Waiver Wire: Week 16

Adam Levitan
Daily Dose: Wild Card Weekend
Jeff Brubach recaps injury news, huge fantasy performances and more from a busy Wild Card weekend in Monday's Daily Dose

Normally, Week 16 brings at least a few questions about playoff teams resting players. Not this year. No one has clinched home field throughout the playoffs and only the Colts have even clinched their division.

The only real candidate to rest players this week is the Eagles. If the Cowboys win at Washington at 1pm, then the Sunday Night Football game between Philly and Chicago would mean nothing for the NFC East crown. It would be decided in Week 17 when the Eagles and Cowboys play each other. But coach Chip Kelly squashed any notions of taking his foot off the gas, saying Monday that he’s not resting anyone no matter what. It’s easy to believe him since the Eagles’ final record could end up deciding whether they are the three or four seed in the NFC playoffs.

So as we look to this week’s Waiver Wire, we have two aspects to look at only: Dream matchups and injury replacements.  

Here is how I would rank the top players available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues at each position. Notes and recommendations on each player will follow below.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 16. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

1. Kirk Cousins
2. Jason Campbell
3. Ryan Tannehill
4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
* Jay Cutler is owned in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues. If available, he’d be my No. 1 add at QB.

Running backs
1. Jordan Todman
2. Trent Richardson
3. Dennis Johnson
4. Mike Tolbert
5. Edwin Baker

Wide receivers
1. Rueben Randle
2. Andre Caldwell
3. Marvin Jones
4. Rod Streater
5. Doug Baldwin
6. Andre Roberts

Tight Ends
1. Delanie Walker
2. Tyler Eifert
3. Ryan Griffin
4. Tim Wright
5. Andrew Quarless

Defense/Special Teams
1. Titans
2. Rams
3. Lions
4. Chargers
5. Jets

1. Nick Novak
2. Alex Henery
3. Robbie Gould

1. Kirk Cousins, Redskins – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
As everyone knows, Robert Griffin III has been shut down for the year. That leaves Kirk Cousins with the dreamiest of dream matchups – home vs. the Cowboys. Dallas just gave up four touchdowns to Matt Flynn, has the league’s No. 32 yardage defense, the No. 32 pass defense and the No. 26 pass defense. In two career starts, Cousins has gone 55-of-82 (67.0 percent) for 708 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. It would be a major surprise if he doesn’t go over 300 yards and toss multiple touchdowns in Week 16.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

2. Jason Campbell, Browns – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
Yes, Jason Campbell was awful in Week 15 as he struggled with the wind and the Bears’ underrated pass defense. That does not mean he will struggle in Week 16. Campbell’s matchup is far better this time around as he gets to face a Jets defense that is dominant against the run (3rd in the NFL) but awful against the pass (26th). Look for yet another decisively pass-happy approach out of Norv Turner, making Campbell an excellent bet to go over 248 yards for the sixth time in six starts. Josh Gordon is going to roast Antonio Cromartie, who has struggled badly all year long.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

3. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins – Owned in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues
I’m not exactly sure how or why, but the impressive progression of second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill has flown far under the radar in both real life and fantasy circles. Over the last seven weeks, he’s won five games despite almost no running game. And across the last four weeks, he’s averaging 288.2 yards per day with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. Tannehill is third on this list because the Week 16 matchup at Buffalo is not as soft as it seems. It’s a letdown spot for the Dolphins off their Patriots win and the Bills typically show well in division games at the Ralph. But in terms of long-term upside, Tannehill is the real deal.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

4. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Titans – Owned in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
We saw some of that old “Fitzmagic” in Week 15 as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns on 58 attempts in the overtime loss to the Cardinals. Chasing those stats are a bad idea, but he does get to face the Jaguars in plus weather on Sunday. I’d close my eyes and use Fitzpatrick over Carson Palmer (at SEA) in fantasy’s Super Bowl week.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: E.J. Manuel, Matt Flynn – Manuel has been so up and down all year, I couldn’t bring myself to trust him in Week 16 despite the impressive Week 15 showing. … Flynn was nearly benched on Sunday, then threw four second-half touchdowns at Dallas. But he faces Pittsburgh this week and Aaron Rodgers could be back. Flynn is a weak QB2, even if he starts.

Editor’s Note: For more waiver thoughts and news from around the league, follow Adam Levitan, Rotoworld Football and our dominant News Page. Keep reading for notes on RB, WR, TE, K and D.

