15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 16
I get things wrong all the time.
If you've read this column this year, you know that. If you read this column last year, you know that. And the year before that. And the year before that.
Understanding that you're going to be wrong in fantasy football, though, is the first step in being a better fantasy football player. It forces you to cover your own ass throughout a season. You make more rational moves, and you plan for the inevitable, "Oh, so Corey Davis actually won't be usable down the stretch" circumstances.
My goal with 15 Transactions each week is to, of course, provide actionable information that you can use to win your fantasy football league. But, just as importantly, it's to open your mind to seeing that this is a process-over-results game, and as long as your logic and reasoning was sound, you still win.
OK, OK, I still want you to win your freaking fantasy football championship.
If you're playing for one this week, here are 15 moves -- with a focus on just adds and drops -- that can help put you over the top.
Thanks for another great season.
Add Mike Gillislee
Hey, remember this guy? Mike Gillislee's been a healthy scratch for a month and a half now, but he should be dressed in Week 16 thanks to an injury to Rex Burkhead. While Dion Lewis will more than likely shoulder the load, Gillislee may end up seeing goal-line looks, as he did early in the season. The Patriots haven't used Gillislee since Week 8, and they had a bye in Week 9. But since Week 10, only Mark Ingram and Jonathan Stewart have more carries from within the opponent's five-yard line than Burkhead (seven) does, and Dion Lewis has only one of those types of touches. Meaning, they haven't exactly trusted Lewis close to the goal line.
In a game this week with the potential for a positive game script (New England's at home against Buffalo -- who entered Week 15 with numberFire's worst schedule-adjusted rush defense -- as 12.5-point favorites), Gillislee could see some work. And we've got the narrative going, as he'll be facing his former team.
Drop Alfred Morris
This transaction is here for two reasons. First, it's a reminder that Ezekiel Elliott's suspension is over, which makes Alfred Morris pretty irrelevant in fantasy football. Second, it's a reminder that worthless fantasy football assets -- players who you won't use and your opponent won't use -- can be sent to the waiver wire. Though Morris played well in relief of Zeke, he won't provide lots of fantasy points in Week 16.
Add Kendall Wright
Over the last two weeks, Mitchell Trubisky's thrown the ball 78 times, averaging 292.50 passing yards per contest. Kendall Wright's seen 24 of those 78 passes, which is good for a legitimately elite 30.77% target share in the Bears' offense. Wright hasn't found the end zone, but he's tallied close to 200 yards on 17 receptions over this two-game span. And during this time, he's played in the slot on about 64% of his snaps, per Pro Football Focus. That makes for an interesting matchup against Cleveland this week: the Browns have allowed six top-10 wide receiver performances this year (PPR), and four of those six players (Keenan Allen, Golden Tate, Adam Thielen, T.Y. Hilton) ran at least 30% of their routes from the slot, with three of them hitting at least the 40% mark. Given Wright's surge in volume, he makes for a really interesting play and isn't a bad fill-in for Antonio Brown owners.
Add Blake Bortles
Blake Bortles is still available in about half of Yahoo! leagues, and after balling out in Week 15, he's got an opportunity to do the same in Week 16. The 49ers, his opponent, are allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing passers, and our numbers have them as a bottom-five secondary when adjusted for strength of opponent. We can't ignore that Bortles has played really well over his last three contests, too, with an 8.83 yards per attempt rate in Week 13, a 9.93 one in Week 14, and an 11.24 rate this past week. And despite being on the road, the Jaguars are still five-point favorites. Bortles should, logically, give you a decent performance this week.
Add Keelan Cole
Keelan Cole has been a beneficiary of Bortles' strong play over the last three weeks, scoring a tuddy in each of these contests. His volume hadn't really been there with three targets in Week 13 and three more in Week 14, but that jumped to nine in Week 15, partially due to Marqise Lee's early-game injury. With Lee looking doubtful for Week 16, Cole could continue to see volume in the aforementioned plus matchup versus the 49ers.
Add Kerwynn Williams
Is Kerwynn Williams going to win you a fantasy football title? Probably not. But maybe you're hurting at running back and somehow, some way made it to the fantasy football championship. If so, Williams is a target off the waiver wire after seeing 53 carries and 60.92% of Arizona's rushes over the last three weeks.
He's got a plus matchup against the Giants this week, too -- the Cardinals are at home, they're favorites, and the G-Men have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to the running back position this year. Williams did suffer a quad injury in Week 15, so follow his status throughout the week.
Drop Jimmy Garoppolo
I'm a fan of Jimmy Garoppolo and what's he's been doing with San Francisco, but he's a tough passer to trust in Week 16. Because Jacksonville's in town. The Jags have surrendered just one QB1 performance this year -- it was to Russell Wilson a couple of weeks ago -- and Wilson had two touchdowns in that game that were 60-plus yards. That's not exactly sustainable.
