Waiver Wire: Week 16
If you're reading this, congratulations on either reaching the finals or semifinals in your fantasy football league!
You've likely got your lineup set already but if you don't and have to contend with some injuries, this will help you fill those holes in your roster to get you that championship or at least get you to the championship in your league!
If you've made the playoffs in your fantasy football league, you likely don't need a bunch of starters to pluck off of the waiver wire, but to solidify your bench and make sure you've got options should somebody get hurt or worse, the roulette wheel that is the COVID/reserve list.
Here at Fighting Chance Fantasy, we're taking a three-pronged approach with Leo Grandio covering quarterbacks and tight ends, Steve Rapin covering the running backs, and Kevin Tompkins covering the wide receivers!
Quarterbacks (Leo Grandio)
First of all, check to see if these quarterbacks are available and are floating around in your league's waiver wire. I would prioritize them in this order:
- Ryan Tannehill, TEN (71.8% rostered)
- Drew Brees, NO (54.6% rostered)
- Jared Goff, LAR (51.3% rostered)
- Matthew Stafford, DET (51.6% rostered)
On to our list!
Jalen Hurts, PHI
Well now, Jalen Hurts has one question for fantasy managers, do I have your attention now? Hurts has not only given a spark to the Eagles offense but he has taken over and does not seem willing to be letting go of the starting gig any time soon. If you happened to start Hurts on your fantasy teams this past week, you should be standing in the finals with his impressive performance. If he is still there in your waiver wire pool the time is now to add him for a possible championship hoisting event on Monday Night. The rookie quarterback had a duel for the ages with fellow young gun Kyler Murray. Hurts posted career-high passing numbers with 338 yards and three touchdowns while adding 63 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Hurts is the number one priority for any fantasy manager in need of quarterback help in the finals as he will be facing the Cowboys who are giving up the tenth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and is a must-add in all league formats.
Baker Mayfield, CLE
Baker "the touchdown maker" Mayfield is ready to take fantasy managers to the championships. Mayfield has averaged 308 yards and 2.5 touchdowns over his last four games and has Browns fans antsy and ready for a possible playoff berth for the first time since 2002. Geesh, that's a long time. The last four games average is great and all but what makes Mayfield a must-own for the finals is that he will be playing the Jets who are allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Add Mayfield and get the caravan ready for a possible championship parade come Tuesday.
Tua Tagovailoa, MIA
Another impressive performance came from fellow rookie Tua Tagovailoa. Although he might not have posted the gaudy numbers that Hurts did, Tagovailoa was able to get the best of coach Bill Belichick, who's been known for making rookie quarterbacks look silly. and Tua was able to pull off the victory over the Patriots. The quarterback had an efficient game by completing 20 of 26 passes for 145 yards and an interception. Where Tagovailoa really came through for fantasy owners was from inside the five-yard line by rushing for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, sending the Patriots out of the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. Tagovailoa has a nice matchup in the finals as he will be facing the Raiders who are giving up the 13th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and could be an excellent replacement for Derek Carr owners in deeper leagues.
Other QB in Consideration:
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI (20.7%) - If you're in need of a quarterback in a 14-team league or deeper leagues, Mitchell Trubisky is a decent quarterback to consider as he will be playing against the Jaguars who are allowing the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year.
Andy Dalton, DAL (4.8%) - Andy Dalton could be in store for a shootout with the all of sudden high flying Eagles coming to town. The Eagles should be jumping out ahead early behind Hurts and Dalton will be in catch-up mode should be owned in 14-team and two-quarterback leagues.
Kirk Cousins, MIN (38.1%) - Kirk Cousins could not lead the Vikings to victory once again but continued to produce fantasy numbers, as he threw for 271 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He has a tough Week 16 opponent versus the Saints for the fantasy finals but could be used in deeper leagues.
Philip River, IND (18.5%) - Philip Rivers has been excellent in the second half of the season but could be in store for an unfavorable outcome against the Steelers in Week 16. Add him if you wish but temper your expectations.
Sam Darnold, NYJ (1.7%) - Well excuse me, Sam Darnold, you actually showed some spunk and led the Jets to victory for the first time this season against the Rams. Darnold will be playing from behind and could be in store for a high scoring shootout with Mayfield. What makes Darnold appealing is the Browns are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to QBs this season. Darnold is considered a decent add in two-quarterbacks leagues.
