Free-agent finds for Week 16

Waiver-wire news changes throughout the week as injuries and depth-chart shenanigans overtake us. So be sure to follow me on Twitter by clicking on the link next to my headshot at the bottom of the column, and I'll keep you updated as news warrants.

Let's get to the best fantasy roster additions heading into Week 16:

Standard ESPN league finds

Joseph Randle, RB, Dallas Cowboys (owned in 4.3 percent of ESPN leagues): It's finals time, which means it's not the time to go firing wildly, Yosemite Sam style. If you're adding players off the wire, it should mostly be because your starter got hurt. Well, DeMarco Murray got hurt. He broke a bone in his left hand Sunday night and needed surgery. There's still a decent chance Murray plays in a huge Week 16 game against the Indianapolis Colts, but his fantasy owners need to protect themselves. Randle saw only two touches Sunday compared to six for Lance Dunbar (0.8 percent), but Randle has four inches and 15 pounds on Dunbar and has shown some power-running chops at times this year. If I had to choose one Murray handcuff for Sunday, it would be Randle. Realize, though, that he won't get a full workload. Dunbar also would be in the mix, and might even be a better bet in PPR leagues.

Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers (11.5 percent): Frank Gore left Sunday's contest with a concussion, and his status for Saturday's game against the San Diego Chargers is unknown. Unfortunately, his handcuff Hyde also got hurt in Week 15, suffering a back injury that caused him to leave the contest. Alfonso Smith (0.0 percent) was the last man standing and predictably couldn't get anything done against the Seattle Seahawks. Smith probably qualifies as only a deep-league add (see below), but I'd add Hyde in all leagues. If he can play and Gore can't, Hyde would certainly border on my top-20 RBs this week.

Branden Oliver, RB, San Diego Chargers (18.6 percent): My good feelings about Oliver from earlier in the year haven't worn off. You hear the Darren Sproles comparison, but that's a stylistic mismatch. I think Oliver is like Maurice Jones-Drew. Unfortunately, the Chargers' line is struggling, and Oliver was able to produce only 26 yards on 12 carries Sunday, though he chipped in 44 yards on four catches. Ryan Mathews' timetable to return from his ankle injury is unknown, so Oliver could start again Saturday versus the Niners. Donald Brown (3.9 percent) also would mix in, but I prefer Oliver.

Harry Douglas, WR, Atlanta Falcons (14.1 percent): For three quarters Sunday, Douglas was the subject of some Twitter ire, but he made a couple plays down the field in the fourth and wound up with 10 grabs for 131 yards. His status as a viable fantasy option hinges entirely on the health of Julio Jones, who missed Week 15 with a hip injury. Adding Douglas is a must if you're a Julio owner, but you pretty much just have to wait to see whether Jones winds up active before deciding to plug him into your lineup.

Green Bay Packers defense (37.7 percent): The Pack D did its job in Week 14 against the Buffalo Bills. It was Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson who let down the squad. To maintain dreams of a home playoff game, the Packers need a win Sunday, and fortunately play against the 2-12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have turned it over eight times and allowed 12 sacks in their past three games. They're clearly a positive matchup in a game where Rodgers figures to get back on track.

Handcuffs: It's finals time in most leagues and your opponent is going to be strong, so hopefully you've got the studs to keep up. Middling roster options with potential no longer need apply; rather, you're better off using roster spots to back up your RBs. In addition to the activated handcuffs I mentioned above, here's a list of other handcuffs you should own: Knile Davis, RB, Chiefs (25.1 percent); Alfred Blue, RB, Texans (32.7 percent); James Starks, RB, Packers (14.9 percent); Robert Turbin, RB, Seahawks (2.5 percent); Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Bears (1.2 percent).

Other solid waiver adds, about whom I've written in previous weeks: Mark Sanchez, QB, Eagles (42.3 percent); Andre Williams, RB, Giants (35.2 percent); Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders (36.8 percent); Charles Johnson, WR, Vikings (17.4 percent); Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins (31.0 percent); Dwayne Allen, TE, Colts (44.8 percent).

Speculative standard-league finds

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills (5.6 percent): Spiller has been activated from short-term IR, as his broken collarbone has healed. Will the Bills instantly launch him back into a platoon with Fred Jackson? We won't know until we see them square off Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, which means Spiller would be a tough guy to get in your lineup right away. And let's face it, Spiller wasn't exactly lighting the fantasy world ablaze before he got hurt. But back in his own role, his speed and moves would obviously give him upside.

Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers (25.7 percent): Keenan Allen injured an ankle early Sunday against the Denver Broncos and tried to play through it, but was carted to the locker room after halftime. That would seem to make Allen a fairly poor bet to go Saturday against the 49ers, which could elevate Floyd to No. 1 on Philip Rivers' depth chart. Of course, Rivers has thrown for more than one touchdown in only one of his previous six contests, so it's fair to ask if this is a growth opportunity. But Floyd is likely to get a few deep shots.

Jonas Gray, RB, New England Patriots (28.6 percent): These are more modest digs for Gray, compared to when I led this column with him several weeks ago. But that's fitting, because we really have no idea what the Pats will do in their backfield. The Week 15 plan was to ride LeGarrette Blount, but Blount laid an egg in the first half, and the Patriots turned to Gray. Some of Gray's 11 carries for 62 yards came in garbage time, but it was actually his 14-yard third-quarter run with his team up only eight that helped ignite them. I won't be surprised if this performance works Gray back into the mix in New England. I will be surprised if things ever stay the same in this backfield from week to week.

Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos (18.2 percent): Hillman was able to return to practice last week, and could wind up active Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. In the five games he's missed because of a foot sprain, Hillman has presumably lost any shot at starter's touches because of C.J. Anderson's ascension, but weirder things have happened than a veteran coming back to take snaps from his replacement. Hillman has always seemed to me like a third-down back, but he acquitted himself well for the better part of a month in a starting role.

Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (10.4 percent): Foles already has been ruled out for Week 16, so this is speculative indeed. But Mark Sanchez made enough mistakes Sunday night that when Foles is ready to return from his broken collarbone, I think he'll retake that starting job. It's possible that could come in Week 17, so if your league goes that far, think about Foles as a possible option.

Other speculative standard-league waiver adds, about whom I've written in previous weeks: Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington (10.3 percent); Johnny Manziel, QB, Browns (27.7 percent); Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers (45.1 percent); Matt Asiata, RB, Vikings (26.5 percent); Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars (8.1 percent); Kerwynn Williams, RB, Cardinals (28.3 percent); Stepfan Taylor, RB, Cardinals (5.6 percent); Khiry Robinson, RB, Saints (7.9 percent); Ben Tate, RB, Vikings (24.7 percent); Marquess Wilson, WR, Bears (2.9 percent); Stedman Bailey, WR, Rams (21.7 percent); Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts (26.8 percent); Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns (38.6 percent); Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings (15.3 percent); Mychal Rivera, TE, Raiders (19.6 percent).

Deeper-league finds

Alfonso Smith, RB, 49ers (0.0 percent): As I discussed above, Smith is now third on the Niners' RB depth chart, and both Gore and Hyde were injured in Week 15. If neither can go Saturday, Smith would get the start and be worth a look in deep leagues.

Case Keenum, QB, Houston Texans (0.0 percent): Here begins a parade of quarterbacks you probably don't want to own! But if you're in a two-QB league and your second dude got hurt Sunday, Keenum might be your best bet. Unfortunately, he also might wind up not even playing. Keenum was signed off the St. Louis Rams' practice squad only a matter of hours ago, but it seems to me he's likelier to start in place of the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tom Savage than Thad Lewis is, if only because Keenum played in Houston last year. He's got some familiarity with Arian Foster and DeAndre Hopkins.

Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (0.1 percent): Blake Bortles has a foot sprain, and considering the Jags play Thursday night, it seems unlikely to me that the rookie will suit up. That means Henne gets a national TV game. Ow. My eyes.

Charlie Whitehurst, QB, Tennessee Titans (0.1 percent): Aaaaand we're in for another QB change Thursday night. Did I mention ow, my eyes? Zach Mettenberger and Jake Locker are done for the year, so Clipboard Jesus rides again. (Dibs on that song title.) Whitehurst offers almost nothing because he checks down almost everything.

Ryan Lindley, QB, Cardinals (0.0 percent): Drew Stanton will miss Arizona's NFC West showdown with the Seahawks, meaning Lindley gets the start. He was truly terrible two seasons ago when he played in six games as a rookie. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Logan Thomas (0.0 percent) play in this game some, too.

Other solid waiver adds for deep-leaguers, about whom I've written in previous weeks: Juwan Thompson, RB, Broncos (3.6 percent); Robert Woods, WR, Bills (4.3 percent); Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars (2.8 percent); Nate Washington, WR, Titans (1.9 percent).