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Rich Hribar

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The NFL Week 16 Worksheet

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


Week 16 is here and hopefully you’ve all moved on to the Championship Game this weekend in your seasonal leagues. The fantasy season is coming down to an interesting finish as we’ve had the three lowest scoring weeks of the season in per game scoring output over the past three weeks, with the lowest coming in Week 15. If you were on the unfortunate side of outcomes in your leagues, there’s always a few more weeks of DFS to keep the fantasy juices flowing.  Thursday games are finally over this week, so we have a little extra time to set our lineups, but don’t forget that there are still two games on Saturday.

 

Also, as a disclaimer for Week 17...with the Holidays throwing a wrench in things, the Week 17 Worksheet won’t be posted until Friday next week. Thank you in advance and Happy Holidays!

 

For those that are new here, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.

 

As the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is an expectations-based column over a linear start/sit forum. The labels for each subset of players for each game is simply the vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player. Players that are high performers week-to-week are held to different standards than a secondary option in an offense. Every player runs into down weeks, and we’re trying to identify those moments, even for the star players you’re going to ride through thick and thin moments that don’t tally many low points during the season. That said, we’re still embracing some of the elements that will go along with a start/sit column as a byproduct of those expectations. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process.  Remember, you control your own team. If you are curious as to my personal weekly rankings, they can be found each and every week in the Season Pass section.

 

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All lines are taken from VegasInsider on Tuesday nights 

 

Washington @ Titans

 

WashingtonRank@TennesseeRank
10   Spread -10  
13.5   Implied Total 23.5  
18.9 28 Points/Gm 19.1 27
22.1 13 Points All./Gm 18.1 2
61.7 24 Plays/Gm 59.9 29
62.1 13 Opp. Plays/Gm 62.1 14
42.6% 12 Rush% 49.1% 2
57.4% 21 Pass% 51.0% 31
40.5% 13 Opp. Rush % 41.3% 17
59.5% 20 Opp. Pass % 58.7% 16

 

  • The Titans have rushed for over 200 yards as a team in consecutive games for the first times since the 2008 season.
  • Derrick Henry has a league-high 13 runs of 10-plus yards the past two weeks after having 12 such runs through 12 games.
  • Per Pro Football Focus, 91.2 percent of Henry's rushing yards the past two games have come after contact as he's forced a league-high 17 missed tackles on his rushing attempts. The next highest running back has forced eight missed tackles on rushing attempts over that span.
  • Henry played a season-high 70 percent of the snaps in Week 15, besting his previous high of 51.6 percent of the snaps in Week 3.
  • Tennessee is first in the league in opponent points per play allowed (.292) on the season.
  • Washington has targeted their wide receivers on just 44.5 percent of their passes, the lowest rate in the league.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Derrick Henry: We’re just here and I will accept that Henry is this year’s Eric Ebron from a year ago and is going to win leagues for those who have held him after three months of darkness or picked him up. Henry has a massive 51 touches the past two weeks and runs into a dream spot as a home favorite against a run defense that has allowed 131.9 rushing yards and 5.2 yards per carry to opposing backfields over their past seven games.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Corey Davis: Volume is the issue here as Davis is averaging just 4.8 targets over the past five games with 42 or fewer receiving yards in four of those games. Washington is not a team to be scared of as they are 20th in points allowed per game to opposing lead wideouts, but Davis is only a lower-end WR3 option given his volume and the Titans unlikely to be pressed into a pass-heavy offensive attack.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Marcus Mariota: Washington isn’t a matchup to run from, but with Tennessee controlling the past two games and awakening their dormant run game, Mariota has thrown just 44 passes the past two games for a total of 250 passing yards and zero touchdowns.
  • Adrian Peterson: We’re getting him as a road underdog once again. That will make his usage touch-and-go, while he’s rushed 94 times for 336 yards (3.6 YPC) over his past seven games.
  • WAS WRs:  No receiving group sees less work per game than this unit and because of that, Washington wideouts are last in the league un receiving yardage.  Johnson has Josh Doctson six times and Jamison Crowder five times over his time under center if you need to chase.
  • Dion Lewis: He still has double-digit touches in six of his past eight games with 15 and 10 touches the past two games with Henry going berserk, but there’s marginal pass-catching appeal here with game script and Henry has the money rushing attempts locked down.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)

 

  • Josh Johnson:  The passing yardage will be elusive, but Johnson has been the QB3 and the QB11 the past two weeks, adding 45 and 49 yards rushing on 16 total rushing attempts.  The Titans have not faced a plethora of running quarterbacks but did allow 44 and 70 yards rushing in each game versus Deshaun Watson and 4-19-1 to Josh Allen on the ground.

