Finest fantasy soccer waiver wire pickups for Week 16

Every year, random RBs and WRs are starting for teams in fantasy football championship games, and this year, it looks like Tony Pollard and Salvon Ahmed will be among those players, as both headline our top Week 16 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds. Pollard and Ahmed weren’t the only “handcuff” RBs to break out last week, as Sony Michel also played well in relief of Damien Harris and Le’Veon Bell scored even before Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered a potential serious leg injury. Russell Gage, Lynn Bowden, Keke Coutee, Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward, and Darnell Mooney are also seeing frequent targets and could find themselves in WR3 spots next week. 

Our full free agent list features a host of streamers at QB, WR, TE, and D/ST for Week 16, including Jalen Hurts, Rashard Higgins, Tyler Eifert, and the Chargers D/ST, among many others. Matchups are more important than ever with your season on the line, so don’t be afraid to explore all possibilities. The streaming options can be found at the end of this list. 

WEEK 16 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Obviously, there’s no reason to hold back your waiver claims now, so go all-in for whoever you might need or whoever you want to keep your opponent from getting. And don’t be attached to anyone you’re not going to play this week. You’re better off having viable starting options and emergency handcuffs (at multiple positions) on your bench than a middling player in a bad matchup who’s been on your team most of the year. 

WEEK 16 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

There’s no need to overthink things when it comes to who you actually choose to start, but make sure you give yourself the best options and play proper defense against your opponent. — Matt Lutovsky

Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.

  • #1

    Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys

    Ezekiel Elliott (calf) was a surprise scratch in Week 15, and Pollard took advantage, totaling 132 yards and two touchdownon 18touches. Pollard did most of his damage through the air (6-63)until a late 40-yard TD run,but it’s clear the Cowboys have no problem leaning on him as long as Zeke is out. It’s also worth mentioning that Pollard had just one fewer carry than Elliott when both were active in Week 14. It seems likely that Pollard will continue to see enough touches to merit flex consideration next week against Philadelphia whether Elliott plays or not, and if Elliott is out again, Pollard will be a solid RB2. –Matt Lutovsky

  • #2

    Le’Veon Bell, RB, Chiefs

    Bell’s ownership is down to 52 percent in Yahoo leagues, but with ClydeEdwards-Helairesuffering a serious-looking leg injury in Week 15, Bell figures to be highly owned ahead of Week 16’s game against the Falcons. Bell played well against the Saintseven beforeCEHexitedlatein the fourth quarter, finishingwith 63 yards and a TD on 16 carries. He also added 14 receiving yards on his lone target. It’s reasonable to expect Bell to get close to 15 touches next week, and even though Atlanta has a decent run defense, Bell will be a prime candidate for a touchdown, as Kansas City should move the ball at will through the air. –ML

  • #3

    Salvon Ahmed, RB, Dolphins

    In his first game since Week 11because of a shoulder injury, Ahmed picked up right where he left off, running 23 times for 122 yards and a TD against the Patriots in Week 15. In his three starts this year, Ahmed has averaged 21 touches, but it’s important to note that all three games came with Myles Gaskin (COVID) inactive. Gaskin is expected back next week against Las Vegas, so it’s unclear who will see more touches. Both backs have played well enough this year that it’s fair to expect somewhat of a split, and against the Raiders’ porous defense, that puts them both in flex territory. –ML

  • #4

    Sony Michel, RB, Patriots

    Michel was the primary back for the Patriots on Sunday with Damien Harris (ankle) out of action. Michel found a lot of success against the Dolphins, as he totaled 74 yards on 10 carries and added an eight-yard catch. With the Patriots officially eliminated from the playoffs, they could take it easy with Harris down the stretch, so Michel should be picked up ahead of a solid matchup with the Bills. Buffalo has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to RBs this season and just saw Melvin Gordon score twice on them. Michel could find the end zone if Bill Belichick continues to trust him. –JC

  • #5

    Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles

    Hurts was impressive again in his second career start,throwing for 338 yards and three TDs while adding another 63 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. A matchup next week against Dallas, who entered Week 15 having allowed a league-high 28 passing TDs, should help him continue his late-season surge. Most fantasy owners playing in their fantasy championship game likely don’t need to stream a QB, but Hurts has a high floor because of his rushing ability and high ceiling because of the matchup, so he’s well worth starting if you don’t trust your normal QB. –ML

  • #6

    Russell Gage, WR, Falcons

    Gage continues to take advantage of Julio Jones’s hamstring injury, catching five-of-10 targets for 68 yards and a TD in Week 15. Gage has seen 42 targets over his past five games, and he’s now scored in three straight contests. Atlanta will likely have to throw a lot to keep up with the Chiefs next week, so even if Jones is back, Gage is in play as a WR3. –ML

