Fantasy Football: Some Waiver-Wire Options Heading into Week 16
This is it!
To paraphrase Bill Parcells, this is why you did those mock drafts, made those trades, etc. Ok, sorry for the corny joke, but all of the work you have done in the offseason and throughout the season has now culminated into your advancement into the finals of your fantasy league(s).
Congratulations are in order, but now is the time to close the deal.
In previous weeks, we had two criteria for a player to appear on our waiver-wire list: (1) he is owned in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues or less and (2) he was not on last week's waiver-wire list.
With it being do-or-die time (or at least this being our final waiver-wire post of the 2013 season), we will stick to the ownership rule, but we won't worry about repeating names from the previous list.
Here are players to consider adding (sorted by position and then priority):
QB - Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (owned in 47 percent of Yahoo! leagues)
Despite throwing a couple of interceptions in his first game back from injury, Cutler scored a respectable 19 fantasy points against the Browns in Week 15. With one of the league's best complement of pass-catching weapons, Cutler gets a more favorable matchup this week as he looks to build upon last week's performance.
Cutler and the Bears will face the Eagles, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, on Sunday Night Football.
QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (31 percent)
Tannehill has thrown for 300-plus yards in back-to-back weeks and in three of his past four games. In addition, he has thrown multiple touchdowns in three consecutive games. His four highest fantasy point totals of the season have all come (and increased) over the past four weeks: 17, 21, 23 and 24, respectively.
QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (11 percent)
In the second start of his career (and first of the season), Cousins threw for a career-high 381 yards and three touchdowns against the Falcons. In games that he has started, Cousins is now two-for-two in 300-yard games.
While he had a favorable matchup last week, it gets even better this week as the 'Skins will host the Cowboys, who have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tennessee Titans (13 percent)
One of three quarterbacks to score 30 fantasy points in Week 15, Fitzpatrick has a favorable matchup in Championship Week against the Jaguars. While I don't expect another 30-point performance by The Amish Rifle, he certainly can deliver another solid performance this week, if necessary.
RB - Jordan Todman, Jacksonville Jaguars (19 percent)
There are several RBs worth adding in the range of 51-75 percent league ownership, but Todman is clearly the top option to add among the group owned in 50 percent or less.
With Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) out in Week 15, Todman carried the ball 25 times for 109 yards and added four catches for 44 yards. Especially if MJD is unable to go this week, Todman would be in line for another heavy workload in a favorable matchup.
The Titans have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
RB - Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (18 percent)
One week after rushing for 105 yards and a touchdown, Thomas had only five carries for 16 yards last week. That said, he did score a touchdown on his one reception. With Lamar Miller likely to get more touches again this week, Thomas (or Miller) would be hard to trust with so much on the line, but they have a good matchup against the Bills.
Over their past five games, the Bills have allowed opposing RBs to rush for 135.4 yards per game, 4.80 yards per carry and six touchdowns.
RB - Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers (29 percent)
Far from a guy I'd want to rely on in Championship Week, Touchdown Mike has had a decent amount of goal-line success this season. Tolbert, who has seven scores this season, ended a five-game drought without a touchdown. With Jonathan Stewart (knee) sidelined, Tolbert had 12 carries last week although I wouldn't expect as many this week. However, I wouldn't be surprised if scored another touchdown.
RB - Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans (12 percent)
Like Tolbert, Greene has some upside due to his touchdown potential, but the unreliability of rushing touchdowns makes him (and Tolbert) a dicey play this week. One week after rushing for two scores, Greene rushed for only four yards and no touchdowns.
The Titans have a relatively favorable matchup this week against the Jaguars. The Jags have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, but they have surrendered only two rushing scores to the position over their past six games.
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WR - Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings (43 percent)
Now that Matt Cassel will start at quarterback, I'd actually prefer Greg Jennings, who is owned in 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues, but I like Patterson as well. In his past two games, Patterson has 10 receptions for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Patterson also has five carries in the past three games as well.
WR - Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders (25 percent)
For a fifth consecutive game, Streater finished with more than 50 receiving yards. During that span, he has 25 receptions for 423 yards and two touchdowns. Streater's 423 yards ranks 10th in the NFL during that stretch.
This week, the Raiders will face the Chargers, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.
WR - Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (24 percent)
For the fourth time in his past six games, Baldwin has scored a touchdown and finished with double-digit fantasy points. In addition, he has 63-plus receiving yards in five of those six games. While his upside may not be huge, he's a source of solid fantasy production as a WR3 or flex.
WR - Da'Rick Rogers, Indianapolis Colts (11 percent)
One week after his breakout performance, Rogers had just two catches for 23 yards in their blowout win against the Texans. With a tougher matchup this week against the 11-3 Chiefs, the Colts will likely need to pass the ball more often and Rogers has upside based on his talent. That said, he would be a boom-or-bust play for Week 16.
WR - Ace Sanders, Jacksonville Jaguars (six percent)
With the Jaguars placing Cecil Shorts on injured reserve, Sanders could see plenty of targets in Week 16. That said, the Jags were without Shorts last week and Sanders was only targeted three times. He did catch his first touchdown of the season, however, and a few weeks ago, Sanders had a three-game stretch with at least 61 yards and a total of 20 receptions.
TE - Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans (44 percent)
Walker returned last week from his concussion and hauled in eight receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals. Except for the game in which Walker was concussed, he has been targeted at least eight times in the four most recent games that he has completed.
Once again, Walker has a favorable matchup as the Jaguars have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. In his first game against the Jags, Walker had a stat line of 4/82/1.
TE - Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens (38 percent)
Even though Pitta had only two catches for 24 yards on four targets, it's certainly possible that he sees double-digit targets and scores double-digit points like he did two weeks ago.
The Ravens will host the Patriots this week and the Pats have allowed a total of four touchdowns to tight ends over their past five games.
TE - Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (five percent)
Although he has a goose egg sandwiched in between, Ertz has games with at least five catches, 57 yards and a touchdown (or two) in two of the past three weeks.
TE - Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars (one percent)
Lewis has scored in back-to-back weeks. The Titans have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in back-to-back weeks. Considering they will be without Shorts and the Titans are good at defending outside receivers, you could do worse than Lewis in Week 16.
With no Thursday Night Football game this week, I will release my initial Week 16 rankings Wednesday and they can be found here on my weekly rankings page.