Here we are in the Fantasy Football Finals, and if you are in need, I have your top Week 16 streaming options. As always, my free agency deep dive will include favorites (my locks). But this time around I won’t necessarily include as many honorable mentions being that it’s the final week.
For certain positions, I’ll even recommend streamer options to avoid. I will also look past the most obvious waiver candidates. Targeting Week 16 streamers that are available in less than 40 percent of all ESPN leagues. Bold names mentioned are usually waiver candidates that would also qualify as streamers.
Disclaimer: My selections will be based on their matchups, recent play, and upside potential in deeper PPR formats. I recommend checking weather and injury/COVID updates for each streamer in the days leading up to each game. As this article is written mid-week.
Week 16 Fantasy Streamers: QB
Hopefully, you rolled with me in Week 15 at quarterback, because we hit big on our number one streamer, Jalen Hurts. Philip Rivers even put up his usual 18-20 points as our second option, exactly as expected, but the honorable mentions were less productive (Trubisky, Mullens). I did mention to avoid Daniel Jones and Drew Lock too. Jones didn’t play and Lock performed poorly, so a couple check marks there as well.
Hurts is still the top waiver candidate, especially against Dallas. I’m actually starting him in a third place game this week. But not in the lone final I made it to. Here are a few other candidates that you can trust this week.
Tua Tagovailoa (MIA) – 27.6% (@LVR)
I have not been the biggest Tua band-wagoner. In fact, I have not always loved what I’ve seen from the rookie, especially in comparison to Burrow or Herbert. Despite all that, Tagovailoa is the one fighting for the playoffs, even if he has the clear advantage in both roster and coaching staff around him. In recent weeks, he has even put up some fantasy numbers as he gets more accustomed to this offensive unit.
In a dome against a Raiders defense that is just plain ugly (and defeated after falling out of the playoff race last week), Tua may have his best game yet. My one concern is that Miami pounds the run, but if Tagovailoa gets into the endzone two-plus times, he’ll be a worthy streamer.
Baker Mayfield (CLE) – 34.0% (@NYJ)
Another guy that I’ve been down on all season. Funny thing is that I actually drafted Baker in one or two leagues in 2020 (simply because I always look for sleepers at QB that are in good situations, and Mayfield’s stock had plummeted after last season), but after a rocky start I abandoned all hope in the Browns signal-caller. I have not recommended him since Week 4, but there’s a reason I have faith in him here against NYJ (and it’s not just the typical “Jets are bad” argument).
Part of it is Baker’s recent run of play of course. He’s playing with confidence behind this top-ranked offensive line, and he has even developed chemistry with a couple unexpected pieces (Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, etc.). In six-point passing TD leagues, Mayfield has 20-plus points in his past four games, and 30-plus in two of them. The Jets are better against the run than the pass, and this O-line should contain New York’s pass rush (that got to Goff), which means this might be a day that they let Baker throw the ball.
Mitchell Trubisky (CHI) – 23.5% (@JAX)
Trusting Mitch in a final would take some major stones, but he’s a definite DFS or consolation prize option. Jacksonville is 31st against QB’s, and they just found out they’re the favorites for Trevor Lawrence.
(DEEP DIVE) Sam Darnold (NYJ) – 1.8% (v CLE)
Like Trubisky, I’m definitely not trusting Sam in a final, but if we’re talking DFS or some sort of other fantasy matchup that isn’t a championship one, then Darnold becomes an option. Denzel Mims is back, and this unit looked better than ever last week. Cleveland also has one of the worst secondaries in football, although Myles Garrett is always a concern for opposing QB’s.
QB Streamers to Avoid
Marcus Mariota (LVR) – 2.6% (v MIA)
Mariota lit up the Chargers D after coming on for Carr, but the Dolphins D is 10-times the unit LAC has, and Mariota was a failed prospect for a reason.
Week 16 Fantasy Streamers: RB
Whether it was Jeff Wilson Jr., Salvon Ahmed, Gus Edwards or Lynn Bowden Jr., everyone pretty much came through for us last week at running back. The one exception was Peyton Barber, who is set up in another pretty nice matchup (if you can trust him and Gibson remains sidelined).
It was actually a fantastic week for RB streamers in general, with players like Tony Pollard, Benny Snell, Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde and Ty Johnson all hitting as well. Top waiver candidates from Rich King include Pollard, Ahmed, and the ageless Gore. I personally am a huge fan of Ahmed this week, so long as Gaskin doesn’t play (and possibly even if he does). The Dolphins rookie is my number one streamer if you can get him.
Malcolm Brown (LAR) – 28.9% (@SEA)
I’m surprised I didn’t see Brown pop up on more waiver charts. Cam Akers, who has dominated Rams touches in recent weeks, is out. Darrell Henderson has been inconsistent throughout his career. The veteran Malcolm Brown should get his fair share of the workload against Seattle, and he’s a legitimate option this week at running back.
Sony Michel (NE) – 18.5% (v BUF)
Damien Harris could return, so watch out if he does, but Michel looked good last week and he’s fighting for his job if he plays. Buffalo’s run defense hasn’t really been up to snuff most weeks, and you know New England will feed their running backs with Cam Newton throwing the ball.
