2018 NFL Fantasy Football Week 16 Waiver Wire Pickups

2018 NFL Week 16 Fantasy Football Free Agent Finds and Waiver Wire Pickups

RUNNING BACKS: Elijah McGuire, Jamaal Williams, Kalen Ballage, Theo Riddick

WIDE RECEIVERS: Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams, Tim Patrick, Daesean Hamilton, Robbie Anderson, Antonio Callaway, Robert Foster

TIGHT ENDS: Ian Thomas, Antonio Gates

QUARTERBACKS: Dak Prescott, Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS: Tennessee Titans, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots



RUNNING BACKS

Elijah McGuire, RB, New York Jets (currently owned in 33.4% of all ESPN leagues):
Isaiah Crowell has been placed on IR, putting McGuire in the driver's seat once again with Trenton Cannon spelling him occasionally.  The second-year player has been up and down his entire career, but he should be able to use his 5'10", 214lb frame to exploit a favorable matchup.  He bashed his way 18 times for 42 yards and a touchdown and added 29 yards on 3 catches beagainst a tough Texans front.  The Jets may keep it on the ground anyway instead of letting turnover-prone Sam Darnold throw it against a Packers defensive backfield full of young ball hawks.

Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers (currently owned in 12.4% of all ESPN leagues):
Aaron Jones left the Bears game early and was ruled out with a knee injury.  This opened the door for Jamaal Williams to carry the ball 12 times for 55 yards and a score, and posted 42 yards on 4 catches.  If Jones can't make it back by next week, Williams be the starter for the Packers' week 16 game against the Jets.  Even if Jones can make it back, Green Bay may not start him since they've been eliminated from the playoffs.  Williams may start for the season.  Nevertheless, keep an eye on Aaron Jones' status for the rest of the season.

Kalen Ballage, RB, Miami Dolphins (currently owned in 0.5% of all ESPN leagues):
It may have been the fact that Frank Gore got hurt, or that the Vikings appeared to have won the game early.  Either way, the Dolphins decided to give their third string running back Kalen Ballage plenty of run.  Mike Mayock called Ballage a "size-speed freak.".  At 6'2" 228lbs, with 4.4 40 speed, that certainly seems to be the case.  Ballage is a versatile athlete who certainly has the physical attributes to be a star at the pro level.  He posted a nice box score against a stout Vikings front that constisted of 12 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown, averaging over 10 yards a carry.   Miami's backfield has always been a timeshare.  If Gore is still sidelined next week, Ballage could get another chance to to make a difference. 

Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions (currently owned in % of all ESPN leagues):
Riddick has appeared in this column for some time now, and continues to do so as the Lions' only consistent player in their offensive backkfield.  He can be counted on to catch passes out of the backfield, making him a good PPR asset, and he can take the occasional handoff as a part of a rushing attack that's struggled.  If Kerryon Johnson remains sidelined, Riddick can be considered in deeper PPR leagues as a potential starter. 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (currently owned in 29.3% of all ESPN leagues):
Keenan Allen left the game in the second quarter last week, leaving Mike Williams to help fill the void.  Williams was drafted to be the future of the Chargers' receiving corps.  The 6'4", 218lb wideout caught passes at Clemson from Deshaun Watson before he was taken 7th overall last year to catch passes from a future Hall of Famer.  He's big, fast, physical, and can attack down field, making him one of the top waiver wire targets in a high flying offense, especially if Gordon and Ekeler are out again.  He exploded for 7 catches for 76 yards and 2 touchdowns, and added 19 yards and another touchdown on a 19 yards run, giving him a hat trick (3 TD's in a game).

Tyrell Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (currently owned in 31.5% of all ESPN leagues):
Keenan Allen left Thursday night's game with  what appeared to be a hip injury and will have 10 days to recover.  If he doesn't, Tyrell Williams will play a much bigger role in the Chargers' playoff push.  The undrafted free agent is a big bodied wideout who topped 1000 yards in his second year, so he's a proven commodity that will be valuable down the stretch.  He snagged 6 of his targets for 71 yards last week against the Chiefs. 

Tim Patrick, WR, Denver Broncos (currently owned in 4.1% of all ESPN leagues):
Patrick remains a strong play at wideout in PPR leagues.  While he's failed to reach the endzone in his last 2 games, he has caught 12 of his 18 targets for 150 yards.  His outstanding catch radius and ability to adjust to the ball combine with his massive 6'5", 210lb frame to make him a target who can get physical and win matchups.  He could have another nice outing against a struggling Raiders secondary. 

Daesean Hamilton, WR, Denver Broncos (currently owned in 24.1% of all ESPN leagues):
There's a good chance that the Broncos are using their slot guy and possession receiver, Daesean Hamilton, to supplement their tight end play.  Jake Butt and Jeff Heuerman are both on IR, and their team might not want to leave it to Matt LaCosse to make plays.  They defer to the more athletic and physically talented Hamilton to catch the short stuff and make plays after the catch.  Hamilton has led the team with 21 targets in his last 2 games, but has just 93 yards.  The steady diet of targets makes him worth an add in PPR leagues.

Antonio Callaway, WR, Cleveland Browns (currently owned in 9.1% of all ESPN leagues):
If there was ever a week to pick up Antonio Callaway, it would be this week.  He gets a very soft matchup against one of the worst pass defenses in the league, and he can use his excellent size speed combination to exploit this matchup.  He's gotten plenty of usage after Freddie Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator and led the team in receptions last week, snagging 5 of his targets for 35 yards and a touchdown.  This week shouldn't be any different. 

