|Elite Starting Option
|Elite Starting Option
|Elite Starting Option
|Strong Starting Option
|High End QB 2
|Great for SF/Sleeper QB1
|Strong Starting Option
|Great Starting Option
|Low End TE 1
|Good Starting Option
|Mid/Low QB 2
|Decent/Sleeper for SuperFlex
|Good WR3/Strong Flex Option
|High End RB 3
|Good Starting Option/ Flex Play
|High End TE 2
|Decent Starting Option
|Risky Superflex Play/Sit
|Shakey Flex Option/Decent in WR3 Flex
|Mid/Low RB 3
|Flex Play/ 1B Option
|Low end TE 2
|Players inbetween options
|Desperate Flex Play/Deep Sleeper
|Back ups with upside/favorable matchup
|Touchdwon Dependent/Deep Sleeper
Cincinnati Bengals vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Details of the Script
- Saturday – 4:30 p.m. @ Acrisure Stadium
- Weather – Cloudy
- What Vegas is saying – Line (CIN-3.0) & Over/Under 37.5
Identifying the Game Script
We are seeing the second of two games between the Bengals and Steelers play this year. Last time, the Steelers would win a close one, 16-10, over the Bengals. The Bengals are coming off a solid win over a strong Vikings team. The Steelers would get blown out by the Colts as the quarterback situation worsens. The Bengals need to continue to rely on what Jake Browning is doing for the offense. The run game should be highlighted for the Bengals in a favorable matchup. The Steelers would be wise to find a way to get their passing game going with Mason Rudolph since the Bengals secondary has holes. I’d expect this game to be higher-scoring than the last time they played.
Jake Browning continues to impress in fantasy with three straight games over 20 fantasy points. Browning does it with high yardage and has seven touchdowns in the timeframe. The Steelers are a strong team against fantasy quarterbacks, ranking in the top ten. While they have been tough, they have looked lost the last two weeks. In the last two games, they have allowed six passing touchdowns to the likes of Bailey Zappe and Gardner Minshew. Last time, Browning was still getting his footing on the offense but managed 227 yards and a touchdown. Browning won’t have his star receiver, JaMarr Chase, on the field this week. We saw that Browning could succeed without Chase as Tee Higgins stepped up. Browning should be fine despite going on the road this week. He should be a solid mid-range QB2.
Mason Rudolph is getting the start in Week 16. The coaching staff has moved away from Mitch Trubisky to Rudolph while waiting for Kenny Pickett to return. Rudolph hasn’t started a game since the 2021 season. He would finish with 242 passing yards, a touchdown, and two turnovers. Rudolph had a chance to be the guy in Pittsburgh but never seemed to be all that great. The Bengals are a good matchup for Rudolph to get the start for. They rank in the bottom ten per game against quarterbacks. They are a team that allowed high yardage, with over 240 yards in nine straight games. Rudolph does have solid weapons around him so that he could put up fantasy-relevant numbers. Pickett was able to throw for almost 300 yards. Rudolph is probably still a QB3 but a sleeper potential in Superflex leagues.
For the Bengals backfield, look for them to continue to use Joe Mixon and Chase Brown. Mixon has been great in fantasy, as he has six touchdowns over the last six games. He isn’t running all that well, but touchdowns and work in the receiving game have helped him. The Steelers are a bottom ten unit per game against fantasy running backs this year. They have allowed four running backs over 60 yards in the last three weeks. Mixon’s one lousy game during this stretch was the Steelers, where he finished with seven points. I expect the Bengals to continue doing what they have been with Mixon, especially in the receiving game. Mixon is a borderline RB1. Chase Brown has worked his way into a role in this Bengals offense. He is averaging ten touches per game. Brown only had one big game but has been fine in the other two. He should get his ten touches in this game and have the potential to make a big play. Brown is a high-end RB4.
For the Steelers backfield, Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren have been worthless the last three weeks. Despite some decent matchups, they have failed to get over ten fantasy points in the previous three games. The Bengals have allowed two running backs over 90 yards in the last five weeks. They also have given up five rushing touchdowns in that span. Last time, Harris put up a decent fantasy day with 15 points. Warren also had an opportunity but ran poorly and turned the ball over. The matchup is decent, but it’s difficult to trust them in the playoffs. Harris should be used more often due to the Steelers quarterback situation. Harris is a high-end RB3 and finished with a better YPC than he did the last time they faced the Bengals. Warren continues to be a disappointment since the firing of Matt Canada. Warren has some upside, but trusting him fully in lineups is tough. Warren is a low-end RB3 in Week 16.
The Bengals receivers will have a tougher matchup against the Steelers secondary. They have allowed just one receiving touchdown to a receiver in the last five games. They have only allowed three receivers over 60 yards. Last time, Ja’Marr Chase would be the only one to finish over 30 yards, as he had 81. Chase is already out for this game, so the WR1 role will fall to Tee Higgins. Higgins finished with 20 points in last week’s game. We’ve seen Tee Higgins thrive in games that Chase has missed. While it’s a different quarterback, Higgins should see eight-plus targets. Browning should lean on Higgins in this game to win it. He is a mid-range WR2 in Week 16.
Tyler Boyd will likely see an increase in targets, but I’m unsure if it will help in fantasy as much. Boyd had two of three poor games when Higgins was out this season. He should be in that WR5 range. I don’t think anyone steps up to fill Chase’s shoe to be fantasy-relevant. For the tight ends, the Steelers have not been great against the position. They have allowed five receiving touchdowns to a tight end in the last five weeks. The yardage has been low, but touchdowns are high. Tanner Hudson has been consistent with six fantasy points per game. Hudson should be an option for fantasy owners. He is a mid-range TE2 in Week 16.
The Bengals have allowed decent production to the wide receiver position. They have allowed five receivers over 60 yards in the last five weeks. Last time, both Diontae Johnson and George Pickens had 50 receiving yards each. Rudolph has played with Johnson in the past, but Pickens fits the style that Rudolph had with James Washington back in the day. Johnson has seen a touchdown in three straight games, but I’m unsure if Rudolph can replicate the same production with Johnson. Johnson is a low-end WR3. Pickens has one game over ten fantasy points in the last eight weeks. He is a high-end WR5. His upside is not there in fantasy.
For the tight ends, the Bengals allow the second most fantasy points per game to the position. They have allowed 60 yards to a tight end in three of the last four games. Last time, Pat Freiermuth exploded for over 100 yards and a touchdown. The offense is hard to trust in general, so Freiermuth may not be able to do that again. He has struggled with Mitch Trubisky and could also with Rudolph. He is a high-end TE2 that has an upside but is risky.
Buffalo Bills vs Los Angeles Chargers
Details of the Script
- Saturday – 8:30 p.m. @ SoFi Stadium
- Weather – Indoors 🙂
- What Vegas is saying – Line (BUF -12.5) & Over/Under 43.5
Identifying the Game Script
The Bills and the Chargers haven’t played each other since the 2020 season. The Bills would win 27-17 over the Chargers at home. The Bills are coming off a statement win over the Cowboys as they are heating up. The Chargers would get embarrassed on TNF last week as they lost by over 45 points. The Bills will likely continue to run the ball, but they have a fantastic matchup in the passing game. The Chargers can’t stop anyone in the secondary this season. The Chargers hope to find a spark in the offense in the post-Brandon Staley firing. The Bills defense has rebounded, so it won’t be easy for this offense. It could be a very one-sided game on Sunday.
Josh Allen had a not-so Josh Allen game in Week 15. He finished the game with 118 all-purpose yards and zero turnovers. The Bills are moving towards this heavy run offense, which is working but is having a significant effect on Josh Allen’s production. Allen still managed to finish with 18 fantasy points, but we all want the upside he has been offering all season. The Chargers allow the fifth most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Opposing offenses haven’t needed to do much in the passing game to get ahead, but the Chargers have given up some big performances. I’d expect the Bills will try to make the passing game happy, and you’ll see big passing numbers from Allen. He is a QB1 in Week 16.
