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).