Fantasy football: Samuel, Rice among 5 must-start WRs in Week 16

Washington Commanders wide receiver Curtis Samuel catches a touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI
1 of 5 | Washington Commanders wide receiver Curtis Samuel catches a touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Curtis Samuel and Rashee Rice are among my five must-start wide receivers for Week 16 of the fantasy football season.

If you need more options for your roster, check out my top add/drops article. My Week 16 rankings for quarterbacks and running backs are also available and will be updated throughout the week.


Stefon Diggs, A.J. Brown, DK Metcalf, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jaylen Waddle lead my Top 50 Week 16 wide receiver rankings, which are listed below. D.J. Moore, Justin Jefferson, Rice, Deebo Samuel and Mike Evans round out my Top 10.

All of my must-start options rank inside the Top 28 in my rankings, meaning all should be started in leagues that include at least 14 teams.

Those with stock in Ja'Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill, Michael Pittman Jr. and other injured wide receivers should monitor their status before plugging them into starting lineups.


Players from Thursday's New Orleans Saints-Los Angeles Rams game were removed from my rankings.

Wide receiver Rashee Rice (4) and the Kansas City Chiefs will host the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday in Kansas City, Mo. File Photo by Jon Robichaud/UPI

Rashee Rice

Rice sneaks into my Top 10 this week. The Kansas City Chiefs pass catcher quietly provided Top 10 fantasy football production for his stock owners over the last four weeks, averaging the seventh-most points among wide receivers in that span.

Rice drew 38 targets over his last four games. He scored in three of those appearances and caught at least even passes in each of those games.

Rice, who also scored in six of his last 10 games, will battle the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 16. The Raiders just demolished the Los Angeles Chargers, but surrendered three touchdowns to wide receivers in that game.

They also allowed two scores in Week 12 to Kansas City Chiefs wide receivers and 146 yards and a score to Tyreek Hill in Week 11. I expect the Chiefs and Raiders to air it out in this matchup, with Patrick Mahomes finding Rice on one of his multiple touchdown passes.


He is my No. 8 option, but will serve best as a high-end WR2.

Wide receiver Diontae Johnson (L) and the Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday in Pittsburgh. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

Diontae Johnson

Johnson is my No. 14 play for Week 16. The Pittsburgh Steelers playmaker is among the hottest wide receivers in the NFL as of late, with scores in each of his last three games.

Johnson ranked as a Top 25 option over the past four weeks, in terms of fantasy points per game among wide receivers. This week, he'll face a Cincinnati Bengals secondary that allowed the sixth-most receiving yards per game to opposing wide receivers through 15 weeks.

The Bengals also just surrendered 111 yards and two scores to Jordan Addison and 84 yards to Justin Jefferson in Week 15. Look for Johnson to snag at least six catches for 75 yards and a score.

Wide receiver Chris Godwin (R) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in Tampa, Fla. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI

Chris Godwin

Godwin exploded for a season-high 155 receiving yards on 10 catches in Week 15. He also received a total of 23 targets over his last two games.


This week, Godwin and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars allowed the ninth-most fantasy points and 10th-most receiving yards per game to wide receivers so far this season.

Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield continues to produce great passing statistics, which keeps all of his pass-catching targets relevant for fantasy football purposes. Mayfield, who threw at least two touchdown passes in six of his last eight games, should do the same Sunday against the Jaguars, who own one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.

Godwin, my No. 17 play, can provide WR2 production against this generous defense.

Wide receiver Jordan Addison (L) and the Minnesota Vikings will host the Detroit Lions on Sunday in Minneapolis. File Photo by Tannen Maury/UPI

Jordan Addison

As previously mentioned, Addison scored twice last week and was fantasy football's top wide receiver play. The Minnesota Vikings rookie totaled nine touchdowns through his first 14 appearances in the league.

He should reach double-digits in the scoring category in Week 16, when the Vikings host the Detroit Lions. The Lions allowed the eighth-most fantasy points and tied for allowing the fourth-most receiving scores to wide receivers so far this season.


I expect this to be another high-scoring matchup, with the NFC North division foes both providing high-volume passing production.

Addison, my No. 19 option, should eclipse 50 yards and find the end zone.

Wide receiver Curtis Samuel (4) and the Washington Commanders will face the New York Jets on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI

Curtis Samuel

Samuel is a bit more of a fringe play, but can be used as a streaming WR3 in Week 16. The Washington Commanders wide receiver was a Top 20 producer, in terms of fantasy points per game among wide receivers, over the last four weeks.

Samuel was the No. 14 wide receiver in Week 15 and should again provide starter-worthy value when the Commanders battle the New York Jets on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Jets still own one of the best pass defenses in the NFL, but just surrendered 142 yards and a score to Jaylen Waddle in Week 15. They also surrendered at least 100 yards and a score to at least one wide receiver in three of their last five games.

This game could be low scoring, but I still expect Samuel to provide value, especially in points-per-reception formats. Samuel was targeted 26 times over his last three games. He totaled more than 200 receiving yards during that span.


Look for the veteran pass catcher to catch at least six passes for 70 yards in this meeting, with Jets defenders focusing most of their attention on Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin. He could end the week as a Top 14 play if he reaches the end zone. Samuel is the No. 26 player in my Week 16 wide receiver rankings.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown is my No. 2 fantasy football option. File Photo by Laurence Kesterson/UPI

Week 16 fantasy football wide receiver rankings

1. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills at LAC

2. A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles vs. NYG

3. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks at TEN

4. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions at MIN

5. Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins vs. DAL

6. D.J. Moore, Chicago Bears vs. ARI

7. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings vs. DET

8. Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs vs. LV

9. Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers vs. BAL

10. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. JAX

11. DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles vs. NYG

12. CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys at MIA

13. Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals at PIT

14. Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. CIN

15. DeAndre Hopkins, Tennessee Titans vs. SEA


16. Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders at KC

17. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. JAX

18. Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville Jaguars at TB

19. Jordan Addison, Minnesota Vikings vs. DET

20. Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins vs. DAL

21. Garrett Wilson, New York Jets vs. WAS

22. Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns at HOU

23. Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers vs. BAL

24. Noah Brown, Houston Texans vs. CLE

25. Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos vs. NE

26. Curtis Samuel, Washington Commanders at NYJ

27. Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders at NYJ

28. Adam Thielen, Carolina Panthers vs. GB

29. Zay Flowers, Baltimore Ravens at SF

30. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks at TEN

31. Drake London, Atlanta Falcons vs. IND

32. George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. CIN

33. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals at PIT

34. Brandin Cooks, Dallas Cowboys at MIA

35. Demario Douglas, New England Patriots at DEN

36. Odell Beckham Jr., Baltimore Ravens at SF

37. Gabe Davis, Buffalo Bills at LAC

38. Joshua Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers vs. BUF

39. Quentin Johnston, Los Angeles Chargers vs. BUF


40. Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos vs. NE

41. Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers at CAR

42. Elijah Moore, Cleveland Browns at HOU

43. Michael Wilson, Arizona Cardinals at CHI

44. Jayden Reed, Green Bay Packers at CAR

45. Jakobi Meyers, Las Vegas Raiders at KC

46. Wan'Dale Robinson, New York Giants at PHI

47. Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders at NYJ

48. Josh Downs, Indianapolis Colts at ATL

49. Jonathan Mingo, Carolina Panthers vs. GB

50. Trenton Irwin, Cincinnati Bengals at PIT

Los Angeles Rams beat Washington Commanders

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is sacked by the Commanders' Daron Payne (94) at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on December 17, 2023. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

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