Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 16
We are about to enter Week 16, aka fantasy football championship weekend. If you made it, congratulations. I hope some of my sleepers throughout the season helped you to get there. If my sleepers did help you, please let me know on social media via Twitter @therealnflguru. It always feels good to know that I helped someone.
This will also be the final edition of my sleepers column for 2019. It is bittersweet. While I put a lot of time into this and it is always good to have a break from writing, I always miss it when it is over. However, I am not going away. If you don’t know, I have my podcast and live stream, The FF Faceoff which can be found at Spreaker, Apple, Google and all of the top podcast platforms in audio format as well as YouTube, Pericope/ Twitter, Twitch and Facebook in video format. Just search “A Fantasy Football Podcast by the FF Faceoff” and you will find it if you are interested. Not only is it a year-round program, but we don’t just cover fantasy football. We do it all from NFL storylines, all of their biggest NFL happenings — free agency, the NFL draft, etc — as well as fantasy football content especially dynasty in the early offseason. We will also put a fantasy spin on any news and rumors Mike Hauff, who writes the weekly start/ sit column here at Gridiron Experts, and I cover. I am also very engaging on social media and answer all of your comments and questions if you tune in to the show live while shouting you out on the program!
What’s more, I also write some offseason content here at Gridiron Experts so keep an eye out for it! Well, without further ado, let’s go win that gold, that pride and that green! Happy holidays and good luck this week!
The following is a recap of the players from my Fantasy Football Sleepers article last week, you can read that here.
Most-Productive Players from Last Week
Fantasy Sleepers Last Week Full-Disclosure
- Jimmy Garoppolo had the matchup against the Falcons to have another big week. However, the Falcons came ready to play and not only shut down Garoppolo, but they also came out of Week 15 with a shocking jaw-dropping last-second win. With a tough matchup with the Rams upcoming in Week 16, Garoppolo should not be trusted. Meanwhile, it was another favorable week for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who exploited the Giants defense on the road en route to a QB7 finish. Fitzpatrick could be a league-winner as he will get the Bengals at home in the Week 16 fantasy championship.
- Outside of Raheem Mostert, who had a respectable 10.9 PPR points, my sleeper running backs failed to deliver in great matchups. While I expected a higher floor from Patrick Laird in New York, I am not too shocked to see a dud from Ronald Jones. In spite of a terrific matchup at the Lions, Tampa backs either go-off or they flop no matter the spot
- While both Zach Pascal and Deebo Samuel were duds if you started A.J. Brown, who ended Week 15 as the WR7, you’re likely sitting pretty in the fantasy championship. Brown has been outstanding in the second half and will get another chance to blow up in Week 16 against the Saints.
- Although David Njoku appeared to be a sneaky start in a prime matchup at a vaunted Cardinals defense at defending the tight end, he was deemed inactive via a coach’s decision at the last minute. There was nothing I can do to update this article. Hopefully, if you were counting on Njoku, you picked up and pivoted to his back up, Ricky Seals-Jones. In REVENGE GAME fashion Seals-Jones scored a pair of touchdowns which could have been Njoku’s. Yet again, Freddie Kitchens stuck it to us. On the other side, Tyler Higbee delivered once again with a TE3 finish. However, it appears that Gerald Everett is trending in the right direction and could potentially return this week, which could limit the white-hot Higbee.
Have some tough start/ sit decisions for Week 16? Don’t sweat! My co-host at the FF Faceoff Podcast, Mike Hauff, has you covered with his weekly Start’em/ Sit’em column featured exclusively at Gridiron Experts. You can read that here.
QB Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 16
ESPN Start-Percentage: 10.7
I can’t believe Ryan Fitzpatrick is only being started in 10.7 percent of leagues at ESPN right now. Not only did he finish as the QB7 last week with 20.7 points, but he’s also exploited terrific matchups in three of the past four games with his aforementioned 20.7-point Week 15 being his lowest scoring output of the three. What’s more, his only dud — a 14.3-pointer in Week 14 at the Jets — an anomaly as he played a lot of the game without DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson, who both exited the contest early with concussions. Now, in the proverbial revenge game, Fitzpatrick will return home for the first time in two weeks to challenge a Bengals defense allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to QBs at a 20.0 FPPG rate.
