Here are this week’s top Waiver Wire players who are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Our favorite players are broken down in Top Targets and the best secondary options are in our Going Deeper sections. We’ll also list any players at the top of each position who are above the 50% threshold — or are household names — and are still widely available for those who might be in smaller leagues.
Be sure to check out our weekly Waiver Wire podcast for more analysis. We’ll also have Streaming articles every Tuesday that focuses on the top quarterbacks, tight ends, and defenses for the upcoming week(s).
Note: The initial Waiver Wire article writeup will be posted every Monday evening, followed by in-depth updates Tuesday, and continued additions/updates Wednesday.
Hansen’s Top-15 Options
Note: For these rankings, John Hansen leans on players who are available in at least 40-50% of Yahoo leagues and who also saw a favorable development for their fantasy values last week. Some players are better long-term pickups, and some are better for just this week or the short term.
- Darrel Williams (KC, 60%) — More likely owned, it’s worth pointing him out for those in leagues where he’s available. “One L” Williams averaged 19/94 scrimmage per game with three TDs in five games without CEH earlier this season in Weeks 6-10.
- Josh Palmer (LAC, 5%) — I think he’s a future fantasy stud, as soon as 2022, so if Mike Williams remains out for Week 17, Palmer’s a great add despite the tougher matchup vs. Den.
- Trey Lance (SF, 12%) — Jimmy G may go, but it sure seems like there’s a real chance Lance gets the call, and his HC reported that Lance has made good progress working the scout team the last month.
- Gerald Everett (Sea, 42%) — He’s clearly the third option in the passing game, if not the second. Great matchup this week vs. Det.
- Jordan Howard (Phi, 16%) — He’s the best bet for TDs, and 10+ carries a lock if healthy.
- Boston Scott (Phi, 15%) — He essentially slides into a slightly lesser Miles Sanders role.
- Dare Ogunbowale (Jax, 0%) — Tougher matchup overall, but then again the Pats run defense is their weakness and Dare can catch the ball. He’s a good bet to get 15-20 touches.
- Isaiah McKenzie (Buf, 1%) — If Cole Beasley is out along with Gabe Davis, dare I say McKenzie’s a must-start?
- Kadarius Toney (NYG, 22%) — I can’t quit Toney, apparently. But if you need upside, he did lead them with 9 targets last week, got a game under his belt, and it’s a better matchup this week.
- Zay Jones (LV, 1%) — If Darrren Waller is out again, Jones is definitely in the mix for 10+ FP.
- Tyler Conklin (Min, 42%) — If Adam Thielen is out, that’s huge for Conklin and makes him a top red zone target here.
- Rex Burkhead (Hou, 13%) — The production here is volatile, but he obviously went off last week, but tougher matchup vs. SF.
- Nico Collins (Hou, 2%) — He’s flashed lately for sure, and we’ll see about Brandin Cooks.
- Ke’Shawn Vaughn (TB, 1%) — Ronald Jones can never be counted on, and Vaughn has looked good and should get 30-35% of the snaps at worst.
- Mo Alie-Cox (Ind, 2%) — Would be looking a lot better with Jack Doyle out, but Carson Wentz has landed on the COVID list and may not play.
Ryan Tannehill (Ten, 64%), Derek Carr (LV, 60%), Taysom Hill (NO, 47%), Tua Tagovailoa (Mia, 41%), Matt Ryan (Atl, 51%)
Also, if he’s able to be removed from the COVID list: Carson Wentz (Ind, 48%)
Justin Fields (Chi, 23%) — Watching Fields and this offense is pretty painful since Fields often looks like he wished he picked a different career, but he’s producing for fantasy since he’s been running and throwing some nice passes on every 9-10 attempts. He’s been battling through a number of injuries, most notably a rib issue that cost him two games in Weeks 12-13, and he was unable to suit up in Week 16 because of an ankle injury. Fields did practice early last week before getting shut down, so there’s a solid chance he can return for the final two games (NYG, @Min) of the season. Matt Nagy is absolutely brutal, but Fields will have to put up with him for two more weeks, which makes him an even shakier proposition overall. It would help if he got Allen Robinson back, and that is expected to be the case. A-Rob has been taken off the covid list, but he did report he’s lost 10 pounds while off. Still, having Robinson on the field is better than not, and Fields still has Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, and some decent ancillary weapons to give him a chance as a fringe QB1 option. UPDATED: 12/28
Tyler Huntley (Bal, 14%) and Josh Johnson (Bal, 2%) — Lamar Jackson has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and his replacements, Huntley and Johnson, have each produced in his place. Huntley hung 35.9 FP against the Packers in Week 15 before missing last week with COVID, and third-string QB Johnson stepped into the lineup and posted 20.2 FP in a loss to the Bengals and was the QB7 for the week. All three quarterbacks can use their legs to supplement their fantasy production, and all wisely throw the ball to Mark Andrews, who is imposing his will on defenses and playing at an elite level. Baltimore’s secondary is playing so poorly that the Ravens will likely play in shootouts in the final two weeks (LAR, Pit), so Baltimore’s starting quarterback will be a viable QB1 option no matter who starts in the final two games.
