Here’s a look at rankings from our most accurate fantasy football experts of the 2020 season. These rankings are for half-PPR scoring fantasy football formats.
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Week 16 Quarterback Rankings
Ryan Tannehill (TEN)
It’s good to see the Titans take advantage of the plus matchups they’ve had, especially when their opponents are selling out to try and stop the run. Tannehill continues to play efficient football, completing nearly 80 percent of his passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns through the air, with another 21 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Just how good has Tannehill been? Both A.J. Brown and Corey Davis rank in the bottom-12 wide receivers when it comes to average separation at target, yet they’ve both been highly efficient this year (Davis 11.4 yards per target, Brown 10.3 yards per target). That comes from Tannehill. The only other team that has two receivers in the bottom-12 are the Giants (Darius Slayton and Golden Tate) and we know how that’s worked out. The downside to the matchup against the Packers this week is that they’re a team who’ve forced their opponents to be efficient if they want to score fantasy points, as they’ve averaged a league-low 60.4 plays per game against them. The Titans themselves have run just 64.7 plays per game, but still rank No. 2 in the NFL for total yards, while they’re tied with the Packers for the most offensive touchdowns (55) and tied with the Chiefs for most points (31.1 per game).
Jared Goff (LAR)
Goff would normally be an intriguing low-end QB1 option in this matchup, but there are a couple of factors that push him further down my weekly rankings. The first factor is that Goff is coming off a poor performance against the Jets, which was a matchup that he was supposed to smash in. Additionally, the Seahawks defense has tightened things up recently in the passing game. They’re still allowing the most passing yards per game in the NFL, but over their past three games, they’ve only allowed 161.7 passing yards per game. The recent matchups certainly play a part in that, but it’s still concerning for Goff’s fantasy outlook this week. In Week 16, you need to be sure that you’re playing someone with immense upside. Goff could easily let you down if he puts up a performance like he did last week against New York. He’s a mid-range QB2 this week.
Week 16 Running Back Rankings
Aaron Jones (GB)
The Packers chose the right week to give Jones more than 18 touches, eh? The 23 touches he had in that game were a season-high, and he rewarded them with 158 total yards and a touchdown. It certainly didn’t hurt that Williams suffered a quad injury and didn’t return to the game. This could be a coincidence, but Jones was averaging 15.1 touches per game from Week 6 through Week 15, but then saw that number jump to 25 and 27 touches in Weeks 16 and 17. Maybe Matt LaFleur has kept him fresh for the stretch run?
Leonard Fournette (TB)
Sure, Fournette found the end zone twice, but that’s the caveat of having the workhorse role in a high-scoring offense. He totaled just 49 yards on his 14 carries, though it was a tough matchup against the Falcons run defense. Whatever the case, we should expect Jones to resume as the primary back this week (if he returns). Why is that? According to NFL’s NextGenStats, Jones has averaged 1.13 yards per carry more than he was expected to this year, which is tied for the second-highest mark in the NFL. If he were to have been simply an average running back, he would be sitting on 696 rushing yards instead of the 900 that he is. Meanwhile, Fournette has averaged -0.26 yards per carry less than expected and has 21 fewer yards than the average running back would. The Lions are the team who’s allowed more fantasy points per game to opponents as a whole, but it’s even better for running backs, as they’ve accounted for 37.9 percent of the fantasy production to skill-position players, which is behind only the Packers. The 31.9 PPR points per game they’ve allowed to running backs is the most in the league, while the Texans are the only other team who’s allowed more than 28.8 PPR points per game to them. It’s not just volume, either. When you factor in weighted volume, they’ve allowed the most PPR points per opportunity in the NFL by a full 3.7 percent. Targets are worth a ton against them, as the league-leading 1.96 PPR points per target highlights (no other team is over 1.83). Because of that, they’ve allowed the second-most fantasy points through the air to running backs. The downside is that Jones has caught just three balls over his last four games, while Brady has targeted the wide receivers more often. Still, there should be enough production on the ground to carry him into at least RB2 territory. There’s also a ceiling to be had, as there have been six different running backs who’ve scored multiple touchdowns. There have now been 16 different running backs who’ve finished as a top-20 options against the Lions. They’ve played 14 games. The question becomes: How much do they involve Fournette after he played competently in Week 15? That’s why Jones remains in RB2 territory. Meanwhile, Fournette is someone who should be able to net 8-12 touches in this highly-efficient matchup, which gives him low-end RB3/flex value. Update: After hearing Bruce Arians say that Jones should be considered doubtful, Fournette needs to be locked into lineups as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2.
