We are down to the nitty-gritty as semifinal contests take center stage in Week 16. Whether you prevailed with a round 1 victory last week (mini congrats) or are getting your first taste of playoff action after returning from a bye, you are one win away from the ultimate goal every team strives for: the chance to compete for a championship. Anything can happen in a single-elimination tournament, so forget about seeds or what happened when you played this week’s opponent during the regular season; all that matters is who comes to play now when it really counts. Do not overthink it; start the players who got you here and have some fun in Week 16!
Article Overview/ How to Use:
- Analysis: Highlight a variety of RBs, WRs, and TEs (< 65% rostered on ESPN and/or Yahoo) who I feel could produce fantasy value, either that specific week as a replacement in your lineup or as a bench/ stash option.
- Ranking RBs, WRs, and TEs (< 65% rostered) in order. Please note that the players who are highlighted in the article are not always my top-ranked streamers. These rankings & notes could be useful for teams in deeper leagues or as a means to fill out your “Watch List”.
- List of Impact Backups or players who would gain significant fantasy value if the starter was inactive. These names would make excellent stash candidates, but likely not worthwhile streamers due to lack of usage as the backup.
- Although base rankings tend to skew toward 12-team, half-PPR leagues, I will provide clarifications if a player is best used in a specific scenario or league type.
- Recap the performances of the previous week’s highlighted players.
* Any players marked with an asterisk below have been featured in previous articles this season. If anyone discussed below is at risk of not playing or is relegated to a bench role late in the week, I will do my best to keep you all updated on Twitter (@BrandonMillerFB). All players below are under 65%-rostered as of 12/21/22.
Deon Jackson (RB, Indianapolis Colts)
I have gone back and forth between Jackson and Zack Moss, a duo that will lead the Colts’ backfield in the absence of Jonathan Taylor (ankle) for the remainder of the season. Although Moss led the team in rushing opportunities last week after Taylor left (24 carries for 81 yards, 3.4 yards per carry), I feel that Jackson has a higher potential to produce fantasy points as the better receiver of the two. Neither is a particularly exciting option and I hope that your team is not in a position where you may have to use one in your starting lineup. However, if you play in a deep league or are desperate at RB, the Chargers’ defense is one to target as the fourth-worst unit against opposing RBs in fantasy points allowed.
Tyler Allgeier* (RB, Atlanta Falcons)
The rookie Allgeier makes his return to this article fresh off the best game of his young career where he gashed the Saints’ defense for 139 yards on 17 carries (8.2 ypc) and one touchdown. He has been an efficient runner as of late, averaging 4.9 ypc or more in five of the last six contests. With Caleb Huntley (achilles) hitting the IR and the Falcons playing a run-heavy brand of offense to protect rookie signal-caller Desmond Ridder, Allgeier is expected to remain a central part of Atlanta’s gameplan alongside Cordarrelle Patterson. The Ravens’ defense is allowing just 85.6 rushing yards per game (third-best in NFL), so it would be optimistic to expect another career-best performance from Allgeier, but I feel the volume will be enough to carry him to low-end RB3/ Flex numbers this week in non-PPR and half-PPR leagues.
RB Streamers (ranked): Cam Akers* (69% ESPN, 67% Yahoo), Rachaad White (67% ESPN, 83% Yahoo), Chuba Hubbard*, Deon Jackson*, Tyler Allgeier*, Royce Freeman, Zack Moss, Gus Edwards*, Jaylen Warren*, James Cook*, Samaje Perine*, Joshua Kelley, Marlon Mack, Jordan Mason, Khalil Herbert*, Kenneth Gainwell, Travis Homer, Rex Burkhead, Dare Ogunbowale, Kyren Williams*, Alexander Mattison, Boston Scott, Pierre Strong Jr*, Ameer Abdullah, Matt Breida, JaMycal Hasty*.
Darius Slayton* (WR, New York Giants)
Slayton is another returnee to this article who has essentially become the last WR standing for the Giants (all due respect to Richie James). Although his lackluster Week 15 performance (five catches / seven targets / 23 yards / one fumble) may have left a sour taste, he has maintained a highly-efficient receiving average of 15.8 yards per reception in 2022, just above his strong career mark of 15.0 ypr. Minnesota’s defense is surrendering the second-most passing yards per game (278.8) in the NFL, so the opportunities for Slayton to rip off “chunk” gains should be there as the Giants travel to play indoors at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Jakobi Meyers (WR, New England Patriots)
Meyers is just outside of the 65%-rostered threshold for this article, but I feel he is someone worth checking on ahead of Week 16’s home tilt against the Bengals. I will begin by saying that this is by no means an endorsement of the Patriots’ passing offense (bottom ten in passing yards per game). However, when you are in the fantasy playoffs, it is not a bad idea to stick with veteran players who can provide a safe floor that will not sink your odds of winning. Meyers is expected to lead his team in targets this week and will be needed if the Patriots hope to keep up with the Bengals’ high-powered offense. I would start him as a solid WR3/Flex in half-PPR and full-PPR formats.