 

Ravens @ Chargers

 

BaltimoreRank@LA ChargersRank
4.5   Spread -4.5  
20.0   Implied Total 24.5  
24.4 13 Points/Gm 28.2 4
18.1 1 Points All./Gm 21.3 9
71.6 1 Plays/Gm 59.5 30
61.5 12 Opp. Plays/Gm 60.5 6
46.4% 6 Rush% 42.4% 14
53.6% 27 Pass% 57.6% 19
37.6% 6 Opp. Rush % 39.6% 11
62.4% 27 Opp. Pass % 60.5% 22

 

  • The Chargers average 6.6 yards per play on offense, second in the league.
  • Baltimore allows 4.7 yards per play on defense, the fewest in the league.
  • Since Lamar Jackson took over as starting quarterback, Baltimore has outrushed opponents by 164.8 yards per game, the highest rate in the league. The next closest team over that span (Houston) is at +68.6 rushing yards than their opponent.
  • Over that span, the Ravens have run 78 more offensive plays than their opponents, the largest play differential in the league.
  • Opponents have averaged just 57 offensive plays per game over that span, the fifth-fewest in the league. The team allowing the fewest plays per game over that stretch is the Chargers at 55 plays per game.
  • 36.5 percent of Jackson's rushing attempts have resulted in a first down, the highest rate for any player with 100-plus rushing attempts on the season.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Lamar Jackson: He’s been the QB9-QB15 in all five of his starts, providing a solid floor each week. This is by far his stiffest matchup so far, which may push some people away, but it also may provide an opportunity for him to use his legs more creatively this week. Jackson has not had to drop back and pass while the Ravens have controlled games or been pressed by an opposing defense. As a result, Jackson has just 13 scramble attempts on the season out of his 114 rushing attempts. On scrambles, Jackson is averaging 7.6 yards per carry as opposing to 4.6 yards per tote on his designed runs. If the Chargers and game script force more drop backs, Jackson could even have more rushing upside than assumed in a tough assignment.
  • Melvin Gordon:  Expected to return after a three-game absence, you’re firing him up if you got him, but runs into a tough assignment in his first game back off the long layoff. The Ravens are first in the league in total yardage surrendered to backs per game (96 yards). That said, they just did allow 85 yards rushing and a score to Peyton Barber. Gordon was matchup-proof prior to injury and was having a Gurley-lite type of season, so as long as he’s not limited, the touches and receptions should be here for a high floor.
  • Mike Williams: Operating under the assumption Keenan Allen is more on the negative side of things since you’re going to end up using Allen if he plays anyways. Williams will get a bump if Allen can’t go, which will make him the primary target once again. With Allen sidelined a week ago, Williams received a career-high 31 percent of the team targets and even added a rushing touchdown. This week he’ll get a much tougher matchup against a Ravens defense that has allowed opposing wideouts to catch just nine touchdowns this season (tied for second) but have allowed WR1 games to Tyreek Hill (8-139) and Mike Evans (4-121) the past two weeks, players that receive more vertical targets such as Williams sees.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Philip Rivers: He’s been as steady as they come, throwing multiple touchdowns in every game but one on the season, but he’s also only thrown more than two scores just once over his past 10 games. Expecting a ceiling game is tough here against a Ravens pass defense that has allowed more than two touchdown passes just once this season and is allowing just 13 passing points per game (sixth). Tack on that Allen may be held out and Rivers’ outlook is more of a QB2.
  • Keenan Allen:  We’ll still need to monitor Allen’s practices this week after a hip pointer was expected to have him sidelined, but early word is that he is going to be a game-time call. While you’re going to use him if he’s ready to go, expectations should be pulled in for a WR3 type of outlook with upside.
  • BAL WRs: The highest someone from this group has finished with Jackson under center is WR31, while no receiver has topped 61 yards in any of those five games. Willie Snead has been Jackson’s preferred target, leading the team with 27 targets from Jackson, but only is a floor-based WR4 with only one touchdown on the season.
  • Gus Edwards:  He still led the backfield in opportunities last week, out-touching Kenneth Dixon 19-12, producing 104 yards and a touchdown. He still has yet to be targeted by Jackson in the passing game and is a road underdog, making him a sketchy yardage-only option that needs to reach the end zone to have relevancy.

