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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Kevin Hickey

Fantasy football waiver wire: Week 16 free agent forecast

For the majority of leagues, the first round of the fantasy football playoffs comes to an end Monday night after a wild weekend of games in Week 15.

Hopefully, you were able to get through the week unscathed with a victory, but there were plenty of injuries that hit managers right in the starting lineup.

Among the players with injuries to monitor enter Week 16 include Ja’Marr Chase, Keenan Allen, Josh Jacobs, Alexander Mattison, Brian Robinson Jr., Michael Pittman Jr., Zack Moss, AJ Dillon and Isiah Pacheco.

The bye weeks also are finally over, so it will be just good old-fashioned fantasy football. With trade deadlines concluded in the majority of leagues as well, the waiver wire becomes the most vital tool for fantasy managers over the three weeks.

We’re also getting to the point of the season in which stashing FAAB isn’t as crucial. Don’t hesitate to spend a bit more on a player who might give your team an edge down the stretch.

We’ll be taking a look at the top available players rostered in Yahoo leagues, using the 75% rostered mark as the threshold. If you have any questions about prioritizing a certain player over another, don’t be afraid to hit me up on X, formerly Twitter, (@KevinHickey11). Your questions and comments are always welcome!

We also will be taking a look at some deeper players to stash and the top streaming options for the upcoming week.

Fantasy football waiver wire recommendations refer to 12-team league formats, unless specifically stated.

Check back for any updates throughout Monday and Tuesday as more injury news becomes available.

Priority Free Agents

Credit: Kareem Elgazzar, The Enquirer

1. RB Ty Chandler, Minnesota Vikings

If Alexander Mattison (ankle) is set to miss another game, Chandler will be an easy RB2 option. He was the clear leader in the backfield last week, playing 81% of the snaps while posting a 23-132-1 rushing line and adding 3-25-0 in the receiving game. Don’t be surprised if he fends off a healthy Mattison.

Availability: 48%
FAAB: 80%

2. WR Jayden Reed, Green Bay Packers

Another game without Christian Watson (hamstring) meant another opportunity for Reed to show out. He did, indeed, with a 6-52-1 receiving line on a team-high eight targets. Reed now has double-digit PPR points in five of his last six games. There’s a caveat that he left with a toe injury, so monitor that situation.

Availability: 34%
FAAB: 75%

3. RB Jerick McKinnon, Kansas City Chiefs

Even if Isiah Pacheco (shoulder) returns this week, McKinnon will continue to be involved, especially around the goal line. He found the end zone in each of the last two games despite totaling no more than 37 yards in either contest. He should be plenty involved against a Raiders defense that has improved over the last month.

Availability: 59%
FAAB: 70%

4. TE Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens

For the second week in a row, Likely finished as a high-end TE1. He posted a 5-70-1 line on six targets against Jacksonville on Sunday night. Considering the landscape at tight end, there aren’t many options available that can hit this level of consistency.

Availability: 38%
FAAB: 50%

5. RB Zamir White, Las Vegas Raiders

We are still in wait-and-see mode when it comes to Josh Jacobs (quad), but White looked solid as an early-down replacement last week. He posted a 17-69-1 rushing line while adding three receptions for 16 yards in the passing game. White’s value plummets if Jacobs returns, and the matchup isn’t great against Kansas City. But he’s a worthy depth piece if Jacobs can’t play.

Availability: 85%
FAAB: 50%

6. RB Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans

The Titans are officially out of playoff contention, which means they may want to get a look at their younger pieces. They won’t bench Derrick Henry outright, but Spears could be a sneaky flex option in deeper leagues against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16.

Availability: 55%
FAAB: 40%

7. WR Noah Brown, Houston Texans

Brown came through with a big game thanks to the absences of Nico Collins (calf) and C.J. Stroud (concussion). He posted an 8-82-1 receiving line on 11 targets against Tennessee last week. The matchup against Cleveland coming up is tough, but he gets the Titans again in Week 17.

