NFL Fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 16

If you’re still reading this column, you’ve probably advanced to the next round of your league’s fantasy football playoffs. Here's how to set yourself up for the win.

Denver Broncos v Houston Texans
Denver Broncos v Houston Texans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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If you’re still reading this column, you’ve probably advanced to the next round of your league’s fantasy football playoffs. 

Meanwhile, be sure to add these players to help you push for a championship.

The stakes continue to rise with each passing week of the 2023 NFL season from both a real-life and fantasy football perspective. While NFL teams are fighting for playoff positioning, fantasy managers are fighting to advance to the next round of their playoffs. With that in mind, these players have the potential to swing the outcomes of fantasy football matchups everywhere.

QB Waiver Wire Pickups, Fantasy Football Week 15

Joe Flacco, Cleveland Browns (25 percent rostered)

All it took for the Browns offense to become fantasy-friendly was plugging in 38-year-old quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco has given the Browns offense signs of life in a season where the team has relied on their defense to win them games in 2023. 

It wasn’t pretty in Week 15 (as is often the case with Flacco at this point in his career), but he got the job done from both a fantasy football and a real-life perspective. After throwing three interceptions, Flacco led a fourth-quarter comeback against the Bears to overcome a 17-7 deficit, including this incredible 51-yard touchdown strike to Amari Cooper.

Flacco completed 28 of his 44 pass attempts for 374 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions, good for 19.9 fantasy points and an overall QB9 finish in Week 15. 

Fantasy managers will have to live with the interceptions as it has become part of Flacco’s game as a gunslinger who isn’t gun shy, but he continues to pile on yards and throw for touchdowns. He’s attempted at least 44 passes in all three games he’s played this season, seen his yardage totals increase in each contest, and thrown for multiple touchdown passes in each game.

Since Week 13, Flacco has averaged 19.5 fantasy points per game, which ranks as the QB6 in that span. Up next in Week 16 is a Texans defense that ranks 25th in the NFL in opponent passing yards per game (239.1).

Nick Mullens, Minnesota Vikings (5 percent rostered)

After the Joshua Dobbs era in Minnesota came to a merciful end in Week 14, Nick Mullens was given the opportunity to start in Week 15 and led the Vikings to their highest scoring total since Week 10.

Everyone’s favorite Mullens stat is how he’s fared in his first 13 NFL starts, trailing only Patrick Mahomes and Andrew Luck all-time for passing yards in that span. Mullens is coming off a QB11 finish in Week 15, completing 26 of his 33 passes for 303 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Mullens also added six carries for 10 yards through the ground, showing he is not afraid to tuck the ball and run if he has to.

With All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson back in the mix and looking spry, Mullens is a talented cast of pass-catchers surrounding him including Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson. Rookie Ty Chandler has also shown he can be a dynamic pass-catcher out of the backfield.

Despite losing starting quarterback Kirk Cousins to a torn Achilles in Week 8, the Vikings still rank seventh in the NFL in passing yards per game (248.8) and fourth in pass attempts per game (37.1). Head coach Kevin O’Connell will continue to let Mullens sling it in a well-designed offense with a talented skill position group.

Not to mention, Mullens now faces a struggling Lions defense in Week 16 that ranks 23rd in opponent points per game (23.6). With that said, Mullens is in line for another fringe QB1 finish, at minimum.