Updated Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings | Sleepers | DFS Picks
Congratulations, you select few! I'm guessing there are about 10 percent of you still alive and excited for the Week 16 rankings and sleepers. The other 90 percent of you are just here for the GIFs.
Well, maybe there are some of you out there bookmarking my rankings and sleeper picks just to throw them back in my face and yell at me if they don't work out.
No matter the case, it's the Christmas season, so I'm in a giving and jolly mood. So for the final time this year (well, outside those nutbags that are playing next week), it's time to deal up the weekly Fantasy Football rankings, sleepers, DFS picks and GIFs! That is, after my Top 10 Christmas songs first. You may be familiar with this list if you followed me last year, but I had several people ask about my favorites this year again, so here we go.
Honorable Mentions: Christmas in Hollis, Run DMC – Always fun, but not something you really listen to on repeat. Last Christmas, Wham! – The best 80’s Christmas song ever? No question. Best 80’s song period? Might just be. Bing Crosby, White Christmas… because, well, it's Bing.
10. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Darlene Love/Maria Carey – I prefer the remake over the classic version, as Carey's voice is just too good.
9. A Holly Jolly Christmas, Burl Ives – I’m not sure why this song doesn’t rank higher on most lists. Plus, it's from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Speaking of, decent Christmas song itself (Rudolph) but just too short and repetitive (not that this one is lengthy or loaded with lyrics).
8. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Frank Sinatra – Can’t have a Top 10 music list without Ol’ Blue Eyes. I know most will complain it's this low, and I actually have the Best of Frank Sinatra on my iPhone, but I prefer more upbeat Christmas songs.
7. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Brenda Lee – More upbeat, as seen here… I dare you to listen to this and not think of Home Alone. If you’re too young to understand… get the hell off my lawn!
6. Winter Wonderland/Sleigh Ride, Dolly Parton – Gets points for being a double treat. You get two songs in one, making this a near four-minute enjoyment. One of the problems with Christmas songs is that most are two minutes or less.
5. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Andy Williams – Another song that is just fun, and another one that more people should love. It’s just a fun, feels-like-Christmas song that doesn’t get old.
4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Jackson 5 – Does it get any better than kids with amazing voices singing a Christmas song?
3. Jingle Bell Rock, Bobby Helms – The guitar intro with jingle bells? Classic.
2. All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey – Lie to yourself all you want; you know it’s terrific.
1. The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole – The king of Christmas songs from the King himself.
As a reminder, if you missed this week's Waiver Wire and Quarterback Streamers piece, click over to find help at every position, including quarterback streamers.
Week 16 QB Sleepers
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT – For all of the complaining about Drew Brees' home/road splits, they're nothing like Roethlisberger's. Over the last three years, Roethlisberger is averaging 30.4 FPPG, 343.1 passing yards and 2.9 touchdowns at home versus 17.1, 269.9 and 1.1 on the road. Now THAT is a split.
Owners will be worried after last week, but Roethlisberger is home and the Ravens have allowed the most touchdowns to receivers. Both teams are playing for their playoff lives, and the Steelers should step it up this week, starting with Big Ben.
Week 16 RB Sleepers
Todd Gurley, LA – How did we get here? And yes, I hear the complaints that "Jake, Gurley is not a sleeper." But again, it's Week 16, and we're not playing "high-upside fliers" while trying to win a championship… although Gurley might be just that to some. If you made it this far, you likely don’t need to chose from Derrick Henry and Paul Perkins. It all starts with the fact that it's the 49ers. They made Bilal Powell look like a Pro Bowl running back. Also, in last week's game against the Seahawks, Gurley had 14 carries (team total 17) and four targets, good for 31 percent of the snaps. If Gurley touches the ball 20 times against the 49ers, he'll fall backwards into RB1 value.
Jay Ajayi, MIA – As with Gurley, most owners are starting Ajayi if they own him. However, this is for owners that might be three running backs deep (which I've seen some of on Twitter: "Start two of Ajayi, Jordan Howard or Ty Montgomery?"). Owners are worried, as Ajayi hasn't topped 79 rushing yards since Week 10 or 61 over the last four games. The usage is a bit erratic, and the yards per carry are down as well. However, Ajayi ranks in the Top 10 for yards after contact, and the Bills struggle to stop the run. The Dolphins should turn to Ajayi more in Buffalo this week, which gives Ajayi a great chance to return to RB1 glory... as long as the Dolphins don't bring in Damien Williams just as Ajayi is about to score for the first time since Week 12.
