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Through The Wire - Week 16

By Antonio D'Arcangelis | 12/20/22 |

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 for that elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp.

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 that might be available in 12-team PPR leagues. 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.


Daniel Jones, NYG at Minnesota – Obviously, you’d prefer to grab QBs like Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson, both available in only around 25% of leagues by now. But if you need someone with some running upside in a good matchup, Jones could be your guy. He completed 21-of-32 pass attempts for 160-0-0 and added 35 rushing yards on 10 carries in the 20-12 win over Washington. Not great, but the Vikings represent a plus matchup in Week 16.

Sam Darnold, CAR vs. Detroit – Darnold completed just 14 of his 23 passes for 225-1-0 in Sunday’s 24-16 loss to the Steelers, but the matchup this week is much better and his secondary WRs are starting to produce.

Other QBs to consider (Week 16 opponents in parentheses): Mac Jones, NE (vs. CIN); Ryan Tannehill, TEN (vs. HOU); Desmond Ridder, ATL (@BAL)

UPDATE (players recommended last week):

Brock Purdy, SF – Purdy had another solid game with 217-2-0 in the 49ers’ 21-13 win over the Seahawks on Thursday night. He’s a better option vs. WAS than the next couple of guys, probably on par with Jones (above).

UPDATE: Purdy was limited (oblique/ribs) in Tuesday’s practice but played through the issue last week, so we’ll likely see him before they have to go to current backup Josh Johnson.

Baker Mayfield, LAR – UPDATE: Mayfield was predictably erratic and finished MNF with 111-1-1 in the 24-12 loss to the Packers. He gets Denver this week at home in LA.

Taylor Heinicke, WAS – Heinicke completed only 17 of the 29 passes and he threw for 249-1-0, adding three carries for 33 yards. The problem was the two lost fumbles. I wouldn’t be playing him against the 49ers in Week 16.

Deon Jackson

Running Backs

Zack Moss and Deon Jackson, IND vs. Los Angeles Chargers – Both backs will be firmly on the fantasy radar, even though workload is a bit murky. Jackson had a 10-reception game back in Week 6 against the Jaguars when Jonathan Taylor (out for the rest of the season with a high ankle sprain), was previously sidelined, has a higher ceiling, but Moss could see more goal line work and that’s good to have for the final three matchups. Both backs are available in most leagues.

James Cook, BUF at Chicago – Against the Dolphins, Cook rushed only five times but totaled 34 rushing yards and added 2-5-1 to have a nice little day – something that could increase as he spells Devin Singletary and gets more in-game experience. The touches have room to increase and I’m glad he got a score last week for his confidence.

Marlon Mack, DEN at Los Angeles Rams – Mack rushed five times for 37 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 24-15 win over Arizona. He added four receptions on four targets for 26 yards. The veteran back continued offering some big plays when he got touches – a hallmark of his days in Indy when he wasn’t injured. He’s got a smaller role than Murray, but I could see this being split more evenly in the coming weeks.

Other RBs to consider (Week 16 opponents in parentheses): Tyler Allgeier, ATL (@BAL); Kyren Williams, LAR (vs. DEN); Jaylen Warren, PIT (vs. LV); Royce Freeman, HOU (@TEN)

UPDATE (players recommended last week):

Jerick McKinnon, KC – With 30+ fantasy points in consecutive games, McKinnon being on last week’s list seemed obvious to me, but not every expert was convinced he could keep doing big things. Not only did he rush the ball 10 times for 52 yards and a TD, but he hauled in all eight targets for 70 yards and another score on Sunday. He’s now over 60% owned but there may be a window in more shallow (8-10 team) formats.

J.K. Dobbins, BAL – Dobbins ran 13 times for 125 yards in the loss to the Browns. He added one catch for three yards and remains a solid pickup if he’s somehow still available. He’s now rushed for 245 yards on 28 carries in the two games since returning from injury.

Chuba Hubbard, CAR – Hubbard didn’t run as much – he had four carries for 10 yards – but he did haul in all three of his targets for 57 yards the 24-16 loss to the Steelers. He remains a deep RB3/flex.

