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Truths and Lies - Week 16

By Steve Schwarz | 12/20/23

For most, this is the second round of the playoffs and so congratulations on getting there. It’s win and advance which sometimes means making the hard decision. Play the guy who got you there, or play the better matchup. There can be no loyalty here (don’t worry… he won’t hate you for sitting him - well maybe well-known fantasy guy Austin Ekeler will), play the guy who will score more points even if that means benching a “name” player for a lesser-known.

Byes: N/A


“Understanding what not to do sometimes is just as important as what you can do.” – Bill Belichick

Kyren Williams

1) The fantasy “MVP” can’t be a first-round draft pick.

True. Even if you drafted Christian McCaffrey, he’s not the fantasy MVP. He’s performing as expected. The fantasy MVP has to come from nowhere and produce as if he were a first-round draft choice. Kyren Williams and Raheem Mostert could be fantasy MVPs. Same for Sam LaPorta, he could be a fantasy MVP as could Brock Purdy.

2) Since Week 11, these quarterbacks are producing at top-10 level; Joe Flacco, Jordan Love, Matthew Stafford, Baker Mayfield and Jake Browning.

Fact. Each is averaging at least 22 fantasy points per game. Fantasy owners must be flexible and realize when their “big name” starter isn’t performing and make the move off of them. I know it’s hard, but it’s necessary to win leagues. Do you want to go down being loyal to Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Fields or even Patrick Mahomes or do what is needed to bring home the trophy? Do you play Brock Purdy against the tough Ravens defense (allowing just 17 FPts/G to opposing QBs) or take a flyer on a quarterback like Mayfield against the Jaguars (allowing 24.1 FPts/G)?

3) Since Week 11, there are five tight ends producing better than Travis Kelce.

True. Maybe Kelce is too concerned about all his off-the-field activities (podcasts, dating) or maybe it’s just a coincidence, but he’s no longer the dominant player at the position he once was. The tight end position is filled with young and improving talents like; LaPorta, T.J. Hockenson, Cole Kmet, Trey McBride and Jake Ferguson. Drafting Kelce early because he was five points better than all the other tight ends is no longer be a viable strategy as the gap is certainly closing.

 Travis Kelce
Season FPts /G
2019 16.0
2020 20.8
2021 16.6
2022 18.6
‘23 games 1-10 17.6
‘23 games 11-15 13.3

4) Rachaad White has quietly become a top-five fantasy option.

Fact. And not just because he’s playing well, but also because of the volume as the Bucs don’t make use of any other backs. White has seen 272 touches through 14 games (19.4 per game) while Tampa’s three other backs (Chase Edmonds, Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Sean Tucker) have a combined total of 66 touches. That’s an 80.5% usage! Among backs, White is fifth in receptions and second in receiving yards. However, for dynasty owners, this may not last because he’s only producing 3.8 ypc this season after 3.7 ypc in 2022. That lack of rushing production might have Bucs’ management looking to add a running back in the off-season either through the draft or free agency.

5) There are fewer surprises in the wide receiver top-10 than any other position.

True. None of the top-10, based on FPts/G could be considered surprising. It’s not until we look at No.11-20, that we see breakthrough wideouts (Puka Nacua, Tank Dell, Nico Collins and Michael Pittman Jr.). Nacua took advantage of an injured Cooper Kupp and a healthy Matthew Stafford to establish himself. He averaged 23.1 without Kupp but is averaging just 13.01 points (31st) when Kupp is on the field. Beware of overvaluing Nacua next season. Dell and Collins were the beneficiaries of the breakout rookie C.J. Stroud season and should continue at this level as long as Stroud is under center. Pittman has performed above expectations with both Anthony Richardson and backup Gardner Minshew.

 2023 WR Top-10 based on FPts/G
  Tm G
Tyreek Hill MIA 25.0
CeeDee Lamb DAL 21.6
Keenan Allen LAC 21.1
Amon-Ra St. Brown DET 19.6
A.J. Brown PHI 19.2
Justin Jefferson MIN 18.7
Ja'Marr Chase CIN 17.9
Deebo Samuel SF 17.6
Stefon Diggs BUF 17.4
D.J. Moore CHI 17.3


“Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope.” – Thomas Edison

1) The Chiefs still don’t have a wideout to take the pressure off Travis Kelce.

It’s taken more than half the season, but the emergence of Rashee Rice is undeniable. Patrick Mahomes and the coaching staff have obviously seen the improvement as well. Over the past four games, Rice has seen 38 targets (9.5 per game), caught 32 of them (84.2 catch percentage) for 334 yards (83.5 per game) and three scores. That’s as good as anything veteran JuJu Smith-Schuster did with Mahomes last season and Rice is still learning the position.

2) Breece Hall has hit the proverbial sophomore jinx.

I’m going to have to say outside forces are the cause here… not Hall. The Jets OL has been a disaster (injuries to tackles Alijah Vera-Tucker and Duane Brown hurt) which could explain Hall’s drop from 5.8 ypc last season to 4.2 ypc in 2023 along with the lack of any passing game threat with Aaron Rodgers going down in the first drive of the season. Hall should be a “buy-low” target for dynasty owners.

3) Derrick Henry is still producing and can continue to be an RB1.

Sorry, no. Henry’s production, particularly of late, has been directly tied to his touchdown production and game script. Young backup Tajae Spears is seeing more opportunities of late and that’s the opposite of Henry’s career history of getting stronger as the season progresses. After a big October, Henry’s rushing efficiency has dropped significantly and only his touchdown production (six in the last four games) has saved his numbers. Is this the beginning of the end for the soon-to-be 30-year old? See below.

 Derrick Henry
Henry Career Yds/Att Yds/G TD/G
September 3.86 67.7 0.50
October 4.47 77.7 0.77
November 5.13 75.6 0.83
December 5.47 96.5 1.00
January 5.37 141.3 1.00
Henry 2023 Yds/Att Yds/G TD/G
September 3.19 54.3 0.33
October 5.26 90.8 0.50
November 3.54 53.3 0.75
December 2.69 48.3 1.33
January x x x

4) The emergence of running back Chase Brown in Cincinnati will be a hit to Joe Mixon’s production.

Not as of yet. In the last three games, where Brown has finally seen significant usage (10 touches per game), Mixon has still seen 20.7 touches per game and 22.1 FPts/G. Previously, Mixon had averaged 17.6 touches per game and 13.5 FPts/G. With Joe Burrow sidelined, the Bengals are utilizing the running game more to take pressure off Jake Browning. It’s worked. Mixon and Brown have thrived and they have reeled off three straight wins, getting back in the playoff hunt, by averaging 31.7 ppg.

5) Bijan Robinson is an RB1.

Not yet and he won’t be until Falcons management commits to him. Right now, Atlanta management has limited Robinson’s production by his lack of usage. He’s seeing 15.5 touches per game while “backup” Tyler Allgeier is averaging 12.8 touches. Unfortunately, Allgeier averages just 3.5 ypc and has produced 0.55 FPts/touch while Robinson’s numbers are 4.6 ypc and 0.90 FPts/touch. This is not a Detroit Lions’ situation where David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs are both playing great. This is mismanagement of talent.