Fantasy Football Week 16 Waiver Wire: Essential pickups for championship games

Andy Behrens
·9 min read

We’re just one win away, friends. Let’s go get this trophy. If your fantasy roster needs patching, we’re here for you. All players recommended below (with one exception) are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues; all are approved for immediate use.

Running backs who can win us a ring

Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys (46%)

Ezekiel Elliott couldn’t have done it any better.

Well, OK, it’s possible the 2016 version of Zeke could have done it better, but definitely not the 2020 model.

Playing in relief of the injured Elliott on Sunday, Pollard feasted. He carried the ball a dozen times for 69 yards and two scores, adding six catches for another 63 yards on nine targets. Zeke’s understudy broke the plane on a 1-yard plunge in the first quarter and later gave his team a two-score lead with this ridiculous fourth quarter touchdown…

That’s as good a run as any we saw on Sunday. Pollard has averaged 4.9 YPC over two NFL seasons, so his explosiveness was already well established. If Elliott is shelved or limited again next week when Dallas faces Philly, Pollard has a clear chance to be a league-winner.

Recommended offer, assuming $100 budget: You can’t take it into 2021, people. Spend whatever it takes to get whatever you need. This is title week.

Salvon Ahmed, Miami Dolphins (34%)

Nearly all the Miami injury news was terrible in Week 15, but at least Ahmed was able to return from his shoulder issue. Ahmed reclaimed the featured role in the team’s backfield, carrying 22 times for 123 yards and a 1-yard score. He also gave us a 5-yard reception and a 2-point conversion, which was appreciated. The Dolphins simply ran all over the Patriots on Sunday, as Matt Breida rushed for 86 yards and the team finished with a whopping 250 yards on the ground.

Ahmed isn’t a lock to retain the featured role in Week 16, because Myles Gaskin should return soon from the reserve/COVID-19 list. But he’s certainly played well enough to earn additional snaps and touches. Miami travels to Vegas next week to face a Raiders defense that’s allowed 4.6 yards per carry and 125.8 rushing yards per game.

Offer: See above. It’s Championship Week, folks. Get your guys.

Le’Veon Bell, Kansas City Chiefs (54%)

Bell is technically just below our 50 percent availability threshold, but we can’t ignore the Kansas City backfield following the ugly injury suffered by rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire on Sunday. (CEH was assisted off the field after the late injury, unable to put weight on his left leg. Not good.) Bell is also the rare player who’s more likely to have been dropped in competitive leagues than in casual fantasy pools, so there’s at least a chance you can find him on the wire. He had a productive game in a tough spot at New Orleans, converting 16 touches into 76 yards, including a walk-in score off an option pitch...

You don’t need an expert to tell you that a Kansas City running back in line for double-digit touches is a reasonable fantasy option. Bell deserves attention ahead of next week’s game against Atlanta. Darrel Williams has held a minor supporting role in the Chiefs backfield throughout the season, we should note, and could see additional usage in Week 16.

Offer: Again, SPEND IT. Yahoo isn’t going to refund your unspent FAB.

Additional RBs of interest: Jeff Wilson Jr. (just in case he’s still hanging out there in your league, despite being 56 percent rostered; Raheem Mostert exited the Dallas game, still impacted by his ankle injury), Benny Snell Jr. (James Conner is battling a quad issue, so you know what to do), Sony Michel (carried 10 times for 74 yards on Sunday, with Damien Harris sidelined by an ankle injury), Malcolm Brown (Cam Akers is dealing with a high-ankle sprain and unavailable in Week 16; you probably can’t add the 63 percent rostered Darrell Henderson, but Brown should be available), Trayveon Williams (it’s mostly hopeless for Cincinnati down the stretch, but worth noting he handled 12 carries against Dallas in Week 14).

Quarterbacks for the championship chase

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (39% rostered)

Whatever you felt Hurts had yet to prove entering Week 15, he checked those boxes on Sunday. He was fantastic in a 33-26 shootout with Kyler Murray and the Cards, a game that wasn’t decided until a series of deep end-zone shots were swatted away. Hurts passed for 338 yards and three TDs, connecting with nine different receivers, and he rushed for 63 yards and another score. Two of his three passing scores went to Greg Ward, both perfectly placed.

