Congratulations! If you’re reading this you survived the Hunger Games of fantasy football only to begin an even more difficult ascent. It’s like what Maeve must have felt when she saw that ‘SW’ on the wall as she exited to Star Wars style, multi-leveled connecting corridor in the season finale of Westworld. That’s about as spoiler-friendly as I could possibly write that without giving anything away, haha. Point is…now  comes the hard part. Now is all that matters. Oh, you finished 9-4 to win the #2 seed and a bye in Round 1? Congratulations. Here’s a LifeSaver to enjoy while you go look at the total points and realize that all four teams under you scored more than you this season. Come Week 15 and Round 2, you’re likely to be in need of a LifeSaver. Fantasy Football is filled with luck (or the lack thereof, like that time when you score the 2nd most points, but miss the playoffs because of Colin Kaepernick ghosting Week 13. I guess that’s what I get after hyping him for a month straight. And don’t talk to me about karma. It doesn’t exist. And don’t worry…I’m not salty about it, either. Hahaha.), so savor that LifeSaver while you can; you may need a real one soon.

So, whether you’re the dominant #1 seed, backdoor sliding into the #6 seed with a 6-7 record, over performing your total points or just looking to finish out strong through Week 16 in your consolation bracket (said no one ever), this final post in Working the Wire for the 2016 season is an all-encompassing look at the names to target for the next three weeks. As a rule, I’m not focusing on low ceiling bench options; they do nothing this point in the year. No one is worth adding unless they carry the potential to start for you and push you into the next round.

Win or go home! Here are the top targets to, well… target for the 2016 fantasy football playoffs!

Note: The threshold for appearing as one of the targets for this post is <25% owned in either league as of Monday. Most of the % will be higher than that since it’s being posted on Wednesday, but each of these guys are still worth the target.

  • Mike Gillislee, RB – BUF (ESPN 28.5%, Yahoo 24%) – The final RB I’d target to pick up of the playoffs is a guy with only 22 carries in the past four weeks; however, it should come as no surprise that Gillislee ends up on this list. No, not just because of the 2 TDs from Week 13, but because he’s totaled 6 in his past 7 games. The volume isn’t there, but that’s what happens when you’re in a backfield with LeSean McCoy. One McCoy injury, though, and Gillislee becomes a borderline RB1 in the Bills offense. He’ll get a few carries now, but this is the type of pickup you make to round out your bench for the playoff run. He’s no David Johnson from 2015, but you’re not finding that this year. Tim Hightower? This may be your answer, and Hightower was one of the 5 highest-owned players on title teams last season. Take the flier.
  • Dontrelle Inman, WR – SD (ESPN 22.7%, Yahoo 21%) – The next two WR listed feature a higher volume, but Inman’s role as a big play threat and red zone target brings him into the focus as a waiver wire target once again. I get it, at this point in the year a lot of teams are devoid of making moves, and the general perception of players is largely fixed, but Inman’s worthy of rostering for the playoff push. True, he had a less attractive line in Week 13 (2/49/1) than in Week 12 (6/119/1), but that final number in the slash line is the attractive piece. The Chargers and Philip Rivers are still going to throw the ball in heavy doses, and Inman is emerging as the primary red zone compliment to Antonio Gates. That’s valuable real estate to reside upon. Get him on your rosters, especially if you need to hit a home run to move into the next round.
  • Brandon LaFell, WR – CIN (ESPN 21.6%, Yahoo 23%) – I was hesitant on LeFell after the A.J. Green injury, putting my eggs int he Tyler Boyd basket. While the Boyd decision hasn’t proven to be wrong, I undershot the value of LaFell in the offense. Granted, I don’t know what the Bengals identity is on offense right now, and I doubt they do either (why isn’t Jeremy Hill getting 25 touches every game?), but LaFell’s usage increased to a really valuable level. And I don’t see it fading away. He doesn’t boast a strong catch rate on the year (41-71), and his Week 13 5/95/1 line may feel like an outlier, but he received even more targets the week prior despite his 3/38/0 production. He’s getting the looks, and has the previous penchant for finding the end zone. If you’re stuck playing LaFell at the Flex for one of your playoff games you could do far worse.
  • fireMalcolm Mitchell, WR – NE (ESPN 35.9%, Yahoo 35%) – The final Burn Notice of the season, Mitchell is increasing his snap counts and taking advantage of the opportunity presenting itself to the young rook with Rob Gronkowski out for the year. Week 13 saw him follow up his two TD performance the week prior with 10 targets for an 8/82/0 line. That’s the typical Danny Amendola-esque line in this offense, but with Amendola potentially done for the year there’s a strong chance the volume continues. Add in the fact that Mitchell’s a far greater deep threat than Amendola ever dreamed of being, and the Pats don’t have that with Gronk gone, and Mitchell’s ownership should be more than double that 35% number. I understand the hesitation in starting him, but at minimum he should be owned universally. You can keep your Marvin Jones’ of the world, I’ll take my shot here, because one more week of double digit targets from Tom Brady and the argument of not starting him dissipates quickly. (Go Dawgs!)
  • Ladarius Green, TE – PIT (ESPN 34.5%, Yahoo 34%) – Likely one of the most added players for Week 14, Green’s value should hold true through the fantasy playoffs in the vaunted Pittsburgh offense. His value to Ben Roethlisberger as a potential #2 option to Antonio Brown should also increase the potency of Leaven Bell by keeping defenses more honest. He’s been a crazy elite athlete for a while, but has yet to truly harness his potential, with injuries obviously playing a big factor in that. The 11 targets in Week 13 were eye-opening, but I doubt his production stays on the same level each week. 6/110/1 may not repeat itself often, but even if he turns into 5/50/1 it’s incredibly valuable for a TE when the entire position has been riddled with inconsistency all year. And for those of you looking for the Dwayne Allen add to this list, go find him on another site. Not here. 3 TDs on 4 targets is unsustainable, and that Monday nigh affair was an anomaly for the Colts offense. Give me Green over Allen ROS.