  • #7

    Keke Coutee, WR, Texans

    Coutee continues to establish himself as the No. 2 target for Deshaun Watson in the wake of the Texans’ problems at receiver. Coutee saw seven targets in Week 15, tied for second most on the team, and caught five for 53 yards and a TD. He nearly had a second score, but the ball was ripped out of his hands near the goal line. Coutee can be counted on as a solid WR3 in a favorable Week 16 matchup against the Bengals, and he may work his way into WR2 territory in PPR leagues. –JC

  • #8

    Darnell Mooney, WR, Bears

    Mooney tied for the team-lead in targets (5) against the Vikings and caught a TD for the second time in as many weeks. It seems that Mitchell Trubisky is finding ways to get Mooney the ball, so he can be trusted as a solid flex play with high boom potential in a favorable matchup against the Jaguars next week. Jacksonville ranks bottom 10 in both yardage allowed and TDs allowed to WRs this year, so Mooney should take advantage of that. –JC

  • #9

    Lynn Bowden Jr., RB/WR, Dolphins

    With most of their top receiving options (DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, Jakeem Grant) out against the Patriots, the Dolphins relied on Bowden as their go-to pass-catcher. Bowden saw a team-high seven targets and caught six passes for 37 yards while adding a nine-yard run. Bowden didn’t post huge numbers, but he is a great PPR flex option, and if the Dolphins are still missing some of their receivers against the Raiders, Bowden can be trusted in standard formats, as well. –JC

  • #10

    Rashard Higgins, WR, Browns

    In the two games prior to Week 15 Higgins averaged 9.5 targets, six receptions, 81.5 yards, and a TD. He then went out and caught four-of-five targets for a team-high 76 yards against the Giants on Sunday night. With the Browns taking on the Jets in Week 16, Higgins could be a huge waiver-wire sleeper and should be able to post at least WR3 numbers. –JC

  • #11

    Jalen Reagor, WR, Eagles

    Reagor has quickly turned into Jalen Hurts’ favorite target. Reagor saw eight targets against the Cardinals and caught five of them for 49 yards. Next week, the Eagles have a favorable matchup against the Cowboys. Dallas has allowed the second-most fantasy points to WRs this year, so Reagor could have a solid game. Last time he played the Cowboys, Reagor caught the only TD of his NFL career, and he should have a shot at another. –JC

  • #12

    Greg Ward, WR, Eagles

    Ward didn’t see a lot of targets against the Cardinals (5), but each of his first two catches went for TDs. Hurts evidently likes looking the way of the college-QB-turned-slot-man in the red zone, so he can be added as a TD threat ahead of a good matchup. The Cowboys have allowed a league-high 24 TDs to WRs this year, so Ward can certainly take advantage of that. –JC

  • #13

    Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs

    Watkins was fourth on the Chiefs in targets (6) in Week 15, but he ended up second on the team in total receiving yards against the Saints with four catches and 60 receiving yards. Watkins and the Chiefs are taking on the Falcons and their weak secondary in Week 16, so if you need a flex play, Watkins should have a pretty high ceiling in that matchup. –JC

  • #14

    John Brown, WR, Bills

    In his final two games before going on IR, Brown was targeted 19 times and averaged seven catches for 85.5 yards per game. He should be ready to return to action for the Bills and should go back to being their downfield threat. Brown has a matchup against the Patriots in Week 16, so that won’t be easy, but with Stephon Gilmore (knee) banged up, all of Buffalo’s receivers will see improved matchups. –JC

  • #15

    Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs

    Hardman was more involved in the Chiefs offense against the Saints than he has been all season. Hardman logged a season-high nine targets and totaled three catches, 22 yards, and a TD in the game. With the Chiefs taking on the Falcons in Week 16 and the Falcons having allowed the third-most fantasy points to WRs this year, Hardman is a solid pickup and could emerge as a boom-or-bust flex option. –JC

  • #16

    Tyron Johnson, WR, Chargers

    With Keenan Allen (hamstring) and Mike Williams (back) banged up, Johnson stepped up for the Chargers and was very effective against the Raiders. Jalen Guyton (4-91) outproduced him thanks to a long catch in overtime, but Johnson was able to catch three passes for 61 yards and found the end zone early for Justin Herbert. Johnson looks like the No. 3 receiver for the Chargers and should continue to be productive in a Week 16 game against the Broncos, who have struggled against WRs in recent weeks since A.J. Bouye’s suspension. –JC