Hurts has rushed for 169 yards over his two starts, which is basically Lamar-level production. He gets Dallas next week, so you can pencil him in for another 80-or-so yards on the ground before we even consider his passing potential. Go get him if you can. Even if you don’t have a need at quarterback, you don’t want to face Hurts in Week 16.

Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears (12%)

Well, he landed the plane for Chicago on Sunday, though not without incident. It’s rarely a clinic with Trubisky, as we may have mentioned in earlier weeks. And still, here we are. The Bears are now 7-7, winners of their last two games and heading to Jacksonville for yet another excellent matchup. Trubisky has tossed eight touchdown passes over his last four games (along with three interceptions) while rushing for 73 yards (and losing a pair of fumbles). The Jaguars have plenty of incentive to lose and the team’s defense allows a league-worst 8.2 yards per attempt.

Various other QB options: Marcus Mariota (not an ideal matchup against Miami, but he threw a few dimes on Thursday night and we know he offers rushing upside), Baker Mayfield (still qualifies under the 50% rostered mark, coming off another multi-TD game and he’s facing the Jets), Andy Dalton (ridiculous weapons at his disposal and a not-so-scary matchup with Philly).

Wide Receivers for title-winning rosters

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (24%)

Gage has either caught or thrown a touchdown pass in each of his last three games and he finished with five catches for 68 yards on Sunday, with this short score included…

He drew 10 targets in the loss to Tampa and he’s seen 42 chances over his last five games, so volume isn’t a concern. The upcoming matchup with Kansas City should be relatively fantasy friendly, too.

Julio Jones was again sidelined by his hamstring injury last week, though he hasn’t yet thrown in the towel on his 2020 season. If he gets back in the mix, he returns as a target magnet. Still, Gage remains a receiver of interest in any sort of PPR format.

Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns (25%)

As soon as the Browns stopped playing their games in monsoon conditions, Higgins began producing at a useful level for fantasy purposes. He’s delivered 239 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 16 catches over his last three games, and he’s topped 60 yards in five of his last eight. He’s simply a good player with highlight-catch ability who’s been producing at essentially Odell Beckham’s level ever since OBJ suffered an ACL injury in Week 7. Beckham averaged 3.8 receptions and 53.2 yards per game over the season’s first six weeks; Higgins has averaged 3.8 receptions and 61.4 yards per game over the past eight.

Hollywood will rank as a viable WR3 next week in a friendly matchup with the Jets. Keep him in your waiver plans.

Additional WRs to consider: Lynn Bowden Jr. (caught six of his seven targets against the Patriots, adding a 9-yard run), A.J. Green (he resurfaced in Week 14 with six catches for 62 yards and one score on seven targets),Tyron Johnson (he has nine catches for 116 yards and two scores over his last two games, seeing an increase in opportunities due to various injuries among LA’s receiving corps), Keke Coutee (touchdowns in back-to-back games and seven targets on Sunday), Darnell Mooney (another score on Sunday and the Jaguars defense on deck).

Tight ends on the wire: Austin Hooper (he caught five of his six targets on Sunday night, with a touchdown included; this week he gets a Jets defense that’s allowed a league-high 13 TDs to tight ends), Dawson Knox (another week, another spike), Dan Arnold (he’s produced 142 receiving yards and three TDs over his last three games, which is more than enough to become fantasy relevant at TE in 2020).

Streamable D

Arizona Cardinals (34%)

Despite the fact that Jalen Hurts just went supernova against Arizona, the Cards defense actually had a decent day in fantasy terms, thanks to the six sacks. This team is tied for fourth in the NFL with 43 total sacks (11.0 by Haason Reddick) and the unit allows only 6.9 yards per pass attempt. It’s a respectable group, which we can’t necessarily say for every defensive streaming option. Arizona gets what’s left of the Niners’ banged-up roster in Week 16. We don’t yet know who’s going to be behind center for San Francisco, but it won’t be anyone too intimidating. Nick Mullens has thrown 12 picks and fumbled six times in his 10 games this season.

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