Fantasy football playoffs on to the semifinals: See top waiver wire pickups for Week 16

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) smiles after the 49ers defeat the Seattle Seahawks 21-13 in an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, in Seattle, Wash. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis)

It’s semifinals week for those still alive in the fantasy football playoffs, and it’s tougher than ever to know who to start as a result of some key injuries in Week 15 and crazy weather forecasts for the upcoming Week 16.

Colts running back Jonathan Taylor’s season-ending ankle injury and Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts’ week-to-week shoulder injury will be challenging to overcome, and with several matchups having to be faded due to extremely windy conditions such as Saints at Browns, claiming the top waiver wire options is more important than ever.

We’ve got the top waiver wire additions at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end along with a few alternate options for those in deeper leagues.

TOP QUARTERBACK

Brock Purdy, 49ers (22.6% rostered)

The 49ers’ offense has been steady under Purdy, as he’s been solid as the starter the past few weeks and has been able to get the ball to his cast of elite weapons. With Purdy having momentum and being at home this week in a contest that shouldn’t be affected by weather, he makes for a solid addition for those needing a quarterback against a mediocre Commanders pass defense.

TOP RUNNING BACK

Deon Jackson, Colts (11.9%)

The Colts backfield is tricky to diagnose now that Taylor is out of the picture, as both Jackson and Zack Moss were heavily involved last week, but we feel like Jackson is the one to target for fantasy. That’s because Jackson is more involved as a receiver and offers a more stable floor as a result in PPR formats, and he showed he could put up strong production while filling for Taylor earlier in the season.

TOP WIDE RECEIVER

Jahan Dotson, Commanders (26.3%)

Dotson has become the Commanders’ go-to receiving option in the red zone as evidenced by his six receiving touchdowns in nine games, and we’re riding the hot hand this week despite a tough draw against the 49ers. The silver lining is that the 49ers’ pass defense is somewhat vulnerable unlike their run defense, so Dotson could find the end zone again with Terry McLaurin drawing the No. 1 coverage.

TOP TIGHT END

Chig Okonkwo, Titans (14.8%)

Okonkwo has established himself as one of the more reliable fantasy tight ends in recent weeks with a consistent target share and red zone production, which is hard to find with so few tight ends being able to produce consistently. Okonkwo should continue his run of success this week against a Texans defense that just got torched by Travis Kelce and the Chiefs.

ALSO CONSIDER

Gardner Minshew, Eagles QB (0.3%)

It appears that Jalen Hurts is on the wrong side of questionable this week, which means Minshew will likely draw the start for the Eagles and get to pilot one of the league’s top offenses. Minshew has starting experience and puts up respectable numbers, so while he likely won’t put up elite production like Hurts, he makes for a decent streaming option against the Cowboys in a game that won’t be affected by the weather.

Zack Moss, Colts RB (0.8%)

While we went with Jackson as the top priority at running back, Moss is still worth claiming since he appears to have locked down the early down role for a run-heavy Colts offense. The Colts are set to lean on the run once again this week against the exploitable Chargers run defense to where both Moss and Jackson are in the flex conversation.

K.J. Osborn, Vikings WR (2.7%)

The Vikings are one of the most pass-heavy offenses in the NFL, and Osborn has taken on a more prominent role down the stretch. With Adam Thielen no longer an elite presence, Osborn’s stock is on the rise, as he should remain a key target for Kirk Cousins and makes for a nice speculative pickup

DEEP LEAGUE DIVE

Richie James, Giants WR (1.2%)

Trying to nail down who the Giants’ No. 1 receiver is has been a daunting task, but the guy that’s been the most consistent down the stretch is Richie James. Back from a concussion, James was solid in Week 15 against the Commanders and offers the most stable floor among Giants receivers while also possessing some upside since he’s been targeted in the red zone consistently by Daniel Jones.

Spencer ‘the Guru’ Urquhart (@spencertheguru) has been a fantasy football analyst since 2014, founding a community of over 6,000 followers on Instagram

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