Now…DROP THOSE COMMENTS! Good luck in round one of the playoffs, and hopefully for many of you weeks to come!

It’s been a fun 2016! Loved guiding you along the waiver wire this season, and look forward to 2017! In the meantime, I’m off to the basketball side of Razz with The 7 Ahead every week, and the prep for baseball which will heat up on the other side of the New Year!

  1. RePete says:

    Pick one to start this week (0.5 PPR);

    Watkins vs PIT
    Adams vs SEA
    Marshall @ SF

    • @RePete: Watkins. Gotta go big, and I think the floor for him is just as low as the others with their recent performance (Marshall) and opponent (Adams).

      • RePete says:

        @[email protected]: That’s what I was thinking; go big or go home. It seems Watkins is no longer seeing limited snaps as well.

          • @[email protected]: Thinking about this again with the weather. I’m scared on Watkins with so much snow. I may go Adams, even though they’re in Seattle. Nelson will get primary coverage, and their gonna have to throw it. I’d lean him over Watkins.

  2. Citizen5 says:

    First of all, a big thank you to you and the other Razzball writers for another enjoyable season. I made the playoffs (8-5).
    Here is my starting lineup:
    QB Luck, RB McCoy, RB Ajayi, WR OBJ, WR Evans, TE Brate, RB Ingram at Flex.
    Bench options are:
    QB Kaep, RB Sproles, RB Gillislee, RB Sims, WR Inman, WR Boyd, WR Matthews
    Keep as is? I’m thinking of starting both McCoy and Gillislee. Crazy?
    Thanks in advance,

    • @Citizen5: Absolutely! That’s why we’re here and love doing this. Congrats on the playoffs!

      I wouldn’t start Gillislee over Ajayi or Ingram. I think Ingram gets his workload increased back to our expected amount, and would move him into the RB2 slot. Ajayi still looking at heavy touches (last week was an anomaly because of the score), so he goes in over MG, too.

