Monday, December 21, 2020

Week 16 Fantasy Football TE Waiver-Wire Rankings

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

With this being Championship Week (in most fantasy leagues), our focus with this week's waiver-wire column will be Week 16.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

With that said, here are some tight end waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 16 (Yahoo! % rostered in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by our preference to add.]

1. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (48%)

More was expected from Hooper in 2020. Even though he wasn't expected to be as productive on a per-game basis as he was with the Atlanta Falcons, his new offense was one that featured tight ends that should have allowed him to perform as a back-end TE1. While Hooper was sidelined in Weeks 7 to 9, his role didn't expand as much as expected following the Odell Beckham season-ending knee injury in Week 7.

In his first four games played following the OBJ injury (Weeks 10-13), Hooper had target shares of 10.53%, 27.78%, 7.41% and 6.45%, respectively. Returning after missing Week 14, Hooper had one of his best games of the season in Week 15 against the New York Giants.

The 26-year-old tight end turned his six targets into five catches for 41 yards, all of which are five-game highs, and a touchdown. His 28.57% target share was a season high.

Hooper gets to play in the same stadium in Week 16 although this week's matchup is considerably better. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season than the New York Jets. Since Week 6, the Jets have allowed six top-10 weekly tight ends.

2. Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears (12%)

After back-to-back seven-target games, Kmet disappointed fantasy managers that may have streamed him in season-long leagues or rolled the dice on him in DFS. The rookie was targeted only twice and finished with two catches for 12 yards. At the same time, Mitchell Trubisky threw only 21 pass attempts.

Since Week 10, Kmet has seen a surge in his playing time -- minimum of 70% snaps since then -- and he actually set a season high in snaps played (64, 100%) in Week 15. The Jacksonville Jaguars offer one of the best matchups at the position as only six teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2020.

3. Dan Arnold, Arizona Cardinals (2%)

Heading into Week 15, Arnold had been productive recently but on limited volume. In his previous four games, Arnold had scored four touchdowns but he had only six total catches and nine targets over that stretch.

In Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Arnold had three catches on a season-high five targets for 54 yards. It was his second game with more than 50 yards over the past three weeks. In fact, Arnold has scored the 12th-most fantasy points among tight ends since Week 6.

Despite having difficult matchups down the stretch against the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively, Arnold has put himself into the TE2/streamer mix.

4. Tyler Eifert, Jacksonville Jaguars (6%)

Against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15, Eifert hauled in three receptions for 51 yards. Eifert now has a minimum of four targets in six of his past seven games and at least 45 receiving yards in two of his past three. Eifert gets a favorable matchup in Week 16 against the Bears, which puts him into the streamer mix. Only the Jets have allowed more fantasy points to the position this season.

5. Jordan Akins, Houston Texans (4%)

Akins had five catches for 50 yards in Week 15 against the Indianapolis Colts and he has now been targeted six times in back-to-back games. Although Akins has not scored a touchdown since Week 1, a plus matchup in Week 16 makes him a streaming consideration. Only three teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Cincinnati Bengals.

6. Chris Herndon, New York Jets (12%)

Coming off a lost second season, 2020 turned into a lost third season for Herndon. That said, he had three catches for 48 yards on four targets, all of which are highs since Week 4. It would take a lot of courage (to use a positive word) to play him in championship week, but he gets a top-three matchup against the Browns.

+ More Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 16:

Note: Week 16 will be our final waiver-wire column of the season, but we will post weekly rankings in Week 17.

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