Trey Lance (SF, 12%) — If we had to rank the possibility of Lance in Week 17 vs. Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 17, we’d go with the possibility of Lance due to the upside. With Jimmy G nursing a right thumb injury (throwing hand), Lance is on the radar. In fact, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported late Monday that Garoppolo is dealing with “a more significant injury” than a right thumb sprain. Lance wasn’t ready for his first start in Week 5, and he looked like a deer in the headlights and threw for 192 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT. But he did run for 89 yards on 16 carries, so he had a serviceable 15.6 FP. If Lance gets the call, it’s a good spot against a scrappy but exploitable Texans defense. Keep in mind they are in the playoffs right now, so they would probably prefer to keep playing Jimmy. But if Jimmy G’s keep him out of action, HC Kyle Shanhan has confirmed that Lance has improved noticeably running the scout team the last month or so. UPDATED: 12/28
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF, 40%) — Garoppolo is dealing with “a more significant injury” than a right thumb sprain.. If he goes, he gets an exploitable spot against the Texans this week before a potentially pivotal matchup against the Rams in the season finale. If he is okay and is cleared to start, it’s a good matchup against a scrappy but exploitable Texans defense. We got the full Jimmy Garoppolo experience in Week 16 with the quarterback throwing for 300+ yards and averaging 8.7 YPA against the Titans. But it was his two ugly, back-breaking interceptions — one at the goal line and one deep in his own territory — that led to their loss and reminded the 49ers why they drafted Trey Lance with the third overall pick. He’s thrown for 290+ yards in three of his last four games and he has two TD passes in five of his last eight games so he’s been a viable mid-QB2 option since Week 9 when George Kittle returned to the lineup. UPDATED: 12/28
Davis Mills (Hou, 3%) — One of the bigger surprises of the second half of the season is that Mills, a 2021 third-round pick, has looked more like a first-round pick than some of his contemporaries from this year’s QB class. Over the last three week, he’s the QB7 with more FP than Tom Brady. The Texans stunned the Chargers in Week 16 thanks to another excellent performance from Mills, as he completed 21/27 passes for 254 yards and two TDs. He’s looked calm and confident in the pocket since he took back over as the team’s starter in Week 14. Mills is quickly earning himself the starting job in 2022 with a strong finishing kick — the 2022 QB class is looking weak right now. HC David Culley has already announced that Mills will be the team’s starter for the remainder of the season, and the next two weeks will be telling for Mills’ future with some more challenging matchups looming (@SF, Ten). But those are two beatable secondaries, and Mills should get Brandin Cooks back this week.
Jared Goff (Det, 7%) — The Lions have been frisky since their Week 9 bye, sporting a 2-3-1 record with Goff in the lineup. He landed on the COVID list for Week 16, but he’s shown life recently since the Lions added his old Rams teammate Josh Reynolds to the receiving corps, which has opened things up underneath for rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown. Goff completed 21/26 passes for 216 yards (8.3 YPA) and three TDs in Detroit’s stunning 18-point victory over the Cardinals in Week 15, which gave Goff multiple TDs in three of his last four games. He is off the COVID list, but he won’t have stud TE T.J. Hockenson the rest of the season and Reynolds was placed on the COVID list and could miss Week 17 if he’s not vaccinated. If he is vaccinated, there's time to come off the list. Or, the NFL could alter its protocols again this week and make it possible Reynolds can come off the list in time for Week 17. Goff has some solid matchups in the next two weeks (@Sea, GB) to potentially keep the momentum going if you’re scrambling for help in two-QB/Superflex formats. UPDATED: 12/28
Ben Roethlisberger (Pit, 30%) — Big Ben was trending in the right direction with three performances of 19+ FP in Weeks 11-14, but the Steelers’ offense has hit the skids in the last two weeks against the Titans and Chiefs. He’s coming off a season-low 8.4 FP against the Chiefs, completing 23/35 passes for 159 yards (4.5 YPA), one TD, and one INT in Week 16. The Steelers need to play more “Big Ben Ball,” which entails Ben in the shotgun or pistol and getting rid of the ball quickly, usually to superstar Diontae Johnson because lord knows they cannot run the ball. There’s no doubt that Big Ben wants to end his final season with some respectable showings against the Browns and Ravens, but the question is will his body and his offensive line allow him to do it.