      Solid squad. If you get by this week and a RB falls off, you can slot a WR into the flex just fine. But Gillislee is the prospective handcuff for injury, not a starter as of yet.

      Well done!

  3. Josh-NYC says:

    Pick one to start this week:

    -Tyreek Hill vs. OAK (Thursday night game but KC can tie Oakland for first in the division- keep in mind maclin is back)
    -Taylor Gabriel @ LA (jones and sanu are hurting)
    -Boyd @ CLE

    • @Josh-NYC: Hill has the most upside, and I think Maclin back doesn’t change much for Hill. I think it bumps Wilson way down, may take away some targets from Kelce over the middle, and may mitigate Ware in the passing game, but Hill’s a different weapon from anyone else. Gabriel’s going to be a great option, but I can’t rely on him yet. Same with Boyd.

      All three are REALLY close, but I’d still lean Hill. The Chiefs offense is humming right now, and I doubt the Raiders slow them down much (though Thursday pm may…)

  4. Chunk says:

    1.0 PPR
    Need to start two, and at most one rb:

    D Thomas
    M Mitchell


    • @Chunk: Ware over Rawls, but I’m probably going Ware and Rawls and leaving Crabtree out. Thomas/Watkins/Adams all scare me, the volume for Hill is less reliable than the carries for Rawls/Ware, and there are too many paths to Mitchell getting less targets against a good Ravens D.

      Tough choice, but the guarantee of carries against two weak rush defenses sways me over the swath of WR.

  5. RicoSuave says:

    Great work [email protected]!

    12 team H2H PPR league… first week of playoffs

    who should I start? 1x QB, 2 x RB, 3 x WR, 1xTE, 1x R/W/TE, 1x K,1x DEF;

    QB Russell Wilson SEA @ GB
    RB Le’Veon Bell PIT @ BUF
    RB Jeremy Hill CIN @ CLE
    RB Tim Hightower NO @ TB
    RB Bilal Powell NYJ @ SF
    RB T.J. Yeldon JAX Vs MIN
    WR Dez Bryant DAL @ NYG
    WR Dontrelle Inman SD @ CAR
    WR Jarvis Landry MIA Vs ARI
    WR Cameron Meredith CHI @ DET
    WR Tyler Boyd CIN @ CLE
    WR Marvin Jones DET Vs CHI
    WR Tyler Lockett SEA @ GB
    TE Ladarius Green PIT @ BUF
    TE C.J. Fiedorowicz HOU @ IND
    K Dan Bailey DAL @ NYG
    DEF Seattle Seahawks @ GB


  6. Jack says:

    1. Flex – Martin, Kelley, or Watkins
    2. Flex – Ingram or Kelley
    3. Which D – KC or Cincy
    4. Am I overthinking it. Y considering Rivers over a hobbled Rogers in the snow?

    PPR leagues, btw.

    Muchas Gracias, Amigo!!

    • @Jack: Hey Jack!

      1. Kelley (high floor, solid ceiling)
      2. Ingram
      3. Cincy
      4. Rivers. I don’t want Rodgers against SEA or in the snow.

      Good luck!

  7. Not Your Average Joe says:

    Should I swap anyone off the bench for a currently slotted player? Like maybe Crowder for Rishard since TEN is playing DEN? Or Baldwin against GB at WR or Flex? Who are my swaps, if any?

    ESPN standard league:

    QB – Brees
    RB – Bell, Ingram
    WR – Julio, Rishard
    Flex – Ajayi
    TE – L.Green
    DST – CIN
    K – Bryant

    Bench – Mariota, Booker, Crowder, Baldwin, Watkins, T.Hill

    PS. Do you like L.Green more than Ebron ROS?

    • @Not Your Average Joe: Well, Julio might be out this week. That changes things. If he’s in, I’d go with Crowder as my WR2. If he’s out, I’d go with Crowder and Baldwin as my two. Watkins volume knocks him down a peg.