Kenneth Dixon, BAL – Okay, now we're talking an actual sleeper. I warned owners not to trust Dixon too much last week, as the game script against the Patriots was a big factor in Dixon's Week 14 success. Last week against the Eagles, it moved back to Terrance West, as the Ravens had the lead for most of the game. As mentioned with Roethlisberger, this matchup points to the Steelers scoring plenty, thereby forcing the Ravens to keep up and pass more, which means more work for Dixon in Week 16. The Steelers have also given up the third most receiving yards with five touchdowns to running backs this year.
Week 16 WR Sleepers
Sterling Shepard, NYG – As mentioned last week, the Eagles defense ranks among the most forgiving when it comes to big plays (20 and 40-plus yards). The wind played a part in limiting the big-play ability of Joe Flacco and Mike Wallace, but that won't be a concern this week, as it should only be around 10-15 mph. Sterling Shepard has been a bit touchdown reliant, but the Eagles give up the fourth most touchdowns to receivers and the second most yards. The yards help offset the normal risk for Shepard, as does Eli Manning torching this defense for four touchdowns in the first matchup… one of which went to Shepard.
Adam Thielen, MIN – This matchup sets up to have Damarious Randall on Thielen for a good part of the game… or in other words… a gravy matchup. Matt Barkley exploited the matchup with the Packers last week, and Sam Bradford will look to do the same with Thielen… his best receiver in the four games before the Colts matchup. Obviously, it all depends on Thielen being healthy for this week, but if he is, there is significant upside here.
Marqise Lee, JAX – The first game between the Titans and Jaguars turned out to be an offensive explosion for the Titans, which left plenty of garbage time and numbers for Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. Well, Robinson has lost all connection with Bortles and Hurns is out. Lee has become the Jaguars best receivers, and only the Chiefs are allowing more FPPG to receivers than the Titans. Trusting the Jaguars is risky, but I'm digging a bit deeper at receiver than at running back given the likelihood some owners might need these options.
Week 16 TE Sleepers
Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry, SD – I put both Gates and Henry here because this could be one of those games where tight ends from the same team finish with TE1 value. How did that Charles Clay recommendation work out last week? Pretty dang good, huh? Well, that was more about the Browns than it was Clay, and guess who the Chargers face this week. The Browns have given up 12 touchdowns to tight ends this year on 84 receptions and 902 yards. Given the state of the tight end position, it's hard not to like both Chargers options.
Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings | Week 16 Flex Rankings
Week 16 Blind Spot Players
In case you're new to this, the Fantasy Blind Spot refers to players that you want to target in tournaments, such as the Millionaire Maker, etc… contrarian players if you will. They usually have one of the following characteristics:
1) have been performing well but haven't had a breakout game or big enough numbers to get Fantasy players talking, and/or
2) are in a price range of other more popular option, and/or
3) have frustrated with disappointing performances but have a great matchup to finally break through
DraftKings Week 16 Sleepers
Cam Newton $6600 – Newton looked like the Newton we used to know last week.
Now he faces the Falcons, a team allowing the most FPPG to quarterbacks. Newton fell flat the last time against the Falcons, so given that showing and his season-long erratic play, players might not roster him. The price is just too attractive though, as Newton always brings one of the highest ceilings in the game. Not only do the Falcons allow the second most passing yards and touchdowns, but the Panthers pass defense is equally weak, and should force Cam and company to keep pace.
Carlos Hyde $5800 – The only concern with Hyde is losing snaps when the 49ers are down by a decent amount. Well, they face the Rams this week, so it's safe to say that we shouldn't see that happen this week. Hyde has been running great since his second game back from injury with 6.2 YPC and two receiving touchdowns. Yep, Hyde hasn't even scored via a rush since his return after posting six in his first five games. Positive regression coming? It's quite possible.
Dion Lewis $4100 – It doesn't get riskier than relying on a Bill Belichick running back, but this is also about predicting game script and the cost. Lewis had his best game since his return last week, and with the Jets on tap, the way to attack them is with more Lewis (pass-catching running backs). Although, we could see a heavy dose of James White, and therein lies the risk.