While the Cincinnati defense has played better of late, holding their opponent’s quarterback to fewer than 12.9 fantasy points in each of the past four games, three of those outings were at home and I believe the Bengals defense will be more vulnerable on the road. Moreover, it’s not like the Bengals faced the most explosive offenses amidst that four-game stretch either. They held down Tom Brady, Duck Hodges, Baker Mayfield, and Sam Darnold in each of the past four games since Week 12 who are not part of the league’s elite offensive units. And while I wouldn’t exactly call the Dolphins unit an elite offense, they can be dangerous at times and Fitzpatrick is not afraid to chuck the ball downfield and take chances. He has nothing to lose. Fitzpatrick, who has finished as a top-seven fantasy quarterback in three of the past four games, should once again flirt with the QB1 tier in Week 16.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 2.1
We don’t know a lot about Drew Lock, but in a small sample size, there is a chance that there could be something there. While in two of his three starts he put up fewer than 12.9 fantasy points, they were in tough matchups facing two of the league’s under-rated secondaries — the Chiefs and Chargers. However, in Week 14 at the Texans, Lock really flashed, accumulating 23.9 fantasy points on a 301/3/1 stat line while completing 81.5 percent of his passes. With weapons that include Courtland Sutton — a Pro Bowl Snub — flashing rookie Noah Fant and a pair of solid backs in Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, there is enough there for Lock to shine.
What’s more, Lock is getting a dream matchup facing the Lions, whose defense is yielding the sixth-most fantasy points to QBs at a 21.4 FPPG pace. While the Lions managed to hold Kirk Cousins and Dwayne Haskins to fewer than 13.6 fantasy points in two fo the past five games, they were lit up by Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston and Mitchell Trubisky in the remaining three for at least 23.9 points. Giving up 26.5 percent more fantasy points to QBs above the 1639-point NFL average in the past five weeks, the reeling Lions should struggle mightily on the road. another aspect that could work in Lock’s favor is the fact that the menacing Broncos defense could force David Blough to turn over the football, awarding Lock with additional scoring opportunities. Lock is a low-end QB2 with fringe QB1 upside in Week 16.
RB Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 16
ESPN Start-Percentage: 16.3
Although Patrick Laird disappointed in a favorable spot on the road last week at the Giants, finishing as the RB38 with 7.4 PPR points, I will double down on the Miami defacto RB1 (by default) again in Week 16. While laird couldn’t get going in Week 15, he still managed to accumulate at least 11.8 PPR points in three of his past five games. He has also managed at least 14 touches in each of his past three games, which shows that the opportunity is there. And I am a guy who chases opportunity because you can’t put up production without opportunity.
If Laird once again gets the opportunity — and he will — he will have his best chance to cash in since taking over as the top back in the underwhelming Miami backfield getting a Bengals defense at home on Sunday allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to RBs at a 22.6 FPPG pace. In each of the past five games since Week 11, the Bengals gave up at least 10.5 PPR points to their opponent’s top-scoring rusher and double-digit PPR points to eight different backs total in that five-game time period. In fact, in the past two games, the Cincinnati front seven allowed five different backs to put up at least 11.3 PPR points against them and I believe that trend will continue on Sunday with Laird. Laird is a high-floor Flex option with a back-end RB2 ceiling if he indeed scores in Week 16.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 14.3
While Kerryon Johnson has yet to be activated from the injured reserve list as of this writing, it certainly looks like he will not only start, but he is also expected to assume his usual workload. Normally in the RB2 tier, Johnson is a player who may be lingering on your waiver wire after his early-season placement on IR. And although I am not normally a Kerryon Johnson guy, he is a safe play if you’re hurting for a running back in the fantasy championship.
Although Johnson struggled in the season opener, he had a nice run leading up to his Week 7 injury, which hindered his season. In the games in which he was healthy from Weeks 2-6, Johnson accumulated at least 11.3 fantasy points in each of those four contests while getting at least 14 touches in each of the first five games of the season from Weeks 1-6, which was of course derailed by his before-mentioned Week 7 knee injury. Johnson also had two consecutive games with at least 21 touches in the mix in Weeks 3 and 4, which shows the Lions are not afraid of feeding their presumed bell-cow back.
Since some may wonder why the Lions wouldn’t just shut Johnson down at this point since they have nothing left to play for, you have to think about it like your their general manager or head coach, whose jobs will be on the line in 2020 assuming the rumors are true and Detroit will, in fact, retain both GM Bob Quinn and HC Matt Patricia. Not only do you still need to see more proof of what Johnson is — he’s only played in a total of 16 games up to this point through his first two seasons as a pro — but they also want Johnson to end the season on a positive note and with some momentum. Johnson can do just that in Sunday’s matchup at the Broncos facing a Denver defense allowing the 22nd most fantasy points to RBs at a 16.8 FPPG rate.