Mac Jones (NE, 33%) — The Bills got their revenge on New England and their rookie quarterback in Week 16. Jones had a miserable day in the loss, completing 14/32 passes (43.8%) for 145 scoreless yards (4.5 YPA) and two INTs for 7.1 FP. This is obviously still a run-heavy offense with a stout defense, which often caps Mac’s fantasy upside, and he’s shown some cracks the last two weeks with four total INTs against AFC playoff teams (Colts, Bills). The good news is that his schedule gets easier in the final two weeks of the season with matchups against the Jaguars and Dolphins. He’ll still be a low-end streaming option to end the season, and, if you use Jones, you’ll be hoping the Patriots take out some frustrations on the Jaguars this week after two sub-par performances. Otherwise, he might not have to do much in Week 17.
Baker Mayfield (Cle, 29%) — Mayfield is playing through a fracture in his non-throwing shoulder in addition to his torn labrum, and he has just one performance with 19+ FP through 16 weeks. He’s coming off a four-INT performance against the Packers that just about eliminates the Browns from playoff contention. Mayfield is a poor desperation option in Superflex/two-QB formats in the final two weeks (@Pit, Cin), and he managed just 9.5 FP against the Steelers back in Week 8 and has only 2 TD passes in his last three against Pittsburgh.
Drew Lock (Den, 2%) — Teddy Bridgewater suffered a scary concussion in Week 15, which required him to be carted off the field. His status for the rest of the season (@LAC, KC) is very much up in the air, and Lock has been the next man up in this run-heavy offense. He posted just 7.1 FP in his first start this season, completed 15/22 passes for 153 scoreless yards (7.0 YPA) in a loss to the Raiders. Lock has plenty of passing weapons at his disposal, but he averaged 6.6 YPA with 23 TDs and 18 INTs over 18 career starts in 2019-20. They will usually lean heavily on their running game so he’ll be a low-end option in two-QB/Superflex leagues while he’s starting for Bridgewater in the coming weeks. There is a speck of upside since he isn’t shy about throwing downfield, but there’s always downside with Lock, that downside was present in Week 16.
Trevor Lawrence (Jax, 27%) — The first overall pick from last spring’s draft has struggled mightily for most of the season, and his struggles have continued even with Urban Meyer getting kicked to the curb. He’s now finished with fewer than 14 FP in eight of his last nine games, and he has just one touchdown pass in his last eight contests. YIKES. It’s so bad right now that Laquon Treadwell has been the team’s best receiver for the last five weeks. He can’t be trusted in lineups for the rest of the season, especially with difficult matchups looming (@NE, Ind). They placed TE Dan Arnold on the COVID list on 12/27, so his status is up in the air.
Zach Wilson (NYJ, 8%) — Wilson took back the starting job in Week 12 after missing four games for a knee injury, and he remains a major work in progress. He had his best fantasy performance of the season (23.2) in Week 16 thanks to a fluky 52-yard touchdown run, as he posted just 102/1 passing in their victory over the Jaguars. He’s actually a top-15 QB Weeks 14-16, which is pretty disgusting. New York’s upcoming schedule features difficult matchups for this limited passing attack (TB, @Buf), and he’ll be operating without Corey Davis for the rest of the season and potentially without Jamison Crowder. Elijah Moore is eligible to come off IR and is considered day-to-day, but he’s also been on the covid list, so his status is unknown. Wilson is still a desperation option in Superflex/two-QB leagues until we see signs of significant improvement, and we’re just about out of time for the 2021 season.
