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For the majority of fantasy football leagues around the country, Week 16 is Super Bowl week!

It all comes down to this in most head-to-head fantasy leagues. Fifteen weeks of torn ACLs, missed extra points and Arizona Cardinals incompetence has weeded out the terrible fantasy teams and left the playoff-worthy squads to battle it out for league championships.

If you are one of the lucky fantasy owners with a shot to win your league’s title this weekend, congrats! But if you are in need of a decent tight end to help win you that title, read below and pray you pick the right guy on the waiver wire – if your league allows playoff waiver picks. Without further ado, here are the best tight ends to pick up heading into Week 16. Good luck RotoBallers!

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TE Waiver Wire Options for Week 16

Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers – 28% owned

Greg Olsen’s understudy is picking up right where the sore-footed tight end left off. Thomas has 14 receptions for 123 yards over the past two games leading into his Monday night matchup against New Orleans and has done well as Cam Newton’s security blanket on short passes over the middle.

Thomas’ matchup this upcoming week is more attractive than the models at a casting call. While Atlanta’s pass defense has improved its ranking from 31st to 20th over the past several weeks, the fact is that the Falcons secondary is very beatable and their safeties are susceptible to giving too much room down the seams. Thomas is not going to break any 30-yard plays with his lack of speed, but he could definitely catch six-to-eight balls for 70 yards and a touchdown during his crucial fantasy weekend.

Chris Herndon IV, New York Jets – 35% owned

I am a Jets fan. It is well-documented. I know fantasy players are down on Herndon because he has not caught a touchdown toss in his last six games, and this week he has to face a top-10 Green Bay Packers pass defense that is ranked near the top when it comes to allowing fantasy points to tight ends. I get all that. Yet at this point of the season when there are not many tight ends to turn to on free-agent lists in fantasy leagues, Herndon is still one of the better buys around.

If possession receiver Quincy Enunwa is out due to injury again this week, Herndon will get more looks and ultimately more catches and yards. Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is playing some of his best ball of the season, and Herndon has had more than 30 yards in five of his past six contests despite being held out of the end zone. Scoff if you want, but if Herndon can get 50-plus yards versus Houston and New England, why can’t he do the same against Green Bay?

Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans – 4% owned

Jonnu Smith was shaping up to be Tennessee’s top tight end and was mentioned in this column a couple of weeks ago as one of the best tight ends to pick up in fantasy leagues. That was ruined when Smith’s knee was wrecked and his season prematurely ended. Now Firkser, a name no fantasy players knew at season’s start, has become a viable pickup for desperate fantasy owners.

Firkser is 16-for-16 in converting his targets into receptions this season, pretty amazing for an unheralded backup tight end. While he was shut out against the New York Giants this past Sunday, I think he will fare better against a below-par Washington secondary this Saturday, especially if the Redskins load up the box to stop Derrick “I’m Running Like Jim Brown” Henry. Do not bank on miracles from Firkser, but if there are no better available options in your league then take a flyer and pray to a power that is higher.

 

Other Tight End Options

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams – 22% owned

Everett is always an afterthought in a high-octane Rams offense that revolves around Todd Gurley and its talented wide receivers, but he has been featured more often since super slot receiver Cooper Kupp tore his ACL. He just had back-to-back seven-target weeks and should have scored a touchdown against Philadelphia if Jared Goff did not miss him when he was wide open. Everett could be a sneaky get against Arizona this week.

C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals – 30% owned

Uzomah has been nominated as a top tight end on the waiver wire in this column this year as often as Meryl Streep has been nominated for Oscars. In Week 16 he runs routes against Cleveland’s 31st-ranked pass defense and should be good for five catches for 40 yards. That might be enough for some fantasy owners.

 

Follow Craig on Twitter @craigrondinone!

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