The end of the 2020 NFL Fantasy Football season is almost upon us, but there is still time to make that final adjustment to your squad to help get you that championship victory you so desperately have been working toward all year. Last offseason was built upon player research, and while a lot of that has probably already gone out the window due to injuries, depth chart assignments, and other varying reasons, you can still use that ingenuity that got you to this point to take you to the promised land.
Below are 10 waiver wire pickups that can help you in a pinch for Week 16, which projects to be the final week of your fantasy football season, at least for the vast majority of leagues. As a note, all projects and rankings are provided with a full-point, point-per-reception mindset, so apply these rankings to your fantasy football league format as needed.
20.6 percent rostered
After enduring a big-time high to start the season in the form of a 5-1 start, the Chicago Bears crashed and crumbled their way into a six-game losing streak. However, they have been able to crawl out of that hole on the backs of two offensive players: quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and running back David Montgomery.
With Montgomery finally assuming that workhorse role that has been desperately needed in Matt Nagy’s offense, it has also helped take the pressure off Trubisky, who was able to retake the QB1 role from Nick Foles due to an injury, and he has not looked back.
While what Trubisky has done in the past few weeks has helped provide a more comfortable feeling in what he is capable of, his future slate is what matters now for fantasy purposes. With the Bears traveling to face the Jacksonville Jaguars while still in the postseason hunt in the NFC, Trubisky has a tasty matchup ahead that he could absolutely exploit.
The Jacksonville defense, is, well, it is gross to accurately put it. Even facing an average offensive unit like the Bears should not do anything to change that. Trubisky looks to be in a solid spot for Week 16, offering immense value that provides a QB10 ceiling that could be the difference between a fantasy football championship and a silver medal.
Oh, and could an Allen Robinson revenge game be what helps push Trubisky into the top 10?
New England Patriots
18.4 percent rostered
The forgotten man in the New England Patriots’ running back room, Sony Michel took over when Damien Harris was ruled out with an ankle injury, and he looked quite solid, giving Pats fans a look into what Michel brings to the table — when he is healthy.
For fantasy football purposes, Michel offers more in the receiving game than what Harris does, that is for sure, but Michel’s ability to jell with Cam Newton and the run-focused Pats offense is yet to be seen, just because of Michel’s time spent off the field dealing with injuries.
But taking 10 carries for 74 yards and hauling in one catch for eight yards lends itself to optimistic thinking, which could be on full display against the Buffalo Bills if Harris is forced to miss another contest.
Michel handled 10 of the 13 carries by all NE running backs on Sunday, something that helps show his role in this offense moving forward as the top option. The Bills have the 21st-ranked defense against the run, which could provide him with 10-plus carries yet again — touchdown upside certainly would push Michel into the upper echelon of RB2, but safely projecting him as an RB2 (provided Harris is ruled out) is enough to warrant a wire acquisition this week.
Just be sure to watch the status of Harris as the week progresses.
9.0 percent rostered
Rookie Darnell Mooney has scored four touchdowns but has failed to surpass 69 yards in any game, showing his order on the depth chart still puts him behind Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller. While he is a rookie, Mooney brings a different kind of skill set to this offense as the speed threat, something that he has unfortunately not been able to fully showcase this year.
But Mooney has been on the same page with Trubisky over the past two weeks, hauling in a score in Week 14 against the Houston Texans and this past week in Minnesota. A trip down to face the depleted Jaguars secondary could help open up Mooney, but it could also open up for Robinson and Miller. It could also become a run-first game yet again, so Mooney’s ceiling could be a bit dicey.
If you are desperate and your waiver wire looks to be quite dry, Mooney could moonlight as a WR3/4 this week for you. However, he profiles more like a dynasty stash at this point, simply based on his output and his potential moving forward into next year, which could see Robinson depart in free agency.
30.8 percent rostered
Over the past three games since Will Fuller’s PED suspension ended his season prematurely, Keke Coutee has helped step up and take on some targets from Deshaun Watson, hauling in 16 catches for 218 yards and two touchdowns.
While eight catches and 141 yards came against the Indianapolis Colts back in Week 13, Coutee has brought a consistent target share to the table. He now brings WR2 value to Week 16, which will see the Texans host the Cincinnati Bengals.
While Brandin Cooks is still the top target for Watson to go after, and even with Chad Hansen coming out of nowhere to put up numbers just slightly under Coutee, the wire target for this group remains Coutee, as his ceiling seems to be the most consistent and the one who can be counted on the most.
