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Sneaky Starts, Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups for Week 16

Josh Reynolds - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

If you are alive in your fantasy football league’s playoffs, congratulations! You have done a better job managing your squad than Urban Meyer did!

You have brought your fantasy football team this far. You are probably two wins away from winning your league championship and walking away with money, a trophy, bragging rights, or a combination of the three. So DO NOT blow your opportunity like Meyer blew his! This is not the time to put a player in your lineup who has COVID or a strained hamstring. This is the time to have backup plans in place if one or more of your superstars sit out on you at the last minute.

Without further ado, here are my sneaky starts, pivot plays and post-waiver pickups for Week 16 — and the questionable superstars who you might need to replace at the last minute in your fantasy lineup:

Featured Promo: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off and win big in 2022. Exclusive access to our Premium articles, 15 lineup tools, new Team Sync platform, Lineup Optimizer, Premium DFS tools and cheat sheets, and much more! Sign Up Now!

 

Sneaky Wide Receiver Pickups and Starts for Week 16

If Houston’s Brandin Cooks (COVID) is not cleared to play Sunday, you could pick up and play…

Josh Reynolds, Detroit Lions (WR) at ATL

Reynolds was never given the opportunity to show his skills when he was the No. 3 WR on the Los Angeles Rams thanks to Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods taking all the targets, and he never had a fair shot to do much with the Tennessee Titans earlier this season. Yet now he is playing some of the best ball of his five-year career with a two-win Detroit team. He has hooked back up with former teammate Jared Goff, and the pair’s chemistry has been evident over the past month. Reynolds has 16 receptions for 259 yards and two touchdowns over his past four contests.

Atlanta is technically in the playoff hunt, but the team is not good and its 24th-ranked pass defense has allowed San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel, Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin, and Carolina’s Robby Anderson to have monster games against it the past three weeks. Reynolds should have no trouble getting open this week. His only issue might be if Goff will be on the field since the starting signal caller is on the COVID list presently. As long as Goff gets cleared, feel free to tag Reynolds to be a last-minute pivot play for your fantasy team.

 

If Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans (hamstring) is not given the thumbs up to play this weekend, you could pick up and play…

Jamison Crowder, New York Jets (WR) vs. JAX

UPDATE: Jamison Crowder is now being listed as doubtful for Week 16.

Crowder has not gotten his fantasy value off the ground all year long. Between the haphazard play of his quarterbacks and his role in the receiving corps changing thanks to the emergence of rookie Elijah Moore, Crowder has been mired in a season-long slump. He has no 90-yard games on the season and has only reached the end zone twice, but with Moore out with an injury and the Jets facing the worst team in the NFL at home this week, Crowder could surprise the fantasy football world with his best game of 2021.

Jacksonville has not done anything right all season except for fire the aforementioned Meyer. The Jaguars pass defense is ranked in the middle of the pack in the NFL, but that has more to do with opposing offenses running the ball while having big leads against them rather than due to the defense having a solid secondary. Crowder will not be locked down by any Jalen Ramsey-type corner this Sunday. I think the Jets will make a concerted effort to get the ball into Crowder’s veteran hands. Slot receiver Braxton Berrios led the team in targets last week, but Crowder has 20 targets over his last three games and should be able to cash in on a couple of his chances this week against a Jacksonville defense that increases every skilled-position player’s fantasy value.

 

Sneaky Running Back Pickups and Starts for Week 16

If Los Angeles’ Austin Ekeler (COVID) is ruled out before Sunday’s kickoff, you could pick up and play…

Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RB) at CAR

Leonard Fournette’s untimely hamstring injury now leaves Jones as the top tailback in Tampa Bay. That is an enviable job at have, especially when Tom Brady and the Bucs are coming off being shut out and will be pushing to score early and often this Sunday. Jones should be gifted scoring opportunities all game long and receive additional touches with the Buccaneers receiving corps ripped to shreds due to injuries. Jones has done little for fantasy managers this season with Fournette dominating the playing time and touches in the backfield, but he is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and has scored twice in his last five games.

Carolina might be ranked second in the NFL against the pass, but the Panthers are not as stout at stopping the run (20th). Jones also has done quite well running against the Panthers in recent years. He has scored a touchdown in each of his past three games against them and racked up 192 rushing yards the last time he had the opportunity to face them. If your league still allows late-week waiver picks during the playoffs and Jones is available, sign his name on the dotted line. Rarely-used Ke’Shawn Vaughn and veteran retread Le’Veon Bell will not slice into Jones’ touches much this weekend.

 

Sneaky Tight End Pickups and Starts for Week 16

If Las Vegas’s Darren Waller (knee) misses his fourth consecutive game on Sunday, you could pick up and play…

Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers (TE) at HOU

It feels like Cook has been around as long as President Joe Biden has. The guy has played on six teams over his solid 13-year career. Cook has kept chugging along this season with a 41-440-4 line in 14 games, though his slew of 20-yard games and occasional touchdowns have not done many favors for fantasy managers. While Cook is available in half the leagues currently, he might not be available for long as fantasy playoff teams starved for a TE upgrade see his name on the waiver wire.

Cook should see additional Justin Herbert missiles thrown his way this week since tight end teammate Donald Parham Jr. will be out due to the scary concussion he suffered last week. Cook has been targeted five times or more in four of his past five games anyway, but without Parham around he could see six-to-eight targets this Sunday versus a hapless Houston team whose pass defense is not as decent at it has looked stats-wise the past month due to the underwhelming pass offenses (Jacksonville, Indianapolis, New York Jets) the Texans have faced. If you need to replace concussed Pat Freiermuth in your fantasy lineup, picking up Cook is a great way to go.



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