1. Jordan Todman, Jaguars – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
In the first start of his three-year career, Jordan Todman ripped off 109 yards on 25 carries and four catches for 44 more yards in the Week 15 loss to the Bills. The 153 total yards are more than Maurice Jones-Drew has had since Week 3 of the 2012 season. For Dynasty owners, I don’t think it’s far-fetched at all to suggest the Jags will let a 29-year-old (in March) Jones-Drew walk as a free agent and use Todman as a big part of a committee. He has 4.4 wheels and was also a preseason dynamo, putting up a 22/223/2 line back in August. As for this week, Jones-Drew is very questionable for Sunday’s game against the Titans. If he sits, we can safely expect at least 18-22 touches for Todman against a soft Tennessee front.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Trent Richardson, Colts – Owned in 80 percent of Yahoo leagues
I almost never include players with an ownership percentage above 50 in Waiver Wired, but I’m making an exception here because there’s a good chance Trent Richardson was dropped in active, shallow leagues. The new news here isn’t that T-Rich is playing better, it’s that Donald Brown sustained a stinger in Week 15 and is questionable for this week’s game at Kansas City. We can’t expect more than 3.5 yards per carry out of Richardson, but if he starts he’ll be a good bet for 3-6 catches and any goal-line work. There’s desperation flex appeal against a defense that has been gashed by Rashad Jennings and Montee Ball over the last few weeks.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

3. Dennis Johnson, Texans – Owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues
Ben Tate did his thing again in Week 15, gutting out 92 total yards on 19 touches against the Colts. But on Monday, the Texans revealed that he had no have a cat scan on those four broken ribs he’s been playing through. It sounds like an aggravation has taken place. At this point, Tate has proven his toughness enough to the point where the injury has helped his free agency stock, not hurt it. It would not be a surprise at all if he finally decides to pack it in, letting Dennis Johnson take over as the feature back. If that’s the case, Johnson would be a volume candidate in a home game against the Broncos Sunday. The undrafted rookie out of Arkansas has rushed 37 times for 154 yards (4.16 YPC) and added six catches for 45 yards in spot duty this season.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

4. Mike Tolbert, Panthers – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jonathan Stewart (knee) will be reevaluated on Wednesday, but it appears unlikely he’ll be back in time for Sunday’s game against the Saints. That means far more for DeAngelo Williams than it does for Mike Tolbert, but it still gives the powder keg a little boost. In the Week 15 win over the Jets, Tolbert got 13 touches and pounded in yet another 1-yard score. With a similar workload against the Saints, he projects to be slightly more productive from a yardage standpoint thanks to a softer defense. Regardless, all Tolbert’s value will be tied up in goal-line chances.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team TD-heavy leagues

5. Edwin Baker, Browns – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Willis McGahee (concussion) sidelined, the Browns did not increase the role of Chris Ogbonnaya or Fozzy Whittaker. Instead, they turned to a guy they signed off the Texans’ practice squad five days earlier. Edwin Baker got the first carry from scrimmage and ended up leading the backfield with 12 touches for 84 total yards and a goal-line plunge. McGahee could be back this week, but the coaches are talking about getting Baker even more work anyway. It’s clear they don’t see Ogbonnaya or Whittaker as anything more than complementary players. Baker would have more plug-n-play appeal if the Browns didn’t project to take a pass-heavy approach against the Jets Sunday.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: LeGarrette Blount, Chris Ogbonnaya, Matt Asiata – Blount is rotating slightly ahead of Stevan Ridley for big back duties. … If you need a back to get you 3-5 catches and nothing else, Ogbonnaya is your man. … Asiata did not earn more playing time despite his three touchdowns on Sunday. Adrian Peterson (foot) is fully expected back.  