Emmanuel Sanders $6000 – Many will be off of the Broncos after last week's letdown, but don't forget that Sanders lit up the Chiefs the first time. In fact, while many believe that the Chiefs defense is frightening, they actually allow the seventh most FPPG to receivers, just behind the Panthers. It helps that Sanders sees work out of the slot, and Steven Nelson rates quite poor in coverage versus Marcus Peters and Terrance Mitchell. Don't be scared off after last week.
Michael Thomas $6000 – You all know I love Thomas this year, and I love him a ton this week. Thomas missed the first matchup with the Bucs, and I'm sure the Saints wished they had him, as he will take full advantage of the matchup with Vernon Hargreaves. Thomas is filling the Marques Colston void well and looking even better than Colston did at times. Expect one of Thomas' best games this week.
Cameron Brate $3900 – I don't see how you go anywhere else at tight end. Brate has a solid floor, high ceiling and has been a Top 5 tight end for some time. He is neck and neck with Mike Evans in red zone opportunities, and Jameis Winston will need him in this likely high-scoring game. Even without this matchup, Brate's price should have already been in the $5,000 range. Take this gift and celebrate!
FanDuel Week 16 Sleepers
Andrew Luck $8300 – It sounds as if Donte Moncrief will play this week, and you have to like any game that has the highest O/U in Vegas. That's not surprising when you consider the strengths (offenses) and weaknesses (defenses) of these two teams. As you will see in a bit, the appeal of this game carries over to a Raiders player as well, but with Moncrief on the field, both T.Y. Hilton and Luck should be able to take advantage of this matchup. Luck is the fourth highest-priced quarterback, and dropping down to Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Derek Carr and Cam Newton makes plenty of sense. That's why a Luck-Hilton stack could end up contrarian and have you set apart from the field.
Jay Ajayi $6700 – As mentioned in this week's sleeper section, the Bills have struggled against running backs this year and especially over the last four games where they have the second most FPPG allowed. In fact, Ajayi dominated these same Bills for 214 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 7. Ajayi is sandwiched between Jeremy Hill and Bilal Powell, and while he's slowed of late, this price is too tempting. Over the last five games, Ajayi faced the 11th, 32nd, 5th, 4th and 17th defense against the run. Sure, he should have done more against the 49ers, but he did have 12.1 points, and the Dolphins should lean on the run in frigid Buffalo.
Jonathan Stewart $6400 – This is the third week in a row I'm recommending Stewart in DFS, as it's hard to stay away with another great matchup. Stewart had 12.6 points against the Chargers, 14.5 against the Redskins and now faces the weak Falcons defense. As is always the case, Stewart carries the risk of losing touchdowns to Cam Newton or even Mike Tolbert, but it's that risk that makes Stewart an intriguing tournament play. Don't touch him in cash, but if Stewart can put up one of his patented two-touchdown games, you'll be well on your way to some nice winnings.
Amari Cooper $7200 – With Cooper, he's as boom or bust as they come, but the good news is that this matchup points to a boom. And no, it's not because he is "due." There is no such thing. It's because Cooper will see a good amount of Vontae Davis, and Davis has gone from Pro Bowl level corner last year to favorable matchup this year. Davis has one of the worst grades on PFF for corners, and the Colts struggle to stop the pass. In a high-scoring game, Cooper is primed to be one of the beneficiaries.
Julian Edelman $6700 – Edelman carries more value on DraftKings, but don't dismiss him on FanDuel… after all, it is just a half point per reception difference. The real appeal here is that Edelman should see plenty of Juston Burris, which is the best matchup for any Patriots receiver. On top of that, you attack the Jets via the pass, and there are few quarterbacks who can do a better job of that than Tom Brady can. Edelman also had 11 targets, eight catches and 83 yards the first time around and can easily top all of those numbers while adding a touchdown.
Cameron Brate $5600 – I wanted to pick a different tight end here, but I just can't. There is no reason to spend $6,700 or more on a tight end, especially when Jordan Reed and his injury issues are $7,000. The other three tight ends before Brate have some upside but just as much risk (if not more) and aren't worth the extra money. Then, if you dive deeper than Brate, you have a quagmire of shared opportunities (Chargers, possibly Texans, Saints, etc.) and high-risk options. Brate makes way too much sense whether you're playing cash games or tournaments.
Merry Christmas everyone!!
Photo Credit: Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire
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