Week 16 QB Ranks
Andrew Luck: His number of pass attempts have increased in each of his last four road games and he is attempting 25.3 percent more passes on the road this season than at home. The high-volume passing attack should result in massive numbers given the Cowboys 66.4 completion percentage against.
Aaron Rodgers: Should you be encouraged by his sub 200-yard Week 15 performance? In the game following his last seven games with fewer than 200 passing yards, Rodgers has averaged 302 passing yards while tossing 24 touchdown passes and just one interception in those games (912 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions in three such games this season).
Drew Brees: He is averaging 320.5 passing yards in his last 14 games against Atlanta, totaling at least 296 in 12 of those contests.
Peyton Manning: The Bengals have shut down some bad quarterbacks, thus making their season statistics a bit deceiving. Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, and Ben Roethlisberger have all produced at least 300 yards and multiple touchdowns against this defense. Safe to say Manning is more along those names than those who have been shut down by Cincinnati (Jake Locker, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Josh McCown).
Tom Brady: He gets the assumed increase in value as a result of opposing the Jets, but the fact that he has completed just 61 of 122 passes against the divisional rival since the beginning of last season is worth noting before putting him any higher than this.
Matthew Stafford: The knock on him has been his propensity to turn the ball over, but with him matching a career-high with three straight pick-less contests, owners should feel comfortable with him under center for their Super Bowl as he faces a Bears defense that is allowing 3.0 touchdowns per interception.
Matt Ryan: He might get Julio Jones back (if he doesn’t, move him to the bottom of this tier) and plays indoors this week. That makes him a strong start, but just in case you’re not sold: He has three games this season in which he has thrown for at least 300 yards and multiple touchdowns while completing 70 percent of his passes (Luck has also done it three times, while Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning have done it twice each), one of which came last weekend without Jones suiting up.
Ben Roethlisberger: Despite playing only 43 percent of his games at home this season, 69 percent of his touchdowns have come at home. Even more encouraging, every reliable Fantasy QB that has faced Kansas City this season has tossed multiple touchdowns.
Tony Romo: It’s simple math. His upside is only so high given that the Cowboys rank 29th in passes attempted and the Colts rank fifth in completion percentage allowed. The volume may change a bit if Murray sits, but the lack of play-action could well subtract any uptick in value that results in the volume increase.
Mark Sanchez: The Redskins have given up at least 250 passing yards in five of their last six and multiple touchdown tosses in 10 of 12. Sanchez will turn the ball over, but with Washington allowing more than six scores per pick, I’ll take my chances.
Ryan Tannehill: His three straight games without multiple touchdowns doesn’t mix well with a defense that has allowed fewer than 200 passing yards and one or fewer touchdown passes five times this year.
Joe Flacco: You’re not starting him unless there is extreme upside and I just don’t see it this weekend. Since the beginning of October, Flacco has just one 300-yard performances and just two three-plus touchdown efforts. The odds of him reaching either plateau diminish even further when you consider that the Texans have allowed a quarterback to eclipse 300 yards just three times and throw for at least three scores just once.
Philip Rivers: The Chargers inability to move the ball on the ground has quietly made Rivers a volume play for the first time in his career. Only Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Jay Cutler, and Matt Ryan have dropped back to pass more over the last five weeks.
Alex Smith: Just call him Mr. Late November/December! In eight of his last 10 games played after November 16th, Smith has thrown for multiple touchdowns (just eight such occurrences in eight of 19 games played on or before November 16th in those two seasons). The Steelers just so happen to have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in eight straight. “Receivers? I don’t need no stinkin’ receivers!”
Eli Manning: The play of Odell Beckham Jr. single-handedly gives Manning appeal and the Rams allowing opponents to complete 67.5 percent of their passes doesn’t hurt either. St. Louis’ pass defense has looked good the past three weeks (601 yards allowed and zero touchdowns), but take into consideration that they’ve played the Raiders, Redskins, and Cardinals over that stretch.
Josh McCown: Sure, the Packers limited Kyle Orton last week, but they had given up an average of 295 passing yards and 2.3 passing touchdowns over the previous six games. He can have a nice week, but his 50.7 completion percentage during the Buccaneers four game losing streak limits how safe you can feel about using him.