Easton Stick managed to finish with a good fantasy outing in Week 15. Unfortunately, most of his production came after the Chargers were down 21 points early. The jury is still out on Stick if he can be trusted in a fantasy game. The Bills are back as a top-ten defense against fantasy quarterbacks. They have allowed just one quarterback to pass over 200 yards in the last five games. They have just held Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott to only one passing touchdown in the last two weeks. Stick should not be in lineups even for garbage time work. He is a QB3 in Week 16.
James Cook is surging in the second half of the season for the Bills backfield. He has been over ten fantasy points in the last five weeks, but since the firing of Ken Dorsey, Cooks has been over 20 fantasy points in the previous two games against two tough teams. The Chargers haven’t allowed any big games over the last five weeks to fantasy running backs but have given up 60 yards to three backs. They have allowed three touchdowns in the previous two games. Cook should be in an RB1 in Week 16. I don’t see the team moving away from running the ball a ton as they learn they don’t need to throw it as much. Cook should be in line for 15-plus touches in this game.
The Chargers backfield has turned into a hot mess in fantasy. Austin Ekeler, we’ve known to be so good, but he has been terrible. He has one game over eight fantasy points in the last five weeks. He is averaging 59 all-purpose yards in that span. Last week, Ekeler was mixing in with Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller before the blowout started. The Bills have been decent against fantasy running backs. They have allowed two over 60 rushing yards in the last five weeks but just one rushing touchdown in that span. Ekeler is tough to trust since Kellen Moore is still calling the offense, so I don’t expect the offense to change. They want to see what they have on their team regarding running backs. Ekeler has significantly more production at home than on the road, but this offense looks even more shaky. Ekeler is a borderline RB2 in Week 16. Despite Spiller seeing 16 carries, he would not be someone I’d consider trusting in a semi-final matchup.
The Chargers are a fantastic matchup for the Bills receivers as they allow the third most fantasy points per game. It’s not that they give up big yardage since they have allowed only two receivers over 65 yards in the last five games. They have allowed seven receiving touchdowns in that span. They have been getting beat all season against great passing units. The Bills have taken a run-first approach to their offense, which has left the receivers not to be desired. Stefon Diggs has one game over ten fantasy points in the last five weeks. He has even seen low targets in two of those five games. I won’t consider Diggs as a locked WR1 in Week 16. The semi-finals are too important to think that way. Diggs is still a mid-range WR2 since his matchup is favorable. He needs to see the targets and get back on the same page as Allen. If you have a receiver, you like better than even sitting him for the right player, it makes sense.
Gabe Davis is a WR5 in this matchup. You almost have to be desperate to trust him in lineups this week. He has zero points in three of his last four games. Davis will disappear if the offense isn’t throwing the ball a ton. He is likely a sit because how can you trust him into a playoff game right now? Khalil Shakir has disappeared from fantasy radars. Los Angeles is a favorable matchup for the Bills tight ends. They haven’t allowed big yardage in the last five weeks, but opposing tight ends average around 35 yards. They have given up a touchdown in back-to-back games. Dalton Kincaid has been affected by the return of Dawson Knox. If he is only going to see less than five targets now, then he isn’t a TE1. He is more of a TE2, but I don’t feel strongly about him in this matchup.
The Chargers receivers will be without Keenan Allen once again. The Bills are a tough matchup since they rank in the top ten against receivers. They have allowed two receivers over 60 yards in the last five weeks. They have given up five touchdowns, but the yardage is low. They have faced some elite receivers and cooled them down. Joshua Palmer will take the reign as the top receiver, but it is risky. Outside of his wide-open 70-yard touchdown, he would have had three catchers for 40 yards. He is at best at WR4, as I don’t think he can match up well with the Bills secondary. I don’t trust Easton Stick to find him wide open again. Quenton Johnston is a WR5. He was able to catch a touchdown last week, but his production has not been trustworthy. He can still be a one-catch, big-play guy in this matchup.
For the tight ends, the Bills are also outstanding against the position. They have allowed three tight ends over 40 yards. They are up and down with covering tight ends this season. Gerald Everett has been able to see eight targets in back-to-back games. He comes with a floor play with Stick at quarterback as a safety blanket over the middle of the field. I’d have him as a low-end TE2 due to his role and targets in the offense.
Indianapolis Colts vs Atlanta Falcons
Details of the Script
- Sunday – 1:00 p.m. @ Mercedes-Benz Stadium
- Weather – Indoors 🙂
- What Vegas is saying – Line (ATL -2.5) & Over/Under 45.5
Identifying the Game Script
The last time the Colts and Falcons faced off was during the 2019 season. The Colts would win a close one, 27-24, over the Falcons at home. The Colts are coming off a solid win against the Steelers. The Falcons would lose a bad game to the Panthers 7-9. For the Colts offense, they have a tough matchup, so they will need to rely on Gardner Minshew for fantasy value. The Falcons should lean on their star running back this time to help with the offense. The Colts run defense is terrible, so the team should run a lot. This game likely won’t have many players you want to start in Week 16.
Gardner Minshew has been better in the last four games, with two games over 21 fantasy points. Minshew hasn’t been all that great for fantasy for most of the season. It seems like Minshew will have his weapons back in this game, so he can repeat last week’s performance. The Falcons have been pretty good against fantasy quarterbacks outside of allowing three rushing touchdowns. They have kept four of the last five quarterbacks under 250 passing yards. They have given up two passing touchdowns in five games. Minshew has played better, but we’ve seen him struggle at times. This is a match-up that could end up being bad for him. Minshew is a low end QB2.
Taylor Heinicke is getting another shot at the starting job in Week 16. Heinicke played about two full games over a three-week span. He finished with 17 fantasy points against the Vikings in his one start. Heinicke has been a gritty type of quarterback who isn’t afraid to make the tough throws whether or not they’re effective. The Colts have allowed just one quarterback in the last six weeks over 240 passing yards. They have allowed high-end QB2 performances to opposing quarterbacks in three of the last five games. I’m not sure what to think about this Falcons offense. It’s hard to trust that it can be good or at least decent in the passing game. They are home, and the offense has done better. Heinick is a mid-range QB2 in Week 16.
It looks like the Colts are getting Jonathan Taylor back. He has practiced in full the last few days. Taylor has been out with an injury, and Zack Moss was filling in for him. He returns to a tough matchup as the Falcons allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. The yardage has been there for opposing backs, with over 60 yards in four of the last five games. The Falcons are the only team in the NFL that has not allowed a rushing touchdown this season. Taylor does scare me in the semi-finals since it’s his first game back. While Zack Moss will likely miss this game, we’ve seen the Colts lean on one back in most games this season. Taylor would also see 15-plus carries and a few targets in this game. I stick Taylor as a high-end RB2. He has an upside that could help you win the week but comes with risk. Moss would be an RB4 at best if he were to play in this matchup.
For the Falcons backfield, it’s been a major headache with Bijan Robinson. He had -.1 fantasy points in last week’s game, which should have been amazing for him. While he led in snaps, Tyler Allgeier had more carries on the ground. This is another favorable matchup, as the Colts allow the fourth most fantasy points per game to running backs. They have allowed five running backs over 70 yards in the last five weeks. The touchdowns have been few in between, but this is a game in which Robinson could do well as a pass catcher. The switch may not be great for him since Heinicke is a better passer than Desmond Ridder. Unless you have other running backs with a role and good matchups, you have to start Robinson. He has an upside, but the coaching staff is terrible. Robinson saw 15-plus touches in the prior four games before week 15. Robinson is more of a high-end RB2. Tyler Allgeier is an RB4 player in this game. He has been under ten fantasy points in four straight games despite seeing work on the ground.
The Colts receivers have a difficult matchup against the Falcons. The Falcons allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to receivers. They have allowed two receivers over 55 yards in the last five weeks. They also haven’t given up any touchdowns in that span, either. Michael Pittman Jr. has a clear concussion protocol, so he will suit up on Sunday. Pittman has been fantastic this season despite minimal hype about him. He has seen double-digit targets weekly and has been WR7 since Minshew took over. I will lower expectations in a tough matchup, but he should be a high-end WR2 in Week 16. Josh Downs, Alex Pierce, and a Colts tight end are likely all outside the top of their position. It’s a good matchup for the tight ends, but they use a four to five-man rotation so that it could be anyone’s day.
For the Falcons receivers, the matchup against the Colts is just okay. They have allowed three receivers over 70 yards in the last five weeks. The production among opposing receivers has been average at best. We never saw a full game with Taylor Heinicke and Drake London simultaneously. Heinicke is an average passer but better than Desomd Ridder. Heinicke should likely feed London the ball as often as possible in a home game. London averages 88 yards in six home games compared to 33 on the road. London should be able to produce decent WR3 fantasy numbers in this matchup. He wouldn’t be a terrible flex option because of his upside.
The Colts have allowed decent production over the last five weeks for the tight ends. Two tight ends have produced over 40 receiving yards. The Colts don’t allow touchdowns, with just one since week seven. Kyle Pitts had his fourth-most fantasy points in a game under Heinicke. Pitts hasn’t had two games over 50 yards in the last three weeks. Pitts continues to be a scary option at tight end because he doesn’t feel like he has the floor play. It’s a semi-final match; Pitts doesn’t scream safe play or an upside play at tight end. He is a mid-range TE2 in Week 16. Jonnu Smith was able to put up 100 yards last time Heinicke started, but we are long gone from that production. I wouldn’t trust him.
Seattle Seahawks vs Tennessee Titans
Details of the Script
- Sunday – 1:00 p.m. @ Nissan Stadium
- Weather – Partly Cloudy
- What Vegas is saying – Line (SEA -3.5) & Over/Under 41.5
Identifying the Game Script
The last time we saw the Seahawks go up against the Titans was during the 2021 season. The Titans would win in overtime 33-30 on the road over Seattle. The Seahawks are coming off a last-minute win over the Eagles. The Titans tried to take down the Texans but failed to do so. Seattle will have Geno Smith back in the lineup this Sunday. The Titans secondary has been weak, so expect the Seattle receivers to finish with great games. For the Titans, they have a fantastic matchup against the Seattle defense. This should be a matchup that the Titans backfield can thrive on, but it’s hard to trust them. This game could be a sneaky great game.
Geno Smith is back on the field in Week 16. He has missed the last two weeks due to an injury. The last time he was on the field, he threw for 300 yards and three passing touchdowns. The Titans have been an average team against fantasy quarterbacks. We’ve seen some good performances with over 250 passing yards and two touchdowns but also kept a few quarterbacks under 240 yards and zero touchdowns. It will depend on how the offense wants to run. Smith has the weapons to produce, but the Seahawks could get too invested in the run game. Smith should be a high-end QB2 in Week 16.
It’s still up in the air if Will Levis will play on Sunday. He got a limited practice on Friday, but the team is still unsure. Seattle has allowed a top-15 quarterback finish in each of the last six games. If Levis plays, I would hesitate to start him due to the injury. The matchup is favorable for him to do decent, but this could all be about the run game this week. I probably have Levis as a QB3. If he misses, Ryan Tannehill will get the start, and I would like him better in this matchup. Tannehill is a seasoned vet and should be able to do well in a favorable matchup. I’d rank him as a low-end QB2.
We saw Ken Walker take the starting job back in the Seattle backfield. He had 24 touches to Zach Charbonnet’s five. Walker had only a limited practice on Friday, so his status is questionable for Sunday. The Titan’s run defense has struggled the last few weeks, with over 90 rushing yards in back-to-back games. If Ken Walker plays, you’d have to assume he will take the starting role in this game. Walker has proven to be an elite back when and healthy. He should end up as a mid-range RB2. Charbonnet needs more work, but if he sees less than ten touches, he may only be a high-end RB4. If Walker misses, then Charbonnet should be able to jump to low-end RB2 value. He would see the whole backfield to himself in a great matchup.
There are big question marks with Derrick Henry this week. Henry had 33 carries for 43 yards in the last two weeks and five catches for 18 yards. Henry was lucky that he was able to score two touchdowns in Week 14. He gets a great matchup since the Seahawks allow the fifth most fantasy points per game to running backs. They have allowed at least a 60-yard rusher in five straight games. In that same span, they have given up five rushing touchdowns. The potential change at quarterback could also help Henry see fewer stacked boxes. Henry should be able to get 65 yards and a touchdown in Week 16. He is a low-end RB1 against Seattle. Tyjae Spears had a nice two-game stretch, but he is tough to play when he isn’t getting eight receptions per game. The Seahawks do allow receiving work to running backs, but Spears is nothing more than an RB4.
The Titans are a good matchup for the Seattle receivers as they rank in the bottom ten against the position. They have allowed seven receivers over 60 yards in the last five weeks. DK Metcalf did not have the elite game we thought he would have last week. He should bounce back with Smith at quarterback. Metcalf has been a consistent option in fantasy with a high target share. I’d expect Metcalf to be able to put up 70-plus yards and score. He should be a low-end WR1 in Week 16.
Tyler Lockett continues to be very boom or bust in fantasy. He has one solid game over the last five weeks. He is still managing almost eight targets per game. In this favorable matchup, Lockett should be able to shine. Lockett is a mid-range WR3 with Smith back. Jaxon Smith-Njigba finished last week with his first double-digit game since week eight. JSN has been nice for the role he has, but the lack of touchdowns is not making his fantasy performance stand out. I have JSN as a high-end WR4 because his upside has shown in this offense. The Seahawks tight end position should not be considered in Week 16.
For the Titans receivers, they have a fantastic match-up against the Seahawks. Seattle allows the fifth most fantasy points per game against fantasy receivers. They have allowed five receivers over 70 receiving yards in the last five weeks. In that same time frame, they have given five receiving touchdowns. Outside of DeAndre Hopkins, the Titans receivers have not been startable. Hopkins had a poor game last week, but he should be able to bounce back in Week 16. He may have even more value if Ryan Tannehill starts this week. He should be a borderline WR2 in week 16. His target share makes him a solid fantasy option. For the tight ends, Seattle has allowed 70 yards to the position in two of the last three games. Chig Okonkwo has not been a great fantasy option this season. He is a borderline TE2 in Week 16.
Detriot Lions vs Minnesota Vikings
Details of the Script
- Sunday – 1:00 p.m. @ U.S. Bank Stadium
- Weather – Indoors 🙂
- What Vegas is saying – Line (DET -3.0) & Over/Under 47.5
Identifying the Game Script
This is the first of two games the Lions and Vikings will play this season. Last time, the Lions would win 34-23 at home during the 2022 season. These teams have put up some big-point finishes in the previous five games. They have averaged 54.6 points per game. The Lions are coming off a much-needed win over the Broncos. The Vikings would fall to the Bengals last Saturday. The Lions will face a tougher Vikings defense, but look for the Lions to lean on their stars to provide a fantasy impact. The Vikings have a great matchup against the Lions secondary. Look for the passing game to thrive in fantasy this week. This could be a high-scoring game on Sunday.
Jared Goff is coming off a massive 40-point game against the Broncos. Goff has been a little hot and cold at times this season. Most of that is him losing critical red zone touches to the run game. Goff has shown us he has an upside in this important matchup. The Vikings have been pretty solid against fantasy quarterbacks in the last five weeks. Since week six, they have allowed just eight passing touchdowns. While Jaek Browning put up a great game last week, it will be challenging in this matchup. We’ve seen Goff struggle with turnovers, and the Vikings have been solid in creating them. This game looks to score higher, so Goff will have a chance to score points. He is more of a borderline QB1 in Week 16.
Nate Mullens initially looked sloppy in Week 15 but managed to put together a respectable 21 fantasy points. Mullens will be in the lineup this weekend because he has great weapons around him. The Lions allow the fourth most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. They have kept quarterbacks under 250 passing yards in four of the last five games. This may be the best offense they’ve faced since the Packers, and they went nuts on the secondary. Mullens won’t shock the world in week 16, but 240 passing yards and two touchdowns are doable in this matchup. Mullens is a decent mid-range QB2 in Week 16.
For the Lions backfield, we’ve seen their duo dominate fantasy over the last month and a half. They have been in the top ten fantasy leaders during that stretch. Most of the time, it has been game script-dependent for them, but both are steady fantasy options. The Vikings are a tough matchup, allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. Since week seven, they have not allowed a running back over 50 rushing yards. They have given up just one rushing touchdown in the last five weeks. I leave Jahmyr Gibbs as an RB1 still in this matchup. He has been fantastic in fantasy and can manage around 13 points in this game. He would be more of a low-end RB1, but his receiving work does present an upside. David Montgomery thrives on touchdowns and works in between the tackles. I could see him struggle more if he didn’t score. We’ve seen him be a ten-point player without touchdowns, which isn’t bad. He shows off a solid floor. He is a mid-range RB2 in Week 16.
For the Vikings backfield, Alexander Mattison is questionable for this game but will likely miss. That would put Ty Chandler back as the starter. Last week, Chandler had a massive 132 yards and a touchdown in Week 15. The Lions have been a good run defense this season, as they allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game. They have not allowed a running back over 50 yards in the last five weeks. It’s not going to be an easy matchup for Chandler this week. If Mattison misses, Chandler should see most of the offensive work. I don’t think Chandler does what he did in Week 15. He should be a high-end RB3. If Mattison does play, I’d have some concerns with Chandler in starting lineups. Mattison would be a sit as he is outside the top 50 this week.
For the Lions receivers, the Vikings are an average matchup at best. They have allowed five receivers over 60 yards, but not many had big fantasy points against them. Amon-Ra St. Brown was able to bounce back in a big way in Week 15. St. Brown should continue to produce against a divisional opponent. He will get fed targets; I believe this game will be higher-scoring. St. Brown is a lock as a WR1 in Week 16. Jameson Williams may have some value as a WR5. Williams has the play style in the offense, which could take a big play to the house. Josh Reynolds has little value, but don’t be surprised with his production.
For the tight ends, the Vikings have only allowed two over 40 yards in the last five weeks. Sam LaPorta is coming off a monster three-touchdown game. LaPorta has a safe target share, but I wish it were closer to nine than six. LaPorta is among the elite tight ends now, and even in a not-great matchup, he should be able to finish as a TE1. He is pacing for a better second half than the first half of 2023.
For the Vikings receivers, it is a favorable matchup against the Lions. The Lions rank in the bottom ten against fantasy receivers this season. In the last five weeks, they have given up five receivers over 70 yards and five receiving touchdowns. The Lions have given up plenty of touchdowns all season long to opposing receivers. Justin Jefferson hopes to build off his seven receptions for the 84-yard game last week. I do expect him to be able to dominate the Lion’s secondary in this matchup. He should finish as a WR1 this week. Jordan Addison has come alive with Jefferson back on the field. Back in the slot, Addison should do well against this Lions secondary who has struggled against slot receivers. Addison is a high-end WR3 in Week 16.
For the tight ends, the Lions have been good against the position. Since week eight, only one tight end has gone over 30 yards, and they have given up only two touchdowns in that span. TJ Hockenson is getting his revenge against the Lions, so I’d expect him to show up. He has been a solid four-reception for 50-yard player this season. I’d expect the Vikings offense to give Hockenson chances to score against his former team. He is a TE1 in Week 16.
Washington Commanders vs New York Jets
Details of the Script
- Sunday – 1:00 p.m. @ MetLife Stadium
- Weather – Cloudy
- What Vegas is saying – Line (NYJ -3.0) & Over/Under 37.5
Identifying the Game Script
These two teams haven’t played each other since the 2019 season. The Jets would win over the Commanders on the road, 34-17. The Commanders are coming off another loss to the Rams as they benched Sam Howell in the game. The Jets would get shutout against the Dolphins 30-0. The Commanders need to get their run game going after being so poor the last few weeks. The Jets strict defense only has a real weakness –the run game. The Jets have a fantastic matchup this week, but it will depend on the Jets offense. You would usually say start anyone against the Commanders, but it’s tough to trust the offense. This could be a higher-scoring game in Week 16.
Sam Howell has regressed in the second half of the season. Howell isn’t getting the yardage and touchdowns to make up for the Commanders bad games like he was earlier in the season. Howell was benched last week, which sucks for the playoffs. Now, that has to be a concern in this matchup. The Jets allow the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. They have allowed zero quarterbacks in the last four weeks over 250 passing yards. They also have kept touchdowns to a minimum, with only three in that span. Howell is only a borderline QB2 in Week 16. Part of the reason is the matchup is tough, and Howell could have a few picks. The second is that he could be benched if he struggles to produce. I’d look to avoid Howell in the semi-finals, as he could hurt you more than help.
Zach Wilson has been ruled out with a concussion. Trevor Siemian is getting the start on Week 16. Siemian has shown flashes over his career but did not look great last week. Last week, he had 110 yards and two interceptions against the Dolphins. The match-up in Week 16 is so good, as the Commanders allow the second most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. They have allowed 240 passing yards or more in five straight games. In that span, they have allowed 13 passing touchdowns. Giving Siemian a chance in fantasy would be impossible unless you are in Superflex. I have him ranked as a borderline QB2, but it’s so tough to trust him.
For the Commanders backfield, they will be without Brian Robinson once again. That would leave Antonio Gibson and Chris Rodriguez Jr. to start. It was clear last week that this backfield would be a split role. Rodriquez had most of the groundwork, but Gibson would see carries as the full primary passing downs back. Neither one was able to put up fantasy production in week 16. The Jets have favored running backs as they rank in the bottom ten. They have allowed five running backs over 50 yards in the last five weeks. For the touchdowns outside of Raheem Mosterts’ four, they have given up just three to other opposing running backs this season. Chris Rodriquez would likely be outside the top 50 running backs since I don’t trust him, and he would need a touchdown to be relevant. Antonio Gibson is more of a borderline RB3. He will split the work and needs to have targets to do well. I think he could see six targets in this game, which gives him value, but barely. I don’t see an upside with Gibson.
It was a horrible performance for the Jets backfield, as none finished over three fantasy points. The matchup does get easier as the Commanders rank in the bottom ten against running backs. The Commanders have allowed a 60-yard rusher in five straight weeks. They have given up nine total touchdowns to opposing backfields in that span. Breece Hall needs to improve, as he finished with 2.3 points last week. Hall continues to be ineffective on the ground, so this could be the matchup to get him going. His role in the receiving game is questionable, with Siemian at quarterback now. I hope they give Hall as many touches as he can handle in this matchup. He is a mid-range RB2 due to his upside, but I understand the risk in playing. Most offenses have done well against the Commanders. You can throw Dalvin Cook in as an RB4, but he has been bad, too.
The Commanders receivers will have a difficult matchup against the Jets. The Jets allow the fewest fantasy points per game to receivers. The Jets have allowed four 100-yard receivers in the last five weeks. They were only to the Bills and the Dolphins twice. Outside of that, the Jets have done very well against opposing receivers. Terry McLaurin is coming off a massive fantasy day in Week 14, but most of that production was with Jacoby Brissett. McLaurin will likely struggle against the Jets secondary so he won’t make a big impact. McLaurin is a WR4 in this matchup. Curtis Samuel has been the only consistent option during the struggles in the passing game. I’d trust him as a low-end WR3 in this matchup. His targets have been high, and he has a role in the red zone.
