Jared Goff (@ SEA): With Cam Akers not playing due to an injury, the Rams are going to be forced to rely on their passing game to stay alive in their playoff hunt. I know Goff and the Rams just somehow lost to the Jets last week, but perhaps a get-right spot is what the doctor ordered. This divisional contest should be relatively high scoring with high stakes. The NFC West is still up for grabs as Seattle holds the lead with a 10-4 record, but LA is right there at 9-5, breathing down their neck. If the Rams want to right the ship, they have a great chance to do it here in Week 16. Seattle gives up the most passing yards per game to quarterbacks on the year.
Mitchell Trubisky (@ JAC): Jacksonville is in the driver’s seat to land the number one overall draft pick to select Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft. They are fully playing to lose. The Bears still have an outside shot at making the playoffs as a wild card team. Trubisky, Montgomery, Robinson, Mooney, Kmet and the Bears DST are all fine starts this week.
Derek Carr (vs. MIA): Even though Carr is expected to play here in Week 16 vs Miami, I’d be cautious about starting him. The Dolphins defense has been a strength, constantly creating turnovers. Miami allows the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to QBs this season and are the fifth best DVOA vs the pass.
Kirk Cousins (@ NO): Minnesota is on the outside looking in of the playoffs as of Week 16, and it does not get any easier for them this week. Minnesota goes up against the Saints who allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season. The Saints also allow just 228 passing yards per game which is the eighth fewest.
Leonard Fournette (@ DET): Tampa Bay is trying to secure a wild card spot and potentially even a division win, as they are just one game out of first in the NFC South lead. Detroit allows the most fantasy points per game to running backs, the fourth-most rushing yards per game to running backs, fourth-most rushing attempts per game, and are the 28th ranked DVOA versus the run. It’s unclear if Ronald Jones will be active for this game as of this writing, but if he’s out, I like Fournette in this spot. If Jones plays, I’d switch this play to Jones.
Devin Singletary (@ NE): Which team has the worst DVOA versus the run in the NFL? This one surprised me. That would be the New England Patriots. The Patriots allow 112.9 rushing yards per game, and the sixth-most rushing attempts per game to running backs. Singletary is the RB22 over the last four weeks in a PPR format. Let’s start Singletary while we can.
Le’Veon Bell (vs. ATL): Chiefs’ starting RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire is expected to miss the rest of the regular season for KC after an injury in Week 15. Bell is the next man up, but let’s hold our horses here. RB’s in the KC offense are typically matchup proof, but just be cautious of Bell this week. I’m expecting mid-range FLEX numbers from him here in Week 16. Atlanta has a great run defense. They allow just 18.4 rushing attempts per game, 68.8 rushing yards per game, third-fewest rushing TDs per game, and the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs per game over the season.
D’Andre Swift (vs. TB): We’ve highlighted all season long how great this Tampa Bay run defense is. To add to that, their coaching staff is in a bit of disarray, due to COVID related reasons. Their WR coach is expected to call plays as of this time. With a tough matchup on hand, it’s a bit risky to roll out Swift this week.
Jalen Reagor (@ DAL): This week, Reagor has his best matchup with Hurts under center. Dallas’ defense just bleeds fantasy points to everyone, as they allow the most fantasy points per game to receivers. I know Reagor is a bit inconsistent, but this matchup and a few weeks of playing with Hurts at QB in town could help him get going in the right direction.
Emmanuel Sanders (vs. MIN): Michael Thomas on IR. Tre’Quan Smith is not expected to play. Someone has to catch passes for this Saints offense, right? Why not Emmanuel Sanders? Sanders goes up against a Vikings team that allows 28.0 fantasy points to WRs, which is the third-most in the NFL. I’m expecting this Saints offense to go through Kamara, Sanders, Jared Cook and even Latavius Murray.
Nelson Agholor (vs. MIA): Miami’s defense has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. With Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, they have formed quite the CB duo. Miami allows the tenth-fewest receptions to receivers and has the fifth-best DVOA vs the pass. Agholor has been a fine waiver wire add most of the season, but don’t count on him this week.
Curtis Samuel (vs. WAS): The Washington Football Team’s defense is one of the reasons why they are still alive in the NFC East playoff race. They allow just 19.0 fantasy points per game to receivers. Samuel is not the primary read for Bridgewater and this Panthers offense, so that leaves less volume for him. Washington allows the fifth-fewest receiving yards to WRs and have the second ranked DVOA versus the pass.
Austin Hooper (@ NYJ): The Jets allow the most receiving yards per game to the tight end position. Hooper scored 15.10 PPR fantasy points last week, which does not sound like much, but was enough to be TE8 on the week. This week he stays in NY vs the Jets. Let’s hope that production can carry over into the next week.
Hayden Hurst (@ KC): Hayden Hurst has been a bit of a disappointment this season, ranking as the TE15 on the season. However, I think he’s got a chance to be a top 12 TE this week. This KC defense gives up production to tight ends. 5.14 receptions per game, 57.8 receiving yards per game, and the 12th-most fantasy points per game to tight ends on the year. With Julio’s status up in the air, perhaps Hurst will see some extra looks.
