Week 16 Waiver Wire
Seeing as this is the last week of waivers, there will be a lot more "yes" answers to the waiver priority. As always, though, make sure you set your priorities in the order of which you actually want the guys. I imagine if you've made it this far into the season you know things like this, but it's always a good reminder. Good luck to y'all this week and go out and do what Nick, Animal, and myself were incapable of doing.
Baker Mayfield - Cleveland Browns
Waiver Priority: No
The former #1 overall pick is playing up to par as of late, totaling 11 scores over his last four weeks. I’d be a little hesitant to tout him as a viable starter in your championship week if he were taking advantage of lesser defenses, but over that span, he’s impressed against the Ravens and the Giants, two squads who have been fairly stout against opposing QBs. For whatever reason, the offense runs a million times more smoothly with OBJ in the gutter, and with the emergence of weapons like Rashard Higgins and DPJ, there is no shortage of talent surrounding Baker for him to continue this production. Playing the Jets this week, he should have little issues providing a high floor, despite what this defense just (shockingly) did to Jared Goff and the entire Rams offense. You could say the firing of Gregg Williams turned this team around, but they also gave up a 40 spot to the Seahawks the week prior, so I wouldn’t be too overreactionary. Typically I shy away from exuding immense confidence in waiver QBs who are one dimensional (don’t have rushing floor) like Baker, especially in an offense that wants to run the ball, but he’s been playing like a top 10 QB in real life, and with playoff hopes on the line, he won’t be taking his foot off the gas any time soon.
Jalen Hurts - Philadelphia Eagles
Waiver Priority: Yes if you need a QB
At this point, Jalen Hurts is basically Lamar Jackson, and to be honest, I’d probably rather play Hurts against the Cowboys this week than Lamar against the Giants. It may seem crazy, but what JH has done in his short time as a starter is nothing short of spectacular. It’s crazy to see just how good this rookie class is, and I have no doubts that if he and Tua had earned the starting job week one and Burrow had never gotten injured, this would be one of the tightest ROY races we have ever seen. Herb’s got it wrapped up like a conservative teen now, though, so nothing to worry about on that front. Aside from that, just looking at what Hurts has brought to the table for fantasy, we’re talking about a guy who not only has a rushing floor, but also a ceiling, displayed against what was thought to be an elite defense in the Saints, picking up 106 on the ground. He then followed that up with 44 (!!!) pass attempts, three of which making their way into the end zone. Oh, and on top of that, added another 12+ fantasy points on the ground. He’s a top five play this week, and would be regardless of matchup. The Cowboys’ defense has definitely improved as of late, but with what Hurts brings to the table, he should have zero issues providing the floor of a top 10 option. Also, looking at who the Cowboys have played this season, they’ve faced only three legitimately mobile QBs in Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, and Lamar Jackson (if u wanna count Carson Wentz that’s fine, but he’s nowhere near the runner Hurts is). This defense allowed these three men to log 6/22/0, 10/74/1, and 13/94/1 on the ground, thanks in large part to their woeful linebacker group. Wilson was the only one to have a sub par day with his legs of the trio, but he also threw for five tugs, so he’s not complaining. That’s enough rambling, you get the point. Start him.
Mitchell Trubisky - Chicago Bears
Waiver Priority: No
Trubisky is a very poor man’s Jalen Hurts at this point, so if both are available and you’re in need of a QB, do whatever it takes to grab JH over him. If Mitch is the lone survivor on the wire and you have to look for a streamer, though, I wouldn’t feel overly pissed off about it. He had a down week in what was a dream matchup against the Vikings this Sunday, but the good thing is, he’s actually looked like a competent QB. He flashed his rushing ability, picking up 34 yards on the ground, and if it weren’t for a red zone interception, his day would have (and could have had he scored on that opportunity) looked a whole lot better. He now gets another easy draw against a defense allowing the 2nd most fantasy points per game (22.3) to the QB position. Before you make the argument that Chicago’s defense will destroy Gardner and will lead to a ground and pound low scoring affair, but look at what happened last week against a similarly dominant Baltimore D. Lamar ~only~ went out and totaled four tugs. They’ve allowed opposing QBs to find the end zone thrice or more in four of their last eight games, and have not allowed a single quarterback to fall below two scores in that span. They are bleeding points to opposing QBs, and if their punter is out again this week, then there will be a whole lot of short fields for Trubisky to take advantage of. He’s a back-end QB1 play for me this week, but don’t remind me I wrote that when he puts up 11.7 and loses you your chip.
Drew Lock - Denver Broncos
Waiver Priority: No
This is the point we’ve come to. I will warn you, me hyping Lock in this article may just be a sad attempt at a reverse jinx, but I’m gonna do it anyways. Let me preface by saying I honestly think Drew Lock is one of the worst quarterbacks these two eyes have ever seen. But...BUT...the Chargers have shown time and time again that it doesn’t matter who’s throwing the ball on the other side of the field, they’ll look competent. Marcus Mariota came out slinging and brought the game to OT this past Thursday. Keep in mind Nathan Fucking Peterman was ahead of him on the depth chart for some time. Also, back in week eight, Lock went full Bortles and garbage timed his way into a three tug performance against this very same defense in a game that ripped my fuggin heart out. All joking aside, if you’re going to stream, consider Lock your absolute last resort. He’s not very good, has zero rushing upside, and is as likely as anyone to turn into a pumpkin. This is more for you 2QB/SF players that are dealing with shit matchups and heartburn in week 16.
