Week 16, otherwise known as championship week. If you made it this far I hope you don’t need any help from this article. More than likely, though, there are many of you out there who could use a little nudge in a spot in your lineup. The good news is that with how tight the playoff races are in the NFL all the teams will still be playing hard and starting all their players. The bad news is that there are some injuries to deal with in Week 16. Tyler Boyd suffered a concussion in the Monday night game and Clyde Edwards-Helaire hurt his ankle, just to name a few. Besides that, you also always have the impending Covid-19 risk you have to keep your eyes on during the week. Put that all together and we need to take a good look at what is available on waivers in Week 16 to help out our line-ups. So, let’s dive in, and, as always, let’s start with..
Marcus Mariota looked great on Thursday night when he had to come in for an injured Derek Carr. At 99 percent available Mariota looks like a very interesting pickup for Week 16. He did not come in until the second quarter yet he still threw for 226 yards and a touchdown. Mariota also rushed for 88 yards and scored another touchdown. He is clearly the quarterback you need off of waivers in Week 16, right?
On second thought.. no. It’s not as clear as you would think.
I am an Oregon Ducks fan, so you have to know that I root big time for Mariota and all former Duck players. I cannot in good conscience though, tell you to pick up Mariota in your championship week. He did look great filling in for Carr but you don’t want to chase that game hoping for a repeat in Week 16. At the end of the game you saw his ill-timed interception. He sometimes does that. Las Vegas is also playing a tough matchup against Miami in Week 16. Couple that with the fact that Carr could be back and you are better off looking elsewhere for a fill-in quarterback.
Philadelphia is where you want to look. Jalen Hurts is running Philadelphia these days and is looking really strong. He is also available in 67 percent of leagues. Hurts threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 63 rushing yards and added another touchdown. Numbers like that can help you win a championship and he has a great opportunity in Week 16 to repeat them. I feel confident in this as he is playing very fantasy friendly Dallas this week. If you have a need at quarterback you definitely want to pick him up.
If he is not available you should still be OK as Baker Mayfield, at 73 percent available, probably is. Mayfield has been quietly on the high end of steady for most of the season. On Sunday he led Cleveland to victory with 297 passing yards and two touchdowns. Cleveland has a chance to win the division with Pittsburgh dropping three in a row as of this week. With that in mind, you know Cleveland will be playing their hearts out. The really good news is that Cleveland is playing the New York Jets in Week 16.
You could not ask for a better matchup. If you need help at quarterback you have two very good options to choose from in Hurts and Mayfield.
If you need a running back however, many owners have been talking about Lynn Bowden Jr. in Miami. Bowden is designated as both a wide receiver and a running back, which has made him a very interesting pickup as of late. Points per reception (PPR) league owners have even more reason to pick him up, as he is available in 65 percent of leagues. In Sunday’s win over New England, Bowden caught six balls for 37 yards. As long as the Miami receivers don’t all miraculously get healthy, he should have a big role against Las Vegas this week. That is not a bad matchup which should have you thinking you need him off of waivers.
On second thought, no.. you do not need him.
He is exciting, and the dual designation is fun but this is championship week. His touches are too inconsistent for the running back position. You could possibly consider him if you have a need at wide receiver and you are in a PPR league but unless that is the case you need to skip over Bowden.
The one running back you cannot skip over is Tony Pollard. Ezekiel Elliott’s very capable backup is available in 65 percent of leagues. He got the opportunity to show us just what he can do if given the reins. Pollard ran for 69 yards and two touchdowns and caught six balls for 63 yards in Sunday’s win over San Francisco. He is absolutely capable and will be facing a defensively friendly Philadelphia team. If he plays, you need to have him in your lineup. He just might be a championship maker this season. Be aware, though. Dallas just might go with Elliott in Week 16. You need to keep a close watch and be ready to yank him out of your lineup if Elliott plays.
Miami’s Salvon Ahmed is available in 76 percent of leagues and is a very safe pick in the instance that Pollard does not work out. Ahmed carried the ball 23 times for 122 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. He also caught a pass for 5 yards. Myles Gaskin remained on the Covid-19 list so Ahmed took over. He made all the fantasy managers who decided to go with him very happy with his great performance. Ahmed was the first Miami running back to record a 100-yard rushing day in two years. If Gaskin stays on the Covid-19 list against Las Vegas on Saturday, Ahmed will have a chance to become the second in two years. Las Vegas has been very good to opposing running backs so if Gaskin does not play, start him with confidence.