WR Streamers (ranked): Zay Jones* (74% ESPN, 62% Yahoo), Jakobi Meyers* (71% ESPN, 65% Yahoo), Darius Slayton*, Treylon Burks*, Chris Moore* (if no Cooks/Collins), George Pickens* (63% ESPN, 68% Yahoo), Marquise Goodwin, Joshua Palmer* (69% ESPN, 65% Yahoo), D.J. Chark*, Michael Gallup*, Mack Hollins*, K.J. Osborn*, Parris Campbell*, Curtis Samuel, Donovan Peoples-Jones*, Jahan Dotson, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Van Jefferson*, Terrace Marshall*, Isaiah McKenzie*, Alec Pierce*.
Cole Kmet (TE, Chicago Bears)
A popular breakout pick to begin the year, Kmet has had a solid yet unspectacular season from a fantasy standpoint. The stats may not come easy this week for the 2020 second-round pick out of Notre Dame as he has a tough matchup on deck against a Bills’ defense that has been among the league’s top units against enemy TEs. Still, at such a shallow position, Kmet offers a consistent target volume that is uncommon among most TE streamers. The Bears are severely hurting for reliable receiving options, so I am counting on volume alone to carry Kmet to a low-end TE1 finish in Week 16.
TE Streamers (ranked): Greg Dulcich*, Taysom Hill*, Cole Kmet* (66% ESPN, 68% Yahoo), Chigoziem Okonkwo*, Noah Fant, Austin Hooper, Jordan Akins, Daniel Bellinger, Robert Tonyan*, Hunter Henry, Cade Otton, Jelani Woods, Juwan Johnson, Tyler Conklin*, Logan Thomas.
Impact Backups/ Injury Stashes
Although this article’s primary focus is to rank and discuss RB/WR/TEs who are fantasy-relevant and 65%-rostered or less, I also believe it is extremely important to plan ahead by stocking your roster with contingency options if/when adversity strikes. Not many things in the fantasy sports universe are worse than having a successful regular season undone by gut-wrenching injury luck. That said, below is my list of Top Impact Backups, in order, regardless of position.
Top Impact Backups: Alexander Mattison, James Cook*, Samaje Perine*, Dontrell Hilliard*, Chuba Hubbard*, Joshua Kelley, Keaontay Ingram, Tyrion Davis-Price, Zamir White, Jaylen Warren*, Nyheim Hines*, JaMycal Hasty*.
Graduated (add if available): Jerick McKinnon*, D’Onta Foreman*, Cam Akers*, Jeff Wilson Jr*, Isiah Pacheco*, Zonovan Knight*, Rachaad White*.
Accountability is everything, so here is a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
Zonovan Knight (RB, New York Jets): If Detroit’s defensive game plan was to key on stopping the run and force rookie QB Zach Wilson to beat them with his arm, they succeeded. The Jets’ run game as a whole was stalled in Week 15 and Knight was no exception with 13 carries for 23 yards (1.8 yards per carry).
Pierre Strong Jr (RB, New England Patriots): Rhamondre Stevenson was ultimately able to suit up for the Patriots’ wild game against the Raiders last week while Strong took on a secondary role in the absence of Damien Harris. He rushed four times for 25 yards along with three catches for 12 yards.
Elijah Moore (WR, New York Jets): In what was an overall lackluster game for the Jets’ offense, Moore was able to turn in a decent performance with four catches (seven targets) for 51 yards. While that is not much on a regular week, it is encouraging that he was second on the team in targets and should get a boost with the return of Mike White at QB.
Chris Moore (WR, Houston Texans): Moore led the Texans in targets once again last week, catching four of nine for 42 receiving yards. He can be started as a WR3/WR4 if Brandin Cooks and/or Nico Collins remain out.
Taysom Hill (TE, New Orleans Saints): Hill did absolutely nothing as a traditional TE, registering zero catches or yards last week against the Falcons. Fortunately for fantasy managers who started him, Hill is not a traditional TE and rushed seven times for 30 yards and completed two passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. Hill’s hybrid role will keep him fantasy-relevant at a shallow TE position.
Make sure to check out our weekly waiver wire podcast for more insights on who you should be submitting claims for heading into each Wednesday; it is a great way to get a head start on acquiring players often discussed in this article. Good luck in Week 16!
(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)