Jahan Dotson is likely outside the top 60 receivers. He has been under ten fantasy points in five straight games. For the tight ends, the Jets are an average matchup. They have allowed two tight ends over 40 yards but only one touchdown in the last five weeks. Logan Thomas has been under seven fantasy points in six straight games. His value as a borderline TE1 is long gone now. He is outside the top 24 this week.
The Commanders are a fantastic matchup for the Jets receivers in Week 16. The Commanders allow the second most fantasy points per game to the position. The Commanders have allowed nine receiving touchdowns in the last five weeks. Garrett Wilson is quietly reaching another 1,000-yard season this year. Wilson has struggled without Zach Wilson this season. The matchup is fantastic, and it will be hard for Wilson to fail. He should continue seeing his nine-plus target game. Wilson is a mid-range WR2 in Week 16. I won’t play any other Jets receiver. For the tight ends, the Commanders have been solid against the position. They have not allowed a tight end over 40 yards in the last five games. Tyler Conklin also has struggled without Zach Wilson at quarterback. He would only be a low-end TE2 in this game. I don’t have much faith in Conklin’s performance.
Green Bay Packers vs Carolina Panthers
Details of the Script
- Sunday – 1:00 p.m. @ Bank of America Stadium
- Weather – Partly Sunny
- What Vegas is saying – Line (GB -4.0) & Over/Under 37.5
Identifying the Game Script
The last time the Packers and the Panthers played each other was during the 2021 season. The Packers would win 24-16 over the Panthers at home. The Packers are coming off another loss as they couldn’t handle the Bucs pass attack. The Panthers would shock many as they would pick up a win 9-7 over the Falcons. The Packers need to take advantage of the Panthers poor run defense with Aaron Jones. The Panthers don’t have much on offense, but if they can get their backfield going, it may help. The Packers have a poor run defense that will help a player like Chuba Hubbard in Week 16. This should be a more one-sided game on Sunday.
Jordan Love rebounded nicely after his terrible MNF game in Week 14. Love has played well in the second half of the season, with five of his last six games over 20 fantasy points. Love has thrown well, with 13 touchdowns and only four turnovers. The Panthers allow the third-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. They have kept all five of the last five opposing quarterbacks under 210 passing yards. Since their week seven bye week, they have allowed the opposing quarterback to average a touchdown or less per game. Love may be on a hot streak, but he likely won’t have all his weapons this week. Love is a high-end QB2 at best, and he’ll need to throw two touchdowns to be decent.
Bryce Young continues to have a lackluster rookie season with seven straight games under ten fantasy points. He isn’t ready, nor does he have the talent around him to make him great. The Packers secondary has weakened over the last five weeks. They have allowed three opposing quarterbacks over 250 passing yards and two-plus touchdowns in the previous five games. I want to say Young has a chance in this matchup, but there is not. In the semi-finals, Young can’t be trusted to start in Week 16. He is a QB3 in this matchup.
For the Packers backfield, it looks like they will have Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon back on the field in Week 16. They both have been dealing with injuries but have had limited practice all week. The Panthers allow the third most fantasy points per game to running backs. They have been slightly better in recent weeks against running backs. In the last five weeks, only three running backs have gone over 60 yards, but they still have given up five rushing touchdowns. Aaron Jones was decent in his first game back in weeks. It helped that Dillon didn’t play in last week’s game. Jones should be a high-end RB3 in this week’s matchup if Dillon plays, too. If not, Jones jumps into mid-range RB2 value. Jones should split the work with Dillon on the ground but get most of the receiving work. Dillon, with Jones, is an RB4, but without Jones, he would jump to RB3 value. I don’t think either one will be successful unless one misses.
We’ve seen the Panthers offense focus on the run game. Chuba Hubbard has been solid as the Panthers have thrown over 20 carries per game to Hubbard the last three weeks. He has four straight games over ten fantasy points and is coming into a decent matchup. The Packers defense ranks in the bottom ten per game against fantasy running backs. They have allowed a 60-yard rusher in six straight games. They have allowed four running backs over 80 rushing yards in that span. The team is relying on Hubbard by giving him these big workloads. I like Hubbard as a mid-range RB2 in Week 16.
For the Panthers receivers, the Packers are a tough matchup as they allow the third-fewest fantasy points per game to the position. In the last five weeks, they have allowed production to the position. The Packers have allowed seven receivers over 65 receiving yards. Adam Theilen may be the only Panthers pass catcher potentially flexing in lineups. He has seen seven targets in back-to-back games, but the production has been minimal. The Packers have allowed production in the slot this season. Theilen Could be a surprise in Week 16 after being quiet the last month and a half. He is a high-end WR4 in Week 16. I don’t trust Jonathan Mingo, DJ Chark, or a Panthers tight end this week.
The Packers receivers will have a tough matchup against the Panthers. The Panthers allow the third-fewest fantasy points per game to the position. Since week five, they have allowed just one receiver over 50 yards and have stopped so many good receivers in that span. The Packers might be short-handed, as Christian Watson and Jayden Reed could miss this game. I think Reed has a better shot to play than Watson. If Reed plays, it would be hard to trust him with that toe injury. He would only be a WR4. If they both miss, Romeo Doubs will take on the WR1 role in the offense. Doubs has been under ten fantasy points in the last four weeks since he hasn’t scored in those games. Doubs would only be trusted as a WR4. He could see a bigger target share, but the matchup will be tough.
Dontayvion Wicks has WR4 value this week, but I wish the matchup were better. Wicks has 90-plus yards in two of the last four games. He has filled in nicely as the deep threat to the team. I’d consider giving him a shot in lineups if you need a boom play, but he is risky. For the tight ends, the Panthers have also been great against the position. They have allowed two tight ends over 40 yards, but the Panthers have kept production to a minimum. Tucker Kraft is coming off back-to-back 50-yard games. He seems to be in a bigger role on the offense, with the receivers all hurt. I think Kraft should be fine as a mid-range TE2. He should see enough targets to be able to produce in fantasy.
Cleveland Browns vs Houston Texans
Details of the Script
- Sunday – 1:00 p.m. @ NRG Stadium
- Weather – Indoors
- What Vegas is saying – Line (CLE -3.0) & Over/Under 40.5
Identifying the Game Script
The Browns and Texans would last play during the 2022 season. The Browns would win on the road 27-14 over the Texans. The Browns would win a close one over the Bears 20-17. The Texans also would win a close one to a divisional opponent, the Titans. Look for the Browns to take advantage in the passing game, especially with David Njoku. The Texans have a weakness in covering tight ends this season. The Texans will have a tough matchup this week, as the Browns have a good defense. The best would be to establish the run game and work off that. This game looks like a low fantasy-relevant game.
Joe Flacco has been a steady fantasy quarterback over the last three weeks. He has put up 20 fantasy points in three straight games. While he has dealt with turnovers, he throws for high yardage and has seven passing touchdowns. The Texans have faded in the secondary as they rank as a bottom-ten team against quarterbacks. They have allowed a 300-yard passer in three of the last six games. The Texans have allowed multi-touchdown games to six of their previous seven opposing quarterbacks. Flacco has turned this Browns team into a pass-first unit with the struggles in the run game. Flacco offers low-end QB2 that can provide a safe floor in Superflex leagues.
Case Keenum is getting a second start with rookie CJ Stroud recovering from his concussion. Keenum was below average in his start last week against the Titans. We’ve seen Keenum able to put up fantasy points, so there is hope for him. It will be tough for Keenum since the Browns allow the second-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. They have allowed multi-touchdown games in three of the last five games. While many opposing quarterbacks are in the top 15, Keenum is not one of them. Keenum will struggle to produce in a tough matchup this week. He is a QB3 in Week 16.
