Below are notes covering each of the NFL’s 32 teams from a fantasy perspective. Use these tidbits to make the best waiver-wire, trade and lineup decisions for Week 16. Be sure to check back each week of the season for a new version of the Fantasy 32.
Throughout this piece, I’ll be referencing “OTD,” which stands for opportunity-adjusted touchdowns. It is a statistic that weighs every carry/target and converts the data into one number that indicates a player’s scoring opportunity. For example, if a player has an OTD of 3.0, it means that a league-average player who saw the same number of carries/targets in the same area of the field would have scored three touchdowns.
Arizona placed Adrian Peterson on injured reserve last week, which locks in Kerwynn Williams as the team’s lead back down the stretch. Williams has carried the ball at least 16 times during the three games Peterson has missed, but has zero touchdowns and only one reception during the span. He sits 10th at running back in carries, but 40th in fantasy points during the past three weeks. Williams sports a 0.8 OTD during the span, which trails both Elijhaa Penny (1.1) and passing-down back D.J. Foster (1.1) during the span. The heavy carry volume keeps Williams in the flex discussion, especially in non-PPR, but his minimal workload as a receiver and at the goal line gives him a very low ceiling. He’s best left on benches during league championships.
Tevin Coleman was sidelined with a concussion on Monday night, which allowed Devonta Freeman 27 touches on 51 snaps. Freeman fumbled twice in the game, which was otherwise extremely effective, pacing the team in both rushing (126 yards) and receiving (68 yards). Terron Ward managed nine touches on 19 snaps. Freeman has played 10 full games this season and sits sixth among running backs in fantasy points during those weeks. Regardless of Coleman’s status, Freeman is solid RB1 play against New Orleans in Week 16.
Mike Wallace has managed either 72-plus receiving yards or a touchdown during five of his past six games. He’s averaging 7.3 targets per game and sits 16th at the position in fantasy points during the six weeks of play. Wallace’s season started very slowly, but the Ravens’ offense has been significantly more productive as of late. Wallace has finished as a top-25 fantasy wide receiver six of the past seven seasons and is certainly in the WR3 discussion in plus matchups against the Colts and Bengals during the final two weeks of the regular season.
Kelvin Benjamin was limited to 36 snaps and two targets during Buffalo’s win over Miami on Sunday. He caught both passes for 20 yards, but the minimal usage raises obvious questions about the big man’s fantasy viability in Week 16. Since returning from his knee injury in Week 14, Benjamin has been on the field for 68 percent of the team’s pass plays and is averaging 5.0 targets per game. The limited playing time, Buffalo’s run-heavy offense and likely shadow coverage from Stephon Gilmore this week means Benjamin is no more than a touchdown-dependent dart-throw in the flex.
I think it’s safe to say Greg Olsen is back. Olsen entered Sunday’s game against Green Bay with four catches for 38 yards and no touchdowns on 11 targets during four games this season. He eclipsed all of those marks with 12 targets, nine catches, 116 yards and a score against the Packers. Olsen was limited to one target in his Week 14 return, but ran a route on 81 percent of the team’s pass plays. That percentage jumped to 97 percent in Week 15. Now healthy, Olsen is back in the top-five discussion at tight end and should be in lineups against Tampa Bay in Week 16.
Kendall Wright‘s 10-target Week 14 seemed like a fluke, but he’s worth another look after catching seven of 13 targets for 81 yards against Detroit on Saturday. Wright ranks fourth in the league in targets (24), third in receptions (17) and sixth in receiving yards (188) over the past two weeks. He has seen eight-plus targets during four of his past seven games, but totaled 11 targets (and 65 yards) during the other three outings. Wright also hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 4, which isn’t surprising considering his 0.9 OTD and the fact that Chicago ranks 28th in the NFL in offensive scores. Wright’s recent usage supplies him with a solid floor, but he should be considered for only a flex spot in deep PPR leagues.
