Week 16 is championship week in many fantasy leagues, and with the stakes raised, we shine the spotlight on several players that might be worth adding to your roster this week.
Waiver Wire Pickups Week 16 by Jon Cope
Vick Ballard, RB Colts (owned in 34.8% of NFL.com leagues)- Lost amid the discussion about Andrew Luck and the Colts passing game this year has been the fact that Vick Ballard has ascended to the top of the Colts running back depth chart with Donald Brown out. Ballard has proven capable as the Colts lead back, and posted an impressive 105 yard performance on Sunday against the Texans. In Week 16, Ballard gets a nice matchup against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the 6th most rushing yards in the NFL to date.
Danny Amendola, WR Rams (owned in 46.8% of NFL.com leagues)- Sam Bradford’s favorite target finally appears to be fully healthy and is back as the leading option in the Rams passing game. Amendola received a team-high 12 targets on Sunday and recorded 58 yards receiving and a TD in the process. Amendola has a great matchup in Week 16 against the league’s worst pass defense, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Amendola is a great start in PPR leagues, and a very solid start as a WR3 in other leagues.
Golden Tate, WR Seahawks (owned in 17.1% of NFL.com leagues)- I wouldn’t recommend starting Tate if you have dependable producers at the wide receiver position. However, if you’re in a deep league, and in search of a WR3 or flex play for this week, I think Tate has the potential to have a big week. Tate has recorded over 50 yards receiving in 4 of the last 5 weeks as the Seahawks have trusted quarterback Russell Wilson to throw downfield more in recent weeks. Furthermore, I like his matchup vs. the 49ers; with San Francisco’s stout front seven, I believe the Seahawks will have to take their shots down the field to be successful and Tate is their vertical threat who would benefit. Tate is a risky play for fantasy owners, but it’s risk that could yield a big reward if you’re desperate for receiver help.
Jackie Battle, RB Chargers (owned in 9.1% of NFL.com leagues)- With starter Ryan Mathews now out for the year and with former Dolphin Ronnie Brown banged up, Battle is likely to be the Chargers lead back on Sunday in New York. The Jets are 29th in league against the run, and the Chargers might run frequently to protect their offensive line against Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme. I don’t love Battle as fantasy option this week, but if you’re desperate he’s a decent play.
Miami Dolphins Defense/Special Teams (owned in 16.6% of NFL.com leagues)- I think the Dolphins defense has a very nice matchup on Sunday against the Bills offense. Remember in the first meeting between the teams up in Buffalo, the Dolphins held Buffalo without an offensive touchdown but were done in by a Bills special teams TD and 4 field goals by Rian Lindell. The Dolphins defense has played well this season, but the turnovers haven’t been coming. However, I think this is the week they will come. The Bills have 29 turnovers on the season, tied for 4th most in the NFL, and turned it over 5 times in 2 games against the Dolphins last season. I like the Fins’ chances to contain CJ Spiller and force Ryan Fitzpatrick into mistakes.
Be sure to check back here tomorrow for James Morris’ weekly Fantasy Q & A.
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