2021 NFL Fantasy Football Week 16 Waiver Wire Pickups

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

RUNNING BACKS (RB): Ronald Jones, Jeff Wilson Jr, Justin Jackson, Samaje Perine, Dontrell Hilliard, Craig Reynolds, Devontae Booker, Duke Johnson

WIDE RECEIVERS (WR): Amon-Ra St Brown, Antonio Brown, Josh Reynolds, Gabriel Davis, Russell Gage, AJ Green, Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson

TIGHT ENDS (TE): Cole Kmet, James O’Shaughnessy, Foster Moreau

QUARTERBACKS (QB): Jared Goff, Justin Fields, Matt Ryan

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS (D/ST): Green Bay Packers (vs Browns) Philadelphia Eagles (vs Giants) Kansas City Chiefs (vs Steelers), New Orleans Saints (vs Dolphins), San Francisco 49ers (at Titans)

RUNNING BACKS (RB): 

Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (currently owned in 23.4% of all ESPN leagues):
Ronald Jones hasn’t handled more than 10 touches a game and he’s struggled in the past with running the football.  However, he’ll be the next man up if Fournette is sidelined extensively with a hamstring injury.  He’ll have some pretty friendly matchups against the Panthers and Jets to wrap up the fantasy season.  

Jeff Wilson Jr, RB, San Francisco 49ers (currently owned in 44.6% of all ESPN leagues):
Wilson will lead the 49ers backfield again if Mitchell isn’t cleared to play in a quick Thursday night turnaround against a top 5 Titans rushing defense.  He’s logged 166 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries in the last 2 weeks since Mitchell sidelined with a knee injury and concussion.  It will be strength vs strength as the 49ers rank 7th in rushing yards per game and are tied for the 2nd most rushing touchdowns in the league. 

Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (currently owned in 2.8% of all ESPN leagues):
Jackson garnered additional touches in the Chargers’ timeshare approach to try to chew up the clock a bit and keep Mahomes and the Chiefs off of the field.  He logged 86 yards on 13 carries and snagged his only target for 13 yards. However, he could serve as the Chargers’ lead back in a soft matchup against the Texans this week if Ekeler can’t clear Covid protocols with Kelley and Roundtree potentially mixing in.   

Craig Reynolds, RB, Detroit Lions (currently owned in 7.6% of all ESPN leagues):
Reynolds was picked up in a few leagues last week after Swift and Williams were ultimately ruled out.  Perhaps the one thing more shocking than the Lions’ win over the Cardinals last week is the fact that Reynolds rumbled for 112 yards on 26 carries against a decent run defense.  If Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift are both ruled out again, Reynolds could try to build on his success against a Falcons defense that surrendered over 150 yards and a pair of scores last week to the 49ers’ backfield.  Monitor Swift and Williams’ statuses prior to kickoff. 

Dontrell Hilliard, RB, Tennessee Titans (currently owned in 35.3% of all ESPN leagues):
The Titans’ backfield truly has turned into a timeshare.  While Foreman dominated touches and carries, he also left the game briefly with a right ankle sprain, and then he reinjured the same ankle late in the game when TJ Watt tackled him late in the game. McNichols also got banged up, which might leave Hilliard as the only healthy Titans tailback.  Hilliard has contributed as the Titans do-it-all back.  He could get a bump in PPR leagues since Julio Jones left the game with a hamstring injury and AJ Brown is probably out for the year.  

Samaje Perine, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (currently owned in 5.7% of all ESPN leagues):
Perine spelled Mixon late in last week’s matchup against the Broncos rushing 4 times for 30 yards and reeling in both of his targets for 13 yards.  Mixon looked like he injured his ankle so Perine could lead the Bengals’ offensive backfield against a stout Ravens front this week if Mixon is unable to go.  

Devontae Booker, RB, New York Giants (currently owned in 25.2% of all ESPN leagues): 
Booker has been efficient with his touches in his last 2 outings.  He’s carried the ball just 16 times during that time span, he’s averaged over 8 yards per carry.  He’s also brought in 6 of 7 targets for 36 yards in his last 2 outings for an average of 6 yards per catch.  The Eagles have been pretty average against the run, but the Bears linebackers and defensive tackles have struggled to stay healthy all year.  This could set Booker up for a couple of friendly matchups to end the season and he could get additional snaps if the Giants decide to shut down Barkley for the rest of the year.  He might be a sneaky good add in most leagues. 