Dan Arnold (vs. SF): Did you know that Dan Arnold is the TE9 over the last four weeks, and the TE12 over the last two weeks? Kind of shocking if you ask me. This week, I’d advise not playing him. He’s scored one TD in Week 11 (7.40 FPTS), no TDs in Week 12 (2.70 FPTS), two TDs in Week 13 (20.10 FPTS), one TD in Week 14 (10.70 FPTS), and none in Week 15 (8.40 FPTS). What I’m trying to say is, he’s become TD-dependent over the last few weeks. SF gives up just the fourth fewest TDs to tight ends on the year. Let’s focus our attention on players who get most of their production via receptions and not TDs.
Rodrigo Blankenship (@ PIT): Over the last three weeks, the Steelers have allowed the fourth-most field goals made per game. Blankenship has been among the best kickers in fantasy all year, scoring double digit points in each of the last two weeks. Let’s ride with the hot hand in Blankenship and bring home the ship!
Dustin Hopkins (vs. CAR): If the Washington Football Team wants to win this game, they are going to have to rely on the strength of their defense and field goal units, because their offense is in flux right now. Haskins has made some questionable decisions, Smith is not 100 percent back from his injury as of this writing, and Antonio Gibson is still questionable for this week. With Rivera playing his old team, I’m expecting Hopkins to continue seeing an uptick in production this week.
Daniel Carlson (vs. MIA): I’ll list two reasons why I’m fading Carlson this week. First, he’s been limited at practice with a left ankle injury but is expected to play. The other reason is that Miami’s special teams defense as a whole is just really good this year, and it’s tough to start anyone vs them. Miami allows the fewest field goals made per game. I know Carlson has been solid over the last four weeks, but with those two notes, I can’t start him with confidence.
Mason Crosby (vs. TEN): Over the course of the season, Tennessee allows just the second fewest field goals attempted per game and has allowed the fourth-fewest field goals made. On the road, TEN allows just one field goal made per game.
Chicago Bears (@ JAC): The Jaguars are playing to draft Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars are playing to lose. There really isn’t much analysis needed. Just start the opposing defense versus them.
Carolina Panthers (@ WAS): Dwayne Haskins can’t get out of his own way and has landed himself in a questionable situation for Washington. Haskins was fined and stripped of his role as team captain over the past week due to questionable decisions that put his health at risk. With Washington holding on to playoff hopes, they are going to have to rely on their defense to get there.
Los Angeles Rams (@ SEA): Why would I recommend sitting the number one scoring defense over the last four weeks versus Seahawks offense? Well, let’s answer that question. Seattle has scored the fourth-most points per game this season and the ninth-most total yards per game. I know the yardage has not been there for Seattle over the last three weeks, but it’s still a Seahawks offense that is among the best in the league. Unless there are just no alternatives on the waiver wire, I’d try to put myself in a better spot this week.
Tennessee Titans (@ GB): Green Bay has scored the third-most total points per game in the NFL this season in an Aaron Rodgers led offense that’s playoff bound. TEN has scored 9.00 and 7.00 fantasy points per game over the last two weeks in much simpler matchups. This week they get a tough contest.
Derek Carr (Groin): Expected to play.
Daniel Jones (Hamstring): Questionable.
Nick Mullens (Elbow): Not expected to play.
Alex Smith (Calf): Expected to play.
Cam Akers (Ankle): Ruled out.
Ezekiel Elliott (Calf): Expected to return.
Antonio Gibson (Toe): Questionable, has a chance to return.
Ronald Jones (COVID): Ruled out.
Alexander Mattison (Concussion): Not expected to play.
Christian McCaffrey (Thigh): Doubtful
Raheem Mostert (Ankle): Not expected to play.
James Robinson (Ankle): Questionable.
Keenan Allen (Hamstring): Questionable.
Tyler Boyd (Concussion): Not expected to play.
A.J. Brown (Ankle): Expected to play.
Dez Bryant (Thigh): Questionable.
Keke Coutee (Foot): Expected to play.
Larry Fitzgerald (Groin): Questionable.
Michael Gallup (Hip): Expected to play.
Kenny Golladay (Hip): Not expected to play.
Collin Johnson (Hamstring): Not expected to play.
Tyreek Hill (Hamstring): Didn’t practice on Wednesday, expected to play.
Julio Jones (Hamstring): Not expected to play.
Jarvis Landry (Hip): Expected to play.
Allen Lazard (Wrist): Expected to play.
Terry McLaurin (Ankle): Expected to play.
Cordarrelle Patterson (Knee): Questionable.
DeVante Parker (Hamstring): Questionable.
Allen Robinson (Hamstring): Expected to play.
Curtis Samuel (Hamstring): Expected to play.
Deebo Samuel (Hamstring): Not expected to play.
Tre’Quan Smith (Ankle): Not expected to play.
Eric Ebron (Back): Unlikely to play.
Kyle Rudolph (Foot): Unlikely to play.
*INJURY UPDATES ARE AS OF 1:00 PM ON THURSDAY AFTERNOON**
**My source for these injury updates has been FantasyGuru.com as well as a google search all season long. Thank you to the analysts at Fantasy Guru for these updates each week*
That will do it for this article. Thank you all for taking the time to read these, I really appreciate that. Hopefully, these articles helped you in some way, shape or form.
Throughout the offseason, I’m planning to write about my process, perhaps even do a year in review, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow me on Twitter, @JoeyColonna, I will keep you guys updated.
Also wanted to give a special shout out to Matt and Ryan, the entire Best Available Player team for giving me the platform to write about fantasy sports, one of my favorite hobbies. Thank you again. Happy Holidays!
(Cover Photo: Mike Dinovo/USA TODAY Sports)