Robert Griffin III: For what it’s worth, RG3 is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes and faces a defense that seems to struggle in his strong areas. The Eagles have allowed the third most rushing yards to quarterbacks this season, multiple passing touchdowns in seven of their last eight, and nearly three scoring strikes for every interception. The Eagles are the team with something on the line, but Griffin could be playing for his NFL future. He’s not a safe play, but the upside is there.
Derek Anderson: The concern with Anderson is dealing with a pass rush given the Panthers pathetic protection stats, but that shouldn’t be a major concern this week as the Browns struggle to get to the quarterback. I love the fact that 65 percent of his targets last week went to Greg Olsen or Kelvin Benjamin, a game plan that could once again land him higher on Fantasy scoring leader sheets than his raw talent suggests. The concern here is that the elite coverage grade for the Browns limits one, or both, of the Panthers primary weapons.
Shaun Hill: His 11.2 aDOT against the Cardinals is encouraging from an upside perspective and the long week of rest is worth buying into as Giants (they’ve allowed the third-most pass plays of 20 yards and grade out as a below average cover secondary) come to town. St. Louis trusted Hill with a season-high 39 pass attempts against a stingy Arizona defense in Week 14 and we could well see a similar game plan as New York has limited running backs to 155 rushing yards over the last three weeks and 0 touchdowns over the last five. Having said that, the Rams still lack the consistency catching the ball that it requires to have confidence in Hill unless you are in a two quarterback league and need to fill the potential void left by Cam Newton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, or Drew Stanton.
Russell Wilson: The Cardinals have done a nice job of holding Wilson in check over his career, and that hasn’t changed since he has become a star. Over their last three encounters, RW has totaled just 688 yards and five touchdowns. Good, not great, numbers, and given that Arizona has yet to yield a rushing touchdown to a quarterback, I question the upside of the reigning Super Bowl champion.
Colin Kaepernick: He has been a reasonably efficient passer when not under pressure (a 91.4 QB Rating, thanks in large part to a 65.8 completion percentage), something that should help him have some success against a Chargers defense that ranks below average in pass rush and sacks.
Johnny Manziel: Things can only get better, right? He should benefit from the experience he gained and facing a defense that is shaky in coverage (65.8 completion percentage against) certainly can’t hurt. He’ll struggle, but look for a big play or two to boost his Fantasy value a bit more than his “actual” value to the Browns.
Kyle Orton: The Raiders have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in three of their last four (twice to Alex Smith and once to Shaun Hill), so there is hope here, but the Bills have won four straight when he throws fewer than 33 passes and lost three straight when he eclipses that plateau. Less is more for Buffalo, not for Fantasy owners.
Andy Dalton: He has as many zero touchdown pass games as he does multi-touchdown games and the Broncos boast the third highest graded secondary in terms of pass coverage. Unless A.J. Green has a day for the ages, it is hard to imagine starting the Red Rifle in any league.[table “1313” not found /]
Week 16 FLEX Ranks
Le’Veon Bell: I’m running out of superlatives for him, so I’ll talk about the matchup. Kansas City gets a lot of attention for their two rushing touchdowns allowed, but they are allowing the third-most yards per carry (4.86), a number that has been on the rise over the last month (5.14).
Calvin Johnson: The Bears own the third-worst coverage secondary and has scored five times in his last three games against the division rival.
Dez Bryant: No receiver is averaging more yards or touchdowns over the last five weeks than Bryant, not to mention his offensive responsibility could actually increase with DeMarco Murray ailing.
Antonio Brown: A wide receiver has scored on the Chiefs in seven straight, if that streak is going to continue, I like the odds of AB being the one to extend it.
Jamaal Charles: Cleveland and Houston are the two most run-centric offenses that have faced the Steelers this season and their running backs have totaled 446 rushing yards to go along with five scores in three games. The Chiefs have yet to get a wide receiver into the endzone, thus making their ground game pretty crucial to their success.
Jordy Nelson: He is averaging 33.5 PPR points following a game in which he totaled less than 60 receiving yards, not to mention he will want to atone for dropping a 94-yard touchdown pass last week.
Julio Jones: He sat out last week in an effort to get as close to 100 percent health against a defense that is allowing an average of 13.3 catches for 188.7 yards and 1.4 touchdowns to wide receivers in non-Carolina games this season. Keep an eye on his status, but if the early week optimism rings true, Jones’ Fantasy owners should follow the Falcons: if he’s healthy enough for Atlanta, he’s healthy enough for you. If he sits, Roddy White moves to the top of Tier 3 and Harry Douglas assumes White’s current spot.
