Adam Levitan

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wire: Week 16

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Normally, Week 16 brings at least a few questions about playoff teams resting players. Not this year. No one has clinched home field throughout the playoffs and only the Colts have even clinched their division.

The only real candidate to rest players this week is the Eagles. If the Cowboys win at Washington at 1pm, then the Sunday Night Football game between Philly and Chicago would mean nothing for the NFC East crown. It would be decided in Week 17 when the Eagles and Cowboys play each other. But coach Chip Kelly squashed any notions of taking his foot off the gas, saying Monday that he’s not resting anyone no matter what. It’s easy to believe him since the Eagles’ final record could end up deciding whether they are the three or four seed in the NFC playoffs.

So as we look to this week’s Waiver Wire, we have two aspects to look at only: Dream matchups and injury replacements.  

Here is how I would rank the top players available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues at each position. Notes and recommendations on each player will follow below.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 16. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

1. Kirk Cousins
2. Jason Campbell
3. Ryan Tannehill
4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
* Jay Cutler is owned in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues. If available, he’d be my No. 1 add at QB.

Running backs
1. Jordan Todman
2. Trent Richardson
3. Dennis Johnson
4. Mike Tolbert
5. Edwin Baker

Wide receivers
1. Rueben Randle
2. Andre Caldwell
3. Marvin Jones
4. Rod Streater
5. Doug Baldwin
6. Andre Roberts

Tight Ends
1. Delanie Walker
2. Tyler Eifert
3. Ryan Griffin
4. Tim Wright
5. Andrew Quarless

Defense/Special Teams
1. Titans
2. Rams
3. Lions
4. Chargers
5. Jets

1. Nick Novak
2. Alex Henery
3. Robbie Gould

1. Kirk Cousins, Redskins – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
As everyone knows, Robert Griffin III has been shut down for the year. That leaves Kirk Cousins with the dreamiest of dream matchups – home vs. the Cowboys. Dallas just gave up four touchdowns to Matt Flynn, has the league’s No. 32 yardage defense, the No. 32 pass defense and the No. 26 pass defense. In two career starts, Cousins has gone 55-of-82 (67.0 percent) for 708 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. It would be a major surprise if he doesn’t go over 300 yards and toss multiple touchdowns in Week 16.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

2. Jason Campbell, Browns – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
Yes, Jason Campbell was awful in Week 15 as he struggled with the wind and the Bears’ underrated pass defense. That does not mean he will struggle in Week 16. Campbell’s matchup is far better this time around as he gets to face a Jets defense that is dominant against the run (3rd in the NFL) but awful against the pass (26th). Look for yet another decisively pass-happy approach out of Norv Turner, making Campbell an excellent bet to go over 248 yards for the sixth time in six starts. Josh Gordon is going to roast Antonio Cromartie, who has struggled badly all year long.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

3. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins – Owned in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues
I’m not exactly sure how or why, but the impressive progression of second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill has flown far under the radar in both real life and fantasy circles. Over the last seven weeks, he’s won five games despite almost no running game. And across the last four weeks, he’s averaging 288.2 yards per day with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. Tannehill is third on this list because the Week 16 matchup at Buffalo is not as soft as it seems. It’s a letdown spot for the Dolphins off their Patriots win and the Bills typically show well in division games at the Ralph. But in terms of long-term upside, Tannehill is the real deal.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

4. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Titans – Owned in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
We saw some of that old “Fitzmagic” in Week 15 as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns on 58 attempts in the overtime loss to the Cardinals. Chasing those stats are a bad idea, but he does get to face the Jaguars in plus weather on Sunday. I’d close my eyes and use Fitzpatrick over Carson Palmer (at SEA) in fantasy’s Super Bowl week.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Watch List: E.J. Manuel, Matt Flynn – Manuel has been so up and down all year, I couldn’t bring myself to trust him in Week 16 despite the impressive Week 15 showing. … Flynn was nearly benched on Sunday, then threw four second-half touchdowns at Dallas. But he faces Pittsburgh this week and Aaron Rodgers could be back. Flynn is a weak QB2, even if he starts.

Editor’s Note: For more waiver thoughts and news from around the league, follow Adam Levitan, Rotoworld Football and our dominant News Page. Keep reading for notes on RB, WR, TE, K and D.

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Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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