Fantasy Football Week 16 Waiver Wire: Get on the Gabriel Davis BandwagonDecember 21, 2021
Fantasy Football Week 16 Waiver Wire: Get on the Gabriel Davis Bandwagon
The fantasy football playoffs are in full swing, but that doesn't mean it's time to stop playing the waiver wire.
If you were one of the fortunate managers who advanced one step closer to a championship, it's crucial to continue tinkering with your roster and acquire more talent.
A few fantasy contributors went down with injuries in Week 15—Leonard Fournette (hamstring), Joe Mixon (ankle), Chris Godwin (season-ending ACL tear)—but there were still several breakout players who could help those with thin squads make a title push.
With that in mind, here are the top free agents who are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues to target with waiver wire claims in Week 16.
RB Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (34 Percent Rostered)
The Buccaneers may be forced to go without their starting running back for the next few weeks.
A hamstring injury in the third quarter sidelined Leonard Fournette against the New Orleans Saints this Sunday and could keep him out for at least Week 16's matchup with the Carolina Panthers.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Fournette avoided sustaining "major injury," but the veteran back could still miss one or two games.
If Fournette can't give it a go, Ronald Jones II will be the No. 1 option in the Tampa backfield.
Jones saw some of his heaviest usage of the campaign this weekend, logging 30 percent of the offensive snaps while contributing 71 yards on 10 touches. While the production doesn't jump off the page, it did come against a stalwart New Orleans defense in a game that the Bucs were shut out.
Expect the Tampa offense, which still leads the league with 29.3 points per game and ranks No. 2 with an average of 402.4 yards per contest, to get back on track with a much softer matchup against Carolina coming up.
The Panthers are allowing 115.6 rushing yards per game this season and haven't held a team under 100 yards rushing since Week 10.
If Jones is working as Tampa's feature back, expect him to put up solid RB2 numbers for as long as he remains in that role.
RB Duke Johnson, Miami Dolphins (2 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Value: N/A
After seven years in the league, Duke Johnson finally had his first 100-plus-yard rushing game.
The 28-year-old went off against the New York Jets on Sunday, rushing 22 times for 107 yards and two scores. He also caught his only target for an additional 20 yards in a 31-24 victory.
Johnson, who got the starting nod in Week 15, was one of the few healthy options in a depleted Dolphins rushing platoon. While usual starter Myles Gaskin and backup Salvon Ahmed were in the lineup, it seemed the pair was limited by lingering COVID-19 effects that had kept them from practicing most of the week.
Gaskin was on the field for only 26 snaps and earned just 10 totes in the contest, taking them for 54 yards. Ahmed didn't see a single snap in the game.
It was one of the most unlikely performances of the season, as Johnson has only appeared in two contests—both against the Jets—since joining the Dolphins in October.
Johnson logged a Miami backfield-high 41 snaps against New York. But despite his success, it's unlikely he'll become a bell-cow back going forward. Regardless, he proved he's still a viable weapon and should earn more work down the stretch.
The Dolphins have a tough date with the Saints in Week 16, right after New Orleans shut out the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But Miami could lean on the versatile Johnson as both a ball-carrier and pass-catcher.
Managers may not want to pin their title hopes on Johnson, but those with an open roster spot who are in dire need of RB help could do worse than taking a flier on the back following his breakout showing.
RB Samaje Perine, Cincinnati Bengals (13 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Value: $4,400
Joe Mixon has been one of fantasy football's more consistent running backs this season, but his managers may need to rely on a handcuff to get through Week 16 after Mixon left Sunday's win over the Denver Broncos with an ankle injury.
The 25-year-old had his ailing left leg rolled on by a Denver defender with less than three minutes to play, but cameras caught the back visibly upset about not being able to return to action following his late exit.
With head coach Zac Taylor failing to give an update on Mixon's status following the game, it remains to be seen if the starting back will be available for Cincinnati's upcoming matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.
If Mixon can't suit up or is limited, backup Samaje Perine immediately becomes one of the week's most intriguing fantasy pickups. While rookie Chris Evans could be in the mix, Perine would be the Bengals back to deploy in fantasy.
Perine was Cincinnati's top option when Mixon was hobbled earlier in the season. In Week 5 against the Packers, the backup out-snapped a banged-up Mixon 41 to 19. Perine finished that contest with 11 rushes for 59 yards and caught four of his five targets for 24 yards and a touchdown.
Mixon's managers and those simply in need of a running back will want to monitor this situation closely in the coming days.
If Mixon is trending toward not playing in Week 16, Perine becomes a borderline RB2 with upside, especially in points-per-reception leagues, who would be well worth a start in the fantasy playoffs.
WR Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (50 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Value: $5,900
Atlanta hasn't exactly been a hotbed for fantasy wide receiver talent since losing both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley within the past year, but the Falcons seem to have something in Russell Gage.
The fourth-year wideout is quietly emerging as a consistent piece of this offense. Gage just had his second-best game of the campaign, reeling in eight of his 11 targets for 91 yards and a score. While the performance didn't help Atlanta best the San Francisco 49ers, it was one of the few bright spots for the Falcons offense.
That showing wasn't an anomaly either. Gage is averaging 17.1 PPR points over the last five games and has scored at least 9.9 PPR points in each of those contests. He has seen 29 targets over the past three games and is only two weeks removed from a big 11-catch, 130-yard outing against the Buccaneers.
The 25-year-old could be in line for another strong fantasy performance in Week 16. The Falcons are gearing up for a clash with a soft Detroit defense that has allowed an average of 26.1 points per game and has given up 23 touchdowns through the air in 2021.
With a floor that is undeniably high and the upside for more clearly there, Gage will remain a dependable fantasy starter for WR-needy managers. If you were relying on Chris Godwin for production at the position, Gage should be a priority claim this week if he's still available in your league.
WR Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills (19 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Value: $4,700
Gabriel Davis is one of those players who has a nose for the end zone. Leading up to Sunday's game, Buffalo's second-year wideout had already scored 11 touchdowns on just 59 career receptions.
Davis made the most of his opportunity to start Sunday with Emmanuel Sanders sidelined with a knee injury. The 22-year-old went off for 85 yards and a pair of scores on five receptions, notching the first multi-touchdown game of his career.
It was the third consecutive game in which Davis had found paydirt, following up on last week's respectable five-catch, 43-yard, one-touchdown outing versus the Bucs and a two-catch, 30-yard, one-touchdown showing in a uniquely windy matchup with the New England Patriots.
Davis is a great bet to score again in Week 16 when the Bills head to Foxborough for a rematch with New England.
While the Pats have one of the league's better pass defenses, the young wideout and quarterback Josh Allen have established a rock-solid rapport that has resulted in plenty of touchdown plays.
Davis credited their work in practice for their scoring connections on Sundays (via Ryan Talbot of Syracuse.com): "When it comes to practicing with Josh, I just always try to show him that he can trust me in certain situations. That's what I try to keep doing each and every week. I know when Josh is looking at me he trusts me to make the play wherever the ball is at."
Expect Allen to look Davis' way—especially if Sanders remains out—when it comes time to manufacture some much-needed points against the stingy Patriots.