Demaryius Thomas: He hasn’t been held to fewer than 100 yards or a touchdown on the road since September. He also has at least six receptions in each of those games.
Mike Evans: Remember that six-game stretch of futility for the Packers defense I mentioned in the Josh McCown section? Their struggles have come in defending big targets. Jimmy Graham (five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown), Brandon Marshall (8-112-1), Jordan Matthews (5-107-1), Charles Johnson (3-52-1), Brandon LaFell (5-38-2), and Julio Jones (11-259-1) have all rewarded Fantasy owners with plus value against the Pack since Week 8.
Eddie Lacy: The Buccaneers have allowed running backs to rush for at least 89 yards in six consecutive games, a trend worth buying into for a running back that has totaled at least 106 yards in seven straight (eight touchdowns).
Arian Foster: Not an ideal matchup, especially given the quarterback situation, but the touch count is back (24-plus touches in all three games since returning from injury, averaging 4.7 yards per touch in the process) and that’s enough to make him an RB1 regardless of matchup.
Alshon Jeffery: The Lions have allowed receivers to reach the endzone five times in the last three weeks, including two to Jeffery on Thanksgiving. In fact, Jeffery has scored six times in his last five weeks despite the dysfunction that is the Chicago team.
Randall Cobb: He scored 10 times on his first 44 receptions this season but has failed to reach paydirt in the last five weeks (32 receptions). He’s still a strong talent in an elite passing game that will get his looks, but the lack of red zone work over the last 1-2 months is enough to drop him into the bottom half of the WR1 pool as opposed to the top-notch option he was in the first two months of 2014.
Marshawn Lynch: Yea, I get it. The Cardinals shut down Lynch (15 carries for 39 yards) a month ago … and they were dominated. Russell Wilson is capable of winning a game and I expect less men in the box than the first time these two teams met. That, and Lynch’s top ranking (by a wide margin) in Elusive Rating (yards gained beyond what is blocked) make him a safer play than you’d assume in your Fantasy championship.
Odell Beckham Jr.: The Rams are allowing receivers to catch 68.8 percent of passes this season, a trend you have to like given that OBJ has accounted for 39.2 of Eli Manning’s completions over the last month.
T.Y. Hilton: The hamstring injury doesn’t appear to be a lasting issue, so feel comfortable in rolling out the league’s fourth-leading receiver. Only Antonio Brown has more receiving yards and a higher catch percentage than Andrew Luck’s top target.
(DeMarco Murray): This is rank if should he start. The Cowboys rely as much on him as any team relies on a single player, and if reports of optimism are accurate, he should be heavily involved again.
Justin Forsett: DeMarco Murray and Le’Veon Bell are the only two running backs with 1,000 rushing yards, more targets, and a higher catch percentage than Forsett this season.
A.J. Green: Only Odell Beckham Jr. has been targeted more over the last five weeks than Green. Andy Dalton is very limited, but he knows what player makes him look good and has no problem force feeding him. Good for the Bengals? Probably not, but wonderful for Fantasy owners.
C.J. Anderson: We love how committed to the run the Broncos are and it could win Fantasy championships this weekend. The Bengals run defense isn’t awful, but they’ve been gashed for 740 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in the four games in which an opponent has given their running backs at least 25 carries.
Matt Forte: It is possible that he struggles to find room to run, but the fact that the Lions have allowed running backs to haul in a league-high 84 passes should raise Forte’s Fantasy floor.
LeSean McCoy: The Redskins are the only defense in the league with a Bottom 5 grade in both run defense and pass coverage (as judged by the performance graders at Pro Football Focus), the two ways McCoy can dismantle a defense.
Golden Tate: The Bears are allowing 202 receiving yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game to receivers since their Week 9 bye.
Mark Ingram: He broke a five -week touchdown-less streak with a late score against the Bears and has good chance to build a scoring streak, as the Falcons have allowed a league-high 19 rushing touchdowns this season.
Joique Bell: Chicago is allowing 123 rushing yards to running backs over the last three weeks, giving up five rushing scores in the process. The knock on Bell coming into the season was volume, but with 19-plus touches in four straight, he is a safer play than previously thought.
