Offensive Deep League Gems — Week 16
For many fantasy football leagues, this is it, Week 16, time for the championships. For others, this is the final week of playoffs leading to a risky, Week 17 championship matchup. Either way, this is the time of year where everything GMs have worked to build and maintain this season either pays off (and out) or doesn’t. There’s a lot of pressure.
That pressure can easily double if you’re not confident in your roster, despite having earned a playoff berth. There have been many disappointments for every fantasy superstar, and making the wrong choice on the wrong week can have serious consequences come the virtual postseason.
If you lack confidence that your roster is set up for championship glory, the waiver wire can still be quite fruitful this time of year. Though the pickings may be slimmer in deeper leagues, there are contributors to be had, even at this late point in the season. Here are the top waiver wire pickups for Week 16, especially geared to those of you fighting for a championship in leagues of 14-, 16-, 18- or more teams.
Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars (Yahoo! 1% owned; ESPN 0.5% owned)
Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis missed the first six games of the season with a calf injury, and he’s been slow to become involved in his offense, which hasn’t been particularly prolific. However, Lewis has quickly become a favorite of quarterback Chad Henne, scoring a touchdown in each of his last three games. Production like that cannot be ignored, especially with the fantasy tight end position in constant flux this year.
Lewis has been particularly valuable while receiver Cecil Shorts has been nursing his groin injury and now Shorts has been sent to injured reserve. By default, this makes Lewis Henne’s top target for the final two weeks. He should certainly be just that this week, especially against a Tennessee Titans defense that has been vulnerable to tight ends this year.
Lewis has caught 18 passes on 35 targets this season, for 239 yards and three touchdowns, again all of those scores coming in the last three weeks. Over those three weeks, he’s had 30.2 standard-scoring points and 39.2 in PPR. On an offense with fewer and fewer receiving options for Henne, Lewis has the most reliable hands on the field. He’ll easily be good for a touchdown on Sunday. If you’re worried your current starting tight end won’t be, pick up and start Lewis this week.
Jordan Todman, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (Yahoo! 18% owned, ESPN 2.3% owned)
Lewis isn’t the only Jaguar who has waiver-wire value for Week 16. Running back Jordan Todman is also a recommended addition. As Maurice Jones-Drew’s replacement last week against the Buffalo Bills, Todman had 25 carries for 109 yards along with four receptions for 44 yards. That’s the kind of eye-opening stat line that makes fantasy GMs run to the waiver wire in a hurry.
Jones-Drew’s injury is to his hamstring, which is a hard-to-heal ailment that can flare up even with adequate rest. Though Jones-Drew is expected to try to practice this week and hopes to play against the Titans, it’s easy to think that he simply won’t be able to. And with the Titans giving up nearly 120 rushing yards per game, Todman should have a productive day if he indeed gets the start.
Todman doesn’t just have the basic fantasy appeal of a running back—lots of carries, good production—he also has PPR value. He didn’t just have four catches last week, he also had eight targets. That meant he earned standard-scoring GMs 15.3 points last week, while in PPR leagues he earned 19.3. The Jaguars are comfortable giving Todman a true starting workload. Keep an eye on Jones-Drew’s progress this week—after making a waiver claim for Todman, first.
Andre Caldwell, WR, Denver Broncos (Yahoo! 1% owned; ESPN .5% owned)
It was Andre Caldwell and not tight end Jacob Tamme who got the start for the Broncos in the slot last week in place of Wes Welker, who was sidelined with a concussion. The concussion was Welker’s second in four weeks. The Broncos have already clinched a playoff berth, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Welker remained on the sideline for Week 16 against the 2-12 Houston Texans.
In relief of Welker, Caldwell saw 10 targets against the San Diego Chargers. He had six catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns. Caldwell has been a good bit player in the past, but this supporting role comes with Peyton Manning throwing him the passes. That makes him an enticing fantasy pickup this week, despite his low yardage. He has only 146 yards on the season, but he did get nearly half of it last week while playing just 37 snaps.
Two more touchdowns this week may not be a stretch, especially with the left-for-dead Texans up next. Besides, anyone Manning throws to 10 times per game is worth fantasy attention. With 17.9 standard-scoring fantasy points last week and 23.9 in PPR scoring, that could be the difference between a winning week and a losing one. If you’re underwhelmed by your flex or WR3 options or own and are not feeling confident about Welker returning this week, Caldwell is a perfect waiver wire add.