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Welcome to the Week 16 edition of Waiver Wired for the 2021 season. With every offense moving forward as a touch-and-go situation, we’ll address which replacements to add in order to advance to the most important matchup of the year. We’ll also discuss ongoing injury situations ahead of the holidays.
As a refresher, The Drop List consists of players who are rostered in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and are no longer must-have assets, recommended additions are available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the Watch List contains in-depth notes on fringe waiver adds, and Deep Cuts includes player notes on those rostered in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.
The Drop List
Shed weight like you're going to the beach. If you have two viable starting tight ends, for example, but your opponent is already stacked at that spot, it's in your best interest to separate from whichever player isn't making the cut in order to block your opponent from picking up bodies at more valuable positions. This week's 'Drop List' is truly a case-by-case scenario since it varies depending on your matchup. If a player on your bench isn't starting, though, consider him on the outside looking in. Stashing multiple defenses should also be ignored in the #LongestSeasonEver since 11-man units are guaranteed to be present whereas no skill players are safe for the next three weeks.
Overall Top 5
Deep League Top 5
For those looking to roster the best available player(s) regardless of position, the rankings above take into account every factor from the positional lists minus players’ actual positions for both recreational and deep league (FFPC, NFFC, 20-player rosters, etc.) formats, the latter which have far fewer viable players available with every passing week. These are listed in the precise order I would prioritize waiver claims in those leagues ahead of Week 16. Adjust accordingly for what you need on your roster to win this week and over the course of the fantasy playoffs.
End-of-Roster Top 10
The time has come to stop rostering backups to our own starters and, rather, target reserves with the most potential opportunity if a door or two randomly opened. That’s why the above list was carefully assembled to highlight league-winners (available in a majority of leagues) in the event the player ahead of them misses any time. Presumed snaps, carries, targets, and the play-calling each are tied to have been factored in. They’re chronologically listed in the precise order I would stash them for any Week 17 fallout, though managers should obviously feel free to adjust for their own preferences.
1. Gabriel Davis
2. Amon-Ra St. Brown
3. Tyler Johnson
4. Rashod Bateman
5. Nico Collins
6. Donovan Peoples-Jones
7. Allen Lazard
8. Isaiah McKenzie
9. Breshad Perriman
10. Mecole Hardman
11. Byron Pringle
1. Philadelphia Eagles
2. Las Vegas Raiders
3. Washington Football Team
4. Atlanta Falcons
1. Justin Fields, Bears — Rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues
At least seven carries and 16 fantasy points in each of his last four starts.
2. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers — Rostered in 41 percent of Yahoo Leagues
There is no truer sign that we're in the midst of the #LongestSeasonEver than looking up and seeing Garoppolo lead the entire league with 8.5 yards per attempt. While formidable against the run, the Titans have permitted the eighth-most adjusted fantasy points per game to enemy quarterbacks.
3. Tyler Huntley, Ravens — Rostered in 27 percent of Yahoo Leagues
Huntley has to be mentioned since he would be our top target if Lamar Jackson, who coach John Harbaugh said "we'll see" about, can't go. The Bengals quietly allowed 88 rushing yards to Jackson in their first meeting, lending Huntley an incredibly high rushing floor if he's given another nod.
1. Ronald Jones, Buccaneers — Rostered in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
Backup Ke’Shawn Vaughn did out-snap Jones 6-3 on 3rd/4th-down as the team’s receiving option from the two-minute drill, but that’s not a game script we expect the Buccaneers to experience against the lowly Panthers. Without Chris Godwin (torn ACL) and perhaps Mike Evans (hamstring), it’s even possible the Bucs shift from leaning on the second-highest pass play rate (66%) in neutral game script to league average, naturally gifting Jones a handful of additional carries. The addition of Le'Veon Bell may end up capping Jones' ceiling — an unfortunate outcome since the Jets are waiting just around the corner in Week 17 — but Tampa Bay’s starting running back is clearly the top priority of Week 16 since, when sifting through the players below, Jones is still the only one guaranteed a workhorse role.
2. Justin Jackson, Chargers – Rostered in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
Austin Ekeler was officially moved to the COVID list on Wednesday and, like everyone else slapped there, is labeled a game-time call. Justin Jackson most recently out-touched Josh Kelley 14 to 7 against the Chiefs and should be the fallback plan for Ekeler’s managers, though Kelley would frustratingly poach Jackson on the goal line (as shown by his two carries inside the 10-yard line Thursday).
3. Ameer Abdullah, Panthers – Rostered in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
As expected in negative game script, Abdullah ran 25 routes to Chuba Hubbard's 14, finishing as the overall RB9 on the week since he recorded four catches for 48 yards and a receiving score. The same story will be told against the Buccaneers, which have limited opposing running backs to 3.7 YPC and the fewest fantasy points per game from the ground.
4. DeeJay Dallas, Seahawks — Rostered in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Rashaad Penny (ribs) injured Monday night, Dallas is next in line for an elite matchup opposite Chicago's front-seven in Week 16. This is where I would slide Dallas as arguably a low-end RB1 if both Adrian Peterson (back) and Penny don't make it back.
5. Craig Reynolds, Lions – Rostered in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
Reynolds has handled 37 of Detroit's 52 running back carries the past two weeks but did so without either Jamaal Williams (COVID) or D'Andre Swift (shoulder) available. With Williams expected to return on Sunday and Swift back at practice, Reynolds is merely a flier who would be deemed viable if the latter two are scratched. Detroit's ongoing situation with Jared Goff (COVID) is also a downgrade for every player in their offense.
6. Duke Johnson, Dolphins – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
CBS commentators mentioned mid-game that Miami's coaches weren't sure Myles Gaskin could handle a full workload after coming off the COVID-19 list 24 hours before kick-off, which allowed Duke Johnson to excel with 22 carries (to Gaskin's 10) against a Jets front-seven permitting league-highs in fantasy points and touches to enemy runners. More importantly, co-OC Eric Studesville said "all those guys are going to play and participate in the game plan" moving forward, inevitably forcing Johnson, Gaskin, and Phillip Lindsay (COVID) or Malcolm Brown (designated to return) into an unusable timeshare a la Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. Squaring off against New Orleans, which has allowed the league's second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, also makes this situation an easy one to be wary of for Week 16.
Deep Leagues: The most explosive runner in New York's backfield right now, Devontae Booker has averaged 10.2 touches per game in his last three contests if you're desperate for a widely available floor...With J.D. McKissic (concussion) moved to injured reserve, Jaret Patterson would be the pivot if Antonio Gibson's toe injury suffered on Tuesday night lingers.
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1. Gabriel Davis, Bills – Rostered in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
As expected, Davis stepped in for Emmanuel Sanders and played 90% of Buffalo's snaps with a route on 90% of Josh Allen's dropbacks as a full-time player. He's guaranteed the same voluminous role against New England after Cole Beasley (COVID) was ruled out for the next 10 days.
2. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions – Rostered in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
3. Tyler Johnson, Buccaneers – Rostered in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
Johnson stepped in for Chris Godwin (torn ACL) Sunday night and led the Bucs with 51 routes run on Tom Brady's 54 dropbacks. Although Johnson is not expected to earn more targets than Mike Evans (hamstring) and Antonio Brown, the former will be firmly planted into the slot from three-wide sets as he was in two healthy games without Godwin last year.
4. Rashod Bateman, Ravens – Rostered in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues
Bateman led the Ravens with a route on 50 of Tyler Huntley’s 52 dropbacks this past week but was only targeted two times for a five-yard catch. That elite underlying usage is still worth chasing if Sammy Watkins (COVID) remains out.
5. Nico Collins, Texans – Rostered in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues
Although Collins would logically fall into Brandin Cooks' (COVID) spot as Houston's de facto No. 1 wideout, his practice participation needs to be monitored throughout the week since he was used as a part-time player with a 55% route rate against the Jaguars.
6. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Browns – Rostered in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues
DPJ accrued seven targets for a 21.8% target share even with Jarvis Landry (COVID) in the lineup two weeks back. The former should be peppered downfield as the team's only deep threat in order to try and match Green Bay point for point.
7. Allen Lazard, Packers – Rostered in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues
Averaged four targets per game on 85% of Green Bay's snaps in four starts without Marquez Valdes-Scantling this year. Note that those performances happened while Robert Tonyan (torn ACL) was healthy, creating additional volume for Lazard this time around if MVS (COVID) is ruled out.
8. Isaiah McKenzie, Bills – Rostered in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues
Registered a team-high 23.6% target share in his lone spot-start in place of Cole Beasley (COVID) last year, simultaneously logging a season-high 91% of Buffalo's snaps. McKenzie also recorded two carries on jet sweeps in that game.
9. Breshad Perriman, Buccaneers – Rostered in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues
Friendly reminder Perriman played 55% of Tampa Bay's offensive snaps in two games prior to being placed on the COVID list and would naturally take Mike Evans' place on the boundary if the latter's hamstring injury keeps him sidelined. Note that Evans was labeled DNP on Wednesday.
8. Mecole Hardman, Chiefs – Rostered in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues
9. Byron Pringle, Chiefs – Rostered in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues
Deep Leagues: The Patriots would start Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski in two-wide sets if Nelson Agholor (concussion), Kendrick Bourne (COVID) and N'Keal Harry (head) can't go...In Arizona's first game moving forward without DeAndre Hopkins, Antoine Wesley ran the second-most routes (46) among Arizona's receivers. A.J. Green (38) and Rondale Moore (16), the latter who missed practice Wednesday, were deployed for the third- and fourth-most respectively.
1. Cole Kmet, Bears — Rostered in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues
2. Gerald Everett, Seahawks — Rostered in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues
3. Foster Moreau, Raiders — Rostered in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
4. Zach Gentry, Steelers — Rostered in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
Deep Leagues: Albert Okwuegbunam
1. Philadelphia Eagles – Rostered in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues
2. Las Vegas Raiders – Rostered in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
3. Washington Football Team – Rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues
Dak Prescott has averaged 255 yards per game (and 6.4 YPA) with nine touchdowns and six interceptions since returning from his calf injury in Week 9, sponging 16 total sacks as an unmovable object in that stretch.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Rostered in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
Week 17 (in order): Chicago versus Mike Glennon…Eagles (for a second time) against Washington...Miami against the Titans...San Francisco’s turn to tee off on Davis Mills...Seattle opposite Jared Goff and Detroit.
Only a fool wouldn’t pass the ball to Michael Jordan in his prime, so it only makes sense that I pull each week’s kicker streamers from Denny Carter’s column and #adjust them accordingly. For in-depth analysis, you can read his entire piece here:
1. Dustin Hopkins, Chargers – Rostered in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues
2. Robbie Gould, 49ers – Rostered in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues
3. Younghoe Koo, Falcons – Rostered in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues