2020 NFL Fantasy Football Week 16 Waiver Wire Pickups

 NFL Week 16 Fantasy Football waiver wire, injury, and fantasy playoff help is here!

RUNNING BACKS (RB): Le’veon Bell, Salvon Ahmed, Ty Johnson, Malcolm Brown, Ito Smith, Jerrick McKinnon, Lynn Bowden

WIDE RECEIVERS (WR): Keke Coutee, Russell Gage, Rashaad Higgins, Darnell Mooney, Lynn Bowden

TIGHT ENDS (TE): Jordan Akins, Jared Cook, Dan Arnold

QUARTERBACKS (QB): Jalen Hurts, Baker Mayfield, Tua Tagovailoa, Mitch Trubisky

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS (D/ST): Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Chargers

Le’veon Bell, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (currently owned in 59.7% of all ESPN leagues): Lev Bell should be one of the hottest pick ups in fantasy football this week with Clyde Edwards Helaire now sidelined with hip and ankle injuries. Bell is a veteran running back who fits perfectly into Andy Reid’s system. With little to no competition in the Chiefs offenseive backfield, Bell should transition smoothly into the starting role since he is used to doing all of the things that read will ask him to do in his offense. Although he hasn’t done much all season, can be started with confidence in all leagues and all formats this championship week.

Salvon Ahmed, RB, Miami Dolphins (currently owned in 33.1% of all ESPN leagues): 
Ahmed Was healthy enough to lead the Dolphins rushing attack last week.  He posted 122 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and added a reception for 5 yards against a tough Patriots defense.  This week’s contest against the Raiders is much more favorable.  Miles Gaskin remains on the Covid list and Breida and Bowden have both been non-factors in the Dolphins ground game.  Ahmed should be added in all leagues and formats but owners should monitor Gaskin’s health and status before getting Ahmed in the starting lineup.

Ty Johnson, RB, New York Jets (currently owned in 13.1% of all ESPN leagues): 
Ty Johnson may have found a pass catching role for himself in Gase’s offense.  He caught 6 of his targets for 39 yards and a touchdown to help the Jets to a shocking victory over the Rams who are arguably the best overall team in the NFC.  The Jets have struggled to move the ball on the ground so the short passing game can be used as an extension of the running game and to help young quarterbacks like Sam Darnold build confidence.  Ty Johnson broke the century mark on the ground week 13 against the Raiders and he’s found the endzone in 2 of his last 3 games.  He’ll try to build on his success this week against a tough Browns front.  

Malcolm Brown, RB, Los Angeles Rams (currently owned in 28.8% of all ESPN leagues): 
Brown has a shot at fantasy relevance again this week after Cam Akers suffered a high ankle sprain against the Jets.  He hasn’t done much since a week 10 outburst against the Seahawks where he carried the ball 6 times for 33 yards and got into the endzone on 2 of those carries.  He’ll try to get back on fantasy radars this week against a Seahawks team that gave him those 2 touchdowns back in week 10, but he’ll probably split carries with Darrell Henderson.  Still, Malcolm Brown is worth owning and starting. 

Ito Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons (currently owned in 3.2% of all ESPN leagues): 
The Falcons ground game has struggled all season with Todd Gurley taking handoffs.  Naturally, a change was needed and interim Head Coach Raheem Morris elevated Ito Smith to starter ahead of both Brian Hill and Todd Gurley.  However, usage might be an issue for Smith as the Falcons will need to throw it early and often to keep up with opposing offenses.  Smith carried the ball just 6 times in a loss to the Buccaneers last week.  Nevertheless, Smith is the starter which means he should be rostered one deep leagues and dynasty formats.

Jerrick McKinnon, RB, San Francisco 49ers (currently owned in 39.2% of all ESPN leagues): 
Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. both suffered ankle injuries last week.  McKinnon could see an expanded role with JaMycal Hasty on injured reserve and Tevin Coleman struggling, even when healthy, during his time in San Francisco.  McKinnon’s workload will depend on the health and status of Mostert and Wilson.  Although McKinnon didn’t carry the ball last week, he brought in 2 targets for 22 yards. 

Lynn Bowden, RB/WR, Miami Dolphins (currently owned in 23.5% of all ESPN leagues):
Last week, we wrote about Bowden being listed as both a running back and wide receiver in ESPN leagues.  This gives him additional versatility and allows him to start in 5 different spots in most leagues, or 6 spots in super flex leagues.  While he might not have a monster game any time soon, his role as a possession receiver gives him a steady floor in PPR formats.  He’s caught 17 of his targets for 160 yards in his last 3 games.  If Parker, Gesicki, and Grant all remain sidelined this week, Bowden deserves flex consideration.


Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans (currently owned in 45.1% of all ESPN leagues):
Here’s the thing.  On paper, Brandin Cooks is the top wideout of the Houston Texans.  Reality paints a much different picture because Cooks runs deep routes that don’t always have time to develop before Watson gets sacked.  Therefore, the best thing for Watson to do is get rid of the ball quick which helps both Coutee and fellow wideout Chad Hansen.  Coutee has now scored touchdowns in 2 of his last 3 games and he caught 8 passes for 141 yards in his game without a touchdown.  Either way, Coutee will get his looks so he’s worth rostering and starting especially against a Bengals defense that held Big Ben to 170, a touchdown on Monday night.  

Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons (currently owned in 31.1% of all ESPN leagues):
Gage has bounced back nicely from a mid-season slump that started in week 3 and lasted through week 12.  Julio Jones’ absence has also helped Gage get his targets.  In his last 3 games, Gage has brought in 14 of his 25 targets for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The Falcons run game ha struggled all season so they’ll need to win the game through Matt Ryan’s arm this week.  They’ll travel to Kansas City where an explosive Chiefs passing game will take advantage of a Falcons coverage unit that’s one of the worst in the league.  This should favor Gage as he tries to build on the success of the last 3 weeks. 

Rashaad Higgins, WR, Cleveland Browns (currently owned in 26.4% of all ESPN leagues):
Higgins has put himself on fantasy radars with his performance in the last 3 weeks. In that time span, he’s brought in 16 of his 24 targets for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns.  That’s basically on par with Jarvis Landry’s stats during that same timeframe.  Higgins has been a big part of Baker Mayfield’s success and resurgence as a viable fantasy starter.  Higgins gets a great matchup this week against a Jets defense that’s been one of the worst in the league.  It should be noted that Kevin Stefanski has no problem handing the ball off to his two pro bowl running backs in bad weather, so check the forecast before starting Higgins.  Either way, he’s worth rostering in all leagues and formats and should be picked up immediately in dynasty leagues.

Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears (currently owned in 12.1% of all ESPN leagues):
Yes, believe it or not, a Chicago Bear makes this list.  Mitch Trubisky still has lapses in judgment, but the Bears offensive unit has found a spark and a way to put points on the board.  While Mooney’s fantasy production is still touchdown dependent, the rookie speedster is a great fit for Nagy’s offense and he’s brought in touchdowns 2 games in a row now.  The Bears will travel to Jacksonville next week to face one of the worst defenses in the league.  Mooney could have a breakout performance this week and he’s worth a flier in dynasty formats.  

Lynn Bowden, RB/WR, Miami Dolphins (currently owned in 23.5% of all ESPN leagues):
Last week, we wrote about Bowden being listed as both a running back and wide receiver in ESPN leagues.  This gives him additional versatility and allows him to start in 5 different spots in most leagues, or 6 spots in super flex leagues.  While he might not have a monster game any time soon, his role as a possession receiver gives him a steady floor in PPR formats.  He’s caught 17 of his targets for 160 yards in his last 3 games.  If Parker, Gesicki, and Grant all remain sidelined this week, Bowden deserves flex consideration.


Jared Cook, TE, New Orleans Saints (currently owned in 57.2% of all ESPN leagues):
Cook figures to be a larger part of the Saints passing attack with Michael Thomas sidelined for at least another 2 weeks.  He’s been targeted 5 times in 2 of his last 3 games and he’s caught 2 touchdowns during that timeframe.  He should get more of a fantasy boost now with Drew Brees back under center and Tre’Quan Smith hobbled with an ankle injury.  

Jordan Akins, TE, Houston Texans (currently owned in 5% of all ESPN leagues):
Akins is a part of the Texans plan to try to protect Watson by getting the ball out quickly.  He has emerged atop the Texans depth chart as their top tiedown and could quickly become a contributor in the passing game. He brought in five others targets were 58 yards last week and should continue his production as long as coach Romeo decides to keep rolling with the quick releases.