 

 

Buccaneers @ Cowboys

 

Tampa BayRank@DallasRank
7   Spread -7  
19.8   Implied Total 26.8  
24.6 12 Points/Gm 19.7 26
28.8 30 Points All./Gm 19.2 4
66.0 4 Plays/Gm 64.4 8
62.3 15 Opp. Plays/Gm 59.9 5
37.3% 27 Rush% 43.6% 8
62.7% 6 Pass% 56.4% 25
42.7% 22 Opp. Rush % 41.8% 19
57.3% 11 Opp. Pass % 58.2% 14

 

  • Dallas has converted just 2-of-11 (18.2 percent) red zone possessions for touchdowns over their past three games, the lowest rate in the league over that span.
  • Opponents have converted 78.4 percent of their red zone opportunities for touchdowns against the Buccaneers, the highest rate in the league.
  • Tampa Bay has allowed a league-high 24 passing touchdowns and is tied for allowing a league-high 16 rushing touchdowns in the red zone this season.
  • Tampa Bay ranks 32nd in rate of runs allowed to gain five or more yards (40.4 percent), 10-plus yards (17.8 percent) and rate of runs to gain a first down (32.2 percent).
  • 60.1 percent of the rushing yards allowed by the Buccaneers this season have come from runs of 10-plus yards, the highest share in the league.
  • Ezekiel Elliott leads the league in runs of 10-plus yards on the season (37) and ranks second in the league in yardage gained (662 yards) on those runs.
  • Just 29.2 percent of Jameis Winston's passing yardage has come after the catch, the lowest rate for all quarterbacks. League average is 46.7 percent.
  • The Buccaneers have lost 11 consecutive road games that Winston has started.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Ezekiel Elliott: Zeke has at least 100-yards from scrimmage in seven straight games with 25 or more touches in each of his past six games. At home against a Tampa Bay run defense that has allowed over 100-yards rushing in nine consecutive games is as good as it gets.
  • Amari Cooper: He has been the WR13, WR1, WR26 and WR1 in his four home games with the Cowboys, catching all six of his scores in Jerry’s World. Tampa Bay has allowed the most receptions per game (6.6) to opposing lead wideouts and nine touchdowns to them, tied for 25th in the league.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Dak Prescott:  He’s traded great games with duds as his fantasy ceiling has gone along with Cooper’s production. This week, Cooper is in a strong spot against a man-to-man defense while Prescott doesn’t have a bad outlook himself against a Tampa Bay defense that is 30th in touchdown passes allowed on the season. He’ll need those touchdowns as the Bucs have allowed just 210.3 passing yards over their past six games since opposing teams are just destroying them on the ground, something that may happen here.
  • Mike Evans: Evans is having one of the weirder seasons as he already has posted a career-high 1,328 receiving yards on 74 receptions but has also been a WR1 in just three of his past 11 games with two touchdowns over that span. He also has four or fewer receptions in five of his past seven games. Dallas has allowed just three WR1 scoring weeks on the season, but Evans has made a habit of showing up for his best moments when we finally believe he’s drawing his worst outlooks.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Jameis Winston: His yardage has dropped with 213 and 157 passing yards the past two games as he has finally hit a tough portion of the schedule. That’s the case here as Dallas can limit opponent play volume, rush the passer and defend the pass well, a cocktail that has allowed just three opposing passers to post a QB1 scoring week against the Cowboys this season.
  • Chris Godwin: Things has gotten real sour for Godwin the past two weeks, catching just 1-of-13 targets over those games. Dallas ranks ninth in the league against boundary wideouts, leaving us only to chance Evans out of the two outside options in the offense. DeSean Jackson also may get back into the lineup, stomping out Godwin's target upside.
  • Cameron Brate: You can always chase a touchdown with Brate, but he’s a non-factor outside of getting end zone targets. Brate has just nine catches for 83 yards over his four games since O.J. Howard was lost for the season.
  • Peyton Barber: The running back version of Brate to a degree, Barber at least does have 15 or more touches in five straight games but is still relevant only on the strength of finding the end zone. Barber has five RB2 or better scoring weeks on the season and all have come with a touchdown. Over his eight games without a score, he’s been the average RB48 per week. As a road underdog, that touchdown is a tough chase even though he was in a worse spot a week ago.
  • Adam Humphries: His floor has returned, finishing as the WR45 and WR56 the past two games, reminding us that he still needs to find the end zone most weeks to elevate his fantasy stock and those touchdowns he was scoring were always going to be hard to maintain. The Cowboys are really good on the perimeter against opposing wideouts, but also good on the inside, ranking ninth in points allowed to opposing slot options.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)

 

  • Blake Jarwin: A top-10 scorer in each of the past two games, Jarwin is in a favorable matchup. The Buccaneers have allowed a league-high 10 TE1 scoring weeks this season. The downside is Jarwin has just one red zone target on the season with just no targets inside of the 10-yardline.

