The Waiver Wire: Week 16 Playoff Edition
Do you believe momentum exists in fantasy football? I had a talk with a co-worker a few months ago who strongly believes that momentum is a real thing in fantasy football and that you want to be going into the playoffs on a winning streak. I thought he was crazy for saying it but I get where he is coming from. I mean we see this all the time in the NFL, right? A team gets hot late into the season, is able to sneak into the playoffs, things just so happen to bounce their way, and before you know it they are Super Bowl Champions. But come on, that is real football this is fake football built around real football. Momentum can’t be real in a game that is built around players from multiple teams or can it? In my home league that I am the commissioner in I wrapped up the top seed before Thanksgiving and while coasting into the #1 seed I lost my last two games both badly. I limped into tonights Monday Night Football Game needing Alvin Kamara & Michael Thomas to go bananas (over 60pts combined) for me to have a shot and they came up 8pts short.
I can’t say if momentum in fantasy is real but winning does make you feel more invincible when it comes to making tough lineup decisions or going after the high upside low floor flyers that can turn an entire matchup around. It will always help to have the best players for that season on your team but getting the right players that are hot at the right time is the perfect recipe for a season that ends with you being your league champions! That is why the Waiver Wire is so important week in and week out and why this week is no different as your entire season is on the line! You are either getting ready for your league championship or you are getting ready for your semifinal matchup. Either way, it’s time to sit down, buckle in and get ready to make the one move that helps you win it all!
Below I will help guide you to which players you should be targeting with your top waiver claims or FAAB dollars at each position. Whether the switch is due to an injury or a players lack of production the Waiver Wire is where championship lineups are made. Before we head into the top pickups for week 16 let’s take a peek at the key injuries from week 15;
- Todd Gurley: Knee inflammation and is considered day to day
- Keenan Allen: Hip issue and is week to week
- Aaron Jones: MCL sprain and is week to week
- Lamar Miller: Ankle injury that caused him to exit in the 1st half
- Matt Breida: Re-aggravated his ankle injury
- Frank Gore: Ankle/Foot injury that saw him carted from the field. His season could be over
- Tyler Boyd: MCL sprain that could end Boyd’s season
- Ito Smith: Knee injury puts Smith on IR
- Randall Cobb: Concussion knocked him out of the game and is currently in concussion protocol
- Marcus Murphy: Dislocated Elbow and is week to week
Now onto the top Waiver Wire pickups for this playoff edition of week 16!
As a disclaimer, all players must be owned by less than 60% of ESPN or Yahoo leagues. Ownership percentages are in parenthesizes. Below I have ranked the top 3 adds at each position with a bonus player or two sprinkled in throughout.
Baker Mayfield (ESPN 47% / Yahoo 60%)
This for all the marbles and why not roll out one of the hottest QBs playing right now. Baker has 8 TDs over his past 4 games, including 2 on the road last Saturday. This week the Browns head home to face the pitiful Bengals who rank 28th in the NFL in passing yds allowed per game (271.0). Fire up Baker who has a QB1 performance in his sights.
Josh Allen (ESPN 31% / Yahoo 23%)
I get it that Josh Allen is playing more like Michael Vick then Lamar Jackson is but this one is more about how bad the Patriots defense is playing than anything. Over their past two weeks, New England has given up 189 yds on the ground to the Dolphins in week 14 & 158 yds to the Steelers this past weekend. Over the last two weeks, the Patriots are allowing on average 173.5 yds on the ground which lines up well for one of the best running QBs in the league! Fire up Vanilla Vick with confidence!
Nick Foles (ESPN 9% / Yahoo 7%)
Another year, another Nick Foles sighting behind center in Philly. If he is able to rekindle the amazing stretch of games he had last year he might be a league winning QB in week 16 or 17. Philly get’s Houston at home and it’s a Texans team that on the road gave up 253 yds & 2 TDs to Sam Darnold last week. Foles could be a sneaky good play this weekend.
Jamaal Williams (ESPN 11% / Yahoo 17%)
The injury to Aaron Jones leaves Williams all alone in the backfield. With volume comes production and Williams is the clear top waiver RB to target this week and maybe the overall top waiver wire target depending on your individual teams need.
Kalen Ballage (ESPN 1% / Yahoo 2%)
Yup, you read that right, Kalen Ballage not Kenyan Drake is the RB to own in Miami the rest of the season. The speedster out of Arizona State was the one called upon after Gore was sidelined with an ankle injury, popping off for 12/123/1 on 26(49%) of the offensive snaps. Look for a 60/40 split between Balage and Drake with Ballage getting the first crack at the number 1 duties starting this week.
John Kelly (ESPN 3% / Yahoo 4%)
This is a bit of a hail mary play but if you own Gurley or you are heading into a week 16 matchup vs him, do yourself a favor and pick up John Kelly. I know Gurley’s injury seems minor but I wouldn’t want to take a chance here with a championship on the line. Anything can happen and if Gurley is to sit because of that knee injury, Kelly is in line for the same level of volume at RB. That could be RB1 level volume from one of the best RB prospects in the 2018 class that no one talked about.
Mike Williams (ESPN 28% / Yahoo 51%)
With Keenan Allen hobbled by a hip injury “Big” Mike Williams was a beast vs KC last Thursday Night! With Allen out of the game, Williams saw a position high in Snap Count 89% (66/74), a team in targets (10), and had a season-high 3 TDs. The cherry on top for fantasy owners and LA Chargers fans was Williams two-point conversation for the win. Thursday Night showed us what Williams ceiling is if he is asked to be the #1 WR on the Chargers so If Allen is unable to go Sunday, Williams should be set for a big workload.
Robby Anderson (ESPN 18% / Yahoo 27%)
Don’t look now but Anderson and Darnold are beginning to click. Over the last two weeks, Anderson has 18 targets, 17d yds, and back to back games with a TD. With GB coming to New York Sunday after being eliminated from the playoffs, look for Darnold and Anderson to take full advantage of the 3rd worst fantasy defense to guard WRs. Anderson goes over 100 yds and keeps his scoring streak alive this week!
Robert Foster (ESPN 3% / Yahoo 14%)
Similar to Anderson Foster has quietly turned in a solid two-game stretch going off for 212 receiving yds and 1 TD on 13 targets. In deeper leagues, Foster is a mandatory grab for low FAAb dollars or end of the waiver spot. Just like in Allen’s case the secondary for New England has been giving up yards and Buffalo may be able to shock New England after back to back tough road losses.
Gerald Everett (ESPN 7% / Yahoo 19%)
If Gurley is unable to go Sunday, Everett’s value should increase. Goff may have to learn more on the passing game even more so then he has been asked to do so far this year. As the Rams top pass catching TE on their roster, Evertt’s rare speed (4.62 40) mixed with his route running make him a top TE to target this week!
Blake Jarwin (ESPN 1% / Yahoo 1%)
Jarwin is the guy in Dallas right now after racking up another 7 tgts on Sunday. With TB on deck traveling to Dallas Stadium, look Jarwin and company to take full advantage of the Buccaneers.
Chris Herndon (ESPN 12% / Yahoo 12%)
Herndon has become one of the top targets for Darnold right alongside Anderson. Chase the volume with Herndon as any week he could be a TE1.
That will do it for the top players to target for Week 16! Don’t forget to get those waiver claims in and thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. You can find me on Twitter @Trotta23. If you need EVEN more fantasy advice, you can follow The Gurus @TFFGurus & you can find all our season-long advice at tffgurus.com. I will see you all next Tuesday for another edition of The Waiver Wire. Until then may the health gods forever be in your favor.