RUNNINGBACK (let me have this grammatical error one last time, Nick)
Jeff Wilson Jr. - San Francisco 49ers
FAAB: $50 ($0 if Mostert is good to go, $100 if he's dead, but still prefer Bell)
Waiver Priority: Yes
Raheem Mostert will do anything in his power to not stay healthy, and Jeff Wilson will do anything in his power to minimally capitalize on his absence. It’s unclear whether or not Mostert will be good to go next week, along with Wilson’s status being in doubt after picking up an ankle injury of his own, but I think it’s safe to say that if he were to go and RM were to sit, he’d be a clear-cut top-20 play in a divisional bout with the Cardinals. Because of the uncertainty surrounding both players, however, and with the depth of options this week on waivers, he’d probably be my last priority of the bunch. Seeing as the 49ers play Saturday, though, we may know about both men’s statuses a bit early, or will be able to speculate about their availability, so keep an eye on the situation and spend your FAAB accordingly.
Le’Veon Bell - Kansas City Chiefs
Waiver Priority: Yes
With Clyde likely done for the rest of the regular season, that leaves the Chiefs backfield in the hands of the best athlete-turned-rapper the world has ever seen. His 16 touches were by far the most he’s seen during his time in Kansas City, and seeing as how the only other back in the rotation is Darrell Williams, that number should be around his floor this week. The Falcons’ defense has actually been awesome against backs this season, allowing the 5th least fantasy points per game to the position, but I almost always just throw out opponent’s defensive statistics when playing KC due to how electric their offense is. The volume will almost certainly be there on the ground, but as was the concern with CEH, the receiving usage and goal line opportunities, or lack thereof, may cap his ceiling. Regardless, it will not be easy to find a way to bench Lev Bell in a game where he figures to act as a workhorse with an implied team total floating around 32 points. He’s also the only RB in this group where we know for a fact the guy ahead of him/pushing him for touches will not be available, so by that fact alone, he’s the top pickup this week.
Tony Pollard - Dallas Cowboys
FAAB: $50 (same procedure as Jeff Wilson, but I'd prefer TP to JWJ)
Waiver Priority: Yes
The situation in Dallas is eerily reminiscent of what went down in LA with Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, but somehow the Chargers were the smarter franchise, as they held off paying the worse option a ridiculous sum of money. Tony Pollard has looked every bit the part of an elite fantasy running back when given the opportunity, and when Zeke sat this past week, he continued his success, notching 132 YFS on 18 touches, two of which going for scores. Just like Jeff Wilson, though, this pickup is contingent on Zeke’s health because if he were good to go, Pollard is nothing more than a useless handcuff during the final week of the season. If EE can’t suit up, though, then Pollard would again present RB1 upside despite a tough matchup against Philly. Keep an eye on Elliott’s availability this week, but even if no concrete updates are made, I’d be more than fine dropping all I have on TP because the risk is well worth the reward when the chip is on the line.
Salvon Ahmed - Miami Dolphins
FAAB: $50 (same as above, rank them TP>SA>JWJ if all starters are out)
Waiver Priority: Yes
I am convinced that Myles Gaskin is the most average RB of all time, and after seeing Ahmed handed the reins a few times now, there is no doubt in my mind that he’s the superior back. The issue? It doesn’t matter what I think, Gaskin has been treated as a workhorse no matter the situation, commanding 20+ touches in five of his last six games even after an extended absence. If he plays, Ahmed would be a low ceiling low floor bench dud, but if Gaskin can’t get cleared before week 16, then I’m more than fine rolling with Ahmed as a solid RB2 play against a horrible Vegas front. Ahmed was about two inches away from a two touchdown outing this past weekend, and despite Breida’s efficient day, it was very clear Salvon was the most trusted back in Miami. His receiving upside has not been put on display which definitely hurts his floor, but with how he’s been running, in the matchup he’s set to see, with an elite defense backing him going up against Marcus Mariota, there should be plenty of volume both overall and in valuable areas of the field to help turn the former Washington Husky into a legit league winner if MG can’t get healthy.
Keke Coutee - Houston Texans
Waiver Priority: No
Since Will Fuller decided to get pinned like a top comment, Keke Coutee has been a legit high-end WR3 option, averaging a 5.3/73/7/0.7 receiving line per game. He hasn't fallen below 9.8 fantasy points, albeit only a three game stretch, and with the run game looking atrocious and the upcoming matchup with a sorry Bengals defense, that production should continue. I’m not getting my hopes up too high because if it weren’t for tuddies these past two weeks, his output would be disappointing, but there are certainly worse options both on the wire and probably on your bench.
