Week 16 working the waiver wire: Chase that championship

Week 16 working the waiver wire: Chase that championship
Mike Nowak/Chargers team site

Congratulations, if you're reading this article you've had a good fantasy season. Adding free agents should be easier with many teams already done for the season. Also, be aware that other owners that are in the playoffs will be looking to block you from picking up any players that can help you, so go all-in if you need a certain player this week. Owners in the consolation game might be looking to add players this week too, so don't just assume your opponent in the championship game is your only competition on the waiver wire.

Keep in mind the owner % mentioned is for 10-team standard ESPN PPR leagues. Good luck!


Ryan Tannehill: He's still only 63% owned, and he continues to come through for fantasy owners. He plays the Saints this week, and they're a middle of the road matchup for QBs over the last 4 games.

Philip Rivers: He's only rostered on 43% of leagues and should have a great game since the Raiders are the 3rd best matchup a QB can face over their last 4 games.

Desperation play:

Ryan Fitzpatrick: You can use him against the Bengals if you're desperate. The matchup isn't as good as you might think. Don't look now, but the Bengals are the 5th worse matchup for QBs over their last 4 games.


Adrian Peterson: Peterson was my top player to add last week, and he didn't disappoint. You have to love the volume he's getting and a home matchup against the Giants isn't scary. He's still only rostered in 55% of leagues.

Mike Boone: This is a tough week for RBs on the waiver wire. Hopefully, you're playing in your fantasy Super Bowl because you have good RBs. Boone could be a league winner if Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison sit this week, but there's no way of knowing that this early in the week. The matchup against the Packers is tasty, so keep your eye on the Vikings' practice reports. This will be tricky because the game is on Monday night, so add Boone and play him if he's the starter.

Kerryon Johnson: He could be back this week, but who knows how much work he gets. If you're in a keeper league, and he's out there, he might be worth picking up for next year.


Breshard Perriman: You have to love his upside playing with Jameis Winston who will face a Texans secondary that can be exploited. He's only rostered in 9% of leagues. He has 3 straight games with 70 yards receiving or more, so he's worth a shot for sure. You can't expect another 113 yard performance with 3 TDs, but he should good again.

Darius Slayton: He didn't put up big numbers, but he did score again. His matchup against the Redskins isn't great, and we'll see if Eli Manning plays again this week. Slayton comes with some risk this week, keep that in mind. He's rostered in 65% of leagues.

Anthony Miller: I've been one of the last people to back Miller this year, but you can't ignore how good he's been lately. He's produced in fantasy for 4 straight weeks, but his matchup couldn't be worse this week, so be aware. The Chiefs have given up the least amount of points to WRs over their last 4 games. He's rostered in 25% of leagues.

Greg Ward: He's getting a lot of targets because Carson Wentz doesn't really have many other options. Ward faces the Cowboys defense this week, and they're a Top 10 matchup for WRs over their last 4 games. He's available in 97% of leagues.


Tyler Higbee: He's only rostered in 39% of leagues, and he has 3 straight games with over 100 receiving yards. PICK HIM UP. Even if Gerald Everett returns, you have to love Higbee.

O.J. Howard: His matchup against the Texans is beautiful, and Jameis should target him heavily. He's rostered in 52% of leagues and should be owned.


If you need a defense this week, the Chiefs look like a good option against the Bears. Kansas City is playing a lot better on defense as of late, and they're only rostered in 34% of leagues.

Okay, that will do it. Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo on ESPN 97.5FM. We're on every Sunday morning from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday. Good luck this week!




Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
The Coogs are back in action Friday night. Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images.

Jamal Shead wasn’t anywhere near the player he is now when he joined the Houston Cougars in 2020. His coach offers an unvarnished opinion about his talented guard.

“When he came in, I thought he was a long way away,” coach Kelvin Sampson said. “I thought his immaturity was an issue. His day-to-day practice habits were an issue.”

Four years later, the 21-year-old Shead barely resembles that freshman player, and his leadership and defensive tenacity has the second-ranked Cougars heading into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed for a second straight season.

Shead, who was named a first-team AP All-American on Tuesday, will lead Houston (30-4) in the first round of the tournament Friday night against 16-seed Longwood. The Cougars are in the tournament for a school-record sixth straight season.

Sampson reflected on Shead’s journey this week after he received his latest accolade in a season where he’s already become the first player in Big 12 history to win player of the year and defensive player of the year honors the same year. Sampson said Shead's parents didn't baby him even during those freshman struggles.

“He didn’t have anybody to call home and cry to or to listen to excuses,” Sampson said. “That was never going to be an issue. His mom and dad are unusual in that they say the coach is always right. They knew he needed the culture that we’ve established here.”

So, with the help of Houston’s veterans, Shead began to develop and by January of his first season things started to click for him. By February, he started challenging the veterans or as Sampson recalls: “kicking their butts in practice some days.”

“I think our program raised that kid from being a kid to being a man and this is the end result,” Sampson said. “I think it is a great story in that when things were really tough for him, he didn’t quit, he didn’t transfer.”

Shead admitted that dealing with Sampson’s strong coaching style took a while to adjust to and he still remembers a colorful one-liner he used to call him soft back in his early days on the team.

Now that he’s grown into the team’s leader, he appreciates how Sampson coached him.

“He has the utmost belief in you and the utmost trust in you when you earn it. And he never wavers with that,” Shead said. “That guy has trusted me since Day 1. He’s taught me so much. He might get on me the hardest, but I know it’s out of love. I know he loves me, so I never take it personally.”

Shead has a wealth of tournament experience after reaching the Final Four as a reserve as a freshman. He moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore when the Cougars advanced to the Elite Eight and won American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year honors last season when Houston made it to the Sweet 16.

He leads the Cougars this season by averaging 13.1 points a game and averages 6.2 assists and 2.3 steals. He has scored in double figures in 25 games this season, including 11 of the last 12.

He’s confident that Houston is ready for a deep tournament run.

“Coach says it all the time, he doesn’t compare teams, so I don’t really try to,” he said. “But I think this team is prepared because of our mindset right now, our preparation is always good because we have the best coach in America and probably the best coaching staff in America. So, our preparation is always going to be good because they’re going to have us ready … it’s all about who’s going to be the toughest and I think we’ll be one of the toughest teams out there.”

The biggest factor in that toughness is the team’s defense, which is led by Shead. Houston leads the nation in holding teams to just 57 points a game.

“Our defense is our defense,” Shead said. “We’re No. 1 in the nation. We take pride in that. We turn you over, cool. But we’re going to try to make you miss. We’re going to make it as hard as possible every possession.”

And the coach who once thought Shead was a “long way away” from contributing to his team, now revels at the player he has become.

“The three things Jamal learned to control was Jamal and then his attitude and then his effort,” Sampson said. “When those three things became his strength, he became the best defensive guard I’ve ever coached and the greatest leader I’ve ever coached.”

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome