in place of Charles.

And don't be surprised if you end up starting Jonathan Grimes, who is technically the fifth-string running back for the Texans with Arian Foster (back), Ben Tate (ribs) and Deji Karim (collarbone) out, and Dennis Johnson (hip) might not play. The Giants also could be without Andre Brown (concussion), and Peyton Hillis (concussion) also missed Week 16. That could leave Michael Cox as a flex option against the Redskins.

It should be a fun end to the season with all the playoff implications around the NFL, and Fantasy owners with something still on the line will hopefully benefit. Just make sure the players you need are actually playing, otherwise the waiver wire will be your friend for one final time.

Editor's note: The ownership percentage listed is how many leagues that player was owned in the previous week for CBSSports.com.

Quarterbacks

Week 17 options: Kirk Cousins, Redskins (42 percent), Terrelle Pryor, Raiders (26 percent), Kyle Orton, Cowboys (1 percent)

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The order for quarterbacks to add this week is Pryor, Orton and Cousins. ... Fantasy owners in two-quarterback leagues can also consider Ryan Fitzpatrick (34 percent), Matt Flynn (16 percent), assuming Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) is out again, and Matt Cassel (6 percent). But you know what to expect with those three passers at this point in the season – and the risks with using them. ... Pryor will start for the benched Matt McGloin, and he's a low-end starting option in all leagues. He started the season with at least 20 Fantasy points in three of his first four starts, including Week 3 at Denver. And the Broncos just lost standout pass rusher Von Miller (ACL) for the season. Pryor played well in a similar scenario last season in Week 17 at San Diego with 20-plus Fantasy points in his first NFL start. ... Orton will start for Romo, and we'll find out if he can take advantage of a good matchup with great weapons around him. The Eagles have allowed three of their past five opposing quarterbacks to score at least 24 Fantasy points, so hopefully Orton can rely on Dez Bryant and Jason Witten to make plays. He's a two-quarterback option if needed this week. ... Cousins should rebound against the Giants after a down game against the Cowboys, but he's just an option in two-quarterback leagues this week.. Robert Griffin III scored 22 Fantasy points against the Giants in Week 13, but he did a lot of that damage with his legs on 12 carries for 88 yards.

Running backs

Week 17 options: James Starks, Packers (48 percent), LeGarrette Blount, Patriots (32 percent), Shonn Greene, Titans (21 percent), Knile Davis, Chiefs (18 percent), Edwin Baker, Browns (3 percent), Michael Cox, Giants (1 percent), Jonathan Grimes, Texans (0 percent), Joe Banyard, Vikings (0 percent)

The order for the running backs to add this week is Starks, Blount, Davis, Grimes, Greene, Baker, Cox and Banyard. ... If Lacy is out, Starks could be a star. I have him ranked as a Top 10 running back this week, and he would be a must-start option in any format. The Bears have allowed a running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points in 12 consecutive games with 16 hitting that mark over that span. In Week 16, the Eagles had three running backs score touchdowns against Chicago with LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk. ... Blount scored two touchdowns at Baltimore in Week 16 with 16 carries for 76 yards. He now has double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past four games, and the Bills have allowed a running back to reach double digits in points in five of the past six games. ... The Chiefs should rest Charles with their playoff spot locked in and a game next week in the first round, which should give Davis the chance for extended touches. The Chargers haven't allowed a running back to score double digits in Fantasy points in three consecutive games, but Charles had 27 points against them in Week 12. Davis is a solid flex option this week. ... Grimes has seven carries for 29 yards and two catches for 7 yards in his career, so he's a risky flex option. But he's facing the Titans, who have allowed a running back to score double digits in Fantasy points in 11 of the past 12 games. ... Greene is coming off a strong game with 19 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown at Jacksonville, and he now has at least 15 Fantasy points in two of his past three games. Chris Johnson is still the man for the Titans, but Greene is a high-upside flex against the Texans, who have allowed a running back to score double digits in Fantasy points in five of the past six games. ... Baker has taken on the lead role in Cleveland's backfield, and he's scored 13 Fantasy points in consecutive games against the Jets and Bears. The Steelers have allowed a running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points in three consecutive games. ... Cox could start for the Giants if Brown and Hillis are out, and the Redskins have allowed a running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points in four consecutive games. ... Banyard could be the starting running back for the Vikings this week with Peterson, Toby Gerhart (hamstring) and Matt Asiata (ankle) all banged up. He has one catch for 11 yards on the season and is facing a tough matchup with the Lions, so use caution if you need him as a flex option.

