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NFL Week 16 fantasy football waiver wire targets

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Zack Moss (21) runs as Minnesota Vikings linebacker D.J. Wonnum (98) pursues during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Moss is the top waiver target: Moss ran the ball 24 times in relief of Jonathan Taylor. If Taylor misses time, Moss can be a fantasy starter.

Juwan Johnson keeps scoring touchdowns: Johnson scored twice on Sunday, taking his touchdown total to seven in his last seven games.

Add Jets for Thursday Night Football: The Jets play the Jaguars, who have allowed at least 20 points in eight straight games. This makes Zach Wilson and Tyler Conklin among the top options for their positions.

Jump to a position group:

QB | RB | WR | TE

Quarterback

Gardner Minshew, Philadelphia Eagles (Rostered in 0.3% of leagues on ESPN)

Minshew is expected to be the Eagles' starting quarterback this week because Jalen Hurts has a sprained shoulder. 

  • Minshew started two games for the Eagles last season and was QB10 and QB18 in those weeks.
  • He has a career 69.3 PFF passing grade, which ranks 36th among 81 quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks since 2019.
  • Minshew has scrambled on 7.74% of his dropbacks in his career. He joins Hurts among the top 10 quarterbacks in scramble rate.
  • He will be playing with by far his best weapons of his career. He will also be playing indoors while several other games will be played in very cold temperatures.
  • The Eagles are playing the Cowboys this week. They just allowed a 318-yard, four-touchdown passing performance and have surrendered at least 200 yards and a touchdown in each of the past four weeks.

Zach Wilson, New York Jets (6.7%)

Wilson threw the ball 35 times for 317 yards and two touchdowns in the Jets' Week 15 loss to the Detroit Lions.

  • Wilson has thrown for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns twice in his last four starts.
  • He’s expected to remain the Jets' starter for at least one more week, as Mike White isn’t expected to return from injury in time for Thursday Night Football.
  • The Jets play the Jaguars, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and just allowed a 256-yard, three-touchdown game to Dak Prescott.
  • Wilson is the top Week 16 option among quarterbacks widely available on the waiver wire.

Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos (40.0%)

Wilson cleared the concussion protocol, but Denver kept him out of Week 15 as a precaution.

  • Wilson has mostly had a season to forget, but he is coming off his best game of the season.
  • He threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns and gained 57 yards on the ground against the Chiefs in Week 14 — good for the third-best fantasy performance of Week 14.
  • Wilson has a rematch against Kansas City in Week 17.
  • The Chiefs have allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers (8.0%)

Pickett missed Week 15 with a concussion but should be back in time for an enticing matchup against the Raiders in Week 16.

  • Pickett has run the ball at least six times in four of his last five healthy games.
  • He’s thrown for at least 190 passing yards in five of his last six healthy games.
  • The Raiders have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
  • Save for Zach Wilson, he is the best option at quarterback in leagues where 24 or more quarterbacks are already taken.

Mac Jones, New England Patriots (10.3%)

Jones is a player to pick up for the fantasy championship round.

  • Jones went just 13-for-31 for 112 yards on Sunday with various skill players out with injury, playing hurt or missing some time during the game through injury.
  • In Week 17, he plays a Dolphins defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
  • Miami’s defense has employed man coverage at the fourth-highest rate in the league this season. Jones has a career 14-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio against man defenses, compared to 7-to-11 against zone.
  • Similarly, he has a 5.8% big-time throw and a 1.8% turnover-worthy play rate against man, compared to 3.4% and 3.2%, respectively, against zone.

Running Back

Zack Moss, Indianapolis Colts (0.7%)

Jonathan Taylor suffered an ankle injury on the third offensive play of Saturday’s game. He didn’t return and was ruled out in the second quarter. Considering the Colts are practically out of the playoff picture, we might not see Taylor again this season.

  • The Colts turned to a two-man rotation at running back with Moss and Deon Jackson.
  • The two backs were used interchangeably, rotating in and out every two or three plays.
  • Moss dominated snaps 31-9 in the second half and overtime despite Jackson averaging more yards per carry and scoring a touchdown in the passing game.
  • If Taylor misses time, we could see the Colts activate Jordan Wilkins off their practice squad. Wilkins was the backup behind Jackson in the last game Taylor missed.
  • This could make it a three-man rotation with no back seeing 50% of the Colts' offensive snaps.
  • Indianapolis has the best schedule for running backs over Weeks 16-17.
  • Moss is probably the best waiver wire target of the group, but it’s certainly possible that Jackson will lead the team in fantasy points if he gets a hot hand. He would be a risky play but one that could pay off in a big way with the schedule.

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