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Waiver Wired
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Waiver Wired: Week 16

by Raymond Summerlin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Welcome to the 16th edition of Waiver Wired for the 2015 season. If you are reading this you have graduated to the most important week of the fantasy year. The good news is every team still has something to play for and there are several running back options available in most leagues. The bad news is there are not many sure-fire starters at wide receiver sitting on the wire, and the quarterback and tight end cupboards are almost bare as well. Luckily, there are some high-upside options at those positions available for those in need of a miracle.

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The Drop List
Any player who is not in the starting lineup.

Quarterbacks
1. Kirk Cousins
2. *Brian Hoyer (If cleared)
3. Jameis Winston

Running backs
*Rashad Jennings (55 percent) and James White (52 percent) Nos. 3 and 4 add respectively if available.
1. Karlos Williams
2. Christine Michael
3. Bilal Powell
4. Alfred Blue
5. Donald Brown
6. Cameron Artis-Payne
7. Spencer Ware
8. Bryce Brown

Wide receivers
*Kamar Aiken (57 percent), Stefon Diggs (51 percent), Ted Ginn (57 percent), and Willie Snead (50 percent) all better adds than Rueben Randle if available.
1. Rueben Randle
2. Dorial Green-Beckham
3. DeVante Parker
4. Markus Wheaton
5. Jermaine Kearse
6. Dontrelle Inman
7. Dwayne Harris

Tight ends
*Zach Ertz (54 percent) No. 1 add if available.
1. Will Tye
2. Zach Miller
3. Eric Ebron

Defense/Special Teams
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Oakland Raiders
3. Minnesota Vikings

Kickers
1. Chris Boswell
2. Sebastian Janikowski
3. Jason Myers

QUARTERBACKS
1. Kirk Cousins, Redskins – Owned in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
Kirk Cousins jumped the gun a little bit. On the looking ahead list last week, Cousins went out and dropped five total touchdowns and 319 passing yards on Buffalo. If he was not already on the map for this week, he certainly is after that performance. The issue for Cousins is his Week 16 matchup against the Eagles – and his Week 17 date with the Cowboys for that matter – is on the road. Cousins has thrown for multiple touchdowns in just three games this season, and all three of those have been at home. He also shockingly has five rushing touchdowns including three in the last four games. All but one of those has also come at home. Cousins has just one game away from home with more than 15 standard points, but that game was his 300-yard performance last week in Chicago, a defense which is actually better than whatever Philadelphia is rolling out these days. Cousins has also been much better downfield since DeSean Jackson came back, completing 44.4 percent of his deep shots since Week 9 as compared to 16.1 percent the first eight weeks of the season according to Pro Football Focus. At worst Cousins should have a decent game against a team which has given up 40 or more points in three of the last five weeks and likes to push the pace. At best he can provide some big-play upside with DeSean Jackson. That is worth back-end QB1 consideration.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

2. *Brian Hoyer, Texans – Owned in 16 percent of Yahoo leagues
It is unclear if Brian Hoyer will get cleared from his concussion in time to play the Titans, but he would be the second best streaming option if he plays. Injuries and apathy have caused the Titans to completely fall apart over the last month, and Hoyer has been successful several times this season in good matchups. He will be worth adding and playing in deeper leagues if he gains clearance and gets the start. He is expected to meet with an independent neurologist Tuesday. Brandon Weeden would also have a good matchup, but he is Brandon Weeden.
Recommendation: Streaming option if cleared.

3. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers – Owned in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jameis Winston did not play well against the Rams, but he put up big fantasy numbers in a pass-heavy game script. He likely will not be in the same situation against a sputtering Bears offense which has a banged up No. 1 receiver, but he could be in a good spot to have an efficient game. Chicago has given up three 22-plus point games in a row to quarterbacks, and all of them attempted less than 32 passes. Each one of those quarterbacks was assisted by a rushing touchdown, but that has become something of a specialty for Winston. Like Cousins, Winston should offer a solid, high-efficiency floor with the upside for more. He is a deep league option.
Recommendation: Desperation streamer in deep leagues.

Honorable Mention:
Teddy Bridgewater had 23 career touchdown passes in 25 career starts before last week’s four-touchdown explosion. He has a good matchup at home against the Giants, but that has been true many other times this season. With Adrian Peterson looking likely to play, I will bet Bridgewater does not throw multiple touchdown passes against New York, just like he has failed to do in almost every game of his career. … Jay Cutler attempted 32 passes for the first time since Week 9 against the Vikings, but he still only managed 37 in a game the Bears lost big. It is not likely, but he also could be without Alshon Jeffery. Cutler has scored well the last two weeks, but it is difficult to bank on a low-volume quarterback who lacks top weapons. … The low-volume concerns which made Alex Smith a risky upside play last week still remain against the Browns at home. His usage is too unpredictable to trust even in a good matchup. … Sam Bradford has not been a good fantasy option all season, and I do not want to bet on that changing even in a good matchup. … Zach Mettenberger put up some points in garbage time, but he was a horror show in two starts earlier this season. … Jimmy Clausen has been surprisingly competent in the starting role and has a decent matchup against Pittsburgh. I do not want to put my fantasy future in his hands, but there are worse dart throws.

