Week 16 Free Agent Focus
Here are our top waiver-wire recommendations across fantasy football formats, based on players available in more than half of ESPN leagues. Make sure you check your Free Agent Finder for the best available options in your specific league.
Players are separated by position, then listed in the order we'd prioritize them.
Daniel Jones, QB, Giants
It’s difficult to get comfy with Jones, coming off his 2nd worst fantasy outing of the season. He finished just 27th among fantasy QBs in Week 15 and fell short of 170 passing yards for the 2nd straight game.
But that followed a span of 5 games in which Jones cracked 20 fantasy points (depending on your format) 4 times and scored 16.8 in the other. Rushing yardage has been key to his value and decent floor for most of the year. Minnesota adds passing upside this week, though.
The Vikings arrive as the 10th most-friendly QB matchup for the year and have allowed the 5th most total points to the position. Matt Ryan last week broke a streak of 5 straight opponent QBs topping 23 fantasy points on the Vikings, including big scores for Mac Jones, Mike White and Jared Goff.
Jones remains a low-upside passer but should present a higher floor than what Sunday night produced. Washington ranks 10th in overall defensive DVOA, according to Football Outsiders, vs. Minnesota at 20th. The Commanders sit 15th against the pass; the Vikings 27th.
Jared Goff, QB, Lions
No one should have expected big Week 15 numbers from Goff against a Jets defense that rates 4th-toughest on QB scoring by our adjusted fantasy points allowed. Through that lens, Goff had a pretty good week. He threw for 252 yards and a TD in the victory and avoided turning the ball over for the 6th straight game.
This week finds a more-neutral matchup with Carolina. The Panthers check in 21st for the season in pass-defense DVOA, compared with 6th for the Jets. Carolina has improved in that area later in the year, with some healthy returns in the secondary. But the Panthers enter this week off their worst pass-defense DVOA rating all season in a loss to … Mitchell Trubisky(?).
So we’re certainly not downgrading Goff for this matchup. Fantasy’s #14 QB in points per game over the past 5 weeks makes for a solid option.
Zack Moss and Deon Jackson, RBs, Colts
These guys shared backfield work on Saturday, when RB Jonathan Taylor exited after just 2 snaps. (Taylor has since landed on IR.) Moss led the way with 53 snaps and 24 carries to Jackson’s 25 snaps and 13 carries. Both guys saw 1 target.
The Colts played virtually the entire game with the lead, so don’t assume this will be the split going forward. Moss did lead Jackson even in pass snaps -- 25-11 -- but has fared poorly in that area so far in his career. Indeed, Pro Football Focus graded him worse than Jackson as both a receiver and pass-blocker against Minnesota. We’d expect Jackson to pick up more work especially in trailing game script, which could easily come Monday night against the Chargers. Despite playing at home, the Colts sit as 4-point underdogs right now.
Ultimately, Moss and Jackson should be considered just RB3s going forward.
Tyler Allgeier, RB, Falcons
Allgeier out-carried Cordarrelle Patterson 17-14 and ran all over the Saints for 139 yards in Sunday's loss. Allgeier has now hit 10+ carries in 9 of his past 11 games.
As expected, the Falcons remained run-heavy in Desmond Ridder’s starting debut. Caleb Huntley was also lost for the season to an Achilles' tear.
A tough Ravens run D awaits in Week 16, so Allgeier won’t be a great fantasy play in that one. After that, though, comes a Cardinals defense that has been 5th most-friendly to RB scoring. That included a 24-130-1 rushing line for Latavius Murray this past Sunday.
Khalil Herbert, RB, Bears
Herbert is expected to return to practice this week after missing the past 4 games on IR with a hip injury. We’d bet on him quickly reclaiming the #2 role in a backfield that has had basically nothing beyond David Montgomery while Herbert has been out. Herbert averaged 9.3 carries and 54 rushing yards over his last 6 games alongside Montgomery but totaled just 2 targets during that stretch. He ranked 28th among RBs in non-PPR points across those 6 weeks; 31st in PPR.
The younger back won’t be a standalone fantasy play in most cases but at least makes sense as a handcuff-level addition.
Chris Moore, WR, Texans
Moore finished with just 4 catches for 42 yards in Sunday's OT loss to the Chiefs. He did, however, lead Houston with 9 targets — a big 31% share.
That followed a Week 14 with a team-high 11 targets (40.7%).
If WRs Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins remain out this week, Moore will be in play as a low-end option in a plus matchup vs. the Titans. Tennessee currently sits dead last in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs.
Russell Gage, WR, Buccaneers
An inactive Julio Jones helped boost Gage’s opportunity. But his 8-59-2 receiving line on a team-high 12 targets in Sunday’s loss to the Bengals still came basically out of nowhere. It marked just the 2nd time since Week 3 that he caught more than 2 passes.
If Jones remains out for Week 16, Gage could at least factor into the WR4 mix. Tom Brady remains the league-leader in pass attempts, as he’s hit 40 in 11 of his past 12 matchups. Plus, Week 16 turns up an injury-riddled Arizona secondary.
Noah Fant, TE, Seahawks
Fant posted a 5-32-1 line on 6 targets against a tough 49ers TE defense on Thursday night. He’s now scored in 2 of his past 3 matchups.
More importantly, WR Tyler Lockett fractured a finger late in Week 15 and is expected to miss at least Week 16. That could push more targets Fant’s way, especially in a game against the Chiefs that could force elevated passing volume from Seattle.
Juwan Johnson, TE, Saints
Returning from an ankle injury, Johnson posted a career-high 67 receiving yards Sunday against the Falcons. He added 2 TDs to bring him up to 7 for the season.
Johnson draws a couple of top-12 defenses vs. TEs over the next 2 weeks in Cleveland and Philadelphia, but we can’t get too picky with matchups given the current TE landscape. We'll just need to keep an eye on the weather forecast for this Saturday's game, which looks nasty as of Tuesday morning.
Chig Okonkwo, TE, Titans
Despite a hobbled Ryan Tannehill, Chig finished Sunday with his 3rd straight game of at least 4 catches and 50 yards.
The approaching return of WR Treylon Burks could affect Okonkwo’s opportunity, but the 4th-round pick has done well this season on targets per route. And it would seem to make sense for Tennessee to keep him involved regardless of who’s active at WR. (The Titans aren’t exactly loaded with playmaking pass-catchers.) Okonkwo has matched or beaten TE Austin Hooper in targets in 4 consecutive games.
We’ll see if Tannehill can make it to the weekend healthy, although for now, that's looking doubtful. If rookie Malik Willis starts, it’ll take some shine off Chig’s fantasy outlook.