Jamaal Williams (Det, 59%), Rhamondre Stevenson (NE, 66%), Mike Davis (Atl, 52%), Mark Ingram (NO, 47%), Nyheim Hines (Ind, 50%)
Darrel Williams (KC, 60%) — Clyde Edwards-Helaire left Week 16 in the third quarter with a collarbone injury, which left the backfield for Williams and Derek Gore for the remainder of the game. Williams finished with 11/55 rushing and he caught all three of his targets for 30 yards on a 42% snap share, and Gore added 12/43 rushing and 3/61 receiving on a 28% snap share in a victory over the Steelers. Darrel averaged 19.2/94.0 scrimmage per game with three TDs in five games without CEH earlier this season in Weeks 6-10, and he’s a must-add this week if CEH could be unavailable the next two weeks (@Cin, @Den). CEH’s X-Rays came back negative, but he’s week-to-week and likely out at least Week 17.
Jordan Howard (Phi, 16%) and Boston Scott (Phi, 15%) — You may need some luck if you’re to successfully navigate this Eagles’ backfield on a week-to-week basis with four backs in the mix and now injuries galore, including new injuries in Week 16 to Miles Sanders (hand) and Howard (stinger). Sanders broke his hand and will not play in Week 17, but he will not be placed on IR to give him a chance to play Week 18. As for Howard, as of Monday, they are hoping he can play. This backfield has produced plenty of rushing production since they dedicated themselves to running the rock starting in Week 8, and with HC Nick Sirianni committed to rotating his backs, it clears things up a little with Sanders out. Scott has been the basic Sanders replacement with Howard remaining in his role. Of course, Kenneth Gainwell will factor in the mix in passing situations. Howard is probably the better play for his TD upside, but it’s close. Over the last eight weeks, Scott has 66/302/4 rushing and 6/34 receiving with Howard posting 75/380/3 rushing and 2/19 receiving. It’s not a great matchup at Washington, but the Eagles ran for 238/2 against them just two weeks ago.
Rex Burkhead (Hou, 13%) — Chasing fantasy production in this Houston backfield has been a mostly fruitless endeavor this season, but Burkhead has been the closest thing to a fantasy-relevant option since Houston’s Week 10 bye. He erupted for 28.9 FP in Week 16 against the Chargers, posting 22/149/2 rushing on 62% of the snaps in Houston’s shocking victory over the Chargers. Houston’s coaching staff trusts Burkhead the most to play next to Davis Mills, and the Texans’ offense actually has some juice with the rookie quarterback improving every week. Burkhead suddenly has some low-end RB2 appeal in the final two weeks (@SF, Ten) of the season, especially with COVID wreaking havoc on fantasy rosters in recent weeks. Speaking of COVID, David Johnson was placed on the COVID list on Monday 12/27, so his status is unknown.
Dare Ogunbowale (Jax, 0%) and Ryquell Armstead (Jax, 0%) — James Robinson’s rollercoaster season came to an end in an unfortunate fashion when he tore his Achilles in the first quarter of Week 16 against the Jets. Passing back Ogunbowale was the last man standing in this backfield in Week 16 with Carlos Hyde landing on the injured reserve last week with a concussion, but Armstead could be elevated to the lead runner spot this week after being a healthy scratch against the Jets. Ogunbowale finished with 17/57/1 receiving and 2/15 receiving on four targets with an 82% snap share as the team’s only healthy back. The Jaguars were high on Armstead last off-season before his career got derailed after developing myocarditis from a severe bout with COVID. The Jaguars’ offense has been one of the league’s worst and they have tougher matchups against the Patriots and Colts remaining, so don’t get your hopes up too much with these remaining options in Jacksonville. If we had to pick, it’s Ogunbowale by a mile, and he will likely be ranked in the RB25-30 range for Week 17.
Duke Johnson (Mia, 1%) — We tried our best to temper expectations for a guy coming off a serious 2021 coming out party with the best performance we’ve seen in this backfield this season in Week 15, albeit against the league’s worst defense against RBs. After seeing just four carries all season long, Johnson hung 22/107/2 rushing and 1/20 receiving for 25.7 FP on a 58% snap share against the Jets. Dookie got elevated to the top spot because Myles Gaskin saw just one practice after a week’s layoff on the COVID list. HC Brian Flores will be choosing between Johnson, Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Phillip Lindsay, and Malcolm Brown moving forward, and in Week 16 it was Duke, Gaskin, and Linsay. Dookie led them in snaps, but at only 35% and he posted only 13/39 rushing with zero targets. The Dolphins now go from the easiest RB matchup in the league (NYJ) to the two toughest RB matchups (@NO, @Ten) in the next two weeks, so Johnson is a desperation play only. But if we had to pick one RB for this week, that has to be Johnson (over Gaskin). UPDATED: 12/28
Tevin Coleman (NYJ, 18%) — Nobody wants to start this guy, but the guy is actually 15th in RB carries in his last four games (he missed Week 14), so they clearly value his experience in this backfield on early downs. He played only 19 snaps, but he got a carry on 14 of them. He also has six targets in his last four games, so he’s a threat to get you 8-10 FP if desperate.
