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Fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 16

Here are this week’s waiver wire suggestions...

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Unless you’re in one of those weird leagues that play in Week 17, the final week of fantasy football has arrived. But hey, even if you do, this week is important just the same as most people are playing for all the marbles. You’ve come this far, so don’t let up now as we have one more week of waiver wire transactions left. If you use a free agent budget, you can’t take that money with you, so make sure to use all your remaining resources to get the players you want. To help you take home the prize, we have some low-rostered players who might be able to help your fantasy team one last time. Here are this week’s waiver wire suggestions.

QUARTERBACK

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (39% owned)

We first mentioned Hurts as a waiver wire pick up for Week 14 when he was just 3% owned in the league. This was merely just a grab and stash suggestion as we wait and see what type of fantasy production he can provide.

We certainly don’t recommend plugging him in right away and letting your playoff hopes ride in a tough matchup against the New Orleans Saints, but he might be worth a stash if you have bench space. If he shows promise, he’ll have a much better matchup against Arizona in Week 15 where it would be a battle of former Oklahoma quarterbacks, and those built-in rushing yards can be valuable.

Well, the secret is out of the bag now. Hurts 338-yard, four-touchdown performance made him the top scoring fantasy quarterback for the week. The Eagles have new life and are fighting for the division crown, and now Hurts will face a Cowboys team that has given up the eighth-most points to opposing quarterbacks. Dallas, in particular, has struggled with mobile quarterbacks as Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, and Lamar Jackson have had big weeks against them.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (47% owned)

The Browns quarterback is riding hot right now as he’s had four straight games where he’s finished as the top 12 QB or better, including twice finishing inside the top five. During this span, Mayfield has thrown a total of 10 touchdowns and just one interception. If you’re streaming quarterbacks, it might feel risky to put your championship fate on the arm of Mayfield, but this week he faces a New York Jets team that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

RUNNING BACK

Salvon Ahmed, Miami Dolphins (34% owned)

Ahmed is another player we recommended earlier in the season as he flashed what he could do if he got a decent amount of volume. But then a shoulder injury sidelined him for a few weeks. This week, he was healthy again and once again impressed with his second 20+ touch game of the year, finishing with 122 yards rushing and one score. It was good enough for a no. 6 RB finish. While Myles Gaskin has missed action being on the COVID reserve list, it’s possible he returns this week, ultimately making this a game-time fantasy decision. However, Ahmed still warrants a pick up if you have the waiver wire resources as he’ll be started in all leagues if Gaskin is unable to go this week.

Frank Gore, New York Jets (24% owned)

Volume is everything when it comes to fantasy running backs and his 23 touches on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams can’t be overlooked. Normally, you’d think a winless Jets team would have no interest in starting a 37-year old veteran over the younger Ty Johnson in a season that has no meaning, but apparently New York sees things differently. If they believe Gore gives them the best chance of winning, and winning is something they’re interested in (even if it costs them soon-to-be no. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence), then suddenly the veteran running back becomes a viable play.

WIDE RECEIVER

Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns (25% owned)

Similar to Mayfield above, Higgins catches our eye this week because of a very favorable matchup with the Jets. And while he hasn’t stepped in and replaced Odell Beckham Jr. like some fantasy owners were wishfully hoping, he’s been producing lately. Despite going against the Giants James Bradberry this week, he still managed to haul in four catches for 76 yards. Prior to Sunday’s game, Higgins was coming off of two straight top 13 finishes where he scored a touchdown in both games. He’s not producing big numbers, but the rookie is getting the looks to be playable.

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs (23% owned)

If you have a little gamble in you, then going after the big-play ability of Hardman might be for you. The speedy wide receiver plays on a high-scoring offense where you’d think he’d erupt for some big games, but that hasn’t been the case. He’s only had one finish inside the top 10 and that was when he played an opportunistic Jets defense. This week, he’ll go against the Atlanta Falcons who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

TIGHT END

Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (48% owned)

We are going to complete the hat trick with Browns players to totally exploit that Jets matchup as no team allows more fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year. Hooper hasn’t been anything close to the fantasy tight end he was in Atlanta, but he’s had a couple finishes inside the top 10, including this past Sunday.

Jordan Akins, Houston Texans (4% owned)

Akins offers no upside because he’s not a regular fixture in this offense, but when it comes to target share, he might be the safest bet from what’s available on the waiver wire. Akins has gotten six targets in three of his pas five games, including these past two weeks. With many of the Texans receiving weapons unavailable, he should continue to get looks and this week he’ll face a Bengals’ defense that allows the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

DEFENSE

Los Angeles Chargers (29% owned)

The Chargers defense hasn’t been all that great this season, but they can play okay at times. Believe it or not, their defense is still in the top 10 for fewest yards allowed this season. While they’re a defense you want to avoid on most weeks, they can be playable if the matchup is favorable. This year, they’ve played against the Bengals, Jaguars, and Jets who are all in the top six in fantasy points allowed to opposing defenses. And in each of those games, the Chargers finished inside the top 10 for the week. On Sunday, they’ll play the Broncos who allow the fourth-most points to opposing defenses, making LA relevant once again.