Robert Foster, WR, Buffalo Bills (currently owned in 3.3% of all ESPN leagues):
Speed kills.  That's the play this week against a solid Patriots secondary.  Josh Allen's big arm was a big selling point and one of the reasons why he was taken in the first round.  If Foster is given a free release, he can burn just about anyone in coverage with his 4.4-40 speed.  He's posted 338 yards and 2 touchdowns in the last 4 weeks for averages of 23.8 yards per catch and 84.5 yards per game.  He doesn't need many catches to make a difference and gets enough targets to be at least flex-worthy.  He'll have a tough matchup against New England's secondary this week, but could be a sneaky starter in deep leagues. 

Robbie Anderson, WR, New York Jets (currently owned in 18% of all ESPN leagues):
Anderson was a fantasy factor all last season, but had been quiet up until this week.  He snagged 9 of his targets for 78 yards and a score with Enunwa out, and should continue to get some pretty consistent targets as long as Enunwa is hurt.  He could have a tough matchup next week though against Green Bay pass rusher Clay Matthews and a surging secondary. 

TIGHT ENDS

Ian Thomas, TE, Carolina Panthers (currently owned in 50.7% of all ESPN leagues):
Thomas has gotten plenty of targets in the absence of Greg Olsen and reliable pass catching options.  The Panthers have struggled to find an offensive identity outside of dumping it off to McCaffery or whoever their tight end is.  He's averaged nearly 7 targets per game since he started, although he brought in just 2 of his 4 targets for just 14 yards against a tough Saints defense.  Thomas is worth an add and a start at a position that has very little depth.  He'll try to bounce back against a softer Falcons defense this week.

Antonio Gates, TE, Los Angeles Chargers (currently owned in 9.7% of all ESPN leagues):
There are three things that make Gates a potential sleeper this week. First is the injury to Keenan Allen.  If the Chargers decide to go with a committee approach to replacing their top wideout, Gates could see an uptick in targets.  Second, Gates and Rivers have one of the best quarterback-receiving relationships in the league, which means Rivers trusts Gates.  They're probably both future Hall of Famers and it's tough to mention one without the other.  Finally, this is actually a nice matchup for tight ends.  The Ravens have given up a touchdown in 6 of their last 7 games and an average of 6 catches for 71 yards per game during that span.  Buyer beware: Virgil Green and Hunter Henry could cut into Gates' involvement the same way Eric Ebron cut into Jack Doyle's.  The Chargers could be more inclined to let it fly if Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler both remain sidelined.

QUARTERBACKS

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys (currently owned in 61.4% of all ESPN leagues):
Prescott should be owned in all leagues at this point.  It's clear that the acquisition of Amari Cooper was a game changer for the young quarterback when he threw all of his touchdowns to Cooper in week 14.  Prescott has averaged 80 more passing yards and 3 more fantasy points per game since Cooper's arrival.  He's also had 3 rushing TD's in his last 7 games because the defense up front opens up with Cooper stretching the field.  Prescott has a phenomenal matchup this week against Tampa Bay who has one of the worst pass defenses in the league.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns (currently owned in 47.9% of all ESPN leagues):
Mayfield faced the Bengals in week 12 on the road where he completed 19 of 26 of his attempts for 258 yards and four touchdowns.  The Bengals defense has been kind to opposing wideouts and quarterbacks making this a great matchup for this year's first overall pick.  Mayfield will look to replicate his stat line in front of the home crowd and show why he deserved to be the first overall pick.

Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills (currently owned in 31.4% of all ESPN leagues):
Allen has a tough matchup this week on the road against Hightower, Van Noy and company.  The thing that makes this rookie QB a sneaky start is his size and mobility.  He's averaged roughly 100 yards rushing in 3 of his last 4 games and he's gotten into the endzone on the ground 3 times during that timespan.  While he didn't post the gaudy rushing numbers against the Lions as he did in the 3 previous weeks, he did still manage to reach paydirt.  The Patriots have been one of the more average run defenses and Allen could really take advantage of this if one or more of his running backs can't start. 

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS

Tennessee Titans (currently owned in 57% of all ESPN leagues):
The Redskins have been team to stream any defense against.  This week, they have the Titans on the road in what could be an extremely difficult matchup for Washington.  The Titans defense, led by former Patriots linebacker and Superbowl champ head coach Mike Vrabel, have limited 5 of their last 7 opponents to 16 points or less, with 6 takeaways in those 5 games.  The Titans can kill the clock with their strong run game led by Derrick Henry and keep their defense fresh.  They're a phenomenal start this week against a 4th string quarterback and an offensive line that can't protect him.

Dallas Cowboys (currently owned in 36.6% of all ESPN leagues):
The Buccaneers have struggled all year with protection by the offensive line up front, their run game, and their inconsistent quarterback play.  This week is no different.  They'll travel to Jerry World to take on a Cowboys defense that's really come on strong with good play at all levels of the defense. 

Indianapolis Colts (currently owned in 17.7% of all ESPN leagues):
The Colts defense could be a sneaky streaming option this week.  They shut out a strong Cowboys offense that's been hot since the Amari Cooper acquisition.  They stopped Zeke and held Dak Prescott to short gains for just 206 passing yards and a pick.  They have another home game against a Giants team that has struggled offensively, could be without O'Dell Beckham Jr., but has a strong running game in this year's offensive rookie of the year, Saquon Barkley.  If the Colts can stop Barkley, they can win. 

New England Patriots (currently owned in 52.4% of all ESPN leagues):
The Bills have been on a roll lately, but have struggled against good defenses like the division rival Patriots.  Rookie QB Josh Allen will travel to Gillette Stadium to take on the AFC East leaders in a road matchup.  He could have a tough time in a hostile environment.  Buyer beware: the Patriots are susceptible to the run, which means Josh Allen could hurt them with his legs.  Allen has rushed for touchdowns in 3 of his last 4 games, and ran for 135 yards in the game where he didn't find the endzone.

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