Week 15 was brutal. I can’t even wrap my head around how bad it was for some of the more reliable players in the industry. Virtually everyone that we’ve trusted to get us this far came up short. The Saints/Bucs game was a letdown. Numerous Bengals let us down. Jerry Jeudy isn’t great, but he’s normally good for five catches for 50-60 yards and he put up a doughnut on Sunday. I completely misread Jeff Wilson and Zach Ertz and that’s on me. It was an ugly week, but hopefully your opponent had some ugly plays as well. As JJ Zachariason tweeted early Monday morning, “Next year when the fantasy football playoffs start, remember to bench the players who got you there.”
If you survived to move on to Week 16, then count your blessings. The waiver wire articles may seem a little smaller and more brief going forward and that’s mostly because I’m narrowing down the field of who is worth rostering, whether it’s based on injuries, Week 16 and 17 matchups, or recent trends.
I also want to note, that with games being played on Tuesday that most waivers will be processing Wednesday night into Thursday morning. This is where I drop the bad news. I will not be in the NFL Season Long Discord on Wednesday night. I was initially supposed to be travelling for the holidays on Monday, but some complications with my full-time job came up and I had to re-schedule my flight to Wednesday night. With that said, I’ll be in the Discord Tuesday night answering waiver wire questions which just means business as usual. So if you’re expecting me to push back my Discord attendance for Waiver Wire inquiries, unfortunately I’ll be on a plane Wednesday night and won’t be in attendance so get your questions in Tuesday night during the games.
Tua Tagovailoa (MIA; FAAB Bid: 6-7%) Tua didn’t look great last week. With a lack of volume and poor efficiency, he scratched and clawed his way to 196 passing yards and two touchdowns, despite two interceptions as well. He was clearly off his game without Jaylen Waddle. The good news is that Waddle should be back this week and that should lead to better production for Tua against the Saints. New Orleans did shut out Tampa Bay on Sunday night, but I expect Miami to throw it a good amount in this matchup.
Justin Fields (CHI; FAAB Bid: 5%) Fields is finally looking like the fantasy asset we knew he could become. Over his last two games he’s attempted 33 and 39 pass attempts so we obviously like the increased volume and he’s run for 109 yards in that span as well. He still has seven passing touchdowns to ten interceptions on the season and he could still turn the ball over against Seattle, but he has looked better where he should be ranked as a top 12 quarterback heading into the next two weeks.
Jared Goff (DET; FAAB Bid: 3-4%) Remember about a month ago when most fantasy pundits (myself included) pointed out Goff’s poor touchdown numbers? He had eight through the team’s first nine games and five of those came in the first two weeks. Well, Goff heard the criticism and decided to start doing something about it. He has nine touchdown passes in his last four games and while the passing volume will fluctuate, he’s still been a fantasy asset and could continue to throw multiple touchdowns this week as the Lions visit the Falcons, who grade out as one of the worst defenses in fantasy against the quarterback position.
Honorable Mention – Tyler Huntley: Huntley was electric against the Packers and he’s pretty fun to watch. I’m going to be brief because I anticipate Lamar Jackson playing this week since he was a game-time decision, but if he’s out again then Huntley is once again a fine streamer.
Jeff Wilson (SF; FAAB Bid: 15-17%) Wilson is someone I don’t completely trust. And I’m fully aware I had the wrong read on him last week. Personally, I don’t like how he looks running the ball. But my opinion doesn’t matter when he’s given 20+ carries and he finds the end zone against the Falcons. His status will always be dependent on Elijah Mitchell’s status and it’s too early to tell if Mitchell will play in Week 16 against Tennessee.
Samaje Perine (CIN; FAAB Bid: 15-16%) Joe Mixon suffered an ankle injury on Sunday and so proactive fantasy football managers should be looking to add his backup, especially if they feel the need to cuff their running backs. Bengals head coach, Zac Taylor, did note that Mixon would likely be a limited participant or held out of practice early this week, but it’s still very possible he’s ready to go for Sunday’s game against Baltimore. So with that said don’t be surprised if the practice/injury reports aren’t in Mixon’s favor because he sounds like a true game-time decision and we won’t officially know his status until 11:30am ET on Sunday when inactives come out.
Ronald Jones (TB; FAAB Bid: 15%) I don’t like playing the guessing game so early in the week, but if I had to venture a guess I’d say Leonard Fournette is likely out in Week 16 with the hamstring injury he sustained on Sunday. I don’t think Jones is very good. His ball security issues are well documented, but he’s done well when Fournette had to miss time. Check out this tweet from Mike Clay:
He’s a decent RB2 this week if Fournette misses time.
Craig Reynolds (DET; FAAB Bid: 12-15%) With D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams out of the picture, Reynolds has emerged as the lead back for Detroit. Reynolds is going to be in the low-end RB2/Flex conversation for the remaining weeks because of matchups against Atlanta and Seattle, two defenses that can be run on. Out of nowhere, Reynolds has 37 carries and 195 yards in his last two games with a couple catches as well. He hasn’t found the end zone, but that could be in store for him. It’s just very difficult to trust an offense like Detroit’s in the crucial weeks of the season.
Justin Jackson (LAC; FAAB Bid: 8-10%) There were some conflicting reports on Ekeler Monday afternoon. Some said he would be placed on the COVID/Reserve list while others revealed later in the day that actually didn’t happen. Either way, the Bolts have slowly been decreasing Ekeler’s workload, probably to keep him alive and well for the playoffs. If we get more clarity on Ekeler’s status on Tuesday or throughout the week then we’ll know if Jackson is startable or not. For now, I wouldn’t be surprised if he received ten carries in a great matchup against the Texans this week.
