Well, that was interesting. I hope you survived the semi-finals and are on to you Championship matchup in Week 16.
Injuries are part of fantasy football. They are annoying to deal with during the regular season and they can be catastrophic in your fantasy playoffs. In week 15, the amount of key positional players injured was ridiculous. The fact that there are so many key players injured may have had a role in the low scoring results. There were 66 total touchdowns in week 15, nine fewer than any week this season, included bye weeks.
If you are still playing, your team depth is likely stretched to the max. Good luck in the quest to bring home the ship!
32 Fantasy Thoughts
1. Mike Williams was the Loa Angeles Chargers first-round selection in the 2017 entry draft out of Clemson. He battled injuries throughout his rookie season and at times in 2018 has been rather invisible. When the Chargers lost Keenan Allen early in week 15, Phillip Rivers and the Chargers turned to Williams to pick up the slack. Williams finished with 7 catches on 9 targets for 76 yards and 2 TDs. He also added a 19-yard rushing TD and the game winning 2-point conversion. His 36.5 fantasy points were a season high. If Allen misses week 16, Mike Williams will be a WR3 with TD upside that you can look to start Championship week. I would be much more comfortable starting him if it were not for the tough matchup vs the Baltimore Ravens.
2. Week 15 was a strange one for the KansasCity Chiefs, they came out guns a blazing in this one and at times looked like they would run away and hide. Patrick Mahomes was decent and the typical studs in the KC offense were average at best. The lone bright spot for the Chiefs was Damien Williams who turned his 16 touches into 123 total yards and 2 TD (30.3 PPR points). If Spencer Ware misses week 16, Damien Williams becomes a must-start RB against the Seattle Seahawks. If Ware does suit up, Williams becomes a viable flex option with upside!
3. The Houston Texans overcame an injury to Lamar Miller and leaned on their passing game to defeat the New York Jets. DeAndre Hopkins caught 10 of his 11 targets for 170 yards and 2 TDs. It was reported that Nuk injured his ankle on the first play of the game and played the remainder of the day one leg. Performances like this one is the reason that Hopkins was my top-ranked player coming into 2018. Hopkins remains a no-brainer start each and every week regardless of his opponent.
4. The New York Jets put up much more of a fight in this contest than I had expected. Robby Anderson showed some of his 2017 magic that we have been waiting for. Anderson looks healthy for the first time in a long time. Robby led the Jets in targets (11), receptions (7), yards (96). He also caught one of the two TD passes thrown by Sam Darnold. Anderson gets the Packers in week 16. I would be comfortable with him in my flex spot against that very beatable secondary.
5. Nick Chubb had a frustrating evening on Saturday night. He was bottled up for the majority of the game by the Denver Broncos defense. Chubb finished with 100 yards on 20 carries, but it took a 40-yard run late in the 4th quarter for him to get there. Chubb is all systems go next week when the Cleveland Browns return home to host the putrid Cincinnati Bengals in week 16.
6. I am a Phillip Lindsay owner and I will be honest, I am starting to become concerned with his lack of production. In the Broncos, last two games Lindsay has combined for 54 rushing yards on 28 carries. It is possible that the 5’8” 190 lb. undrafted RB is breaking down. Week 16 he faces the Oakland Raiders. I am still starting him if I need him in that favorable matchup. If he disappoints in this one, I go from concerned to full born freak out.
7. The Miami Dolphins drafted Kalen Ballage in the 4th round of the 2018 NFL Entry Draft. Ballage has been a spare part for most of his rookie season. Kalen got his shot this past week when Frank Gore left with an injury. Ballage received 12 carries and he turned them into 123 yards and a TD. Ballage’s day was highlighted by his 75-yard TD run to open the second half. With Frank Gore out for the remainder of the season, Ballage has some fantasy relevance due to the Dolphins refusal to feature their best player Kenyon Drake.
8. The Minnesota Vikings made a change at Offensive Coordinator after they were embarrassed in Week 14 by Seattle. The Vikings wanted to run the ball more and run the ball they did vs Miami. Dalvin Cook was 19/136/2 and Latavius Murray was 15/68/1. Miami is a great team in which to fix your run game against. Week 16 the Vikings get the Lions and their vastly improved run defense. Feel comfortable starting Cook, but Murray needs to remain on your bench.
9. The Arizona Cardinals started Josh Rosen and replaced him with Mike Glennon. The two quarterbacks combined for; 2 interceptions, a fumble and were sacked 7 times. There is nothing to be excited about in this Cardinals offense. If you are looking for a Cardinal to start in week 16 the only viable option is David Johnson and I am not even sure about him at this point.
10. Tevin Coleman ironically against Arizona was a Phoenix that seemed to rise from the ashes. Coleman has been irrelevant for the Atlanta Falcons the past few weeks. In week 15 he exploded for 145 yards on 11 carries and added a TD. His 20.5 fantasy points were his highest since week 9 and his second-highest scoring week of the season.
