FANTAYS PLAYS: Breaking down waiver options for title week
Week 16 is championship week for the majority of fantasy football leagues. That means a change in roster strategy if your team is headed to your league's equivalent of the Super Bowl.
Any player you won't be starting should be dropped and you should scour the waiver wire for anyone your opponent might consider picking up to replace one or more starters. This will block any attempt by your opponent to add a player to fill an empty slot. When it gets down to winner take all, stop at nothing within the rules to gain an edge.
Here's a look at the waiver options for Week 16.
JAMEIS WINSTON (QB, Buccaneers)
Fantasy owners ran away from Winston because of poor matchups recently, but the Week 16 matchup with the Saints could be a good one. The Saints offense at home can be quite productive and the Buccaneers need a win to stay in the playoff hunt. Those two factors combined mean that Winston will need to get it done through the air to win what will likely be a high-scoring shootout. Don't get cute and sit a stud for Winston but definitely consider deploying him in two-QB and deeper leagues with minimal options.
TOM SAVAGE (QB, Texans)
Savage opened some eyes when he stepped in and sparked the Texans offense, completing 23 of 36 passes for 260 yards without a TD or interception. The Titans play the Jaguars, whose pass defense allows an average of just 14.1 fantasy points to quarterbacks. While some may be tempted based on this week's production, it isn't a good idea to use a green rookie in his first start in the NFL.
TY MONTGOMERY (RB, Packers)
The Packers finally resigned themselves to using Montgomery on a full-time basis at running back and it paid off handsomely in Week 15. Montgomery won't rack up 162 yards with two TDs against the Vikings but he should be good enough for solid RB2 production against a defense that has quit on the coach.
KENNETH DIXON (RB, Ravens)
Dixon was only given 15 snaps in Week 15 and the Ravens' annoying use of the ''hot hand approach'' at running back is difficult to predict. The Steelers have one of the better rushing defenses in the league but they've still allowed 13 rushing touchdowns and will have a tough time containing Dixon on pass plays out of the backfield. Don't hesitate to use Dixon in a flex spot for Week 16.
ROBBY ANDERSON (WR, Jets)
Anderson only received half as many targets as usual from quarterback Bryce Petty in Week 15 but still led the team in reception yards, and he scored the only touchdown. Anderson's value is tied directly to Petty, who sustained an injury that is not expected to sideline him for Saturday's matchup with the Patriots. If the Jets go back to Ryan Fitzpatrick, which is unexpected at this point, then Anderson's fantasy value drops. If Petty plays, Anderson will be a decent WR4 or flex play as long as you don't expect a touchdown. The Patriots' ''bend don't break'' defense will likely keep the Jets out of the end zone barring a bad mistake in the secondary.
TAYLOR GABRIEL (WR, Falcons)
Even if Julio Jones returns to the field for Week 16, Gabriel has more than proven his value to the Falcons and fantasy owners. The same cannot be said for Aldrick Robinson, whose value is diminished if Jones plays. The matchup with the Panthers, who allow an average of 23.1 fantasy points to wide receivers, is favorable for the Falcons' receivers. A decision about Jones will depend on his ability to practice, especially Wednesday. So, keep an eye out for the practice reports later in the week but don't hesitate to use Gabriel regardless.
DONTRELLE INMAN (WR, Chargers)
Inman continues to receive a steady diet of targets from Philip Rivers and produce serviceable yardage totals. Week 15 was his first game without a TD since Week 10 but don't let that discourage you, especially since the Bolts are matched up against the NFL doormat Cleveland Browns.
MALCOLM MITCHELL (WR, Patriots)
Mitchell was quiet against the Broncos but that was expected. The Patriots play the Jets in Week 16, though, and they can be beaten through the air. Only three teams have allowed more TD receptions than the Jets' 27. Mitchell will be targeted often and should find the end zone. Chris Hogan is also a good recommendation, as he'll get a few chances to catch a long bomb for a TD.
JESSE JAMES (TE, Steelers)
Surprise, surprise - Ladarius Green is in the NFL concussion protocol. Green has a long history of concussions, which makes this latest one all the more concerning. There is a good chance he will not return this season. The loss of Green makes Jesse James the primary tight end again, and he's been productive when given the opportunity to contribute. Grab him if he was dropped due to Green's recent rise on the depth chart.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com