Garoppolo should have more than the two touchdowns he has over his three San Francisco starts given his yardage totals, but Jacksonville's allowed more than 250 passing yards only twice this year. And since Week 9, per Rotoworld's Rich Hribar, the Jags haven't even allowed a red zone touchdown. That, unfortunately, makes Jimmy G a drop candidate, since this is the last week of the fantasy football season.
Add Nick Foles
Before Carson Wentz's season-ending knee injury, he had a fairly unsustainable 7.50% touchdown rate (touchdowns per attempt) that was bound to regress a bit. So when Nick Foles stepped into the offense this past weekend, the thought was, "This matchup is right, and he's a viable streaming option, but let's not assume he's able to maintain such scoring efficiency."
What did Foles do? He threw 4 touchdowns on 38 attempts. Again, this isn't sustainable production by any means, but he's in a good spot once again in Week 16 as he'll face the Raiders, a squad with a bottom-five secondary, per our opponent-adjusted metrics.
Add Charles Clay
Tyrod Taylor was under center for the Bills again in Week 15, and he ended up targeting Charles Clay on 9 of his 29 passes. If that type of target share (31.03%) comes close to repeating itself in Week 16, Clay will make for a strong streaming option versus New England, especially because there could be a lot of passes thrown from Taylor if and when the Bills lose a lead in the game. They are, as mentioned earlier, 12.5-point underdogs in the contest, after all.
Drop Ameer Abdullah
Maybe the Lions are playing it slow with Ameer Abdullah after he missed Weeks 13 and 14 with a neck injury. But he was active in Week 15 and played just 13% of Detroit's snaps, seeing 1 of a possible 19 running back carries for the Lions. There's no way you can confidently trust his usage going into Week 16, no matter the matchup he's facing. If he goes off, he goes off -- you're making the right choice by freeing up a space on your roster this week for someone else.
Add Joe Flacco
Did you see what Brock Osweiler did to the banged-up Colts secondary on Thursday? Well, in case you missed it, he entered the game for an injured Trevor Siemian and finished as a high-end QB1 in fantasy football. Brock Osweiler. Off the bench. QB1. Real life.
Enter Joe Flacco, who's facing that same Colts bottom-ranked secondary in Week 16. Like Bortles, Flacco's seen a three-game stretch of decent quarterback play (Bortles' has been better), throwing for 5 touchdowns and more than 270 yards per game over his last three contests. The Colts have given up a top-15 quarterback performance in all but four games this year, and Flacco will be at home as a huge 13.5-point favorite. That gives the Ravens a nice implied team total on the week, which should increase your confidence in playing someone as mediocre as Flacco as a quarterback streamer in the finals.
Add Mike Wallace
Mike Wallace actually has a target share north of 20% over Baltimore's last three games, and he's tallied almost 34% of the team's receiving yards over this time. He's been a strong asset, but we haven't cared enough about him in fantasy because he hasn't found the end zone. That could change in Week 16, though, as Indianapolis has allowed the second-most points per game to the wide receiver position this year. You just have to hope that target share holds up and that Colts' cornerback Rashaan Melvin can't get back on the field this week.
Add Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams
We haven't learned a whole lot about a back injury that put Keenan Allen onto a cart in Week 15, but there's some speculation that it's not all that serious. That would be good news. Even still, in fantasy football, we've got to assume the worst in order to plan properly. If Allen, for whatever reason, misses Week 16, we should expect his 27.51% target share to be dispersed across the offense, with Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams as the main beneficiaries. The Chargers get a nice matchup against a bottom-10 Jets secondary this week, too.
Add the Chicago Bears' Defense
Really, I just want to write "the Bears are facing the Browns," but that won't be enough, even though it probably should be at this point.
Cleveland's allowing an average of 3.07 sacks and 1.79 interceptions per contest this year, while scoring fewer than 15 points per game. It's the worst offense in football, and it's surrendering the most fantasy points to opposing defenses. And, this week, the Bears are in Chicago as 6.5-point favorites. They're a perfect streaming option.
Add the Arizona Cardinals' Defense
The Giants looked fairly competent offensively in Week 15 against the Eagles, but they'll be traveling to Arizona this week to take on the Cardinals as 4.5-point underdogs. The Eagles were actually the first team since Week 6 to rank outside the top-16 (a top-half defense, essentially) in weekly scoring, and the Cardinals have actually posted four top-10 performances over the last seven weeks, with three of those coming at home. Owned in 44% of Yahoo! leagues, they're not a bad option off the waiver wire.