Availability: 51%
FAAB: 35%

8. RB Trey Sermon, Indianapolis Colts

Sermon would be higher if we knew Zack Moss (arm) and Jonathan Taylor (thumb) weren’t going to play in Week 16. He’s still a decent speculative add off the waiver wire in the event both players are ruled out. Sermon split time with Tyler Goodson last week after Moss’ injury, and it would likely be more of the same. But he did well enough to get the lead role in the backfield if both Moss and Taylor are out. If either one of them returns against Atlanta, Sermon becomes a very risky play.

Availability: 100%
FAAB: 35%

9. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

If we knew Pacheco wouldn’t be playing in Week 16, CEH would be higher on this list. He was able to save a rough day on the ground (37 rushing yards) with a 4-64-1 receiving line against New England. He would be a fringe RB2 option if Pacheco misses another game, but he won’t be startable if Pacheco returns in Week 16.

Availability: 60%
FAAB: 35%

10. RB Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons

A poor weather game led to Allgeier splitting snaps with Bijan Robinson. However, Allgeier’s 14 carries doubled Robinson’s seven, and he saw just one fewer target. Who knows what Arthur Smith is going to do with the backfield, but Allgeier would be a sneaky flex play against the Colts if that workload continued.

Availability: 52%
FAAB: 20%


Credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

This is the time to grab the handcuffs of players both on your team and the handcuffs of players on other teams, so expect to see some of the same names moving forward. Preferably, no FAAB would be spent to acquire these players, but we’ll give a maximum suggestion.

RB Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles play Monday night so we’ll update this if need be. He’s a high-end handcuff in the event of a Swift injury.

Availability: 72%

RB Roschon Johnson, Chicago Bears

It’s probably best to avoid this backfield entirely, but Johnson led the Bears running backs in snaps, routes run, and targets. He gets the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16.

Availability: 79%
FAAB: 5%

RB Chase Brown, Cincinnati Bengals

The backfield still belongs to Joe Mixon, but Brown has shown some juice over the last month. If anything, he’s a great handcuff to have for Mixon.

Availability: 80%

RB Jordan Mason, San Francisco 49ers

Mason was the backup to Christian McCaffrey again last week. He’s not startable, but he would be if CMC missed time.

Availability: 97%

WR Dontayvion Wicks, Green Bay Packers

Some would argue Wicks deserves to be a priority add after posting a 6-97-0 line last week, and I don’t necessarily disagree. I would still start Jayden Reed over him, but he’s a nice emergency option to have on the bench if Reed’s toe issue is serious enough to cause him to miss time.

Availability: 97%

WR Darius Slayton, New York Giants

The Giants will face the Eagles in Week 16, which means Slayton may have some sleeper potential for teams who need a desperation flex play.

Availability: 98%
FAAB: 1%

Streamers of the Week

Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Coming off a masterful performance, Mayfield is a fringe QB1 option against a Jaguars defense that has allowed 22.2 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks since Week 10.

Availability: 46%

Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts at Atlanta Falcons: Minshew has played well on the road this season, for the most part, and just threw three touchdown passes against the Steelers. He’s a decent streaming option this week.

Availability: 75%

TE Hunter Henry, New England Patriots at Denver Broncos: With three touchdown receptions over the last two weeks, Henry is in play against a Broncos defense allowing 18.1 PPR points per game to the position since Week 10.

Availability: 76%

TE Tucker Kraft, Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers: The matchup isn’t great on paper, but Kraft has been very involved since Luke Musgrave‘s injury. He has four receptions in each of the last two games and six targets in two of his last three.

Availability: 90%

Green Bay Packers D/ST at Carolina Panthers: There may not be a better matchup for defenses than the Panthers, who haven’t scored more than 18 points in a game since Week 8.

Availability: 53%

Denver Broncos D/ST vs. New England Patriots: Though they were embarrassed by Detroit last week, the Broncos are a great start against a Patriots offense that has surpassed 17 points in a game once since Week 8.

Availability: 53%

PK Matt Gay, Indianapolis Colts at Atlanta Falcons: Gay has missed a few kicks over the last two weeks, but he should have plenty of chances to bounce back. Atlanta has allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to kickers this season.

Availability: 65%

Jason Myers, Seattle Seahawks at Tennessee Titans: Myers should be plenty busy on the road against a Tennessee team that has allowed the most fantasy points per game and field-goal attempts to kickers this season.

Availability: 47%

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