The Browns backfield has been a weak unit among the offense since week ten. Jerome Ford is the lead back but has been decent, with four of the last six games over ten fantasy points. He split work with Kareem Hunt, who lost his edge when he stopped scoring touchdowns. The Browns also like to sprinkle in Pierre Strong at times. The Texans have been outstanding against the run in the last five weeks. They have allowed just one running back over 60 yards and haven’t given up a touchdown in that span. Ford should see his carries on the ground, but the receiving work is essential to his fantasy success. It could be a bad day if he doesn’t see that. He is a mid-range RB3 in Week 16. Kareem Hunt has been under ten fantasy points in seven straight games despite scoring a few touchdowns. He is inefficient and is a low-end RB4 this week.
For the Texans backfield, it depends on how they want to handle the touches. Devin Singletary exploded in a tough matchup for 120 rushing yards. When the Texans decide to give Singletary over 20 carries in a game, he produces in fantasy. When they don’t, he is nothing more than an RB3. The Browns do rank as a top-ten run defense despite that being their weakness. The run defense has allowed three running backs over 60 yards in the last five weeks. In the previous six weeks, they have given up six rushing touchdowns. I like Singletary as a high-end RB3 since I believe they lean on the run game with Case Keenum at quarterback.
For the Browns receivers, the Texans are a decent matchup for the position. They have allowed six receivers over 60 yards in the last five weeks. In the last two games, Amari Cooper has bounced back in fantasy. He had to deal with the bad quarterback play in the middle of the season, but Joe Flacco has made Cooper stable again. Cooper should see eight-plus targets in this matchup and finish well. I like Cooper as a low-end WR2. Elijah Moore can’t thrive as the number two receiver in this offense. Moore did well when Cooper left a game early three weeks ago. Moore has fewer yards in the last two games than in Week 13. Moore is a low-end WR5 in Week 16 but playing him doesn’t make much sense.
The Texans are a good matchup for the tight ends since they rank in the bottom ten against the position. They have allowed four tight ends over 40 yards in the last five weeks. They haven’t given up a touchdown since week ten. That may change as David Njoku plays them this week. Njoku has 195 yards and three touchdowns in the last two weeks. He has been a red zone threat for Flacco in the offense. Njoku has a significant role in the offense, showing with the fantasy points. He needs to be in lineups as a TE1.
It will be a tough matchup against the Browns for the Texans receivers. The Browns allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to receivers. They have allowed just one receiver over 60 yards in the last five weeks. Outside of that Rams game in Week 13, they have been very good against opposing passing offenses. Nico Collins is questionable for his game, and his status for Sunday is up in the air. If he plays on Sunday, I’d rank Collins as a borderline WR2. I am concerned about Collins with the switch to Keenum, and his injury could flare up. Collins should get his usual seven targets, but the matchup is tough.
Noah Brown had a dominant fantasy day with Keenum, finishing with 18 points. If Collins misses, Brown will jump to a high-end WR3 as he takes over the WR1 role in the offense. He saw 11 targets last week, so he could do that again. Brown will move down to a WR4 if Collins plays, but there would be an upside. Collins could be more of a decoy as Brown handles the work. He could be flexed in Week 16. I’m not trusting any other Texans receiver. For the tight ends, the Browns also allow the third-fewest fantasy points to the position. They have allowed four receiving touchdowns in the last five weeks. They only allowed one tight end over 30 yards, but that tight end went for 95 yards against them. Dalton Schultz played surprisingly well in a tough matchup, finishing with four receptions for 58 yards. Despite the tough matchup, Schultz could be a big part of the offense under Keenum. I still rank Schultz as a low-end TE1 due to his upside and role in the offense.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Details of the Script
- Sunday – 4:05 p.m. @ Raymond James Stadium
- Weather – Cloudy
- What Vegas is saying – Line (TB -1.5) & Over/Under 42.5
Identifying the Game Script
It’s been a while since these two Florida teams last played each other. The Buccaneers would beat down the Jaguars 28-11 on the road during the 2019 season. The Jaguars are coming off another tough loss to the Ravens. The Bucs would play great on offense and beat a tough team in the Packers. Look for the Jaguars to attack the Bucs poor secondary. Trevor Lawrence and the receivers should be in for a great day. The Bucs have a similar good matchup against the Jaguars’ shaky secondary. This game could be one of the higher-scoring games of the week. Both sides should be able to provide us with many fantasy stars.
Trevor Lawrence couldn’t keep up with the Ravens tough defense. He finished under 20 fantasy points for the first time since week ten. Lawrence could miss this game due to a concussion and is 50/50. The Bucs are in the bottom ten against fantasy quarterbacks this season. They have allowed a passer over 250 passing yards in four of the last five games. While they haven’t given up many touchdowns in that span, the better-talented quarterbacks have thrown for two-plus passing touchdowns. If Lawrence plays, I still want to rank him as a QB1. The matchup is fantastic for him to have an elite fantasy game in Week 16. If Lawrence sits, then CJ Beathard would get the start. Beathard is a journeyman type of quarterback. He has shown the ability to put up fantasy numbers and looked decent in that Bengals game. I think he could move this offense in a favorable matchup. I put him as a low-end QB2 if he plays.
Baker Mayfield is coming off one of the best performances of his career. He has almost 400 passing yards and threw four passing touchdowns. Mayfield has done well in fantasy this season with the Bucs. He has played like a top-12 fantasy quarterback for most of the season. The Jaguars are a terrific match-up as they allow the third most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. They have allowed a 300-yard passer in three of the last five games. They also have given up 11 total touchdowns in the past five weeks. Mayfield should have no issues throwing on this team at home. Mayfield should be a QB1 in Week 16. He has a chance to repeat his week 15 performance in a great matchup this week.
Travis Etienne still leads the Jaguars backfield. Etienne hasn’t been all that great in the back half of the season. He hasn’t rushed over 60 yards since week eight. In the first nine games, ETN averaged 18 points per game. Since week ten, he has been averaging just ten fantasy points per game. The passing game is seeing an uptake in production, leaving ETN with only two touchdowns compared to eight in the first nine games. The Buc’s defense ranks as a top-ten defense against running backs. They have not been as tough as their ranking shows in the last five weeks. They have allowed a 70-yard rusher in three of the last five games but none in the previous two games. They have given up five rushing touchdowns in that span after giving up none in the first nine weeks. If Lawrence is hurt or they bring in the backup, I’d expect the team to lean on ETN more to move the ball. He should still be an RB1 in this matchup.
Rachaad White has become a running back star for the Bucs backfield. Since week seven, White has been the RB2. He has 80-plus yards in the last four games and is scoring touchdowns. He has a strong role in the receiving game, and he bumps his fantasy status to an elite player in fantasy. The Jaguars have been crushed the last three weeks against fantasy running backs. They have allowed three runners over 60 yards and given up four touchdowns in that span. White should be lined up for another big fantasy week, as he finishes as an RB1. He has been running well and plays a huge role in the passing game.
For the Jaguars receivers, they have a fantastic matchup against the Bucs. They allow the fourth most fantasy points per game to running backs. They have allowed four receivers in the last five weeks to gain over 90 yards. The touchdowns have been minimal, with only two in the last five games. Things will depend on who plays quarterback for the receivers this week. Calvin Ridley is back to having bad fantasy games, with three straight games under ten fantasy points. I don’t think it matters who plays quarterbacks since Ridley has not been on the right page with Lawrence anyway. He is a high-end WR3 since he has a great matchup. Zay Jones has WR4 if he can get things going in Week 16. He has 50 yards in two of the last three weeks. Opposing downfield receivers have been successful against the Bucs.
Parker Washington has flashed in the last three weeks. He could have some value in Week 16. He would be a mid-range WR5 in this matchup. The Bucs defense ranks in the bottom ten for the tight ends against the position. They have allowed three tight ends over 50 yards in the last five weeks. Evan Engram has been pacing well on the season. He should be able to perform no matter who plays as quarterback. I expect the Jaguars to get Engram back to eight-plus targets and finish as a TE1 in Week 16.