  • #17

    Tim Patrick, WR, Broncos

    Patrick had a two-game TD streak snapped against the Bills, but he still saw four targets and will continue to be one of the top targets for Drew Lock in the red zone. In Week 16, the Broncos are taking on a Chargers team that has struggled against WRs in recent weeks and is slightly below average against the position as a whole. –JC

  • #18

    Chad Hansen, WR, Texans

    Hansen was only targeted three times against the Colts, but he was able to catch two passes for 55 yards and a TD. Since the suspension of Will Fuller, Hansen has been targeted 17 times and has posted at least 55 yards in every game. He’ll have high upside as a flex play against the Bengals, which had allowed the seventh-most TDs to WRs (15) entering Week 15. –JC

  • #19

    Benny Snell, RB, Steelers

    With James Conner (quad) ailing, Snell will get another chance to step up as Pittsburgh’s lead back. He’s had varying degrees of success in that role — and with a tough matchup against Indianapolis on deck, Snell might not have a ton of value in Week 16 if Conner remains out — but starting RBs always have upside, so Snell is worth grabbing now. –ML

  • Gore is not the sexiest pickup, but he is getting too many touches to be ignored. Against the Rams, Gore carried the ball 23 times and generated 59 yards and a TD. Those numbers may not look great, but it’s important to remember that Gore was playing against the NFL’s best run defense in this contest. If he gets another 20-plus touches next week against the Browns, he will certainly have a chance to be a flex play because of his TD upside. –JC

  • #21

    Ito Smith, RB, Falcons

    Smith led the Falcons backfield in touches against the Bucs. That resulted in just 24 yards on six carries and nine yards through the air, but with Todd Gurley being phased almost completely out of the Falcons rotation, Smith has some upside. He can be added on the chance he gets 10-plus touches in a favorable matchup against the Chiefs in Week 16. The Falcons may have to throw a lot to compete in that game, but Smith could catch some checkdowns and be a solid flex in PPR and standard formats. –JC

  • #22

    Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens

    With Mark Ingram a healthy scratch in Week 15, it looks like Edwards has become the clear-cut No. 2 option for the Ravens. Edwards got 11 touches against the Jaguars in Week 15 and turned them into 78 yards. The Ravens are playing the Giants and their solid defense in Week 16, but if you need some extra depth at the RB spot, Edwards is the best player to target as a potential TD-dependent flex play. –JC

  • #23

    Devine Ozigbo, RB, Jaguars

    James Robinson is reportedly dealing with an ankle injury, and while the extent of issue is unknown, it’s at least possible he could miss Week 16 against Chicago. If Robinson is out, Ozigbo would likely handle the bulk of the carries while Dare Ogunbowale would mix in on passing downs. It’s possible Ogunbowale would handle the bulk of the RB touches and be the better pickup, so watch the practice reports. –ML

  • #24

    Austin Hooper, TE, Browns

    No team has allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than the Jets, who Hooper will see in Week 16. With Hooper’s ownership falling below 50 percent, he’s a must-add if you need a TE streaming option. Hooper broke out out a 5-41-1 line on six targets in Week 15, so hopefully he can carry that momentum over to Week 16. –JC

  • #25

    Tyler Eifert, TE, Jaguars

    In three of his past four games, Eifert has logged either 45 receiving yards or a TD, including a three-catch, 51-yard outing against the Ravens in Week 15. In Week 16, the Jaguars are facing the Bears, who have given up the third-most fantasy points to TEs this year. They have also allowed seven TDs to TEs in their past seven games. Eifert could be the next in line to have a big day. –JC

  • #26

    Jordan Akins, TE, Texans

    Some may be scared off by Akins because he has dropped three potential TDs since Thanksgiving. That said, he has been getting targets and just racked up five catches for 50 yards against the stingy Colts defense. Akins is going up against a Bengals defense that has allowed 867 receiving yards to TEs. That was good for the most in the NFL entering Week 15, so Akins should have a chance to continue to rack up yards and be a potential top-15 TE in Week 16. –JC

  • Kmet saw just two targets in the Bears’ win over the Vikings, catching both for 12 yards. That said, Kmet still was on the field for most of the game, and he has been targeted 16 times in the past three games.He should see more opportunities in a more favorable matchup against the Jaguars in Week 16. Jacksonville has allowed 11 TDs to TEs this year, so Kmet could have a chance at a TD and more catches. –JC

