Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 16: Baker Mayfield, Tyler Allgeier, Parker Washington among top breakouts

As fantasy football owners gear up for a deep playoff run, opting to start some high-upside players with “boom” capabilities might end up being the deciding factor in their playoff matchups. While you probably don’t want to bench a proven starter for one of these sleepers, rolling out an undervalued player over a struggling fringe starter could be a solid plan of attack. Our Week 16 sleeper list, which includes Baker Mayfield, Tyler Allgeier, and Parker Washington, outlines the top replacement options to keep your season alive.

We always stress that any of our sleeper picks could disappoint in Week 16. We like to take some chances with our sleeper picks because recommending a bunch of “must-starts” simply isn’t needed. You shouldn’t start our sleeper picks over proven, early-round studs, but if your roster is already loaded with stars, then you don’t need our advice anyway. If nothing else, our sleeper picks can help you find DFS values, as the prices of these players should be affordable.

Jerick McKinnon, Jake Browning, Joe Flacco, Tucker Kraft, the Rams D/ST, and the Falcons D/ST delivered for us last week. With even more on the line this week, we’re focused on identifying those sleepers with the best matchups.

Don’t overlook these potential breakouts as you try to punch your ticket to the fantasy championship.

WEEK 16 FANTASY ADVICE: Busts | Projections | Start-sit

Fantasy RB Sleepers Week 16

Javonte Williams, Broncos vs. Patriots (Sloan Piva). Coming off a 14-touch, 20-yard performance against Detroit, Williams will be benched by throngs of fantasy owners in their semifinal matchups. We’re sticking with the second-year back, though, as the Patriots just got destroyed by the one-two punch of Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (38.3 PPR points). It’s the passing-game usage that makes us most confident in Williams at home this weekend. New England has allowed the ninth-most receiving yards to RBs this season (37.3 per game), but that number has skyrocketed to 65.5 yards per game over the past two weeks. Fortune favors the bold — let’s ride.

Roschon Johnson, Bears vs. Cardinals (Vinnie Iyer). It seems impossible to figure out how the Bears’ backfield touches will go in a given week, but in rebuild mode, it would seem reasonable to give Johnson more work down the stretch over struggling Khalil Herbert and limited D’Onta Foreman. Arizona is the best matchup for running backs in fantasy this season, so this is taking a leap of faith that Johnson will be the guy, even in an expected positive game script.

Tyler Allgeier, Falcons vs. Colts (Matt Lutovsky). Much to the dismay of Bijan Robinson owners, Allgeier continues to get plenty of playing time, racking up 14 carries last week. It resulted in just 45 yards, but if he cracks double-digits again against Indy’s 26th-ranked run defense, he’ll post flex-worthy numbers.

WEEK 16 PPR RANKINGS
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Fantasy QB Sleepers Week 16

Baker Mayfield, Buccaneers vs. Jaguars (Piva). Mayfield lit up the Packers last week, and now he draws a Jaguars defense that has surrendered 29.1 fantasy points per game to QBs since Week 10. Send in the Baker to cook you up a semifinals victory and lead you to the title game.

Nick Mullens, Vikings vs. Lions (Iyer). He will be staying in the top 12 with high passing volume and an elite trio of weapons, the presidential-sounding Jefferson, Hockenson, and Addison. He should have to throw a ton here because they won’t run, and the Lions will put up points. Mull over Mullens, and then put him in as a streamer. You can live with the turnovers.

Gardner Minshew, Colts @ Falcons (Lutovsky). Minshew has posted 757 yards and six TDs over the past three games, and even though the Falcons are relatively middle-of-the-road against fantasy QBs, they’re even better against the run. Minshew will be forced to air it out, and he has real upside with his group of underrated receivers.

WEEK 16 STANDARD RANKINGS
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Fantasy WR Sleepers Week 16

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seahawks @ Titans (Piva). No matter who suits up for Seattle, JSN has turned into a trustworthy WR3 or flex at this stage of his rookie campaign. He’s averaging five catches per game over the past three weeks, and he has three games with 62-plus receiving yards since Week 7. The man they call JAX should go HAM against the Titans’ porous secondary, which ranks among the eight most generous defenses to fantasy wideouts this season.

Demario Douglas, Patriots @ Broncos (Iyer). The little slot guy with “Pop” has been their best wideout when on the field, but he’s suffered from poor QB play and not getting the ball in key spots when healthy. It’s hard to throw on the Broncos outside, but you can burn them on short-to-intermediate routes inside.

Parker Washington, Jaguars @ Buccaneers (Lutovsky). With Zay Jones (hamstring) once again banged up and Christian Kirk (core) on IR, Washington steps in as the WR2. He’s scored twice and had six targets twice in the past three games. Against Tampa’s 31st-ranked pass defense, he has major upside even if C.J. Beathard starts in place of Trevor Lawrence (concussion).

WEEK 16 DFS:
DK lineup | FD lineup | Best values | Best stacks

Fantasy TE Sleepers Week 16

Isaiah Likely, Ravens @ 49ers (Piva). Don’t get scared off by the Niners — Likely has become a must-start asset as long as Mark Andrews (ankle) remains sidelined. The second-year tight end made some dazzling, implausible catches in last week’s Sunday Night Football matchup against Jacksonville, and he’s quietly caught 10-of-13 targets for 153 yards and two TDs over the past two weeks. He’s the No. 1 receiving option in Baltimore, and now he faces a San Francisco D that gave up 34.6 PPR points to Cardinals TEs last week.

Darren Waller, Giants @ Eagles (Iyer). He’s hard to trust in the second game back from injury, but they will likely treat him as a wideout and scheme him open for Tommy DeVito to give him a shot at his most complete production since early in the season.

Pat Freiermuth, Steelers vs. Bengals (Lutovsky). Freiermuth torched the Bengals for nine catches and 120 yards when these teams met in Week 12, and while we don’t expect that big of a performance, he should have another great day against a Cincinnati defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to TEs.

Fantasy Defense Sleepers Week 16

Indianapolis Colts @ Falcons (Piva). Somehow, someway, the Colts remain owned in fewer than 50 percent of leagues as of Tuesday morning. That should change after waivers process, so make them a priority if you need help at D/ST. Indy has logged 15.3 standard fantasy points per game since Week 9, and now it faces an Atlanta offense that just got beat by the lowly Panthers in a 9-7 snoozefest. Mensa-member-in-waiting Arthur Smith has decided to start Taylor Heinicke under center this weekend, and who knows what he will do with underused rookie Bijan Robinson. Start the Colts with confidence.

Seattle Seahawks @ Titans (Vinnie Iyer). The Dolphins and Texans really came through with their pass rush and forcing turnovers against Tennessee’s reeling offense the past two weeks, and Pete Carroll will have his guys fired up on the road with the momentum off a short week.

Houston Texans vs. Browns (Lutovsky). Joe Flacco has been decent as Cleveland’s starter, but they’ve allowed seven sacks and turned it over seven times in those three games. Houston got back on track last week with seven sacks against Tennessee, and they can do more damage back at home in a must-win game.

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