Waiver Wire Pickups Week 16
The fantasy playoffs are officially in full swing and, in my opinion, this is the most important time of the year for waivers. While most of the season-long waiver studs are already on rosters from the first few weeks of the season, there are still some valuable streamers left to help your team cross the finish line. Let’s dive into a crucial week of waiver claims ahead of Week 16.
Jake Browning, Cincinnati Bengals (37% ESPN, 47% Yahoo)
Jake Browning is officially on a heater. I might go as far as to say he’s him. Could it be that he’s a really good NFL quarterback? Maybe. Could it be that his weapons are among the best in the league? Possibly. To me, it doesn’t really matter. He’s winning games and putting up fantasy points. Over the last three weeks, Browning is QB2 in fantasy points, leads the league in passing yards and is tied for the second most rushing touchdowns among quarterbacks. He’s dynamic and he has an extremely talented supporting cast. Although he has a tough matchup with the Steelers this week, he’s shown he can carve up tough defenses after torching the Colts and the Vikings. If you’ve lost your starter to an injury and have been streaming the position, Jake Browning could slide in as your fantasy savior in the playoffs.
Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (49% ESPN, 54% Yahoo)
Baker Mayfield, welcome back to the fold. I mean, how can I not include him in this article after he went nuclear against Green Bay last week? Entering Week 15, the Packers allowed just 14 passing touchdowns through 13 games. Mayfield broke the mold and torched them with a season-high 381 passing yards and a season-high four touchdowns. Fluke or not, this kind of performance cannot be ignored. This week, he gets a matchup with a Jacksonville defense that gave up the third-most points to opposing quarterbacks through Week 14. He’s my favorite streaming option for Week 16 and could provide a big spark to your playoff lineup.
- Gardner Minshew II, Indianapolis Colts
- Joe Flacco, Cleveland Browns
Roschon Johnson, Chicago Bears (23% ESPN, 21% Yahoo)
Roschon Johnson served as the RB1 for Chicago last week with 60 total yards on nine touches. He led the backfield in rushing yards, yards per attempt, targets, receptions and receiving yards. This is all great news, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s playing for the Chicago Bears. Figuring out the running back situation for the Bears this season has been a true challenge. At one point, Khalil Herbert was the clear favorite to lead the pack, then he got hurt and all eyes were on Johnson. However, D’Onta Foreman emerged as the top dog and it looked like it was his backfield to lose for a while. Then, he did lose it, or at least it seems that way. If the current trend of Roschon Johnson being the RB1 continues, I really like him as a strong FLEX play in deeper leagues for Week 16. He’s passed the eye test, he seems to be getting more attention from the coaching staff and he has a favorable matchup with Arizona. The gamble is that this backfield could flip in the opposite direction without warning and Johnson could fall to the wayside for no particular reason. However, it’s also just as possible that Johnson could get even more opportunities than he did last week and if that’s the case, he couldn’t ask for a better matchup. It’s risky, but Johnson could be a literal league-winner this week. If you’re in a tight spot and don’t have any inspiring options on you’re team already, I like Roschon Johnson as a high-risk, high-reward dart throw in Week 16.
Zamir White, Las Vegas Raiders (7% ESPN, 16% Yahoo)
It’s unclear as to whether or not Josh Jacobs will be available in Week 16 after missing last week with a quad injury, but it’s still worth looking into adding Zamir White as a strong handcuff. After all, this is the time of year when handcuffs tend to shine. White proved that he’s among the elite in the handcuff club after rushing for 69 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries last week. He saw a ton of opportunities in a blowout win over the Chargers and could see yet another high-volume game this week against the Chiefs. The game script might not be as fruitful as it was in Week 15, but you can’t argue with opportunities. Of course, this all depends on whether Jacobs misses more time or not. If he does, you can expect Zamir White to lead the Raiders backfield once again.