While the matchup at the Broncos doesn’t look great on paper, if you look deeper, you’ll see why I think he will be a high-floor play on Sunday. From Weeks 11-14, the Denver defense allowed at least 10 PPR points to their opponent’s top-scoring rusher. And although they managed to hold Kansas City running backs to fewer than 5.5 PPR points apiece last week, the Broncos gave up at least 100 total yards or a touchdown to four running backs in each of the four games prior. Assuming Johnson will get his usual workload, I’d roll with him in Week 16.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 9.3
Since Josh Jacobs is ruled out with his shoulder injury, DeAndre Washington is certainly in play for Sunday’s matchup with the Chargers. Why? Well in Week 14 when Jacobs missed his first game with his broken shoulder, Washington went off against Tennessee for 21.6 PPR points on 14 carries for 53 yards with a touchdown on the ground while being surprisingly busy as a receiving securing 6-of-7 targets for 43 yards. Assuming Washington will once again be trusted as a receiver out of the backfield, his pass-catching upside raises his floor.
Now, Washington will get a fantastic matchup at the Chargers, whose defense is surrendering the 12th most fantasy points to RBs at a 20.0 FPPG rate. While the Chargers front seven managed to hold both Leonard Fournette and Philip Lindsay to fewer than 9.8 PPR points in two of the past five games, they gave up a 15.9-point floor in the remaining three matchups in that time span to LeSean McCoy, Josh Jacobs and most recently Mike Boone with two of those contests occurring at Los Angeles. If Washington gets a similar workload to the one he received in his last start with Jacobs out — he handled 20 touches — Washington should once again flirt with fringe RB1 upside for Week 16.
WR Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 16
ESPN Start-Percentage: 25.1
With Mike Evans, Scotty Miller and Chris Godwin all sidelined with hamstring injuries, Breshad Perriman is the de facto WR1 for the Buccaneers, which isn’t as bad as people make it seem. Not only is Perriman hot of late — in his past three games, Perriman has put up at least 13.7 PPR points with at least five targets, three receptions and 70 yards — but he is also a former first-round pick of the Ravens whose caught 8-of-11 targets for 183 yards and four TDs combined in his past two games.
Now, Perriman will look to build on his recent favorable stretch and take advantage of his expanded opportunity in a terrific Sunday home matchup against the Texans, whose defense is allowing the 13th most fantasy points to WRs at a 23.2 FPPG rate. While the Texans have played better of late — they have given up fewer than 8.5 PPR points to the opponent’s top-scoring WR three times in the past five games — they have allowed at least 21.9 PPR points to the top-scoring receiver in the remaining 2-of-5, which shows their vulnerability. With a red-hot Jameis Winston playing the way he is — Winston has thrown for at least 456 yards and four TDs in back-to-back games despite losing his top-end pass-catchers in the midst of it all — it is safe to say Perriman will bring his high-ceiling in Week 16. Expect the 26th overall pick of the Ravens in the 2015 NFL Draft to remind everyone why he was selected in the first round again on Sunday.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 22.5
I’m not normally a Mike Williams guy, but in his past three games, he’s been trending in the right direction. In three games since Week 13, Williams has accumulated at least 11.7 PPR points while seeing at least seven targets in two of the three. Williams has also gained at least 117 yards receiving or scored a TD in each of his past three games, which shows he is getting more involved in the offense. Williams will take that streak into an outstanding Sunday matchup against the Raiders, whose defense is yielding the seventh-most FFPG to WRs at a 25.3 FPPG rate. While the Raiders have given up at least 10.1 PPR points to their opponent’s top-scoring WR in each of the past four games, they have allowed five different wideouts to drop double-digit PPR points on them in that four-game time period. What’s more, the Raiders have surrendered at least 18.6 PPR points to the top-scoring wideout in three of those outings, which shows their fairly consistent vulnerability. Williams is a solid Flex option for Week 16 who can return a high-ceiling if he puts together a complete game for the first time in 2019 in Sunday’s matchup.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 8.0
While I don’t love the matchup against Kansas City, Anthony Miller is one of the hottest wideouts in the game right now so it is puzzling that he is only being started in 8.0 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. In his past five games, Miller has accumulated at least 11.4 PPR points including two games with at least 23 PPR points in his past three. miller has also been targeted at least nine times in four of his past five games including three games in the double-digits. If his usage continues, and it will as Taylor Gabriel has yet to practice since sustaining his concussion back in Week 12, Miller will once again return a high-floor for his fantasy owners and could extend his five-game streak of double-digit PPR points to six when it is all said and done this week.