The matchup with the Jaguars is favorable for the Bucs receivers. The Jaguars secondary is in the bottom ten against fantasy receivers. They have only given up three receivers over 60 yards in the last five weeks but have given up five receiving touchdowns. Mike Evans was able to bounce back last week after a poor Week 14 game. Evans should see eight-plus targets in this matchup and finish as a WR1 in Week 16. Chirs Godwin is interesting since he has 15 receptions for 200 yards in the last two weeks. Godwin is dealing with a knee injury but practiced in full on Friday. You can begin to trust Godwin as a flex option this week. The matchup is good, and he should see eight-plus targets as well. Godwin is a high-end WR3.
For the tight ends, it’s a fantastic matchup against the Jaguars, who allow the third-most fantasy points per game to the position. In the last two weeks, they have allowed 70-plus yards and a touchdown to an opposing tight end. Cade Otton has been okay this season but has flashed in good matchups. He has some sleeper appeal in a matchup that could be higher-scoring. He is a low-end TE2 in Week 16.
Arizona Cardinals vs Chicago Bears
Details of the Script
- Sunday – 4:25 p.m. @ Soldier Field
- Weather – Cloudy
- What Vegas is saying – Line (CHI -4.0) & Over/Under 42.5
Identifying the Game Script
The last time that these two teams played each other was during the 2021 season. The Cardinals would win 33-22 on the road over the Bears. The Cardinals are coming off a loss to the 49ers powerhouse team. The Bears would lose a close one in the final moments to the Browns. The Cardinal’s offense won’t have an easy option against the Bears defense, so relying on Kyler Murray and Trey McBride will be important. The Bears need to get their run game going in a fantastic matchup against a terrible Cardinals run defense. This likely won’t be all that great of a fantasy game.
Kyler Murray hasn’t been all that impressive in 2023. He is averaging about 17 fantasy points per game. Murray is showing off a solid rushing floor, but he needs a weapon at receiver. Murray lost his number-one receiver this week in Marquise Brown. The Bears have been better against the fantasy quarterback in the last five weeks. The turnovers for the Bears have been crazy, with 12 interruptions in the previous four games. Murray is coming off back-to-back two-interception games, so this doesn’t look good. Unless Murray can run for high yardage, we could be looking at a bad game for him. Murray is barely a high-end QB2 in Week 16.
Justin Fields has been very inconsistent since his return in Week 11. He has two games over 20 fantasy points and two under 12 fantasy points. He played two games against a weak secondary and was successful. In two games against tougher secondaries, he failed to produce in fantasy. He offers a rushing floor but has four turnovers in the last four games. The Cardinals have been a bottom-line defense against fantasy quarterbacks this season. They have allowed three QB1s in the previous five weeks. They haven’t allowed many quarterbacks to run, but Fields should be fine there. With such a good matchup, this could be a confidence boost for Fields in the passing game. He is a QB1 in my books for Week 16.
For the Cardinals backfield, James Connor has played much better the last two weeks. He produced over 80 rushing yards in back-to-back games. Connor has been limited to performing on the ground since he received nine yards in the last five weeks. The Bears have been a decent run defense, but lately, on the ground, they have given up rushing yards. They have allowed three running backs over 60 yards in the last five weeks. The biggest weakness has been that the Bears have allowed the most receiving yards to running backs this season. Connor should get most of the touches, but his upside is limited. If he doesn’t score and isn’t seeing targets, his day may be mediocre in fantasy. He is a low-end RB2 in Week 16. Murray hasn’t used his running backs in the passing game since he returned to the field.
For the Bears backfield, it has been a mess with a three-man committee with all three backs healthy. The Cardinals are the best weekend matchup as they allow the most fantasy points per game to running backs. They have allowed 100-yard rushers in three of the last four games. They have been giving up receiving work in the previous three weeks, with two running backs receiving two touchdowns. D’Onta Foreman seems to have a lead on early down role in the offense. Last week was not great, but he can bounce in the offense. He should be a mid-range RB3 who has upside this week. I like him in lineups. Roschon Johnson was the better back last week, with eight fantasy points. It would be wise to get the young back more involved. He is tough to trust due to his touches being up and down. He is a RB4 in Week 15. Khalil Herbert should be outside the top 50 since his role is minimal.
For the Cardinals receivers, the Bears are an average matchup for the position. They have only allowed two receivers over 50 yards in the last five weeks but have given up four touchdowns. The Cardinals will be without Hollywood Brown in this matchup. They don’t have many options to help fantasy lineups. Greg Dortch had a couple of decent games but has disappeared again. Michael Wilson has the talent and upside to be good, but he isn’t one to trust in the semi-final matchup. I don’t have any Cardinals receivers in the top 60 this week.
For the tight ends, the Bears rank in the bottom ten against the position. They have allowed 50 yards to a tight end in two of the last three games. Since week eight of the season, they have given up five receiving touchdowns. This brings me to Trey McBride, who is enjoying a second-season breakout as the starter. Since week eight, McBride has been the TE3 of the season. He has seen nine-plus targets in four of the last five games. He is the team’s number-one passing option in the offense. McBride is a TE1 in Week 16.
For the Bears receivers, the Cardinals are an average matchup for the position. They have only allowed four receivers over 60 yards in the last five weeks but have given up five receiving touchdowns. DJ Moore continues to be Field’s favorite target on offense. He has eight-plus targets in five straight games. Moore should continue to see that target share against the Cardinals. I don’t think the Cardinals have a good secondary, but it’s just how bad their run game is. Moore should be able to finish as a low-end WR1.
For the tight ends, the Cardinals have been a top-ten unit against the position. They have only allowed one tight end over 30 yards in the last five weeks. They have given up three receiving touchdowns to a tight end in that span. Cole Kmet has been over seven fantasy points in four of the last five games. He has been a decent starting option, but this could be a game where he isn’t needed as much. The run game and Fields have a terrific matchup, so the passing could be limited. Kmet is still a decent high-end TE2 that should get you around seven fantasy points.
Dallas Cowboys vs Miami Dolphins
Details of the Script
- Sunday – 4:25 p.m. @ Hard Rock Stadium
- Weather – Cloudy
- What Vegas is saying – Line (MIA -2.0) & Over/Under 49.5
Identifying the Game Script
The last time the Cowboys and Dolphins faced off was during the 2019 season. The Cowboys would blow out the Dolphins 31-6. The Cowboys are coming off a bad loss to the red-hot Bills. The Dolphins would take care of business against the Jets 30-0. The Cowboys have a tough matchup against the Dolphins, but look for them to continue throwing the ball to make up for the ineffective run game. The Dolphins don’t have an easy matchup, but keeping the run game hot and getting the ball to Tyreek Hill is a must. This could be one of the higher-scoring games of the weekend.
Dak Prescott is coming off his worst game since the Cowboys played the 49ers. It was after that game that sparked something in Prescott to play amazingly. Prescott has been outstanding, with massive fantasy points over the last two months. The Dolphins have allowed two of the last five quarterbacks to pass over 200 yards. They also have only given up three passing touchdowns in that span. The Dolphins have played better against quarterbacks but have not been to Prescott’s level. Prescott has looked noticeably different on the road than at home. He only averages one touchdown per game in seven road games. Prescott could struggle against a solid Dolphins defense, but I believe he can finish as a low-end QB1 in Week 16.
Tua Tagovailoa has not been that great in fantasy football over the last five games, as he has three games under 15 fantasy points. We aren’t seeing the big games like in the first half. He had four games over 25 fantasy points in the first nine games. In the last five weeks, he has none. The Cowboys have kept four of the previous five quarterbacks under 20 fantasy points. Geno Smith was the only one to dominate against that secondary. If Tua can get Tyreek Hill back on the field, he’ll have a chance to boom this week. He needs to get the ball out of his hands quickly to allow the receivers to do what they do best. Tua has a wide range of outcomes in this game. Tua is a low-end QB1 due to his upside, but his floor is concerning.
