Fantasy Waiver Wire Week 16: Giovani Bernard, Benny Snell among top free agent pickups after big Monday night performancesDecember 22, 2020
After Sunday, we thought we had our fill of random RBs who will be starting in fantasy football championships, but Monday came along and gave us several more names to add to the top Week 16 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds. In addition to the likes of Tony Pollard, Le’Veon Bell, Salvon Ahmed, and Sony Michel, we now have Giovani Bernard, Benny Snell, Malcolm Brown, Ito Smith, and Devine Ozigbo/Dare Ogunbowale to keep tabs on. All could receive significant touches for their respective teams next week, which means all could be claimed on waivers or at least picked up after waivers clear around 4-5 a.m. ET on Wednesday morning in Yahoo and ESPN leagues.
Our full free agent list features more than just running backs, though. There are a bunch of potential WR3s (Keke Coutee, Sammy Watkins, A.J. Green, Russell Gage, Lynn Bowden Jr.), a true difference-maker at QB (Jalen Hurts), and several streaming options at TE and D/ST, which can be found at the end of this list. If you’re looking for a new kicker or just want one more terrible experience in 2020, you can check out our Week 16 kicker rankings.
Obviously, there’s no point in holding back your waiver claims now. It’s possible your lineup is mostly set and your opponent needs a flex, in which case grab the RB you think is best. That’s going to be a tough call with all the potential options, as Pollard, Bell, and Bernard all stand out as high-upside plays heading into next week, but it never hurts to play a little defense.
If you need a streamer at a specific position and your opponent doesn’t, you can probably get who you need in the second round of waivers. However, if you really want Hurts or a TE like Austin Hooper, then do whatever it takes to secure that player, then worry about blocking your opponents’ pickups.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 16
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals. After Bernard was benched for a good portion of Week 14, many fantasy owners dropped him ahead of a tough Week 15 matchup against Pittsburgh. Owned in just 52 percent of Yahoo leagues, Bernard emphatically reclaimed the lead-back role in Cincinnati on Monday night, running for 83 yards and a TD on 25 carries and adding another 14 receiving yards and a TD on his lone reception. With Houston’s 31st-ranked run defense on deck in Week 16, Bernard should be heavily owned and started in most fantasy leagues.
Benny Snell, RB, Steelers. With James Conner (quad) out, Snell got the Steelers rushing attack back on track on Monday night. He finished with 84 yards and a TD on 18 carries and added another 23 yards on three catches. If Conner is back next week against the Colts, Snell won’t have much value, but if Conner remains out, Snell can work as a high-volume flex.
Malcolm Brown, RB, Rams. Cam Akers (ankle) will miss Week 16, which means Darrell Henderson and Brown will go back to being a two-headed monster in the Rams backfield. Henderson will likely operate as the “lead back,” but Brown has seen double-digit touches in five games this year and has two multi-score efforts. He’ll have a tough matchup against Seattle, but volume and TD potential matter this time of year, and Brown has flex upside.
Devine Ozigbo, RB, Jaguars. James Robinson is reportedly dealing with an ankle injury, and while the extent of issue is unknown, it’s at least possible he could miss Week 16 against Chicago. If Robinson is out, Ozigbo would likely handle the bulk of the carries while Dare Ogunbowale mixes in in on passing downs. It’s possible Ogunbowale would handle the bulk of the RB touches and be the better pickup, so watch the practice reports.
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals. Green caught two-of-three targets for 40 yards on Monday night against Pittsburgh, but that’s not why he’s on this list. With Tyler Boyd suffering a concussion, he’ll be “questionable,” at best, to suit up in Week 16 against Houston. Green would slot in as Cincinnati’s No. 2 receiver if Boyd can’t go, and against a Texans’ defense allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to WRs, that gives him WR3/flex value.
For additional waiver/free agent suggestions, including starting RBs Tony Pollard, Le’Veon Bell, and Salvon Ahmed, as well as a host of potential WR3s, check out our full Week 16 list.