2014 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 16
With Championship Week now upon us, your league's title is now within your sights.
For my waiver-wire posts, I have a self-imposed rule of only including players with Yahoo! ownership of 50 percent or less. The goal is to give you suggestions of players that (1) can help your fantasy squad and (2) are widely available in leagues.
With that said, here are some players to consider adding to your fantasy roster(s) (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):
QB - Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (31 percent)
For those willing to accept high risk for the potential of high reward, RG3 is an intriguing quarterback play this week. In relief on Sunday, RG3 finished with 236 passing yards and a touchdown plus five rush attempts for 46 yards (and a near touchdown). Griffin is slated to get the start against the Eagles, who have allowed a top-12 fantasy quarterback in 11 of 14 games this season. In fact, the first time they faced Washington, they allowed Kirk Cousins to throw for 427 yards and three touchdowns as Cousins scored the second-most fantasy points among QBs that week.
The team's wideouts still have zero touchdowns, but Smith threw two touchdowns on Sunday and now has multiple touchdown passes in three of his past four games. In addition, Smith has exceeded 290 passing yards in back-to-back games, his two highest totals of the season. Smith's rushing production is down from last year, but his 240 rushing yards ranks eighth at the position this season. Meanwhile, Smith gets a favorable matchup this week against the Steelers, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
This week's matchup against the Dolphins isn't favorable, but Bridgewater now has back-to-back 300-yard passing games against the Jets and Lions. If your league's postseason extends into Week 17, however, the Vikings face the Bears in the final week of the season. Only the Redskins have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year.
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DeMarco Murray has delivered huge returns to fantasy owners that used their first-round pick on him. Many fantasy owners have advanced to this point of the season in large part to Murray. Unfortunately for those same owners, the timing of Murray's hand injury couldn't be worse. Although he has not yet been ruled out, there is a fairly strong chance that Murray will miss this week's game due to the injury. That would open the door for Randle, who would likely lead the team in touches in Week 16 behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. If Randle is owned, Lance Dunbar deserves a look as well as he would get the change-of-pace opportunities.
Leaving Sunday's game with back and ankle injuries, the talented rookie ran the ball well when he was on the field as he carried the ball six times for 55 yards against the Seahawks. With Frank Gore suffering a concussion, Hyde could be in store for an expanded role if Gore isn't cleared from his concussion for Week 16. If both Hyde and Gore can't go in Week 16, that would open the door for Alfonso Smith against the Chargers.
Not only does Asiata have double-digit carries in three consecutive games, but he has at least three receptions in six consecutive games. Although he has averaged just 2.84 yards per carry over his past eight games, Asiata has a total of 58 touches over his past three games. After two difficult matchups (Jets and Lions), Asiata closes out the season with more favorable matchups against the Dolphins and Bears.
Gerhart has been an enormous disappointment this season, but he has a chance for a little bit of redemption for fantasy owners this week. Given how much he has struggled (265 rushing yards, 3.08 YPC), however, it's hard to have a ton of faith in Gerhart this week. That said, he had a team-high 13 carries last week and gets a matchup against one of the league's worst run defenses (Titans) this week. The Titans have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
It's a brutal two-game slate to close the season as the Cardinals face the Seahawks and 49ers, two of the league's stingiest run defenses. That said, Williams has been productive over the past two games with Andre Ellington being placed on Injured Reserve. Williams has 34 carries for 175 yards in those two games and is worth a look for RB-needy owners.
With the 32nd-most fantasy points among wide receivers in PPR formats, Landry has a minimum of five receptions to go along with 50 yards and/or a touchdown in seven consecutive games. In that seven-game span, Landry has finished as a top-36 fantasy wide receiver in PPR scoring every week. Over that stretch, he has averaged 6.57 catches on 8.57 targets per game including double-digit targets in four of his past six games.
One of my favorite sleepers since he entered the league last year, the Vikings are Johnson's third team as he is finally getting an opportunity to showcase his abilities. Last year was wiped out due to injury, but I expected him to have a significant role early in the season with Cleveland given their woes at receiver. In his past five games with the Vikings, however, he has a total of 20 receptions for 355 yards and two touchdowns. That five-game pace extrapolated over a 16-game season would be equivalent to a stat line of 64/1,136/6.
With Julio Jones (hip) sidelined in Week 15, Douglas stepped up for fantasy owners with 10 catches for 131 yards on 14 targets. When Roddy White sat out Week 13, Douglas had nine catches for 116 yards on 12 targets. If Jones is unable to go again this week, Douglas has demonstrated the ability to rise to the occassion when given a more prominent role in the offense. In addition, the Falcons have two favorable matchups against the Saints and Panthers to close the season.
Shorts has only one touchdown (Week 3) and more than five catches only twice this season. The good news, however, is that Shorts has double-digit targets in back-to-back games and a favorable matchup against the Titans this week. Three of their six 100-yard games allowed to wide receivers have come in the past three weeks to DeAndre Hopkins (238, Week 13), Odell Beckham, Jr. (130, Week 14) and Eric Decker (100, Week 15). I don't know if Shorts (or any Jags' receiver) extends that streak, but Shorts should have a productive outing this week.
Bailey now has five-plus receptions and 74-plus yards in three of his past four games. In those three productive outings, he has finished as a top-25 fantasy wide receiver.
Wilson scored his first NFL touchdown last night, but he has three or less receptions and under 20 yards in all five games this season. From a talent perspective, I like Wilson and he has more value in dynasty formats, but it's hard to trust the Bears, their offensive line and Jay Cutler even as Wilson has moved into the team's No. 2 role for the rest of this season. In Week 16, the Bears face the Lions, who rank fifth in the league in sacks (39) and lead the league in scoring defense (17.0 PPG).
Given the injuries to the team's receiving corps, Washington had a big game (six catches for 102 yards on 10 targets) in Week 15. If Kendall Wright (hand) is forced to miss a third game in a row, Washington should see a high volume of targets once again.
Cook tends to be inconsistent, but he has two plus matchups against the Giants and Seahawks to close the season. Both teams rank in the top 13 of most fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends. In his past six games, Cook has finished as a top-three fantasy tight end twice and outside the top-20 fantasy tight ends the other four times. Feelin' lucky?
Rivera has had seven receptions in back-to-back games and now has six-plus receptions in five of his past eight games. During that eight-game span, Rivera has averaged 8.0 targets per game including a season-high 12 of them last week. That said, this week's matchup against the Bills, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, is horrible.