Duke Johnson, RB, Miami Dolphins (currently owned in 0.6% of all ESPN leagues):
Although Myles Gaskin was healthy, it was actually Duke Johnson who got twice as many carries as Gaskin.  Johnson took 22 totes for 107 yards and a pair of scores.  He was called up from the practice squad ahead of Sunday’s matchup with the Jets and almost instantly looked better than any other back the Dolphins had on their roster.  He certainly gave coaches, ownership and Fins fans alike a reason to keep him in Miami.  Duke and the Dolphins will travel to the Superdome to take on a top tier Saints run defense this week so they’ll have their work on the ground cut out for them.  Then they’ll take on the Titans to finish the fantasy season.  

WIDE RECEIVERS (WR): 

Amon-Ra St Brown, WR, Detroit Lions (currently owned in 24% of all ESPN leagues):
St Brown pulled in 8 of his 11 targets for 90 yards and a touchdown in a shocking win over the Arizona Cardinals.  He’s now been targeted 35 times in his last 3 games which means 12 targets per game and volume upside.  He’s logged 26 catches for 249 yards and a pair of scores during that time, after he moved back to his natural position of slot receiver in week 13.  He’s become a safety blanket for game manager Jared Goff and he should continue to produce against a soft Falcons secondary this week.  
*****UPDATE - Lions QB Jared Goff has been placed in the league’s Covid protocol as of Monday.  He’ll need to clear the protocol to be good to go for Sunday.  However, all Lions wideouts take a hit on their fantasy line if Tim Boyle starts for Goff.  

Antonio Brown, WR, Tampa Nay Buccaneers (currently owned in 67.1% of all ESPN leagues):
Antonio Brown is slated to return after a 3 game suspension for falsifying proof of Covid vaccination and he’s also been sidelined since week 7 with an ankle injury.  He’ll be another weapon for Tom Brady to target in Tampa’s prolific passing game. He brought in 23 of his 32 targets for 280 yards and 3 scores in his last 3 outings.  He’s available in roughly 1/3 of all ESPN leagues and he could provide a big boost to fantasy teams looking for reliable receiving options.  He could actually get even more looks than usual since Chris Godwin could be sidelined the rest of the regular season with a sprained MCL. 

Josh Reynolds, WR, Detroit Lions (currently owned in 24% of all ESPN leagues):
The Lions were void of pass catchers after losing Hockenson and Swift so they brought in a familiar face for Goff.  Reynolds and Goff spent time with the Rams so they already have a working rapport.  Reynolds has averaged nearly 6 targets a game his last 4 games.  He’s the Lions’ primary perimeter threat and is more of a boom or bust player who depends on touchdowns for fantasy production.  He has some fantasy friendly matchups against the Falcons and Seahawks that will help raise his ceiling during fantasy semi-finals and championship weeks. 
*****UPDATE - Lions QB Jared Goff has been placed in the league’s Covid protocol as of Monday.  He’ll need to clear the protocol to be good to go for Sunday.  However, all Lions wideouts take a hit on their fantasy line if Tim Boyle starts for Goff.  

Gabriel Davis, WR, Buffalo Bills (currently owned in 3.1% of all ESPN leagues): 
Defenses forget about Gabriel Davis.  He’s flown under the radar for most of the first part of the season, but he’s really come on strong in his last 3 games.  He’s been targeted 15 times in his last 2 games and he’s reeled in 10 of those targets for 128 yards and 3 scores during that time, one of which was a heartbreaking shootout loss against a tough Buccaneers defense.  He’s also scored 4 times in his last 3 games.  He and the Bills will travel to Foxborough this week to take on the Patriots who limited him to just 2 catches for 30 yards and a touchdown on 4 targets during their week 13 matchup.  He could get additional looks with Cole Beasley now on the Covid reserve list.  

Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons (currently owned in 54.1% of all ESPN leagues):
Gage brought in 8 of his 11 targets for 91 yards and a touchdown against a tough 49ers secondary.  He’s re-emerged as one of the Falcons’ premier pass catchers and is a viable streaming option this week with a tasty matchup against a soft Lions secondary.  He’ll face the Buffalo Bills during fantasy championship week, a game that could be affected by the weather.  

AJ Green, WR, Arizona Cardinals (currently owned in 44.5% of all ESPN leagues):
Kyler Murray just looked lost against the Lions last week in a shocking loss to one of the worst teams in football.  That affected Green’s stat line and limited him to just 4 catches for 64 yards.  Green has been targeted 18 times in his last 2 games and he hasn’t gotten in the endzone since week 7 against the Texans, but it might only be a matter of time with Green’s target volume.  However, he has a couple of tough matchups against the Colts and Cowboys to cap off the fantasy season.  

