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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 16
12/21/15; Updated: 12/22/15 Users...
Check out the most popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on your waiver wire this week by using the MFL Power feature at FF Today. Just input your league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
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.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.


Teddy 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.

Brock 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.

UPDATE: There’s been 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.

Blaine 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.

Ryan 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.

QB Updates

AJ 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.

Johnny 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.

Kirk 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 fantasy start.

T.J. Yates, HOU – Yates likely tore his ACL on Sunday (throwing for just 68 passing yards with an INT) and was replaced by Brandon Weeden.

UPDATE: Yates is done, Brian Hoyer is still in the concussion protocol and Weeden is likely to get the Week 16 start.

Steven Jackson

Steven Jackson is back in the league but is a risky fantasy play in the Patriots unreliable backfield.

Running Backs

Rashad 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.

Mike 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.

Karlos 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.

Christine 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.

Steven 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.

Cameron 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 Atlanta.

Jerick 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.

Bilal 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 16.

RB Updates

Bryce Brown, SEA – Brown had just nine carries for 43 yards as the Seahawks deployed a full committee at RB on Sunday versus the Browns.

Fred Jackson, SEA – Jackson didn’t get any carries and caught 2-17-0 on three targets Sunday. He’s useless in this offense.

Brandon 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.

Fozzy 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.

Isaiah Crowell, CLE – Crowell had just 23 rushing yards and 3-7-0 receiving in the loss to Seattle.

Tim Hightower, NO – Update coming Tuesday.

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.

Denard 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.

Jonathan 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

Dorial 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.

Rueben 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.

Adam 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.

Jaelen 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.

TE Zach 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.

TE Tyler 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.

WR/TE Updates

Marques Colston, NO – Update coming Tuesday.

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.

Albert 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 exclusively.

Nelson 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.

Keshawn 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.

Jeremy Butler, BAL – Butler had 3-60-0 but Kamar Aiken had the better fantasy day in Week 15.

TE Eric Ebron, DET – Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Ebron had 4-79-0 on five targets Monday night and is borderline TE1 facing they Niners this week.

TE Zach 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.

TE Kyle 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 TEs.