by Will Overton
Let’s be honest, in a perfect world you are not using anyone off the waiver wire in a key week 17, championship matchup. Let’s keep the honesty going though, this isn’t a perfect world. Also, week 17 can be a tricky situation to navigate.
On top of the regular injuries that take place like what we saw with Ben Tate this week there are extra issues to consider. As of now, no one has completely locked up their playoff fate which is nice. However, there are smaller injuries that normally might not keep a guy out that will keep a guy out in week 17 when teams aren’t really taking any chances on things getting worse.
If you’re stuck having to pick someone up this week here are some of the guys who might be worth your time:
LaGarrette Blount – RB, New England Patriots: It looks like the Patriots are trying to work Stevan Ridley back into the mix as we near the playoffs. Still, Blount is getting at least half the team’s carries and I don’t see Bellicheck putting the full load on Ridley again this season. The Patriots final game of the season is against the Bills who struggle against the run and could be a team that New England runs away from in a blowout. Blount had 16 carries for 76 yards and 2 TD’s yesterday, his best game of the season. He’s also averaging 4.5 YPC for the season, so he’s been running well given the chance. I think Blount if probably looking at 12 – 16 carries again this coming week and likely will see a couple goal line chances which could well lead to a TD.
Michael Cox – RB, New York Giants: This one if just a deep league flier as I wouldn’t want Cox in my starting lineup for the finals unless I absolutely had to. Most likely in a 16 team league where you own Andre Brown. At the end of the game yesterday Andre Brown suffered a concussion and I really doubt the Giants take any chances this week with not having anything to gain in week 17. Cox hasn’t really done anything to give owners much confidence, but he is likely going to get the majority of the carries for the Giants in week 17 and that might be enough to make him worth using in some deep leagues.
Nate Burleson – WR, Detroit Lions: In his first game back from the broken arm Nate Burleson picked right up where he left off. Since then though we’ve seen little from Burleson for four straight weeks. So what makes me think he’s worth using this week? A mix of opportunity and matchup. If you watched the Lions game yesterday you could see that Calvin Johnson was far from 100%. The Lions have nothing to play for in week 17 and I can see Johnson sitting this one out. The Lions are squaring off with the lowly Vikings secondary and Burleson could be option number one out there.
Griff Whalen – WR, Indianapolis Colts: I prefer Da’Rick Rogers as the Colts number two receiver, but it seems Andrew Luck prefers Whalen. The former college teammate of Luck has 11 catches in the last two weeks combined and he racked up 80 yards receiving yesterday and a TD the week before. The Colts are taking on the Jags this week which could lead to big numbers from the Colts passing attack and Whalen should be in the WR3 discussion this week, especially in 12 team or more leagues.
Mercedes Lewis – TE, Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars have been without a legitimate red zone target basically all season with undersized receivers everywhere you look. Henne clearly seems to have found his comfort zone inside the 20 though with his tight end Mercedes Lewis. I can’t explain why it took so long for Henne to find him, but after his TD yesterday he has four straight games with a TD catch. He isn’t exactly racking up the yardage or anything, but if he’s getting 40 – 50 yards and a TD that’s double digit points, even in a non-PPR league. If you’re looking for a tight end to use at this point then double digits points from Lewis might be all you can ask for.