If you are still reading columns like this, it’s a good
sign, because it likely means you are still in the hunt for your
league’s championship heading into the final week of the
fantasy regular season. Or possibly you like to pour salt on your
wounds and bang your head against walls.
There is no Thursday game this week, I’m sure the players
appreciate that has they head into the final two weeks of their
regular season with a ticket to the playoffs on the line. There
are two Saturday games, however, and two Monday games which should
make for an exciting finish to the fantasy regular season as the
title could be determined in the final minutes Monday night.
Early weather reports show light rain expected in Carolina and
Washington, but generally decent weather for the third week in
The numbers don't lie: With Zeke back
in the lineup, Dak Prescott becomes fantasy relevant again.
The truth may not lead you to where you thought you were going,
but it will always lead you somewhere better. – Source unknown
1) The improvement of Blake Bortles (21.9 FPts/G last eight games)
has also brought the Jaguars receiving corps into play.
True. Marqise Lee has been a viable option with four double-digit
games since Week 6. Youngster Keelan Cole has posted three consecutive
double-digit games, including a monster 24.6 fantasy points, last
Sunday. With Lee (ankle) likely sidelined until the playoffs and
Allen Hurns still missing in action, Cole could be a great pickup
along with Dede Westbrook and possibly long-shot Jaydon Mickens
(18.1 FPts last Sunday) against the 49ers pass defense.
2) Dak Prescott produces a lot better with
Ezekiel Elliott in the lineup.
Sure, the Cowboys might run the ball more often when Zeke is
on the field, but Prescott is much more productive when he’s
out there. Prescott averaged 24.8 FPts/G with Elliott this season
and 15.9 when he was forced out due to the six-game suspension.
Zeke will be back in Week 16.
3) Welcome back Jameis Winston.
Since returning from injury in Week 13, Winston has averaged
25.1 FPts/G. Better still, Winston goes up against the Panthers’
pass defense in Week 16 and Carolina has averaged a league-worst
26 FPts/G to opposing quarterbacks since Week 11.
4) Rams running back Todd Gurley has more
than doubled his 2016 fantasy production.
After slumping to 9.8 FPts/G last season, Gurley has rebounded
in the new Sean McVay offense to post a league-best 20.3 points
this season. The “cherry on the top” was last Sunday’s
42-point explosion that likely sent his fantasy owners into the
championship match. Obviously, you are playing him this Sunday,
but don’t expect another 42-point outburst against a Tennessee
defense which ranks fourth in fantasy points allowed to enemy
running backs (15.5).
5) Jordan Howard should be a top option
in Week 16.
Howard’s fantasy production is extremely “win-centric.”
When Chicago has won this season he’s averaged 20 FPts/G.
When the Bears have lost he’s averaged 8.9 points. This
is just a continuation from last season when Howard averaged 23
points in Chicago’s three wins and 11.2 in 12 losses. Chicago
faces winless Cleveland Sunday afternoon.
“Repeatedly claiming ‘the world is flat’ in an
ever louder voice, doesn’t mean it actually is.” –
1) Dance with the one that brought
you, sings Shania Twain, well-known fantasy player` (joking since
I don’t know if she actually plays fantasy … or even likes football).
That’s going to be a problem for those who let Antonio Brown carry them this far. Brown’s calf injury is a major
blow to fantasy owners, but he’s not alone. Will Leonard Fournette return? Davante Adams has been a top-five performer
all season, but his third concussion (thanks Thomas Davis), may
keep him sidelined for a while. Even lower tier players like Kerwyn Williams, Theo Riddick, Hunter Henry and Marqise Lee may not be
able to help you now. Nothing is more nerve-wracking than putting
a Week 16 waiver-wire claim in your championship week starting
2) These receivers are still fantasy-worthy
and can be trusted with the title on the line; DeVante Parker,
Danny Amendola, Will Fuller, Emmanuel Sanders and Jordy Nelson.
Sorry, but all five of these receivers have averaged less than
five fantasy points since Week 13. Nelson was particularly disappointing
Sunday, producing just 2.8 fantasy points in Aaron
Rodgers’ return. He hasn’t cracked four points since Week
6 and Aaron Rodgers won’t start in Week 16. Remember the four-game
stretch when Fuller was all the rage, teaming up with Deshaun
Watson to average 17.7 FPts/G from Week 4-8? He hasn’t scored
a touchdown since then or cracked 45 yards. The others are equally
3) You can’t win with Cam Newton as your
False. Although he’s not as consistent as you would like,
he’s averaging 23.3 FPts/G which is good enough for fifth
overall behind Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz and
Alex Smith. He posted under 20 fantasy points seven times this
season, the most of any top-10 quarterback, but he’s also
racked up at least 29 points five times. The difference is running
the ball. When he runs for 50 yards or more he averages 25.5 FPts/G.
When he’s under that number he averages 21.2 points.
4) Jay Ajayi is the running back to have
It’s a trap! You don’t want any of the Eagles backs
at this time. The workload is split between four backs and none
of them are fantasy-worthy. Since Week 12 Ajayi has averaged 6.2
FPts/G, LeGarrette Blount 4.2, Corey Clement 3.7 and Kenjon Barner
2.7. Sit them all.
5) You can still trust Derek Carr, Jared
Goff, Marcus Mariota and Matt Ryan with the title on the line.
I can’t. None of the four are averaging even 19 points
since Week 11 and none are facing a bottom-10 defense (a.k.a.
easy opponent). Mariota is the only QB with a home game, but the
Rams are No.10 against opposing QBs. Ryan is in New Orleans after
throwing three interceptions against them just two weeks ago,
at home. Goff is in Tennessee and Carr is in Philadelphia. If
Amari Cooper comes back, the Eagles secondary has been vulnerable
lately, but without him on the field, I couldn’t recommend
Carr or the others.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.