RUNNING BACKS
1. Karlos Williams, Bills – Owned in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues
This is a tricky ranking because we are not sure what role Karlos Williams will play in the LeSean McCoy-less offense. Mike Gillislee actually played more snaps than Williams, but Williams did not have his first carry until after McCoy left in the third quarter. Coming off a shoulder injury, it is possible Williams was just an emergency option who would have ridden the bench if McCoy played the entire game. Rex Ryan indicated Williams was “sore” after the game, suggesting they did not plan to use him much. That should change after another week of healing. Williams is the favorite to lead the Bills in carries in a decent matchup at home against the Cowboys. The playing time concern makes him less than a no-brainer starter on good teams, but he should be a solid back-end RB2 in most leagues. Gillislee is a desperation flier in deeper formats.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues.

2. Christine Michael, Seahawks – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
Christine Michael was the fourth back through the rotation against the Browns, but by the end of the game he was the clear lead dog. Michael had 11 of his 16 carries after the half and averaged 5.25 yards a tote in a great matchup. On the back of reports from the locker room saying Michael was “more focused and serious,” Michael went to bed Sunday night looking like the lead back. Pete Carroll threw some cold water on Michael’s buzz Monday, however, confirming the team will continue to use a running-back-by-committee approach. Michael should be given the first crack to develop a “hot hand” against the Rams, but it is not out of the question Bryce Brown does to Michael what Michael did to Brown last week. Michael is a high-upside RB3 and the only Seattle back I would start in shallower leagues, but he comes with a truckload of risk.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

3. Bilal Powell, Jets – Owned in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues
Bilal Powell has looked as good as at any point in his career on his way to three great fantasy days in a row and has earned FLEX consideration even in standard leagues. The issue for Powell, however, is workload. He is averaging just under 12 touches a game the last three weeks and has not had a game with more than 14 touches since coming back from injury. The good news is the game against New England sets up as a good one for Powell to show off his wares. The Jets could certainly find themselves in a negative game-flow situation against the Patriots, and New England has given up the 10th-most catches to running backs this season. Chris Ivory struggled mightily last time against the Patriots, meaning the Jets could game plan Powell more looks. Powell should have a 10-touch floor and has shown his upside over the last three weeks. He is a solid RB3/FLEX option.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

4. Alfred Blue, Texans – Owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues
Finally healthy, Alfred Blue recaptured the lead-back job with a 20-107 performance which likely helped Houston win the division. Before succumbing to a back injury, Blue racked up 63 carries across four games as the lead back and should continue in that vein against the Titans. He is a good bet for 15 carries in a game Houston should dominate against Zach Mettenberger. Blue is not exciting and has a propensity for putting up terrible games even in good spots, but the Titans have essentially quit. Blue is an RB3/FLEX with some upside.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.  

5. Donald Brown, Chargers – Owned in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Melvin Gordon headed to injured reserve, the rookie’s role in the offense is likely to fall to Donald Brown. Normally that would be great news for Brown, but Gordon’s role has not been particularly profitable. Gordon did not score a touchdown as a rookie and had not found much success on the ground over the second half of the season. Gordon did average 17 touches a game from Week 8 on, however, and Brown was hyper-efficient against a crumbling Dolphins team, gaining 90 yards on 12 carries. The Raiders are not a great matchup and Danny Woodhead remains the better bet for a touchdown, but Brown is worth a FLEX look even in shallower leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

6. Cameron Artis-Payne, Panthers – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
As I predicted, Cameron Artis-Payne led the backfield in touches in the absence of Jonathan Stewart. As I also predicted, it really did not mean all that much. Artis-Payne was given a goal-line attempt in the first quarter, but he was stuffed for a loss of two and Mike Tolbert handled the other goal-line look later in the game. Artis-Payne ran well and could find success in a decent matchup against the Falcons if Stewart is forced to miss again, but the lack of real touchdown upside limits his appeal. He is a starter in deeper leagues, but he is more of a low-upside option.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

7. Spencer Ware, Chiefs – Owned in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues
Spencer Ware was active but did not play any snaps as he attempts to recover from a rib-cage injury suffered two weeks ago. Ware is expected to have a bigger role in the offense this week, but he played just 19 snaps with a healthy Charcandrick West against the Raiders in Week 13 and had fallen into more of a touchdown-or-bust territory even before the injury. He carries good value in a great matchup against the Browns, but he will still need a score to justify his spot in the starting lineup.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

8. Bryce Brown, Seahawks – Owned in 48 of Yahoo leagues
Bryce Brown was out-played and eventually passed on the depth chart in the second half by Christine Michael, but coach Pete Carroll promised to continue using a committee against the Rams. Starting a secondary member of that committee in a must-win game is as risky a play as there gets, but Brown does have at least have some upside after averaging 4.8 yards a carry last week with some chunk gains. He is a high-upside dart throw.
Recommendation: Desperation streaming option.