STREAMING OPTIONS:

Kansas City Chiefs Wide Receivers: 
Chiefs wideouts like Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson could all have bigger roles this week with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce among others testing positive for Covid.  Keep an eye both of the latter prior to kickoff to decide if Hardman, Pringle and Robinson are viable streaming options, but a matchup with a struggling Steelers secondary helps raise the ceiling of KC’s receiving options.  

TIGHT ENDS (TE): 

Cole Kmet, TE, Chicago Bears (currently owned in 22.6% of all ESPN leagues): 
Kmet lhauled in 6 of his 9 catches for 71 yards including a couple of big plays late in the game.  He’ll be a big part of the offense long as the team is without Allen Robinson and playing from behind, which seems to be every game.  He’ll draw a Seahawks defense that’s been one of the bottom 5 in the league against tight ends.  This should help raise Kmet’s ceiling this week unless Allen Robinson comes back.  

James O’Shaughnessy, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars (currently owned in 1% of all ESPN leagues):
Trevor Lawrence has loved throwing to his tight ends right up until Dan Arnold was lost for the season.  The Jaguars have struggled to find receiving options all year, but O’Shaughnessy is developing a rapport with His quarterback.  He brought in all 4 of his targets for a season high 60 yards.  He’ll try to keep things moving this week with a soft matchup against the Jets.  

Foster Moreau, TE, Las Vegas Raiders (currently owned in 16.8% of all ESPN leagues):
Moreau has seen his targets trend upward during the last 3 weeks.  He pulled in 7 of his 9 targets for 65 yards on Monday against the Browns.  The Raiders are still without Waller and they’ve struggled to find other receiving options.  Moreau will try to build on his success in a tough matchup against the division rival Broncos this week. 

QUARTERBACKS (QB): 

Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears (currently owned in 25.4% of all ESPN leagues):
Fields fumbled early in last week’s game against the Vikings, but he managed to salvage his fantasy outing by leading the Bears on an 80 yard touchdown drive to end the game.  Multiple offensive plays were nullified by undisciplined mistakes and drops by the Bears pass catchers.  Nevertheless, he’ll travel west to take on a depleted Seahawks secondary this week.  His fantasy ceiling should also get a boost if Allen Robinson can clear Covid protocols before their 4PM EST kickoff.  Fields also added 35 yards on 7 carries, but he lost 2 fumbles in the process, 1 of which he recovered. 

Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions (currently owned in 3.6% of all ESPN leagues):
Goff has had ups and downs this season, but his arrow has been pointing up with the Lions’ acquisition of Josh Reynolds and St Brown moving to the slot, where he’s thrived.  Goff has thrown for over 200 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2 of his last 3 games including a shocking win against the Cardinals last week.  He has a tasty matchup this week against a suspect Falcons secondary and another high ceiling matchup against the Seahawks who are without Jamal Adams.  Goff is known as a game manager but he could be a sneaky add in most leagues.  
**UPDATE - Goff has been placed on Covid Reserve as of Monday.  Desperate managers can roster him but monitor his status prior to kickoff.  Tim Boyle 

STREAMING OPTION

Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons (currently owned in 28.9% of all ESPN leagues):
Matty Ice completed just 19 of his 32 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown against a tough 49ers coverage unit last week.  However, he’ll get a much softer matchup this week against one of the worst pass defenses in the league.  The Falcons take on the Lions at home this week so the matchup offers upside.  

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS (D/ST): 

Green Bay Packers (vs Browns): The Browns offense won’t be too difficult to stop with Nick Mullens at the helm, but that’s only if Nick Mullens is at the helm.  Otherwise this Packers front will give up yards on the ground and struggle to stop Chubb unless they can stack the box. 

Philadelphia Eagles (vs Giants): A turnover prone Mike Glennon should provide plenty of opportunities for the Eagles to take advantage of. 

New Orleans Saints (vs Dolphins): An explosive pass rush and stingy secondary blanked Tom Brady and the Buccaneers last week.  They should be able to take care of Tua. 

Kansas City Chiefs (vs Steelers): The Chiefs defense looked like a different unit without Chris Jones last week. Monitor his availability ahead of a home matchup against a struggling Steelers offense.

San Francisco 49ers (at Titans): The 49ers travel east to take on a Titans offense that hasn’t found an identity since losing their 3 main playmakers in Derrick Henry, AJ Brown and Julio Jones.  All 3 are slated to miss this week’s game so the 49ers should have a pretty easy time containing Tannehill and some backups. 

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