Week 16 Wide Receiver Rankings
D.K. Metcalf (SEA)
If you didn’t watch the Seahawks game last week, Metcalf appeared to tweak something early in that game while trying to stretch for a touchdown. He came down awkwardly, and though he returned to the game, he needs to be at his best for this week’s game. I don’t think it’s a coincidence he finished with just five catches for 43 yards in that game. We should be paying attention to his practice participation as the week goes on. Metcalf has said he’ll use comments as motivation, and he’s going to get plenty of them this week, because Jalen Ramsey is going to talk. Despite covering No. 1 wide receivers all year, Ramsey has allowed just 0.49 yards per snap in coverage, which is the third-lowest mark in the league. It’s not like it’s much better on Darious Williams‘ side of the field, as he ranks 12th while allowing just 0.80 yards per snap. The Rams haven’t allowed the deep ball this year, as evidenced by the league-low 10.48 yards per reception and 6.96 yards per target to wide receivers, which are both league-lows. Ramsey himself has allowed just 4.81 yards per target in his coverage. The last time they met, Metcalf finished with a season-low two catches for 28 yards. Look, you’re never going to bench Metcalf, but you should be dialing back expectations against Ramsey and company into high-end WR2 territory.
Corey Davis (TEN)
As it turns out, Davis’ lackluster Week 14 performance was a fluke, as he walked back into fantasy managers’ hearts in Week 15 with his four-catch, 110-yard, one-touchdown performance. It should’ve been two touchdowns, but Tannehill flat-out overthrew him in the end zone where there was no defender in sight. The Packers secondary has played phenomenal this year, especially when you factor in the level of competition they’ve played. Wide receivers have averaged 0.12 fewer PPR points per target versus the Packers than they have in all their non-Packers matchups, making it the fifth-toughest matchup from an efficiency standpoint.
Week 16 Tight End Rankings
Noah Fant (DEN)
He was the only player who wasn’t affected by Lock’s poor play in Week 15, as he managed to turn his season-high 11 targets into eight receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown. The 68 yards were the most Fant has totaled since back in Week 1, though it’s important to note it was a great matchup against the Bills who’d been struggling with tight ends all season. Still, it’s important to take advantage of those matchups. There have been just seven tight ends who’ve seen more than three targets against the Chargers this year. Only one of those tight ends (Mike Gesicki – two catches, 40 yards) has finished outside of the top-18 tight ends, while five of them finished as top-eight options. Of the 12 full games Fant has played this year, he’s seen five-plus targets in 10 of them, so he should come with a solid floor here. The 7.46 yards per target the Chargers have allowed is right around the league average, though the touchdown every 9.3 targets is more often than all but two other teams (Jets, Jaguars). When you look at the competition they’ve played, the Chargers have allowed 0.29 more PPR points per target than what their opponents have averaged in non-Chargers matchups, making it the fourth-best matchup from an efficiency standpoint. Fant is the one Broncos pass-catcher I’d feel confident starting in this game.
Rob Gronkowski (TB)
The good news is that he saw seven targets against the Falcons horrendous secondary (that had allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends). The bad news is that he finished with just three catches for 29 yards. That makes it the fourth time in the last six games where he’s finished with fewer than 30 yards. Keep in mind that’s when Antonio Brown arrived, so he’s clearly lost some of his appeal with Brown in the lineup. On top of that, Cameron Brate has started to see a more consistent role in the offense and has seen 18 targets over the last five games. Gronkowski’s 11.5 air yards per target is 2nd among all tight ends, which strikes me as odd at this stage in his career. Tight ends have only accounted for 12.7 percent of the production by skill-position players against the Lions, which is the lowest percentage in the NFL, though it does help that they’ve given up a massive number of points overall. It certainly doesn’t help that tight ends have seen the fifth-lowest target share (16.9 percent) against them. There have been 10 different tight ends who’ve finished with double-digit PPR points against the Lions, but none who’ve topped 15.0 PPR points. This all comes back to the limited targets that tight ends have seen because the 1.79 PPR points per target is right around the league average to the position. Bottom line, you can pick your poison against the Lions, and based on what we’ve seen, Brady hasn’t been picking Gronkowski too much lately, knocking him down into the low-end TE1/high-end TE2 territory.
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