For the Cowboys backfield, it was not a pretty sight in Week 15. Tony Pollard finished with 13 touches for 57 yards, and Rico Dowdle had 12 yards. The Dolphins have not allowed a running back over 55 rushing yards in the last five weeks. They barely have given up a touchdown to the position outside Derrick Henry’s two short touchdowns in Week 14. Tony Pollard has been a bit more effective in the second half of the season but is still rushing inefficiently. He has scored more touchdowns, and things are great when he gets his passing value. Pollard needs a touchdown or is more involved as a receiver to do well in this matchup. He will have a tough time gaining yards in this game. Pollard is only a high-end RB2 in Week 16. Rico Dowdle could be a low-end RB4. He does get his chances in the red zone to score touchdowns. He would need one to be fantasy-relevant.
For the Dolphins backfield, Raheem Mostert has the single-season touchdown record in Dolphins history. The Dolphins will continue to use Mostert as the lead back and work in Devon Achane but not overwork him. The Cowboys have been average against fantasy running backs in the previous five weeks. They have given up six running backs over 50 rushing yards in the last five games. The Dolphins know how to run, and defenses have not stopped them from running this season. Raheem Mostert should be in the starting lineups for Week 16. He’ll see his 15-plus carries and more than likely see a touchdown. Mostert is a RB1 in Week 16. Devon Achane has not been the same flashy player we saw in the first half of the season. The team is taking their time with him on the field. He is more of a flex play as he isn’t showing big play potential, but it’s still there. He should be a high-end RB3.
For the Cowboys receivers, the Dolphins have been above average in the secondary during the second half of the season. They have allowed three receivers over 50 yards in the last five weeks. Ceedee Lamb has been fantastic in the second half of the season. He has eight straight games over 13 fantasy points. Lamb should be able to see eight-plus targets in this matchup. It could be a back-and-forth battle. Lamb should finish as a WR1 in Week 16. Brandin Cooks is coming off back-to-back poor outings. Cooks must score a touchdown to have a good fantasy day this season. Cooks was looking up, but his production this season has been inconsistent. This could be a great that he can succeed in, but the Cowboys love to get everyone involved. I see Cooks as a borderline WR3 that should only be a flex play.
The Dolphins rank in the top ten points per game against the tight end position. They have allowed two tight ends over 40 yards in the last five weeks. They haven’t given up a touchdown since week eight. I can’t say they played any great tight ends in that span. Jake Ferguson has broken out into a great fantasy tight end. While he has only one game over ten fantasy points in the last five weeks, he is still a significant part of the offense. He will see the targets in the red zone and produce in Week 16. Ferguson should be a low-end TE1 in this matchup.
For the Dolphins receivers, the Cowboys are ranked as a top-ten team against the position. In recent weeks, the Cowboys have given up yardage to opposing receivers. They have allowed six receivers over 60 receiving yards in the last five weeks. They have only allowed DK Metcalf to catch a receiving touchdown over the past weeks. The Dolphins should have Tyreek Hill back on the field Sunday. Hill is a no-brainer WR1 if he plays on Sunday. If Hill were to miss, we saw Jaylen Waddle step up for a big game with over 100 yards and a touchdown. He would be a WR1 if he were the guy. If Hill plays, then Waddle is more of a high-end WR2. The Dolphins don’t have a consistent WR3 or tight end you could trust in a semi-final matchup in Week 16.
New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos
Details of the Script
- SNF – 8:20 p.m. @ Empower Field at Mile High
- Weather – Cloudy
- What Vegas is saying – Line (DEN -7.5) & Over/Under 35.5
Identifying the Game Script
The Patriots and the Broncos haven’t faced off since the 2020 season. The Broncos would win a low-scoring game 18-12 over the Patriots. The Patriots would try against the Chiefs but would lose at the end of the day. The Broncos are coming off a bad game where the Lions blew them out. Look for the Patriots to take full advantage of the Broncos poor run game as they try to run the ball more. The Broncos don’t have a sure matchup, but getting the ball to their star players will be critical for them to succeed. This game could be very defensive, with low scoring on SNF.
Bailey Zappe regressed in Week 15 to who he is: a below-average quarterback. Zappe was able to produce 180 yards and a touchdown last week. Before their Week 15 game, the Broncos had locked down the quarterback position. They were allowed minimal passing yards and one or fewer touchdowns in five straight games. I don’t see Zappe being able to produce in a tough road game. You don’t want to trust Zappe in this matchup. He will only finish as a QB3 in Week 16.
Russell Wilson continues his streak of average quarterback play in fantasy. Over the last five games, he has averaged 18 fantasy points. He isn’t throwing for big yards but has nine touchdowns in those previous five weeks. The Patriots have ranked in the top ten against fantasy quarterbacks. The Patriots have held four of the last five quarterbacks under 215 passing yards. They also have only given up four passing touchdowns in that span. Wilson at home this season has been solid, as he has averaged almost two touchdowns per game. The passing yardage has been down, but he has only thrown one pick in seven games at home. Wilson is a mid-range QB2 in Week 16. He doesn’t feel safe nor has the upside to help your team, but he could hurt it.
For the Patriots backfield, they will once again be without Rhamondre Stevenson in Week 16. That means Zeke Elliott will get the start against the Broncos. The Broncos are a favorable matchup in Week 16, allowing the most fantasy points per game. The Broncos have given up 185 rushing yards in last week’s game. They have given up a rushing touchdown in three straight games. Elliott failed to live up to his Week 14 game. He has not run well the last two weeks, but his receiving value has kept him afloat. He has 12 receptions and has made much of his fantasy value. Elliott should remain the primary back who will see 15-plus touches in this game. The Patriots would be smart to get the run game going in Week 16. Elliott is a mid-range RB2.
The Broncos backfield was not great last week against the Lions. They all finished under seven fantasy points. Javonte Williams has played one game over ten fantasy points in the previous five weeks. The Broncos offense hasn’t put up many points this season, leading to Williams not having many chances to score in fantasy. The Patriots have done well against fantasy running backs in the last five weeks. They have allowed one running back over 50 rushing yards in that span. They have given up three total touchdowns, but overall, it’s a tough matchup. Williams isn’t a must-start, but he can get you around ten fantasy points likely in this matchup. I would expect the Broncos to be leading. He is a high-end RB3. If the Broncos use Samaje Perine right, he could be a low-end RB4 in Week 16.
The Broncos rank in the top ten against wide receivers this season. They have allowed three players over 70 yards in the last six weeks. The Broncos haven’t given up many touchdowns either, with only two in that same span. Demario Douglas is still one of the only receivers on the Patriots I’d consider playing. Douglas returned for 33 yards last week after missing two games. He is still the one that has the best upside and could offer a floor play. They need someone in this game to step up to help this offense. He is a mid-range WR4 in Week 16. I have no interest in playing any of the other receivers.
For the tight ends, the Broncos are the best matched up of the weekend for the position. The Broncos allow the most fantasy points per game to tight ends. In the last five weeks, they have allowed five tight ends over 40 yards and five touchdowns to the position. Hunter Henry has been ruled out for Week 16. The Patriots will turn to Pharaoh Brown and Mike Gesicki. Either has done much this season. You’d be taking a big risk playing one of them, even in a fantastic matchup. I’d take my bet that Brown finds the endzone in this matchup.
The Broncos receivers will have a tougher matchup with the Patriots. In the last five weeks, they have only allowed three receiving touchdowns with three receivers over 60 yards. Courtland Sutton has been as consistent as it comes in fantasy this season. He doesn’t offer a big upside but shows a consistent floor in fantasy. He also has become a touchdown machine with ten on the season. Sutton should see decent production as a flex option against the Patriots. Nine points sound like his floor, so he should be a low-end WR3 in Week 16. Jerry Jeudy put up 74 yards last week, his most since week three of the season. Jeudy is, at best, a WR5 in Week 16. He has been horrible this season and can’t be trusted that much. The tight ends for the Broncos should not be considered in the semi-final matchup.