Ameer Abdullah (CAR; FAAB Bid: 6-7%) This week’s matchup is awful for Chuba Hubbard against a pissed off Bucs team that just got shut out by the Saints. However, if the Panthers are chasing points then that means they’ll likely get Abdullah involved who has emerged as the preferred pass catching option in this backfield. He caught all four of his targets against Buffalo and he found the end zone. He won’t be ranked as a top 30 running back this week but there is some Flex appeal here if you’re hurting at the position between Austin Ekeler and Joe Mixon.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET; FAAB Bid: 15-20%) St. Brown is available in plenty of leagues and he now has double-digit targets in three straight games. Over that span he has 26 catches on 35 targets for 249 yards and two touchdowns. He’s arguably a must start Flex option in PPR formats at the moment and there’s no reason for Jared Goff not to look his way for the remainder of the season. They’ll visit Atlanta in Week 16 and he should be in line for another healthy dose of targets.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB; FAAB Bid: 12%) MVS has quietly led the Packers in air yards the last four weeks, so while he’s only had two productive fantasy football games in that span, Aaron Rodgers is trying to get him going and it showed last week with five catches for 98 yards and a touchdown against Baltimore. Green Bay gets a prime matchup on Christmas against the Browns whose secondary has been decimated by COVID protocols and it could be another productive week for MVS in Week 16.
Gabriel Davis (BUF; FAAB Bid: 10%) Davis is emerging at the right time as a Flex option as he’s been hogging touchdowns in Buffalo lately. He has 19 targets in his last three games, but he’s caught 12 of them and four of those went for touchdowns. He had two last week against the Panthers. The downside is Buffalo will visit New England in Week 16 and the Patriots boast a pretty strong secondary. If Emmanuel Sanders misses time then that will help Davis as he’s been mixed in with Stefon Diggs, Dawson Knox, and Cole Beasley as one of Allen’s trusted pass catchers.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (TEN; FAAB Bid: 4-5%) Truthfully I only feel like ARSB, MVS, and Davis are worth picking up this week. However, if Julio Jones has to miss the remaining few games after leaving Sunday’s game against the Steelers with injury then NWI is worth a look in deeper leagues. He’s led the team in routes run and targets recently and should operate as the WR1 in this offense going forward. Does that guarantee immense passing volume? No. But in deeper formats, if the top three receivers in this section are unavailable then NWI is my next favorite option.
Tyler Johnson (TB; FAAB Bid: 3%) The Bucs got bit by the injury bug at the worst possible time. Chris Godwin is done for the year and both Leonard Fournette and Mike Evans may not suit up this week. Luckily they will be getting Antonio Brown back and Tom Brady could still lean on Rob Gronkowski. But we should expect Tyler Johnson to get some looks especially after he had seven targets in Sunday’s game against New Orleans.
Cole Kmet (CHI; FAAB Bid: 7-10%) Kmet had a very strong game Monday night as he caught six passes for 71 yards on nine targets. He now has 32 targets over his last four games and he’s becoming a reliable target for Justin Fields. Remember, rookie quarterbacks tend to lean on big targets over the middle. Kmet doesn’t have a touchdown on the season. In fact, it’s been over a year since he found the end zone. He’s trending in the right direction to score over the final weeks so long as Jimmy Graham isn’t vulturing his opportunities.
James O’Shaughnessy (JAC; FAAB Bid: 5-6%) O’Shaughnessy saw four targets last week and ran a route on 57% of Trevor Lawrence’s drop backs. He was productive as he caught all four of his targets for 60 yards. In PPR formats, you’ll take that from your tight end if he isn’t finding the end zone. The Jags will visit the Jets this week, and that’s a matchup where we can look to O’Shaughnessy again.
Honorable Mention – Zach Gentry: Pat Freiermuth suffered a concussion on Sunday and that’s his second of the season. I’d say it’s likely that Freiermuth doesn’t play against the Chiefs this week and so that could make Gentry a more intriguing option in deeper formats. But I’d put more emphasis on acquiring either Kmet or O’Shaughnessy.
Kansas City Chiefs – I know the Chiefs put up zero points in fantasy against the Chargers, but this defense has been playing much better over their last several games. The Chiefs will now host the Steelers in Week 16 and the over/under is at 45.5 points while the Chiefs are favored by 9.5 points. Given how beat up the Steelers are on offense, this is a ripe matchup for Kansas City.
Los Angeles Chargers – The Chargers don’t have a great defense, but it certainly helps if Derwin James is on the field. Alas, the Chargers do draw the Texans this week. This isn’t a slam dunk because the Texans have been playing better on offense as they’ve leaned heavily on Rex Burkhead in the run game and Davis Mills has been serviceable as a rookie quarterback. But the Chargers are still decent favorites and on paper, this should be a D/ST worth streaming.
Indianapolis Colts – I know the Colts don’t have as favorable of a schedule down the stretch. But this is still a good defense. They embarrassed New England in the first half of Saturday’s game and they force turnovers at the most opportune times. They’ve posted double-digit fantasy points in eight games this season and while the Cardinals do pose some risk, Arizona is 3-4 in their last seven games, they don’t have DeAndre Hopkins, and the offense has not been clicking.