  • #28

    Jimmy Graham, TE, Bears

    Graham has lost playing time to Kmet in recent weeks, but he out-produced him against the Vikings. Graham logged two catches for 25 yards and saw three targets. Like Kmet, he’ll benefit from a favorable matchup with the Jaguars, so you can feel free to trust Graham since he’ll see some red-zone opportunities in that contest. –JC

  • #29

    Jordan Reed, TE, 49ers

    Reed ranked third on the 49ers in targets (5) against the Cowboys and caught two passes for 18 yards and a TD. The 49ers are playing the Cardinals in Week 16 and while the Cardinals have been good against TEs this year, Reed will continue to be a top red-zone threat for the 49ers as long as George Kittle (foot) is out, so he can be a TD-dependent streamer if you’re desperate at TE. –JC

  • #30

    Dalton Schultz, TE, Cowboys

    Schultz posted a line nearly identical to that of Reed — two catches, 12 yards, and a TD. Schultz has seen consistent targets this year and is playing a weak Eagles defense in Week 16. Schultz is averaging about 5.6 targets per game this year, so he can be trusted given his volume in this matchup. –JC

  • #31

    Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns

    As good as the Jets looked against the Rams in Week 15, they still have one of the NFL’s weakest defenses. Mayfield has been on a hot streak of late — he has nine total TDs in his past three games before his Sunday night game against the Giants in Week 15 — and should be able to decimate the Jets’ lackluster secondary. –JC

  • #32

    Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears

    Trubisky had a decent outing against a solid Vikings defense, throwing for over 200 yards, adding 34 on the ground, and tossing one TD. The Bears are playing the Jaguars in Week 16, so Trubisky can be trusted in that matchup. He has played well against weaker defenses and has threethree-TD games on the season in seven starts.– JC

  • #33

    Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins

    Against defensive mastermind Bill Belichick in Week 15, Tagovailoa had a solid day. He passed for just 145 yards, but he managed to run for two TDs. Tagovailoa will get a much easier matchup against the Raiders in Week 16. The Raiders have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to QBs this year and are dealing with some key injuries on defense, so Tua could have another multi-TD day. –JC

  • #34

    Drew Lock, QB, Broncos

    Lock only had one TD against the Bills, but in his past three games, Lock has posted seven TDs compared to four turnovers (a relatively light number for him) while averaging 188 passing yards per game. Lock’s numbers aren’t spectacular, but he can surely take advantage of a good matchup against a Chargers defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to QBs on the year. Lock had 248 passing yards and three TDs the last time he played the Chargers, and if he repeats that performance, he should be an intriguing QB streamer or DFS play. –JC

  • #35

    Los Angeles Chargers D/ST

    The Chargers are playing the Broncos in Week 16. Against the Bills, the Broncos committed their 30th turnover, the most in the NFL, and ensured that they had committed a turnover in each of the games they have played this season. The Chargers defense has been rocky throughout the year, but if they can pressure Drew Lock and force him into some mistakes, they could be a worthwhile streamer against a Broncos team that allows the third-most fantasy points to D/ST units. — JC

  • #36

    Philadelphia Eagles D/ST

    The Eagles defense are ranked second in the NFL in total sacks and they will have a chance to get a lot of pressure on Andy Dalton and the Cowboys. Dalton has been sacked multiple times in three of his last four games and the Eagles should feast on Dallas’ offensive line. That should give them a high floor, so if you need consistency at the D/ST spot, the Eagles aren’t a bad option. –JC

  • #37

    Carolina Panthers D/ST

    The Panthers defense just held Aaron Rodgers’ Packers to three points in the second half of their Saturday night game. They are playing the Washington Football Team, and Washington has scored a meager 24 offensive points in their last two games. If the Panthers’ pass rush shows up, they should be able to continue to slow down the Washington offense, regardless of whether Alex Smith or Dwayne Haskins is playing quarterback for the team. –JC

  • #38

    Arizona Cardinals D/ST

    The Cardinals are playing the 49ers in Week 16 at home. The 49ers have had some rough outing under Nick Mullens’ watch, and he has turned the ball over at least once in his last six games played. The Cardinals are improving on defense and Haason Reddick has generated a lot of pressure recently, so the Cardinals are a potential top-10 defense this week. –JC

  • #39

    Washington Football Team D/ST

    Washington is a top-five team in terms of total sacks, and its defense has improved exponentially in recent weeks. They had a couple of defensive TDs against the 49ers and were able to largely limit an explosive Seahawks offense in Week 15. Next week, they’re taking on the Panthers and should have a chance to get a lot of pressure on Teddy Bridgewater, who has been sacked seven times in his past two games behind a banged-up offensive line missing Russell Okung. –JC

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