15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 16
There's a lot of anxiety related to winning a fantasy football championship. No one ever talks about it, but every play, every yard, every fraction of a point -- you sweat it all during the fantasy playoffs.
If you're reading this, that likely means you've handled the blood pressure spikes. You've cursed at your laptop at times, but you've celebrated in your living room more. You've made it. After 16 long weeks, you're playing for a fantasy football title.
Your roster may not be perfect, though. So let me help get it there.
Add Mike Boone
Dalvin Cook suffered the biggest fantasy football-related injury on Sunday, where he hit the ground awkwardly and hurt his shoulder. Because backup running back Alexander Mattison was already out with an ankle issue, the Cook injury led to Mike Boone carrying the rock 13 times for 56 yards and a pair of scores. If both Cook and Mattison miss Week 16, Boone will fall into a key backfield role against Green Bay on Monday night. He's a priority off the wire this week.
Add Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson
Chris Godwin was also hurt on Sunday, and his injury shakes up the fantasy football landscape, too. After the Buccaneers' win over the Lions, head coach Bruce Arians said that Godwin's hamstring injury "doesn't look good," which sounds similar to what was said about Mike Evans' hammy injury the week prior. And, as we know, Evans is out for the year now.
Breshad Perriman was featured in this column last week and, on Sunday, he caught 5 passes for 113 yards and 3 scores. His sub-15% target share was nothing to write home about, but Perriman becomes the de facto top option for Jameis Winston with Godwin and Evans sidelined.
In that game, wide receiver Scotty Miller also injured his hamstring. (What is going on in Tampa Bay?) He was playing more snaps than Justin Watson before the injury occurred, but Watson would jump into a significant role if Miller's out. So don't forget about Watson this week as well.
Add Boston Scott
There's a lot of love for Miles Sanders after his big, big performance in Week 15 (172 total yards, 2 scores), but don't ignore Boston Scott, especially if you've got a running back-needy squad. Scott was on the field a lot with Sanders, and he ended up playing 45.5% of Philadelphia's snaps against Washington. Because the Eagles are so banged up at pass-catcher, Scott saw a 17.5% target share on Sunday to go along with his 24% running back rush share. In deeper PPR formats, he's not the worst flex option at this point.
Add Greg Ward
Speaking of the unhealthy Philadelphia receivers, the player who's benefited most from all the injuries is probably Greg Ward. Over the last two weeks, Ward's seen 18.0% and 22.5% of Philadelphia's targets, and he's turned that into 7.4 and 19.1 PPR points. Not awful. He's outplayed J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, but Arcega-Whiteside's actually been on the field for more snaps over the next two weeks. That could become an issue if Nelson Agholor returns in Week 16, but the hope would be that Philadelphia uses the receiver who's playing best, which is Ward.
Add Chris Conley and Keelan Cole
The Jacksonville Jaguars offense has been pretty awful since the end of October. From Week 9 through this past week, their highest single-game point total is just 20 and, over this time, they rank dead last in scoring rate per drive. This is all to say that you shouldn't get overly excited about Keelan Cole and Chris Conley, who saw bigger roles on Sunday with number-one wideout D.J. Chark sidelined.
Cole had a 21.4% target share against the Raiders, while Conley's was nearly 29%. Considering Conley was used more and produced the stronger fantasy line, he'd be the one to prioritize this week. The Jags get Atlanta in Week 16, so there's a chance some of you could use someone like Conley in a decent enough matchup. But keep watching D.J. Chark's status -- it sounds like he could play.
Hold Devonta Freeman
It's been a pretty mediocre year for Devonta Freeman. Not only was he out for a chunk of the season, but when he's been healthy, he hasn't exactly been winning games for your fantasy squad.
The thing is, the running back position is sort of a dumpster fire after the first couple of tiers of players. Freeman, if nothing else, has been consistent in PPR formats thanks to a near 12% target share when he's been active. He's given fantasy managers something in nearly every game played.
Before you go dropping him after a 7.5-point outing against San Francisco this past week, make sure to wait it out. He saw 86% of Atlanta's running back rushes on Sunday, and in Week 16, he gets Jacksonville. When adjusted for strength of opponent, only the Panthers have been friendlier to fantasy running backs than the Jaguars. Even if you don't use him, your opponent may be able to.
Add Anthony Miller
Miller's made an appearance in this column a handful of times this season, but his second-half surge hasn't stopped. And he's still only rostered in 26% of Yahoo! leagues.
