Fantasy football Week 16 recap and waiver wire suggestions

Championship week is the reason you invest in big-time players in your fantasy football drafts and auctions before the NFL season begins. Even though the blue chips usually pay off, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some big surprises and disappointments when you’re going for a championship.

Aaron Rodgers has been on fire and he saved his best performance for Week 16 as he accounted for five touchdowns and threw for 347 yards.

Right behind Rodgers was Russell Wilson who threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns. Wilson had been a pretty big disappointment this season, recording subpar numbers in eight games. If you were able to weather the storm, he paid off in the end.

Tyrod Taylor has been a great streaming option all season, but it would have taken some guts to start him in championship week. He threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns in addition to rushing for 60 yards. Sam Bradford was another top quarterback this week that would have been tough to start.

David Johnson has clearly been the best running back to play the entire season. In Week 16 he surpassed 2,000 yards from scrimmage and tied Barry Sanders as the only other player to gain 100 yards from scrimmage in 15 straight games in a single season. He rushed for 95 yards and caught four passes for 41 yards and scored three times.

Arizona Cardinals' David Johnson in action against the Seattle Seahawks in the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Arizona Cardinals’ David Johnson in action against the Seattle Seahawks in the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Had Le’Veon Bell played in the first three games of the year, he could’ve been the most productive back in the league. This week he rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 15 yards and another score.

Mark Ingram and LeSean McCoy also came through in the clutch for fantasy owners, both scoring and gaining more than 90 yards from scrimmage. Ezekiel Elliott didn’t even play the whole game on Monday night and still found a way to make the most of his 13 touches as he scored twice and gained 92 total yards.

Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant (88) signals a touchdown as Ezekiel Elliott runs for the team's second touchdown as the Cowboys take on the Detroit Lions Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Brad Loper/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)
Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant (88) signals a touchdown as Ezekiel Elliott runs for the team’s second touchdown as the Cowboys take on the Detroit Lions Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Brad Loper/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)

Though it was a surprise performance this week, it shouldn’t have been, as Jay Ajayi rushed for over 200 yards for the third time this year. The last time Ajayi broke the 200-yard barrier it was against the same Bills he faced Saturday. His two previous subpar games heading into this week made his outburst a bit of a surprise.

An even bigger surprise out of Week 16 was the performance by DeAndre Washington. The Oakland rookie hadn’t gained more than 57 yards rushing in a game until he rushed for 99 and two touchdowns, outshining Latavius Murray Saturday.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the best, most unexpected day from the wideout position. Adam Thielen has definitely shown some signs of being productive, but nobody expected him to catch 12 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday. Just five percent of CBS fantasy players started the receiver. Playing for the Vikings, who struggle to score, and coming off a neck injury in Week 15 made his outburst all the more surprising.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) couldn't catch a pass in the end zone in the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016. (Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) couldn’t catch a pass in the end zone in the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016. (Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham and Jordy Nelson put up big numbers as expected. Doug Baldwin, Sammy Watkins and Brandon Lafell also shined.

Dez Bryant proved his worth after a subpar season, scoring twice and even tossing a touchdown pass to Jason Witten on Monday night.

On the disappointing end of the spectrum were the Broncos receivers, who weren’t expected to have huge games, but combining for 46 yards was terrible.

Willie Snead was the odd man out in a good matchup against the Bucs where Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks excelled.

On the running back front, the biggest surprise and disappointment was Doug Martin who was a healthy scratch. It was a fantasy owners’ worst nightmare.

DeMarco Murray and Frank Gore ran into some trouble, both failing to score while amassing less than 100 yards from scrimmage. Jeremy Hill was the biggest bust who played, rushing for just eight yards on seven carries as he battled a hurt knee.

It’s been tough predicting the play of tight ends all year, but if you went with the typical starters this week you did fine. Travis Kelce led the way, catching 11 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown while Antonio Gates gained 94 yards and scored.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) carries the ball away from Denver Broncos safety Darian Stewart (26) and safety Justin Simmons (31) during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) carries the ball away from Denver Broncos safety Darian Stewart (26) and safety Justin Simmons (31) during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Congrats to those who closed out the fantasy football season with a championship. For those in wacky leagues that play through Week 17, here are a few waiver wire suggestions.

Quarterbacks

  • Blake Bortles, Jacksonville (He torched the Colts the last time out.)