A.J. Green was limited to two catches for 30 yards on four targets on Sunday. Green was shadowed by Xavier Rhodes on 18 of his 26 routes, including 17 of 20 on the perimeter. The four targets marked Green’s lowest total in a game in which he played at least half the snaps since Week 15 back in 2015. Even after the down game, Green sits 10th among wide receivers in fantasy points. That’s a bit of a letdown considering his preseason ADP, but a Bengals offense that ranks dead last in plays (55 per game) and 23rd in touchdowns (1.9 per game) is the true culprit. Green hasn’t posted a top-five fantasy season since 2013, but he is en route to posting his fourth-consecutive top-10 season when he appears in all 16 games. The 29 year old will deal with Darius Slay shadow coverage in Week 16 and is a fringe WR1 play.
In three games since Josh Gordon‘s return, Corey Coleman has totaled six catches on 13 targets for 78 yards and one touchdown. Coleman did most of that damage against Green Bay in Week 14 and totaled one catch for 16 yards in the two other games. Coleman has been on the field for 80 percent of the team’s pass plays during the span, but 4.3 targets per game simply isn’t going to cut it. That’s especially the case when a team-high five of those passes were off target. DeShone Kizer has been off the mark on 23 percent of his throws this season, which is ahead of only Deshaun Watson for worst in the league. Coleman remains a good dynasty stash, but he is not a viable starting option during fantasy championships.
If you stashed Ezekiel Elliott during his suspension and remain alive in your fantasy playoffs, congratulations on your strong investment. Elliott will return against Seattle on Sunday following a six-game absence. Elliott is averaging 23.4 carries and 3.0 targets per game this season and there’s little reason to expect a reduced workload this week, especially with Dallas still in the wild-card mix. Despite missing six games, Elliott’s 6.5 OTD still ranks 24th in the entire NFL (his nine touchdowns ranks eighth). Elliott averaged 55.4 snaps per game during his nine 2017 appearances, whereas Rod Smith and Alfred Morris combined to play 58 snaps during the span. Both Smith and Morris can be dropped and neither should be close to a starting lineup this week. Elliott was fantasy’s No. 3 scoring running back when he began his suspension and should be locked into lineups this week.
C.J. Anderson carried the ball 30 times for 158 yards against the Colts on Thursday. It was Anderson’s largest workload since he handled 32 carries in a game against Kansas City back in 2014. With Denver ahead throughout most of the second half, Anderson was on the field for 72 percent of the snaps — his highest total since Week 2. Despite the big game (and the fact that he’s clearly the team’s best back), Denver’s insistence on keeping Devontae Booker involved will continue to limit Anderson’s fantasy output. He’s no more than a flex option against the Redskins this week, but can be upgraded a bit in non-PPR leagues. Booker, meanwhile, should not be in lineups.
Eric Ebron found the end zone against Chicago on Saturday, which came after he caught 10 passes for 94 yards against Tampa Bay in Week 14. Ebron paces all tight ends with 15 receptions and sits second to only Trey Burton in fantasy points over the past two weeks. What’s interesting about Ebron’s hot streak is that it hasn’t been supported by a boost in playing time. In fact, Ebron was on the field for only 57 percent of the team’s pass plays on Saturday, which is his lowest mark since Week 8. Ebron has a nice matchup against Cincinnati this week, but he remains a very risky play and is best-viewed as a mid-pack TE2.
Aaron Rodgers made his much-anticipated return from injury against Carolina on Sunday. Much to the chagrin of those who held onto Jordy Nelson during Rodgers’ absence, the veteran receiver was limited to three catches for 28 yards on six targets in the game. Nelson hasn’t eclipsed 35 yards in a game since Week 6 and hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 5. Nelson’s Week 16 prospects depend on several variables, including the status of both Aaron Rodgers (will he be rested?) and Davante Adams (concussion). If Rodgers is out, two months of Brett Hundley starts confirms Nelson shouldn’t be in lineups. If Rodgers and Adams play, Adams will draw shadow coverage from Xavier Rhodes (same as he did Week 6), leaving Nelson to face off with Trae Waynes (Nelson put up six catches for 60 yards on 10 targets in the first meeting). Of course, if Adams is out, Rhodes will shadow Nelson and render him useless in fantasy. This is a situation to monitor throughout the week.
