Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Watch Week 17: Jahan Dotson Stays Hot-son

Dec 27, 2022
Waiver Wire Watch Week 17

As a refresher, The Drop List consists of players who are rostered in at least 50% of Yahoo leagues and are no longer must-have assets, recommended additions are available in over 50% of Yahoo leagues, the Watch List contains in-depth notes on fringe waiver adds, and Deep Cuts includes player notes on those rostered in 5% or fewer of Yahoo and FFPC leagues.

Before we jump in, it's important to take a second and discuss team motivations for the final two weeks of the season. It's that time of the year when numerous franchises are still trying to punch their tickets to the playoffs, leaving some contestants out to dry (and thus with nothing to play for). This will obviously become an even bigger issue in the season finale with so many players resting and/or playing limited snaps, but as you'll see below, we can at least gain a glimpse of the landscape ahead of time in order to prioritize waivers (or just stop worrying) accordingly.

Patriots clinch the final AFC Wild Card spot with back-to-back wins

Win and in. It’s that simple for the Patriots, who somehow control their own destiny despite being an unwatchable offense batting for mediocrity in both points per game (21.2, 16th) and yards per play (5.4, 15th). The defense quietly remains a liability as well, ceding an average of 27.2 points and 277 passing yards in the only true tests (Tua Tagovailoa, Lamar Jackson, Kirk Cousins, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow) it's faced. Even so, it would not be shocking for New England’s secondary to come out on top in Week 17 given Tua’s absence in the league’s concussion protocol.

Jets sneak in with consecutive wins and one Patriots loss

Enter Mike White, who was cleared to return for Week 17 against a Seahawks defense crumbling for 27.6 points per game and the fourth-highest passing touchdown rate allowed since Week 12. Back-to-back wins are more than plausible considering Miami’s situation under center ahead of Week 18.

Giants clinch a postseason birth with a win over the Colts

It’s no surprise Brian Daboll catered to New York’s matchup against Minnesota, allowing Daniel Jones to sling it for his second-most pass attempts (42) in any game with 4-34 rushing to boot. Assuming Daboll continues scheming for his opponents' weakness, Jones’ rushing floor, already intact with 6.2 weekly fantasy points derived solely from his legs, should be projected higher than usual considering on the ground is where Jeff Saturday’s Colts have been beaten up for 11 rushing touchdowns in six games played.

Commanders punch a ticket to the postseason with back-to-back wins

I imagine a move to Sam Howell would be in the cards if the Commanders were not hanging around controlling their own destiny. Taylor Heinicke’s forgotten 5-3-1 record however kept the team afloat long enough to make the move back to Carson Wentz against Cleveland. Allowing the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing signal-callers, not only is the Browns’ defense in play as a top streaming option (wherever applicable) versus Wentz, Jahan Dotson’s outlook is trending up considering Terry McLaurin commanded 20% of Washington’s targets in only one start with Wentz earlier this year.

Packers need some help

Green Bay rattled off 16 unanswered points against the Dolphins to move to 7-8 with the flailing Seahawks and Lions, needing a Commanders loss (and back-to-back wins at home over the Vikings and Lions) at some point over the next two weeks in order to slip into the NFC’s final Wild Card spot. With both Minnesota and Detroit ceding a 15% explosive (10-plus yards) passing rate to enemy quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers and this offense are live to help bring home fantasy titles.

The winner between the Bucs and Panthers takes the NFC South

Fresh off a franchise record 364 rushing yards in the first half of Sunday’s win, the Panthers, averaging 32.5 RB carries in four games with Sam Darnold, kept alive in the divisional title hunt due to Darnold’s turnover-free play over the last month. The Bucs meanwhile are averaging as many yards per play (5.0) as the Broncos and sit 28th in points per game (and look every bit miserable doing it). Something’s gotta give.

A Bengals loss on Monday leaves Week 18 as an AFC North Championship game

If Baltimore loses to the Steelers on Sunday night and Cincinnati takes care of business against Buffalo, the Bengals clinch the AFC North with nothing left to play for in the season finale. A loss however would pit both in a showdown for the divisional crown, undoubtedly forcing both teams to leave it all on the table as early as Week 17. Baltimore’s defense has permitted just 45 total points in its last four games but has admittedly benefitted from seeing Russell Wilson, Kenny Pickett, Deshaun Watson, and Desmond Ridder in that time.

Justin Fields chasing the single-season rushing record

With only 11 rushing yards (and a sprained ankle) in Chicago’s loss in polar conditions to the Bills, Fields sits a full 196 yards shy of Lamar Jackson’s single-season rushing record by a quarterback. With the No. 1 overall pick still up for grabs, it’s genuinely up in the air whether Fields is allowed to touch the field at any point over the next two games.

Patrick Mahomes a longshot for the single-season passing record

The league leader in passing yards with 4,720 through Week 16, Mahomes would need to average 378.5 yards over his next two games to catch Peyton Manning’s mark of 5,477 set in 2013; if only we could count on the Broncos and Raiders to push back. He’ll have to settle for his second MVP award (-500) for the time being, hopefully feeding JuJu Smith-Schuster for just 23 more yards in order to unlock the latter’s additional $500,000 incentive for surpassing 900 receiving yards on the year.

T.Y. Hilton will receive an additional $50,000 for each regular season game he is on the team's active roster

The Cowboys are clearly playing to win out regardless of Tennessee's pending motivation on Thursday since Dallas needs two victories, two ensuing losses from the Eagles, and at least one loss from both the Commanders and Vikings in order to snatch the NFC's lone bye week out of thin air — a thin yet plausible outcome. And Sunday’s miraculous 3rd-and-30 catch not only earned Hilton a spot on this active roster in every game through the postseason, it likely spelled the end of Michael Gallup’s dwindling outlook as the team’s third wideout behind CeeDee Lamb and Noah Brown. The Cowboys have notably averaged 40.5 points per game since Dak Prescott returned from injury in Week 7.

The Drop List

Shed weight like you're going to the beach. If you have two viable starting tight ends, for example, but your opponent is already stacked at that spot, it's in your best interest to separate from whichever player isn't making the cut in order to block your opponent from picking up someone of need. This week's 'Drop List' is truly a case-by-case scenario since it varies depending on your matchup. If a player on your bench isn't starting, though, consider him on the outside looking in.

Overall Top 10

1. Jahan Dotson

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