 

Vikings @ Lions

 

MinnesotaRank@DetroitRank
-5.5   Spread 5.5  
24.5   Implied Total 19.0  
23.1 17 Points/Gm 20.3 25
22.0 12 Points All./Gm 23.8 19
63.8 12 Plays/Gm 62.7 21
61.5 11 Opp. Plays/Gm 59.1 1
35.2% 28 Rush% 39.1% 21
64.8% 5 Pass% 60.9% 12
44.1% 27 Opp. Rush % 43.7% 24
55.9% 6 Opp. Pass % 56.3% 9

 

  • Over their past eight games, the Lions have scored on just 28.2 percent of their drives, ahead of only the Cardinals (21.5 percent) over that span.
  • Opponents have scored a touchdown on just 16.1 percent of their possessions versus the Vikings, the lowest rate in the league.
  • Minnesota has allowed one or fewer passing touchdowns in nine straight games, the longest streak in the league this season and their longest such streak as a franchise in a single season since 1989.
  • The Vikings are allowing opponents to convert a league-low 28.8 percent of their third downs into first downs.
  • The Vikings ran the ball a season-high 63.5 percent of their offensive plays last week, the first time they’ve been over 50 percent this season.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Dalvin Cook: He’s set a new season-high in touches in each of the past three games with last week’s 163-yard, two touchdown game on 20 touches as his best performance. The Vikings ran the ball 50 percent of the time versus Detroit in their first meeting, which was a season-high prior last week. The matchup isn’t as strong as a home favorite against the Dolphins defense like a week ago, but the Lions have placed Ezekiel Ansah and Da’Shawn Hand on injured reserve over the past two weeks.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Adam Thielen: The Lions have been a team we’ve attacked in the slot all season, ranking 26th in points allowed to slot options this season. But Thielen ran just 36 percent of his routes from the slot a week ago after that number was 58.3 percent prior. He is coming off just two catches on two targets and had just four catches for 22 yards when these teams met last in Week 9 when Minnesota attempted just 22 passes. If Minnesota takes the air out of the ball once again, Thielen may have to make the most of marginal volume once again.
  • Stefon Diggs: His volume has dipped a bit with 19 targets over the past three weeks, giving him five, four and four receptions over that span. Overall passing volume can once again be an issue here, but Diggs has had reasonable success against the Lions and Darius Slay, posting a top-30 scoring week in four games with at least five catches on each game.
  • Kenny Golladay:  Last week was a good reminder that it’s hard to fade the type of volume he can get with no surrounding pieces in this Detroit offenses and the types of targets he does get carry high upside. The matchup is brutal here against a Vikings team that allows the fewest amount of fantasy points to opposing boundary receivers in the league, but it’s hard to keep Golladay outside of the WR2/3 options when laying out the field.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Kirk Cousins: This is not a tough matchup by any means, I just need a home for Cousins and arrived here as the best spot for him. Detroit is 22nd in passing points allowed per game (16.5), but what is a concern is the Vikings potential game plan. Last week they went run-heavy in a game they controlled as Cousins threw a season-low 21 passes. That was also the case when these teams last played as Cousins only threw the ball 22 times for a season-low 164 yards in that matchup.  The Lions are poor enough to allow Cousins to have an efficient day, but with Cousins already not being a ceiling option of late, there are better options to pursue.
  • Matthew Stafford: His fantasy output has been stomped out by offensive injuries and hasn’t had much success against the Vikings since Mike Zimmer has been in Minnesota. Stafford has been the QB16 or lower in 8-of-9 games against a Zimmer-led Vikings defense, including a QB24 scoring week back in Week 9 when he was sacked a career-high 10 times.
  • Zach Zenner:  He’s scored in each of the past two weeks but had just 45 yards last week on 13 touches. Overall, this is just tough spot to chase a touchdown.

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Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer. You can find him on Twitter @LordReebs.
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