Making his first start this season, T.J. Yates targeted DeAndre Hopkins on 13 of his 29 aimed throws. Hopkins caught only four passes, but managed 80 yards and a touchdown. Hopkins has now been targeted on at least 40 percent of the team’s passes in back-to-back games and has reached that mark a whopping six times this season. Hopkins’ massive usage has allowed him a top-16 fantasy week during eight consecutive outings and 10 of his past 11. Hopkins has registered 24 end zone targets this season, which is six more than any other player and tied for second-most in a single season since 2008. He’s well on his way to breaking Brandon Marshall‘s record during the span (25 in 2011). Yates isn’t very good, but is expected to start the team’s final two games and Week 15 confirmed that he — same as his predecessors — will force-feed the ball to Hopkins. That locks fantasy’s No. 2 scoring wide receiver in as an elite option at the position against both Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.
Defense/special teams units have racked up 162 fantasy points against the Colts this season. The average weekly finish of a D/ST facing Indianapolis is 8.9, which is higher than only Cleveland (8.5). Jacoby Brissett has only thrown seven interceptions, but he has been sacked a league-high 49 times and the Colts rank 31st in the league with 21 offensive touchdowns. The Ravens D/ST is already second in scoring this season and obviously makes for an elite play against the Colts in Week 16. If you’re still playing in Week 17, the Texans’ unit (23rd ranked D/ST on the year) is a streaming option.
Blake Bortles went off for 326 yards and three touchdowns against Houston on Sunday, but I’d think twice before I rested my championship hopes on the Jaguars’ starting quarterback. Bortles has now produced a top-10 fantasy week in four consecutive weeks, but keep in mind that he managed only one top-13 outing during his first 10 games this season. Jacksonville has reached 30 points in three straight games, but all three were at home. The Jaguars’ offense is averaging 39 dropbacks and 3.0 touchdowns (1.9 passing) per game at home and 29 drop backs and 1.8 touchdowns (0.7 passing) on the road this season. The Jaguars head to San Francisco this week and Tennessee in Week 17. Recency bias is tempting here, but Bortles should still be viewed as a QB2 in Jacksonville’s run-heavy offense.
Desperate for cornerback help opposite Marcus Peters, the Chiefs signed Darrelle Revis late in November. Following a nondescript debut, Revis seems to be settling in and the experiment is paying dividends. Revis has been targeted on only 17 percent of his 72 coverage snaps and he’s allowing a terrific 0.15 fantasy points per route. Kansas City has allowed the second-most fantasy points to players lined up wide to the left this season, but sit at 16th since Revis’ debut. Granted, Revis is operating as team’s nickel corner, but the Chiefs’ defense has been much better with the likes of Terrance Mitchell and Phillip Gaines out of the mix. Revis will primarily see DeVante Parker in Week 16 and Demaryius Thomas in Week 17.
Hunter Henry‘s bizarre win/loss splits have been one of the weirdest trends in fantasy this season. During the Chargers’ seven wins, Henry is averaging 48.1 snaps, 23.7 routes and 6.4 targets per game. During the seven losses, he’s averaging 33.7 snaps, 16.7 routes and 2.4 targets. He’s fantasy’s No. 3 scoring tight end during the winning weeks and 28th during the losses. The good news for those invested in Henry is that the Chargers play two very winnable games against the Jets and Raiders to wind down the regular season. The bad news is he suffered a lacerated kidney in Saturday night’s game. Henry remains a fringe TE1 option, if he is able to play.
Robert Woods returned from injury on Sunday and immediately returned to No. 1 receiver duties. Woods paced the team with seven targets, six receptions, 45 yards and one touchdown. He was on the field for 22 of the team’s 25 pass plays. Woods has been active for 11 games this season and ranks ninth at the position in fantasy points during those weeks. The Rams lead often and are thus able to run the ball more than most teams, but they also sit fourth in the league in touchdowns (2.9 per game). Woods is locked in as Jared Goff‘s top target and is a solid WR2 play against Tennessee this week.
Kenny Stills was red-hot during the middle portion of the season, but the speedy receiver has been limited to three receptions on 10 targets for 26 yards and no scores during his past two outings. Stills has posted three top-10 fantasy weeks this season, but also has finished outside the top 50 seven times. Stills has been on the field for 97 percent of Miami’s pass plays and is enjoying a career-high 19 percent target share, but he’s too inconsistent to be relied on as a WR3. He’s a boom/bust flex option at Arrowhead this week.