Lynn Bowden Jr. (MIA) – 16.7% (@LVR)
(TRIPLE DOWN) I’ve been screaming Bowden for three straight weeks now, I’m not just jumping aboard after his success. He’s a PPR threat with 17 receptions in three games, and more of a wide receiver than a running back in truth. Either way, he’s a definite possibility against the Raiders.
(DEEP DIVE) Ito Smith (ATL) – 3.2% (@KC)
(DOUBLE DOWN) I keep mentioning Ito Smith as an option, and he has yet to really break through in terms of fantasy. Head Coach Raheem Morris finally announced Smith as the lead back though, so maybe this is the moment.
Jerick McKinnon (SF) – 39.5% (@ARI)
This is a real dart toss with Wilson most likely playing, and I may even feel more comfortable with Ty Johnson as a PPR option than McKinnon. Mostert is done for the season, but Tevin Coleman is still in the mix.
Week 16 Fantasy Streamers: WR
Wide receiver had been my hottest position in recent weeks, but it may have been one of my coldest in Week 15 after QB and RB went so well. Rashard Higgins was probably our only true “hit” of the week with players like Zach Pascal, Russell Gage, Jakobi Meyers and Greg Ward having big games around the league.
I was 100 percent correct about avoiding KJ Hamler and Breshad Perriman though, two total busts last week. Top waiver candidates are still Keke Coutee, Gage, Allen Lazard and A.J. Green. I like Coutee and Lazard most as starters in Week 16.
Rashard Higgins (CLE) – 21.6% (@NYJ)
(DOUBLE DOWN) It’s hard not to like Higgins again this week. He is actually coming off his worst performance since Week 12, but he still led the Browns with 76 yards on four catches. This was also probably his toughest matchup, against a solid Giants defense in a game where Cleveland barely needed to throw the ball. Higgins may get back to the 20-point range here against the Jets.
Sammy Watkins (KC) – 35.8% (v ATL)
For some reason I really see Watkins as an option this weekend. Sammy is often overshadowed by Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, which could be a problem if the Falcons secondary doesn’t get a handle on those two, but people forget that Watkins and Mahomes have a tremendous chemistry too. In recent weeks, Watkins has been targeted six times in three out of four games. A touchdown would set him apart, but that could finally come against Atlanta.
Darnell Mooney (CHI) – 10.3% (@JAX)
I had a streak earlier in the year where I was high on Mooney, but I shied away after the quarterback change. Now that Trubisky and Mooney have developed their own trust with one another, I’m back on the Darnell train against the Jags.
(DEEP DIVE) Chad Hansen (HOU) – 5.3% (v CIN)
Hansen has become really reliable in the Texans offense, and although his numbers waned a bit against the Colts, he still had a TD catch. That’s three straight weeks over 10 points since Will Fuller’s suspension, making the former fourth round pick someone you can actually trust.
Denzel Mims (NYJ) – 7.4% (v CLE)
I expect the Jets to throw the ball this week, and I expect Mims to be a factor in the gameplan. The Browns have a thin secondary, and the focus should be on Perriman and Crowder moreso than the rookie. This could finally be the breakout game for the former Baylor star.
(DEEP DIVE) Greg Ward (PHI) – 5.5% (@DAL)
Many managers may sooner count on Jalen Reagor, but Ward has had a nose for the endzone with three touchdowns in three games. He had two TD connections with Hurts against the Cardinals in Week 15.
Week 16 Fantasy Streamers: TE
Went with Irv Smith and Cole Kmet (again) in Week 15. Neither did terribly, but neither were anything special either. Here are my two top Week 16 streamer candidates.
Dalton Schultz (DAL) – 31.3% (v PHI)
Schultz availability has dipped the last week or so, making him a candidate again. The Cowboys tight end is more involved in this offense than any other available TE with Dalton leading the unit, making him the safest streamer against the Eagles.
Jordan Akins (HOU) – 5.0% (v CIN)
I still like Kmet as a streamer too, but because of the matchup and the fact that Jimmy Graham isn’t on Houston, I will once again try my luck with Akins one last time. He’s let me down all season, but I’ll roll the dice again in Week 16.
Week 16 Fantasy Streamers: D/ST
I noted that I didn’t like Week 15 for available D/ST’s, and it ended up being Dallas again that stole the show. Arizona, Cincy and most surprising of all the Jets, were also decent options.
The top available defenses this week include; MIN, ARI, LAC, PHI, TEN, DEN, NYG, DAL, CAR, CIN, HOU and NYJ among others.
Arizona Cardinals – 35.4% (v SF)
I have not exactly been nailing it at D/ST lately, but for whatever it’s worth, Arizona is the team I trust most this week. San Francisco could get Kittle back, which would be a blow, but otherwise their injury list includes names like Deebo Samuel, Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Nick Mullens and more (all out). C.J. Beathard is bound to make a mistake against this opportunistic defense.
Carolina Panthers – 14.7% (@WAS)
There are two key injuries to monitor going into this game, and neither is Alex Smith. Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer turnover-prone Haskins, but Smith hasn’t been a force at quarterback either. The key players are RB’s Antonio Gibson and Christian McCaffrey. A speedy back like Gibson may gash this defense if he’s out there, while Peyton Barber is far less scary. If McCaffrey plays on the other side