Week 16 fantasy football waiver-wire targets

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As we look to close the book on Week 15, the end of the fantasy season finally feels near. As a result, the waiver-wire is incredibly thin. We no longer need to stash players, and few new truths are exposed to us on the gridiron each Sunday. With that in mind, I focused this edition of the waiver-wire column on highlighting some easy plug-and-play options who may still be available in your league (but likely aren't if you're in a competitive league and are in the championship). Several of these players are returning from absences, while injuries are opening the door for others to make a statement before the season's end. Normally I list the players by position, but for this edition I'm listing them in the order I'd actually add them. Good luck to you in the finals if you've made it that far, and for following along with this column all year.

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1

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers


Reports are that Antonio Brown's calf injury will force him to miss the rest of the regular season. That puts JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant into the spotlight as top wide receiver plays next week when the Steelers travel to face the Houston Texans. Entering Week 15, Brown owned 32 percent of the team's targets, which equates to about 12 per game. Both Smith-Schuster and Bryant are athletic playmakers, and the only thing holding them back in fantasy was a lack of opportunities. That changes now. If either is on your waiver-wire, be sure to make them a top add this week. (58.3 percent owned)

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2

Robert Woods, WR, Rams


Robert Woods was dropped in plenty of leagues while he missed a few weeks with a shoulder injury, but he returned to action against the Seahawks and immediately took back his role as the team's No. 1 wide receiver. Woods led the team in targets (seven), catches (six), receiving yards (45) and tied with Sammy Watkins for the most playing time at the position (75 percent). Next week the Rams travel to face the Titans, who just let Jimmy Garoppolo and his depleted corps of wide receivers throw for 381 yards. Woods and the rest of this pass-catching corps ( Cooper Kupp, Watkins) could all be in the mix for starting consideration, though Woods is the best play of the bunch. (50.5 percent owned)

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3

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars


I've written about Blake Bortles so much this past month that I hope you've taken notice. He had one of the best fantasy playoff schedules in the NFL, and made the most of that this week with 326 yards, three touchdowns and over 25 fantasy points. Next up for Bortles is a matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, whose defense is allowing around 18 fantasy points per game to opposing passers over the last month-plus. Bortles could put an emphatic stamp on his strong end to the season and help you lift a fantasy title. (26.5 percent owned)

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4

Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers


Keenan Allen was carted off the field late in Saturday's game against the Chiefs with a back injury, the severity of which is unknown at this time. His potential absence makes Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin great targets on the waiver wire this week. The Chargers next face the Jets, who've allowed 1,019 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns over their last four games. The Chargers will need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, and that'll likely come via the right arm of Philip Rivers. If Allen misses this game, Williams will be a strong WR2. (37.2 percent owned)

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5

Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens


Mike Wallace has 9.8-plus PPR points in five straight games, and has emerged as the Ravens' top wideout. It's not a scoring bonanza with Wallace, but his consistency down the stretch shouldn't be overlooked. He's available in plenty of leagues and gets a fantastic matchup next Saturday as the Ravens host the Indianapolis Colts, a team that just let Brock Oswieler throw the rock all over them. (43.1 percent owned)

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6

Aaron Jones, RB, Packers


While Aaron Jones was sidelined with a knee injury, Jamaal Williams showed he could be a featured back with over 100-plus scrimmage yards in three straight games. However, Jones appears to be getting healthier as he posted his highest touch total (four) and playing time percentage (39) since suffering his injury back in Week 10. Now, this looks far more like a committee than any sort of one-back show. Jones runs at a completely different pace than Williams and has home-run ability any time he touches the ball (he racked up 53 yards against the Panthers on his four touches. He could factor into the mix more next week when the Packers host the Vikings, and might be worth an upside dart throw in the flex (24.1 percent owned)

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7

Kerwynn Williams, RB, Cardinals


Adrian Peterson's season is now over due to a neck injury, which has put Kerwynn Williams into the mix as a pseudo featured back. He's posted rushing totals of 61, 73 and 97 the last three weeks, offering an OK floor in deeper standard leagues. Looking like a starter against the Giants in Week 16, as well, Williams will have low-end flex appeal facing a defense that's been gashed by running backs. (16.1 percent owned)

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8

Mike Davis, RB, Seahawks


The Seahawks backfield has been a black hole of fantasy value all season long, though Mike Davis is at least worth paying attention to. He was game-scripted out of this past week's contest with the Rams pretty much from the opening whistle, but he could find more opportunity to rack up yardage against a Cowboys defense that had allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing backs from Weeks 11 to 14. Also, if you haven't noticed running back is incredibly thin right now. (7.8 percent owned)

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9

Eric Ebron, TE, Lions


Eric Ebron has four-plus catches and 33-plus yards in five straight games, and he found the end zone this week against the Bears. He has 18 targets over the last two games, as well, and now faces a Bengals defense/team that appears to be packing it in on the 2017 season. Also, they've given up a receiving touchdown to tight ends in back-to-back games, as injuries have ravaged their defensive unit. If Ebron is available in your league, he's a fine streamer this week. (67.8 percent owned)

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10

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles


Not a bad debut for old Nick Foles as the Eagles starter, huh? The veteran completed 63 percent of his passes for 237 yards, four touchdowns and amassed 25.48 fantasy points. Foles proved he can capably manage and move the Eagles loaded offense, which bodes well for his fantasy outlook next week against the Raiders on Monday night. The Raiders secondary is, well, not great. If you picked up Foles to replace Carson Wentz and are in the fantasy championship there's no reason to get off this wave. (6.2 percent owned)

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