Derrick Gore (KC, 1%) — With Clyde Edwards-Helaire likely out Week 17 with his shoulder injury, it’ll be Darrel Williams stepping into the lead role, but Gore should be well within the mix. Playing only 19 snaps or 29% of the snaps, Gore totaled 15 touches with 12/43 rushing and 3/61 receiving on three targets. Gore’s workload was encouraging, especially in the passing game, even if it came in a blowout win. Gore could be in the mix for 10+ touches against the Bengals, and he’s been the better runner between him and Williams.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn (TB, 1%) — Ronald Jones is Tampa Bay’s new lead runner with Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard both on the injured reserve, and second-year RB Vaughn has been elevated into the passing-back/change-of-pace role. He broke off a 55-yard touchdown run against the Panthers in Week 16 on his way to 7/70/1 rushing and he failed to catch his lone targets on 36% of the snaps. He’s off the radar in most formats this week, but he has a pulse in deeper leagues since the Buccaneers square off against the friendliest defense for fantasy RBs in Week 16 against the Jets. It’s still Jones’ job while Fournette is out, but Vaughn could squeeze him for snaps. With some playing time and seasoning, Vaughn can be a better player and fantasy asset than Ronald Jones.
Peyton Barber (LV, 3%) — Barber has looked decent in Weeks 15-16 with 10/56/1 rushing and his value would skyrocket if Josh Jacobs went down. He might even have some standalone value on the low-end if 6-7 points will make you happy. If Jacobs is out, he’s a top-20 fantasy back with 20+ touches likely.
Deejay Dallas (Sea, 2%) — He’s played a very healthy 55 snaps the last two weeks (58%, 39%), and he’s hit 7.0 FP in both games with 12 carries, 7 catches, and a TD. Rashad Penny will be the man unless he gets hurt, but he gets hurt a lot, so Dallas has some upside as a desperation play.
Best Handcuff Stashes
Samaje Perine (Cin, 13%) — Perine is the primary handcuff for Joe Mixon, who already had an injury scare earlier this season when he went down with an ankle injury. He went down with another ankle injury late in Cincinnati’s victory over the Broncos, but he was able to play his full allotment of snaps in Week 16. But this ankle has been a lingering issue for Mixon so Perine is still a good stash. Perine has had just one chance to dominate the work in Cincinnati back in Week 5 when he posted 11/59 rushing and 4/24/1 receiving on 61% of the snaps against the Packers.
Devontae Booker (NYG, 23%) — Booker is the running back to own behind Saquon Barkley in this Giants’ backfield. He scored double-digit FP in each of his five games with Saquon out of the lineup in Weeks 5-9, and he’s been getting some weekly work behind Barkley since he returned to the lineup after their Week 10 bye. He’s actually outplayed Barkley for the most part.
Khalil Herbert (Chi, 15%) — David Montgomery is back and dominating touches and playing time in Chicago’s backfield, but Herbert asserted himself as his handcuff during Montgomery’s four-week absence. He averaged 21.8 touches and 97.0 scrimmage yards per game in Weeks 5-8 so he’s a viable RB2 if Montgomery misses more time. Damien Williams did play in Week 14, but he was a non-factor in Week 15 and Herbert caught a couple of balls late in the game and then scored a TD in Week 16.
Jaret Patterson (WFT, 7%) — Antonio Gibson ended up playing in Week 16, but he played only 37% of the snaps Patterson played 25% of the snaps and led them in rushing with 9/33. Veteran Jonathan Williams actually led them with 40% of the snaps, but that was in a blowout loss, and they do also have Wendell Smallwood potentially in the mix, But if Gibson is out, Patterson is the guy to have.