1. Rueben Randle, Giants – Owned in 62 percent of Yahoo leagues
The ideal scenario for a Rueben Randle blowup would have been a Hakeem Nicks injury. That’s because he’s naturally an outside receiver, the “X” of the Giants future. But with Victor Cruz (concussion, knee) likely sidelined, Randle will still see a major bump in usage. Look for the talented playmaker to play in the majority of two-wide sets and all three wide sets (with Jerrel Jernigan in the slot). To get an idea of what Randle is capable of, consider that he has 56 catches for 869 yards and nine touchdowns on just 102 career targets. He’ll have serious WR3 upside against the Lions Sunday as long as Cruz is inactive.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Andre Caldwell, Broncos – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Broncos pulled a fast one on everyone last Thursday. Instead of using tight end Jacob Tamme as their slot receiver – as they did when Wes Welker went down in Week 14 – they instead inserted Andre Caldwell as their No. 3 wideout and ran with it. Caldwell ended up going for a 6/59/2 line while playing on 37-of-54 snaps. Tamme had 1/9/0 while playing nine snaps. Of course, there’s no guarantee that the Broncos will exercise the same usage against the Texans in Week 16 or that Welker’s concussion will keep him out again. But the mere potential of having Caldwell playing a majority of snaps with Peyton Manning is enough to make an add and wait for more info.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Marvin Jones, Bengals – Owned in 35 percent of Yahoo leagues
This is a strict matchup play. Jones’ snap count was up a little in Week 15 (71.8 percent), but the idea here is to attack a truly atrocious Vikings secondary. This is a unit that is ranked 30th in the league and is dealing with injuries to two starters in Chris Cook and Xavier Rhodes. The talented Jones, who is riding a two-game touchdown streak, is a reasonable bet to stay hot.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

4. Rod Streater, Raiders – Owned in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Raiders are oddly sticking with Matt McGloin and that’s good news for Rod Streater. Since McGloin took over five weeks ago, Streater is averaging 5.0 catches for 84.6 yards with two touchdowns. He fits with McGloin’s quick timing routes because he’s a possession receiver. Streater now gets to face a pair of Chargers corners that has struggled as bad as any duo all season long.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

5. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks – Owned in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
The No. 1 receiver for Russell Wilson over the last six weeks? It’s unquestionably Doug Baldwin. During that stretch, the underrated slot man is averaging 4.3 catches for 66.3 yards and has scored four touchdowns. In Sunday’s win over the Giants, Baldwin led the wideouts by playing on 57-of-69 snaps. In Week 16, he will be a featured player in the passing game as the Seahawks will likely scheme to avoid elite Cardinals outside corner Patrick Peterson.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

6. Andre Roberts, Cardinals – Owned in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
Larry Fitzgerald is in the concussion program and very questionable for Week 16. Normally, I’d be very excited to consider Andre Roberts as a plug-n-play in this aggressive Bruce Arians passing scheme. But the Cardinals are in the mother of all awful spots for a quarterback/wideout: At Seattle. Roberts would be a desperation WR4 even if Fitzgerald sits.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: Cordarrelle Patterson, Da’Rick Rogers, Ace Sanders, Robert Woods, Jerrel Jernigan, Andre Holmes, Kenbrell Thompkins – At this point, we know what’s up with Patterson. If he takes a screen pass to the house, he’s gold. If not, the yardage will be meager. … I still really like Rogers, but the spot at Kansas City is tough this week. … Sanders is the Jags’ No. 1 receiver with Cecil Shorts down. … Woods and E.J. Manuel have something going on. … Jernigan will get slot reps with Victor Cruz likely out. … Andre Holmes is a weak redraft play with Denarius Moore healthy, but his Dynasty stock is on the rise. This kid can play. … Thompkins’ health is worth watching as he could be an every-down X receiver. Josh Boyce went down in Week 15 and Aaron Dobson (foot) is in doubt.  

1. Delanie Walker, Titans – Owned in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues
In Week 15, Delanie Walker went for 8/53/1 against the Cardinals unit that is the worst in the NFL at defending tight ends. In Week 16, he gets to face a Jaguars unit that is the second worst in the NFL at defending tight ends. So let’s not make this rocket science and try to poke holes in Walker’s game – because there are plenty. Simply say thank you and accept the matchup for a player that has eight or more targets in four of the last five games.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Tyler Eifert, Bengals – Owned in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jermaine Gresham has missed one game this season, the Week 10 overtime loss at Baltimore. In that game, Tyler Eifert had just three catches for 55 yards. But note that he recorded a season-high nine targets, dwarfing his average of 3.5 targets in all other games. Fast forward to the present, and Gresham’s Week 16 status is in jeopardy due to a hip injury he sustained in Week 15. If Eifert is the lone tight end, his production will bump in a big way against a Vikings defense that gets shredded through the air weekly. Fellow rookie tight end Zach Ertz just lit up Minny for 6/57/1.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Ryan Griffin, Texans – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
As of Monday, Garrett Graham was still feeling soreness in his hamstring and Owen Daniels (leg) was very questionable to make his return. It leaves open the possibility that Ryan Griffin will draw another start in the Texans’ tight-end friendly scheme. The sixth-round rookie is coming off a 6/62/0 line and faces the Broncos this week. We can safely expect a ton of passes out of Houston as they project to enter all-out comeback mode early.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