Ty Chandler, Minnesota Vikings (46% ESPN, 53% Yahoo)
Ty Chandler crushed in Week 15 and I think there’s more to come. Last week, Chandler saw a season-high 23 carries and rushed for a season-high 132 yards and a touchdown while hauling in three of his four targets for 25 yards. He carried fantasy managers and he has a chance to do it again in Week 16. While there is a chance that Alexander Mattison returns this week, it shouldn’t affect Chandler’s workload all that much. There has already been an indication that the second-year running back will continue to see a “featured role” in the backfield according to head coach Kevin O’Connell. Chandler can serve as a low-end RB2/FLEX in half-PPR leagues for the fantasy playoffs with his new role in Minnesota.
- Jerick McKinnon, Kansas City Chiefs
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
- Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans
Noah Brown, Houston Texans (40% ESPN, 41% Yahoo)
Volume is king and Noah Brown is about to get all that he can handle down the stretch. Nico Collins missed last week and it’s unclear if he’ll be available in Week 16. In the absence of Collins, Brown took advantage catching eight of his 11 targets for 82 yards and a touchdown. This was the third game in his last five appearances in which the 27-year-old pass-catcher saw at least six targets, had at least six receptions and gained at least 80 receiving yards. Things could get even better for Brown with the possible return of quarterback CJ Stroud. Noah Brown has been a big play threat for the Texans and should be leaned on more heavily in the wake of injuries. The Texans will host the Browns this week in what could be a shootout and Brown will benefit greatly. I like Noah Brown as a strong FLEX option in PPR formats this week.
Joshua Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers (20% ESPN, 29% Yahoo)
Coming off a six-game absence, Joshua Palmer was thrown into the WR1 role in his first game back for the Chargers with Keenan Allen missing time with a heel injury. This allowed Palmer to burst onto the scene in his return with four catches for 113 yards and a touchdown, including a 79-yard touchdown in the second half. He only saw four targets in Easton Sticks’ first start but delivered on his opportunities. This week, Palmer could see an increased workload in his second game back against a Buffalo team that will likely force the Chargers to throw the ball early and often. He should be considered a desperate start this week in PPR leagues.
Curtis Samuel, Washington Commanders (42% ESPN, 37% Yahoo)
Every week I think to myself, “Surely Curtis Samuel has done enough to be rostered in more than 50% of leagues, so I can move on from writing about him,”. Yet, here I am, writing about why you should pick up Curtis Samuel off the waiver wire once again. Last week, Samuel had one of his best performances of the year catching five of his nine targets for 41 yards and two touchdowns. This was the third game in a row that Samuel saw at least five targets, caught at least four passes, and gained at least 40 yards. The only real flaw in his game recently has been his lack of endzone trips but he took care of that last week with two scores. Since Week 12, Samuel has led the Commanders in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. This kind of production and volume would be valuable on any team, but it’s especially valuable on a team that leads the league in pass attempts per game. It’s a fact that Curtis Samuel has been the WR1 for Washington down the stretch and I don’t see any reason why that won’t continue. The sample size is large enough and he has a great connection with quarterback Sam Howell. I think this is the week that Curtis Samuel breaks the 50%-rostered threshold, so this could be your last chance to add him before the season ends.
- Demario Douglas, New England Patriots
- Wan’Dale Robinson, New York Giants
- Darius Slayton, New York Giants
Hunter Henry, New England Patriots (18% ESPN, 24% Yahoo)
Hunter Henry has become a more than viable streaming option at tight end recently. Over the last two weeks, he’s the TE2 in fantasy football catching 10 of his 12 targets for 106 yards and three touchdowns during that stretch. On the season, Henry leads New England in targets, target share, receptions and receiving touchdowns while ranking second in receiving yards. It’s not often that you can add the clear No. 1 receiving option of a team off the waiver wire this late into the season. If you don’t have any of the studs at the position, I’d strongly consider adding Henry as a streamer this week. He has a matchup with a Broncos defense that has allowed the most points to opposing tight ends this season. This is the same defense that gave up three touchdowns to Sam LaPorta last week. Hunter Henry has a real chance to explode in Week 16.
- Cade Otton, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers