Week Fifteen Fantasy Football Rankings FREEBIE: Frank Stampfl Fantasy Football Rankings
Week 16 is a different beast. Players are beat up. Players are getting shut down. NFL teams are being eliminated from playoff contention. Week 16 is a clean slate. It doesn’t matter that Odell Beckham or Le’Veon Bell were your first round pick. This is a one-week, winner-take-all. You have to ride the hot hand and attack the best matchups. And if you do that, you might just become the best around, like Ralph Macchio in Karate Kid. Here are the players I’m higher on than the rest of the industry as well as my Week 16 rankings.
Aaron Jones ran well in his first meeting with the Minnesota Vikings but they remain a tough run defense regardless. While the Vikings secondary has played better recently, they’ve been most susceptible in that area of their defense all season. I believe the Packers offense will somewhat struggle to run the ball in this spot and it will lead to more passing volume for Aaron Rodgers. We know Rodgers is still capable of upside games, as he’s eclipsed 28 fantasy points four different times this season. I’ve routinely ranked Rodgers lower than the consensus as the team’s philosophy has changed under Matt LaFleur but that won’t deter me this week. Rodgers is back inside the Top 10. While it seems like Gardner Minshew put up a pedestrian line in Week 15, he did finish as a Top-12 quarterback for fantasy football purposes. Minshew completed 17-29 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns, adding 27 rushing yards. I believe he’ll have to keep passing as well considering they haven’t been able to run the ball effectively. Leonard Fournette has more than 50 rushing yards just once in his last six games. Heading into Week 16 Minshew and the Jags take on the Falcons, a defense that has played better recently but is still allowing the third most fantasy points to the quarterback position. Considering the Jaguars are 7-point underdogs and we could see some points traded back and forth within the dome, Minshew is a viable stream.
Earlier I mentioned players getting shut down this time of year and Josh Jacobs is the latest example. He’s been playing through a separated shoulder and, as the Raiders have been eliminated from playoff contention, Jacobs was eliminated from our fantasy rosters. Re-enter DeAndre Washington. D-Wash started for Jacobs in Week 14, playing 63-percent of the snaps, turning 20 touches into 96 total yards and a touchdown. His seven targets and six receptions in that game were the most by any Raiders running back all season. In Week 16 Washington faces the Chargers who rank 23rd in run defense DVOA. I’d expect him to get 15-20 touches in a plus matchup, which makes him a solid RB2. The Patriots have an uber important divisional matchup with the Buffalo Bills this week and somehow they’re 6.5-point favorites. I think that means they’re going to have to score offensive points. Not only does Julian Edelman clearly look less than 100-percent this week in practice but he had just four receptions for 30 yards in his earlier meeting with the Bills season. This leads me to believe we’re in for one of those massive James White games and it makes sense. Edelman is hurt, the outside wide receivers for the Patriots can’t gain separation and have terrible matchups and they haven’t been able to run the ball effectively. It’s the perfect recipe for White who had 10 targets and eight receptions earlier this season against the Bills. He’s back in the RB2 discussion in PPR leagues this week.
Basically, there are a ton of wide receivers I like this week that I believe have big upside so instead of giving you just two like I normally do. I’m going to hit you with five! Consider it my holiday gift to you. DK Metcalf’s targets have been somewhat tame recently but his production has been solid. He has a great opportunity for another blow-up game in Week 16, going up against the Arizona Cardinals who have allowed the third most reception to wide receivers this year. This game has a 51.5 total so I expect points back and forth in this one. Speaking of points in that game, Christian Kirk is playing on the other side for the Arizona Cardinals. Since Kirk returned from injury back in Week 8, he leads the Cardinals with 25-percent of their target share and 35-percent of their air yards. I’m not scared of the Seahawks secondary and think Kirk can take advantage.
Let’s move over to Tyler Boyd. Since Andy Dalton took back over in Week 13, Boyd has seen 21-percent of the Bengals target share and 23-percent of their air yards. Dalton and Boyd face the Dolphins in Week 16, a defense that managed to make Eli Manning look competent. Over the past four weeks, the Dolphins are allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers. If you’re not playing Will Fuller this week, why do you play fantasy football? This is a match made in heaven. Not only do the Bucs allow the most fantasy points to wide receivers, they’ve allowed the second most receptions of 40+ yards this season (14). That’s exactly who Fuller is. He returned from injury last week and immediately was second on the team with seven targets behind DeAndre Hopkins. Finally, there’s Anthony Miller who’s been a popular sleeper in fantasy since he was drafted last season. He’s finally putting it all together. Since Week 11, Miller is the WR8 overall in PPR leagues, due to a robust target share. He faces a strong Chiefs secondary in Week 16 but if they’ve struggled anywhere, it’s to slot receivers. Once again, consider Miller a low-end WR2 during championship week!