Tim Patrick - Denver Broncos
Waiver Priority: No
One guy I prefer to Coutee is Mr. Timothy Patrick. Prior to a disappointing week 15 outing, Patrick had been the picture of consistency since Sutton’s departure. From week three and on (excluding the Higdon QB game), TP had logged either 61 yards or a tuddy in eight of his nine games, cutting that streak short against Buffalo. I expect him to get back on track against a shitty Chargers defense, a matchup he actually missed the first time around. I wouldn’t be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit concerned about him potentially drawing Casey Hayward and getting locked tf up, or Drew Lock just outright sucking, but he’s been the alpha WR for some time now in a game that should flirt with 50 total points. The gamescript should make up for some of the concerns regarding Patricks recent downtick of targets, seeing just 13 over his last three games, but his 80+% snap share should alleviate any concerns of him losing any sort of playing time. Again, a lot of these receivers are unsafe plays, especially with so much on the line, but if you’re in a really tough spot, then Patrick is someone I wouldn’t feel bad about starting.
Rashard Higgins - Cleveland Browns
Waiver Priority: No (unless ur dead at WR)
Well, I like Baker this week, so I necessarily have to like Hollywood Higgins. He’s someone that twitter loves because of his insane analytical profile, but like most of these guys who are late round picks that only have nerds that never watched them play in their corner, they never break out...until now. Higgins is averaging a very Coutee-esque 5.3/79.7/0.7 receiving line over his past three weeks. The only difference? His output hasn’t been nearly as sporadic. His yardage output has went from 95 to 68 to 76 while his targets stayed pretty steady at 9, 10, and 5. He has become Mayfield’s second favorite option in the passing game, and in a matchup against a team that will do anything in their power to lose out the rest of their schedule, should provide solid WR3 value with a fairly safe floor. Of the three mentioned thus far, Higgins is my favorite of the bunch, only to be outdone by the next man up.
Russell Gage - Atlanta Falcons
Waiver Priority: No (same deal with Higgins, but I prefer Gage of the two)
People are starting to ask who the better LSU slot receiver is between Russell Gage and Justin Jefferson. The misinformed will go with the latter, but us intellectuals will roll with the Falcon. Since their bye, RG has averaged a whopping 8.4 targets per game, and over his last three games, has either logged 82 yards or a tug in each. He’s basically a slightly safer Higgins in an offense that can’t run the ball, facing a team in Kansas City that is going to make them have to sling it. He’s not efficient by any means, or good at football, really, but he’s consistently flirting with double digit targets in a role where the completions are easy to come by. It doesn’t look like Julio will be back any time soon, so look for Gage to continue hogging targets and turning in low-rent Cole Beasley performances for these final two weeks.
Jalen Reagor - Philadelphia Eagles
Waiver Priority: No
His output wasn’t great by any means, but in watching Reagor play with Hurts, it’s clear that the two have some sort of connection. Reagor was targeted a whopping eight times, and although not much came of it, his day could have been a lot more productive had there been a couple less DPI calls and an egregiously underthrown ball to Reagor in the end zone. With Hurts now having two games of experience under his belt and Reagor drawing a matchup that has made even the most garbage of receivers look good, he seems to be an intriguing play. Notice how I said “intriguing”. That’s because when it comes down to it, I’m not sure I, nor anyone else, truly has the balls to start a Philly wideout for chip week. I’m doing this mostly as a hedge for an “I told you so” regarding Reagor being a good receiver. There are too many other good options at both WR and RB this week for you to go out and blow any sort of FAAB on a speculative flier in the former Horned Frog, but if you like to live life on the edge and take advice from man bun donning frauds, then look no further than #18.
Zach Ertz - Philadelphia Eagles
Waiver Priority: No (unless you have no tight ends)
The tight end position is a wasteland. If you’re in contention this week, you likely have Kelce, Waller, Andrews, or one of the other top end options anyways, so this probably doesn’t concern you. If not, though, then the best you can probably do is the eld, slow, uninspired slug known as Zach Ertz. He was targeted seven times, hauling in just two of those opportunities, so he was about as inefficient as it gets, but all you want from a tight end is volume. I could recommend Dan Arnold or Cole Kmet instead, but I’d feel like absolute garbage when the inevitable 3.1 fantasy points roll in with either of those bums. All I’ll say is if you don’t have on of the top five or six tight ends and Ertz isn’t on waivers, then there’s no point of trying to pinpoint who’s going to be the breakout this week because chances are, nobody is gonna catch more than like three balls for 17 yards. Sorry to be pessimistic, I’m just having flashbacks to benching Tyler Higbee for the first time in a few weeks only for him to score like 18 points and lose my matchup because of it. I’m not crying, I promise, there’s just an eyelash in my eyes.
Houston Texans (17%) vs Cincinnati Bengals
Total: Not yet listed (assume it will open at ~45)
Spread: HOU (-9)
Arizona Cardinals (34%) vs San Francisco 49ers
Spread: ARI (-3.5)
Los Angeles Chargers (29%) vs Denver Broncos
Spread: LAC (-3.5)