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Early Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 16 (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Brendan Tuma | @toomuchtuma | Featured Writer
Dec 19, 2021

Remember to reach out with questions on Twitter (@toomuchtuma) anytime.

Note: Most players are less than 30% rostered in Yahoo leagues.

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Running Back

Ronald Jones II (RB – TB): 35% rostered
This is just a reminder to be stacking your bench with handcuffs at this time of year, even if you don’t roster the player you’re handcuffing. For example, Jones should universally rostered just in case something happens to Leonard Fournette. “Lombardi Lenny” missed practice on both Wednesday and Thursday due to an ankle issue, which set in some mild panic around the fantasy industry. Fournette is playing on Sunday Night Football versus the Saints, but Tampa Bay’s next two matchups are against the run-funnel Panthers and the helpless Jets. Stash Jones everywhere, just in case.

Devontae Booker (RB – NYG): 24% rostered
Not only is Booker is a strong handcuff option moving forward, but his strong play is becoming a bit concerning for Saquon Barkley managers. In Week 15, Booker rushed eight times for 74 yards and caught 2-of-2 targets for eight yards through the air. Meanwhile, Barkley was bottled up for 50 yards on 15 attempts on the ground. Booker isn’t a viable fantasy option while Barkley is healthy, but he should be rostered in more than 24% of leagues. He would be a plug-and-play RB2 if anything happened to Barkley.

D’Ernest Johnson (RB – CLE): 23% rostered
The Browns play on Monday night and Kareem Hunt has already been ruled out. Johnson isn’t as clean of a handcuff since he would need both Nick Chubb and Hunt to be sidelined in order to have high-end value, but the upside is so immense that he’s worthy of bench stash consideration. Remember, it’s handcuffing season.

Craig Reynolds (RB – DET): 12% rostered
After rushing 11 times for 83 yards against the Broncos last Sunday, Reynolds stayed hot in Week 15. The unheralded Detroit running back carried the ball a whopping 26 times for 112 yards in an upset win over Arizona. He also caught his only target for a gain of five. Reynolds benefitted from the absences of both D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, but it’s unclear if that duo will return next weekend against Atlanta. If they don’t, then Reynolds’ waiver wire shine will certainly be on the rise.

Boston Scott (RB – PHI): 19% rostered
Jordan Howard (RB – PHI): 9% rostered
It looks like the Eagles will have all three of Scott, Howard, and Miles Sanders available for Tuesday’s Week 15 game against the Washington Football Team. One would expect Sanders to be the primary ball carrier and for Scott/Howard to be seldomly used, but we don’t actually know how things will shake out down the stretch. Philadelphia is such a run-heavy offense that it makes sense to take fliers on their easy-to-acquire RBs.

Duke Johnson (RB – MIA): 1% rostered
Week 15 of the 2021 season was Johnson’s first 20-carry game of his career, his first 100-yard rushing performance, and his first game with two rushing scores. Frustratingly for Myles Gaskin managers, it also came entirely out of nowhere. Gaskin apparently didn’t have his usual stamina following a positive COVID-19 test. As fun as Johnson’s outing was, fantasy managers shouldn’t count on him repeating it in Week 16. For starters, the Jets were a plus matchup on Sunday. Furthermore, Gaskin will likely be more involved next weekend. Finally, the Saints have one of the best rushing defenses in the league.

Wide Receiver

Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – DET): 29% rostered
The rookie saw double digit targets for the third straight game in Week 15’s win over the Cardinals. He also topped 73 receiving yards for the third game in a row. In total, St. Brown posted 90 yards and a score on eight catches (11 targets). He has likely benefitted from the absence of T.J. Hockenson, who is now sidelined for the season. St. Brown has a scary floor as a member of the Lions, but he’s suddenly on the WR3 radar moving forward. Detroit draws the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16.

Gabriel Davis (WR – BUF): 17% rostered
The sophomore wideout was a popular waiver wire add following Emmanuel Sanders‘ Week 14 injury, and he’ll be an even more popular name following a two-touchdown game in Week 15. Davis wound up hauling in 5-of-7 targets for 85 yards and the aforementioned two scores on Sunday against Carolina. The 22-year-old entered the game ranking second on Buffalo in yards per route run. He also has four TDs in his past three games. Davis’ fantasy value is theoretically tied to Sanders’ health moving moving forward, but there’s also a chance that the Bills give him more run after this performance. Davis is a priority Week 16 add.

Tight End

Ricky Seals-Jones (TE – WFT): 16% rostered
Logan Thomas (ACL) is out for the year. When Thomas was sidelined earlier this season it was RSJ who saw a big increase in workload and targets. However, in Week 14 against the Cowboys, it was actually John Bates who ran more routes than Seals-Jones. Monitor Washington’s tight end usage on Tuesday night before fully committing to RSJ, but there could be some hidden value here.

Quarterback

Justin Fields (QB – CHI): 24% rostered
The rookie signal caller hasn’t played yet as of this writing, with Chicago squaring off against Minnesota on Monday Night Football. However, it’s hard to imagine a better fill-in quarterback for any fantasy managers who need a streamer moving forward. Fields certainly isn’t a finished product, and there are genuine concerns about his supporting cast/coaching. Still, in his past three games that he has started and finished, the 22-year-old has registered 25, 17, and 17 fantasy points. During this span he’s averaging 74 rushing yards. The upside he provides with his legs make him a worthwhile streamer/backup quarterback.

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Brendan Tuma is a featured writer at FantasyPros. To read more from Brendan, check out his archive and follow him @toomuchtuma.

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