Waiver Wire Watch: Week 16 Targets
In most leagues, it all comes down to this. Championship week is upon us. All of your studying and analyzing this offseason, all of your waiver-wire moves and trades, all of your lineup scrutinizing has led you to this very moment. As was the case last week, this column is now more focused on plug-and-play options, so the positions aren’t as robust as earlier in the year. If you end up needing more suggestions, feel free to find me on Twitter (@AlexGelhar). And if not, good luck. Go get that title, friends.
Before we get into the meat of the article, there are a few house-keeping items to clear up. Recommendations are based on a PPR-scoring, four-point passing touchdown, 12-team league, with ownership percentages coming from Yahoo. I try to mention when a player is a better streaming play (short-term/one-week starter) versus a long-term addition. Free-agent acquisition budget (FAAB) suggestions are based on a $100 season-long budget. Lastly, the great John Paulsen will edit this article every week and adjust rankings and prices if necessary. Essentially, you’re getting two minds collaborating on this piece instead of one, so lucky you.
Now, with that out of the way, here are some players to target heading into Week 16.
4. Drew Lock
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts, 37% owned ($7)
Brissett has yet to play as of the writing of this column (we will update this after Monday Night Football), but he went 19-of-36 for 251 yards and two touchdowns in Week 14 against the Buccaneers. Next up for Brissett is a date with the flailing Panthers. Three of the last four passers to face the Panthers have thrown two-plus touchdowns, with the lone exception being Dwayne Haskins. It’s possible T.Y. Hilton could be back for MNF, and assuming he doesn't re-injure his troublesome calf, it would further boost Brissett’s outlook. In a week lacking strong streaming options, Brissett is both one of the safest of the bunch who also happens to have a substantial ceiling.
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears, 25% owned ($5)
Over Trubisky’s last four games he’s averaging just shy of 300 yards per game with eight passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. Unfortunately, he’s also thrown six interceptions in that span, diminishing what otherwise would be a very impressive late-season fantasy surge. Trubisky returns to Chicago next week to face the Kansas City Chiefs, a team with a secondary that has been playing great football over the last five weeks (179 yards per game allowed, 10 interceptions, four passing touchdowns allowed). That isn’t ideal for a streaming matchup, but Trubisky’s running ability offers him a floor at least. If the Bears fall behind to the Chiefs (a likely scenario), Trubisky will be forced to air it out which could help him hit a solid ceiling as well.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins, 23% owned ($3)
Fitzpatrick didn’t quite light up the Giants like a Christmas tree as many hoped, but 279 yards and two touchdowns with 33 yards rushing is certainly serviceable production. The return of DeVante Parker obviously helped Fitzpatrick, as his No. 1 receiver hauled in both scores. Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins host the Bengals in Week 16, a team that is playing well against opposing quarterbacks of late (barely over 200 yards per game allowed, with four interceptions versus four touchdown passes allowed over the last five weeks). It’s worth noting, however, that the Bengals have faced several pedestrian passing attacks in that span (Raiders, Steelers, Browns, Patriots, Jets). Fitzpatrick carries some risk, as usual, but offers a more appealing and realistic ceiling than the players below him on this list.
Dwayne Haskins, Washington Redskins, 3% owned ($1)
Haskins has shown promise of late and delivered on that in a surprisingly close game against the Eagles. Haskins 19-of-28 passes for 261 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. That’s a really encouraging performance as Haskins is about to enter one of the best on-paper matchups next week: a home game against the New York Giants. Ryan Fitzpatrick was the most recent quarterback to pick on the Giants through the air, and his 279 yards and two touchdowns are rather tame for what this squad usually allows. Haskins is certainly in play next week as a streamer for those in deeper leagues or with a quarterback in an uninspiring matchup (like Aaron Rodgers at Minnesota).
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars, 15% owned ($1)
Minshew was solid on Sunday, souring the Raiders’ final game in Oakland by beating the team 20-16. Minshew completed 17-of-29 passes for 201 yards with two scores. It would have been nice to see Minshew exploit this winnable matchup for more points, but he played cleanly and still produced. Next up for Minshew is a road trip to face the Atlanta Falcons, a team that vacillates between being a world-beater and pancake every couple weeks. If the Falcons team that just beat the 49ers shows up, Minshew could be in trouble. If not, he’ll be a high-upside streamer. That variance is why he’s my least favorite streamer of the options listed here.
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