Jordan Matthews: The Redskins have allowed receivers on the last three opponents that are currently ranked higher than 26th in total passing yards to score multiple touchdowns. The Eagles have the seventh-most passing yards in the NFL.
Kelvin Benjamin: The upside remains massive, as only Calvin Johnson and Mike Evans have a greater aDOT since Week 9 than the rookie.
Jeremy Hill: DeMarco Murray is pretty good, right? Hill has 19 more rushing yards over the last five weeks on 16 fewer carries.
Marques Colston: He has followed four straight sub-10 PPR point performances with four straight 10-plus PPR point games. There are going to be Fantasy points earned in this game and Colston should get a nice piece of the pie.
Emmanuel Sanders: When Peyton Manning has time to pass, game over. The Bengals own the worst pass rush grade in the NFL and it’s not close.
Jonathan Stewart: He has the sixth-most carries over the last two weeks and gets to fact a Browns defense that has given up the second most rushing yards this season.
Vincent Jackson: See Evans, Mike
Fred Jackson: He already has accumulated a career-high in receiving Fantasy points, a perfect skill set to own against the Raiders (league-high RB Fantasy points allowed via the reception).
Mike Wallace: Wide receivers have scored 10 times in the last six home games against the Vikings and Wallace is fresh off of his first 100-yard performance in nearly one year.
Julian Edelman: No receiver has more targets and a higher catch percentage over the last seven weeks.
Roddy White: He has gone five consecutive weeks with at least 13.2 PPR points, a streak that could well continue against a Saints defense that has surrendered eight receiver touchdowns in the last six weeks.
Jeremy Maclin: He has scored or totaled 100 receiving yards in all but one road game this season, regardless of the quarterback under center.
Josh Gordon: The concern here has nothing to do with Gordon, but it is impossible to overlook the fact that the Panthers pass rush is graded considerably higher than the Bengals front seven that rendered this offense inept last week.
Isaiah Crowell: Only four teams have called more run plays than the Browns this year, a volume of work that makes Crowell a decent play due to the Panther’s five games having allowed multiple rushing scores.
Lamar Miller: He has more catches this season than he had in the first 29 games of his career, a nice trend when opposing a defense that is allowing running backs to catch 86.2 percent of passes thrown their way.
DeAndre Hopkins: The talent is undeniable, but can he overcome quarterback chaos against a defense that owns the top ranked pass rush? It’s shaky ground at best.
Alfred Morris: His 3.1 yards per carry over the last three weeks is less than encouraging, but it may not be the most concerning recent trend. He has been asked to block on 30.9 percent of his snaps over those three games, a significant rise from blocking on 22.7 percent of his snaps this season prior to that point.
Tre Mason: The Giants haven’t allowed a touchdown in four straight weeks and Mason has managed just 3.0 yards per carry over the last two weeks. He’s going to be a good back, but his time to be a consistent Fantasy asset is not right now.
Kenny Stills: His role is on the rise (60 percent of his career games with at least five receptions have come in the last month) and this is a great spot for him to reward Fantasy owners for making a savvy pickup when Brandin Cooks went down.
Sammy Watkins: The talent is there, but I’d fade him in daily games and would see if you have a player in a more consistent offense if you’re battling for a Super Bowl trophy this weekend.
Steven Jackson: Opponents rush more against the Saints than against the average NFL team in an effort to keep Drew Brees off the field, a style of play that could well make Jackson a difference-maker this weekend. The veteran has scored or run for 100 yards in five of his last six games with at least 15 touches.
Brandon LaFell: He may not be the sexiest of names, but I’ll gladly roll with a receiver having a career year (nearly averaging as many receptions per game this season as targets per game during the first four seasons of his career) who faces arguably the worst pass defense in football.
(Joseph Randle): If Murray sits, this is where I rank Randle. Should Murray play, Randle is off the radar are far as reliable Week 16 options are concerned.
Pierre Garcon: The targets aren’t back to what they were last year, but he has seen more passes thrown his way over the last three weeks than Dez Bryant and gets the luxury of facing a defense that has allowed an NFL-high 21 touchdowns to receivers this season.
Andre Williams: The Rams have allowed fewer than 70 rushing yards in five of their last seven games and have an extended week to plan for a Giants attack that needs at least the threat of a ground game to succeed. The rookie has had his moments and is the percentage play in this backfield, but don’t lose track of the fact that he ranks 46th of 47 qualified players in yards per carry.
