Breaking news: the fantasy championship weekend is upon us*. If you made it this far, you did so by weathering the season’s whirlwind of breakouts, busts, and injuries. Still, the end of your 16-week odyssey is no time to get complacent. As they do every year, the playoffs culminate at a strange time in the NFL season. Some teams are fighting for playoff seeds, while others are willfully tanking for a better draft pick. Your team may have been amazing thus far, but the roster logistics of real-life football may create fantasy opportunities for unowned players to outperform your guys. Here are some interesting options available on the Week 16 waiver wire:
(*Don’t worry, Week 17 die-hards, I’ll be back in seven days with more waiver wire nuggets for you true degenerates.)
Standard League Streaming Options:
All of the above QBs are available in more than 50% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues. Cousins, Tannehill, and Fitzpatrick were top-10 fantasy QBs in Week 15 and could very well finish that way again this week thanks to favorable match-ups. Glennon and Keenum are much riskier. After topping 15 fantasy points in 6 of his first 8 starts, Glennon hasn’t done so at all over the past three weeks. Keenum has also cooled off as defenses have adjusted to his game, but he has the potential for garbage time greatness against Denver. Jason Campbell is the wildcard of this bunch. It terrifies me to recommend him on the road in New York, but the Browns could air it out in this game against an awful Jets’ secondary. On the other hand, they could stick to the run against the Jets’ stout defensive line in an attempt to submarine their season. Here’s what I know for sure: the fact that all of these yahoos are relevant to the fantasy discussion in Week 16 proves something I said before Week 1 — that 2-QB leagues are the future of fantasy football.
Deep League Options:
Speaking of 2-QB leagues, you won’t find much on the waiver wire this week behind center.
[Sidebar] As it should be! It’s not like top-20 running backs or wide receivers are turning up right now in standard leagues. Potential top options like Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill have real fantasy value and should be owned accordingly. This simply isn’t the case in standard formats, but Tannehill has been owned since August in 2-QB leagues and his owners stole a solid value by drafting him. We should care about these players for fantasy and 2-QB leagues force us to do so all season long. [End sidebar]
If you are somehow still alive at this point without a pair of quality passers, you could gamble on either half of the Oakland QB corps. Matt McGloin & Terrelle Pryor split snaps on Sunday against the Chiefs and the coaching staff of the Raiders has indicated that Pryor will continue to see action as a change-of-pace quarterback. Methinks the Raiders could use a change of pace on the coaching staff in the offseason, but regardless, Pryor gains some value in deep leagues, while McGloin loses some. This may have prompted an owner in your league to drop McGloin and provide you with 85% of a starting QB for the final weeks.
The real danger of streaming Case Keenum for some junk time production against the Broncos is that Matt Schaub might be the beneficiary of those junk time snaps. Denver is going to win this game by 28 bazillion points (all numbers approximate), so a switch to Schaub could be in play at some point.
The Eagles can clinch the NFC East with a win plus a Cowboys loss. Dallas plays before Philly on Sunday, so former starter Michael Vick could get some run in an effort to either save Nick Foles for the real playoffs or for the what could essentially be a playoff game between the ‘Boys and Iggles in Week 17.
In his first start of the season, Jordan Todman rushed for more yards than Maurice Jones-Drew had in any single game this season. Todman also added 4 catches for 44 yards on 8 targets. MJD could return this week, but Todman has proven himself to be a capable replacement and the clear-cut best RB waiver option for Week 16.
Chris “Silent G” Ogbonnaya lived
up down to his nickname on Sunday, posting a disappointingly quiet 4.6 fantasy points on 10 touches. Meanwhile, his teammate Edwin Baker gained 84 total yards and scored on his split of the Browns’ carries. As discussed 500 words ago, Cleveland has nothing to play for at this point of the season, so an extended look at Baker may be on tap over the season’s final weeks.
Say what you will about Matt Asiata’s horrifying yards-per-carry average from Sunday, touchdowns are the lifeblood of fantasy and he scored three of them. Unfortunately, fans of the goal-line carry are unlikely to see Asiata repeat this week as Adrian Peterson is slated to return to service for the Vikings. Only desperate owners need apply.
Better Late Than Never: Michael Crabtree, Doug Baldwin, Cordarrelle Patterson
Rueben Randle probably isn’t available in your league, but put a waiver claim in for him if he is. Sunday’s injuries to Victor Cruz might stifle his salsa dances for the season and Hakeem Nicks’ fantasy value left the dance floor a long time ago. On volume of experience, Randle stands to inherit the #1 WR role for the Giants going forward. In deeper leagues, Jerrel Jernigan might be worth a look as well. He led New York in targets, receptions, and yards on Sunday.
Despite the return of Denarius Moore, Andre Holmes maintained his fantasy value on Sunday, catching 4 of 7 targets for 58 yards and a TD. Oakland faces San Diego in Week 16, a match-up that should create a multitude of pass attempts for the Raiders as they try to keep up with Mike McCoy’s high-powered offense. Even if Moore plays additional snaps, Holmes should still see his fair share of action.
Ace Sanders didn’t do much in Cecil Shorts’ absence on Sunday, but he might have another chance to be the Jaguars’ WR1 this week. Temper your expectations, though. The Titans allow the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
What a difference a pocket passer makes. On top of fueling Pierre Garcon’s big game on Sunday, Kirk Cousins supported quality receiving days for Aldrick Robinson & Santana Moss. Their match-up against the lowly Falcons certainly helped the situation, but Washington’s Week 16 match-up against Dallas is equally tantalizing.
Larry Fitzgerald is on the path to pass the NFL’s concussion protocol and play against Seattle this week. If Fitz can’t suit up, Andre Roberts will be a mildly intriguing option starting opposite Michael Floyd. He’d rank ahead of Aldrick Robinson and Santana Moss if his upcoming opponent wasn’t so tough.
Better Late Than Never: Dennis Pitta, Tim Wright
Tight ends have scored at least 7 fantasy points against the Cardinals in all but 2 games this season. Zach Miller will be the next TE to go for a bump in production against Arizona (he scored 10 fantasy points against the Cards in Week 7). If you’ve been using someone like Coby Fleener or Tim Wright lately, consider streaming Miller for the fantasy finale instead.
Unlike Ace Sanders, Marcedes Lewis was able to deliver Cecil Shorts was sidelined. Lewis scored a touchdown while leading the Jags’ receivers in targets, receptions, and yardage. He’s another solid streaming option for Week 16.