4. Tim Wright, Bucs – Owned in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues
When the Bucs are trailing big in a game, Tim Wright usually produces. He’s posted five catches or more five times this season, and the Bucs lost four of those games. That’s because as the strict “move” tight end, his snap count rises as the Bucs go to their hurry-up and pass-happy sets. So the question is if Tampa will be able to take a lead at St. Louis in Week 16. Well, the early line is Rams -5.5 and they’ve played far better in the dome this year, where they’re 4-3. Wright has more upside than the other TE2 Hail Marys because he’s a college wideout with gobs of athletic ability.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

5. Andrew Quarless, Packers – Owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
Coming off back-to-back 6/66/1 lines, Andrew Quarless’ production can no longer be ignored. He’s always been an excellent blocker, but he’s raised his game as a receiver. And the coaches have noticed, as Quarless split out and caught a touchdown on quick slant against the Cowboys in Week 15. There’s still a very low floor here as Quarless could be needed to block against the Steelers’ pass rush in Week 16, so tread lightly.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 14-team leagues

Watch List: Scott Chandler, Zach Ertz, Brandon Myers, Fred Davis – Chandler is averaging 3.4 catches for 40.6 yards with two touchdowns this season. It is what it is. … Don’t chase Ertz’s Week 15 blowup. The Eagles will go run-heavy against the Bears. … Myers will have a shot at a TD against the Lions, especially with Victor Cruz likely out. … Davis will continue to be the pass-catching tight end for Washington with Jordan Reed out.

1. Titans – Owned in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Jaguars offense regressed in Week 15 as they turned the ball over four times and took five sacks in a home game against the Bills. Now playing without Justin Blackmon (suspension), Cecil Shorts (groin), possibly Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) and a host of offensive linemen, it’s not a huge surprise. The Titans should be able to go into Jacksonville and completely shut down the passing game with their elite corner duo of Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty.

2. Rams – Owned in 61 percent of Yahoo leagues
After watching a domination of the Saints’ high-powered offense in Week 15, the Rams defense is suddenly on the national radar. Lighting quick DPOY candidate Robert Quinn is on his way to becoming a household name and now they get an inexperienced and inconsistent Bucs team at home. Note that the Rams are 4-3 at home vs. 2-5 on the road and their numbers are better across the board in the Edward Jones Dome. 24 of their 42 sacks, eight of their 14 interceptions and 12 of their 19 forced fumbles have come at home.

3. Lions – Owned in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues
We’ve reached the point in Eli Manning’s career where we actually stream defenses against him. That’s what happens when you’ve thrown 25 interceptions and fumbled four times in 14 games. Now the Giants have to go on the road to a tough spot at Detroit, where they’ll face a Lions team looking to take some frustration out after getting Tuckered on Monday night.

4. Chargers – Owned in 20 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Chargers are brimming with confidence after beating Peyton Manning in Denver. Now they have a long week to prepare for a home game against the Raiders, who are oddly sticking with Matt McGloin instead of turning to more explosive Terrelle Pryor. The Chargers will give up points due to their talent deficiencies at every level on defense, but expect turnovers and big plays.

5. Jets – Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues
Some folks might have the Jets higher on streamer lists, but I think the matchup is only mediocre. Rex Ryan’s group excels at stopping the run (No. 3 in the NFL) but struggles against the pass (No. 26 in the league). That fits perfectly with the Browns’ offensive scheme, as Norv Turner and company have no desire to run the ball at all. I’d consider the Jets more of a desperation play than a solid plug-n-play.

1. Nick Novak, Chargers – Owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
We keep plugging Nick Novak into lineups and he keeps rewarding us. Over the last two weeks, he’s 5-of-5 on field goals and 7-of-7 on extra points. Now he gets to face the Raiders at home in a game the Chargers are likely to move the ball with ease.

2. Alex Henery, Eagles – Owned in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues
I normally try to avoid kickers in potentially rough weather this time of year, but the initial forecast in Philadelphia for next Sunday is 57 degrees. This game against the Bears has shootout written all over it, meaning plenty of chances for Alex Henery -- who is coming off a 3-of-3 day (including a 51-yarder) in Week 15.

3. Robbie Gould, Bears – Owned in 45 percent of Yahoo leagues
That Bears at Eagles SNF matchup is going to decide a ton of fantasy championships. Oddsmakers have set the initial over/under at a gaudy 56 points and I talked about the potential for reasonable weather in the Alex Henery blurb. Even if the weather is bad, Gould is a pro at that after having played at Penn State and then in Chicago.