      And I don’t know on Ebron/Green. They’re very similar. I’d probably roll with Ebron, though, because his floor seems to be higher from what the Lions have done with him all year.

  8. Sam says:

    Ppr – bench one of the following: Snead, Inman, Tyrell Williams, Kenny Britt, Malcolm Mitchell

    Also same ppr league who would you start between burkhead or simms (back from IR) as RB2

    Thank you!

    • @Sam: Bench Britt. And I’d go with the wild card of Sims than the chance Burkhead may get 10 touches.

  9. Blaster says:

    In a league where players signed off waivers can be signed for 1, 2, or 3 year contracts. Got Ladarius Green for $5 out of a $200 budget which would increase slightly if signed for multiple years. Is he worthy or a multi year deal or still too risky?

    • @Blaster: Depends on how many you can keep. If it’s limited in any fashion, no, he’s too risky.

      Have to remember that outside of 3-5 TE you’ll be able to draft any of the others for less than $5 in draft season, also.

  10. Greg says:

    I’m gonna start Inman over Beasley this very important weekend, dost thou concur?

    • @Greg: Do I need to reply in Old English? Haha

      I’d start Inman over Beasley. Give me the upside rather than the solid floor. That decision changes if you’re a heavy favorite. But that’s the only time I’d take Beasley first.

      • Greg says:

        Agreed. And thanks. ….I’m an underdog, albeit a slight one, so that’s my thinking, too…then again, Yahoo has undervalued my roster all year.

        Would have loved to see you answer in Olde English…lmao

        • @Greg: Yahoo. Ugh. I have my personal disdain for their interface, but goes to show you should always navigate certain site’s analysis carefully.

  11. Josh-NYC says:

    New news on Booker splitting work with Forsett (??!!!)

    Damn. Do you start Taylor Gabriel or Tyler Boyd over Booker this week? .5 ppr

    Thanks [email protected]!!

    • @Josh-NYC: Sure, Forsett’s a good flier, but this is also the guy that was cut by two teams this year. I didn’t highlight him for a reason.

      I’d start Gabriel if Julio is out, otherwise I’d go with Boyd.

  12. Sandlot Bully says:

    TE shuffle continues…

    Please rank for this week and ROS:

    Fleener (Hill out) / CJF / McDonald


  13. Chris says:

    Hello [email protected],
    Would appreciate your comments.

    I currently have a BYE, and I’m preparing for next week playoffs.

    Current players of interest available are:
    WR Maclin, RB Alfred Morris, RB Forsett

    My team is:

    QB: Big Ben, Matt Ryan (we only start one)
    RB: Elliot, Blount, Ivory (BN)
    Flex: Murray
    WR: Cooks, Fitzgerald, Hilton, Sanu (BN) (start 3)
    TE: Rudolph, Ertz (we only start one)
    K: Crosby
    DEF: Patriots, Bills (we only start one)

    I just dropped Tim Hightower and added the Bills who have a next week matchup with Cleveland, which NE faces Denver.
    I would like to keep New England who for week 16 gets the Jets.

    I want to drop Ivory but don’t know who to add.

    Forsett could get good amount of touches with Denver?
    Alfred Morris, back up for Elliot but if Elliot sits is in week 17 and my playoff ends in week 16?
    Maclin since he would be WR 1 in Kansas now that he is practicing?

    sorry for the long post.


    • @Chris: Congrats on the bye and no worries on the length of the comments. haha, have you seen some of my posts? Brevity is something I strive for but don’t necessarily have by default.

      Drop Ivory and pick up Morris. Ivory means nothing to you, but protecting your lineup for your stud in Zeke is valuable. Get his handcuff as insurance. It’s not like having points sitting on your bench matters anyways. Zeke could also see less touches in Week 16 with the division locked up.

      And since you mentioned it…Maclin’s not the WR1. It’s essentially Kelce/Hill/Ware and then Maclin.

