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Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
Bridgewater, MIN – Bridgewater (30-40 percent owned)
was a fantasy afterthought heading into a Week 15 game with Chicago,
largely because this team has played it safe with a punishing
ground attack. But after Adrian Peterson left with a sprained
ankle, the Vikings looked to its wideouts and backup RB Jerick
McKinnon as a split receiver. Bridgewater was incredibly efficient
on 17-for-20 passing, accumulating 231-4-0 and adding a rushing
TD and 17 yards on the ground. He’ll be a borderline QB1 facing
the Giants horrific pass defense in Week 16.
Osweiler, DEN – Osweiler is about 50 percent owned
in fantasy leagues and was looking as sharp as ever in the first
two quarters, but his play took a nosedive after a hit right before
the half ended. He finished with 296-3-1 as well as 19 rushing
yards and a TD. Though he injured his non-throwing shoulder and
stayed in the game, he’ll have it looked at before a determination
is made on who starts in Week 16.
no confirmation on Gary Kubiak’s starter for Week 16, though
the early money is on Osweiler fighting through his ailment before
Manning emerges from plantar fasciitis hell. The veteran QB reportedly
had a setback in his recovery last week.
Gabbert, SF – The matchup was not good in Week 15 and
Gabbert responded with 3 INTs against the Bengals, but he could
be a sneaky QB2 against the Lions in Week 16. He’s worth watching
in DFS contests, where he’ll have low ownership but could rack
up big yardage and a few TDs.
Tannehill, MIA – Fantasy owners who invested in Tannehill
in the preseason (me included) must be kicking themselves (I certainly
am) but he’s got a good matchup against the Colts in Week 16 and
could be a decent DFS option as well.
McCarron, CIN – With the Bengals ground game punching
in a couple of scores against the 49ers, McCarron (10-25 percent
owned) didn’t have much of a fantasy day (192-1-0) but was efficient
and did enough to win without too much hassle. He’ll be forced
to throw a lot more against the Broncos in Week 16.
Manziel, CLE – Manziel threw for 161-1-1 and rushed
for 17 yards in the loss to Seattle. He’s a desperation option
in two-QB leagues for Week 16, nothing more.
Cousins, WAS – Cousins was spectacular in Week 15,
throwing for 319-4-0 and adding 11 rushing yards and a TD on the
ground in a decisive win over the Bills. He’s typically been better
at home but the matchup in Philadelphia could warrant another
Yates, HOU – Yates likely tore his ACL on Sunday (throwing
for just 68 passing yards with an INT) and was replaced by Brandon
UPDATE:Yates is done, Brian
Hoyer is still in the concussion protocol and Weeden is likely
to get the Week 16 start.
Steven Jackson is back in the league but
is a risky fantasy play in the Patriots unreliable backfield.
Jennings, NYG – Jennings has now logged two solid performances
in a row for the Giants and ran for 107 yards and a TD in 16 carries
versus the Panthers in Week 15. He’s owned in about 60-70 percent
of fantasy leagues and should be rostered in all formats heading
into Week 16.
UPDATE:The Odell Beckham Jr.
one-game suspension (his appeal will be heard this week) could
mean some more reliance on the ground game for the Giants this
week. Stay tuned and you can lean on Jennings as a high-upside
flex as the team’s lead back against the Vikings.
Gillislee, BUF – Gillislee (four carries for 81 yards
and a TD on Sunday) now has two TDs in consecutive weeks and has
only been active in three games this season. He could be in line
for more work if LeSean McCoy misses any time. Gillisslee is universally
available but will likely be a popular pick this week – just follow
the injury report to make sure he’ll even be getting touches in
Week 16 against the Cowboys.
Williams, BUF –UPDATE:McCoy has been diagnosed with a torn MCL, and is considered
“week-to-week,” vaulting both Gillislee and Williams into consideration.
Williams, who is nursing a shoulder injury, missed weeks 13 and
14 and had just four carries (albeit for 41 yards) in Week 15.
He’s sore and still questionable for Week 16, but if he’s good
to go he’ll share touches with Gillislee in a committee.
Michael, SEA –UPDATE:You probably all know I’m not a big fan of Michael by
now, but he did take hold of the opportunity (for the first time
in his career) in Week 15 and could get the majority of touches
in what appears to be a full-fledged committee. His upside is
limited but he’s not a terrible RB3/flex play.
Jackson, NE – Jackson was just signed by the Pats to
a one-year deal and will likely be used as an early-down pounder
as they make their run in the playoffs. He’ll be a risky fantasy
option during the final two weeks of the regular season, but could
get extended work in one or both of the contests as the coaches
try to familiarize him with the playbook. Stay tuned as reports
come out of practice this week.
Artis-Payne – The Panthers go-to RB with Jonathan Stewart
inactive, the Notorious CAP will be a popular add this week, but
could be rendered irrelevant if the starter comes back. Keep an
eye on Stewart’s status as the week progresses.
UPDATE:Stewart is not practicing
on Tuesday and will likely be held out of action again this week.
Look for CAP to dominate touches again in a decent matchup versus
McKinnon, MIN – McKinnon (10 percent owned) had just
10 rushing yards on seven carries Sunday but added 4-76-1 receiving.
He’d assume more offensive responsibility if Adrian Peterson were
to miss any action, but could be utilized as a receiver regardless
of AD’s status in Week 16. He makes for a great PPR add.
UPDATE:Peterson looks okay
via the early reports, but McKinnon could still have a nice role
as a PPR option – he just doesn’t have the monster
upside of a game missing AD.
