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Through The Wire - Week 16

By Antonio D'Arcangelis | 12/22/21 |

Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business, but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious selections to help your team from week to week while you strive to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs, and win the elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster, the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can help your squad and may still be available in your league. I’ll also provide a brief update on the players I covered the previous week.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.


Jared Goff, DET – Don’t look now, but Goff (less than 5% owned) and the Lions receivers seem to be clicking. The embattled QB threw for 216-3-0 on Sunday and faces the Falcons in a favorable Week 16 matchup.

UPDATE: Goff was placed on the Covid list Monday ahead of Week 16. Tim Boyle would start if Goff can't get cleared.

Matt Ryan, ATL – I’m also interested in the Atlanta side of this matchup, and Ryan is only owned in about 30% of fantasy leagues, so he could be available for a spot start in yours. With so much uncertainty relating to COVID moving forward, having a veteran QB as a backup on your roster for the playoffs is a must.

Other QBs to consider: Cam Newton (25-30%), Mac Jones (20%), Tyler Huntley (5%)


Tua Tagovailoa, MIA – Tagovailoa completed 16 of 27 passes for 196-2-2 in Sunday’s 31-24 win over the Jets, adding 19 yards on seven carries. He’s got a much tougher matchup in New Orleans in Week 16.

Justin Fields, CHI – UPDATE: Fields had a decent day but once again, the poor coaching limited his numbers. He completed 26 of 39 passes for 285 yards and a TD while adding 35 yards on seven rushes in the loss to the Vikings on Monday night. He has two favorable matchups coming against the Seahawks and Giants, and his rushing prowess provides a solid fantasy floor with potential for serious upside if he can throw multiple TD passes.

Taysom Hill, NO – The Saints won 9-0, but Hill didn’t do much in the shutout of Tom Brady and the Bucs, throwing for 154 yards and rushing 11 times for 33 yards with no touchdowns or turnovers.

Baker Mayfield, CLE – UPDATE: Mayfield was still in COVID protocols and Nick Mullens was called up from the practice squad on Monday night.

Ronald Jones

Running Backs

Jeff Wilson, SF – Wilson (40-50% owned) rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown in the Week 15 win over the Falcons, adding two catches for nine yards. HC Kyle Shanahan wasn't optimistic earlier in the week that Elijah Mitchell (knee) would be able to play in Week 16, so Wilson could keep the starting job against the Titans, where he projects as a solid RB2 option.

Ronald Jones, TB – Leonard Fournette left Sunday night’s game early with a hamstring injury and could miss multiple weeks. Jones (25% owned) is going to handle a much bigger workload moving forward. Jones was effective in relief of Fournette, averaging 7.9 YPC (eight carries for 63 rushing yards) and should be an RB2 against the Panthers in Week 16 and against the Jets in Week 17.

UPDATE: Fournette is likely headed to IR, which means Jones is the Tampa RB to own for weeks 16 and 17.

Duke Johnson, MIA – Johnson (0-1% owned) rushed 22 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's 31-24 win over the Jets, while Myles Gaskin assumed a backup role after returning from the COVID list. Johnson also caught his only target for 20 yards and may have established himself as the Miami RB to own.

UPDATE: This is looking like a timeshare, but both Johnson and Gaskin are worthy of RB3/FLEX consideration for Week 16.

Other RBs to consider: Nyheim Hines (40%), Devontae Booker (25%), Latavius Murray (15-20%), Ameer Abdullah (5-10%), Ke’Shawn Vaughn (0-1%)


Rashaad Penny, SEA – UPDATE: Penny rushed 11 times for 39 yards and added two catches for 5 receiving yards in Tuesday night’s 20-10 loss to the Rams. He ended up splitting touches with second-year back DeeJay Dallas, who scored the team's only touchdown. Pete Carroll indicated he’d use a committee to close out the season, but that Penny probably assumes the “starter” role against the Bears on Sunday..

Craig Reynolds, DET – Reynolds rushed 26 times for 112 yards while catching his only target for five yards during Sunday's 30-12 win over Arizona. D’Andre Swift and/or Jamaal Williams could return in Week 16 against Atlanta, it otherwise seems like Reynolds could get a heavy workload against a Falcons defense that ranks 24th in fantasy points allowed to running backs.

Royce Freeman, HOU – Both Rex Burkhead and David Johnson were available in Week 15, so Freeman had three carries for eight yards in Sunday's 30-16 win over the Jaguars.

Additional notes:

• Chargers RB Austin Ekeler could be placed on the COVID list this week, which could jeopardize his status for Week 16 against the Texans. If he’s out, Justin Jackson would carry the largest load in the backfield and assume RB2 status.

Jaret Patterson stepped in for Antonio Gibson (toe) and rushed for 20 yards and a TD on four carries Tuesday night. He’d be in line for a big workload in Week 16 against the Cowboys if Gibson were forced to sit out. Jonathan Williams is the other Washington RB worth considering in deeper formats.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB – Valdes-Scantling caught five of seven targets for 98 yards and a TD in Sunday’s 31-30 win over the Ravens, benefiting from Baltimore’s plan to double Davante Adams for much of the game. He’s only about 15-20% owned.

Antonio Brown, TB – UPDATE: Brown is owned in about two-thirds of ESPN leagues, so he may be available in yours. The Bucs WR returns from suspension and could immediately be thrust into a high target share considering the WR corps lost Chris Godwin to a torn ACL on Sunday night.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET – Just 25% owned in ESPN leagues, St. Brown had another big game on Sunday with 8-90-1 on 11 targets in Week 15 against the Cardinals and should be busy gain in Week 16 in Atlanta.

Marquez Callaway, NO – Callaway (25-30% rostered) accounted for much of the passing offense on Sunday night, hauling in 6-112-0 on nine targets from Taysom Hill. He’s a solid WR4 play vs. Miami in Week 16.

TE Hunter Henry, NE – Henry’s ownership is still less than 50%, and he’s fast becoming the most popular target for Mac Jones in New England. Henry caught 6-77-2 on eight targets in Saturday’s 27-17 loss to the Colts, and he should get another 7-10 targets against the Bills in Week 16.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Tyler Boyd (60-65%), Christian Kirk (60-65%), A.J. Green (45%), Russell Gage (25-30%), Tim Patrick (15-20%), Braxton Berrios (1-2%), TE James O’Shaughnessy (1%)

Additional notes:

• JAC TE Dan Arnold is being activated from IR. If he plays in Week 16, he’d likely split snaps with James O’Shaughnessy, making them both risky DFS and season-long plays.

• BUF WR Emmanuel Sanders is participating in walkthroughs, so that could compromise the fantasy viability of Gabriel Davis except in DFS and deeper formats.

• TEN WR A.J. Brown is expected back this week, so make the necessary adjustments to your expectations for Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and the other Titans receivers.


Allen Lazard, GB – Lazard had just 2-23-0 on four targets Sunday while MVS had a big game.

Gabriel Davis, BUF – Davis took advantage of more snaps with Emmanuel Sanders on the shelf for Week 15, hauling in five passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns on seven targets against Carolina. Hopefully some of you too advantage too!

Jalen Guyton, LAC – Guyton saw just targets but caught both for a total of 10 yards and a TD in the 34-28 loss to the Chiefs on Thursday.

K.J. Osborn, MIN – UPDATE: Cousins didn’t have a great day (87 total passing yards) and Osborn hauled in just 3-21-0.

TE Austin Hooper, CLE – Hooper landed on the COVID list for Week 15 and is not expected to play.

UPDATE: As expected, Hooper missed Week 15.