2014 Fantasy Football Week 16 Waiver Wire Targets
If you are still checking in now, congratulations, you’re most likely into the finals. Whatever strategy got you to this point, I wouldn’t mess with it too much. On the other hand, you need to be active to both bolster your lineup if there is an injury while also playing “fantasy defense”. If you’ve made it this far, you won’t want your opponent snagging a flier or defense that could really help them. You may want to use your waiver priority to put a player or defense that could fit on your opponents team on your bench instead. So stay active! Unfortunately, most owners are out of the playoffs with just two teams in each league making the championship so I’ve still included dynasty and keeper pick ups. It’s never too late to rebuild.
As always, ownership percentages are for ESPN and Yahoo leagues respectively. Good luck in the finals! And don’t forget that there are two games this Saturday, make sure to set your lineup ahead of time.
Alex Smith, Chiefs (18.6%/36%): He’s playing Pittsburgh this weekend who are quite porous in their pass defense. The clock is still ticking since the last Chiefs wide receiver caught a touchdown and it has now been more than a year. This hasn’t held Smith back from throwing touchdowns though as he’s used Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce to find the endzone. The Steelers defense has allowed less than two passing touchdowns only three times this entire season. I have a feeling Smith and his wide receivers will end their touchdown drought in this one.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins (10.3%/31%): Colt McCoy didn’t last long in the game Sunday so Jay Gruden was forced to play Griffin. The situation in Washington is very hard to peg but for this week, it’s official that Griffin is the starter. The Redskins are playing the Eagles who have surrendered less than two passing touchdowns only twice this season so the likelihood that Griffin throws at least one is very high. Griffin showed his signature wheels filling in for McCoy Sunday and was also able to throw for 236 yards on 18 completions too. He definitely has an easy opponent on paper so hopefully that translates to the field for those riding the easy schedule the Redskins quarterbacks have had.
Kyle Orton, Bills (8.4%/14%): The Bills travel west to play Oakland this week in what should be a pretty easy game for Orton. The Bills defense create the most turnovers in the league and give Orton short fields to work with. That should provide him with plenty of scoring opportunities. He’s not a very attractive play this week but if you’re in a 2-QB league, he should fall in the startable range of scoring.
Charlie Whitehurst, Titans (0.1%/0%): There’s not much else to say here about him other than he’s performed reasonably well in relief this year. He’s not someone to trust in the championship game and outside of a 2-QB league, he shouldn’t be owned. He’s worth mentioning because he has the potential to still fall in the top-20 given the fact that he’s playing the Jaguars.
Johnny Manziel, Browns (27.7%/37%): No, he did not do well on Sunday. In fact, he passed for only 80 yards with two picks and no scores. He looked rattled almost the entire game. I actually think the pressure of starting got to him more than anything, but the Bengals pass rush definitely didn’t help. Even though he plays the poor Panthers defense next week, he just isn’t polished enough to lead his team to victory, let alone your fantasy team. He does have intriguing keeper potential though if he can get the jitters out and put in good performances these next two weeks.
Fliers: Mark Sanchez, Eagles. Josh McCown, Buccaneers. Shaun Hill, Rams.
Joseph Randle, Cowboys (4.3%/11%): This is just for DeMarco Murray owners. News came out that Murray had surgery on a broken hand yesterday so you have to handcuff yourself if you haven’t already. If you own Murray, make Randle your first waiver selection so you can wait it out without stress. Preliminary news seemed optimistic about Murray playing against the Colts but whoever starts will have a great matchup.
Carlos Hyde, 49ers (11.5%/35%): Hyde looked great in relief of Frank Gore after Gore suffered a concussion. The 49ers are now out of the playoffs and whether Gore is 100% healthy or not, they should give Hyde a decent sized workload seeing as they drafted him to be the heir to their backfield. I loved Hyde coming into the season and the 49ers would be smart to see what they have in him before the year is out and Gore’s contract is up. Hyde did get injured himself and will under an MRI so you’ll have to keep monitoring this situation if you have either. Hyde is more likely to lead the team in carries than Gore at this point.
Matt Asiata, Vikings (26.5%/38%): He was most likely dropped a few weeks back, but he’s the lead back now. Even though he is an unexciting option, volume matters in this situation. This late in the season, volume is the most important category when you are trying to find a replacement. Based on that volume, an average of 14 carries per game over the last three games, he could be a valid flex starter in deep leagues. If you’re desperate, he’s a decent lottery ticket to get into the endzone against the Dolphins this week.
