Week 16 Waiver Wire – Playoff Edition
By Josh Trotta
Welcome back to all of our loyal followers. Many of you who are fighting for your league championship this weekend, congratulations on getting to the big dance! Those of you who finish your leagues in week 17, a tough semifinal matchup awaits. Whichever scenario you are in, we are here to help you win it all! Let’s get started: There were only a few injuries this week but, the ones that did happen and the suspension heard around the world are going to have major implications in this weekend’s playoff matchups. LeSean McCoy went down in the 2nd half of the Bills game Sunday and did not return. Although he has a sprained MCL, he may still play this weekend. Tyron Mathieu tore his ACL Sunday night and is done for the year, greatly impacting Arizona’s defensive value. We also lost Melvin Gordon to a knee injury (Like anyone cares about this one) and AP to what appears to be a not so serious ankle injury. The loss everyone is talking about though is the suspension to OBJ. As someone who owns him in multiple leagues, this is a major blow to my teams overall success. Many of you have your championship games this weekend and you will be without arguably the best fantasy wide receiver this year not named Antonio Brown. The Beckham Jr owners of the world can only hope and pray that the league overturns his suspension. Let’s get to this week’s top waiver wire grabs as you, our followers, look to either win your league title or move one step closer to the ultimate prize.
For the playoff edition we are going to do things a little differently: On top of offering you 3 players at each position, I will also provide 2 additional players that might fall under the radar in most leagues.
- Kirk Cousins – “YOU LIKE THAT?!?” Well did you? All Kirk Cousins did Sunday was throw for 319 yards and 4 touchdowns in a convincing win at home over the Bills. This marks back to back 300 yard games for Cousins and up next he faces an Eagles defense that is been unable to stop opposing QB’s all season. Look for Cousins to stay hot even on the road in a must win playoff environment.
- Teddy Bridgewater – Bridgewater was on fire Sunday throwing 4 touchdowns and for over 230 yards through the air. The loss of AP early might have forced the Vikings hand to throw more but either way, Bridgewater delivered in a big way. With a dream matchup on deck against the terrible Giants secondary, look for the Vikings to lean on Bridgewater a little more even if AP is a full go for Sunday Night Football.
- Jameis Winston – Crab legs Winston was great on Thursday night in the Ketchup & Mustard bowl. Winston was able to throw for well over 300 yards and added 2 touchdowns. Winston has been extremely consistent and reliable all season long and faces Chicago defense that just last week got burnt by Bridgewater above.
- Jimmy Clausen – With a spot start on Sunday, Clausen was serviceable as he faced a Chiefs defense that has been among the hottest in the league the past month. Against Kansas City Clausen was threw 45 attempts for 281 yards and 2 touchdowns. With the Ravens bitter rivals coming to town Sunday, look for Clausen to be able to put up some points against that Steelers terrible secondary.
- Zach Mettenberger – The injury to Mariota is season ending, so the next man up in Tennessee is Mettenberger. Zach played well in relief Sunday against the Patriots, completing a high percentage of his passes for over 240 yards and 2 touchdowns. This week Mettenberger will get the start and an easy matchup as the Texans travel to Tennessee.
- Christine Michael – As I predicted, Michael was the one who saw the bulk of the carries for Seattle Sunday afternoon. Michaels’s familiarity with the offense defiantly helped and was a big reason why Seattle is leaning on him until Lynch can return. Christine had 84 yards on 16 carries Sunday and faces a Rams defensive at home that has given up the 9th most points to RB’s all season long.
- Cameron Artis-Payne – Similar to Seattle, fantasy owners where left in the dark when it came to who would be the one to take the majority of Jonathan Stewarts workload. Sunday the Panthers deployed a RBBC starting Mike Tolbert and even working in Fozzy Whittaker but it was Artis-Payne who out carried both of them 16-9. If Stewart is to miss another game with his sprained foot, look for CAP to get the start for the leagues best rushing team.
- Mike Gillislee – It looks like Gillislee might have jumped over Karlos Williams on the depth chart after scoring again on Sunday after McCoy went down. It looks like McCoy might miss the rest of the season with a sprained MCL and it looks like Gillislee will get first crack at taking over as the starter in Buffalo. With Dallas up next a great matchup awaits Gillislee as he looks to make it three straight games with a rushing touchdown.
- Jerick McKinnon – AP went down Sunday early on and it was McKinnon who saw the bulk of the workload for the Vikings. McKinnon did all of his damage as a receiver though, catching all 4 of his targets for 77 yards and a touchdown. AP’s injury appears to not be serious but it might not hurt to pick up McKinnon just in case if you’re an AP owner this week. The Giants are a dream matchup in the passing game.
- Donald Brown – Another back up thrusted into the fantasy limelight, Brown took over primary RB duties for the Chargers once Gordon went down with his knee injury. Yesterday Gordon was placed on season ending injured reserve opening the door for Brown to start the rest of the season. Brown was very effective rushing for 90 yards on only 12 carries. The Chargers inability to run the ball consistently and their remaining schedule decrease make Brown a risky waiver option.
- Markus Wheaton – Wheaton was again feasted on the 3rd corner back Sunday posting 62 yards on 6 catches and a touchdown. This week the Steelers face the Ravens and their awful secondary. With a chance to win or move on in your league, every Steeler receiver should be owned and started this week.