11. Mike Evans caught 4 of 9 targets for 121 yards and was the lone bright spot for Tampa Bay in Week 15. Evans’ 16.1 points were his highest since week 12. Evans has battled with inconstant QB play this year from both Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Evans is a risky start in week 16 against a solid Dallas defense.
12. The Baltimore Ravens pounded the rock in their victory over Tampa Bay in Week 15. Gus “The Bus” was 19/104, Lamar Jackson 19/95 and Kenneth Dixon added 11/48. In Week 16 the Ravens have a much tougher matchup vs the Los Angles Chargers. I would expect the Chargers pass rush to force Jackson to run and I do believe that the RB’s productivity will be limited. Add to the complexity that the backfield will remain shared. If you need a flex in week 16 I would lean towards Edwards over Dixon.
13. Kenny Golladay bounced back in a big way in Week 15. KG had been near invisible the past few weeks in the Detroit Lions offense. Golladay scored a combined 10.5 fantasy points in weeks 13& 14, before posting 21.6 in week 15. KG has a tough matchup against the Minnesota Vikings in week 16. I wouldn’t want to rely on Golladay in week 16 but I understand if you have made this far with him if you start him.
14. Robert Foster has become a legit and relevant fantasy WR for the Buffalo Bills. Since week 12, Foster is WR13 averaging 14.83 points per game. In week 15, Foster posted 4/108/1 on 5 targets (20.8 PPR points). The Bills don’t have the personnel on offense for long sustained drives and as a result, they are taking shots and Foster is the benefactor. Week 16 on the road in New England isn’t the best matchup but it’s not the worst either. I would keep rolling with Foster and hope he brings you another couple of deep catches and a score.
15. Devante Adams sits on top of the WR scoring season to date in 2018. I was high on Adams coming into the season but I certainly did not expect him to be on the top of the WR mountain this deep into the season. The Packers have been forced to deal with injuries to their WR’s all season and Adams has been the consistent target of choice of Aaron Rodgers. Adams was targeted 13 times vs the Bears catching 8 of them for 119 yards. His 21.9 points are his third straight performance over 20 points and he is now at 305.5 points season to date in PPR scoring. Adams is a must-start WR1 in week 16 vs the New York Jets.
16. In his second start off of a shoulder injury, Mitchel Trubisky looked much more comfortable than the previous week vs the Rams. In this contest against the Green Bay Packers, Trubisky was a solid 20/28 235 yards and 2 TD passes. Trubisky will be a top 12 QB during Championship week and I would be very comfortable starting him vs. the San Francisco 49ers.
17. Jared Cook entered week 15 with a juicy matchup against Cincinnati. A week after his 7 catch 116-yard performance, Cook was a complete bust catching 2 of 5 targets for 23 yards. If by some chance you started Cook last week and survived, congratulations. You likely don’t have a better option than Cook in Championship week, so you will be starting him. I wish I could tell you want to expect but with this Raiders offense, I have no clue.
18. Joe Mixon’s 27 fantasy points in Week 15 were a season high and his second straight week with 24+ PPR points. Mixon has averaged 30 touches the past two weeks and with injuries to AJ Green and now Tyler Boyd the workload is destined to continue. Mixon has moved into the top 10 on the season and is a RB that you can trust in Week 16. He is a must-start.
19. The Dallas Cowboys were shut out for the first time since November 26, 2003, in their 23-0 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Dak Prescott put up 7.24 points (a season low) and sits at QB15 overall through 15 weeks. The Cowboys and Prescott face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 16. The once putrid Bucs defense is vastly improved over the last quarter of the season and if you have better options I would leave Dak on your bench in week 16.
20. Andrew Luck had a tough fantasy day. I mean Luck and Prescott combined for 16.92 points. The main difference between the two was the Colts game script led to Luck’s disappointing result. The Colts were as heavy a passing team as there was in the NFL over the first 8-10 weeks of the season. In week 15, Luck only attempted 27 passes, his second lowest number of attempts all season. The 27 attempts were the 7th fewest in his 84 game career. In week 16, Indianapolis faces the New York Giants and their weak run defense. It is very likely that the Colts use the same game script in this one. If you have an option to leave Andrew Luck on your bench in the Championship final, I would suggest that you do.
21. Josh Johnson led the Redskins to a victory over the horrific Jacksonville Jaguars in week 15. Johnson had a pedestrian like line of 16/25 151 yards and 1 TD pass. The Redskins leaned on the run game and limited the need for Johnson to air it out. The close game played into Washington’s favor as well. Johnson is the Redskins 4th starting quarterback this season after injuries to Alex Smith and Colt McCoy as well as the embarrassing play of Mark Sanchez. Johnson’s performance for the Skins was pretty impressive when you consider the fact that prior to week 14, his last NFL pass attempt was in 2011.
22. Leonard Fournette was held to 64 total yards on 14 touches in week 15. It was yet another disappointing week for the second year RB. Fournette has appeared in 7 games this season and has recorded less than 10 points in 4 of them. The Jaguars are a mess on offense but they have a great matchup as far as the running game goes in week 16. If you need Fournette this week, I believe that you can get away with him in a flex position vs. a very average Miami Dolphins defense.
