Fantasy Football Week 16 Rankings: Targets for This Week's Injured Stars

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 21, 2019

Minnesota Vikings running back Mike Boone runs with the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

While there's no good time for the injury bug to strike, this is an especially inopportune moment for fantasy football owners.

Week 16 of the 2019 NFL season will decide myriad fantasy championships. Watching one get ripped away by medical maladies would be the worst kind of cruel.

Unfortunately, we can't bubble-wrap your top performers and guarantee you a clean bill of health. But we can run through the latest positional rankings and injury reports at the marquee offensive positions and then identify a waiver-wire replacement—available in 50-plus percent of Yahoo leagues, per FantasyPros—who just might save your season.



Top 10 for Week 16

1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns

2. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

4. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears

5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

6. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Houston Texans

7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

9. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans vs. New Orleans Saints

10. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks


Injury Report

It's a good-news, bad-news situation for Jameis Winston, who was a full participant at Thursday's practice but still drew the questionable designation with thumb and knee injuries. That said, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers website notes the scorching-hot passer "is expected to play."

Elsewhere, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was left off Friday's injury report despite being limited all week with a shoulder injury. Dallas plans to have the entire playbook open for what's essentially a win-or-go-home battle for the NFC East crown with Philadelphia.


Waiver-Wire Target: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins (30 Percent Owned)

It's tough trusting the 2019 Miami Dolphins with anything, but giving Ryan Fitzpatrick a boatload of passing opportunities is one of the exceptions.

Since they don't have a rushing attack and typically find themselves in a shootout, it's not like they have another choice. So Fitzpatrick has hoisted an average of 40.2 passes each of his past five contests.

Granted, he doesn't always make the most of his chances, but he shouldn't have trouble carving up the Cincinnati Bengals defense. Only the Oakland Raiders surrender more than the 8.2 yards per attempt the Bengals allow.


Running Back

Top 10 for Week 16

1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers at Indianapolis Colts

2. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants at Washington Redskins

3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

4. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins

5. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

6. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

7. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans vs. New Orleans Saints

8. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens

9. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons

10. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders


Injury Report

It will take more than a hamstring injury to stop Derrick Henry. Despite being limited in practice Wednesday and held out of Thursday's session, the Pro Bowl back is good to go for Sunday.

Raiders star rookie Josh Jacobs wasn't as lucky. A shoulder injury has knocked him out of their Sunday clash with the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Minnesota Vikings didn't have Dalvin Cook (chest) or Alexander Mattison (ankle) at practice Thursday or Friday. But their official designations for Monday night haven't been released.


Waiver-Wire Target: Mike Boone, Minnesota Vikings (48 Percent Owned)

The stars are aligning for Mike Boone to have his name etched on more than a few fantasy football trophies.

He could be the breakout star of Week 16. If Cook and Mattison are out, Boone should have the keys to one of the NFL's most potent rushing attacks. If that weren't enough, he's also facing a Green Bay Packers defense allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to the position, per Yahoo Sports.

Boone turned 13 rushes into 56 yards and two scores this past Sunday. There's no telling what he might do if that carry count nearly doubles.


Wide Receiver

Top 10 for Week 16

1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

4. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

5. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

6. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders

7. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

8. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears

9. DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers at Indianapolis Colts

10. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals


Injury Report

It's mostly encouraging news on the injury front for wide receivers.

Julian Edelman is questionable with knee and shoulder injuries, but he's expected to play Saturday. It's the same story with D.J. Chark and his ankle problem. And while JuJu Smith-Schuster's knee isn't 100 percent, he says he's a game-time decision.

The positivity doesn't extend to Tampa Bay, though. A hamstring injury landed Mike Evans on injured reserve, and the same ailment has Chris Godwin ruled out for Saturday.


Waiver-Wire Target: Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears (42 Percent Owned)

It's been better late than never for Chicago Bears sophomore wideout Anthony Miller. Often overlooked in the season's first half, he's been thrust into a prominent role with 52 targets over his past two outings. The opportunities should keep coming since he's turned those targets into 33 receptions for 431 yards and two touchdowns.

He gets the Kansas City Chiefs next, and while they don't seem exploitable on paper (second-fewest points allowed to wide receivers), a deeper dive tells a different story. The Chiefs shut down perimeter pass-catchers, but they're a bottom-10 defense in slot completions allowed and slot touchdown rate, per ESPN's Matthew Berry. That's exactly where Miller is at his most dangerous.