NFL teams still have two more games to play before the regular season concludes, but for fantasy football owners, Week 16 is the championship round in the majority of leagues.
There’s nothing worse than having to search the waiver wire during championship week to replace a star player that’s dealing with an injury, but it’s safer to pick up someone guaranteed to play than to start an injured star and risk that he not only plays, but is also productive.
Let’s take a look at some waiver-wire pickups for owners to make as they prepare for their fantasy football championship matchups.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Patterson scored just one touchdown in his first 12 games, but he’s put together back-to-back performances with at least one touchdown reception to become fantasy relevant for championship week.
The rookie receiver has been targeted 29 times over the last four games, and he’s tallied 10 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns on 13 targets over the last two games. Patterson has become a larger part of the Vikings offense following a sluggish start to the year, and as a player who’s capable of making big plays in the passing game and on kick returns, he’s worth a pickup in Week 16.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins
Cousins replaced Robert Griffin III in Week 15 and threw for 381 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in his first start of the season.
The sophomore quarterback is a must-add in Week 16 and a worthy starter in fantasy leagues that play two quarterbacks each week. Cousins also has a tremendous matchup on Sunday against a horrible Dallas Cowboys defense that ranks 32nd against the pass and hasn’t given up less than 23 points in its last six games.
The Redskins-Cowboys game should be a high-scoring affair, which should allow Cousins to tally 300-plus passing yards and a couple of touchdowns.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers
Williams became fantasy relevant again with 168 total yards and a touchdown in the Panthers’ victory over the Jets in Week 15. The veteran running back earned 81 yards on 15 carries, and his 5.4 yards per carry was his second-highest for a single game this year.
He also made an impact in Cam Newton‘s passing attack with three receptions for a season-high 87 yards and a touchdown. Even though Williams is unlikely to get many goal-line carries (Mike Tolbert fulfills that role for Carolina), he’s still a solid bet to reach 100 total yards against a New Orleans Saints defense that ranks 21st against the run. Williams is also a good option for fantasy owners who need someone to start in a flex position in Week 16.
Matt Cassel, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Cassel threw for 382 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a Week 15 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. It was his finest performance of the season, and over the last three games, he’s thrown for an average of 296 yards.
With six touchdowns and three interceptions over the last four weeks, Cassel has been protecting the football and is consistently providing fantasy owners with solid production. He also has an elite receiver in Greg Jennings, a great offensive line and one of the league’s best running backs in Adrian Peterson.
Cassel has a difficult matchup against a Bengals defense that ranks seventh against the pass and fifth against the run, but he did have success against a stingy Ravens defense two weeks ago. Fantasy owners who start two quarterbacks each week should strongly consider picking up and starting Cassel if there are no better options on the waiver wire.
Jordan Todman, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
If Jaguars’ starting running back Maurice Jones-Drew doesn’t start Sunday’s game because of an injury, Todman becomes a must-add off the waiver wire and a player who should be started in just about every fantasy league.
Todman rushed for 109 yards on 24 carries, while also tallying four catches for 44 receiving yards against the Buffalo Bills in Week 15. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield makes him a great pickup in fantasy leagues that use point-per-reception (PPR) scoring. Todman also has a great matchup in Week 16 against a Tennessee Titans defense that gives up 119 yards rushing per game.