27.3 percent rostered
Ever since Week 12, Baker Mayfield has helped lead the Browns into the postseason picture, rolling out four consecutive performances of at least 258 passing yards and two touchdowns. Lucky for the Browns, they get the Jets in Week 16, providing fantasy rosters a great opportunity to put up big-time performances.
Mayfield had his second-highest passing yardage and passing TD game of the season in their Week 13 victory over the Titans, and while the Titans’ secondary is not as bad as that of the Jets, it certainly provides some parallels to pull from.
Mayfield should not be asked to do as much in this week’s affair with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt being able to shoulder a big chunk of the load on offense, but Mayfield’s role of hitting Jarvis Landry and his other targets should continue this week, offering a ton of fantasy football upside for the Oklahoma product.
24.2 percent rostered
Having rushed for over 100 yards, the first time in more than two seasons that a running back for the Dolphins has crossed the century mark, Salvon Ahmed presents the Dolphins with a crucial decision to make for next year: if he or Myles Gaskin should be the RB1 or if they look outside.
Regardless, Ahmed’s performance against the Pats last week was very impressive, especially since he commanded 23 carries in his first game back after missing the past three with a shoulder injury.
Gaskin’s potential return from a stay on the COVID-19 list and an injury certainly muddies up his projections, but their bout against the Raiders could present both backs with RB2/FLEX values this upcoming week. If Gaskin is held out again, then Ahmed jumps solely into the mid-grade RB2 range, presenting you with an opportunity to actually put a ton of faith in a member of the Dolphins for your league championship.
Similar to the Michel/Harris situation, keep an eye on the health of Gaskin as the week progresses, which will help present you with the final value of Ahmed this week.
14.5 percent rostered
Another member of the Dolphins on this list, but this one is a big-time surprise, to most at least. Rookie Swiss Army knife Lynn Bowden Jr. has become a must-add figure in the world of fantasy football, due to his production and due to his multi-positional flexibility he can bring to your roster.
Bowden is more of a WR on this team than a RB, which is easy to tell based on his receiving-game production when compared to what he has done when running the ball. Getting Bowden the ball is a great way to help keep Tua Tagovailoa fresh and the ball moving around the field, and Bowden has responded nicely to his expanded role.
After hauling in seven balls for 82 yards against the Chiefs the week prior to last, Bowden came back with a 6/37 line through the air against the Pats, and he could act as that strong safety valve option for Tua yet again. Game script will show how much he is counted on, but Bowden’s WR3/FLEX role could be an under-the-radar addition that could be a great addition to your fantasy football roster.
21.3 percent rostered
Julio Jones has now missed five games in 2020, immediately pushing Calvin Ridley up to safe WR1 status, which was pretty much where he was even when Jones was on the field. But the real beneficiary of Jones missing time has been his direct replacement, Russell Gage, who has assumed a larger role for Matt Ryan and this Falcons offense.
In the past two games alone, Gage has produced 10/150/1, a healthy line even when averaged out across two games. A shootout looks to be next up for the Falcons against the Chiefs in KC this week, something that should help boost Gage’s value, even if Jones decides to return (though he should shut it down since ATL has nothing left to play for this year).
Holding value on the WR2/3 fringe, Gage will be a hot commodity on the wire this week.
34.9 percent rostered
After Tony Pollard’s impressive performance Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, Ezekiel Elliott’s contract keeps looking worse and worse by the minute, something that the Cowboys must absolutely love.
Regardless, Pollard is someone who holds a ton of value moving forward, even if Elliott does manage to suit up this week against the Philadelphia Eagles. Mike McCarthy said that Elliott has a chance to play this upcoming game, making it sound like even if he does play that he will not be full strength, so Pollard should have a solid role regardless.
Turning 12 carries and six catches into 132 total yards and two rushing TDs is quite impressive for Pollard, and he absolutely can be a plug-in RB2 if Zeke sits this week.
33.1 percent rostered
The QB saga that had started to unfold in Philly a few weeks back is in full-blown explosion mode, as Jalen Hurts has taken over for Carson Wentz. With Doug Pederson having earned the 12th win of his head coaching career when Wentz does not play, the writing seems to very much be on the wall for what is next.
Hurts is what is now, and his 338-yard passing performance to go along with three passing touchdowns, 11 carries, 63 yards, and a score on the ground is evidence of that. There is no reason to play Carson Wentz again this season unless there is an injury to Hurts.
With the Cowboys up next and the Eagles still somehow in the playoff hunt for the NFC East title, Hurts can easily carry your team to the trophy next week. However, you will need to fight for him on your wire if you want him. Use all of your remaining FAAB on Hurts if you can, because he is that valuable, especially against a suspect defense.