Updated 12/21 at 7:00 PM ET. Unfortunately, lots of big changes due to injury. Moved Todd Gurley down. Could still be moved back up. C.J. Anderson ahead of John Kelly. Added Keenan Allen, moved Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams down. Removed Odell Beckham, ticked Sterling Shepard up. Added Matt Breida, LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory. Moved Jeff Wilson and Keith Ford down. Added DeSean Jackson, moved Adam Humphries and Chris Godwin down. Moved Matt Ryan down. Waiting on Julio Jones and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Removed Vernon Davis, added Jeremy Sprinkle. I had C.J. Uzomah too low, Chris Hogan too high.
Russell Wilson has thrown for at least two touchdowns in 12-of-14 starts. He is all but guaranteed to make it 13-of-15 against a Chiefs defense still coughing up the third-most quarterback fantasy points. Even if the Seahawks try to slow it down to keep Patrick Mahomes off the field, throwing fewer than 30 times is not going to be an option facing Andy Reid’s club. Expect Wilson to hit his 230/2 floor with an excellent shot at reaching his ceiling.
Week 16 Quarterbacks
QB Notes: Patrick Mahomes threw for a season-low 243 yards against the Chargers in Week 15. It was partly because the Bolts hogged the ball, keeping Kansas City off the field. The Seahawks, who rank fifth in time of possession, will undoubtedly employ a similar strategy. … I said Ben Roethlisberger was a Week 15 guarantee to go at least 300/2. He ended up managing just 235/2. It was the first time all year he was held below 250 yards. Although the Saints’ pass defense is playing genuinely well, expect Big Ben to get back on the right side of history on the Superdome’s fast track in a game with a 57 over/under. … Ramping the machine back up as the Texans’ defense sputters a bit, Deshaun Watson enters Week 16 playing his best football of the season. Jared Goff could not take advantage of the Eagles’ injury-ruined secondary, but Watson is a more adventurous, dynamic player. He won’t let a good matchup go to waste. … How has Andrew Luck followed up his eight-game three-touchdown streak? With two scores in three starts. Regressing the wrong way the past month, Luck is now due for some positive regression as the Colts claw for a playoff berth.
It included three road games, but Drew Brees is averaging an alarming 176 yards over his past four starts, a span in which he posted a 6:4 TD:INT total. Fantasy owners are putting their faith in a quarterback who has four touchdowns in each of his past three home contests and a whopping 20 in six Superdome appearances. Did we mention there’s a 57 over/under? … One of fantasy’s most convincing late-season memes? That Dak Prescott struggles against zone coverage. Formerly a zone team, the Bucs have gone man-to-man since firing DC Mike Smith. Whether or not they flip back will be the story of Prescott’s Week 16. … Matt Ryan will need to be dropped if Julio Jones (hip) sits out. He will still find himself on the QB1 fringe versus a Panthers D getting popped for the eighth-most quarterback fantasy points. … With seemingly half the league slumping, I’ll give a hot Baker Mayfield the matchup benefit of the doubt against a Bengals defense hemorrhaging the second-most quarterback fantasy points.
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Aaron Rodgers is going to play through his groin injury. A prideful player wants to see out the stretch of a lost year. The Jets are not an imposing Week 16 matchup, though the Packers are headed on the road. Rodgers actually has better numbers away from home, but in case this “better numbers” includes 11 touchdowns in seven games. … Lamar Jackson keeps finishing in the QB9-14 range, so he is at least hitting his floor. The Chargers are by far his toughest matchup to date. Jackson became a starter with a shockingly-soft five-game slate. … Mitchell Trubisky’s solid Week 15 was his first good start in over a month. He remains Pro Football Focus’ lowest-rated passer by total points despite missing Weeks 12 and 13. The 49ers, who have allowed 30 touchdowns while picking off only two passes, are a mouthwatering matchup. … Playing horrifying football for the past month, Jared Goff has one touchdown in three games since Thanksgiving. That’s compared to six interceptions. Having served up just 19 passing scores all year, the Cardinals are a tough foe to catch on the road.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer wants fire and brimstone. He is not going to let Kirk Cousins choke away games, though his quarterback did toss a Week 15 pick six. Cousins will be tasked with game managing versus the Lions. Disappointing, but most game managers do not have Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs at their disposal. … Tom Brady has eight touchdowns over past seven starts. No team has permitted fewer quarterback fantasy points than the Bills, who held Brady to zero scores in October. … Turns out Philip Rivers could not even have a ceiling day against the Chiefs. He has severely downgraded supporting cast matchups for the fantasy finals, taking on a Ravens team allowing the fewest yards per attempt (6.2) in all of football. Keenan Allen’s (hip) health looms large. … Absurdly the QB2 by average points over the past five weeks, Josh Allen is still playing a house-of-cards style of football. The risk will match the reward in Allen’s first career meeting with Bill Belichick. … The Bucs are no longer air raiding every opponent. Jameis Winston had his worst fantasy start of the year in Week 15. The Cowboys’ elite defense will probably get a Winston cold streak going.
