Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 16
Week 15 has wrapped up, and with it, most fantasy football semifinals. The traditional championship week is upon us, and we need to be prepared for everything, but we won’t forget about those of you who have Week 17 finals (or two-week finals) as well. After losing Carson Wentz last week, fantasy owners and real-life fans lost another superstar in Antonio Brown thanks to a partially-torn calf muscle.
The Hunger Games season that is 2017 is almost at an end, and we’re here handing out cups of Gatorade to all of you running the good race. Martavis Bryant and Randall Cobb are already owned in over half of Yahoo leagues, but they are the premier adds where available. In the 30-50 percent ownership range sit Mike Wallace, Dede Westbrook, and Eric Ebron.
As usual, ownership levels discussed here are taken from Yahoo leagues.
Priority Pickups – <30% Owned
Keelan Cole (JAC – WR) 6% owned (25% FAAB)
With Marqise Lee exiting Sunday’s contest with an ankle injury, it was Cole who stepped up with 186 yards and a score on seven catches. Do you want to know who leads the league in Yards After Catch over the last four weeks? Yes, it’s Cole with 184 YAC. He’s also one of 30 WRs with at least 300 Air Yards over that span, so he’s not simply taking bubble screens and breaking out. Dede Westbrook (2-21-0) let many owners down and Jaydon Mickens (4-61-2) would be relevant if Lee and Allen Hurns are out for Week 16, but Cole is the buzzy player we need to address.
Lee had commanded a 25 percent target share over the last three games, which are unlikely to trickle toward Marcedes Lewis. We can’t ignore that Leonard Fournette‘s likely return will see the run game revitalized, but Cole against a San Fran secondary that may still be burnt from DeAndre Hopkins in Week 14 (11-149-2) and Rishard Matthews this past week (6-95-1) is not a bad look.
Wayne Gallman (NYG – RB) 5% owned (15% FAAB)
Over the last two weeks, Gallman has turned in 98 rushing yards on 20 carries and 80 receiving yards on a lovely 13 catches (16 targets). I don’t care if he’s on an offense that can resemble a Pop Warner squad, as they showed their potential in putting up 29 points against a solid Philly defense in Week 15. Orleans Darkwa only mustered seven yards on nine carries, though he buoyed his day with a touchdown. Shane Vereen mixed in for a few passing downs, but Gallman’s usage in the passing game and overall versatility makes him the clear lead back to me. He’ll be flex-worthy in PPR formats against the Cardinals in Week 16.
Kendall Wright (CHI – WR) 4% owned (15% FAAB)
Wright’s 24 targets over the last two games are the fifth-most by a wide receiver, trailing names such as Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins. While Wright’s 188 yards and no scores over that span are easily outshined by those other two’s production, we can’t ignore the volume that is coming his way. I’m not saying that Mitchell Trubisky is suddenly Brett Favre out there, slinging the ball relentlessly, but a rookie is allowed to find a favorite guy — especially one who has some reputation for being a reliable slot WR. With a Week 16 date against Cleveland, one should be able to find the Wright stuff on most waivers and plug him into your PPR lineup.
Benjamin Watson (BAL – TE) 14% owned (12% FAAB)
Watson caught four balls for a healthy 74 yards and a score against the Browns (shocking, a TE kicking the Browns) to get back on the grid after disappearing in Week 14. Just like Allen (and Wallace if he’s available), Watson is a desirable streamer for those in need thanks to the matchup with Indianapolis. Baltimore is favored by nearly two touchdowns as of this writing — which is ridiculous — and Indy is a bottom-10 team for fantasy points allowed to TEs. Or top-10, from Watson’s perspective!
Javorius Allen (BAL – RB) 29% owned (12% FAAB)
Allen would play on 26 snaps compared to Alex Collins‘ 30 with Baltimore in the driver’s seat for much of the game. Allen’s 70 rushing yards were his most since Week 5, coming on just 13 carries and continuing an upward trend for “Buck” after he had scored three TDs over his previous three games. If garbage time is the reason for his playing more, then I firmly believe that his chances of seeing a similar opportunity are even higher than last week with the Colts due up for Week 16. This could be a 27-3 game by halftime.
Geronimo Allison (GB – WR) 1% owned (8% FAAB)
With Davante Adams in concussion protocol courtesy of a terrible hit to the head from Carolina’s Thomas Davis, Allison once again joins Green Bay’s three-wide sets. Allison saw eight targets in Week 15 after Adams left the game and could see a similar workload with Jordy Nelson likely drawing Xavier Rhodes’ coverage in the Week 16 divisional showdown. Of course, his outlook would take a hit if Aaron Rodgers were held out and Brett Hundley was re-inserted, but the volume should still be there regardless.
