Fantasy football last-minute pickups for Week 16: A.J. Green, Cole Kmet can be of help in playoffs

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Each week of the NFL season, we will identify fantasy football waiver wire pickups specifically for those of you looking for streaming options in deeper formats (including IDP leagues). These are players available in a majority of ESPN fantasy leagues (or close) who have enticing matchups in the week ahead that make them worthy of consideration for your lineups.

While you might notice some overlap with Field Yates' pickup column that publishes on Mondays, an important distinction is the options mentioned in this column are focused solely on this week's matchup and not the players' values for the remainder of the season.

Editor's note: Roster percentages are updated Fridays, and players from the Thursday night game are taken out.


Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers vs. Buccaneers (29.2% rostered)

Over the past five games, Newton has averaged only 124.6 passing yards while completing 55% of his passes. A large part of his fantasy success comes from his 183 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. With his rushing ability against a Buccaneers defense that gives up the 11th-most points per game to quarterbacks, Newton is once again on the streaming radar.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers at Chiefs (19.1%)

Due to the Steelers' questionable offensive line, Roethlisberger has been hit and miss this season. Nevertheless, he has played well in recent weeks. In last week's game against the Titans, Roethlisberger had 12 points, but in Weeks 11-14, he averaged 22 points. He has a great chance to put up a strong performance against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the fourth-most points per game (19.0) to quarterbacks in a game in which the Steelers are likely to be huge underdogs.

Running back

Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Panthers (75.5%)

As a result of Leonard Fournette's hamstring injury, Jones has the potential to become a league winner. In Week 15 against the Saints, Jones accumulated 71 total yards on 10 touches in relief of Fournette. Since the Buccaneers' bye week, Fournette had averaged 20.4 touches and 24 points per game. Jones inherits this workload, which puts him on the RB1 radar, and that's why his roster percentage has jumped considerably in the past few days.

Wide receiver

A.J. Green, Arizona Cardinals vs. Colts (44.4%)

Green has 11 catches for 166 yards the past two weeks, and he received two end zone targets against the Lions on Sunday. Against the Colts in Week 16, he is an upside flex option based on his 18 targets over those past two games.

Josh Reynolds, Detroit Lions at Falcons (4.9%)

Amon-Ra St. Brown is getting a lot of attention, and rightly so. In the last three games, he has averaged 11.7 targets and 21.2 points. St. Brown's average depth of target (aDOT) is only 6.2 yards. D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams' eventual return may reduce St. Brown's targets underneath. Reynolds' role as an outside receiver, however, is unlikely to change. The Falcons defense has allowed the fourth-most points per game (38.0) to receivers and he has an aDOT of 15.5 yards over the past five games.

Tight end

Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears vs. Seahawks (30.4%)

Kmet has averaged 31.7 routes run, eight targets, five receptions, 48.5 receiving yards and 10 points per game over his last four games. In certain statistical categories, his per-game averages over that time frame surpass Darnell Mooney's, who averaged 6.8 targets, four receptions, 58 receiving yards and 10 points per game. Fields and Kmet have a great rapport and the Seahawks defense allows the fifth-most points per game (16.0) to tight ends. On Monday night, Kmet led the Bears in targets, receptions and receiving yards. That could repeat itself against the Seahawks.

Defense/special teams

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Giants (61.1%)

The Eagles have been a middle-of-the-road defense all season, but they really have an opportunity to soar against the Giants in Week 16. Philadelphia's defensive front has the third-highest pass rush win rate and New York's offensive line ranks 25th in pass block win rate. The Giants rank 27th in total yards per game (311.4) and 30th in points per game (17.0) as well. This matchup favors the Eagles defense, which has seen its roster percentage rise from below 40% earlier in the week.


Greg Zuerlein, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington (53.4%)

Although Zuerlein continues to have erratic performances, it's hard to completely dismiss him in a Cowboys offense that ranks first in total yards per game (403.3) and second in points per game (28.6). He's scored 10 or more points in three straight games. Washington allows the 11th-most PPG to kickers and Zuerlein gets the benefit of playing indoors.

Individual Defensive Players (IDP)

Defensive Line

Charles Harris, Detroit Lions at Falcons (12.8%)

Week 15 saw Harris perform exceptionally well against the Cardinals. He finished with 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Against an offensive line that ranks 27th in pass block win rate and 29th in run block win rate, Harris should have similar success.


Germaine Pratt, Cincinnati Bengals at Ravens (18.3%)

Pratt has thrived with Logan Wilson out. With 15 tackles last week against the Broncos, he should continue to rack up tackle opportunities against a Ravens team averaging 31 rushing attempts per game.

Defensive Back

Kamren Curl, Washington Football Team (6.8%): Curl was activated from the Reserve/COVID list on Friday, welcome news for a team that has been depleted by the virus. Curl has provided a solid floor all season, averaging nearly seven tackles in his past eight games.