DeVante Parker (Mia, 63%), Elijah Moore (NYJ, 57%), Marvin Jones (Jax, 51%)
K.J. Osborn (Min, 34%) — Adam Thielen tried to play through his high-ankle injury in Week 16, which kept him out of the lineup in Weeks 14-15, but he was in and mostly out of the lineup in their loss to the Rams. Osborn stepped up behind him and finished with 5/68/1 receiving on seven targets (18% share) for 17.8 FP. Osborn has now posted 14+ FP in three of the four games since Thielen initially suffered the injury in Week 13, and he’ll be a solid plug-and-play WR3 option if Thielen is unable to play in the final two games (@GB, Chi) of the season.
Josh Palmer (LAC, 5%) — The rookie Palmer got elevated into a prominent role for the second time in the last three weeks with Mike Williams and Jalen Guyton missing Week 16 after landing on the COVID list. And for the second time in three weeks, Palmer came through with 15+ FP and a touchdown this time in Los Angeles’ ugly loss to the Texans. Guyton’s status for this week is up in the air but Williams will miss Week 17 against the Broncos since he’s unvaccinated. Palmer is a widely available player who can be plugged into lineups, and he’s an ascending player who has taken full advantage of his playing opportunities when he’s been given the chance to play with Justin Herbert. We should note that there’s been talk of the NFL adjusting its COVID protocols again this week, which could open up the possibility that Williams can be taken off the list. That’s a huge story for Palmer’s Week 17 value. UPDATED: 12/28
Rashod Bateman (Bal, 37%) — Bateman was owned in just 37% of Yahoo! leagues last week, so he’s back on the list. Bateman posted only one catch for five yards on two targets in Week 15, but he put up 7/108 on 8 targets in Week 14 and 4/26/1 in Week 16. That’s a respectable WR37 the last three weeks and he’s been over 80% of the snaps in that span. He’s also now clicked with all three Ravens QBs this year.
Isaiah McKenzie (Buf, 1%) — McKenzie stepped into a prominent role with both Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis missing Week 16 as unvaccinated players on the COVID list. He finished with a team-best 11/125/1 receiving on 12 targets (26% share) for 29.4 FP in a victory over the Patriots. Both Beasley and Davis will have to sit out 10 days while on the COVID list, which means Davis won’t play while Beasley will have a chance to return. McKenzie won’t have much fantasy value if Beasley is able to step right back into his old role in Week 17, but that shouldn’t be taken for granted with news coming out that Beasley has been fined in the range of $100,000 for different violations of the league’s COVID protocols. There’s a chance the Bills’ organization is tired of Beasley’s actions, and McKenzie’s strong performance in Week 16 could also change the dynamic in this Bills’ receiving corps. They also have a great matchup this week against the Falcons. Also, it’s just not happening with Emmanuel Sanders, who hasn’t hit 30 yards since Week 9.
Robby Anderson (Car, 37%) — The Panthers have come out slinging it to Robby in their first three games after firing OC Joe Brady, peppering Anderson with 30 overall targets. He’s posted 9+ FP in all three contests after posting 5/58 receiving on 10 targets against the Buccaneer. It’s a little scary playing Robby right now knowing there are lumps of coal (Cam Newton and Sam Darnold) throwing him the ball, but at least the Fantasy Santa has been spotted once again with the change of offensive coordinators and he’s the WR20 in his last three games, his only three games in December. The Panthers will also be playing in pass-heavy scripts (@NO, @TB) to end the season to give Robby a chance to stick around as boom-or-bust WR3.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB, 40%) and Allen Lazard (GB, 24%) — MVS was added to the COVID list on Dec. 21, so he’ll have a chance to return for the final two games of the season (Min, @Det) after missing Week 16. He led the Packers in receiving with 5/98/1 receiving on seven targets (23% share) in Green Bay’s victory over the Ravens in Week 15. MVS led the Packers in targets in three out of his last four games, and he’s produced 20+ FP in two of those games. MVS is the definition of a boom-or-bust WR3. If you’re willing to embrace his volatility, he has the kind of weekly upside that could help you win a week in the fantasy playoffs. Lazard will slide back into the #3 WR spot if MVS is able to return, but he’s capable of going off at any time with Aaron Rodgers playing at an extremely high level. He posted 2/45/1 receiving on five targets with MVS out of the lineup in Week 16, which gives him 13+ FP in two of his last three games.