Marcus Mariota, LV (0.1%) - Is Marcus Mariota going to make a late-season run to create some buzz for himself like Ryan Tannehill did last year at his expense with the Titans last year. With Derek Carr possibly missing the rest of the season due to a groin injury, Mariota will have the opportunity to build on his 228 yards passing, 88 yards rushing, and two total touchdowns performance last week in his Raiders debut. Mariota is a solid option to add in 14-team leagues and two-quarterback leagues.
Running Backs (Steve Rapin)
Jeff Wilson Jr., SF
I'm not sure there is a backfield that has been cursed as much this season as the Niners have, but once again the injury bug hits as Raheem Mostert has been placed on IR with an ankle injury and that means Jeff Wilson Jr. is up to bat again. He has a decent matchup against the Cardinals, should be in line for double-digit touches, and he's always a threat to score. Sign me up!
Salvon Ahmed, MIA
With Myles Gaskin sidelined with Covid, Salvon Ahmed once again showed he can be a very good NFL and fantasy running back as he turned 23 carries into 122 yards and a score in Week 15. We don't know what Gaskin's status is going into Week 16, but Ahmed is definitely someone who could help your team as the Dolphins take on the Raiders this week.
Tony Pollard, DAL
Ezekiel Elliott was a late scratch on Sunday and Tony Pollard stepped up and rushed for a nice 69 yards and two touchdowns, and threw in 63 yards receiving as well against San Francisco. I am assuming that Elliott will return this week, but calf injuries can be a prickly bitch, so who in the hell knows? If Elliott sits, Pollard is a must-start against the Eagles.
Other RB in Consideration:
Lynn Bowden, MIA (26% rostered): 16 targets over the last two weeks and running back eligible.
Benny Snell, PIT (27% rostered): James Conner is dealing with a quad injury.
Malcolm Brown, LAR (16% rostered): Cam Akers already ruled out for Week 16 and Darrell Henderson likely already owned.
Sony Michel, NE (19% rostered): Could be in line for a good amount of touches if Damien Williams is ruled out.
Ito Smith, ATL (4% rostered): Named starter in Atlanta but this could still be a running back by committee mess.
Wide Receivers (Kevin Tompkins)
First of all, check to see if these receivers are available and are floating around in your league's waiver wire. I would prioritize them in this order:
- Cole Beasley, BUF (80.1% rostered)
- Marquise Brown, BAL (71.3% rostered)
- T.Y. Hilton, IND (66% rostered)
On to our list!
Rashard Higgins, CLE
With Baker Mayfield playing the best football of his young career in this three-game stretch, he now gets the greatest Christmas gift of all: a date with the one-win New York Jets. Rashard Higgins has played a big part of that, with at least 76 receiving yards or a touchdown in each of his last three games played.
In this iteration of life where the Browns being good is just another crazy part of 2020, Rashard Higgins is a low-risk WR3 this week against the Jets and a worthwhile start in your championship lineup should you need to fill a wide receiver or flex spot.
John Brown, BUF
The Patriots lost Stephon Gilmore and will host the Buffalo Bills, who will more than likely get back the services of one John Brown. He was removed from injured reserve for Week 15, but the Bills didn’t activate him to play with his mending ankle injury.
When healthy, we all know what Brown can do for you (not a plug), with at least 13 PPR points in four of eight games he’s played this season.
Not only that but if Stefon Diggs can’t play because of a foot injury, we’re looking at somebody who could win you a league in Week 16 that’s potentially on waivers. He’s a priority add in all leagues regardless.
Emmanuel Sanders, NO
With no Michael Thomas in tow for the Drew Brees-led New Orleans Saints, Emmanuel Sanders led the team in receiving yards in Week 15 against the Chiefs. Thankfully, he gets a much easier matchup with the Minnesota Vikings in your championship week, and knowing Thomas is out, Sanders gets a bankable floor now as he’s seen at least five targets in each game without Thomas.
Sanders could have scared enough people away as the season wore on to keep him on waivers but make no mistake, he’s a solid WR3 this week. While he's over the typical threshold we use for waiver-wire additions, Sanders is vitally important here as somebody that could have fallen through the cracks in a number of leagues.
Russell Gage, ATL
Without Julio Jones in the lineup for the Falcons, Russell Gage has been the biggest beneficiary, scoring in his last three contests and averaging over eight targets in each game. As WR14 in PPR in that three-game span, Gage should see plenty of work against Kansas City, where you know Matt Ryan will be throwing the ball a ton with the running game just not a factor as the season winds down.