Although the Kansas City defense is considered a terrible unit by the general public, they are not. In fact, they have played better as the season progressed. While they are still susceptible to the run, the Chiefs are only yielding the fourth-fewest fantasy points to WRs at a 17.0 FPPG rate. However, while the Kansas City secondary has held their opponent’s top-scoring wideout to fewer than 9.3 PPR points in four of their past seven games, they’ve given up at least 11.3 PPR points in the remaining three of the seven. And those three outings in which they’ve allowed double-digit PPR points came in their past four games which bodes well for Miller’s fantasy outlook. Miller is an opportunity-needy Flex option who could return WR3 upside or better if he scores in Week 16. The last receiver to score a touchdown against the Chiefs was Julian Edelman back in Week 14, who also caught 8-of-12 targets for 95 yards to go along with his score en route to 24.3 PPR points and a WR8 finish. The significance? Edelman plays in the slot which is also where Miller mostly lines up. So keep that in mind when setting your lineup.
TE Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 16
ESPN Start-Percentage: 34.6
While O.J. Howard has been one of the biggest busts in 2019, he has been trending in the right direction down the stretch. In fact, not only has he received at least five targets in each of his past three games, but he also scored at least 11.1 PPR points twice in that time period. And while Howard only scored 8.6 PPR points despite getting a season-high eight targets last week, his opportunity-share has a chance to increase and jump into the double-digits in Sunday’s matchup with the Texans. Not only has Mike Evans and Scotty Miller been placed on the injured reserve list this week with hamstring injuries, but Chirs Godwin has also been ruled out for Week 16 with a hamstring injury of his own. What the hell is going on with Tampa Bay wideouts and their hamstrings? Must be some tainted water or something.
With the three aforementioned wideouts sidelined, plus an outstanding matchup at home facing a Texans defense surrendering the sixth-most fantasy points to TEs at an 8.5 FPPG rate, Howard is set up to have a big-time outing. While he’s been a disappointment for much of the 2019 campaign, Howard could cash in when it matters most. Despite the presence of Cameron Brate, who is not going anywhere and should also receive low-end fantasy consideration this week in standard leagues due to his touchdown upside, Howard is a high-floor opportunity-needy back-end TE1 with a high-ceiling if he goes off in Week 16. The Texans have given up at least 16.2 PPR points to their opponent’s top-scoring tight end in each of the past two games and in three games out of their last five, which bodes well for Howard’s outlook this week. He is a must-start considering the situation.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 23.3
It is time to fire up Jacob Hollister. While Hollister flashed earlier in the season, he has cooled off of late, only scoring double-digit PPR points one time in his past three games. However, in a dream matchup facing a Cardinals defense allowing by-far the most FFPG (13.6) to tight ends this season, Hollister has an excellent opportunity to go-off and win you fantasy gold. Not only has Hollister received at least six targets in 5-of-8 games played in 2019 including in two of his past three outings, but the Cardinals have given up 26.9 percent more fantasy points to TEs above the 12.3-point league average in the past five weeks. To put things in perspective, the Cardinals’ defense has allowed opposing tight ends to secure 16-of-21 targets for 166 yards and five TDs in the past five games since Week 11. With Josh Gordon no longer in the mix as he has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy yet again, Hollister could see additional targets going his way making him a high-ceiling start for Week 16. After the Cardinals allowed Ricky Seals-Jones to drop a 3/22/2 line on them last week, you’d have to think Hollister is a lock to score if you use him in the fantasy championship.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 16
Anthony Cervino is a lifelong NFL enthusiast, especially of the Dallas Cowboys. He has been infatuated with the game since childhood and was introduced to fantasy football as a young teen. Back then, the league commissioner typed out the weekly newsletter and used the Daily News to tally scores. In a statistic-driven game of fantasy football, Anthony believes that sometimes you have to rely on that good ole gut instinct. Anthony resides in New Jersey where he lives with his wife, son and a pomeranian that is named Roman (after Tony Romo). When Anthony is not immersed in the NFL or fantasy football related activities, he enjoys bodybuilding and spending time with his family. Anthony is committed to giving you his best analysis and most accurate statistics to help you win championships. Don’t hesitate to tweet Anthony @therealnflguru about anything NFL or fantasy-related topics. He will always respond in a timely fashion.