Wide receiver

Streamers for Week 17
Here are some DST and kickers to consider if you play the matchups with these positions each week.
Opponent Own %
Saints DST vs. TB 69
Colts DST vs. JAC 37
Chargers DST vs. KC 16
Nick Novak, K, SD vs. KC 67
Blair Walsh, K, MIN vs. DET 49
Caleb Sturgis, K, MIA vs. NYJ 22

Week 17 options: Marvin Jones, Bengals (67 percent), Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers (58 percent), Nate Burleson, Lions (56 percent), Brandon LaFell, Panthers (47 percent), Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings (43 percent), Nate Washington, Titans (39 percent), Ted Ginn, Panthers (20 percent), Robert Woods, Bills (13 percent), Mike Brown, Jaguars (9 percent), Jerrel Jernigan, Giants (0 percent), Griff Whalen, Colts (0 percent)

The order for wide receivers to add this week is Patterson, Ginn, Jones, Cotchery, Jernigan, Woods, Whalen, LaFell, Washington and Burleson. ... Burleson would move to the top of the list if Calvin Johnson sits out. The Vikings are tied with the Eagles for most touchdowns allowed to receivers with 20. ... Cotchery is also tied to Emmanuel Sanders (knee) playing this week. If he's out then consider Cotchery a No. 3 receiver against the Browns, who have struggled with secondary receivers all season. ... Ginn and LaFell will benefit with Steve Smith out. The Falcons have been abused by receivers all year, including Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin both reaching double digits in Fantasy points Monday night. Ginn has more upside based on his big-play ability. ... Patterson has scored in four consecutive games, and he could get more carries out of the backfield if Peterson is out. ... Jones has at least eight Fantasy points in three consecutive games. He struggled at Baltimore in Week 10 with one catch for 2 yards, but he's hot right now and is a solid No. 3 receiver. ... Jernigan has stepped up with Victor Cruz (knee) out, and he has 13 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown on 20 targets the past two games against Seattle and Detroit. His touchdown last week against the Lions is already one more than Hakeem Nicks has all season. ... Woods is the No. 1 receiver for the Bills with Steve Johnson (personal) away from the team. He has eight catches for 152 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets the past two games against Jacksonville and Miami, and the Bills could lean on him against the Patriots if Johnson is out again. ... Whalen has 11 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown the past two games against Houston and Kansas City. He has a favorable matchup against Jacksonville this week, and he's done a nice job connecting with Andrew Luck. ... Washington is closing the season strong with 13 catches for 209 yards and a touchdown the past two games against Arizona and Jacksonville. The Texans are without standout cornerback Johnathan Joseph (foot), which should help Tennessee's passing game.

Tight end

Week 17 options: Jermaine Gresham, Bengals (18 percent), Joseph Fauria, Lions (14 percent), Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (9 percent), Ryan Griffin, Texans (3 percent)

The order for tight ends to add this week is Lewis, Griffin, Fauria and Gresham. ... Lewis has scored in four consecutive games, and he's got four catches for at least 50 yards in each of the past two outings against Buffalo and Tennessee. ... Fauria is getting increased playing time with Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) out, and he scored in Week 1 against Minnesota. The Vikings have struggled with tight ends all season, and Minnesota has allowed a tight end to score in three consecutive games. If Pettigrew is out again then Fauria could shine. ... Griffin has become a solid PPR option with at least five catches and 62 yards in the past two games against the Colts and Broncos with Garrett Graham (hamstring) out. If Graham is out again, Griffin faces a Titans team that has allowed eight touchdowns to opposing tight ends, including Owen Daniels and Graham in Week 2. ... Tyler Eifert (neck) left Week 16 against Minnesota, and Gresham scored for the second time in three games. He's a low-end starting option if Eifert remains out against the Ravens this week.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg .

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