Fantasy Football Week 16 Early Waiver Wire: Kerryon Johnson's return could make a big difference

The top targets on waivers heading into Week 16 will probably come out of Minnesota's backfield, after Dalvin Cook was forced to leave Sunday's game with a shoulder injury — the second time in three weeks that has happened. While he was able to play through the injury in Week 14, this time looked like it might have been more serious.

We'll keep a close eye on what happens with Cook, as well as his backup Alexander Mattison, who was unable to play in Week 15 due to an ankle injury. Mike Boone stepped up and scored two touchdowns Sunday, and figures to be the top target on waivers heading into Week 16 if we don't get good news about Cook and Mattison before then. We broke down the full impact of Cook's injury here, so let's look at some of the other top options for waivers heading into Week 16, beginning with a potential Fantasy star coming back from an injury of his own: 

Wes Hills was one of the surprise Fantasy contributors of Week 16, scoring two touchdowns against the Buccaneers as an emergency fill in for the injured Bo Scarbrough. However, despite getting 77% of the carries for a team that wants to run the ball even when it isn't leading, Hills isn't going to be much of a waiver-wire priority heading into Week 16. That's because the Lions might have an even better option to add ahead of your Fantasy championship: Kerryon Johnson.

Johnson, who hasn't played since Week 7 due to a knee injury, is eligible to return from injured reserve for Week 16, and told the team's official website last week he hopes to return this season.

"For me, as stupid as some people might see it, I like to play, man," Johnson said in front of his locker Friday. "I did all this work in the offseason and did all this work in the summer and I didn't do it to play five games."

Johnson has been able to practice over the past two weeks and has avoided any setbacks in his recovery and with his conditioning. There's no guarantee he will be back on the field in Week 16, but he certainly seems to be progressing in that direction and could be back to something like a starring role for the Lions with Scarbrough dealing with a rib injury. Johnson and Scarbrough could split time in Week 16 if both are able to return, but Johnson's role in the passing game would make him the better Fantasy option.

Johnson is available in 65% of CBS Fantasy leagues heading into Week 16 and could be a last-minute addition to your starting lineup for the Fantasy championship if he gets cleared to return. 

Here's who else we'll be targeting on waivers heading into Week 16, beginning with some potential starters at wide receiver:

Week 16
Early Waiver Targets
Early Waiver Wire Targets
TB Tampa Bay • #19
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs HOU HOU -PK O/U 52.5
OPP VS WR
18th
WR RNK
NR
OWNED
17%
Week 15 Stats
REC
5
TAR
6
REYDS
113
TD
3
FPTS
34.3
The Buccaneers figure to be missing their top two receivers for Week 16, as Chris Godwin was forced to leave Sunday's game due to a hamstring injury — one week after the same injury felled Mike Evans. Jameis Winston didn't seem to miss them Sunday, passing for 458 yards and four touchdowns (Godwin had 121 yards before leaving the game), and it looks like he's going to remain the same aggressive downfield passer he's always been, no matter who is available. That figures to be a good thing for Perriman, who hauled in five of six passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns against the Lions. It will be tough to trust Perriman even if Godwin and Evans are both out, but with Scotty Miller leaving with an injury of his own and Week 15's surprise contributor Justin Watson shrinking from the spotlight, Perriman figures to be the top option in a high-volume, downfield passing game that has produced a ton of Fantasy points this season. He'll be in the discussion as a starting option for Week 16.
CHI Chicago • #17
Age: 25 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs KC KC -4 O/U 45
OPP VS WR
2nd
WR RNK
21st
OWNED
35%
Week 15 Stats
REC
9
TAR
15
REYDS
118
TD
1
FPTS
26.8
Offseason shoulder surgery and a training camp ankle injury might have combined to slow Miller at the start of the season, but he's closing out his second season strong, with his second 100-yard effort in his last three in Week 15. That gives him 431 yards over his past five games, more than he managed during his entire rookie season. With Mitchell Trubisky turning his season around, Miller is emerging as a solid No. 2 option behind Allen Robinson, and both figure to see plenty of targets in a Week 16 matchup against the Chiefs that could see the Bears chasing points.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #87
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS WAS -2.5 O/U 43
OPP VS WR
14th
WR RNK
38th
OWNED
70%
Week 15 Stats
REC
9
TAR
11
REYDS
111
TD
0
FPTS
20.1
The production hadn't quite been there, but Shepard has been getting No. 1 receiver work since returning from his concussion, as he entered Week 15 with 22 targets in his past three games. Write off Sunday's. performance as the product of a tissue-soft matchup against the Dolphins, but Shepard gets another easy one in Week 16 against Washington. Shepard's best games have come with Eli Manning at quarterback, so you might prefer if Daniel Jones takes one more week to recover from his ankle injury, but no matter who is under center in Week 16, Shepard is going to be worth trusting.
PHI Philadelphia • #35
Age: 24 • Experience: 1 year
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DAL DAL -2.5 O/U 47.5
OPP VS RB
15th
RB RNK
36th
OWNED
23%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
26
REC
7
REYDS
39
TD
0
FPTS
13.5
With Miles Sanders enjoying a career day, Scott wasn't quite as productive Sunday as his Week 14 breakout, but he was still pretty involved. The seven receptions especially were a good sign, as he still had a role even with Sanders catching six of his own. With the Eagles receiving corps still gutted by injuries, Scott's role in the passing game seems secured, and the Eagles will probably need to throw it quite a bit to keep up with Dallas in Week 16, making Scott a viable PPR option.
DET Detroit • #80
Age: 34 • Experience: 11 year
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DEN DEN -6 O/U 37.5
OPP VS WR
7th
WR RNK
44th
OWNED
40%
Week 15 Stats
REC
8
TAR
13
REYDS
102
TD
0
FPTS
18.2
With T.J. Hockenson and Marvin Jones out, the Lions need some help in the passing game, and it came from Danny Amendola in Week 15. Amendola was quarterback David Blough's security blanket in the game, leading the team with 13 targets, his third straight with at least eight. While Amendola didn't do much with the increased workload the previous two games, he broke out Sunday, thanks in part to a 46-yard reception. Kenny Golladay should still lead the way for the Lions, but Amendola figures to continue to see a healthy workload down the stretch, making him a useful starter for Week 16.
Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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