The Waiver Wizard Week 16 2023

By Evan Tarracciano
Evan Tarracciano

Fantasy Football players are a passionate group. They devote countless hours pouring over statistics, prepping for drafts, setting lineups, making waiver wire moves, and perhaps even (audible gasp) the occasional trade with their cohorts in crime. All for what? A chance at the playoffs and to win a championship.

We base our projections around probability, historical data and recent trends – yet for all the work that goes into each week, we still have to face the Grim Reaper of conclusions: we have zero control over the outcomes on the field. Injuries, negative game script, stupidity of coaching staffs (here is looking at you, New York Jets) and so many other unforeseen variables wreak havoc on final totals. Case in point, this past weekend.

I’ve been a Fantasy Football player for the better part of 15 years, and never can I remember such a dismal, awful week of landmines and duds by supposed “star” players in Week 1 of the Fantasy playoffs. Players who came in on hot streaks, or performed admirably for most of the season were rendered irrelevant. Scoring was down (again), and injuries plagued the landscape.

At quarterback? Aidan O’Connell, Gardner Minshew, Derek Carr, Jake Browning, Jacoby Brissett, Easton Stick and Nick Mullens were all top-10 options. Notice how I didn’t mention Patrick Mahomes, Tua Tagovailoa, Russell Wilson, Jorvan Love, Sam Howell, Trevor Lawrence or Kyler Murray?

Ty Chandler, Devin Singletary, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerick McKinnon and Zamir White were all top finishers at running back. Mysteriously absent was Aaron Jones, Derrick Henry, David Montgomery, Travis Etienne, De’Von Achane, Javonte Williams, Tony Pollard, Saquon Barkley, Austin Ekeler or Jerome Ford.

Receiver was thankfully more forgiving, with only Johua Palmer and Noah Brown being low-rostered explosion candidates. Yet, Jerry Jeudy, Puka Nacua, DJ Moore, Stefon Diggs, George Pickens, Brandon Aiyuk, Garrett Wilson, Drake London, Gabe Davis, DeAndre Hopkins and Zay Flowers. This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of injured guys who were unable to suit up (Tyreek Hill, Keenan Allen, Christian Kirk, Nick Collins, Christian Watson and Chris Olave, just to name a few).

I won’t even touch tight end.

Bottom line? If you somehow managed to avoid all of the landmines that I mentioned above (and by no means was that a full and comprehensive list), power to you. You managed to dodge bullets like Neo from the Matrix. Lucky.

Here are a few folks that might be out there on your waiver wire that could possibly aid your team in Week 15, should you happen to be in a pinch:


Gardner Minshew (15 percent rostered) – Of the available options rostered in less than 40 percent of leagues, I’d opt to pick Minshew over Browning, O’Connell or Mullens. Minshew had a quietly productive day in the Indianapolis Colts victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, completing 18-of-28 passes for 215 yards and 3 touchdowns. He squares off against the Atlanta Falcons, who are coming off of consecutive losses to divisional opponents Tampa Bay and Carolina. Currently a two point road favorite, I’d expect Minshew to pass for more than 200 yards with multiple scores yet again, spreading the ball around to his available options. Keep an eye on the health status of Michael Pittman (concussion) and Zack Moss (arm) to see who is available, and cross your fingers that Jonathan Taylor (thumb) returns to action.



Clyde Edwards-Helaire (32 percent rostered) – “CEH” filled in admirably in the absence of Isaiah Pacheco, who underwent surgery on his injured shoulder. His rushing line isn’t anything to write home about (37 yards on 13 carries), but his usage as a check-down option (4 receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown) is encouraging. Operating as a safety outlet for Patrick Mahomes on a team that has few outside threats, I’d expect another strong performance for CEH in Week 16 against the Las Vegas Raiders. Las Vegas currently leads the league in fewest rushing yards allowed this season, which actually plays into the strength of CEH as a short-yardage outlet. He very well might finish with less than 50 yards on the ground, but I’d expect close to 100 all-purpose, with a strong shot of finding the end zone yet again.

Zamir White (7 percent rostered) – On the other side of this game, White makes for a viable pickup and start, should Josh Jacobs miss another game with his knee injury. A non-participant in every practice last week, Jacobs should be considered iffy (at best) for the Monday night game on Christmas. White (along with the rest of the Las Vegas offense) exceeded expectations on Sunday, rushing for 69 yards and a score on the ground, chipping in three receptions for 16 yards as a receiver. Most encouraging was how White dominated touches in the backfield, with Ameer Abdullah and Brandon Bolden only coming on the field to provide White the occasional breather. The cat is out of the bag on this second-year product from the University of Georgia. A former fourth-round pick, he could be in for another very productive evening.



Demarcus Robinson (2 percent rostered) – Fool me once, shame on you – Twice? Shame on me. Three times? Well, here we are after three times. Robinson managed to find the end zone for the third consecutive week for the Los Angeles Rams, operating as the No.3 receiver behind Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp with Tutu Atwell sidelined with a concussion. Robinson didn’t see the same gaudy number of targets that he was funneled in Week 14, but he made the most of what he was provided. Hauling in 2-of-3 targets for 44 yards and a score, Robinson clearly has strong rapport with quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Rams square off against the New Orleans Saints in Week 16, who rank in the middle of the pack as a defensive unit against receivers, in terms of passing yards allowed, completion percentage and receiving touchdowns.

Joshua Palmer (20 percent rostered) – Look, SOMEONE has to catch passes for the Los Angeles Chargers, right? In the absence of both Keenan Allen and Justin Herbert, Palmer becomes the de-facto WR1 for Easton Stick (a sentence that I can’t believe I’m uttering in Week 16). Gerald Everett and Austin Ekeler will continues to operate as short-yardage outlets for Stick, with Palmer being the downfield threat on explosive plays. This past week, Palmer was one of the lone bright spots in a 63-21 drubbing against Las Vegas (a scenario that proved to be the final straw for Brandon Staley), reeling in 4 receptions for 113 yards and a score. The Bolts take on the Buffalo Bills at home in Week 16 – I expect this to be yet another uphill climb and negative game script for a team that is just going through the motions trying to end their season.



Hunter Henry (17 percent rostered) – Henry caught the attention of many through the first two games of the season (11-108-2) before pulling a disappearing act and going underwater with the rest of the New England Patriots offense from Weeks 3-13. So why trust him now? The emergence of Bailey Zappe under center. Sometimes all it takes is a change under center to shake up the pecking order for targets. Henry led all receivers on New England in Week 15 with 7 receptions on 9 targets for 66 yards and a score in a surprisingly competitive game against the Kansas City Chiefs. I’d anticipate Henry being a focal point in Week 16 against Denver, running free up the seam while the Broncos DBs shut down the Patriots outside receiving threats.