Well, Week 15 was a…weird one. If you started a stud line-up, like Andrew Luck, Saquon Barkley, Aaron Jones, Keenan Allen, Tyreek Hill, and Eric Ebron…there’s a good chance you had an embarrassing loss. If you fall into that category, allow me to express my sincerest condolences. Week 15 was, what I like to call, a monster killer. The bane of those monster teams in your leagues that went 10-3 or 11-2. If you managed to survive, or if you’re fighting for third place in your leagues (or god forbid a horrible punishment for the league’s loser), we have the waiver wire additions to consider for Week 16. This is it. This is the all-or-nothing moment. Injuries took some key players out of the picture in Week 15. We will evaluate their replacements, as well as other players who stand to have a positive performance in Week 16.
Kalen Ballage – Miami Dolphins – 1% Owned
Frank Gore went down with a foot injury early in Sunday’s match-up against the Vikings, and Ballage, the rookie from Arizona State, hit the ground running. Literally. He managed 123 yards on 12 carries with one touchdown. I would be remiss if I failed to mention that a healthy portion of those yards and that touchdown came off of a monster 75 yard TD run. Still, we’re heading into championship weekend, and this is a player who stands to make an impact in the run game. He led Miami’s backfield in touches over Kenyan Drake. It stands to reason that the Dolphins would like to get a good long look at their fourth-round draft pick through the next two games of the season. The injuries at the running back position are stacking up. If you’re in the championship this week, or fighting for third place, Ballage is someone to consider. The Dolphins play the Jags this week. Not a favorable match-up, but if you’re desperate he’s available in all leagues.
Jamaal Williams – Green Bay Packers – 14% Owned
It’s a tale as old as time. The starting running back gets injured, and it’s ‘next man up’ in the offense. Jamaal Williams is that option for the Packers. He had a relatively productive outing once Aaron Jones went down with a knee sprain rushing 12 times for 55 yards and a touchdown, with 42 yards on four receptions. Williams has taken a backseat to Jones for the majority of the season, but will have the backfield essentially to himself against the Jets in Week 16. It’s been difficult to put faith in the Green Bay offense this season. They’ve lost four out of their last five games, but their running game has been a consistent fantasy bright spot. Still, to have the opportunity to pick up a clear starter against a weaker defense in Championship week is a huge advantage.
Elijah McGuire – New York Jets – 33% Owned
If you watched the Jets vs. Texans game on Saturday it is apparent that the Jets’ offensive strategy is to dominate the time of possession, while relying on their running game and defense to make crucial stops. In fairness, this has more or less been their strategy for the better part of a decade. It nearly worked against the Texans, though. Elijah McGuire had 18 carries for 42 yards and a score, while gaining 39 yards on three receptions. These are pedestrian numbers, sure, but he touched the ball 21 times. Finding that kind of usage this late in the season is rare. McGuire found the end zone, too, which salvaged his day, and secured two weeks in a row of double-digit fantasy production. This week he’ll be going up against a weaker run defense in the Packers. There are other running backs I would prioritize over McGuire, but if you’re desperate he could be safe solution. In deeper leagues I would also take a look at McGuire’s rookie teammate, Trenton Cannon, who is the change of pace back on the Jets.
Darrell Williams, KC (2% owned) should be targeted if you’re the Damien Williams owner. Having insurance for that KC RB position is invaluable. He even found the end zone last Thursday despite having only 4 touches. Mike Davis, Sea (19% owned); keep an eye on Rashad Penny’s status this week. Davis was ineffective on the ground on Sunday, but made up for it with 63 yards on eight receptions. The Seahawks will likely need to pass early against the Chiefs.
Mike Williams – Los Angeles Chargers – 40% Owned
He’s more owned in Yahoo! Leagues than in ESPN, and he has the highest ownership percentage of any player I will highlight today. Still, Williams will likely be a big add this week in waivers as he should be. There’s a chance Keenan Allen won’t play in Week 16, and we saw what a Keenan-less Chargers offense looked like. A lot of Williams. Last Thursday Williams caught 7 of 9 targets for 76 yards and two touchdowns, and ran the ball once for 19 yards and another score. Rivers’ trust in his sophomore wide receiver in the red zone was extremely encouraging. This week will be a bit of a challenge for the Chargers, and by extension Williams, as the Ravens will be coming to town. Fortunately, we just witnessed Mike Evans, a comparable WR to Williams, just put up 121 yards on 4 receptions against the Ravens in Baltimore. I have faith that Rivers will continue to throw the ball consistently, and Melvin Gordon’s hopeful return is a positive for the Chargers’ offense as a whole. Keep your eye on the Chargers’ injury report which comes out this afternoon to see if Allen has a legitimate chance to start this Saturday.
Tim Patrick – Denver Broncos – 4% Owned
Sutton this. Hamilton that. Patrick seems to be the receiver to own in that offense at the moment. He’s certainly been the most consistent receiver on the Broncos over the past two weeks. Patrick has 18 targets, for 150 yards over that span, and led the Broncos in receiving yards against the Browns on Saturday. It’s evident that he has emerged as Keenum’s primary safety valve. This week’s upcoming match-up against the Raiders is far more agreeable than that of the Browns. (I’m still not used to the Browns being this competitive). Patrick’s upside is relatively minimal, but he seems to be establishing a decent floor. He is available everywhere, and can be started if you’re in a jam.
Robby Anderson – New York Jets – 22% Owned
Remember the good ol’ days when Anderson was a WR1 last season? Well, he’s performed like a form of his older self the past two games. Anderson has been targeted 18 times since Darnold returned as starting quarterback in Week 14, and Anderson has converted those targets to a 11-172-2 stat-line. Our concern with Anderson has been his lack of targets all season, but that seems to have changed. A combination, no doubt, of the Jets’ depleted receiving corps, as well as an improving quarterback in Sam Darnold. Anderson has the advantage of a positive match-up against the Packers’ defense that has struggled against wide receivers all season long. If Darnold can maintain their developing connection, Anderson could very well have another WR1 finish in Week 16.
Robert Foster, Buffalo Bills – 13% Owned
The Bills… well, they’re an unmitigated disaster. That doesn’t mean they don’t have some fantasy appeal though. Sometimes the most desperate teams offer the most unique fantasy options. Desperate times call for desperate measures, after all. If you’re desperate for a fill-in wide receiver, Robert Foster might be your plug. He’s had over 100+ receiving yards the past two games, and found the end zone on Sunday against the Lions. He’s put up double digit fantasy numbers in three of the last four games, too. This week the Bills go on the road against the Patriots. Given the fact that the Bills have literally run out of running backs, you can be sure that Allen will be passing a lot. You can bet that it won’t be pretty, but Foster should get enough targets to retain his fantasy relevance.
Thanks for reading, and bust of luck in Championship Weekend!