  14. AmericaFyeah says:

    Ha! The Kaep meltdown! Sorry it took you down in its wake, but its what that POS deserves

      • AmericaFyeah says:

        @[email protected]: Do you think it will, though? He’s a proven shitlord. Capable of outbursts, sure. But his overall game tape stinketh.

        • @AmericaFyeah: Well, before last week he was the third best fantasy QB since taking over the job. He’s led his team to a Super Bowl and two straight Conf. Championships. Last season was a step back, and he was hurt to begin the year after multiple offseason surgeries. Is he the cornerstone QB of the future like we thought in 2013/2014? Probably not. But he’s a viable weapon as a QB, especially in Chip Kelly’s scheme.

          If his name was Shmolin Shmaepernick and he produced those same stats after coming back from injury, no one would have a problem with him.

          He’s a sleeper for next year, even if he’s not relied upon to finish this season.

  15. William Trill Cauley-Stein says:

    @MA! What up! Mind helping me this week? I am in a ten team .5 PPR league with ten teams. I really appreciate it Boss!

    QB-Dak OR Flacco?

    RB1- L. Miller OR J. Hill OR Rawls OR Ayjai OR D. Murray OR K. Dixon OR White?

    RB2- L. Miller OR J. Hill OR Rawls OR Ayjai OR D. Murray OR K. Dixon OR White?

    WR1- T. Hill OR B. LaFell Or D. Jackson OR K. Britt?

    WR2- T. Hill OR B. LaFell Or D. Jackson OR K. Britt?


    D- Bengals

    K- M. Bryant

    • @William Trill Cauley-Stein: Ol’ WTCS. Love it. If you were the real WCS that would be even more dope. Or is it doper? Or is that a noun? It’s not for me, so not sure. Anywho…


      Good luck!

      • William Trill Cauley-Stein says:

        @[email protected]: I appreciate it brother. One more quick question. Thinking ahead for next week 15 which DEF should I get? BAL? HOU? MIA? NYJ?

        • @William Trill Cauley-Stein: Sorry for the delay. Been horribly sick the past two days. Even had to miss the basketball post for this week.

          For 15 I’d go back to Baltimore or Miami. Either one. Both playing well.

  16. McVeigh says:

    Deep PPR better add Hogan or Sims?

  17. Bluety says:

    I have the second waiver pick who should i target 1st (L. Green or a Def Minn. or Cinn) below is my team. point per rec after 3rd. Thanks
    Eric E/K. Rudolph
    Adam V

    • @Bluety: Run with Ebron at TE. Don’t burn the waiver for Green when you have those two.

      And as for the D, I think I’d rather run with Cincy than ARI (even though they’re much better, they’re on the road and playing a better offense in MIA, who also has something to actually play for) or BAL visiting NE. Again, though, it’s NOT WORTH the burn.

      Love your squad. Good luck!

  18. fran ingelsby says:

    looking at week 15 and 16 for defenses I have GB like to see what defenses to look at in those weeks, of course all the top ten are taken

    • @fran ingelsby: Some nonstop 10 options for 15: ATL, MIA, GB, HOU, JAX.

      16: NYG, NE, SD

      I’d deep dive with those.

  19. Fleeced says:

    Olsen hasn’t been doing much lately, and I was lucky enough to grab Ladarius Green. Am I crazy to start him over Olsen in a PPR league?

    • @Fleeced: You’re not crazy to do it, but I’m not doing it. The whole Carolina offense has struggled, but one game of Ladarius Green doesn’t elevate him over Olsen, to me. Too risky.

      • @[email protected]: I’ll say it this way…both are just as likely to go off for an 80 yard, 2 TD game, but the floor and reliability of Olsen is much higher than Green.

  20. Bees says:

    Start 2 rb’s 1 pt ppr. Theo riddick vs chi, ken Dixon vs ne, doug Martin vs no(sims and Rodgers on waivers if need be). Thanks!

