The home stretch at the end of the home stretch. If you’ve made it this far, then you have my sincere congratulations. It takes skill, and a fair helping of good fortune, to be in the hunt for a championship in Week 16.
At this point in the season, your lineup is more than likely locked in, a heady mix of season-long studs and league-winning additions from the waiver wire or via trade.
However, there are always scenarios where a last-gasp waiver wire pickup can turn a close loss into a convincing victory – even at this final hurdle.
So, without any further preamble, these are your top waiver wire picks for Week 16. Go and win yourself a championship.
QB – Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills – ESPN 31.4% owned
Did I ever anticipate writing these words? No. But here we are – Josh Allen is a viable starting fantasy quarterback.
In a turn of events that nobody saw coming, Allen is providing a rushing floor that is hard to replicate, and when tied to his potential for deep-strike touchdowns on any given play, the Wyoming product even has a worthwhile ceiling.
I was not alone in slamming the Bills for falling into the Josh Allen trap, but I can honestly say that I am surprised – and pleased – with some of his performances this year. If you’re in a pinch at quarterback, you could do worse than Josh Allen in this most critical of fantasy weeks.
RB – Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers – ESPN 12.1% owned
For the first time since 2005-06, Green Bay will miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons. Their season is over, but more importantly for you, Aaron Jones’ season is over too.
Jones’ MCL sprain that he suffered against the Bears paves the way for Jamaal Williams to become fantasy relevant again.
Is this a lost season for the Packers? Yes. Are their next two games dead rubbers against two other teams slated for a quiet January? Yes. But given Aaron Rodgers also suffered a groin strain in Week 15, don’t be surprised to see the Cheeseheads turn Jamaal Williams loose against the Jets. It’s not a sexy pick, but sometimes you have to win dirty.
RB – Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings – ESPN 40.5% owned
No coach has seen their head-coaching prospects dwindle faster than John DeFillipo this season. With the Foles Whisperer out of the door in Minnesota, the Vikings ran the ball as far down the Dolphins’ throat as they could in Week 15.
Whilst Dalvin Cook saw more carries, and did more with them, Latavius Murray still found his way to 15 carries and a touchdown.
Expect more of the same from Minnesota next week against a Lions team that stopped trying to win games about halfway through October.
WR – Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers – ESPN 29% owned
Ok, confession time. I am a Clemson Tigers fan, which means that my opinion on Chargers sophomore Mike Williams is more than a little biased. I cannot begin to explain the pride that filled my heart watching him take names against the Chiefs.
With Keenan Allen potentially set to miss Week 16, Mike Williams is set once again to become Philip Rivers’ primary target. Williams thrives in that role as a Clemson Tiger, and showed against the Chiefs that he can thrive in that role at the NFL level.
Now, Baltimore is not a fun defense to line up against, especially in a game of this magnitude. The Chargers are looking for a win to boost their chances of a bye, whilst the Ravens find themselves just half a game behind the Steelers in their own playoff hunt.
Once again, just as in Week 15, it’s time for the Chargers to show championship mettle against quality opposition. Mike Williams might just be the key for the Chargers, and for you.
WR – Robby Anderson, New York Jets – ESPN 18.1% owned
If you’re a Jets fan, mark this down as another season where you should be unclear about how you feel. On the one hand, you’re just as far away from being meaningfully competitive as you were last year.
On the other, you’ve got a rookie in Sam Darnold who, despite some wobbles, has shown glimpses of real quality, and in recent weeks you have seen the re-emergence of Robby Anderson, offering a fleeting glance of what a competent Jets team could look like.
As far as fantasy is concerned, all you really need to know is that Anderson has caught touchdowns in back to back games, and gained 76 or more yards in back to back games as well.
In fact, his 33.5 points across Weeks 14 & 15 (half-PPR) are more than the rest of his season COMBINED if you exclude his Week 5 explosion against Denver.
Anderson and Darnold are starting to show significant rapport. This is huge for Darnold’s development as a quarterback, huge for Anderson’s hopes of a new contract in New York, but most importantly, it could be huge for your chances in Week 16.
If you’re in trouble at wide receiver, slotting Anderson in for his game against Green Bay might just tip you over the edge in the hunt for the championship.
TE – Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys – ESPN 0.6% owned
The tight end position is filled with players who sound like they should be accountants rather than football players. Whether it’s Cameron Brate, Charles Clay or Blake Jarwin, these names do not conjure up images of finely-conditioned athletes.
Fortunately for you, and unfortunately for Andre Agassi, image isn’t everything. Blake Jarwin is not an exciting pick at tight end, but he’s tallied up 11 catches for 101 yards in his last two games and lines up against Tampa Bay in a must-win game for the Cowboys.
You should never place hope in a tight end, much like you should place hope in the Falcons, but in Week 16, Blake Jarwin could do just enough to make it all worth it.
by Ben Barton – @Baron_Barton