Week 16 Waiver Wire: Fantasy Football's Top Pickups and Breakout Candidates
Don't lose track of the players who helped you reach the playoffs, but keep an eye open for late bloomers who can help your squad win a title.
The Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts has emerged as a fantasy football gem over the last two weeks. In his debut as a starter, he threw for 167 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 106 yards. On Sunday, the rookie quarterback accounted for four touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals. He'll likely appear on most rosters going into Week 16 matchups.
Among the less obvious pickup options, we'll take a look at two running back handcuffs who can cover the RB2 and flex spots if you have a player whose status remains unclear through next week. Managers can also acquire one of a few wide receivers on a hot streak.
Check out 10 players who could provide a push for your playoff squad. All the selections below are rostered in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Top Pickups and Breakout Candidates for Week 16
QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns at NYJ (47 percent rostered)
QB Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles at DAL (38 percent rostered)
QB Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears at JAX (13 percent rostered)
RB Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys vs. PHI (45 percent rostered)
RB Salvon Ahmed, Miami Dolphins at LVR (34 percent rostered)
RB Sony Michel, New England Patriots vs. BUF (19 percent rostered)
RB/WR Lynn Bowden Jr., Miami Dolphins at LVR (27 percent rostered)
WR Keke Coutee, Houston Texans vs. CIN (41 percent rostered)
WR Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns at NYJ (25 percent rostered)
WR Chad Hansen, Houston Texans vs. CIN (2 percent rostered)
RB Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
Tony Pollard took full advantage of his second career start while filling in for Ezekiel Elliott (calf). He recorded 132 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns—both on the ground—against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Even if Elliott suits up against the Philadelphia Eagles next week, Pollard should handle a fair number of touches with his running mate banged-up.
As a collegian, Pollard showcased his dual-threat skill set, recording 2,233 scrimmage yards and 18 touchdowns at Memphis. He split those scores evenly as a ball-carrier and receiver.
Still available in more than half of Yahoo leagues, Pollard should be on all rosters for the remainder of the season. He has RB1 potential as a starter in place of Elliott and flex appeal when sharing touches in the backfield.
RB Sony Michel, New England Patriots
Fantasy managers should dip into the running back pool for another high-end handcuff. Sony Michel led the New England Patriots in rush attempts (10) against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Damien Harris didn't suit up because of an ankle injury.
The Dolphins eliminated the Patriots from playoff contention, so we could see some lineup changes for the latter club going forward. Secondly, players on the mend may not rush back unless they're on expiring contracts.
Harris has two more years left on his rookie deal. The Patriots have to make a decision on Michel's fifth-year option in the upcoming offseason. Don't be surprised to see the coaching staff take a long look at him in the next couple of weeks.
Michel ran for 74 yards and caught a pass for eight yards Sunday. If Harris remains out, the Georgia product should handle a sizeable workload against the Buffalo Bills' 21st-ranked run defense in Week 16.
RB/WR Lynn Bowden Jr., Miami Dolphins
We could have a rare revenge game for a rookie in the matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders.
During the offseason, the Silver and Black traded Lynn Bowden Jr. along with a sixth-round pick to the Dolphins for a fourth-round pick, which factored into the rookie's slow start to the season.
Over the last three weeks, Bowden has made contributions to the passing attack, converting 20 targets into 17 receptions for 160 yards.
Fellow wideout DeVante Parker didn't suit up Sunday because of a hamstring injury. If he sits out again, Bowden could draw a heavy target share against a Raiders defense that allows the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. The Kentucky product led the Dolphins in targets (seven) Sunday.
WR Chad Hansen, Houston Texans
The Houston Texans signed Chad Hansen to the active roster Saturday, and he made an impact Sunday.
Hansen only drew three targets against the Indianapolis Colts, but he caught two passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. The fourth-year wideout has recorded at least 55 yards in three straight games and did so with Brandin Cooks (foot/neck) back on the field after a one-game absence.
Next week, Hansen will go against the Cincinnati Bengals, who field a softer pass defense that ranks 23rd in yards allowed. His role in the Texans' three-wide receiver sets gives him a good chance to produce solid numbers for the next two outings. He's a deep sleeper with WR2 upside.
Since Week 13, Hansen has 14 catches for 212 yards and a touchdown. If you need a push at wide receiver during the playoffs, he's your guy.