Week 16 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Devine Ozigbo & More
Week 16 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Devine Ozigbo & More
Championship week is here, and if you are reading this, I would imagine you are trying to get your lineup ready for a championship. Obviously, most rosters that have made it through to the final game are going to be pretty strong, but I am sure there are some teams missing Antonio Gibson, Will Fuller, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, or Julio Jones, who still could fill in a flex spot or two. I’m going to be using a different format this week because, well, we aren’t looking forward to anything. This is the last week! If you’re playing in Week 17 (first off, you shouldn’t be), your guess is going to be almost as good as mine in terms of who rests, who starts, and who plays for four quarters. I will cover a bit of Week 17 content on the SportsGrid Fantasy Football Podcast, but here on the site, we are going to shift our attention to the playoff fantasy football contests on the FFPC, NFC, and others.
Making decisions this week should hopefully not be that difficult for you. By and large, the studs that got you there should be in your lineups if they are not injured, or we have no reason to doubt their workload. One scenario I can see where you might bench who got you there is with someone like Russell Wilson or Justin Herbert, where Jalen Hurts is just clearly better at this point. Also, a key point this week is: your remaining FAAB dollars can be used as blockers against your opponent. If your opponent needs a QB, get Hurts. If they need a WR, don’t leave them Keke Coutee or Chad Hansen and so on and so forth.
The focus will be on 12-team PPR leagues as our frame of reference and as always, if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me on Twitter @DavisMattek or in the Daily Roto NFL Slack channel.
All players referenced in the Fantasy Football Waiver Wire column are under 50% owned in Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues. It is possible these players might be owned in your league.
POTENTIAL DIFFERENCE MAKERS (THESE ARE PLAYERS WORTH YOUR REMAINING FAAB) FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
After holding up to a Herculean workload for 15 games, James Robinson finally left a game with an injury. According to reports, it was an ankle injury. After he left, Dare Ogunbowale played more snaps than Ozigbo, but Dare is basically just a passing-down back. It is likely that Ozigbo will slot in the “James Robinson role,” though we should expect a scaled-down version. Ozigbo looks like the lowest-owned RB who will get a crack at starting though obviously both Le’Veon Bell and Tony Pollard are better pickups with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Ezekiel Elliot injured. You should make those two a priority as both would be starts in Week 16. Ozigbo is going to rank as a borderline flex/RB3 as Jacksonville’s starter, assuming that Robinson is unable to play.
I wrote last week about Jalen “Jalen Hurts became only the second quarterback in NFL history to rush for 100+ yards in his very first NFL start. Hurts actually rushed more times than Miles Sanders in the Eagles no sweat victory against the favored New Orleans Saints. Hurts was decent, not great, as a passer, but that really doesn’t matter. He has already proven the thesis behind ranking him as a top-12 fantasy quarterback.”
Well, he made me look stupid in Week 15 because he was even better than that. The Eagles scored 26 points, their third-highest total of the season, while Hurts passed for 338 yards and three touchdowns while adding 63 rushing yards and a touchdown. This is basically Lamar Jackson in his pomp level of fantasy production. Obviously, expecting 40+ fantasy points is unrealistic, but I am going to have a hard time not ranking Hurts as a top-five QB in Week 16. If you don’t have Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, or Lamar Jackson, you need to pick up Hurts and start him in your championship.
BORDERLINE STARTERS FOR WEEK 16 FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
With Damien Harris OUT, the Patriots played only three running backs. Michel, James White, and J.J Taylor pitched in with five snaps as well. Sony played only 23 snaps out of 55 on offense but received carries on 10 of his snaps and rushed for 74 yards. He basically just re-filled his old role from 2019 and what Damien Harris had been doing this year. Without a touchdown, his fantasy line in Week 16 against the Bills will be paltry, but there certainly is some estimatable chance of a touchdown. If Jarret Stidham replaces Cam Newton at QB, Michel will also likely be the goalline back for New England. On a related note, if Myles Gaskin can’t come off the COVID list next week, Salvon Ahmed is actually the best waiver wire RB add of the week as he got a true workhorse snap and touch share against the Patriots (though all reports indicate that Gaskin will be back). I suspect that many championship-caliber teams will have no use for Sony Michel, but he will be a clear starter if Damien Harris doesn’t play next week.
