It's Week 16 of the NFL season, which means that it's championship week in most fantasy football leagues.
While fantasy managers don't have to worry about resting starters or bye-week absences, injuries remain a problem. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin missed Tampa Bay's Saturday afternoon contest, for example, and the Minnesota Vikings are expected to be without star running back Dalvin Cook on Monday.
According to ESPN's Courtney Cronin, the Vikings are "leaning toward" shutting Cook down for the rest of the regular season.
So, while many top players will be available this week, simply plugging in your top performers may not be the best option. Here, we'll run down the top players at each flex position—running back, wide receiver and tight end—and examine some potential sleepers who could be available on the waiver wire.
All rankings are based on PPR scoring.
1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
2. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
4. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
5. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
6. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
7. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
8. Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens
9. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
10. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
11. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
12. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
13. Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts
14. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
15. Melvin Gordon III, Los Angeles Chargers
16. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
17. Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals
18. Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos
19. Mike Boone, Minnesota Vikings
20. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
Sleeper: Patrick Laird, RB, Miami Dolphins
If you need a replacement for Cook and cannot snag Mike Boone off the waiver wire—or if you're just lacking at the running back position—Patrick Laird is worth a look in Week 16. The rookie Cal product has become a regular piece of the Miami Dolphins offense in recent weeks.
It's worth noting that Laird is likely to split time with fellow rookie Myles Gaskin, so the upside here is merely average. However, his receiving ability—Laird has 10 receptions over the last three weeks—makes him a serviceable option in PPR leagues.
The matchup for Laird and the Dolphins is favorable as well. The Cincinnati Bengals rank dead last in run defense, allowing 158 yards per game. Laird, and Gaskin for that matter, should benefit greatly.
1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
4. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
5. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
6. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
7. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
8. DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers
9. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
10. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
11. Allen Robinson II, Chicago Bears
12. Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
13. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
14. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
15. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
16. Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins
17. Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
18. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
19. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
20. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
Sleeper: Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller is still available in 57 percent of Yahoo leagues, according to FantasyPros. If you're unsure at all about your receiver depth, it's worth checking the waiver wire now.
Miller is coming off a nine-catch, 118-yard outing against the Green Bay Packers. While he may not repeat those numbers against an improving Kansas City Chiefs defense, he should have a high-upside role. The Bears are confident in the growth he has made alongside veteran Allen Robinson.
"He's had the opportunity now to learn from one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and I think you're seeing that rub off on him now as a player," head coach Matt Nagy said, per Larry Mayer of the team's official website.
Miller has firmly entrenched himself as Chicago's No. 2 receiver, and he should be viewed as a WR2 in Week 16.
1. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
2. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
4. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons
5. Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders
6. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
7. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
8. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
9. Jacob Hollister, Seattle Seahawks
10. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
Sleeper: Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos
For Denver Broncos rookie tight end Noah Fant, the value lies in the upside. Consistency has not been his strength. Over the last six weeks, the Iowa product has two games of over 100 receiving yards, four of over 50 yards and two with fewer than 20 yards.
Fortunately, the upside is high for Fant in Week 16. The Broncos are hosting the Detroit Lions, who have been atrocious against the pass down the stretch. Only the Arizona Cardinals have allowed more passing yards in 2019.
Last week, Buccaneers tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate combined for seven receptions and 79 yards against Detroit. This is the sort of production managers should expect from Fant.
According to FantasyPros, he is available in 68 percent of Yahoo leagues.