Fantasy Football Week 16 Waiver Wire Pickups and Advice

After weeks of anticipation, it’s finally here…your fantasy championship game.

Oh, you thought I meant Christmas?

Ideally you’ve been shopping the waiver wire all season long and have picked up some bargains along the way.  But just in case you waited until the last minute, there are still a few options out there in your hour of need.

Alright, enough with the holiday metaphors, let’s check out a handful of guys on the waiver wire who just might put you over the top.  As always, players listed here are owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Waiver Wire Pickups: QB

Matt Moore (18%), Miami

By now you know that it’s a sound practice to start the QB playing against the Patriots, who have routinely given up big fantasy numbers to opposing signal callers.  Moore has at least one TD in five straight games with nine total scores over that span.  New England has allowed multiple TDs to six of the last eight QBs they have faced, and they also allowed Chad Henne and the Dolphins to throw for 400 yards against them in Week One.

Rex Grossman (17%), Washington

I realize starting Grossman with your league title on the line seems like a suicide mission, but the matchup is almost too good to pass up.  After being shredded by Drew Brees and the Saints, the Vikings have now allowed 25 passing scores over their last nine games.  If nothing else, you may want to pick up Grossman to prevent your opponent from grabbing him.

Kyle Orton (17%), Kansas City

Moore and Grossman have better matchups, but Orton is another waiver wire option after throwing for 299 yards in KC’s upset win over Green Bay.  Orton faces an Oakland defense that has allowed multiple TDs to their last seven opponents.  Like the others listed here, he’s a solid QB2 based on the matchup and someone you could talk yourself into starting if your other options are struggling.


Image credit: Jamie Squires / Getty Images via B/R

Fantasy Football Week 16 Waiver Wire Pickups: RB

Toby Gerhart (45%), Minnesota

With Adrian Peterson back, fantasy owners (myself included) moved Gerhart back to the bench and watched him catch two touchdown passes.  Still, he had just two carries on the day, so you shouldn’t expect a heavy workload going forward.  He’s only startable next week in deep PPR leagues, so don’t get carried away here based solely on his fantasy points from Week 15.

Jackie Battle (29%), Kansas City

As bad as the Raiders have been against the pass, they’ve also struggled against the run.  Since the Lions were playing from behind and generally have no interest in running the ball, they weren’t able to exploit that weakness.  However, the Chiefs are more likely to stick with the run after giving it to their running backs over 30 times against the Packers despite relatively limited success.  Battle did convert a short TD run and would be the goal line option this week as well.  Consider him a potential flex option in deeper leagues.

Donald Brown (21%), Indianapolis

Brown gained roughly half of his 161 rushing yards on an 80-yard scamper to seal the game, and he’s now scored a TD in three of the last four games.  He continues to outperform Joseph Addai and should continue to see a larger portion of the workload.  That said, the Texans have been among the stingiest defenses against opposing RBs, which makes Brown a flex option at best.

Lance Ball (12%), Denver

With Willis McGahee limited by a leg injury, Ball racked up 105 total yards and a TD against the Patriots.  If McGahee can’t go, Ball becomes a solid option against a Buffalo defense that has been getting shredded on the ground over the last seven games.

Kahlil Bell (8%), Chicago

Bell outplayed Marion Barber against the Seahawks, rushing for 65 yards on 15 carries to go with five receptions for 43 yards and a TD.  It was his second straight game with five catches, which makes him a solid flex option in PPR leagues despite a relatively tough matchup against Green Bay.  Still, it’s hard to see a scenario where he doesn’t get the bulk of the backfield touches in that game.

Chris Ivory (3%), New Orleans

Keep in mind that Ivory got most of his work when the Saints were essentially running out the clock against Minnesota, but he finished with 74 rushing yards on the day.  Things won’t be quite as easy against the Falcons, but it’s worth noting the Atlanta defense has allowed either 100 rushing yards or a TD to opposing runners in each of the last four games.  Even so, Ivory is only an option in very deep leagues with Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas also in the backfield mix.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Waiver Wire Pickups: WR

Nate Burleson (42%), Detroit

After a disappointing performance against Minnesota last week, Burleson bounced back with seven catches for 81 yards and a TD against Oakland.  He has at least five receptions in five of the last six games, and you know the Lions will be airing it out with regularity.  Consider Burleson a WR3 in PPR leagues with the Chargers up next on the schedule.

