Since Alex Gelhar already masterfully identified some of the top waiver-wire targets ahead of Week 17, it's my job to provide some streaming candidates at quarterback, tight end and defense for the upcoming slate of games. Keep in mind, most of these players/teams are bottom-of-the-barrel targets for deep leagues, and I'm not saying they're going to be top scorers at their position, but they should do enough to keep your team competitive in Week 17 if you need some assistance or are looking for value plays in DFS formats. So, let's get to it.
Jimmy Garoppolo at Rams: The future face of the 49ers' franchise, Jimmy Garoppolo is coming off a game in which he shredded the vaunted Jaguars pass defense to the tune of 242 yards and two passing touchdowns, and added a rushing score for good measure. Jimmy G put up more fantasy points (21.98) on the Jags than any quarterback has the entire season. Since taking over as the 49ers' starter, he's only gotten better as a fantasy asset with his points increasing each week: 10, 15, 18 and 21 over the last month. And in that span, he's averaging 312.5 pass yards per game with five total touchdowns and a 16.55 FPPG average. He faces a Rams defense that has been tough on quarterbacks, but if Jacksonville couldn't stop him, who can?
Jacoby Brissett vs Texans: This game is completely meaningless since both teams, the Colts and Texans, have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. But Jacoby Brissett might see this as his last chance to put some quality game tape in the can for future job prospects. Plus, the matchup doesn't get much better. The Texans are allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season and Brissett had his second-best fantasy outing against them back in Week 9. In that road game, he put up 19.51 points on the heels of 308 passing yards and two touchdown passes. This one's at home for the Colts and if you're looking for a value play in DFS or the second option in a 2-QB format, Brissett is your guy.
Blake Bortles at Titans: Over the last four weeks, Blake Bortles is the highest-scoring quarterback in fantasy football. He's averaged 22.75 FPPG during that span and is coming off a season-high 382 pass yards against the 49ers. Granted, he attempted 50 passes in that game and threw three picks, but it was vintage Bortles, racking up points in a late-game shootout, inevitably out-dueled by Jimmy Garoppolo. Still, Bortles is an option yet again this week against the Titans. Tennessee just allowed 300-plus pass yards and four touchdowns to Jared Goff and has been a secondary to attack when streaming quarterbacks all season. The Titans have given up some big games to opposing signal-callers lately, with three top-12 finishes allowed in their last six contests.
Case Keenum vs Bears: We'll give Case Keenum a pass for his 139-yard, one touchdown performance last Saturday in Green Bay. The game was played in literal freezing conditions, and Keenum just missed his receivers on a few deep balls throughout the game. Had he connected (I blame the weather) it would have been a much different result. Anyway, he's now returning home to face the Bears. And while Chicago's been tough against opposing quarterbacks this season, Keenum is averaging 18.32 FPPG at home since the Vikings' Week 9 bye. Expect him to get back on track here. Keenum recently compared his journey this season to getting handed the keys to a Lamborghini, so you'd have to imagine he's ready to take his offense on one final regular season tune-up in front of a home crowd to close the season. To motivate him even more, Keenum can help the Vikings clinch a first-round playoff bye with a win on Sunday
Joe Flacco vs Bengals: The Ravens have been on a late-season roll, winning four of their last five games. Joe Flacco was solid yet again against the Colts in rainy conditions in Week 15. While he' didn't blow the roof off, Flacco finished the game with 17.28 points, good enough to rank as the week's QB7 in standard scoring. Over the last four weeks, Flacco's 18.63 FPPG average has him ranked as the QB5 and he's posted a 7:1 TD to INT ratio with an average of 265 pass yards per game during that span. This week he gets a home game against a Bengals defense that has nothing to play for, with a coaching staff breathing one last-gasp in Cincinnati.
Charles Clay at Dolphins:Charles Clay led the Bills with 10 targets in Week 16 and has racked up 24 targets the last three weeks. That's a team-high 28 percent target share in that span. This week, Clay faces a Dolphins defense that's tied for the most receptions allowed to tight ends, 86, this season. The Dolphins are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to the position in 2017 and have allowed a league-high 182 receiving yards to the position in their last two games.
