Early Week 17 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Antonio Gates, Jimmy Garoppolo headline players who can help in the season finale

It might have been Christmas Eve, but injuries did not take a holiday. 

Evan Engram left with an abdominal strain, Joe Mixon hurt his ankle, DeMarco Murray sprained his knee and Jordy Nelson's shoulder forced him from Saturday's game. 

If you're reading this then you're probably playing into Week 17. That's dangerous territory with several teams locked into playoff spots and plenty of non-playoff squads with varying motivation. 

But if you've got one last game to win and you need help off the waiver wire, you're in the right place. Here are the names you'll want to check out when you make your adds and drops.

Tight ends

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Eric Ebron IND • TE • 85
55 percent owned

It's finally happening – Ebron is reaching his potential, doing just enough to make the Lions want to keep him for next season at a rich $8.25 million price tag. He hit nine or more Fantasy points for the third week in a row, collecting 83 yards and a touchdown on a team-high five grabs. You better believe he'll be given chances to do it again next week against the Packers.

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Antonio Gates LAC • TE • 85
12 percent owned

No Hunter Henry? No problem. Gates wasn't just the Chargers' top tight end, he was their top pass-catcher on Sunday, picking up six of eight targets for 81 yards and a touchdown. It's 2017 and Gates is still capable of finishing as a top-5 Fantasy tight end. With a home date against the Raiders in Week 17, Gates should figure to find the end zone one more time.

Quarterbacks

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Joe Flacco BAL • QB • 5
44 percent owned

For four straight weeks, Flacco's cashed in multiple touchdowns and had at least 20 Fantasy points. With a playoff berth on the line at home in Week 17 against the Bengals, Fantasy owners should be confident in Flacco continuing his strong finish.

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Jimmy Garoppolo SF • QB • 10
52 percent owned

The Jaguars were a tough test for Garoppolo, and he came through in a major way. He totaled three touchdowns against arguably the league's toughest defense – only Russell Wilson accomplished the same feat this season. The Niners take to the road and play a Rams team that might not play their starters in Week 17. Another strong game from Jimmy G would build his case for a breakout 2018 campaign for Fantasy purposes. 

Running backs

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Giovani Bernard CIN • RB • 25
69 percent owned

The Bengals lost Joe Mixon to an ankle injury in the first quarter against the Lions, putting Bernard into another significant role. Playing at Baltimore in Week 17 isn't ideal, but any running back with 20-touch potential is worth starting. Bernard has returned 10-plus Fantasy points in each of his last three.

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Mike Gillislee NE • RB • 35
29 percent owned

Gillislee went from weekly inactive to resurgent touchdown scorer on Sunday. He'll be in the exact same boat in Week 17 against a Jets defense expected to be without two of their top defensive run stoppers. If you're desperate for Fantasy help at running back, Gillislee is an option.

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Tion Green IND • RB •
4 percent owned

The only Lions running back to average better than 4.0 yards per carry? That would be Green, who scored and ran for 43 yards on seven carries. The Lions are eliminated from the postseason and could give Green an extended look as the running downs back against the Packers.

Wide receivers

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Josh Doctson WAS • WR • 18
69 percent owned

Doctson put together one of the strangest stat lines of the 2017 season, getting 13 targets from Kirk Cousins but catching just two passes, one good for a 48-yard touchdown bomb. He's unlikely to get 13 targets again in Week 17 but his matchup against the listless Giants could yield some more good numbers. He's a candidate to serve as a No. 3 option.

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Corey Davis TEN • WR • 84
34 percent owned

Davis briefly left his matchup against the Rams with a shoulder problem, but he came back and delivered a season-high 91 yards on six grabs. Tennessee needs a win in Week 17 to keep the playoff fires burning. They'll try to do it against a Jaguars pass defense that's suddenly become a little suspect. Davis will probably be a receiver you'll put claims in for, but not make a priority.

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Kelvin Benjamin BUF • WR • 13
65 percent owned

Benjamin came up with 70 yards on five grabs (seven targets) at New England, nearly scoring a touchdown just before halftime. The involvement was good to see, and we could see more of it in Week 17 at the Dolphins

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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