Steve Breaston (37%), Kansas City

Breaston led the team in targets against the Packers and wound up with four receptions for 50 yards to go with a 25-yard run.  He now has at least four grabs in seven straight games, but keep in mind he’s been held to 50 receiving yards or less in five of those contests.  Breaston caught five balls for 64 yards in the first matchup with Oakland, which is probably a reasonable expectation for this game.  He’s consistent, but don’t count on a ton of upside here even with a great matchup.

Demaryius Thomas (34%), Denver

After another big game against the Patriots, Thomas now has 18 catches for 338 yards and three TDs over the last three games.  He was targeted a total of 13 times against the Pats and continues to be Tim Tebow’s go-to receiver.  Buffalo’s defense is reeling, which makes Thomas a solid option for your championship lineup.

Darrius Heyward-Bey (25%), Oakland

The Chiefs have been tougher against the pass than you might think, but DHB should enter that matchup with plenty of confidence after racking up eight catches for 155 yards and a score against the Lions.  He had five receptions for 89 yards against Kansas City in their first meeting and is a WR3 at best this week.  Despite his solid recent numbers, putting your fantasy fate in his hands is a pretty frightening proposition.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Waiver Wire Pickups: TE

Brent Celek (36%), Philadelphia

Apparently Celek and the Eagles aren’t quite dead yet.  He caught five passes for 156 yards and a TD against the Jets and nearly missed a second score when he was brought down just short of the goal line after a 73-yard catch-and-run.  Celek has at least four grabs in eight of his last nine games, including a Week Eight matchup with Dallas where he posted seven receptions, 94 yards, and a TD.  He’s a borderline TE1 in a must-win game against the Cowboys.

Jared Cook (26%), Tennessee

After being held without a catch for two straight games, Cook had nine receptions for 103 yards against the Colts, most of which came after the Titans were forced to go to a pass-heavy attack.  Next week’s matchup with the Jaguars is a decent one, but starting the inconsistent Cook would be an extremely risky move.

Streaming Defense(s) of the Week

Tennessee (41%) vs. Jacksonville

I won’t blame you if you don’t want to trust the Titans after they lost to Indy.  That said, outside of their “where the hell did these guys come from” performance against Tampa Bay, Jacksonville has scored more than 14 points just once since Week Five.

Washington (16%) vs. Minnesota

The Redskins held the Giants without a TD until the final minute and tallied three sacks and three interceptions.  Meanwhile, the Vikings have lost six straight and have turned the ball over 16 times and allowed four defensive/special teams TDs over that span.


Finally, Happy Holidays and best of luck this week to all of you.  Hopefully we’ve been able to help you over the course of the season, and for those of you masochists out there who play in Week 17, I’ll be back with one last round of waiver wire suggestions next week.

Have any questions or feedback?  Leave them in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter (@andybottoms).

About Andy Bottoms

While Andy was born and raised in Indiana, he would like to point out that he grew up shooting hoops in his driveway and not against the side of a barn like you see in all the March Madness promos or in the middle of a field like Jimmy Chitwood. Andy ranks among the top bracketologists according to the Bracket Matrix and has provided his projections to Fox Sports for the past three seasons. When not compiling excuses for missing work during the NCAA Tournament, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is a proud IU graduate and co-hosts The Assembly Call postgame show following every IU game. Twitter: @AndyBottoms


  1. saturdaynight says:

    first of all i want to thank you jerad morris by telling me to go with seattle so i will listen to ya again this week i made it to the championship game all because of you otherwise i wouldve started tenn d. So lets do this and get the championship!! Non ppr 2 rb,2 wr, 1 flex Shonne green torn tendon in finger probable vs Giants, Ryan Matthews @ lions, All Day @ redskins (must start?) kevin smith vs Chargers, Harvin @ redskins, AJ green ac seperation of shoulder questionable vs cardinals, Antonio Brown vs Rams, Demaryious Thomas @ Bills, B Llloyd @ Steelers–now for defense Pitts vs rams i think is no brainer here or Seattle vs Niners or Tenn vs Jags plse get back to me MORRIS thanks Rivers at qb and Graham at TE

    • You're welcome!!!

      RB Peterson (always a must start) and Mathews (red hot, great matchup)
      WR Green, Brown
      Flex Greene – solid matchup v the Giants

      On D, you're right, gotta go Steelers!