Antonio Gates vs Raiders: The veteran tight end has now scored in two straight games, and with Hunter Henry on IR, Antonio Gates could produce again in Week 17. With Henry out last week, Gates led the Chargers in receptions and receiving yards, going 6/81. He'll now face a Raiders defense that's allowed more receiving yards, 992, to tight ends than any other team this year and is tied for the most receptions allowed, 86, to the position.
Vance McDonald vs Browns: Of course, everyone thought that Week 16 would be a Jesse James game, and Vance McDonald stole the spotlight. James had one target against the Texans while McDonald had five targets, catching four passes for 52 yards. If the game was actually contended in any way by the Texans, McDonald could have seen even more volume. In his last two healthy games, McDonald has seen five and six targets and totaled 104 yards. He seems to be the go-to pass catching tight end when he's healthy over James, and there's no question he's the more athletic player. This week, McDonald is on the streaming radar as he takes on a Cleveland defense that allows the third-most FPPG to tight ends this season including 10 touchdowns, second-most in the league.
Benjamin Watson vs Bengals:Benjamin Watson tied for the Ravens team lead in targets with six last week against the Colts and hauled in five receptions for 40 yards. In the last three weeks, Watson has 11 targets, nine receptions, 114 yards and one score. You could do worse if you're streaming, considering the Ravens are decimated in the pass-catching category. Baltimore's in the hunt for a playoff berth this week and they play a Cincinnati defense that's allowed the 10th-most receiving yards to tight ends (825) this season.
Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST vs Cleveland Browns: With Joe Haden back healthy, the Steelers D/ST is again in play as a fantasy option. Pittsburgh has something to play for against Cleveland in home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if they can win (or tie) and the Patriots lose (or tie), so it's not meaningless. The Browns have more turnovers than any team in the NFL, are allowing more FPPG to opposing teams (12.8) and have already locked up the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The only thing Cleveland is playing for is their first win of the season. Fire up Pittsburgh with confidence.
Los Angeles Chargers D/ST vs Oakland Raiders: The Chargers D/ST has finished among the top 10 at the position in fantasy football in six of its last seven contests. Over their last five games, Los Angeles has limited opposing offenses to an average of 12 points per game, giving up more than 10 points just once during that span (Chiefs in Week 15). Now they get the Raiders at home. Oakland hasn't posted more than 17 points of offense in three-straight weeks and has zero to play for, while the Chargers need a win to clinch a playoff berth.
Buffalo Bills D/ST at Miami Dolphins: When the Bills played Miami in Week 15, they sacked Jay Cutler three times, picked him off three more and limited Miami to 16 points. And despite two games against the Patriots in the last month, the Buffalo D/ST has maintained a safe floor scoring no fewer than five fantasy points since Week 13. With a slim chance at a playoff berth, Buffalo will be giving this game everything they've got on both sides of the ball. We also can't rule out a Matt Moore appearance since Miami has nothing to play for.
New Orleans Saints D/ST at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Saints D/ST has been consistent since Week 12, posting no fewer than six fantasy points in four of their last five contests, and most of those games came against worthy opponents (ATL twice, CAR, LAR). In that span, they've piled up 13 sacks, seven picks, and two fumble recoveries. That's an average of 1.8 turnovers per game, and the unit's six picks in the last four weeks tie them for second-most in the NFL during that time. Tampa Bay has lost four straight games, allowed six sacks last week to the Panthers and surrendered three takeaways.
Detroit Lions D/ST vs Green Bay Packers: Neither the Lions nor Packers have anything to play for in this meaningless NFC North matchup. But the Packers will start Brett Hundley at quarterback and who knows if Davante Adams will play. Hundley was unable to throw a single touchdown pass against the Lions back in Week 9, and Detroit's D/ST has fared well, for the most part, this season for fantasy owners. The unit is coming off double-digit fantasy outings in two of their last three games, and this matchup sets them up nicely for another.