Both Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray are viable starting options against the Packers in Week 16. That may seem like a bold call, but consider that they rank eighth and 19th, respectively, since Dalvin Cook went down for the season in Week 4. Both came up big in a plus matchup against the Bengals on Sunday, with Murray totaling 104 yards and a score on 21 touches and McKinnon posting 138 yards on 16 touches. The Vikings rank sixth in the league in offensive plays per game (66.2) and seventh in touchdowns (2.6). They’ve run the ball on 55 percent of their offensive snaps, which is the league’s sixth-highest mark. That’s enough volume to allow plenty of fantasy production from both backs.
Rex Burkhead went down with a knee injury on Sunday, which opens the door for larger workloads for Dion Lewis, James White and Mike Gillislee. Burkhead entered the game handling 22.3 snaps, 7.9 rushes and 4.0 targets per game since returning from injury in Week 7. He ranked seventh at the position in fantasy points during the eight-week span and has scored eight touchdowns in 10 games this season. When Burkhead missed Weeks 3-6, White registered 11 carries and 28 targets on 127 snaps. Gillislee totaled 46 carries and wasn’t targeted on 72 snaps. Lewis managed 24 carries and six targets on 68 snaps. Lewis has since taken on a larger role and Burkhead’s absence should solidify him as an RB2. White will see a boost in receiving work and is a flex option in PPR. Gillislee is a good bet to take over for Burkhead at the goal line, but his carry total won’t be massive and he sees almost no work in the passing down. He’s no more than a touchdown-dependent flex dart throw in non-PPR.
Rookie Alvin Kamara has stolen the headlines in New Orleans this season, but second-year Michael Thomas is quietly putting together another tremendous campaign. Thomas eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards on Sunday and has now scored a touchdown in three consecutive games. Thomas has managed at least 65 yards in 11 of 14 games and has a long catch of at least 20 yards during nine consecutive outings. Thomas was fantasy’s No. 7 scoring wide receiver in 15 games as a rookie and sits fourth in 2017. The 24-year-old wideout has emerged into a star at the position and is locked in as a WR1 during both the short and long term.
Eli Manning emerged from the abyss to complete 37 of 57 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns against a tough Eagles’ defense on Sunday. The big day marks Manning’s second top-five fantasy week of the year, though he has managed only three additional top-20 weeks. Believe it or not, Manning’s 2017 completion percentage (63 percent) is up from his career average (61 percent), but he has taken more sacks, dealt with more drops and has had less help after the catch. Manning’s yards per attempt is a career-worst 6.2 and has dropped each of the past three seasons. The strong performance against the Eagles is not enough to overshadow two years of offensive incompetence. Manning is not a viable QB1 against Arizona this week.
Robby Anderson was limited to five receptions for 40 yards at New Orleans on Sunday. Though the stat line is far from impressive, it’s become very apparent that Bryce Petty likes targeting Anderson … a lot. Petty went Anderson’s direction on 12 (or 35 percent) of his 34 aimed throws on Sunday and has now directed 49 (or 28 percent) of his 177 career throws at Anderson. The heavy usage, coupled with Anderson’s strong play this season, is enough to keep him in the WR3 discussion most weeks, but he’s an extremely risky play with Casey Hayward shadow coverage looming in Week 16.
With Amari Cooper sidelined on Sunday night, Michael Crabtree racked up a career-high 17 targets. This may seem hard to believe considering Oakland’s dysfunction and Crabtree’s injuries, but the veteran receiver has been targeted at least 10 times during five of the past seven games he has played in full. Crabtree has played 11 full games this season and sits fifth at the position in fantasy points during those weeks. Crabtree has eight touchdowns on the year (6.8 OTD) and only DeAndre Hopkins (24) has exceeded his 18 end zone targets. Crabtree is a WR2 option against the Eagles this week.
