It seems to happen every year; you draft a great fantasy team in August that’s set to dominate the Week 15-17 playoff stretch — only to get to the end and realize that the bad defenses are actually good and the guys you expected to be saving your season are supplanted by guys you’ve never heard of. You’re now in the playoffs. Week 15 was a wilder one than usual — or maybe it just felt that way with the hits coming over an additional day of action on Saturday.
You survived the slump games of stars like Nick Chubb, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, Mark Andrews DeAndre Hopkins Or if you trust emerging fantasy assets such as Zonovan Knight, Chris Olave and Drake London Or Isiah PachecoBravo! As we approach Week 16, it begs the question: Who should you trust? It makes sense not to be overly rigid, as in “Start your studs no matter what,” but it’s also necessary to take calculated risks and not peg your season on one outlier performance.
Let’s look at some names that could cause difficult fantasy decisions for playoff managers during Weeks 16-17.
Veterans getting hot
Jerick McKinnon RB Kansas City Chiefs
It seems like Kansas City has always had a running back that fantasy fans are rooting for, but that guy never gets to be great. Instead, we get something like McKinnon’s late-season greatness. For me, fantasy players, it is the most difficult thing to do. To get rid of what I don’t want to happen Accept the situation as it is With a team or player. McKinnon got more carries from Isiah Pacheco in Week 15, while McKinnon was equal with one carry each in the red zone. McKinnon’s role in the passing game, however, is just a massive boon to his fantasy output. Last week against the Texans might have been the best spot to count on the Chiefs’ backfield, but next week against the Seahawks is second-best. Both McKinnon & Pacheco can be used as needed.
Zay Jones WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s difficult to write about Jaguars. Experts were unanimous in their support for coaching and personnel changes, but the team quickly disappointed. Although the defense has provided some hope, the offense has been disastrously inconsistent. When they’re good, they’re great for fantasy, and I’m sure everyone here can recount weeks when Christian Kirk Jones won the matchup for them. Kirk is leading in fantasy points for the season, but over the last three games, Zay Jones has four touchdowns to Kirk’s zero. Jones is dominating the end zone, averaging 80 receiving yards and Kirk still getting eight targets per week.
I’m hopeful that I don’t have to rely on either Jags receiver this Thursday vs. the Jets, as New York’s pass defense is legit (they have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers) and it’s probably going to be a lower-scoring game.
Latavius Murray/Marlon Mack, RBs, Denver Broncos
Murray would be the one to join a Hall of Fame category for winning big off the bench. When it’s his turn, he takes advantage. He ran 24 times, for 130 yards and a touchdown in the win over Arizona. His average speed was 5.4 yards per carry. He also caught a pass for 12 yards. Mack was involved in the game with four catches to four targets and one rush touchdown on five carries. Mack had a 7.4 YPC average against the Cardinals’ defense.
I do not like timeshares backs. It is really They are not a good choice for low-scoring teams. The Broncos take on the LA Rams in Week 16, which isn’t a terrible matchup at this point but also isn’t a situation that screams “Attack!” If forced, Murray is startable, but I’m leaving Mack on the bench.
Russell Gage WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When a low-end receiver is out, you don’t expect his replacement to become the star of the offense, but that’s just what Gage did with Julio Jones Week 15 missed Gage led the Bucs with 12 targets, including two touchdown grabs. Chris Godwin All eight of his targets were caught and a touchdown was scored. Mike Evans The Bengals only allowed five targets to be caught.
This represents Gage’s best fantasy game of the season, and one that is unlikely to be repeated even if Jones misses Week 16. I think it’s much more likely for Evans to get back on track vs. the generous Cardinals defense. This one is a fluke.
The wannabe heroes
Tyler Allgeier, RB, Atlanta Falcons
If I’ve learned one thing over the past two seasons, it’s that Cordarrelle Patterson He will not be forgotten. He and Allgeier both scored in the loss to the Saints, but Allgeier caught fantasy managers’ attention with his 139 rushing yards and 8.2 YPC vs. the Saints. Patterson was able to run three more plays than Allgeier, while Patterson was able to target two more. Allgeier’s good news is that the Falcons will run the ball as hard as ever, but with a new coach. Desmond Ridder There are three possible ways to split goal-line opportunities in the mix right now.