Honorable Mention: If Denard Robinson and T.J. Yeldon sit, avoiding the Jacksonville backfield is the best option even in a great matchup. Jonas Gray and Joe Banyard would likely carry the load for the Jags if Robinson and Yeldon are out. For what it is worth, coach Gus Bradley sounded optimistic about Robinson’s chances to play. … As mentioned above, there is a non-zero chance Mike Gillislee leads the Bills in carries. I would not bet on it, but the possibility exists. … Have fun with the power backs in New England. No way would I trust Steven Jackson or Joey Iosefa in the fantasy Super Bowl. … Theo Riddick was not needed as much in a game the Lions controlled Monday night. That could be the case again at home against the 49ers … Perhaps Shane Vereen is more involved with Odell Beckham suspended, but I am not interested in chasing last week’s points. … Jay Ajayi played more snaps than Lamar Miller, but the same thing happened in a similar blowout against the Jets a month ago. Miller was also dealing with a quad issue. There is little reason to think Ajayi will handle the lead role. … Coach John Harbaugh said Buck Allen would not be “banished” from the offense for fumbling, meaning Terrance West is unlikely to find himself in an every-down role. Baltimore has a terrible matchup against the Steelers anyway. … I want zero part of the 49ers’ backfield. … Adrian Peterson looks like he will play, so Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata can be left on the wire.



WIDE RECEIVERS
1. Rueben Randle, Giants – Owned in 35 percent of Yahoo leagues
Typing this almost makes me sick, but the reality is Rueben Randle is ticketed to be the No. 1 receiver in a decent matchup with the Vikings on Sunday night. Randle has been terribly inefficient when asked to take on a big role in his career, catching less than half his looks and averaging 75 yards and .37 touchdowns (9.72 fantasy points) in his eight career games with double-digit targets. That average is not spectacular and is buoyed by some big games, but the big game is what anyone playing Randle is hoping for. Randle will be boom-or-bust regardless of workload, but the extra targets should give him a better opportunity to boom. He will be a WR3 in every league if Odell Beckham does not play.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues.

2. Dorial Green-Beckham, Titans – Owned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues
Dorial Green-Beckham is above DeVante Parker because of the latter’s playing time concerns with Rishard Matthews on the mend, but it is going to be very difficult to roll him out in a fantasy lineup against the Texans with Zach Mettenberger under center. Mettenberger managed 171 yards and no scores against Houston in a start Week 8 and had 187 yards with a single touchdown in his other start. It is promising Mettenberger sent the ball DGB’s way on seven of his 28 attempts against New England, but there is a real chance this offense simply does nothing. Green-Beckham remains an upside WR3 because of his role in the offense and natural ability, but he is a risky play.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

3. DeVante Parker, Dolphins – Owned in 35 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Dolphins offense has been a mess the last three games, but DeVante Parker has been reasonably consistent and, most importantly, keeps getting snaps. That could change if Rishard Matthews comes back, but the Dolphins have nothing to gain by playing impending free agent Matthews over their first-round pick. That does not mean Dan Campbell, who is unlikely to return himself, won’t play Matthews, but it would still be surprising. Parker will be risky if Matthews is active, but he has decent upside and is a reasonable dart throw in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

4. Markus Wheaton, Steelers - Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
If I am hesitant to put my fantasy future in Randle's hands, I am loathed to place it into Markus Wheaton's, but that is where we stand at this point. Wheaton keeps getting the targets, 11 last week against Denver, and has not played many fewer snaps than Martavis Bryant over the last month. Wheaton has still been inefficient with his targets, but he has perhaps the best quarterback in the league right now tossing it to him and has seen seven red-zone targets in the last four weeks. Wheaton's history makes him tough to trust, but grabbing a piece of the best passing offense in football is never a bad play. 
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

5. Jermaine Kearse, Seahawks – Owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
Playing for one of the hottest offenses in football, Jermaine Kearse has parlayed 16 targets over the last two weeks into 14 catches for 184 yards. Kearse’s only dip into Russell Wilson’s scoring binge came three weeks ago, but he is a big enough part of the passing game to be an upside play in deeper leagues.  
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