Branden Oliver, Chargers (18.6%/33%): Ryan Mathews was inactive Sunday and Oliver drew the start. Mathews just can’t stay on the field so Oliver should get the start again next week. Championship teams most likely aren’t relying on Mathews to come back but if you have him and Oliver is available, grab him to handcuff yourself. Oliver has also flashed great potential this year with 100+ rushing games against the Jets and the Raiders. He’s slowed as of late because more backs have been involved but given lead back duties against the Broncos, he had 16 total touches for 70 yards. Most of that damage was done through the air, which will be how the Chargers will be successful against their next opponent, the 49ers. If you’re desperate for a running back, Oliver is worth a dart throw.
Bishop Sankey, Titans (44%/68%): This one is really just for those in ESPN leagues but he may be dropped this week more than added. He’s a bold choice but there’s a chance for him to be a top-20 running back this week. Last week, to score in the top-20 range, he would’ve had to score only eight points. He didn’t but I think that was due to the gameplan calling for a bigger back as the Jets have a tough run defense. Shonn Greene, who carried 16 times Sunday, used to play for the Jets so that might have had something to do with Sankey’s decreased workload. The Titans play the lowly-Jaguars this Thursday so it’s possible Sankey bounces back. Last time they played he rushed 18 times for 61 yards. He won’t get as many carries as that game but he has a great chance of scoring as the Jags have allowed eight rushing touchdowns in their last five games.
Andre Williams, Giants (35.2%/59%): He should’ve been handcuffed to Rashad Jennings so he may not be available to you anymore. If he is available, he’s another volume-based play that could help desperate owners. Jennings aggravated his ankle injury after just a single carry on Sunday. The Giants would be smart to see what they can get out of Williams since they aren’t in the playoff picture anymore. Filling in for Jennings on Sunday, Williams ran for 44 yards on 18 carries. Keep in mind that the Redskins are actually very good against the run and had given up the third fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Next week, the Giants get a Rams defense that ranks in the top-10 against running backs. Jennings is still signed for three more years but his dead money goes down every year and if his career has been riddled with injury. Williams could take over with a solid offseason.
Fliers: Kerwynn Williams, Cardinals. Pierre Thomas, Saints. Chris Johnson, Jets. Knile Davis, Chiefs.
Donte Moncrief, Colts (26.8%/34%): He made an acrobatic catch that had been tipped in the endzone showing off his quick reactions and great hands. Unfortunately, an offensive lineman was caught holding J.J. Watt so the score came off the board. T.Y. Hilton suffered a hamstring injury and his MRI came back negative. Moncrief has been a hot ticket the last couple weeks so he may not be available in your league anymore. If he is and you have either Reggie Wayne or T.Y. Hilton, Moncrief should also be on your team. He’s a popular pick as the heir apparent to Reggie Wayne’s No. 2 spot as well.
Harry Douglas, Falcons (14.1%/26%): Picking up and starting Douglas is dependent on Julio Jones’ health. Hopefully if you are a Jones owner, you picked up Douglas last week in case Jones was inactive Sunday - which he was. As part of that group that had to sit Jones and plug-in Douglas this week, I was pleasantly surprised by how involved he was. Although Roddy White and Devin Hester caught touchdowns, it was Douglas who led the team in targets, receptions and yards. Should Julio Jones miss next week, Douglas becomes a great plug-in because of the volume he will receive.
Jarvis Landry, Dolphins (31%/45%): Odell Beckham Jr. gets a lot of press for his spectacular hands and playmaking ability, but the other former-LSU rookie wideout is also tearing defenses apart. His value is hurt by the fact that there are other good receiving options on his team but his talent is undeniable. He was targeted 11 times Sunday and caught eight for 99 yards. While he hasn’t reached the endzone since Week 12, he is a PPR monster. He quietly has 71 receptions this year, which has him tied with Beckham at 20th on the receiver receptions list. He’s seen 10+ targets in four of his last six games, securing 76% of what is thrown his way.
Nate Washington, Titans (1.9%/5%): Sensing a theme? The Titans are playing the Jaguars and despite their two win campaign thus far, they have one of their best shots at doing well. Nate Washington has seen an increase in workload due to injuries to both Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter. Hunter’s season is over and Wright has a broken hand that kept him sidelined for Week 15. Even if Wright does play, Washington has good chemistry with Charlie Whitehurst and he’s still playing the Jaguars. He should be a solid WR3 this week after seeing a healthy 10 targets Sunday.