Dan Arnold, TE, Arizona Cardinals (currently owned in 1.4% of all ESPN leagues):
Arnold’s touchdown streak ended last week, but he still has 4 touchdowns in his last 5 games and he’s become a favorite target of MVP candidate Kyler Murray.  Arnold’s catch radius and athletic ability make him a great red zone target which means touchdowns.  He’s worth adding in deeper leagues and should definitely be rostered and started in 2 TE leagues. He’s also worth dynasty leagues.  


Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns (currently owned in 35.1% it all ESPN leagues):
Baker Mayfield has been a top 10 fantasy quarterback for three weeks in a row now. It doesn’t matter if Kevin Stefanski trusts him more or he just wants to develop his franchise quarterback a bit more.  He’s thrown for over 300 yards in 2 of his last 3 games and he’s thrown for 8 touchdowns to just one pick during that timeframe.  The fact of the matter is Mayfield has been putting up numbers and finally looks like he is clicking with receivers Jarvis Landry and Richard Higgins. He has probably the most favorable matchup this week against a Jets defensive unit that struggled all season, so look for Mayfield to continue his production. Just one caveat about starting Baker: if it’s raining or snowing at the meadowlands this week, head coach Stefanski has no problem taking the ball out of Baker’s hands and allowing is to pro bowl running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to carry the Browns to victory. Otherwise, owners can start Baker with confidence.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (currently owned in 46.7% it all ESPN leagues):
For those who haven’t heard, Hurts is officially the Eagles QB for the foreseeable future.  He’s been an effective QB who’s done his best with what he has.  He carried the ball 18 times for 106 yards in addition to posting 167 and a touchdown in his first career start.  He followed that up by throwing for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns last week in a shootout with the Cardinals.  He will look to lead his struggling Eagles team to a victory against the division rival Cowboys on the road this week. Vander Esch has also been sidelined with an injury, which means one less defensive piece Hurts and the Eagles offensive unit will need to contend with. Hurts is worth getting in the starting lineup this week.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins (currently owned in 31.3% it all ESPN leagues):
Alright so Tua’s passing numbers haven’t been off the charts.  He’s thrown for just 3 touchdowns to 2 picks in his last 3 games.  However, he’s made up for that by rushing for 3 touchdowns in his last 2 outings.  He’ll have another chance to show off his mobility against a Raiders defense, or lack thereof.  Tua could be without his top receiving options Parker and Gesicki, but he could have another great day taking it to the house himself.  He’s worth rostering and starting this week, especially in keeper and dynasty formats.  

Mitch Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears (currently owned in 27.6% it all ESPN leagues):
Yes, Mitch Trubisky is back in the column this week. He’s played some of his best football during the last three weeks and he has another favorable matchup against the Jacksonville jaguars who have one of the worst defense of units in the league. It looks like there is finally cohesion on the Bears offenseive line which means better protection and a run game that can support play action.  He’s thrown for 3 touchdowns in 2 of his last 4 games, and he took care of the football against a Texans defense that isn’t much better than the Jaguars.  Mitch is worth rostering and starting in 2QB leagues or leagues with 14 teams or more.


Philadelphia Eagles (currently owned in 23.4% of all ESPN leagues):
Fletcher Cox and the Eagles defense are still a force to be reckoned with, even without Darius Slay.  They could take advantage of a turnover-prone Andy Dalton and an offensive line that’s struggled all season.

Los Angeles Chargers (currently owned in 27.6% of all ESPN leagues):
The Broncos can’t seem to get anything going on offense. In addition, Drew Lock seems to love playing giving the ball to the opposing team.  Lock has thrown for less than 151 yards or less in 2 of his last 3 which means Melvin Gordon and Philip Lindsay will need to do all of the work on the ground.  The Chargers are worth a flier this week.

Cincinnati Bengals (currently owned in 5.7% of all ESPN leagues):
Teams in desperation mode can roll the dice on a Bengals defense that held a normally explosive Steelers offense to less than 260 total yards and 17 points last week.  The Texans have one of the worst offensive lines in football and their receiving talent isn’t nearly as good as the Steelers. Deshaun Watson could be in a lot of trouble this week.  

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