We are going to get you the fantasy fill-ins that will bring home the ship. That means we are streamlining the Week 16 waiver wire. One. More. Win. That’s all that stands between you and roughly 10 months of gloating to your league mates. Unless you are a crazy person, your fantasy championship game is this week.
You are one of the two best fantasy managers in your league but, as the great Dale Earnhardt once said, second place is the first loser. One player from each position. Because at this point if you need more than that, you probably need a prayer. Without further ado, let’s go about securing your next championship.
Bringing Home a Championship with the Week 16 Waiver Wire
Las Vegas Raiders
When Derek Carr pulled up and ducked out of bounds on his scramble the worst immediately came to mind. Fortunately, he suffered one of the lesser forms of non-contact injury; coming away with a groin pull. That will thrust Marcus Mariota under center for his first start since Week 6 of last season. He was Week 15’s QB8, going 17/28 for 226 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. More intriguing, however, he ran nine times for 88 yards and another score.
Mariota gets a tough draw in Week 16, though. The Miami Dolphins are third in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. And while they’ve had some impressive wins, none compare to their loss to the Chiefs where they forced Patrick Mahomes into three interceptions. Mariota has a knack for turning the ball over, as we saw this past week. But that is more of a problem in real-life football than fantasy.
Tony Pollard has teased us with his talent before; he has three games with double-digit fantasy points and three total touchdowns this season. He had a couple of games crossing the century-mark last season too. So his 12-carry, 69-yard, two-touchdown performance shouldn’t be all that surprising. Opportunity is king, especially for running backs. With Ezekiel Elliott missing Week 15’s contest, Pollard took advantage of his, adding 63 yards on six grabs to boot.
Pollard, Week 15’s RB1, is partially at the mercy of Elliott’s health (though both would still see the field) but he will see the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16. They’re 23rd in rushing defense, have allowed 19 rushing touchdowns, and are giving up the 13th-most fantasy points to backs. The concern is that most of the production Philly gives up is on the ground where Pollard and Elliott are more likely to split the work.
The last time Russell Gage was mentioned in this space it was in reference to teammate Olamide Zaccheaus back in Week 12. Well, since Week 13, Gage has been the WR14 in PPR formats. He’s caught 14 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns while tossing a 38-yard score as well. He’s gotten 25 targets over this span so he hasn’t been terribly efficient. But the volume has more than made up for it.
The rub? Gage and the Atlanta Falcons draw the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16. K.C. is fourth in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. That stat is a bit misleading, though. Since their bye week, the Chiefs have faced just one opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that boasts a receiving corps on par with that of Atlanta. Even if he remains as inefficient as usual, this seems like a good spot for the volume to maintain.
All season long we have been pounding the mantra that a viable fantasy tight end is one that has a fighting chance at falling into the end zone. It’s a saying that’s brought us Logan Thomas and Robert Tonyan. This week it brings Dawson Knox of the Buffalo Bills. Knox was Week 15’s TE11 and is the TE10 over the last month, having scored a touchdown in three of his last four outings.
You already know Knox is, at best, fourth in the pecking order. But, ya know, tight end is a wasteland. The tougher pill to swallow is the Bills take on the New England Patriots in Week 16. New England is notoriously tough on tight ends and is ranked third in fantasy points allowed to the position in 2020. The hope is with so much of the defense’s attention needing to go to the talented wideouts, Knox finds his way to his fourth touchdown in five games. All fantasy ranking information courtesy of Fantasy Pros.