6. Dontrelle Inman, Chargers – Owned in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
Dontrelle Inman came back from a scary neck injury to post 78 yards on three catches against Miami, playing a receiver-high 74 snaps along the way. The Chargers offense had been struggling before destroying the crumbling Dolphins and Inman has not flashed much upside, but he should remain a starting wide receiver for a Philip Rivers-quarterbacked team. As long as Stevie Johnson is out, that gives him starting consideration in deeper formats.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

7. Dwayne Harris, Giants – Owned in 18 percent of Yahoo leagues
Dwayne Harris has gotten big targets in several games this season, but he has been inconsistent at best with those opportunities. Harris has shown a knack for finding the end zone, however, scoring at least one touchdown in three of four games with six targets this season. He should get that at least if Odell Beckham is sidelined, and he could end up being Eli’s most trusted receiver if Randle does his normal routine.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

Honorable Mention: Nate Washington has been usable this season when Cecil Shorts has been sidelined. If Shorts sits and Brian Hoyer comes back, he would be a useful dart thrown. … Jared Abbrederis played 27 snaps last week, and Aaron Rodgers wants him to play more. He could jump the disappointing Davante Adams for the No. 3 receiver spot. … I do not want any part of Keshawn Martin or especially Leonard Hankerson even if Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman sit. … Javontee Herndon continues to be a factor in the passing game, but he has shown even less upside than Dontrelle Inman.


TIGHT ENDS
1. Will Tye, Giants – Owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues
Rueben Randle will get the pub, but Will Tye should also see a bump in usage with Odell Beckham suspended. He has already been a big part of the offense the last six games, averaging just over six targets over that span, and he turned eight targets into five catches for 43 yards and his second score in as many games against a tough Panthers defense. Tye could end up being Eli Manning’s most reliable option with Beckham out, and he should see enough targets to be a back-end TE1 even in a less-than-ideal matchup.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

2. Zach Miller, Bears – Owned in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues
Zach Miller did not have a great game against the Vikings, but he saw another six targets and now has at least five in five of his last six games. With Alshon Jeffery questionable for this week, there is a chance Miller is the de facto No. 1 passing option, although that did not amount to much stat-sheet success last week. Miller remains a fine back-end TE1 streamer in an okay spot against the Bucs.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

3. Eric Ebron, Lions – Owned in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Brandon Pettigrew out of the lineup, Eric Ebron went right back to his five-target ways against the Saints, turning those looks into 79 yards and coming up just short of a touchdown. San Francisco has been solid against tight ends this season, but they have given up touchdowns in back-to-back games and are a much different defense on the road. Ebron should be a back-end TE1 streaming option the rest of the way.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Honorable Mention: Heath Miller is who he is. At the very best, Miller is a low-upside PPR option. … Clive Walford saw the targets but did not find success against the Packers. He remains an interesting streaming option in a good spot against San Diego. … Blake Bell surprisingly saw more work than Vance McDonald, but the rookie will be difficult to trust in a big spot.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS
1. Pittsburgh Steelers – Owned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues
Pittsburgh gave up more than I expected against Brock Osweiler, but they still managed a solid defensive day. With a date with Jimmy Clausen next up on the docket, Pittsburgh remains a top-10 defense. The Steelers will also be a good option next week against the Browns for teams who are forced to play Week 17. Also, get out of leagues which play Week 17.

2. Oakland Raiders – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Chargers played well in an emotional home sendoff against a team already on the beach, but now they go on the road for their final two games with nothing to play for. The Raiders are out of the playoff hunt as well, but the young team played tough last week against the Packers. Oakland’s defense has multiple sacks in each of the last six games including four games with four or more takedowns. Oakland also has multiple takeaways in the last four. San Diego has given up three sacks a game in their last five with eight turnovers over that span. The Raiders will be a great GPP option for the Thursday slate.

3. Minnesota Vikings – Owned in 33 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Vikings have been a solid unit the last two months, recording multiple sacks in each of the last six games and forcing eight turnovers over that span. This week they get an Odell Beckham-less Giants team at home in primetime. This is more a bet against the Giants offense without Beckham than a bet on the Vikings defense, but the quality of the defense, especially with some key members on the way back from injury, makes it a much easier bet to make.

KICKERS
1. Chris Boswell, Steelers – Owned in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Chris Boswell plays for perhaps the best offense in the league and has scored double-digit fantasy points six games in a row.

2. Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
Sebastian Janikowski has never been a great fantasy kicker and has been up and down at best this season, but this week he gets a Chargers defense which has faced a ton of field goals all season. Sea Bass connected on three field goals and four extra points in the last meeting between these two teams.

3. Jason Myers, Jaguars – Owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
When not missing extra points over the last two months, Jason Myers has been a solid fantasy kicker with just two duds over the last seven games. Those two duds have come in the last three weeks, but with a likely high-scoring game in the Superdome on tap, Myers is a good bet for a big day.  

Raymond Summerlin
Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.