Nick Foles is a floor-based streamer against the Texans’ scuffling defense. … Despite the perception of “playing better,” Derek Carr is still merely the QB19 by average points over the past five weeks. The Broncos’ pass rush is going to give the Raiders’ injury-hollowed offensive line problems. … Look at me, Marcus Mariota: Derrick Henry is the captain now. Obliterating everything in sight the past two weeks, Henry will take the lead against a Redskins D getting obliterated by the run in the second half of the season. … Sam Darnold was … good in Week 15? He will try to keep it going at home versus the Pack’s injury-ruined defense. Darnold discovering Robby Anderson has been a nice case of “better late than never.” … Nick Mullens has stayed one step ahead of the law. The Bears have the major case squad on it. … Taylor Heinicke in a GPP. … Matthew Stafford and Ryan Tannehill: Really, what’s the difference at this point? Please, Matt Patricia, fix this in 2019. … Josh Johnson is going to find clownsuiting the Titans an order of magnitude more difficult than clownsuiting the quit-on-2018 Jaguars.
Week 16 Running Backs
RB Notes: The Cowboys got shut out last week and Ezekiel Elliott still totaled 128 yards on 25 touches. … With the Panthers missing Cam Newton, Taylor Heinicke will have one instruction against a Falcons defense still allowing the most running back receptions: Get the ball to Christian McCaffrey. … Coming off his least-productive game of the season, Saquon Barkley could be dropped a few spots if Odell Beckham (quad) can’t get cleared. Without OBJ, teams are free to throw the farm at the Giants’ rookie. Not that it’s guaranteed to work. … Nick Chubb had a 100-yard day on the ground in Week 15 but failed to catch a pass for the first time since October. He was also held out of the end zone for the first time in six games. The Bengals’ laughably-bad defense is ready to “challenge accepted” both. … Joe Mixon has touched the ball a mammoth 60 times over his past two appearances. The Bengals’ game plan will be clear versus a Browns defense permitting the ninth-most running back fantasy points.
It’s quite possible this is too deep of a fade for Todd Gurley (knee inflammation), especially against a defense that has struggled to stop the run. I’m guessing an angry Rams team will establish a big early lead and then throttle off their All-Pro running back with an eye toward the Divisional Round. … Melvin Gordon (knee) was close to returning in Week 15. He has since had 10 extra days to heal up. The Ravens are elite against the run. Gordon is elite against everybody. He should have no limitations as the Chargers try to keep hope alive for the AFC’s No. 1 seed. … Derrick Henry,,,,, hello. Averaging 204 yards, three touchdowns and 8.16 yards per carry over the past two weeks, Henry gets a Redskins run defense that’s been annihilated for 1,011 yards on 183 carries (5.52) over its past seven games. The Titans are 10-point home favorites. It’s hard to envision a better setup. The only thing keeping Henry out of the top five is the newness of his dominance.
Chris Carson had his best performance of the season in Week 15. He will have every opportunity to build on it against a Chiefs defense getting pasted for the third-most running back fantasy points in a home game with a 53.5 over/under. … #AsExpected, Dalvin Cook was the centerpiece of the Vikings’ post-John DeFilippo offense in Week 15. Cook ripped a pathetic Dolphins run D for his best game of the year. The Lions are not as big of pushovers on the ground, but both game plan and game flow should conspire to keep Cook in the top 12. … Marlon Mack reawakened following C Ryan Kelly’s return. Now he gets the Giants’ tired-and-injured defense. … The Broncos’ overall collapse has ensnared Phillip Lindsay. Fantasy owners can still hang their hat on a plus matchup (Oakland) in a game that should be close. … Spencer Ware (hamstring) could return against the Seahawks. Doing so would knock Damien Williams out of the RB2 ranks, though Williams would still be a decent bet to lead the Chiefs’ committee versus a soft, soft run D. It’s frankly difficult to know how Andy Reid might delineate touches if Ware returns. Darrel Williams would likely see a touch or two.
Arizona’s tire fire has been a little too much for David Johnson to overcome, though he did manage to post a high-end RB2 day (.5 PPR) in Week 16. The Rams are a middle-of-the-road matchup. … Jamaal Williams will be an every-down back against the Jets’ bottom-10 run defense. A top-12 finish is well within the realm of possibility. … The Jags apparently planned to limit Leonard Fournette’s Week 15 workload. Whatever. Even if they do so again, the Dolphins’ run defense gets got on a weekly basis. … James Conner (high-ankle sprain) looks doubtful. H-back Jaylen Samuels would offer plenty of upside in a likely shootout with the Saints. … The 49ers are one of five teams to cough up 90-plus running back catches. Tarik Cohen on Line 1. .. Sony Michel hasn’t looked the same since returning from his knee injury. Rex Burkhead stealing 5-6 weekly touches is not helping. … Elijah McGuire will continue to see RB2 volume versus a Packers defense that has had its heart (Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark) cut out of by injury. … Tevin Coleman had a good game. Yay. Even with Ito Smith on injured reserve, Coleman maintains a scarily-low floor for a matchup with a Panthers D that’s more effective on the ground than through the air.