23. One has to wonder how many Derrick Henry owners there are that have been eliminated that are wondering where was this guy all season! Henry recorded his second straight game with over 30 fantasy points. In the last two weeks combined Henry has scored 78.04 points. Entering week 14, Henry was RB39 averaging 7.96 points/game. His last two games have accounted for 45% of the 173.56 points he has this season to date and he has catapulted up the RB scoring ranks to RB18. If by some chance you have been riding Henry to your Championship Final, don’t stop now. Tennessee is home to Washington in week 16 in a game that should feature a lot of ground game from both teams. I am not sure Henry has another 30+-point performance in him, but he should see a lot of work.
24. Saquon Barkley has been everything he was advertised to be and likely, even more, this season. He is having one of the greatest fantasy seasons by a rookie in the history of the game. What happened in week 15 is both puzzling and extremely frustrating for Barkley owners. Saquon is averaging 24.5 PPR points through 15 games this season. The 9.6-point result in week 15 was by far the lowest of his season and the only game this year that he has failed to score at least 14 fantasy points. The Giants face the Colts in week 16 and we all just saw what Indy did to Dallas and Ezekiel Elliot last week. If you own Barkley you start him plain and simple, but you may want to limit your expectations, especially if Odell Beckham Jr. sits this one out as expected.
25. Doug Baldwin for the first time in what has been an injury-filled season reached the 20-point fantasy plateau in week 15. Baldwin caught 4 of 6 targets for 77 yards and 2 TD’s (23.7 PPR points). The Seahawks are a run first and often team and the targets you want for Doug Baldwin likely won’t be there most weeks. Week 16 may be the exception. Seattle hosts Kansas City and will in all likelihood be chasing points. The Seahawks will run as long as they can in this one attempting to keep the Chiefs offense off the field but when they fall behind, they will be forced to throw. I would imagine when that happens that the Seahawks target their best WR option. Baldwin is a decent flex play in week 16.
26. Nick Mullens burst onto the scene back in week 9 on Thursday night vs. the Oakland Raiders. Since that historic outing, Mullins has been rather ordinary with only one game over 20-fantasy points. Mullins was effective against the Seahawks in week 15 going 20/29/275 and a TD. The week 16 matchup against the Bears and their top-ranked defense is not a good one. In a 2 QB or Super-Flex, you may be tempted to roll with him. If there is any way to get away from him I would suggest you do.
27. Josh Gordon was targeted 2 times in week 15 and he turned those two targets into 2.9 fantasy points. Week 15 snapped a streak of 5 consecutive games with at least 12 fantasy points. News broke Thursday that Gordon is facing another indefinite suspension from the NFL and that he is stepping away to focus on his mental health. I certainly wish the best for Flash. He has been battling his demons for many years and regardless of football or fantasy, I hope the man gets the help he needs to live a healthy life.
28. Jaylen Samuels ran for a career-high 142 yards in his second professional start in week 15. Samuels starting in place of injured James Conner ran 19 times and added two receptions for an additional 30 yards. The only thing that limited Samuels from having a monster game was touchdowns. It looks like James Conner will miss week 16 and as a result, Samuels is a RB I would look to start. The matchup vs. New Orleans isn’t the greatest on paper but I have a hunch that Samuels will see a lot of work especially in the Steelers passing attack.
29. Alshon Jeffery’s 24 fantasy points were the 3rd highest recorded by a WR in week 15 and were his best point total since week 6 (27.4). Jeffery appeared to be comfortable with Nick Foles and Foles appeared to favor Jeffery as he targeted his WR a team-high 8 times. Jeffery faces the Houston Texans in week 16, and if you are in a bind at WR I would take a shot with him.
30. Todd Gurley posted the highest RB score in week 15 (34.4 points), and 3rd highest among all positions. This was Gurley’s 7th game over 30 points this season. He sits at RB1 with 372.1 and is 2nd overall behind Patrick Mahomes and his 382.52 points. Gurley would be a must-start no-brainer in week 16 as he is every week if it were not for a questionable knee. He is planning on playing this week but I would expect him to limited once the Rams pull away from the Arizona Cardinals. Regardless if he is active you are starting him, plain and simple.
31. Drew Brees sits at QB6 on the season with an average of 20.93 points/game. What is of some concern is his last 3 weeks. He has failed to exceed 15 points and has failed to reach 10 twice. The good news for Brees owners is that the Saints return home this week to face the Steelers. Brees is a top 12 QB in week 16, but I wouldn’t be super comfortable to start him.
32. Christian McCaffrey since week 8 is the highest scoring RB in fantasy. In that timeframe, he has recorded 240 points in PPR scoring and has outscored the 2nd highest scoring RB by 53 points (Ezekiel Elliot). The Panthers have shut down Cam Newton for the remainder of the season and McCaffrey, as a result, will be the focal point of the Panthers offense vs Atlanta in week 16. Regardless of the situation or the matchup, you are starting CMC with absolute confidence.
Good luck in your League Championship this week, and I look forward to hearing and reading about your victories on our Facebook Fantasy Football Community page.