There's a certain scent in the air. That unmistakable, at-times-elusive, always-worthwhile fantasy football championship smell. You've made it this far -- a trophy is within reach.
So, congrats! Week 16 is upon us, which represents the start of the two-week championship matchup in ESPN standard leagues. Many leagues opt to hold a championship only in Week 16, so as to mitigate the number of critical players who could be resting in Week 17 with their teams having already clinched a particular seed in the playoffs.
Either way, the best of the best are here. So with that in mind, we're not going to get crazy this week with waiver adds. You didn't reach these heights by cobbling together a lineup each week with players who are hard to trust -- you likely are chock-full of stars. Keep relying on those stars!
Does that mean to ignore the waiver wire? Of course not. Your circumstances can unquestionably lead you to needing a pickup here or there, be it due to injury, matchup or the need to go big at a particular spot.
So when you're reading this list below, consider it the "greatest hits" track of the waiver wire. The best of the best make it this week (and next week too) as we power through to the finals.
Best of luck to all.
Players must be available in over 50 percent of leagues on ESPN.com to be eligible for this column.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers (12.4 percent): With Aaron Jones leaving the Packers' Week 15 game due to injury, it figures to be Williams as the man in the Green Bay backfield until Jones returns (if he returns this season). While Williams is not of the same ilk as Jones, opportunity is a key component of fantasy football ... and this is quite the opportunity. Though he was not effective as the Packers' starter to begin this season, he had five touchdowns in a three-game stretch in 2017, which shows he can be quite useful when things are clicking.
Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (29.3 percent): A star was born on Thursday night, as the uber-talented Williams was thrust into a prominent role after fellow Bolts wideout Keenan Allen left the game early with a hip issue. If Allen is unable to play in Week 16, Williams -- who scored three touchdowns and corralled seven catches -- would be the top passing-game option for a red-hot offense. He's an incredible talent with the physical tools to be a force in this league for quite a while.
Elijah McGuire, RB, New York Jets (32.7 percent): With Isaiah Crowell placed on injured reserve just prior to the Jets' Week 15 game against the Texans, it cemented McGuire as the starter for the rest of this season. He saw 21 combined touches on Saturday, finding the end zone on one of his 18 rushing attempts. McGuire should continue to see that sort of workload over the final two weeks.
John Kelly, RB, Los Angeles Rams (3.0 percent): This is a just-in-case addition, as Todd Gurley II was banged up in Week 15, despite finishing the game and piling up a monster 34.4-point effort. Kelly would be the presumptive next man up in an offense that -- despite recent struggles -- has immense upside. I don't think Gurley is going to miss any time, but it's always smart to have insurance just in case.
Alfred Blue, RB, Houston Texans (4.0 percent): While it's not certain that Lamar Miller will miss time due to an ankle injury suffered in Week 15, it's clear that Blue is the fantasy beneficiary if he does. Blue had a paltry 6 yards on nine carries in Week 15, but has six games already this season with at least 10 rushes. He'd be a flex consideration in the event Miller sits out Week 16.
DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Denver Broncos (23.3 percent): It's now been two games since Emmanuel Sanders suffered an Achilles tear that put him on the shelf for the season. Hamilton has stepped up with seven catches in each game, and while he's not piling up yards (just 93 yards on those 14 catches), the volume is key. Slot completions are easier to rack up in bulk and Hamilton operates out of the slot for Denver.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (31.1 percent): While teammate Mike Williams is the Chargers' wideout I am most interested in adding this week, it should not be overlooked that Tyrell saw a team-high 13 targets in Week 15. He, too, is a big play waiting to happen and is in the mix for any volume made available if Keenan Allen is out.
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills (30.8 percent): It's been a four-game stretch now for Allen, so we can't simply dismiss his output as a small sample size error. He now has three rushing touchdowns in his past four games, and while he's not seeing a ton of designed runs each week, scrambles are key and he has at least nine rushing attempts in each of his past four games. The passing is erratic (exactly 50 percent completion percentage during this stretch), yet Allen finds his way to fantasy relevance.
Robert Foster, WR, Buffalo Bills (3.1 percent): If you like to roll the dice, Foster is the guy to keep an eye on. Foster has at least 94 receiving yards in four of his past five games, despite hauling in just 13 catches during that span. Allen might have the strongest arm in the league and vertical shots are part of the package in the Buffalo offense right now. Risky? Yep. Upside? Yep as well.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Oakland Raiders (32.7 percent): Nelson is sort of the anti-Robert Foster, as his value is rooted in his volume during the past three games. He has 22 catches during that stretch, with at least six in each game, but he did not eclipse 97 yards in any of those contests. The Raiders rarely play with a lead, meaning they have to throw frequently. Nelson should stay busy.
Kalen Ballage, RB, Miami Dolphins (0.5 percent): With Frank Gore going down due to an ankle injury, Ballage got to see his first extended action in an NFL game. He scampered for a 75-yard rushing touchdown and finished with 123 yards on just 12 carries. The Dolphins are reticent to use Kenyan Drake as an every-down back, meaning Ballage could continue to lead the team in carries if Gore misses time.