Shane Vereen: The Jets may be able to stuff the run, but Vereen’s ability to catch the ball could make him the defacto running back in this one. It’s worth noting that he has just five receptions over his last three games, but he has hauled in eight passes for 172 yards and three scores in his last three against the Jets.
Doug Martin: His snap percentage was its highest last week since Week 6 and opposes a Green Bay defensive line that has graded out as the third-worst against the run. If Tampa Bay is going to compete in this game, Martin should see enough touches to be a fringe FLEX option.
Chris Ivory: Same thought as Martin, just not as favorable of a matchup. That said, Ivory’s physical style does make him more of a touchdown threat, so if you’re chasing a cheap score, here’s your guy.
Dan Herron: This is still essentially a time share, but the usage rate of Herron is trending in a positive direction and, as we all know, Trent Richardson is doing very little to prevent that from continuing.
LeGarrette Blount: The Jets run defense is as stout as it gets, but 83.3 percent of their rushing touchdowns allowed have come in the last seven games. Again, not a great yardage play (although who knows with New England), but the touchdown potential makes him a flier worth taking in the right situation.
Marqise Lee: The Jags offense is bad, but the Titans defense might be worse. Lee has more targets than Golden Tate and a higher catch percentage than T.Y. Hilton over the last three weeks and isn’t a bad gamble if you need to roll the dice in a PPR format.
Latavius Murray: The Bills gave up some yardage on the ground last week to Eddie Lacy as a result of selling out to limit the effectiveness of Aaron Rodgers: I have a hunch that they will not approach a Derek Carr led offense with the same game plan.
Anquan Boldin: Subtract two games against the Seahawks and he is averaging double digit targets since Week 10.[table “1314” not found /]
Week 16 TE Ranks
Rob Gronkowski: He’s battled through injuries, but he is once again the pace-setter at the position in Fantasy points per snap.
Jimmy Graham: For the first time in more than two years, Graham has been held out of the endzone in three straight games.
Greg Olsen: Tight end leader in not only targets but also catch percentage over the last three weeks.
Dwayne Allen: Reassumed the lead tight end role for the first time since his injury last week, just in time to face a Cowboys defense that has allowed tight ends to be targeted 15 more times than any other team.
Delanie Walker: Not one tight end in the league has more targets and a higher aDOT this season than Walker. Not to mention he is the only healthy Titan with a reliable track record. He is also averaging more yards per reception than Gronk.
Martellus Bennett: Is his role changing for the worse? He has averaged fewer than 10 yards per reception in four of his last five after doing so only three times in his first nine games.
Travis Kelce: He has the third most receiving yards among tight ends over the last two weeks and faces a Steelers defense that has allowed a tight end touchdown in six of their last seven games.
Antonio Gates: Five-plus catches in three straight, his longest streak since early in the 2010 season.
Zach Ertz: His snap count is outpacing Brent Celek, and while the production hasn’t been there, the upside is still there (position leader in aDOT).
Jason Witten: The Colts are giving up the fifth most Fantasy points to tight ends this season … and that’s with the Jags accounting for three yards on two catches in two games.
Scott Chandler: The Raiders aren’t bad against tight ends, but they’ve allowed tight ends to score one touchdown per 6.4 receptions since Week 3, a promising trend given the lack of options in Buffalo’s passing game.
Eric Ebron: Don’t love the downward trending snap count, but he has more upside than any other tight end on this roster and he gets the least efficient defense in limiting tight ends on a short week.
Heath Miller: Kansas City gave up a season-high seven receptions to tight ends last week and has issues with big touchdown dependant TE’s this season (Julius Thomas, Antonio Gates, Rob Gronkowski, and Jared Cook have combined for six of the seven scores). Miller has been a reliable tight end only when he has been targeted with regularity in the redzone (see 2007, 2009, and 2012), the type of skill set that has actually netted value this season against the Chiefs, despite him being an unreliable option for most of this season.
Jared Cook: No tight end has more targets and a higher aDOT over the last two weeks.
Larry Donnell: The Rams haven’t allowed a tight end to eclipse 50 yards in five straight games or score in eight straight.
Jordan Reed: There are 51 tight ends with a higher aDOT, so look elsewhere if you’re chasing upside, but that does make him a decent bet for a handful of points if you’re really stuck.[table “1315” not found /]