It’s fantasy championship time and if you’re still left standing, there’s no looking back now. None of these players is worth adding to your lineup at this point unless you were hit by a Week 15 injury or have a player who has turned into a total bust. Here are the rookies that could be solid sleeper fill-ins heading into Week 16.
NFL Rookie Sleepers for Week 16
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals – A strong performance can go a long way toward boosting a rookie's confidence and making him more comfortable on the field. In Week 14, Eifert had three receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown, his best performance of the year. Sharing time with Jermaine Gresham has made both players hard to predict from a fantasy perspective, but Gresham left the game in Week 15 with an abdomen injury and his status is unclear looking toward Week 16. The Bengals will be facing a Minnesota defense that has been incredibly weak against opposing receivers. There isn't much question as to whether or not a Bengals tight end will catch a touchdown pass in this contest, and the smart money is on the young, talented rookie over the injured veteran. Even if he doesn’t reach the end zone, Eifert should see enough receptions to make him worthwhile if you’re searching for a last minute waiver wire pickup.
Knile Davis, RB, Kansas City Chiefs – After his performance last weekend in a blowout win against the Raiders, all the running back talk coming out of Kansas City has been focused on Jamaal Charles. Another Chiefs running back managed to have a successful day though, as Davis rushed nine times for 34 yards, caught two passes, and reached the end zone for the second time in two weeks. It’s hard to get a ton of playing time when you’re on the same roster as Charles, but as the season winds down and the Chiefs start looking toward the playoffs, they’ll be conscious to avoid overworking their star. Davis has proven he can make big plays when replacing Charles, and when the Chiefs take on the Colts in Week 16, there is an opportunity for Davis to have a strong day once again. The Colts have allowed No. 2 running backs to succeed plenty this season, and despite a strong start, they have allowed opposing teams to blow them out numerous times. Davis could see numbers similar to those that other rookie No. 2 running backs have posted against the Colts this season: Benny Cunningham (7 attempts for 72 yards), Giovanni Bernard (12 attempts for 99 yards) and Andre Ellington (10 rushes for 50 yards with 21 receiving yards).
Timothy Wright, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have come a long way since their 0-8 start to the season. A large part of that success has been the results of the performance of rookie quarterback Mike Glennon. Another rookie, Wright, has been on the receiving end of that increased success, reaching a season-high 9 targets for 82 yards in Week 15 against the 49ers. The Buccaneers will take on a less formidable defense in Week 16 when they head to St. Louis to face the Rams. The most encouraging things the rookie has going for him are that he is the only healthy tight end on the Bucanneers roster and he’s Glennon’s favorite target behind Vincent Jackson. He’s reached the end zone twice in the past two weeks and could easily do it again against the Rams poor pass defense, ranked near the bottom of the league.