Waiver advice, fantasy advice in general, is not a perfect science. Sometimes things go awry. Plenty of apparent diamonds in the rough end up being utterly worthless. But sometimes you slip Jerick McKinnon and Zay Jones into the same article the week before playoffs, and they both drop 34 fantasy points. I surely hope that the 29% of you that added McKinnon and the 8% of you that added Jones started both guys for Week 15. If you did, you're probably moving on to the semifinals. (Spoiler alert: I have the data, 31% of you started McKinnon, and 49% of you started Jones. Those numbers should both go way up for Week 16).
The best news about McKinnon and Jones is that both are still relatively available (McKinnon in 55% of leagues, Jones in 46%), so check your wire and empty the savings account to get them if possible. However, if they aren't, or if you've got the assets to acquire some other goodies for your semifinal push, I've got guys. Let's find another couple of 30-pointers, shall we (#WishfulThinking).
To the wire!
(And if you want more guys, more explanations, or more answers, hit me up on Twitter @MattOkada!)
Rostered percentages are from NFL.com's fantasy football player trends. Players are roughly ordered by priority within position.
NOTE: I know Knight had a horrific game performance on Sunday, but if he didn't tank your quarterfinals match, he gets much easier opponents in the Jaguars and Seahawks the next two weeks (the Lions have actually been incredibly tough against running backs for over a month now). Add him and/or start him next week.
You could be excused for blaming the Colts’ historic loss on Saturday on the early exit of Jonathan Taylor. In his absence, Moss and Jackson averaged only 3.7 yards per carry (136 yards on 37 carries) in a long series of disappointingly short drives. But for fantasy, we don’t care all that much about whether the Colts allowed a 33-point comeback. We care about opportunity and fantasy points. Certainly, we would prefer more opportunities to score (Jackson did get a 1-yard receiving touchdown, but, incredibly, the rest of the Colts’ 36 points all came on special teams or defense). But beggars can’t necessarily be choosers this time of year, and if you were relying on Taylor, one of these guys is likely to be a feasible fill-in. Next week, Indianapolis gets the utterly atrocious Chargers run defense (on Monday night). I would be tempted and willing to start either guy in that game (in a tough spot). But beyond that, they draw the also abysmal Giants run defense in championship week after we’ve had a chance to evaluate the backfield breakdown. Color me intrigued.
After a stretch of “meh” in which Allgeier had consistently OK rushing yardage but did nothing else fantasy-relevant, the Falcons rookie absolutely exploded for 139 yards and one touchdown on Sunday (22.6 fantasy points, with Caleb Huntley exiting with an ankle injury). The only thing keeping Allgeier from being a legitimate league-winner is veteran vulture Cordarrelle Patterson (who had 14 carries and one goal-line touchdown in Week 15). And Patterson will likely cause you consternation for the rest of the season. The good news with Allgeier is that he has the juice to make a lot out of a little, so he can produce without a “bell-cow” workload. If you can manage it, the ideal strategy here would be to ‘stache Allgeier through Week 16 (on the road against a stingy Ravens defense) before starting him in championship week at home against a highly suspect Cardinals crew. Legitimate league-winning upside that week.
Guys to 'Stache: With so many guys in the "Add if Available" section this week, there aren't many leftovers to 'stache. One name worth a glance is Marlon Mack, who has come from nowhere to score 32 fantasy points on only 14 touches in the last two weeks. Great efficiency, not a great workload. Mack is a dart-throw play in a pinch and a superb 'stache, just in case Latavius Murray develops an injury issue over the next couple of weeks.
NOTE: Please. Please. Add Zay Jones if he's available, and START HIM IF YOU'VE GOT HIM. I don't care how tough the matchup looks. The Cowboys looked tough, and he scored 35 fantasy points. He's a stud.
Tyler Lockett suffered a broken finger in Week 15 and is very likely to miss each of the last two games of the fantasy postseason. The last time one of the dynamic duo of Lockett and DK Metcalf missed the majority of a game (Week 7), Goodwin scored a pair of touchdowns in his best fantasy game of the season. And that was a midgame injury to Metcalf (who Goodwin is far less suited to replace). This time around, the Seahawks have a week to prepare to face the Chiefs with a Goodwin-Metcalf duo in an essentially must-win game. The Chiefs have been a top-five matchup for fantasy wide receivers on the season and over the last month. This has all the makings of a barn-burner, and Goodwin has all the makings of a playoff-deciding upside play. Add him and start him.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Donovan Peoples-Jones. I’m hoping that if I write his name enough times (especially given its length), you all will stop overlooking DPJ and get him over the 60% rostership cutoff so I can stop writing his name. Is he flashy? No, maybe not. But Peoples-Jones has had 13+ fantasy points in five of the last six games and has had double-digit totals in all but two games since Week 4 ... WEEK 4, PEOPLE. The man is consistent. He’s the ideal FLEX play. And his quarterback is slowly remembering how to throw a football properly. He’s a start in Week 16. Get him in there.
