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Steve Schwarz | Archive | Email |  
Staff Writer

Truths and Lies: Week 16

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 December.

Dak Prescott

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.” – Steve Schwarz

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 lineup.

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 disappointing.

3) You can’t win with Cam Newton as your fantasy quarterback.

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 in Philadelphia.

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.