Matt Breida has injured his ankle for the 1,000th time. The Bears are a stay-away defense, but Jeff Wilson’s projected volume will have him in the top 24 if Breida sits. … If Lamar Miller (ankle) is active, it will be at less than 100 percent versus an Eagles D that has remained decent on the ground. … Gus Edwards finally scored last week, but Kenneth Dixon remained heavily involved. Edwards’ floor is low, low, low. … Either Kenyan Drake (shoulder) is nowhere close to 100 percent healthy or coach Adam Gase just hates him. Rookie Kalen Ballage offers higher Week 16 floor and ceiling. … At least one of LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and Chris Ivory (shoulder) appears ready to return. Maybe next time, Keith Ford. … Just as quickly as Josh Adams arrived on the RB2 scene, he has faded because of Darren Sproles’ return and Wendell Smallwood’s undead zombie vulturing. … Peyton Barber has a better Week 16 scoring environment than Adrian Peterson. … Alfred Blue could mix in for 10-12 touches behind an ailing Lamar Miller. … At least as of Thursday, John Kelly is more likely to back up Todd Gurley than C.J. Anderson.
Week 16 Receivers
WR Notes: Back on a heater, DeAndre Hopkins has a dream matchup in an inexperienced and overwhelmed Eagles cornerback group. … If Julio Jones (hip) plays, it will be against a Ron Rivera-led defense he has dismantled more than once in his career. … Tyreek Hill had an insanely frustrating Week 15 but has now had 10 days to rest and rehabilitate his wrist and foot issues. He’s a nightmare opponent for the Seahawks’ unimpressive secondary. … With Aaron Rodgers set to play, Davante Adams should stay scorching versus a Jets D silver plattering the third-most receiver fantasy points. Adams has been maybe the most consistent player in fantasy this season. … Even if the Bucs play zone, it is hard to see Amari Cooper having another off day at JerryWorld, a stadium he has dominated in since becoming a Cowboy. The Bucs are one of only three teams to surrender at least 30 aerial scores. … Although he has been slumping along with Drew Brees, Michael Thomas returns home after the Saints’ three-game road trip to a barn where he is averaging 114 yards.
T.Y. Hilton is averaging 120 yards since the Colts’ Week 9 bye. He’s playing through an ankle injury, but he will be ready to rock against the Giants. … Eli Apple has had some great games and awful ones as a Saint. Trust in JuJu Smith-Schuster to win enough battles for a WR1 day. … Slumping, Adam Thielen is now part of an offense that wants to go full ground-and-pound. As The Lord points out, at least the Lions are a team that has been vulnerable from the slot. … Even with Jared Goff’s recent downturn, Robert Woods simply cannot stop posting 5/70. He’s rematching with a Cardinals squad he got for 6/81 in Week 2, beginning what is now a 13-game streak of 60-plus yards. … Stefon Diggs maintains the big-play ability to overcome Mike Zimmer’s demands for more runs. … Brandin Cooks’ speed is going to make for a fascinating showdown with Patrick Peterson. Hopefully a slumping Jared Goff is not afraid of looking Cooks’ way in a tough setup.
As Mike Evans has reminded all season, he is capable of going off when least expected. Averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch, Evans could have a big day on just 3-4 grabs in Dallas. … Julian Edelman has drawn at least 10 targets in five of his past seven games, including his past two. He went 9/104 in the Patriots’ first meeting with the Bills. … Hopefully Odell Beckham (quad) can suit up against the Colts. If he plays, it stands to reason it will be for his normal role. Otherwise, what exactly would be the point of running him out there in an otherwise meaningless game for the G-Men? … I’ve been fading Tyler Lockett for weeks. I can’t do it against the Chiefs. Even if the Seahawks successfully slow things down, it is almost impossible to envision Russell Wilson attempting fewer than 30 passes. Lockett has proven time and again he can have big fantasy days on only 5-6 targets. … Alshon Jeffery’s Nick Foles/Carson Wentz splits are eye opening. Foles is pulling the trigger in tighter windows. The Texans’ secondary has really been struggling of late.