Laquon Treadwell (Jax, 4%) — You know it’s been a weird fantasy season when Treadwell has worked his way into fantasy relevance. He’s now posted five consecutive games with 4+ catches and 50+ receiving yards after finishing with 4/54 receiving on five targets (13% share) against the Jets in Week 16. Treadwell isn’t the most trustworthy fantasy option since he has a long history of failure and he’s playing in one of the league’s worst offenses, but he deserves to be on the radar for stringing together five solid performances in a row.
Donovan Peoples-Jones (Cle, 13%) — DPJ has been hampered by a groin injury for much of the last two months, but he’s looked rejuvenated coming out of their Week 13 bye. He’s seen 6+ targets in three straight games but it didn’t matter in Week 16 as he finished with just a five-yard catch on six targets against the Packers. He at least played a position-best 87% of the snaps, but he’s still a fairly volatile option playing with Mayfield in a run-heavy attack for the rest of the season (@Pit, Cin). The Browns will take weekly shots his way moving forward since he actually gives them some juice on the perimeter, but he’s liable to bust if he doesn’t connect as he did in Week 16.
Josh Reynolds (Det, 13%) — Reynolds has been elevated into the top perimeter WR spot since arriving on the scene in Week 12. He’s posted 3+ catches and 50+ receiving yards in four straight games playing with his boy Jared Goff, but he flopped in Week 16 with Tim Boyle, posting 2/36 receiving on seven targets (21% share). Jared Goff has been groping for any kind of help at WR all season long, and the contributions from Amon-Ra St. Brown and Reynolds have given Goff some stability at the position. Reynolds got Jared Goff off the COVID list on Monday, and then Reynolds himself went on the list the same day (12/27). If vaccinated, he still has a chance to play the final two games (@Sea, GB). Or, the NFL could alter its protocols again this week and make it possible Reynolds can come off the list in time for Week 17. UPDATED: 12/28
Kadarius Toney (NYG, 22%) — He’s obviously tough to trust on the hapless Giants, but at least he got a game under his belt in Week 16, and with Jake Fromm, the presumed Week 17 starter. He played only 51% of the snaps, but he still led the team in targets (9), catches (4), and receiving yards (28). It’s an easier matchup this week against the Bears, so Toney has a speck of upside in Week 17.
Zay Jones (LV, 1%) — Jones has been trending up in recent weeks with Darren Waller (knee) out of the lineup and with Bryan Edwards (COVID) mostly disappointing. In his last six games, he’s a respectable WR33 in scoring, more than DK Metcalf, Amari Cooper, and Michael Pittman. Jones has posted 5+ catches in four of his last five games, including two consecutive performances with 11+ FP. Jones will lose his limited appeal if Waller is able to return to the lineup in the next two weeks (@Ind, LAC), and they are hoping he can practice. Still, he’s hardly a lock to return as he’s yet to practice since suffering his injury in Week 16. UPDATED: 12/28
Nico Collins (Hou, 2%) — Collins, a 2021 third-round pick, is getting more chances to play at the end of the season, and he’s responded with 11+ FP in two of his last three games. He finished with 3/33/1 receiving on four targets on a 66% snap share against the Chargers in Week 16. Rookie quarterback Davis Mills is coming into his own since they made him the starter again in Week 14, and Collins has been given the chance to develop with him. Collins has a better chance to post production if Brandin Cooks (COVID) misses another game, but Collins has done enough to consider in deeper formats in the final two weeks (@SF, Ten).
Pat Freiermuth (Pit, 52%), Jared Cook (LAC, 61%)
Gerald Everett (Sea, 42%) — Everett sure is happy to see Russell Wilson back in action with five double-digit FP performances in seven tries since Russ returned to the kitchen in Week 10. Everett is coming off his best performance of the season with 4/68/1 receiving on five targets for 16.8 FP against the Bears in Week 16. He’s established himself as the third option in this passing attack, and you could argue that he’s battling with D.K. Metcalf to be the second option. He gets one of the friendlier TE matchups against the Lions this week before ending with one of the toughest against the Cardinals.