Next are the Ravens. They are a team that is average against the run defensively. I’d start Allgeier over other timeshares like the Bucs, Dolphins or Bills but I’d consider someone like Deon Jackson vs. Chargers in what should have been a more lead-back position instead of Allgeier.
K.J. Osborn, WR Minnesota Vikings
I had written my Kirk Cousins The playoff teams had already been eliminated after the first quarter of the Saturday Vikings game. However, they continued their incredible season with another win. Osborn Justin Jefferson Both had 16 targets to reach and finished with close to identical fantasy point days, each with 30+ fantasy points. Even Adam Thielen Although Osborn was able to score, his 3-41-1 record pales in comparison with his teammates. Despite the Vikings solidifying their pseudo-dominance with this dramatic victory, Osborn is not a player I’m trusting my fantasy season to.
Next are the Giants who can be frustrating and sneaky. Jefferson, Cousins Dalvin Cook These are the only Minnesota men I trust in my Week 16 roster.
Noah Brown, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Brown and CeeDee lamb On Sunday, the Jaguars were beaten up for a while. Brown was able to catch six of nine targets, which is 49 yards. Lamb caught all seven for 126 yards. Michael Gallup Dallas tight ends combined for five and earned two targets. If you just looked at the box score, you’d appreciate that it was a relatively run-heavy game plan, with Ezekiel Elliott Tony Pollard It was a fairly even split of 35 carries as well as seven targets in the loss.
Though Brown looks to have distanced himself ahead of Gallup in Week 15, the recent trend shows them to be much more similar (both have a similar number of targets and two touchdowns over the last three games, with Gallup’s 46.7 percent catch rate leading him to about two-thirds of Brown’s fantasy points in that span). With a tough tilt against division rival Philadelphia on tap for Week 16, Brown is someone I’d rather not have to start. Maybe you have Diontae John Or DJ Moore on your bench — both look to be getting some mojo back and face much friendlier matchups than Brown in Week 16 (Raiders and Lions, respectively).
Hail Mary plays for SuperFlex/2QB leaguers
Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
Because of their talent, the 49ers’ QB is fantasy-relevant. Purdy appears to fit the San Francisco mold for safety-first and conservative ball-control QB play. Purdy’s three most recent games saw him throw two touchdowns, add one rushing touchdown, and protect the ball with just one turnover (Week 13). His passing yard numbers aren’t electrifying, but he has a knack for finding the open man and finally figured out that George Kittle You can BE that man. It looks like he’ll struggle to have mOre than one skill player besides Christian McCaffrey achieve fantasy accolades per week, but if you’re someone starting Daniel Jones, Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill or Andy Dalton Purdy is an upgrade in a 2QB league.
Desmond Ridder (Atlant Falcons)
Ridder’s appeal lies partly in his novelty and our bias towards new and exciting ideas, but also his speed/scrambling abilities. In the narrow loss in New Orleans, Ridder ran six times and threw for only 97 yards. He didn’t make any big mistakes, and his absurdly low 3.7 yards per completion average was still better than regular 2QB starters like Mac Jones (who had a better matchup than Ridder during Week 15). It’s nearly impossible for me to imagine a playoff team being This desperate at QB, so while it’s worth paying attention to what the rookie does down the stretch, it’s not worth starting him in Week 16.
Brett Rypien, Denver Broncos
He led the Broncos to their second-highest point total of the season, which honestly isn’t a high mark to pass as Denver is the lowest-scoring offense in the league. In the victory over Arizona, he completed 80.2 percent of his passes and threw one touchdown and one pick. This was a dream matchup for him, given that the Cardinals give up the second-most overall fantasy points to opponents, and he still didn’t break the fantasy bank with only 7.7 fantasy points.
Rypien appears destined to be a backup quarterback in his third season and should therefore remain on fantasy bench.