Sam Darnold apparently learned to throw to Robby Anderson during his absence. Anderson has caught 11-of-18 targets for 11/172/2 in two games since Darnold’s return. The Packers are a secondary to attack. … Kenny Golladay rocked a tough matchup last week. He has an even tougher one for the fantasy finals. Quietly over 1,000 yards for the year, Golladay’s upside keeps him in the top 24. … The Patriots’ crowded offense finally caught up with Josh Gordon against the Steelers. Like Golladay, he simply has too much upside to fade beyond the WR2 ranks. Chris Hogan WR3 SZN … He’s done it on just 23 total looks, but Robert Foster is averaging 88 yards over his past five games. He is coming off his most-targeted (13) two-week stretch of the year. … Settling into the 49ers’ No. 1 receiver role, Dante Pettis is averaging 85 yards over his past four appearances. The Bears are tough but just lost FS Eddie Jackson in Week 15 after losing slot CB Bryce Callahan in Week 14. … Mike Williams had one of the games of the year in Week 15. He will still be difficult to trust as a top-30 option against the Ravens’ stout secondary if Keenan Allen (hip) suits up.
Corey Davis has cleared 50 yards once in his past five games. … Josh Reynolds’ Week 16 will be all about how much of the Rams’ non-Patrick Peterson targets he can clean up. … It’s back to the drawing board for D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel following Taylor Heinicke’s insertion under center. Moore has been a typically-inconsistent and mistake-prone rookie while Samuel needs this targets manufactured. That’s a lot to ask of Heinicke. … There’s a chance Courtland Sutton is the Broncos’ No. 3 fantasy receiver and we just can’t admit it. DaeSean Hamilton certainly has the higher floor. Tim Patrick has displayed more ceiling since Emmanuel Sanders went down. … Now the Raiders’ clear-cut No. 1 receiver, Jordy Nelson is averaging 7/78 over his past three contests. … Chris Godwin has flunked too many tests to maintain WR3 benefit of the doubt. … Even if Odell Beckham remains sidelined, Sterling Shepard has proven he cannot be trusted as a WR3. … John Ross will be the Bengals’ No. 1 receiver in Cleveland. Just in time for Denzel Ward’s (concussion) return. … Isaiah McKenzie offers the cheapest of WR5 thrills for the fantasy finals.
Week 16 Tight Ends
TE Notes: Travis Kelce remains on pace to set the single-season tight end yardage record at 1,394. … Nick Foles is really good at targeting Alshon Jeffery. Everyone else? Not so much. Zach Ertz’s ceiling takes a hit with Foles under center, but his floor keeps him at No. 2. … Even if you removed George Kittle’s 210-yard game, he would be averaging 73 yards per week, which would be third most amongst tight ends. The second-year fifth-rounder is going to be an elite player for years to come. … Eric Ebron was part of the league-wide global cooling in Week 15, catching just one ball for eight yards. At home in the dome against the Giants’ Landon Collins-less defense, he should shake it off. … Jared Cook was also part of the market crash, going 2/23/0 in a golden matchup. He should rebound versus a Broncos defense that’s the only one in the league to cough up more than 1,000 yards down the seam.
With Odell Beckham sidelined, Evan Engram finally had himself a ballgame last Sunday, going 8/75 on 12 targets as Eli Manning’s No. 1 pass catcher. Even if Beckham returns, Engram will be worth betting on against a Colts D that’s permitted the fourth-most tight end yardage (973). … It is now clear why Rob Gronkowski was considering retirement last offseason. Gronk’s battered body can barely move anymore. That does not stop it from attracting a wave of defenders. Gronk had a crowd of followers everywhere he went in Week 15. Hopefully he can get free versus the Bills’ Matt Milano-less defense. He went 3/43 in Buffalo in October. … At least David Njoku catches three passes every week? That’s how far the bar has been lowered at tight end. … You better believe Austin Hooper was part of last week’s ghosting at tight end. He should bounce back versus a Panthers D that allows the third-most tight end fantasy points.
Trey Burton is the slightly-less reliable version of David Njoku. He scored for the first time in six weeks against the Packers. … Chris Herndon is seventh in tight end yardage since Week 6 (357). … We like Vance McDonald in potential shootouts. The over/under for Steelers/Saints is 57. … Cameron Brate has been bad. The Cowboys are allowing just 224 weekly passing yards. … Gerald Everett has drawn seven targets in back-to-back games. That’s something to go on in this environment. … Blake Jarwin has also drawn seven looks in back-to-back weeks. The Bucs have been soft up the seam all year. … Ian Thomas dudded in Week 15. Now he will be catching passes from Taylor Heinicke. … You are basically beyond the wall at this point. Matt LaCosse has a great matchup. Ricky Seals-Jones is at least seeing targets. Anthony Firkser was producing a little bit before last week’s no-show. Vernon Davis can have a nice fantasy day on just one catch.
Week 16 Kickers
Week 16 Defense/Special Teams
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