    • @Bees: Riddick in PPR defintely. And I’d probably go with Dixon over Martin (somehow). Quizz and Sims could eat into his usage, he was hurt last week, and the Ravens need the weapon of Dixon if they’re going to beat the Pats in Foxborough.

  21. G says:

    Question for two different leagues, both PPR.

    Sammy Watkins or Mike Wallace as my flex?

    Out of Inman, Maclin, Tyreek Hill, Britt, Rawls, and Gore, I need 2 WRs and a flex. Maclin coming back makes things tough. Thanks

    • @G: Watkins. Wallace has a decent floor, but Watkins could find the end zone multiple times, whereas Wallace will be lucky to get any targets in the red zone.

      Hill, Britt, Rawls are the three I’m taking here. I love Inman’s potential, but Britt’s been consistently good and faces an ATL secondary without their only real playmaker on the edges (Trufant). I believe Hill won’t see much drop-off even with Maclin back, and Rawls should give the reliable volume to hopefully bring up your team’s floor.

  22. Luke says:


    Three quick questions for ya. Who would you start between Powell, Gillislee, Ryan Mathews (assuming he plays), Shane Vereen (assuming he plays), or Rex Burkhead?

    Also, if you had to pick two… Britt, Taylor Gabriel, Allen Robinson, Ted Ginn?

    Lastly, stick with Antonio Gates against a soft Carolina D against the TE, or roll with Fiedorowicz?

    This is a PPR leage. I appreciate the advice, these are brutal decisions.

    • @Luke: Between those options I’d pick Gillislee. Man, that’s tough. I don’t trust the Jets offense, Mathews or Vereen’s health, or Burkhead’s volume.

      Britt and Ginn. Can’t believe I just wrote that, haha. But Ginn’s been consistent enough and provides big-play potential, while Britt has a solid enough floor with a high end ceiling against a weak Falcons secondary. Robinson can’t be trusted right now, and I think Julio plays which limits Gabriel a little.

      Gates is a great playoff selection, as he’s a red zone fiend. I like Fiedo, but would probably take Gates out of these two.

      Yes, tough calls. Hopefully they all hit. Good luck!

  23. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:

    gillislee is owned in every competitive league for sure. i’d be sure he’s owned in yours already and has been since the 1st mccoy injury, unless maybe in a 4 person BN type league or something like that.

  24. Mac Hoover says:

    TE question. I’ve been starting Greg Olsen almost all season, besides bye week. I picked up Ladarius Green off the waiver. Olsen hasn’t been producing numbers for me for weeks… Who do i start? L.Green or Olsen? non-ppr league. I have le’veon bell in my starting line-up off Pitt already

    • @Mac Hoover: SO hard, but you’re best bet is to stick with Olsen. Ben’s 10 fpts/gm worse on the road than at home, and while the ceiling is the same for the two, the floor for Olsen is MUCH higher than the goose egg that could come Green’s way.

      It’s risky, because there are plenty of paths where Green outscores Olsen, but I’m rolling with Olsen again in Week 14.

  25. Josh-NYC says:

    0.5 PPR League, 12 teams, first round of playoffs
    QB: Brees
    WR: Tyreek Hill (already started)
    WR: Sammy Watkins
    RB: Ezekiel Elliot
    RB: Demarco Murray
    TE: Ladarius Green
    Flex: Devontae Booker
    Flex: Kelvin Benjamin
    DEF: Cincinatti
    K: Matt Bryant

    Bench: Taylor Gabriel, Andre Ellington (Handcuff), DeAngelo Williams (Handcuff), Mike Gilislee (Handcuff), Alfred Morris (Handcuff), Tyler Boyd

    My question is.. Muhammad Sanu is not playing, and now there are reports that Julio Jones will be a decoy, and thats even if he plays..

    Do you bench benjamin, watkins or booker for Taylor Gabriel who seems primed for a beastly game? Gabriel has been great and last game he had a touchdown called back on a flag.

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