Week 16 Free Agent Focus
It's Week 16: Championship Week in most fantasy leagues. So you won't find blind-bid recommendations below. It's time to grab what you need.
We've sorted the players by position and ranked them in the order we'd pursue them on waivers this week. As always, DS Insiders can email us with any further questions ...
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears
He was OK in Sunday's win over the Vikings, completing 15 of 21 passes for 202 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Trubisky boosted the fantasy production with 34 rushing yards.
A Week 16 matchup vs. Jacksonville’s 27th-ranked QB defense will have Trubisky on the spot-start radar. The Jaguars have now let 4 straight opponents score 27+ points.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Chiefs
Edwards-Helaire is expected to miss the rest of the regular season with hip and ankle injuries. That’d put Bell in the lead-back role in the league’s best offense. He had his best game as a Chief in Sunday’s win over the Saints, rushing 14 times for 57 yards and a score and catching his lone target for 14 yards.
Week 16 brings a tough on-paper matchup vs. Atlanta's 2nd-ranked RB defense. But the Chiefs will have no trouble moving the ball through the air in that one, giving Bell plenty of TD upside.
Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys
Ezekiel Elliott’s calf tightened up on him in pregame warmups Sunday, forcing him to miss his 1st game due to injury as a pro. We’ll see if he makes it back for Week 16, but the Cowboys have nothing left to play for.
Pollard took advantage of lead duties against the 49ers, turning 12 carries into 69 yards and 2 scores and catching 6 of 9 targets for 63 yards. He’d be an easy fantasy starter vs. the Eagles next week if Zeke remains out.
Salvon Ahmed, RB, Dolphins
He returned from injury and stepped back in as Miami’s starter, carrying 23 times for 122 yards and a score.
We’ll see if RB Myles Gaskins makes it off the COVID list for Saturday’s game vs. the Raiders. If not, Ahmed will be a fantasy starter in that plus matchup.
Russell Gage, WR, Falcons
Gage delivered his 3rd straight game of more than 15 PPR points in Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers. With Julio Jones out, Gage ranked 2nd on the team with 10 targets. He caught 5 of them for 68 yards and a TD, his 2nd score in the past 3 games. Gage even drew 8 looks and posted a 4-51-1 receiving line in Week 13, Jones’ lone full game among the past 5.
We know that Jones is trying to make it back for Week 16. We don’t yet know whether he’ll be able to play. We do know that a visit to Kansas City is likely to find Atlanta chasing and throwing quite a bit. Gage remained available in nearly 80% of ESPN leagues as of late Sunday afternoon.
John Brown, WR, Bills
He seems on track to return from his ankle injury for Week 16. Brown’s production has been erratic this season, with 13+ PPR points in 4 of 8 games but fewer than 4 points in 3 of the others. He’ll get a tough Patriots secondary next weekend, but the red-hot Josh Allen figures to land Brown in WR4 territory in our rankings.
Lynn Bowden, WR, Dolphins
Bowden followed a breakout Week 14 with a 6-37 receiving line on a team-high 7 targets in Sunday’s win over the Patriots. His Week 16 outlook will depend largely on whether WRs DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant return from their hamstring injuries. But Bowden is worth grabbing if you need WR help.
Laviska Shenault, WR, Jaguars
Shenault led Jacksonville with 6 targets and 5 catches in Sunday’s loss to the Ravens. They produced a meager 43 yards. But it followed Shenault drawing 11 targets against Tennessee the week before. He also fell short of 50 receiving yards in that game, and Gardner Minshew has spread the ball around in roughly a game and a half back at the helm.
Shenault looks like a WR4-level option for Week 16 against the Bears, though -- especially if Jacksonville has to go without RB James Robinson.
Tyler Higbee, TE, Rams
Higbee's 4-67-1 line against the Jets gives him a score in 2 of his last 3 games and 4 catches in 3 of his last 5. The Rams have increased their use of 2-TE sets recently, and it’s boosting Higbee’s fantasy production. He’ll be in the low-end TE1 mix for Week 16’s showdown vs. the Seahawks.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Raiders
Mariota played well in relief of Derek Carr on Thursday night — his 1st significant action since last October. He threw for 226 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT and ran for 88 yards and another score. That rushing ability boosts Mariota’s fantasy value, but a tough Week 16 matchup vs. Miami on Saturday night will keep him outside QB1 territory in our rankings (assuming Carr sits out with his groin injury, which seems likely).
Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon, RBs, 49ers
These guys will handle backfield duties for the Niners if Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson’s injuries keep them out going forward. Coleman has carried just 8 times since Week 2, while McKinnon has 3 carries over his last 4 games. So it’d be tough to trust either guy in Week 16 fantasy lineups. But if you’re desperate …
Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson, WRs, Chargers
WRs Keenan Allen (hamstring) and Mike Williams (back) should be much closer to 100% when the Chargers take the field again next Sunday against the Broncos. That might knock Guyton and Johnson out of fantasy consideration. But they might be worth stashing in deep fantasy leagues as we wait to see how Allen and Williams make it through this coming week. Guyton and Johnson played well in Thursday night’s win over the Raiders, with Guyton hauling in 4 of 6 targets for a team-high 91 yards and Johnson catching 3 of 5 targets for 61 yards and a score.