Your Touches and Targets Outlooks for Week 16
You’re probably feeling like Rocky Balboa entering the final round of his fight with Ivan Drago (for the record, Rocky IV IS a Christmas movie and should be treated as such. Think of it as a more violent version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”).
Yeah, you’ve taken some hits along the way, some of which must have had you feeling more like Apollo Creed’s last 8-10 minutes of existence. Still, your team has kept at it and now must finish the job in order to win whatever it is your league rewards you with. Should you emerge victorious, you have every right to tell the Fantasy world that “if I can change…. you can change…”
In the words of Drago, “To the end.” Here we go.
Evan of Many Targets
Odell Beckham Jr. has been unavailable, opening a vacuum of targets in the Giants passing game. Enter tight end Evan Engram, who managed a career-best 12 targets in last week’s loss to the Titans and has emerged as a go-to option for Eli Manning. Engram has at least 66 receiving yards in his last three games and faces a Colts defense that leads the league in receiving yards allowed per game to opposing TEs (72.6). Saquon Barkley will get his share of touches, but Engram’s recent run makes him a good mid-tier TE1 whose value rises sharply in PPR formats.
Barring the unforeseen, DeAndre Hopkins will play against the Eagles on Sunday, but his ankle injury (and the fact the Eagles will have everyone in the tri-state area covering him) could open the door for Demaryius Thomas to do what the Texans and his Fantasy owners have been waiting on: a damn good performance. Thomas has at least five targets in his last four games but has yet to exceed 61 receiving yards since being traded from the Broncos. Philly is 31st in Fantasy Points Per Game allowed to opposing wideouts and with the added caveat of running back Lamar Miller being limited, the stage is set to play Thomas as a WR3/Flex who could do some major damage to the Eagles while doing wonderful things for your Fantasy team.
What’s an RB1 Like You Doing Slumming with Us RB2s?
Leonard Fournette is Rocky V-level disappointing this season. How bad? Try this: five quarterbacks (Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Cam Newton, Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky) have outrushed Fournette this season. He currently is 49th in rushing yards and a huge reason why many owners who picked him is watching Championship Week from the sidelines. If you’re still alive in spite of his numbers, Fournette can make it worthwhile in a matchup against the Dolphins, who rank 31st in run defense and allow 4.8 yards per carry. There will be a time and place to project him in 2019, but for now, consider him an RB2 with upside.
I Hate to Do This, But…
Josh Gordon is looking at indefinite ban that will likely end his professional football career. I wish him the best and hope he can overcome his issues and live a productive life. His Fantasy Football value is meaningless but since this is what we do here, we’re not doing our job in avoiding it. That said, Cordarrelle Patterson will see an increase in usage while Chris Hogan and Philip Dorsett creep up into WR4/Flex territory in deeper leagues. I’d avoid Patriots receivers this week as they face a Bills defense that leads the league in fewest passing yards allowed and is sixth in fewest Fantasy Points Per Game allowed to opposing receivers. If anything, the number of snaps from the New England receivers will give you an idea as to who to run with should you happen to play postseason Fantasy football.
Of course, Elijah McGuire struggled against the Texans run defense, averaging just 2.7 yards per carry, but he did score a touchdown and recorded 21 touches. He’ll be in line to hit the 20-touch barrier in Week 16 as the Jets take on a Packers team that is 21st against the run. McGuire has solid RB2 value here and with a combined 42 touches in the last two games, there’s every reason to believe he’ll deliver better results.
Yes, No, Maybe (Subtitled: Does Santa Accept Beer These Days?)
Yes: Marlon Mack, RB, Colts: After shredding the Cowboys for 139 yards and two scores, Mack’s romp through the NFC East makes a stop against a Giants run D that is 28th overall and might still be traumatized after Tennessee’s Derrick Henry mauled them for 170 yards and two touchdowns last week.
No: D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers: Why, yes, there is a difference between Cam Newton and Taylor Heinicke, which makes everyone not named Christian McCaffrey take a huge Fantasy tumble. Moore might have the deepest stumble despite the Panthers taking on a Falcons defense that has given up 28 touchdown passes.
Maybe: Kallen Ballage, RB, Dolphins: Take away his 75-yard touchdown run and Ballage finishes with 11 carries for 48 yards in last week’s loss to the Vikings. The 6’2, 237-pounder is an intriguing option against the Jaguars’ 19th-ranked run defense, but it would take some stones to roll the dice on the rookie come Money Time.
Come On, Come On, Come On, Come On and Touch (and Target) Me, Baby
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles: Seventeen targets in the last two games and he is coming off his best outing of the season. Jeffery should thrive with Nick Foles under center as Philly welcomes a Texans pass defense that is 27th in receiving yards allowed while giving up 24 touchdown passes.
Jared Cook, TE, Raiders: He’s been targeted at least five times in six straight games and should be in line for his fifth 100-yard game of the season against a Broncos team that has allowed over 1,000 yards in receptions to opposing TEs.
DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Broncos: Targeted 21 times in the last two games, Hamilton has become Case Keenum’s chilly chum. The duo should continue their newfound QB/WR bromance against the Raiders, who have given up a league-high 32 touchdown passes despite ranking ninth overall in fewest receiving yards allowed.
Damien Williams, RB, Chiefs: The Ravens are second in fewest Fantasy Points Per Game allowed to opposing running backs, but Williams has shown a nose for the goal line with four scores in the last two weeks. Spencer Ware is likely out, giving way to Williams, who has caught 10 of his 11 targets for 90 yards in the last two.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Packers: Remember him? With Aaron Jones (IR) done for the season, Williams returns to the lineup and gets a plum matchup against the Jets, who are 23rd in run defense. A strong afternoon is in the offing for Williams, who looks to use the final two games of the regular season to springboard himself in position to retain his starting role in 2019.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns: After double-digit targets in seven of his first eight games, Landry has just three games of better than six targets over the past six contests. Still in playoff contention, Cleveland faces a lifeless Cincinnati team that is 28th in receiving yards allowed while conceding 28 touchdown passes. He and Baker Mayfield will be reunited, and it will feel so good for Landry’s Fantasy owners.
Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons: He’s the only running back to rush for over 100 yards against the Panthers this season. Count on him getting 18-22 touches but scoring on the ground could be a challenge considering Carolina has gone six straight games without allowing the opposing infantry to march into the end zone.
Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens: With three 100-yard outings in the five games since he became B-More’s lead back, Edwards has become an RB2 staple. He’ll need to find the goal line against the Chargers’ ninth-ranked run D to enhance his chances of being a Championship Week hero.
Gimme A Sleeper!
Bills receiver Robert Foster has at least 94 yards in four of his last five games and has established himself as Josh Allen’s go-to option. In what could be a high-scoring affair against the Patriots, Foster will benefit from Allen throwing more frequently than in recent weeks, making him a stealth choice at WR3/Flex.