- Kamar Aiken – Aiken has been the lone bright spot for the Ravens all season long but he has really stepped up since Steve Smith Sr. went down early in the year. Aiken is coming off a week 15 performance that saw him post career highs in receptions and yards as well as find the end zone on a beautifully executed hail Mary. Aiken gets a great matchup in the Steelers this week who are next to last in the league in passing yards allowed.
- Ruben Randle / Devon Harris – With the suspension to Odell Beckham Jr. both Randle and Harris need to step up big as they travel to Minnesota Sunday night. Randle has turned a corner as of late posting back to back weeks with touchdowns. Harris’s role with defiantly increase like it did when he filled in for Randle when he was hurt. The loss of OBJ will defiantly make it tough for either of them to produce at the same level as when he is on it.
- Stefon Diggs – Diggs finally bought a GPS that told him where the end zone was! Diggs found the end zone twice Sunday after not finding it for 6 straight weeks. The loss of AP defiantly forced the Vikings to throw more than they would have liked and Diggs was able to take full advantage of his 4 targets. With the Giants coming to town in primetime look for Diggs to take advantage of their poor passing defense.
- Dorial Green-Beckham – Once again the Monster was let loose. Sunday marked the second time in his rookie campaign the DGB was able to surpass 100 yards receiving. He was able to do it against a very good Patriots secondary who had shut down Deandre Hopkins just a week prior. A tough matchup against Houston is up next but DGB looks like he might be heading towards becoming matchup proof.
- Will Tye – Tye has been a solid starter since getting the starting job in NY, and had another solid outing, hauling in 5 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown over Carolina. With OBJ possibly out, look for the Giants to rely more on Tye in the passing game as he might be in for a big game against Minnesota.
- Zach Ertz – Ertz was a beast Sunday night against the Cardinals leading the team in targets. Ertz posted 8 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown and has now had back to back solid weeks for the Eagles. With a divisional showdown with the Redskins up next, look for the Eagles to once again lean on Ertz to help keep their division and playoff hopes alive.
- Eric Ebron – Ebron is starting to look more dominant as the weeks go by and finally might be 100% healthy after missing some time with a sprained knee. With the Niners up next who have recently allowed TE’s to score in back to back weeks, look for Ebron to continue to his solid play.
- Kyle Rudolph – The Giants are up next and they have been awful against all things passing. Rudolph is a boom or bust option at TE but if there was any matchup to have a great game it would be against the Giants in primetime.
- Maxx Williams – The talented rookie finally saw the field Sunday and didn’t disappoint. Williams caught 5 of his 6 targets for 31 yards. With the season all but lost in Baltimore it looks like they are going to allow some future pieces to see the field. Look for Williams to get the start again this week especially if Gilmore can’t go and Boyle is demoted after his suspension.
- Miami – Well Miami never lived up to the preseason hype but in spot starts they have shown flashes of the defensive all fantasy owners had hoped they would be. Indy has been a defenses dream as of late and if Hasselbeck can’t go, pencil this one to get ugly.
- Pittsburgh – The Steelers secondary has been awful all year but their ability to create turnovers has provided them value in fantasy. With Clausen possibly getting the start Sunday, the Steelers could add to their turnover total even if they give up some points in the process.
- Detroit – The Lions defense has drastically improved since the coaching changes. With a dream matchup at home against the turnover prone Niners, look to Detroit for week 16 relief.
- Tennessee – With Brandon Weeden in line to get the start Sunday, the Titans defense jumps on to my waiver wire list. The Titans have had a good defense all season long and the potential to face a Weeden led Texans team at homes spells what I think is going to be a big fantasy day.
- Minnesota – No OBJ could mean the Giants struggle to move the ball all day long in Minnesota. The old Eli might come out as he tries to force the ball to Randle and Harris all game long. The Vikings are a boom or bust start as you just never know what Eli you’re going to get.
- Chris Boswell – If you didn’t listen to me last week or the week before or the week before that, do me a favor and pick him up! Boswell has been a beast since Nov. 29th averaging double digits every week. With Baltimore up next, look for that streak to continue.
- Blair Walsh – The Vikings vs the Giants theme continues! Walsh has found fantasy relevance as of late posting back to back double digit games. The Vikings should be able to move the ball Sunday night giving Walsh plenty of opportunties to make it three games in a row.
- Jason Myers – Jacksonville has one of the hottest offenses in the league and should be able to move the ball in the Superdome when they face the Saints. Every kicker loves playing indoors and Myers should see plenty of opportunties to continue his field goal streak from distance. Myers has successfully kicked a FG of 40 yards or greater in 5 of his last 7 games.
- Randy Bullock – The Jets offensive has been on fire as of late and are facing a must win Sunday as they go up against their bitter rivals the New England Patriots. Bullock’s accuracy has been suspect but the Jets are going to lean on him to help them get past the Patriots and keep their playoff hopes alive.
- Josh Lambo – Oakland has given up the most points to kickers this season and the Chargers are taking on Oakland in a Thursday night matchup. San Diego’s offense is so hit or miss which has really hurt Lambo’s value all season long. This may be the only week I suggest to start him with an ounce of confidence.