Waiver Why-Er: Top Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 16
A thousand congratulations if you’re still with us.
Forget your genius for a second. This is the playoffs and projections into the future don’t matter. Stashing players for some ideal future version of them won’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t have to be pretty and it doesn’t even have to make sense, you just have to win at this point.
Maybe the running back you’re eyeing is on a three-win team. Don’t let it stop you. Maybe you cringe at the mere mention of the quarterback’s name who is throwing your guy the ball. It doesn’t matter.
Running back Jonathan Taylor’s injury was the biggest news to impact the waiver wire coming out of Week 15. It opens up a debate in terms of who will take over in the backfield for the Indianapolis Colts. Colt McCoy is day-to-day for the Arizona Cardinals and Caleb Huntley of the Atlanta Falcons is done for the season, while Tyler Lockett of the Seattle Seahawks broke his finger and will miss at least this week.
In the wake of that news, let’s get into it.
Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 16
Zay Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars (WR31 in our PPR Rankings; Rostered: 55% on Yahoo!)
As the season winds down, we figured we’d play all our biggest hits because we’ve been talking up Jones now for weeks. We’ve also written about the rise of Trevor Lawrence and Jones has benefitted from the improvement at quarterback.
Jones has everything we look for in a fantasy football stud. Although he has had 10 fewer targets than teammate Christian Kirk, Jones has one more catch. He only had one touchdown in the first 13 weeks of the season before finding paydirt four times in the past two (three of them coming in Week 15).
Jones has been building rapport with Lawrence and it has reached a crescendo just in time for the fantasy football playoffs.
Zach Moss, Indianapolis Colts (RB22; Rostered: 4%)
This is the biggest debate coming into Week 16. But we just don’t know who the starter will be yet. Taylor is out for the rest of the season with a high ankle sprain, adding injury to insult after losing to the Minnesota Vikings in the largest blown lead in NFL history.
Moss got the bulk of the carries when Taylor went down early against the Vikings, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will get the lion’s share on Sunday. Still, our model likes Moss as RB22 this week, compared to RB39 for Jackson.
Marquise Goodwin, Seattle Seahawks (WR47; Rostered: 3%)
There’s a chance Lockett might be back for Week 17, but he’s certainly out for Week 16 after undergoing finger surgery. Lockett is WR9 this season in PPR leagues and has 30 targets in the last three weeks with 20 receptions. Now Goodwin is in line to see a majority of those targets.
Lockett was also on a six-game touchdown-scoring streak before that was snapped in Week 15. Noah Fant is another player who could benefit from Lockett’s absence.
There’s a chance of overthinking this, but Goodwin should be on your radar.
Chris Moore, Houston Texans (WR28; Rostered: 21%)
The Texans are trying something different with two quarterbacks playing much of the game. And Moore has upside going into Week 16 because Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins have been banged up in recent weeks.
Moore has been Houston’s leading receiver with 14 catches for 166 yards (14th in the NFL over that span) while being targeted 20 times in the last two weeks.
The Texans are a mess, but that doesn’t mean Moore can’t help your fantasy team.
Gardner Minshew II, Philadelphia Eagles (QB13; Rostered: 1%)
If Hurts truly is sidelined against the Dallas Cowboys this week, look no further than his backup as a potential replacement. With all the Eagles’ weapons at his disposal, Minshew ranks as a top-13 QB by our model.
He’s projected to finish with 249.2 passing yards with 1.5 TDs on 35.3 attempts against a Dallas defense that has been struggling against the pass in recent weeks.
Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons (RB41; Rostered: 38%)
We mentioned Huntley’s injury earlier and Allgeier took advantage last week with 139 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Cordarrelle Patterson, meanwhile, managed just 52 yards on 14 carries.
With Huntley’s ankle likely to keep him out, our model projects Allgeier to finish with about 56 total yards with a 43% chance of scoring a touchdown. Patterson is ranked slightly higher (RB33), but this could be a situation in which the Falcons play the hot back. It could Allgeier once again.
Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 15
Chig Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans (TE16 PPR Rankings, Rostered: 14% on Yahoo)
The Titans rookie has 31 targets this season and 16 of those have come in the last three weeks. During that time, he’s ninth in targets, fifth in receiving yards and fourth in receptions among tight ends. You can go ahead and start Okonkwo.
In nine of Okonkwo’s first 10 games, he had one reception or fewer. But now he has just five fewer receptions than Derrick Henry’s season total despite arriving late to the party.
The Chargers have given up 26 big plays (25 or more yards) to receivers this season, which is tied for the fourth most in the league. Given the volatility of the tight-end position this year, Okonkwo is certainly more valuable than the percentage he’s rostered on.
Zay Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars (WR31, Rostered: 55% on Yahoo)
We spoke about Jones a couple of weeks ago. And we are doubling down again. Jones has averaged 10.8 targets per game since Week 10, which is tied for third in the NFL. He’s rubbing shoulders with Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams, Keenan Allen, Chris Godwin and DeAndre Hopkins at the top of that list.
Trevor Lawrence is in the finest form of his young career. He has nine touchdowns in his last four games and threw for a career-high 368 yards in his last game. Evan Engram has been one of the main beneficiaries (a fantasy stud now) as well as Jones.
Jones finished Week 14 with a 66.7 burn percentage, which was second behind Ja’Marr Chase for players with at least 10 targets. Jones had a down week against the Detroit Lions two weeks ago, but if it wasn’t for that we’d be looking at a top-five wide receiver. Those bust weeks are inevitable for a player outside of the top tier of receivers in the league, though three of his last four weeks have yielded 14.78, 25.5 and 21.7 PPR fantasy points.
Zonovan Knight, New York Jets (RB24, Rostered: 55% on Yahoo)
The competition on the waiver wire will have thinned out this week with the playoffs here and that increases your chances of picking up Knight if he’s still there. He’s tied for fourth in the NFL over the last three weeks with 56 touches. Only Josh Jacobs, Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb have more.
This isn’t a Jets team that’s tanking its way into the new year. New York is competitive and in the hunt for a playoff spot. And Knight has reached 230 rushing yards and 10 receptions faster than any Jets player ever (three games).
It took Breece Hall five games to get to that point. Michael Carter did it in seven. Now it’s Knight’s turn.
WR DJ Chark, Detroit Lions (WR56, Rostered: 41% on Yahoo)
Yes, Chark is an alarmingly low WR56 in our projections this week, but keep in mind that the Lions are playing the tough Jets defense. So while he might not be a great play this week, Chark could pay dividends in later weeks. He’s totaled 13 targets, 11 receptions, 192 yards and a touchdown over the past two games.
The Lions are rolling and have one of the best offenses in the league right now. And their last seven trips inside the red zone have resulted in touchdowns. That’s currently the longest streak in the NFL behind the Buffalo Bills.
WR Elijah Moore, New York Jets (WR66, Rostered: 27% on Yahoo)
Again, this is a conditional play. If Corey Davis can’t go and you’re struggling to find someone at the Flex spot, Moore has big-week potential.
Moore and the Jets are facing a Lions team that’s second to last in defensive EVE against the pass. Detroit is coming off a game in which it gave up 425 passing yards to Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings.
Joe Flacco might have to play in case Mike White doesn’t make it back from a rib injury. The Jets are throwing the ball on 74% of their plays with Flacco at quarterback. That number is only 56.2% when any of the other two quarterbacks play.