Top Week 16 waiver picks: Gerhart, Ward 

December, 21, 2010

One might think the names on a free agent list in a fantasy football league are far less relevant and not as important by the time Week 16 arrives, but I would argue that is hardly the case, especially this season. On the contrary, as those owning Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson and Dwayne Bowe have found out in recent weeks, players like Tim Tebow, Donald Brown and Jacoby Ford could end up deciding fantasy championships.

[+] EnlargeToby Gerhart
Matthew Stockman/Getty ImagesToby Gerhart has proved to be a capable backup to Adrian Peterson and a prime handcuff candidate when it matters most.
Of course, while fantasy owners were given fair warning about Rodgers not playing in Week 15 and Bowe's situation with recuperating quarterback Matt Cassel had been well chronicled, there's not much you can do when the Minnesota Vikings announce an hour or so before Monday's contest that one of the top players in the game is actually being deemed inactive. Yes, amid all the Brett Favre and weather hoopla surrounding the Monday night tilt, Peterson's absence ends up the biggest difference maker in fantasy. I was caught off-guard, but having owned backup Toby Gerhart, I was able to salvage enough points to win. I know many others were not as fortunate. Yo, Adrian ... boo!