Nick Foles made his first start for the Eagles since 2014 on Sunday and it’s fair to say he delivered. Carson Wentz‘s replacement completed 24 of 38 passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns. Granted, the big game came against the defense allowing the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, but with Oakland and Dallas up next on the slate, Foles’ performance is enough to work him into the QB1 discussion. Foles is available in 56 percent of leagues, so if you’re looking for a streaming option this week, he’s your dude. Meanwhile, Foles’ productive play keeps Alshon Jeffery in the WR2 mix, Ertz as a strong TE1 and Nelson Agholor in the flex discussion.
Antonio Brown entered Week 15 having handled 32 percent of the Steelers’ targets, which works out to 12.0 per game. With Brown expected to miss the rest of regular season, those targets will obviously need to be distributed elsewhere. JuJu Smith-Schuster has managed a 17 percent share since taking on a significant role in Week 2 and boosting him close to 20 percent certainly locks him in as a strong WR2 play against a Texans’ defense that just allowed 326 yards and three touchdowns to Blake Bortles. Martavis Bryant has disappointed with only three top-30 fantasy week this season, but with Brown out, he’s a viable WR3 with major upside. With Smith-Schuster likely moving outside with Bryant, Eli Rogers makes for a deep PPR sleeper as the team’s slot man. If Vance McDonald remains out, consider Jesse James a streaming option at tight end.
The Jimmy Garoppolo-to-Marquise Goodwin connection was on point again on Sunday. Goodwin has now registered a minimum of eight targets, six catches and 99 yards during Garoppolo’s three starts. Despite failing to score a touchdown, Goodwin sits seventh in fantasy points during the span. Garoppolo has set a career-high in passing yards in each of his past three games, and though he’s tossed only two touchdowns during the span, he’s 11th among quarterbacks in fantasy points during the three outings. Despite the duo’s success, it’s a risky move starting either player against Jacksonville’s shutdown defense in Week 16. Garoppolo is a back-end QB2 and Goodwin no more than a flex.
Jimmy Graham has scored nine touchdowns this season, but he has been a non-factor during Seattle’s past two games. Graham has registered one catch for a 1-yard loss on five targets during the span. Graham has now failed to eclipse 34 receiving yards during five of his past six games, but does have five touchdowns during the span. Graham simply isn’t a great source of yardage at this point in his career, but he’s one of the most-likely players to find the end zone in a given week. Though he has faded from second over the past two weeks, Graham’s 9.8 OTD still ranks fourth in the entire league. Graham’s scoring upside keeps him in the top-five discussion at tight end against Dallas this week.
Doug Martin was a healthy scratch on Monday night, which opened the door for Peyton Barber to handle lead-back duties. Barber was on the field for 32 of 61 possible snaps in the game. The 2016 undrafted free agent carried the ball 13 times for 53 yards, adding three catches for 15 yards. Barber was the only Buccaneers back with a carry, though Charles Sims was targeted on four of his 28 snaps and Jacquizz Rodgers was on the field for two plays. Barber hasn’t exactly been exceptional this season (3.9 YPC), but he’s currently the Bucs’ lead and most effective tailback. His role is enough to get him on the flex radar against a tough Carolina run defense this weekend, but he’s best left on benches.
DeMarco Murray played 47 snaps to Derrick Henry‘s 15 against the 49ers on Sunday. Murray racked up 18 carries and one target in the game. Henry handled seven carries and two targets. Neither player was particularly effective (combined 3.1 YPC), but the fact remains that Murray is still clearly the team’s lead back. Murray is averaging 3.6 YPC this season, but has 29 more carries and 27 more receptions than his counterpart. Henry is averaging 4.8 YPC, including 2.65 after contact, which is the league’s third-best mark among backs with more than 30 carries. Especially with Tennessee’s season on the line, it’s absurd that Henry isn’t getting more run, but he simply can’t be trusted in the flex in his current role. Murray is a fringe RB2 against the Rams this week.
Vernon Davis averaged 4.0 receptions and 64.3 receiving yards per game during an eight-game stretch lasting from Week 3 to 11. In four games since, the veteran tight end has been limited to a total of six catches on 14 targets for 59 yards and one touchdown. Oddly, Davis ran a route on 61 percent of the team’s pass plays during the first stretch and 75 percent during his recent slump. Davis’ playing time suggests a rebound should be on the horizon and Washington is facing a Denver defense this week that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends over the past two months. Davis is a fringe TE1.