Fantasy Football: Last Minute Free Agent Pickups For Week 16
Value Can Be Found In Free Agency
It's Friday night, less than 48 hours from when most NFL games kick off for Week 16. If you're still competing in your fantasy football league, it's likely because you made your league's championship. Congratulations; making it this far is no easy task.
If you're competing in Week 16, hopefully you have a lineup set that you're confident in, but if for any reason you need to hit the free agent pool -- let's say you're nervous about starting Steven Jackson against a stout San Francisco 49ers defense or worried about starting a banged up Larry Fitzgerald (and there's still a chance he doesn't even play) against the tenacious Seattle Seahawks -- in the hours leading up to your matchup, there are plenty of guys out there who can still help your fantasy team.
Sometimes it's best to go with your gut if you've already made it this far, but it never hurts to examine all of your options. Thankfully there are still some potential fill-ins who could prove quite beneficial in the upcoming week.
In the following slideshow I identify two quarterbacks, two running backs, three wide receivers, a tight end and a defense that are available in at least 50 percent of fantasy football leagues who can save a desperate owner in Week 16. If your team is decimated with injuries or if you need to replace a struggling player facing a tough matchup, these are the guys you should turn to in relief.
Ryan Tannehill, QB Miami Dolphins
Tannehill has scored at least 21 fantasy points in three straight games now, has scored at least 14 in seven straight, and has scored double digit fantasy points in all but one game this season (a nine point game in Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints). Tannehill has turned into one of the most reliable quarterbacks in fantasy, and this week he faces a Buffalo Bills team that allowed him to throw for three touchdowns back in Week 6. Tannehill is available in 82 percent of ESPN leagues and in 68 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Jordan Todman, RB Jacksonville Jaguars
Check on Sunday morning, but as of now it looks like Todman is in line to start for the second consecutive start when the Jaguars take on the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have allowed opposing running backs to score two touchdowns in seven of their past nine games, are last in the NFL in yards allowed after contact per rush, and have allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Todman is available in 96 percent of ESPN leagues and in 66 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Dennis Johnson, RB Houston Texans
Johnson is expected to start at running back for the Houston Texans now that Ben Tate has been placed on IR. This week the Texans take on the Denver Broncos, who have allowed the 8th most fantasy points to opposing running backs. The Broncos gave up 168 yards on the ground last week against the San Diego Chargers and have allowed six rushing touchdowns in their last four games. Johnson is available in 91 percent of ESPN leagues and in 79 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Doug Baldwin, WR Seattle Seahawks
Baldwin has caught four touchdowns in his last six games, recorded at least 60 receiving yards in five of those games, and in four of them he scored double digit fantasy points. This week Baldwin and the Seahawks take on an Arizona Cardinals team that was absolutely decimated by the Tennessee Titans last week. Heading into Week 15 the Cardinals hadn't allowed more than 29 fantasy points in a game to opposing receivers. In their first game without standout rookie Tyrann Mathieu, though, they were lit up for 298 receiving yards, two touchdowns and 40 fantasy points. Baldwin is available in 82 percent of ESPN leagues and in 72 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Minnesota Vikings
Patterson is an electric talent, and after a sluggish start to his rookie season it appears that the Vikings have finally figured out how to use their first round draft pick. Patterson has been on the field for at least 43 offensive snaps in every game since Week 11, and he had never been on the field for more than 26 snaps in any game prior. Patterson has scored at least eight fantasy points in four out of his last six games and has 30 fantasy points in his last two. The Vikings are playing the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend, and the Bengals' secondary is certainly capable of being scored on at the moment. The Bengals have allowed five touchdowns to wide receivers in their last two games (and 62 fantasy points), and they will be without both Terence Newman and Leon Hall this weekend. Patterson is available in 90 percent of ESPN leagues and in 56 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Marvin Jones, WR Cincinnati Bengals
Look, I would definitely be uneasy starting Marvin Jones in my league's championship; his floor is definitely low, as evidenced by the fact that three of his last five games have resulted in one fantasy point or less. That being said, the upside is definitely there, and if you need to take a flier on a receiver Jones is certainly a guy you should consider. Jones is a very talented receiver (he, like many Bengals players, is limited by Andy Dalton) who is capable of making plays when the ball is in his hands. Jones has caught touchdowns in each of the last two weeks, and in both of those games he scored double digit fantasy points. This week the Bengals take on the Minnesota Vikings who have given up the second most fantasy points to opposing receivers this year, and they have allowed at least one touchdown to a wide receiver in every game since Week 1. If you want roll the dice with Jones, he's available in 73 percent of ESPN leagues and in 61 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Zach Miller, TE Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are facing the Arizona Cardinals this week, and the Cardinals have allowed an astonishing 15 touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. Miller isn't a big part of the Seahawks' offense by any means -- it would take some extreme circumstances to have to resort to starting a player as available as Miller at tight end this weekend -- but he is a threat in the red zone. He caught a touchdown three weeks ago, and he has four on the year. If you've been relying on Jordan Cameron or if you were hoping that Jordan Reed was going to return this week and you have no other options, Miller is available in 88 percent of ESPN leagues and in 82 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
*I like Delanie Walker significantly more than I do Miller this week, and he's out there in 70 percent of ESPN leagues; he's only available in 44 percent of Yahoo! leagues, though, so there's a decent chance he's already owned.
Cleveland Browns D/ST
Cleveland Browns Defense and Special Teams
If you need a defense in Week 16 the Cleveland Browns are probably your best option that's readily available. I am not, I repeat, I am not suggesting that you pick up the Browns and start them over the Carolina Panthers if you're nervous about their matchup with the New Orleans Saints (I believe the Panthers should be fine this week), but if you've made it to the championship by streaming defenses all season and need one for this week, consider Cleveland.
The Browns face the New York Jets this week. While the Jets have actually been alright at home this year they're still allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing defenses, and they've allowed at least 13 fantasy points in four of their last five. Cleveland's defense is available in 67 percent of ESPN leagues and in 59 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
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