Two weeks ago, I highlighted Dotson as a through-the-bye ‘stache for a sneaky playoff run. Well, Dotson delivered on Sunday night with 105 yards, another touchdown and 20.5 fantasy points. In the three games immediately following his return from injury (Weeks 10-12), Dotson had four total targets. In his other six career games, he has 6 touchdowns. That is good. He is good. The matchups are tough, but Dotson should be added regardless.
Let me be transparent upfront. We are chasing the points here. In what was literally the wildest game in NFL history, Osborn snagged 10 catches on 16 targets for 157 yards and one touchdown on Saturday. And he looked like an absolute beast doing it. Still, that was more yards than he had in his THREE next-best games this season combined. Will it happen again? Almost certainly not. Will the Vikings recognize that Osborn might just be their second-best target, continue sliding targets his way and maybe hook him with up a touchdown in a third straight game? I mean, who knows? Except for Kevin O’Connell and Kirk Cousins. But I’m going to give him a shot. Minnesota should too.
For the third straight week (even with the unfortunate swap to Zach Wilson), Moore had 6+ targets. It was nothing to write home about in Week 15 (9.4 fantasy points), and it honestly hasn’t been once yet this season. But here on Narrative Street, we like to respond to such struggles with a confident “he’s due,” maybe. I’d really like to see Mike White back at quarterback to really make this move next week, but, in fairness, Wilson was actually half-decent (at least for fantasy purposes) on Sunday. It’s not a great week for wideouts on waivers (and usually isn’t this late in the season), but Moore has talent and growing opportunity in New York. You could do worse. And I’m not convinced you could do much better.
Guys to 'Stache: See above. Not much beyond those guys. I'll keep an eye open and tweet out some names if they emerge, but hopefully, you can get one (or some) of the names I've listed above. Good luck.
Okonkwo has had double-digit fantasy points in three straight games. The only tight ends with a longer streak this season are Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, Tyler Higbee and Dallas Goedert. Of that group, only Kelce’s streak extended past October. Translation: Okonkwo is one of the “hottest” tight ends in fantasy right now. Seriously. We touched on it in last week’s article. He’s legitimately the leading option in this passing game right now. Unless you have Kelce or T.J. Hockenson (that’s right, I’m leaving Mark Andrews out of the must-starts at this point), Okonkwo should be considered a better start in a given week than whoever you’ve got.
Since Week 7, Johnson has scored seven touchdowns in seven games (most among tight ends over that span). It’s a magical number. Only A.J. Brown has more receiving scores at any position over that span. Oh, and those seven scores have come on a total of 21 catches. He’s scoring on every third reception. Much like his “tight end” compatriot Taysom Hill, I can’t really explain it, but I kind of have to recommend it. As of right now, Johnson is the closest thing to a touchdown guarantee at the position, so he’s worth an add and probably a start in most situations.
I know I recommended Marquise Goodwin above, but there’s a decent chance Fant is the most relevant beneficiary of the Tyler Lockett injury. Fant has had exactly 14.2 fantasy points in two of his last three games. And as noted, I think Seattle versus Kansas City will feature a whole buttload of points. Fant’s season-high in targets was seven, in Week 6 against the Cardinals. I think he matches or surpasses that number in Week 16, and I want a piece of that action. You should too.
Guys to 'Stache: Naw, I'll pass.
Just as we all expected, Jones is set to carry the team through the semifinals next week. Oh, we didn’t expect that? Well, it’s happening, so buckle up. Jones has been reasonably playable in a tough stretch of matchups and posted 25 fantasy points in his last really good one (Lions in Week 11). The Vikings are about as good a matchup as you can find, and Jones will be leading the Giants into a highly playoff-relevant showdown with Minnesota next week. Anything below 20 fantasy points would be a surprise, and I might just take the over on 25 fantasy points. Plus, who doesn’t want to put the fate of their fantasy season in the hands of Danny Dimes?
Goff has basically been playing according to each matchup for the last month, and the Panthers aren’t exactly a splendid matchup in Week 16 (though I think that’s a bit skewed by poor opponents). That said, the Lions offense as a whole is just working right now. The team is hot, the playoffs are in sight, and I’m buying in. Ish. Goff will probably be somewhere around QB15 in the rankings next week, so there will likely be some better options. But if you don’t have one of them, here’s your backup plan.
Three straight good-looking outings from Mr. Irrelevant. I’m convinced. He’s the future. Now, I would much prefer a different option in Week 16 (against the stingy Commanders defense), so if you can pair him with Daniel Jones, do it. But the real key is having Purdy on lock for Week 17 against the Raiders (who are allowing 20 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season). It’s crazy. So crazy, it just might work (if you get that reference, we can be friends).
The Titans D/ST had nine fantasy points the last time they faced the Texans (Week 8) and get their divisional rivals again in Week 16 (while they play a curious-to-put-it-kindly dual-QB offense). The Chargers D/ST has been improving over the past several weeks and draw the Colts on Monday Night Football in Week 16. The best D/ST matchup of the season. Yes, please. The Broncos D/ST has had double-digit fantasy points in two of the last three games (and had seven against the Chiefs in between, for what it's worth), and they face the Rams next Sunday. Neither team has much to play for. Ugly game incoming. That's good.