7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 16
Regardless of the motivation for turning to the waiver wire/free agent pool, this is the place to find streaming options -- even for gamers in leagues as large as 14- or 16-teams. Every week in this space, you'll find a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, and a flex who are low-owned options in Yahoo! leagues and offer plug-and-play appeal.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Miami Dolphins
Yahoo Ownership: 29%
Since Week 9, Ryan Fitzpatrick has passed for the fifth-most passing yards (1,883) and is tied for the 13th-most touchdown passes (10), according to the game index tool at Pro-Football-Reference. During that seven-game stretch, he's also added 24.3 rushing yards per game and a pair of touchdown scampers. The journeyman gunslinger has been a fantasy asset during that stretch, and he'll have a decent shot at helping teams during fantasy championship week, too.
The matchup is tasty for Fitzmagic. We rank the Cincinnati Bengals as the sixth-worst pass defense. In addition to the Bengals being generally soft against the pass, they've been prone to yielding big plays in the passing game down the stretch. Since Week 9, their 11 percent average explosive pass rate is tied for the fifth-highest mark, per Sharp Football Stats. Fitz's average depth of throw of 8.5 yards this year is tied for the sixth-deepest among quarterbacks who've attempted at least 250 passes, according to Sports Info Solutions. In theory, Fitzmagic is tailor made to tear up the Bengals. Our algorithm projects him to finish as QB16 this week, but I'm more bullish on his outlook and think he'll be a top-12 quarterback.
DeAndre Washington, RB, Oakland Raiders
Yahoo Ownership: 34%
Josh Jacobs has been ruled out for this week, and DeAndre Washington's ownership rate has only modestly climbed instead of skyrocketing in the wake of that news. That's partly attributable to many gamers no longer having anything to play for, but his ownership should be substantially higher. With Jacobs out in Week 14, Washington played 63 percent of the offensive snaps for the Oakland Raiders, toting the rock 14 times for 53 rushing yards and a touchdown while securing 6 of 7 targets for 43 receiving yards.
Washington's likely feature-back workload alone makes him worth a look for gamers in need of help at running back. His matchup is favorable as well, though. We rank the Los Angeles Chargers as the 10th-worst run defense. Additionally, they're not exactly putting the clamps on backs as pass-catching options. They've yielded the 13th-most receptions (78) and 16th-most receiving yards (562) to backs this year, per Pro-Football-Reference, making this at least an average matchup for Washington to haul in some passes.
Boston Scott, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Yahoo Ownership: 9%
The loss of skill players one after the other for the Philadelphia Eagles has proven to be Boston Scott's gain. In Week 14, he ripped off 128 yards from scrimmage (59 rushing yards and 69 receiving yards) and 1 touchdown on 10 carries and 6 receptions. He cooled off last week with 65 yards from scrimmage and no touchdowns, but he was once again busy in the passing game with 7 receptions on 7 targets. He's perfectly hauled in all 13 of his targets over the last two weeks.
His pass-catching prowess is especially enticing in this week's matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas is tied for the eighth-most receptions (81) and has coughed up the 13th-most receiving yards (621) to running backs this year. Miles Sanders is the clear-cut top back, but there's enough of the pie left for Scott to help gamers in deeper point-per-reception (PPR) leagues as a flex or emergency RB2.
Danny Amendola, WR, Detroit Lions
Yahoo Ownership: 26%
Detroit Lions third-string quarterback David Blough has attempted 121 passes in his three starts, and he's directed 29 of those throws to Danny Amendola, good for a 24 percent target share. Amendola's caught a team-high 13 passes from Blough for 168 receiving yards. His work with Blough as a starter breaks down to per-game averages of 9.6 targets, 5.3 receptions, and 56 receiving yards. That's not too shabby.
The Lions are 6.5-point underdogs on the road against the Denver Broncos, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, making for a what should be a favorable game script for Amendola's outlook. He's not a big-play receiver and has totaled only one touchdown this year, so he's not a high-ceiling option. But his safety-blanket role makes him a solid if unspectacular PPR option for gamers who don't need to swing for the fences at WR3 or flex. We project him to finish as WR33 in PPR formats this week.
John Ross, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Yahoo Ownership: 13%
If the safety provided by Amendola isn't in line with what you need this week, and a boom-or-bust option is more up your alley, let me present you John Ross. The field-stretching burner for the Cincinnati Bengals played the first four games before hitting the shelf with an injury until Week 14. In his two games back from injury, he's caught only 4 passes for 52 receiving yards on 6 targets. But he showcased immense upside in the first two games of the year with Andy Dalton running the offense.
Ross busted out of the gates for back-to-back 100-plus yard receiving efforts with 7 receptions for 158 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on 12 targets in the opener, followed up by 4 receptions for 112 receiving yards and 1 touchdown on 8 targets against the vaunted pass defense of the San Francisco 49ers. His opponent this week, the Miami Dolphins, have the opposite of a vaunted pass defense. In fact, they're our worst-ranked pass defense.
Unsurprisingly, our worst-ranked pass defense has a burnable secondary. They're tied for the second-highest average explosive pass rate against at 13 percent, per Sharp Football Stats. They haven't been much better of late, either. Since Week 9, they're tied for the fifth-highest average explosive pass rate allowed at 11 percent. Ross has the type of elite straight line speed to add to Miami's big-play woes on defense. Going back to 2006, Ross's 4.22-second 40-yard dash time at the NFL Draft Combine is the fastest.
We project Ross to finish as WR56 in PPR formats in Week 16. He's a volatile play who's not for the faint of heart. But if you're looking to slay Goliath with a David-like team, he's just the type of home-run hitting option to turn to.
Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans
Yahoo Ownership: 15%
Justin Watson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Yahoo Ownership: 6%
I whiffed suggesting Justin Watson last week. I'm going back to the well, though, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers losing Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller to injury at receiver last week. In Week 15, Breshad Perriman erupted for 5 receptions, 113 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns on 6 targets, and he's the top receiver on the Bucs this week. However, this is an offense capable of supporting more than only one pass catcher.
I also like O.J. Howard this week, but even if Perriman and Howard are the top two options for Jameis Winston, there still might be enough meat on the bone for Watson. I touted the second-year receiver last week due to the way he stepped up when Mike Evans exited the Week 13 contest with injury. In that game, Watson caught 5 of 8 targets for 59 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. He flopped last week with just 2 receptions on 2 targets for 17 receiving yards, but he'll have a chance to revert to his pop-up performance form from Week 14 with the Bucs' receiving corps riddled with injuries and a cushy matchup on tap.
We rank the Houston Texans as the 10th-worst pass defense this year. The Buccaneers are three-point underdogs with a respectable implied total of 23.5 points, per FanDuel Sportsbook. The game has shootout potential, and we project Watson to finish as WR36 in PPR formats. He's not safe given his lack of track record, but I'm in agreement with our projection and think he'll finish as a top-40 wideout this week.