Charles Johnson, Vikings (17.4%/32%): Johnson has burst onto the scene in the last month as Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite target. Greg Jennings and Jarius Wright are still on Bridgewater’s radar, but none has seen as many targets as Johnson. He’s pulled in 20-of-36 over his last five games and is averaging 71 yards per game. The touchdowns haven’t been there for him so he’s not being noticed as much as he should be. He’s a great prospective pickup for next year like Cordarrelle Patterson was for this year. Johnson is a better route runner than Patterson so hopefully he won’t suffer the same letdown as Patterson this year.
Fliers: Cole Beasley, Cowboys. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs. Pierre Garcon, Redskins. Malcom Floyd, Chargers.
Dwayne Allen, Colts (44.8%/65%): In his second game back from injury, Allen returned to the endzone. He’s now scored in 8-of-12 games this season as he’s a redzone monster. His stat line would’ve been tough to stomach without the touchdown though as two catches for 16 yards won’t get you many fantasy points. He remains one of the better options at the tight end position since the position is all about chasing touchdowns. If he’s available, make him one of your first priorities.
Zach Ertz, Eagles (32.7%/61%): He hasn’t found the endzone very much this year and continues to see only a handful of targets per game. He has a very favorable matchup in Week 16 against the Redskins, who are one of the worst at defending the tight end position. Excluding this Sunday’s game against the Giants, they’d given up four touchdowns to the position in the two games prior.
Mychal Rivera, Raiders (19.6%/26%): He remains Derek Carr’s check down safety blanket and registered another seven catch outing. This time he only turned those catches into 39 yards but in PPR leagues, you were probably happy with the overall outing. This week I see more of the same happening. The Raiders face a blitz-happy Bills defense so Carr will most likely check down early and often to avoid getting sacked. He’s worth a dart throw in PPR leagues if you’ve been streaming at tight end.
Jared Cook, Rams (45.4%/31%): After a pair of touchdowns in Week 14, Cook disappointed with just a three catch performance in Week 15 with no touchdowns. He did see nine targets though and is clearly a top option of Shaun Hill. He did have two catches called back for his own pass interference but if those were counted, they would have doubled his fantasy output. This week he gets a softer defense in the Giants and if there isn’t anyone else available to you, he’s not a terrible streamer.
Jordan Cameron, Browns (38.6%/57%): He’s really the only tight end on the waiver wire that I could imagine keeping depending on your team so he’s making this section again. Usually a check down is a rookie quarterbacks go-to move when sensing pressure and that check down is usually to a tight end. Johnny Manziel couldn’t get anything going on Sunday so that didn’t really happen in this game. He ran around too much and tried to make things happen like they could in college. As he matures, hopefully it helps Cameron return to fantasy prominence. He might not be a good play this week but could build a rapport with Manziel over the last couple weeks if Manziel calms down under center.
Fliers: Charles Clay, Dolphins. Scott Chandler, Bills. Tim Wright, Patriots.
Dolphins D/ST: They may be faltering as of late with three negative performances in their last four games but you can feel good rolling them out again. If you need to, they have a good matchup against the Vikings and rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Their pass rush should make his life hard on Sunday.
Giants D/ST: This week brings the Giants defense to St. Louis to play the Rams. Shaun Hill has been decent as under center but he’s no Tom Brady. This group hasn’t created many turnovers as of late but the Rams offense is one of the most giving in the league. They give up the third most points to opposing defenses in standard scoring.
Chargers D/ST: Remember when they were one of the best in the league earlier this year? They have shown more of that talent but have peppered in some negative scores recently. The negative performances were against good and hot offenses at the time. They get to play the 49ers this week who allow everyone and anyone to sack Kaepernick. The 49ers are simply a dumpster fire these days. This is a Saturday game so make sure if you’re playing anyone on these teams, they are in your lineup before the weekend.
Titans D/ST: Did I mention they are playing the Jaguars? Remember, this is the Thursday night game, which are generally low scoring. The Jaguars could also be without Blake Bortles.
Browns D/ST: Quietly, this group has been pretty solid. Over the last four weeks they’ve scored an average of 10 points per game. That is skewed by a 22 point game against the Colts but that should say something to fantasy owners. This group played very well against one of the best quarterbacks in the league. This week they get the Panthers who may be rolling out a quite banged-up Cam Newton. I see Joe Haden having a big game Sunday.
Matt Bryant, Falcons: 25/28 FG, 37/37 XP
Shaun Suisham, Steelers: 25/28 FG, 40/40 XP
Cairo Santos, Chiefs: 17/21 FG, 37/37 XP
Connor Barth, Broncos: 11/11 FG, 6/6 XP
Shayne Graham, Saints: 19/22 FG, 41/42 XP