Consider Gage a high-end WR3 with volume-based upside.
Lynn Bowden Jr., MIA
A stocking stuffer that nobody expected, Lynn Bowden has given fantasy managers a ton of utility over the past two weeks with 16 targets, 13 receptions, and 119 receiving yards as the primary slot man for the Dolphins.
While this all happened without the services of DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant, and Mike Gesicki playing, even if one, two, or all come back, the Dolphins have a much better matchup this time around in Week 16 in Las Vegas against the Raiders. These same Raiders traded Lynn Bowden just months after drafting him, so the “revenge game” narrative is in full effect as well. If you have questions at your running back position, Bowden is a worthwhile play with a solid points floor, and if you have a wide receiver spot open, Bowden can fill that slot too.
Chad Hansen, HOU
We can say what we want about the viability of Chad Hansen, but he’s been a WR3 all three weeks that he's played this season. Looking more like a car salesman than an NFL football player, Hansen has at least 56 yards or a touchdown in all three contests and should make that baseline stand for a fourth consecutive game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
With as boom or bust as receivers have been towards the end of 2020, a safe baseline is something taken for granted, so Hansen is somebody I’ll be trusting in my own leagues as a flex play.
Tyron Johnson, LAC
Don’t look now, but since Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have been banged up the last two weeks, Tyron Johnson has been a borderline WR2 in PPR. While it has been a bit touchdown-dependent, 12 targets in his last two games? That's difficult to ignore.
Denver is still missing a ton of their corners including A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan, so anybody the Broncos throw out there should be a disadvantage for them against the Chargers’ receivers.
If you need a boom/bust play in the mold of Marquez Valdes-Scantling with a fraction of the overall visibility on the waiver wire, Johnson is a name to keep in mind this week.
Darnell Mooney, CHI
Known affectionately in some (namely mine) circles as “Moondog”, Darnell Mooney has clearly surpassed all expectations as a fantasy commodity in his rookie season. Tied to an offense that does limit some of his upside, Mooney has made the most of his opportunities this season and in the last two games, with touchdowns in each contest.
With so much attention being paid to not only Allen Robinson (revenge week!) but David Montgomery in Week 16 against Jacksonville, Mooney has a chance to take the lid off of the Jags and be a nice play in deeper formats. Jacksonville has been the eighth-worst defense in terms of fantasy points allowed to the wide receiver position, so Mooney is in a good spot to succeed here.
Tight Ends (Leo Grandio)
Check to see if these tight ends are available in your league's waiver wire first. I would prioritize them in this order:
- Robert Tonyan, GB (73.6% rostered)
- Noah Fant, DEN (74.3% rostered)
- George Kittle, SF (73.8% rostered)
- Logan Thomas, WAS (53.1% rostered)
- Dallas Goedert, PHI (77.4% rostered)
- Zach Ertz, PHI (55.6% rostered)
On to our list!
Austin Hooper, CLE
After missing one game due to a neck injury, Austin Hooper returned to the line-up to provide Mayfield with another option in the passing game. Hooper caught five of his six targets for 41 yards and a touchdown. This week Hooper gets the pleasure of facing the most generous team against tight ends the Jets. Hooper is a must-add in all league formats.
Tyler Higbee, LAR
Overall, Tyler Higbee has been one of the biggest busts in fantasy football this season, with his high draft capital and lack of production overall. Coming off his highest-scoring fantasy day since Week 2 Higbee might be a tight end to add for Week 16. Last week Higbee caught four balls for 67 yards and a touchdown. It was his second double-digit fantasy day in the last three games. The last time Higbee faced the Seahawks in Week 10, he had three receptions for 60 yards. The tight end should be added to 14-team and tight end premium leagues with the potential to provide around 10 fantasy points this week.
Other TE in Consideration:
Dalton Schultz, DAL (29.4%) - Mr. Floor Play himself Dalton Schultz caught both of his passes for 14 yards and a touchdown. This week Schultz is a tight end with some streaming appeal as he will be battling against the Eagles who are allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to tight ends and he scored 11.30 PPR fantasy points the last time he played the Eagles.
Jordan Reed, SF (14.2%) - Another tight end that will be hovering around the 10 fantasy point mark this week is Jordan Reed. The only thing that will destroy his fantasy value is the possible return of George Kittle, so monitor his status during the week leading up to kick-off.
Tight ends to consider in deeper leagues or tight end premium leagues: Irv Smith Jr., Jordan Akins, and Dan Arnold.