Fantasy Football 2019: Week 16 Waiver Wire Pickups

If you need some help for a fantasy championship, here are a few players to consider grabbing off the waiver wire heading into Week 16.
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Week 16 is here and that means it’s time to win a fantasy championship! Whether you’re in a one-week or two-week final, every point, lineup decision, injury designation and waiver wire addition is of the utmost importance. Don’t be afraid to make a move if it betters your team, even if your players are healthy. (Or if it hurts your opponent, by preventing them from making a move they need!) Don’t keep players on your bench that have no chance of playing over the next week or two.

Below are players I recommend adding who are owned in fewer than 40% of leagues on Yahoo and/or ESPN. All point totals referenced are for PPR leagues.

QUARTERBACKS

Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

Trubisky is playing better lately. A lot better. So much so that he’s the No. 11 quarterback in fantasy since Week 10 with an average of 20.2 points per game (and No. 7 over the last four weeks with 22.8 points per game). He returns home to face a Chiefs defense that ranks in the middle of the pack against fantasy QBs this season. The Bears are not fighting for a playoff spot so they should continue to open up the offense with Anthony Miller and Allen Robinson both healthy and clicking on all cylinders. Kansas City will put up points and the Bears will have to throw to keep up. Trubisky has averaged 19.6 fantasy points per game at home since Chicago’s bye week, and should be around that total again this week.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins

The wily veteran just keeps putting up fantasy points in bunches. Fitzpatrick was above the 20-point mark for the third time in his last four games in Week 15. He passed for two touchdowns against the Giants, giving him seven passing touchdowns and eight in total over the last four weeks. In that span he ranks as the No. 8 quarterback in fantasy with an average of 22.2 points per game. His volume is a big reason for those high totals. Fitzpatrick has thrown at least 33 passes in every game since taking over for Josh Rosen in Week 7 and is averaging 37.7 attempts per game. A battle with the Bengals is on tap this week. Cincinnati is one of the 10 best defenses for fantasy quarterbacks to face this season. Volume plus good matchup equals a solid starting fantasy option.

RUNNING BACKS

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions

Johnson is eligible to return from IR and the young back told reporters that he’s had no setbacks since having surgery on his torn meniscus last month. Johnson wants to play and the Lions may want to see how good Johnson looks in game action before going into the offseason. Bo Scarbrough, the only Lions back that has made any noise since Johnson went down, missed last week’s game and his status for Week 16 is up in the air. Detroit faces a Broncos team that has been pretty stout against the run overall this season, but showed some cracks against Bills in Week 12 and the Chargers in Week 13. Remember, Johnson averaged 13.2 fantasy points per game through Week 6, good enough to be the RB23 in PPR formats. Last season he finished as the RB18 with 13.9 fantasy points per game. If you’re weak at running back Johnson is worth a stash, especially if your league plays in Week 17 when he has a favorable matchup against the Packers.

Mike Boone, Minnesota Vikings

Boone is a must-add for all Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison owners. The Vikings play on Monday Night Football this week, so you’re going to need an insurance policy in case Cook is inactive. If you don’t have Cook but have Mattison, you likely were holding onto him in the hopes that Cook misses time and you instantly have a Top 20 running back. Well now you need to handcuff the handcuff because Mattison is banged up with an ankle injury that forced him to miss Week 15’s game against the Chargers. Boone had 13 carries for 56 yards and two touchdowns in relief of Cook. Ameer Abdullah and C.J. Ham will have their roles, but Boone is the Vikings back you want if Cook and Mattison can’t go.

Patrick Laird, Miami Dolphins

Laird didn’t have the game many hoped for once DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson were both cleared from concussion protocol, but his volume stayed consistent. He had 14 touches against the Giants last week after getting 19 touches in Week 14 and 14 touches in Week 13. One would expect Laird to return to his usual four-catch, 40-yard receiving output against the Bengals. The upside here is what he could do on the ground. Laird is only averaging about 3.5 yards per carry over the last two weeks, but the Bengals are one of the worst teams in the NFL against fantasy RBs. Laird can get you by in a pinch in PPR leagues if you need flex help. Don’t let his down game against the Giants scare you off.

Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles

It’s safe to say that Scott has a significant role in the Eagles offense moving forward. He broke out on Monday Night Football in Week 14 with a 16-touch, 24.8-fantasy point game against the Giants. He followed that up with a 13-touch, 13.5-point game last week. Last week’s game is more indicative of what fantasy managers can expect for the rest of the season (as long as Jordan Howard is out). The Eagles are the walking wounded right now with only two healthy wide receivers. Things won’t be that much better, even when Nelson Agholor comes back. Scott should continue to have a role as a receiving back and anything you get on the ground is a bonus. He’s worthy of flex consideration this week against a Cowboys defense that’s around league average against fantasy running backs as a whole and receiving backs this season.

Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys

Unless you have Ezekiel Elliott or are in a really deep league, you’re likely not interested in Pollard. He’s boom or bust because fantasy managers have no idea what his usage will be in a given game. What we do know is that he can boom in blowouts and is a big-play threat. He should be owned as a handcuff for those who play in Week 17 just in case something happens to Elliott and because he may get a nice amount of touches against the Redskins. For this week, he’s a dart throw. If you’re desperate and a major underdog in your matchup, maybe it’s worth the risk against the Eagles. The Cowboys should use him more, but until they do so consistently he’s hard to trust.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Breshad Perriman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Perriman is likely the No. 1 pickup in fantasy this week, and deservedly so. He broke out with a monster five-catch, 113-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Lions in Week 15. It looks like he’ll be the only starting receiver left standing when the Buccaneers face the Texans on Saturday afternoon. Mike Evans is already out for the season, Chris Godwin was carted off the field last week with a hamstring injury and Scottie Miller left with a hamstring injury as well. That leaves Perriman as the only one of Jameis Winston’s top four options healthy for this matchup. He won’t have another three-score game, but Perriman is a must-start WR2 this week against a Texans secondary that’s been gashed lately. The following is a fun stat I shared last week that’s now updated after his huge Week 15 performance: In Perriman’s four games this season with six or more targets, he is averaging 19.6 fantasy points per game. Even without his monster game last week, he’s averaging 14.6 fantasy points per game in those other three contests. When he gets the volume, he performs. It’s as simple as that.

Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears

Miller is just a baller. He’s as fun to watch in real life as he is to play in fantasy. He scoffed at those (like me) who shied away from him in a tough matchup against the Packers. He caught nine passes for 118 yards and a touchdown against a previously stout Green Bay secondary. It was his fifth consecutive double-digit finish and his second 20-plus point performance in his last three games. Miller is the No. 13 overall wide receiver over the last five weeks with an average of 17.6 fantasy points per game. He’s averaging more than 10 targets per game in that timeframe and had a whopping 15 last week. The Chiefs are one of the worst teams for fantasy wide receivers to face, but they struggle more against slot receivers than outside ones. Miller is a legit WR3 this week with 20-plus point upside.

Greg Ward Jr., Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz has to throw to someone and he’s decided over the last two weeks that it’s Ward. Aside from Week 13—when Alshon Jeffery was healthy and went off against the Dolphins—Ward has at least seven targets in every other game he’s played since Week 12, and 18 targets over the past two weeks. He doesn’t have a great matchup against the Cowboys this week, but a No. 1 receiver who’s getting that many targets from a quarterback of Wentz’s caliber must be owned, even if it’s just to block him from your opponent. He’s more of a WR4 this week, but in deep leagues he is worth considering for your WR3 spot.

Chris Conley, Jacksonville Jaguars

Conley saved his fantasy day (and spoiled the Raiders’ Oakland send-off) in Week 15 with two late touchdowns, but don’t write it off as a fluke. He’s getting plenty of targets and can serve as Gardner Minshew’s de facto No. 1 option with D.J. Chark out. It’s possible, but unlikely that Chark returns this week. If he’s sidelined, Conley will find himself solidly in high-end WR4 territory yet again. Aside from his dreadful Week 14 performance against the Chargers, Conley had seven, seven, seven and eights targets in each of the last four games with Minshew starting. He’s averaging 12.3 fantasy points per game in his last five games with Minshew, which isn’t anything special but is perfectly fine for someone in a WR3 or second flex spot. The Falcons are a below-average team against fantasy WRs this season and the Jaguars will likely have to throw more than they’d like to in order to keep up with the Falcons in Atlanta. Conley could have a huge game and help you secure a championship.

Danny Amendola, Detroit Lions

David Blough is not throwing downfield as much as his comrades did earlier in the season, so Amendola is soaking up a ton of targets. He has 29 targets in the three games with Blough and no fewer than eight in any one of them. The end zone has eluded him since Week 1, but the target volume is enough to get excited about in full-PPR formats. The Broncos are a tough matchup but, with Chris Harris likely shadowing Kenny Golladay, are beatable in the slot where they’re closer to league average. Fantasy managers can likely pencil in a floor of eight fantasy points, so if you need safety over upside then Amendola comes into play.

TIGHT ENDS

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

Higbee is now a major part of the Rams’ offense and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. He had 14 targets against the Cowboys last week after having 11 against the Seahawks the week prior. He’s averaging 21.8 fantasy points per game with Gerald Everett out the last three weeks. That’s obviously the best among all tight ends, but that’s almost three points per game more than the No. 2 tight end in that time, Travis Kelce. Higbee was starting to outsnap Everett even before his injury, so I wouldn’t shy away from him even if Everett returns this week. The 49ers are a very tough matchup, but Higbee has been good enough lately to warrant a ranking in low-end TE1 territory. If you play in Week 17, he faces off against the Cardinals at home. Eyeball emoji.

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Both Tampa Bay tight ends are Top 15 plays this week. O.J. Howard is owned is just enough leagues to miss the cut for this list, but if he’s not available Brate is a nice consolation prize. As mentioned in the Breshad Perriman section, Jameis Winston will likely be without three of his top four wide receivers on Saturday. That means there are more targets to go around for the tight ends, including Brate, who had seven targets last week. Don’t expect the Buccaneers to shy away from throwing the ball against the Texans’ secondary, a unit that ranks below league average against fantasy TEs this season. Brate should be able to haul in 4-5 passes and has a decent shot at a touchdown this week. That’ll do for a tight end ranked outside the Top 10.

Noah Fant, Denver Broncos

It would be easier to name the body parts that aren’t hurting Fant right now, so we’re not going to even try. Just know that he gutted it out in Week 15 and will likely do so again this week. Despite playing in a blizzard and missing the second quarter of last week’s game with a shoulder injury, Fant still found a way to finish among the Top 20 tight ends with 7.6 fantasy points. Drew Lock and the Broncos will have a much easier time passing against a poor Lions secondary at home on what should be a beautiful, 60-degree day in Denver. Detroit is one of the worst teams in the NFL against tight ends. With a 4/113/1 performance already under his belt this month, Fant has a chance to win some fantasy matchups for those who play him.