Powell, NYJ – The Jets have gotten a lot out of this
workmanlike passing down back during the past three weeks, and
his 7-54-0 receiving line was bolstered by 25 rushing yards and
a TD on six carries versus the Cowboys. Powell (30-40 percent
owned) is much more than just a PPR option – he’ll be a big part
of the Jets’ game plan in trying to defeat the Patriots in Week
Brown, SEA – Brown had just nine carries for 43 yards
as the Seahawks deployed a full committee at RB on Sunday versus
Jackson, SEA – Jackson didn’t get any carries and caught
2-17-0 on three targets Sunday. He’s useless in this offense.
Bolden, NE – Bolden (36 rushing yards on 10 carries;
2-18-0) was upstaged by both James White and the recently promoted
Joey Iosefa (51 rushing yards on 14 carries). They’re all risky
fantasy options in Week 16.
Whittaker, CAR – Cameron Artis-Payne got the majority
of work (59 rushing yards on 14 carries; 2-34-0 receiving) while
Whittaker added just two carries and 2-14-0 receiving. He’s not
of much value moving forward.
Crowell, CLE – Crowell had just 23 rushing yards and
3-7-0 receiving in the loss to Seattle.
UPDATE:Hightower rushed for
54 yards on 13 carries and had 3-31-0 receiving, including a seemingly
meaningless 18-yard reception to close out the game – one
that vaulted one DraftKings user from fifth place to second place
in the Millionaire Maker – a $340,000 difference!!!! That
same guy actually had the top spot ($1M) but lost out when a Hightower
TD run was called back by a penalty earlier in the game. Regardless,
Hightower looks to be carrying most of the load from here on out.
Robinson, JAC – Robinson was decent in PPR leagues
Sunday, adding 8-46-0 to a pitiful 28 rushing yards in 14 carries.
More importantly, he didn’t take any of his 20+ touches into the
end zone in a week that fantasy owners were counting on it. A
return by T.J. Yeldon would put a big dent in his utility.
Grimes, HOU – After a few weeks of relevance, Grimes
had just one carry for 1 yard on Sunday. Never again, Jonathan!
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Green-Beckham, TEN – DGB (25-30 percent owned) had
a much better time getting open than his frustrated cousin on
Sunday, posting 6-113-0 on nine targets against the Patriots.
It’s likely he’ll continue to see plenty of looks in Sunday’s
tilt with the Texans in Week 16.
Randle, NYG – The Giants No.2 WR caught 4-47-1 on five
targets from Eli Manning on Sunday and will likely see double-digit
targets in Week 16 if the league suspends Odell Beckham, Jr. for
his nonsense in Sunday’s loss. Randle is a dynamic player who
has struggled with drops but could emerge as a viable WR3 at Minnesota.
UPDATE:The OBJ suspension
vaults Randle into must-play status for Week 16.
Humphries, TB – As the Bucs look to find viable receiving
option aside from Mike Evans (who was targeted 17 times by Jameis
Winston on Thursday night), Humphries (universally available)
appears to be a possible No.2 option in Tampa. His 6-60-0 on six
targets vaults the undrafted rookie into relevance as a possible
waiver pickup heading into Week 16.
Strong, HOU – We’ve seen what he can do before, but
now he’s a better option with Cecil Shorts (groin) on the shelf.
Strong caught 2-23-1 but could see a lot more targets as the Texans
try to find talented receiving options other than DeAndre Hopkins
in the final two weeks before the playoffs.
Ertz, PHI – Ertz (25-30 percent owned) caught 8-78-12
on 13 targets on Sunday night and faces the Redskins in Week 16.
He’ll be a popular waiver wire darling heading into this slate,
but remember, guys: Chip Kelly.
Kroft, CIN – Kroft (0 percent owned) caught 3-31-1
in the win over San Francisco and would be a decent TE2 if Tyler
Eifert (concussion) is forced to miss Week 16. Stay tuned.
UPDATE:Eifert remains in the
concussion protocol and is unlikely to play Week 16.
UPDATE:Colston had one TD
called back via penalty but still finished with 2-39-1 in the
loss to Detroit. He’s a risky play in any format especially
if Brees can’t go in Week 16.
Wilson, KC – Wilson hauled in 4-27-0 on four targets
but the conservative Chiefs didn’t utilize him all that much in
the win over Baltimore, feeding Jeremy Maclin (10 targets, 7-50-1)
and Charcanderick West (16 carries for 76 yards and a TD) almost
Agholor, PHI – Chip Kelly is the worst. A week after
his breakout, Agholor had one target for zero things. Beautiful
mess you’ve got on your hands, Philly. Couldn’t happen to a nicer
bunch of folks.
Martin, NE – Martin had 3-26-0 on four targets but
muffed a punt and is probably going away as a fantasy option with
the other WRs getting healthy.
Butler, BAL – Butler had 3-60-0 but Kamar Aiken had
the better fantasy day in Week 15.
UPDATE:Ebron had 4-79-0 on
five targets Monday night and is borderline TE1 facing they Niners
Miller, CHI – Miller was solid (6-57-0 on six targets)
but couldn’t reach paydirt in the loss to Minnesota. He’s still
a legit TE1 against the Bucs in Week 16.
Rudolph, MIN – Despite a productive day for Bridgewater,
Rudolph has just 2-21-0 on two targets. He’s a TE2 with some upside
against the reeling Giants, who always struggle to defend opposing