Foster Moreau (LV, 22%) — It took a few weeks, but Derek Carr is finally letting it loose toward Moreau in the last two games with Darren Waller (knee) continuing to miss time. He’s posted 11/132 receiving on 13 targets in Weeks 15-16 against the Browns and Broncos, and he’ll be a low-end TE1 option in a juicy matchup against the Colts this week if Waller is out again. Indy has allowed an individual TE to reach 12+ FP in seven of their last eight games after Zach Ertz posted 8/54 against them in Week 15. However, HC Rich Bassacia said this week that he is hoping Waller can practice this week. Vegas’ win last week placed them squarely within the playoff picture, so that could help get Waller to suit up. UPDATED: 12/28
Cole Kmet (Chi, 34%) — Kmet had been trending in the right direction since Week 6 with 3+ catches in nine of his last 10 games, but he’s yet to find the end zone this season, which has capped his upside. He finished with 4/49 receiving on five targets playing with Nick Foles in a Week 16 loss to the Seahawks, and Jimmy Graham vultured his third touchdown in the last five weeks. Kmet has become a trusted weapon in the middle of the field for whoever is at quarterback for the Bears, and he’ll remain a high-floor, low-ceiling option in PPR formats in the final two games (NYG, @Min).
Tyler Conklin (Min, 42%) — Adam Thielen tried to play through his high-ankle injury in Week 16, which kept him out of the lineup in Weeks 14-15, but he was in and mostly out of the lineup in their loss to the Rams. Conklin took on a bigger role in the passing game with Thielen ailing, posting 4/44 receiving on five targets (13% share) in defeat. Conklin has mostly been invisible with just one double-digit FP performance in his last six games, but he’ll be a low-end in the final two games (@GB, Chi) of the season if Thielen is unable to play.
Evan Engram (NYG, 31%) — Engram has been a mostly worthless fantasy option this season, but he does have four catches in three of his last four games. He scored his first touchdown since Week 9 on his way to posting 4/17/1 receiving on five targets against the Eagles. Engram is hardly a special option but he has the chance to catch 3-5 passes if you’re dying in a PPR format.
Mo Alie-Cox (Ind, 2%) — Jack Doyle left Week 16 early with an ankle/knee injury, which led to a season-high 90% of the snaps for MAC. He finished with 2/42 receiving four targets (14% share) in one of the league’s toughest matchups against the Cardinals in Week 16. Alie-Cox will be one of the top streaming options this week if Doyle is unable to play. He has some touchdown upside with four scores on just 37 targets this season, and he gets one of the friendlier TE matchups against the Raiders this week. However, MAC’s chances to produce will take a big hit if Carson Wentz can’t play this week, which is very possible (COVID LIST). UPDATED: 12/28
Dustin Hopkins (LAC, 30%) - Hopkins has booted two or more field goals in three of his last four outings and in 10 of his 16 games this season. He has converted on 14 of his 27 field goals this year from the bonus range. Between Washington and Los Angeles, Hopkins has missed three field goals and all of them have been from the bonus range.
Greg Zuerlein (Dal, 20%) - Zuerlein had a five game streak of multiple field goal outings snapped in week 16, but it was due to the Cowboys winning 56-14 and not needing his leg on field goal tries. In fact, Zuerlein has multiple field goal games in eight of his last ten outings. Dallas faces Arizona at home and it should be a hard fought battle with Zuerlein getting multiple field goal opportunities.
Riley Patterson (Det, 0%) - Patterson has three field goals converted in back-to-back outings and in three of his last four games. He may only get two chances this week, but multiple field goals at fantasy playoff time is extremely valuable. This is especially true with Patterson as nearly half of his ten field goals made since Week 12 have been from the bonus range.
Colts (Ind, 53%), Saints (NO, 63%), 49ers (SF, 78%)
Seahawks (Sea, 49%) — Seattle is at home to face the Lions, one of the best matchups for DSTs all season. Despite their poor offense, Seattle’s defense has been above average. They’ve held 11 of their last 12 opponents to 23 or fewer points before giving up 25 to Chicago. They’ve discovered their pressure formula lately, with 8 sacks in their last two games.
Titans (Ten, 41%) — The Titans have at least 2 sacks in six of their last seven games, and non of their last three opponents have scored more than 19 points. They also have 6 INTs in their last three games. Since their bye, this D-line ha sbeen more effective in both stopping the run and applying pressure. They’ll close out their schedule with Miami and Houston. Both the Dolphins and Texans have been top-10 opponents for DSTs.
Giants (NYG, 15%) — This defense has some playmakers that have come through in good matchups. Players like Leonard Williams and Logan Ryan propelled them to three top-10 finishes this season. Outside of those three games, they’ve been a below-average defense in scoring, though they rarely give up 30+ points. They are a desperation play in super deep leagues, but they have an outside shot at that type of production to close out the season, with matchups against Chicago and Washington.