While Calvin Ridley has pretty clearly proven the thesis that he turns into an Alpha WR1 with Calvin Ridley out, Russell Gage has been booming for fantasy as well. He led the Falcons in snaps played on offense and has seen 17 targets in the last two weeks. The Falcons play at Kansas City in Week 16, which essentially guarantees that they will be trailing the entire game and hucking the ball for a majority of the game. Gage is not nearly as efficient as Ridley or Jones but has been steadily eating volume in the Falcons offense. It’s entirely possible that Gage projects for seven or more targets in Week 16 and that I will be ranking him as a fantasy starter in 12-team PPR leagues (if Julio Jones does not play).
Lynn Bowden Jr.
With Mike Gesicki, DeVante Parker, and Jakeem Grant all not playing in Week 15, Bowden Jr. played 90% of the Dolphins snaps, reeled in seven targets with six receptions (and added a carry) for only 46 total yards. Bowden’s aDOT cratered, which was sort of to be expected as the Dolphins played very shorthanded against a well-coached New England Patriots team. With all three of the missing Dolphins expected back in Week 16, Bowden will not project near as strongly as he did against the Patriots. However, I do think it appears as if he should have the slot WR role locked down in this offense, and there are worse options that people are going to start at WR3 and second-flex in many formats. This is also a great reminder to put your buy trades in for Bowden early in the offseason. Eventually, dynasty player’s minds are going to shift to valuing picks extremely highly, and players like Bowden will become cheap.
With Jalen Hurts reviving the Eagles offense, there is some expected fantasy value for the pass catchers. While Reagor hauled in eight targets in the comeback effort against the Cardinals, he also left the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter, which allowed Travis Fulgham his largest snap share since Alshon returned to the starting lineup. Ward now has 10 targets in the last two games and is the recipient of three touchdowns from Jalen Hurts in his short NFL career. Ward is a solid “sneaky start,” and I would be even more interested in starting Ward if I was also starting Hurts as the stacking potential is going to help out in any fantasy championship setting.
Jeff Wilson Jr.
Raheem Mostert returned from injury in this game against Dallas but then re-injured himself. Before he left, Jeff Wilson Jr. was still sharing time with Mostert and also playing on third downs. As Mostert left in the third quarter, that led to JWJ playing 39-of-84 offensive snaps with Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman chipping in for small amounts as well. It would be wild for Mostert to fight back from this ankle injury AGAIN and play in a meaningless game next week, which should mean Wilson Jr. is against the lead back for the 49ers with opportunities on third down and the goal line. I would be chomping at the bit to start Wilson against the Cardinals in Week 16.
I absolutely refuse to write up Frank Gore; you can’t make me, and I won’t. Gore did play 40 snaps in the unlikely win against the Rams, but Johnson played 22 and was targeted six times for 39 yards. For the entirety of Johnson’s short NFL career, he has been targeted at an above-average rate per route compared to his peers at running back. I expect this to hold in Week 16, though you would have to be a super deep 14 or 16-team league to be considering starting the Jets secondary RB against the Browns. I am making small bids to get Ty Johnson onto some of my deeper dynasty teams, however.
Hooper returned from injury and was immediately the TE1 for the Browns again on Sunday Night. He played 70% of the team’s offensive snaps, scored a touchdown, and was targeted six times. Those six targets were good for second on the team. Now, I know many of you have Logan Thomas, Darren Waller, Travis Kelce, or maybe even TJ Hockenson as you have reached the finals in your league, BUT I also assume many of you have streamed your way to the finals. Hooper looks like an ideal streamer against the New York Jets in Week 16 and will likely rank as a top-12 tight end for me. If you’re not locked down at tight end, Hooper is a nice option.
Mitch Trubisky/Darnell Mooney/Cole Kmet
Mitch Trubisky is just good for fantasy football; it is a fact. The Bears have scored 25, 30, 36, and 33 points in his last four starts. Darnell Mooney has a touchdown in two consecutive games for the first time this year/his career; Cole Kmet played literally 100% of the Bears offensive snaps last week… it is all converging as this team squares off against the must-lose Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16. Trubisky has giant splits for top half/bottom half pass defenses (for obvious reasons), and he meets maybe the worst passing defense in football against the Jags. This is maybe more of a DFS angle, but I do really expect fireworks from the Bears offense this week, and Mooney/Kmet should be pretty freely available on the waiver wire.
Championship Defense Bids: Los Angeles Chargers (The best matchup available against the Denver Broncos), Carolina Panthers (Facing off against the putrid Washington Football Team offense).