Over the last five games, Miller's averaged a 24.7% target share per game while providing fantasy managers with 17.6 fantasy points per contest. He's scored at least 11.4 points in each of those games. Having no Taylor Gabriel has helped, but there's no telling if and when Gabriel will be back from a concussion. In a pass-heavy script versus Kansas City this week, Miller should be usable.
Drop Tevin Coleman
Tevin Coleman hasn't hit a 20% running back rush share in back to back games now, and he's barely being utilized as a receiver. This is Raheem Mostert's backfield -- or, at least, he's the player you want in the backfield -- which makes Coleman nothing but a handcuff.
At this point in the season, though, you don't really need handcuffs. There's only one week left. The fear is if someone goes down in practice, but you're better off using those bench spots to block your opponent.
This transaction isn't just for Coleman -- it's for any handcuff who's not in store to see a lot of work in Week 16.
Add Dion Lewis
Just to reiterate: you should be dropping unusable handcuffs. Don't get rid of players who are behind injured starters, like we're seeing with Dion Lewis.
On Sunday, for the first time in over a month, Derrick Henry didn't post a top-10 fantasy performance at the running back position. Part of that was due to a negative game script that forced the pass-catching Lewis onto the field more, but Henry's also banged up. It was the second game in a row where he failed to play 60% of Tennessee's snaps.
Considering the Titans are in must-win mode, it's tough to envision a scenario where Henry doesn't play at all in Week 16. It's not a bad idea to play it safe, though, and add Dion Lewis.
Add Danny Amendola
It'll probably take a lot to play Danny Amendola against the Broncos during your league championship, but it's my duty to note when players are seeing good usage. And Danny Amendola is seeing good usage.
With Marvin Jones now on IR, Amendola saw 30.2% of Detroit's targets on Sunday. That's actually his third straight game with 21% or more of the Lions' targets, but it was the first time he was usable in fantasy, as he went for 102 yards.
Again, you're unlikely playing Amendola this week, but it's important to call out the uptick in volume.
Add Ryan Fitzpatrick
Another week of quarterback streaming, another week of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
According to Yahoo!'s percent rostered numbers, Fitzpatrick is still out there to grab in 75% of leagues. This is despite the fact that, since taking over as starter again in Week 7, he's averaged 18.5 fantasy points per game. During this time, Fitzpatrick's averaging more points per game than Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Kyler Murray, among plenty of other passers.
In Week 16, the Dolphins get another good matchup against Cincinnati. Per FanDuel Sportsbook, that game has a decent-sized 46.5-point over/under, and Cincinnati ranks as the ninth-best matchup for fantasy quarterbacks when adjusted for strength of schedule.
Add Andy Dalton
You could look to the other side of that matchup on Sunday and stream Andy Dalton, too. As I noted, the game's over/under isn't too bad, and Miami's allowed 4.4 points above expectation to opposing quarterbacks this year. In other words, quarterbacks have essentially gotten a 4.4-point bump in fantasy output when they've got up against Miami this year. Dalton's been bad from a fantasy perspective since coming back as the starter a few weeks ago, and you should prioritize Fitzpatrick in this matchup, but he's not the worst deep streamer in the world.
Add Mike Gesicki
You're probably sick of me talking about Mike Gesicki. He just keeps seeing work in the Miami offense, though, and his percent rostered numbers aren't reflecting it.
Gesicki's now seen a double-digit percentage target share in seven straight games, including a 19.5% share this past week against the Giants. His average target share per game is above 17% during this time. And, in Week 16, he gets that aforementioned matchup against the Bengals. Cincinnati's been fine against tight ends, but Miami shouldn't have a ton of trouble moving the ball, making Gesicki a strong streaming option once again.
Add the Indianapolis Colts Defense
Since it's Week 16, you're probably looking for multiple options at defense, right? Just in case one isn't available, you'd love a fallback plan, I'm sure.
I got you.
Let's kick things off with Indianapolis. They're playing at home, which is a plus, and they've got Carolina, which is also a plus. Since Week 8, defenses against the Panthers have scored an average of 11.5 standard points per game, and none have finished worse than 17th in weekly defensive scoring. As 6.5-point favorites, Indy should be playing with a positive game script, leading to more potential fantasy points.
Add the Denver Broncos Defense
Denver's probably a safer and better option than Indianapolis this week, as they're playing at home against Detroit as seven-point favorites. David Blough's taken at least two sacks in each of his three starts, and over the last two weeks, Detroit's allowed a top-five defensive performance in fantasy football. With a low over/under of just 37.5, you can feel good about the Broncos' defense this week.