  2. Championship week…. PPR League and i need one RB and one Flex of these guys
    Kevin Smith, Malcom Floyd, Kahlil Bell, Toby Gerhart and Brandon Pettigrew

    Im also starting Dwayne Bowe, Percy Harvin, and Jeremy Maclin at my WR's but i could sit one of those guys for Floyd as well

    Any advice?

    • Congrats on making the title game Brandon!

      I think I would go with Bell (assuming there are no reports that Barber will take over the lead in carries again) and Smith (assuming he's healthy). Both guys catch passes and both guys have decent matchups.

      At WR, it comes down to Maclin and Floyd. Maclin has not been as good as anyone hoped, and it's tough to know what to expect from him against Dallas. Since Floyd is playing Detroit, I'd probably play him.

  3. Congrats on making the title game!

    I think you have to go with Donald Brown. He's been hot lately. I would also play Ryan Grant, who has had two solid weeks in a row.

  4. Championship Game and I don't like some of my match ups
    Your thoughts
    Matt Ryan (Big ben and Matt Moore in wings)
    Mega, D Thomas S Moss (Robinson in the wings)
    McCoy, Greene (suspect) (Ball in the wings)
    Hernandez (can he do it again?) (Finley in wings) (Celek available)
    Novak (been pretty consistent)
    Washington (Seattle and Dallas in wings)
    Facing Stafford, AP, Hillis or Lynch (he also has McGahee and Gerhart, K Smith), Stevie, Austin, Gaffney he also has Garcon, Manningham), J Graham, M Crosby, Tennesee.
    Thank you for your input

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Congrats on making the championship game. At QB, I like Ryan out of those three, he should be solid
      WR: I think the first 3 you listed are the best. As I mentioned above, Minnesota's pass D has been awful.
      RB: Since McGahee practiced yesterday, not sure how many carries Ball may get. Kahlil Bell might be another option but I would roll with Greene as long as he is healthy.
      TE: As a fellow Hernandez owner, I have been through the ups and downs but would pick him of those 3.
      D: I like Washington of those 3.
      Good luck!

  5. Santa owes me a win says:

    I had a bye last week so of course my players set records (Brees, Megatron, and Seattle defense). Hopefully they keep it going. As of now, I'm playing:
    WR: Megatron, Harvin, S Moss (Crabtree on bench)
    RB: Benson, Helu (or McGahee, K Smith, Bradshaw???)
    TE: V Davis or Celek? Davis is hot/cold, Celek is a crapshoot…
    Cincy or Seattle? Why?
    And I don't usually think about Kickers because I normally roll with NO kicker, but I also have Cincy's who been getting nothing but FGs and it's a big week. Thoughts?
    Thanks a lot. Happy Holidays!

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      I agree on your RB/WR. At TE, I am leaning Celek but they are a toss-up to me.
      On D, I have the same question in one of my leagues. Leaning toward Cincinnati at the moment. SF's defense set up some short fields last week and Pitt's defense didn't score. Same thing could happen there I fear.

  6. Brady Brady says:

    Ok…so I won my 1st playoff by 90 points. It was unbelievable! !!

    My team

    QB: Brady

    RBs: Steven Jackson, Lynch,

    3WRs or 2WRs:1TE -: Roddy White, Stevie Johnson, Demariyus Thomas

    DST : Seattle

    Bench: Ben Tate,Antonio Brown, Damian Williams, Doug Baldwin, Toby Gerheart, Tebow

    Do u think i should stick with the same team?

    Is Brent Celek worth picking up for my team?

    Which 3 wide receivers would you play? (Maybe include Celek? )

    My RBs have very tough match ups, there arent many gr8 options… Donald Brown, Kahlil bell,Lance Ball, Ryan grant….etc . What do u think?

    Thanks for all your help this season

    • Brady Brady says:

      Also, apparently Redskins DST are available as free agents. Worth picking up? I mean Seattle got me 40 points last week ….

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      At RB, pretty tough to bench Lynch even with a bad matchup. I do like Kahlil Bell, so maybe drop Gerhart to get him and play him over S-Jax. This assumes Bell gets a similar number of touches to last week, and the Packers have given up a number of receiving yards to opposing RBs.
      At WR, I would go with White, Thomas, and Brown.
      Good luck!