New England RBs – This didn’t end up working out for waiver wire speculators, as the near-universally owned Rhamondre Stevenson was good to go, rushing 19 times for 172 yards and a TD in Week 15. Pierre Strong Jr. had just four carries for 25 yards and3-12-0 receiving, while Kevin Harris carried five times for 19 yards on just seven total snaps.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Marquise Goodwin, SEA at Kansas City – While Tyler Lockett recovers from a bad finger/hand injury, Goodwin will be the No.2 behind DK Metcalf. He had just 2-10-0 on five targets vs. SF, but the Seahawks should be throwing a lot more against KC in Week 16 and we’ve already seen some big games.

Jahan Dotson, WAS at San Francisco – Dotson is an emerging star. He caught four of six targets for 105 yards and a touchdown in SNF. He is coming off an impressive 5-54-1 game and is starting to excel since coming off IR in Week 10. Combine that with a nose for paydirt (six TDs in nine games this season), and you’ve got a great pickup even for this tougher matchup with SF.

TE Chigoziem Okonkwo, TEN vs. Houston – Okonkwo (15% rostered on ESPN) looks like a full-fledged receiver now, and he’ll probably catch 3-6 balls a game until the Titans find a viable replacement for injured rookie WR Treylon Burks. The sensational young star-in-the-making hauled in four of his five targets for 54 yards in Sunday’s 17-14 loss to the Chargers and has now caught at least three balls in four-straight after managing only eight total catches over his first 10 NFL contests. The Titans face the Texans in Week 16, and he could clean up again.

K.J. Osborn, MIN vs. New York Giants – Osborn finished with 10-157-1 on 16 targets in largest comeback in league history (33 points) and he even drew a huge pass interference flag in the end zone to set up the fourth of Minnesota’s historic five (unanswered?) second-half TDs. He may not top his career-best performance when he faces the Giants in Week 16, but he’ll probably contribute WR3 numbers or better.

TE Juwan Johnson, NO at Cleveland – Johnson has a tougher matchup this week in the Browns, but last week saw him go for 4-67-2 on six targets vs. Atlanta. The big TE now leads the team with seven receiving TDs this season, all of which have come across his last seven contests.

Noah Brown, DAL vs. Philadelphia – Brown was in our considerations last week and caught 6-49-2 on nine targets in the loss to Jacksonville. He actually led the Cowboys in targets, but CeeDee Lamb racked up more catches. He now has 134 yards and two scores over his past two games. He’s a deep-league add with some upside but a low floor.

Other WRs/TEs to consider (Week 16 opponents in parentheses): Terrace Marshall Jr. CAR (vs. DET); Julio Jones, TB (@ARI); Rashid Shaheed, NO (@CLE); Kadarius Toney, KC (vs. SEA); Mack Hollins, LV (@PIT); TE Daniel Bellinger, NYG (@MIN); Richie James, NYG (@MIN)

UPDATE (players recommended last week):

Chris Moore, HOU – Moore (still less than 20% owned) caught four of nine targets for 42 yards in the OT loss to the Chiefs on Sunday – pretty much all at the beginning of the game. He’s losing his value as the Texans will eventually get one or both of Nico Collins and Brandin Cooks back in the fray. Keep an eye out for their injury status with a divisional matchup against the Titans in Week 16.

TE Evan Engram, JAC – Engram had another big game with eight receptions on 10 targets for 62 yards. Engram has been a viable TE1 for a few weeks now and seems poised to keep it up if he can stay healthy.

Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE – Wow. DPJ just keeps putting up numbers. He’s not as reliable as Amari Cooper has been over the past couple of years, but he’s getting more experienced every week with his new QB and is still just about 50% owned in ESPN leagues. Peoples-Jones had 4-31-1 in the win over the Ravens and while the receptions and yardage are his floor, the TD saved the contest.

Isaiah Hodgins, NYG – Hodgins had 4-37-0 in the win over the Commanders. The Oregon State alum seems a bigger part of the Giants’ offense, so I like the matchup against Minnesota on Saturday.

Defense/ Special Teams

  • Las Vegas at PIT
  • Kansas City vs. SEA
  • Tennessee vs. HOU
  • Cleveland vs. NO
  • Denver at LAR
  • Jacksonville at NYJ
  • Baltimore vs. ATL
  • LA Chargers @ IND