Fantasy Football Week 16: Waiver-Wire Pickups, Rankings and Stat Projections

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2021

Fantasy Football Week 16: Waiver-Wire Pickups, Rankings and Stat Projections

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    Four games remain in Week 15, but many fantasy managers are already looking ahead to next week. We're getting deep into fantasy playoff season, after all, and lineup decisions are critical when chasing a championship.

    Bye weeks are a thing of the past, but injuries and absences are not. Anyone who watched Sunday night's game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints—a game in which Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette exited for good—knows that injuries could heavily affect Week 16.

    Managers may not have their first choices available at all positions next week, but we're here to help sort through the uncertainty.

    Below you will find early points-per-reception (PPR) rankings for Week 16, along with a look at some hot names to target on the waiver wire.


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    Jose Juarez/Associated Press

    1. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

    2. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

    3. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

    4. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

    5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

    6. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

    7. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

    8. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

    9. Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints

    10. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

    11. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

    12. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


    Wire Target: Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions

    It's too early to say that Jared Goff has staked his claim as the Detroit Lions' quarterback of the future. However, the former Los Angeles Rams starter has played extremely well over the past month, tossing nine touchdown passes and just two interceptions.

    The Lions upset the Arizona Cardinals in the big shocker of Week 15, and Goff was once again great. He finished 21-of-26 for 216 yards and three touchdowns. Detroit has won two of its past three games, and Goff suddenly looks like a serviceable streamer for Week 16.

    Should you want to trust Goff for a fantasy playoff game? Not necessarily, but as waiver options go, he's at the top.

    The Atlanta Falcons have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, and at 6-8, it's fair to wonder how much fight Atlanta has left. Detroit has shown plenty of fight under head coach Dan Campbell and will have a real shot at producing back-to-back victories for the first time since October of last year.

    Goff is rostered in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues and 4 percent of ESPN leagues.

    Projection: 260 passing yards, 2 TDs.

Running Back

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    1. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

    2. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

    3. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

    4. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

    5. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

    6. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

    7. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

    8. Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos

    9. Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons

    10. James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

    11. James Conner, Arizona Cardinals

    12. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs


    Wire Target: Ronald Jones II, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    The Buccaneers may have lost running back Leonard Fournette for an extended period. According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, Fournette suffered a "pretty bad" hamstring pull and will undergo further testing Monday.

    With a focus on the postseason, the Buccaneers aren't likely to rush Fournette back into action. This should mean Ronald Jones II takes over the starting spot in Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers.

    Jones saw extended action after Fournette left Sunday night, and he performed well, finishing with 71 scrimmage yards on eight carries and two receptions.

    Against Carolina, Jones could have even better numbers. The Panthers have allowed the 14th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, and Jones will presumably see carries in the double digits. He is rostered in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues and 23 percent of ESPN leagues.

    Projection: 88 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 36 receiving yards.

Wide Receiver

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    1. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

    2. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

    3. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

    4. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers

    5. Tyreek Hill, Minnesota Vikings

    6. Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

    7. Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

    8. CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys

    9. Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers

    10. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

    11. Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

    12. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks


    Wire Target: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions

    Goff has played well in recent weeks, and this has coincided with the emergence of rookie wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown. The fourth-round pick out of USC has become Goff's top target and has been producing borderline WR2 numbers.

    Against the Cardinals, St. Brown caught eight passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. Over the past three weeks, he's caught 26 passes for 249 yards and two scores. According to Pro Football Reference, he has been targeted at least 11 times in each of the past three games.

    St. Brown's target share should put him at the top of waiver-wire wishlists, and he's worth a claim, even if only to keep him away from opposing rosters. He has big-game potential against a Falcons team that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers.

    At worst, St. Brown projects as a high-end flex play in Week 16, but he has legitimate top-20 potential. St. Brown is rostered in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues and 24 percent of ESPN leagues.

    Projection: 8 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD.

Tight End

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    1. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

    2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

    3. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

    4. Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    5. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

    6. Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

    7. Hunter Henry, New England Patriots

    8. Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals

    9. Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

    10. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos

    11. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

    12. Tyler Conklin, Minnesota Vikings


    Wire Target: Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Washington Football Team

    Managers usually aren't looking to switch up their tight ends during the fantasy playoffs, but injuries could make that necessary. Las Vegas Raiders star Darren Waller, for example, is out for the third consecutive week and may not suit up for Week 16, either.

    Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas is out for the year with a torn ACL. This should mean an expanded role for fellow Washington tight end Ricky Seals-Jones.

    Seals-Jones caught just one pass while sharing time with John Bates in Week 14—Bates also had one catch—so it will be worth monitoring Washington's tight end usage Tuesday. However, when he made five starts earlier in the season, Seals-Jones averaged four receptions per game.

    This should give Seals-Jones a solid PPR floor against the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas has been relatively average against fantasy tight ends (tied for 12th-fewest points allowed), so there's some upside here as well. Seals-Jones is rostered in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues and 12 percent of ESPN leagues.

    Projection: 4 receptions, 44 yards, 1 TD.


    Fantasy roster information and points allowed via FantasyPros.