Running backs

  • Jacquizz Rodgers, Buccaneers (12 touches, 63 yards, TD)
  • Alex Collins, Seahawks (Thomas Rawls may not be able to face the 49ers next week.)
  • Alfred Blue, Texans (Houston would be wise to let Lamar Miller rest up for the playoffs.)
  • Zach Zenner, Lions (12-67, 2TDs)

Wide receivers

  • Adam Thielen, Vikings
  • J.J. Nelson, Cardinals

Fantasy football Week 16 preview

It’s championship week, and that means there’s no room for error. With that in mind, here are some players you’ll definitely want to start, in addition to some you’ll absolutely want to leave on the bench. Most games are Saturday, so hurry up and set your lineups!

Start

Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers — Though he struggled two weeks ago against the same Saints he’ll face Saturday, Winston should perform better this time. Winston wasn’t pressed to throw the ball as much when they won 16-11. The Saints should play better at home, forcing the Bucs to air the ball out.

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers — San Diego gets to face the Browns, and that’s great news for Rivers owners. He has had just one bad game in the past six weeks, and the Browns are last in points allowed to quarterbacks.

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers — The last time Big Ben faced the Ravens, he threw for 264 yards, one touchdown and an interception. That game was on the road. If you know anything about Roethlisberger, you know his home-away split is huge. Bank on a big game from him.

Todd Gurley, RB, Rams — If you’ve made it this far with Gurley on your roster, you must have drafted really well. He’s been a big disappointment, but this week he faces the 49ers’ awful run defense. They’ve given up nearly a dozen 100-yard games and have even allowed a couple of rushers to surpass 200 on them.

Jordan Howard, RB, Bears — Howard hasn’t had fewer than 15 touches since Week 7, and he faces the 30th-ranked team in points allowed to running backs. He should thrive against Washington.

Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is hit by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix #21 of the Green Bay Packers as he scores a touchdown in the 4th quarter at Soldier Field on December 18, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Packers defeated the Bears 30-27. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is hit by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix #21 of the Green Bay Packers as he scores a touchdown in the 4th quarter at Soldier Field on December 18, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Packers defeated the Bears 30-27. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Bilal Powell, RB, Jets — Matt Forte hasn’t practiced and is doubtful to play. Powell had eight carries for 36 yards the last time he faced the Patriots, but if he’s the main guy, then he should start for you. I can imagine a lot of dump-off passes when the Jets trail early in this game.

Ty Montgomery #88 of the Green Bay Packers runs the football into the endzone for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 18, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Ty Montgomery #88 of the Green Bay Packers runs the football into the endzone for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 18, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Ty Montgomery, WR/RB, Packers — He’s allowed to be a WR in some leagues, so don’t fear tossing him into that slot. Though the Vikings are second in points allowed to running backs, it’s misleading since they’ve allowed at least 100 yards from scrimmage to the position in seven of their last nine games.

Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots — The Jets are in a bad way right now. New England should dominate, and Edelman is due a touchdown.

Michael Thomas, WR, Saints — Drew Brees at home should be able to feed everyone.

Chargers tight ends — There’s probably enough production to go around for Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry against the Browns.

Sit

Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs — He’s got a low ceiling, and he’s playing the Broncos. Don’t even think about it.

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals — While the Seahawks aren’t the same without Earl Thomas, Palmer will have a tough time against the third-best team at limiting quarterbacks.

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens — In the past five weeks Flacco has had three subpar games, and he’ll face the Pittsburgh defense, which is fifth-best in points allowed to quarterbacks.

Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens fumbles the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens fumbles the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Ravens running backs — Neither Terrance West nor Kenneth Dixon made a positive impact the last time against the Steelers. They’ll play them on the road this time.

Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Houston Texans tackles T.J. Yeldon #24 of the Jacksonville Jaguars behind the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Houston Texans tackles T.J. Yeldon #24 of the Jacksonville Jaguars behind the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Jaguars running backs — Three so-so games in a row aren’t enough to convince me T.J. Yeldon can help win a championship. Chris Ivory didn’t produce well last week, so he shouldn’t do much better against the Titans, who are sixth-best in points allowed to running backs.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons — He couldn’t turn in a solid outing against the 49ers last week, so I’d steer clear of him against the Panthers, who are in the top-10 when it comes to limiting running backs.

Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs — Though he’s been hot, you can’t rely on a one-touch, one-touchdown performance in a week like this.

DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins — It seemed he turned a corner midway through the season, but he’s been awful the past two weeks. Matt Moore at QB won’t help.

Randall Cobb, WR, Packers — His ankle hurts, and he’s had two bad games in a row. He faces a Vikings defense that is second-best in points allowed to receivers.

Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins — He’s not healthy. Even if he suits up, I’d avoid him.