Week 16 Waiver Wire: Fantasy Football's Top Pickups and Breakout Candidates

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

Fantasy managers who desperately need a wide receiver shouldn't push the panic button. Multiple players at the position flashed Sunday. More importantly, they're primed for productive Week 16 outings and widely available in most leagues.

Last week, managers lost key playmakers like Mike Evans, Calvin Ridley and Marvin Jones Jr. for the remainder of the season because of injuries. Chris Godwin was forced to leave early from Sunday's contest with the Detroit Lions.

The waiver wire will still have enough playmaking wide receivers to help you for one or two weeks.

Looking ahead to Week 16, we'll highlight the top pickups and breakout candidates to help managers seal the deal in their quests for league titles. The selections below are owned in fewer than 65 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Sunday 7:30 p.m. ET.


Top Breakout Candidates and Week 16 Pickups

QB Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (59 percent owned) 

RB Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins (53 percent owned)

RB Patrick Laird, Miami Dolphins (45 percent owned)

WR Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (62 percent owned) 

WR Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears (26 percent owned)

WR Greg Ward, Philadelphia Eagles (1 percent owned)

WR Breshad Perriman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9 percent owned)

WR James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers (32 percent owned)

TE Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (61 percent owned) 

TE Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (31 percent owned)


RB Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins (53 percent owned)

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 15: Adrian Peterson #26 of the Washington Redskins runs after a catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half at FedExField on December 15, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Adrian Peterson just won't go away. He's the lead ball-carrier in the Washington Redskins backfield with running back Derrius Guice on injured reserve because of an MCL sprain. 

Peterson has scored in each of the last three outings, averaging 80.3 yards per game in that span. He doesn't provide much in the passing game (14 receptions for 123 yards this season), but the 34-year-old handles a large workload as a ball-carrier and has 49 rush attempts since Week 13. 

In Week 16, the Washington Redskins will face the New York Giants, who ranked 20th in run defense going into Sunday's games. Big Blue gave up 4.9 yards per carry to the Miami Dolphins Sunday.

Because of Peterson's workload and scoring streak, he's a solid waiver-wire pickup for the upcoming week. Fantasy managers can plug him into the flex spot for their playoff matchups.


WR Breshad Perriman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9 percent owned)

Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

Once upon a time, Breshad Perriman entered the league as a highly-touted prospect out of Central Florida. He didn't play up to first-round expectations with the Baltimore Ravens or Cleveland Browns, but the fourth-year veteran put together his best performance as a pro Sunday. 

Perriman torched the Lions for five catches, 113 yards and three touchdowns. He came into the game with an expanded role because Evans suffered a hamstring injury and landed on injured reserve.

Late in Sunday's contest, Godwin exited on a cart with a hamstring injury. Fellow wide receiver Scotty Miller also left the game because of a hamstring ailment.

Perriman took full advantage of his opportunities in a pass-heavy offensive attack. He's a must-add player if Godwin misses next week's game against the Houston Texans.

Going into Week 15, the Texans ranked 27th in pass defense. Quarterback Jameis Winston is guilty of throwing interceptions, but he's also tossed eight touchdown passes over the last two games.

Clearly, Winston has the green light to throw the ball up and down the field. As a result, Perriman should feast on the Texans defense in Week 16.


WR James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers (32 percent owned)

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

With undrafted rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges under center, James Washington seemed well on his way to a breakout finish to the 2019 campaign, with seven catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns between Weeks 12 and 13.

In Week 14, Washington had a dud performance, finishing with four receptions for 33 yards. He drew a tough Sunday Night Football matchup against the Buffalo Bills' third-ranked pass defense, but the second-year wideout belongs on the waiver-wire radar for next week.

In Week 15, the Pittsburgh Steelers will face the New York Jets' 18th-ranked pass defense, which has allowed 24 scores in 14 contests (21st).

Furthermore, Washington could remain a top target in the offense. Fellow wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster aggravated his knee injury during Thursday's practice, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Smith-Schuster denied he experienced a setback, but the third-year veteran doesn't have a timetable for his return to action. In the meantime, fantasy owners should grab Washington regardless of his production level against the Bills Sunday.


TE Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (61 percent owned) 

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Eagles don't have a lot of offensive weapons available. Wideouts Alshon Jeffery (foot) and DeSean Jackson (abdominal) are on injured reserve. Nelson Agholor has missed the last two games because of a knee injury. So, quarterback Carson Wentz must turn to some unfamiliar pass-catchers outside of tight end Zach Ertz.

If you're not comfortable picking up wideout Greg Ward, who scored his first NFL touchdown Sunday, add Dallas Goedert. He's held a decent role in the offense throughout the season. 

He hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 11, but the second-year tight end has logged at least five catches and 55 receiving yards in two of the last three contests. 

Philadelphia needs all pass-catching hands on deck in a matchup with the Dallas Cowboys that will likely decide which team wins the NFC East. Assuming the defense focuses on Ertz, Goedert could come up huge next week.