  7. eViL-PORCUPINE says:

    Hey Jerod. So I am in the finals in 2 out of 6 teams. Here are the 2 leagues :

    FINALS #1 – 10 Team PPR
    Q:: Cam Newton
    WR :: S-Smith (CAR) / Julio JOnes
    RB :: L-McCoy / MJD
    TE :: Finley
    Flex :: M-Bush
    K :: Kasay
    D :: CINCI

    Bench :: Stafford / R-Mathews / B-Wells / Kevin Smith / A-Brown / L-Robinson
    Is that right? Wondering if Mathews should be in there?

    FINALS #2 – 10 TEAM PPR
    Q :: Stafford
    RB :: AP / R-Mathews
    WR:: Megatron / Colston
    TE :: O_Daniels (will grab Celek)
    Flex :: S-Smith (CAR)
    K :: Kasay
    D :: Bengals

    Bench :: Julio JOnes / Shonn Greene / R-Grant / Gerhart / K-Bell
    Is that right? Should Julio be in there?

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      My thoughts:
      #1: Stick with the RBs you have, but hard to go wrong with those 4 guys.
      #2: Colston has been consistent with his catches. I'd stick with him, but both guys are good options.

  8. eViL-PORCUPINE says:

    Here's some 3rd place matches :: THANKS IN ADVANCE AS ALWAYS.

    RB2 :: Beanie or Lynch
    Flex :: BLOUNT / Nicks / L-Robinson / Maclin / Beanie / Lynch / Helu

    RB2 :: Spiller or McGahee
    WR2 :: Dez or Demaryius T
    TE :: Witten or A-Hernandez
    Flex :: Spiller or McGahee / Dez or Demaryius T / Gerhart / L-Ball

    RB2 :: S-Jax / Spiller / Kevin Smith / B-Wells
    WR1-2 :: M-Austin / L-Robinson / B-Lloyd / A-Boldin
    (or pick up Damaryius Thomas)
    Flex :: PIck from above

    RB2 :: Shonn Greene / CJ Spiller
    Need 3 :: AJ Green / Colston / Cruz / Fitzgerald / Boldin
    DEF :: TEN / CHI / SEA

    Oh.. my #1 RB is CJ2K. If he doesn't start is Harper worth as start?

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      #1: I might actually go Helu at RB and Nicks at flex. Otherwise I say Lynch/Helu
      #2: Spiller, Demaryius, Witten, and Dez. Would add McGahee but somewhat concerned with health.
      #3: Spiller, Austin, D. Thomas (if you need 2 WR), K Smith at flex
      #4: Spiller, Colston, Fitz, Green, TEN

      • eViL-PORCUPINE says:

        Thanks Andy… I'm really confused about #1. Helu is coming off an injury and was hobbled last week. Nervous about him. Nicks could see Revis so there's that. Blount vs CAR should be a great matchup NO?

        • The problem with Blount is that he is so inconsistent, and the Bucs have been very poor on the road this year. Plus, the Panthers' D has been improving, and they surely will put up lots of points, which will necessitate the Bucs passing. I'd take a hobbled Helu over Blount too. And I agree on taking him over Nicks too.

  9. Pick 3: Steven Jackson, Beanie Wells, Ryan Grant, Donald Brown, Lance Ball….my QB is Tebow if that matters.

  10. eViL-PORCUPINEs says:

    Where are you guys ranking Khalil Bel (seems like Barber is out right?) and Sammy Morris if Felix is out? Are they startable?

    • I am not as high on Bell as others are – because he has Josh McCown playing D and a refocused Packers on defense – but he's a solid flex play this week because of the amount of touches he'll get. Morris is a decent option if Jones is out, but you won't know that until Saturday afternoon

  11. what do you think of my lineup?should i make any changes? thanks!

    qb: rivers
    wr: a brown, d thomas
    rb: r mendenhall, w mcgahee
    te: a hernandez
    wr/rb: l robinson
    wr/rb/te: kahlil bell
    k: m crosby
    def: san francisco

    m floyd, k smith, d bowe, t gerhart, r grant, n washington, l ball

    • I would want Floyd's upside in the lineup. I'd play him over Brown, who has to deal with a backup QB in Charlie Batch and a D that can't stop the run, which should lead to lots of Mendy and Redman and fewer deep passes.

      • thanks for the reply! unfortunately i was unable to switch out anybody since the games already started when i got the reply haha..
        my bench did better than my starting lineup :(

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