Nick Foles (PHI – QB) 27% owned (8% FAAB)
Foles absolutely shredded the Giants for 237 yards and four touchdowns in Week 15, as the new Eagles QB looked comfortable enough with the first-stringers to pass the litmus test of fantasy-viability. He should continue to get plenty of reps in next week as Philly continues to polish off their new offensive unit before the playoff push, though he could sit in Week 17. The Eagles will take on the Raiders first, though, which has to be taken a little seriously. Oakland held both Alex Smith and Dak Prescott without touchdown passes in their last two games while forcing three total INTs, but I wager the Raiders capsize here. Vegas agrees, marking Philly as nine-point favorites with an implied team total of nearly 30. That makes Foles a true top-12 play for Week 16. Even if you don’t want to play him, you should block your opponent from making the add if they’re not rostering a top-five play.
Joe Flacco (BAL – QB) 18% owned (8% FAAB)
Although Flacco still hasn’t topped 300 yards on the season and might be missing Jeremy Maclin for Week 16, he stands as a top add thanks to his opponent being the lowly Indianapolis defense. To his credit, Flacco has still thrown for between 265-290 yards in each of his last three games alongside a 5:1 TD:INT ratio. The Colts just made Brock Osweiler look like a QB1 last Thursday, and at this point, that’s all you need to know for this to be actionable.
Deep League Targets – <10% owned
Elijhaa Penny (ARI – RB) 0% owned (8% FAAB)
Kerwynn Williams was having yet another Kerwynn game on Sunday, totaling 61 yards on 17 carries for an uninspiring 3.5 YPC rate before exiting with a quad injury. Penny would end up seeing 10 carries thanks to that injury, gaining 45 yards before the final whistle. Even if Williams does return, Penny would be the guy who enters for a goal-line carry against the Giants in Week 16 and would be in line for 18-20 touches should Williams become the latest Cardinals RB to become unavailable.
Damiere Byrd (CAR – WR) 0% owned (8% FAAB)
A named add last week, Byrd built on Week 14’s five-catch party by turning in the first two touchdowns of his career against Green Bay as he continues to establish himself as Carolina’s No. 2 receiver. He’s still behind Devin Funchess (and Greg Olsen), but Byrd’s top-notch speed at least gives him upside alongside the risk in the mold of Ted Ginn with Tampa Bay’s questionable defense on tap for Week 16.
Kapri Bibbs (WAS – RB) 0% owned (5% FAAB in PPR)
Bibbs took over the pass-catching role in Washington’s backfield by catching four balls for 47 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed it twice for six yards, but all that shows is they do trust him, somewhere, to carry the ball if necessary rather than be a strict passing back. Samaje Perine has seen his performance dip as the offensive line limps to the end of the season, so perhaps Bibbs and his agility on the edge will prove to be more effective in Week 16 against Denver.
Eli Rogers (PIT – WR) 1% owned (5% FAAB)
Rogers should step into three-wide sets for Pittsburgh as they deal with the loss of Antonio Brown. Folks like Darrius Heyward-Bey and Justin Hunter will get their shots, but Rogers was the one who scored in Week 15’s crazy tilt with the Patriots, and I expect him to see the biggest boost with fantasy relevance as PIT goes and takes out their anger on a hapless Houston secondary in Week 16. It was Heyward-Bey who garnered more snaps (49 percent to Rogers’ 40 percent,) but DHB had but one measly target on the day (a three-yard reception). I would rather gamble on Rogers if I had to roll a pair of PIT WR dice.
Daniel Brown (CHI – TE) 0% owned (3% FAAB)
Brown was the primary receiving TE for Chicago, seeing four targets compared to Dion Sims‘ lone look with Adam Shaheen inactive thanks to a chest injury. If Shaheen cannot go in Week 16, then Brown looks to be the primary target for those needing a cheap bandage at TE thanks to a matchup with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have played respectable run defense and could limit an inconsistent Jordan Howard, but TEs have been a big source of pain for Cleveland. Benjamin Watson just put up that 4-74-1 line on them, so those in dire straits could turn to this Brown.
Chris Godwin (TB – WR) 1% owned (3% FAAB)
With DeSean Jackson exiting Week 15’s Monday night tilt against the Falcons with an ankle injury only to be seen with a walking boot and crutches afterward, Godwin becomes relevant as a likely starter in three-wide sets. Adam Humphries will continue to man the slot between Godwin and Mike Evans, but all three will be needed to beat the Panthers in another heated NFC South showdown next week. Tampa Bay’s rushing game is inconsistent at best and O.J. Howard also left Week 15 early, as Jameis Winston could be down a couple of usual targets.