7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 16
Last game of the year. Can't hold anything back now!
That's pretty much the case when it comes to championship week. The squad that got you so far might not be the same as it used to be.
Rely on DeMarco Murray to get you to the 'ship? He might not be a go on Sunday.
Count on the fantasy-friendly, team-killing Jay Cutler? Benched!
Fantasy football has funny ways of destroying the best-laid plans, but if you find yourself scrambling for an under-the-radar play, I've got some recommendations for you.
Week 16 All-Deep-Sleeper Team
Quarterback: Robert Griffin III (Started in 2.7% of ESPN Leagues | Owned in 13.0% of ESPN Leagues)
Never in a million years could anyone ever have anticipated Griffin's eligibility as a deep sleeper recommendation, but based on his ownership percentages, he sure is. Of course, nobody has had a reason to own him of late, but given his primo matchup in Week 16, he could be a championship-winner, partially redeeming his horrific fantasy season.
Griffin took over against the Giants last week and recorded 236 passing yards with a touchdown. He also rushed for 46 yards and nearly scored a rushing touchdown, which would have given him 24 fantasy points on the week, but a lost fumble instead of the touchdown gave him "only" 16.
The Eagles, if you exclude an anomalous performance on Thanksgiving Day, have allowed 310.0 yards, 2.5 touchdowns, and 24.8 fantasy points to quarterbacks in their last four games. Griffin's ceiling might be as high as anyone's this week, and if you need a Hail Mary quarterback this week, Griffin is it.
Running Back: Alfonso Smith (0.0% | 0.8%)
The Chargers rank 14th in half-PPR points against and are 10th in rush defense, according to our metrics, but Smith is still projected as our 36th running back on the week with a ceiling of around 12 points. In a deep league, 12 points from a plug-and-play running back is never a bad thing.
Running Back: Chris Thompson (0.0% | 0.0%)
Yep. This is another Washington recommendation. The matchup against the Eagles has the third-highest over/under on the week (50.5 points), and the Eagles are nine-point favorites on the road. With that, Vegas projects 20.75 points from Washington. Against Philly's second-ranked run defense, Alfred Morris might be mitigated.
If that's the case, Thompson could be in store for some second-half dumpdown passes provided that Roy Helu sits out again. Thompson, in Week 15, saw 3 carries and 3 receptions, totaling 34 yards and a touchdown.
If the game script works out like Vegas projects, then Griffin will be throwing, and Thompson could be catching. It's surely a caution-to-the-wind play, but it makes sense in a lot of ways.
Wide Receiver: Davante Adams (1.7% | 8.8%)
Adams has really been on the downward trend, topping two half-PPR points just twice in his last six games. But if there's any hope for him to produce, this week is it. After being shut down against the Bills last week, the Packers square off against the Buccaneers, who rank 30th in pass defense according to our metrics and 27th in fantasy points allowed to receivers.
With a 48.5-point over/under and being favored by 10.5 points, Green Bay should be scoring, and for as bad as Tampa's pass defense has been, its defense is equally good, ranking third in the league according to our metrics.
Even if Tampa falls behind, running the ball may not be the best way of wasting the clock, and Aaron Rodgers and company could be completing passes all day to earn a much-needed victory in Week 16. Adams is extremely risky, but he has the inherent upside of playing on a potent offense in a good matchup.
Wide Receiver: Stedman Bailey (4.1% | 18.5%)
Bailey has been consistent in the past four weeks even though the Rams have been playing defensive-minded football. In his last four, Bailey is reeling in 4.8 catches for 77.5 yards and 12.0 half-PPR fantasy points. Even with a two-target game against Washington, Bailey has averaged 6.5 targets in that span, including two nine-target outings.
The Giants rank 18th in pass defense, per our metrics but do rank eighth against fantasy receivers. Regardless, Bailey is seeing passes and has been producing even in some pretty low-scoring contests.
Tight End: Eric Ebron (0.3% | 1.7%)
Ebron, amidst the amazing rookie receiver class, has been fairly disappointing, recording just one touchdown all year. Of the 52 tight ends to see at least 20 targets this year, Ebron ranks just 43rd in Reception NEP per target. Yikes!
So why recommend him? Well, really, very few tight ends with extremely low ownership have positive matchups, and Ebron gets the best matchup of all: Chicago. Also, Ebron is seeing 4.4 targets per game in his last five contests, which would put him about 18th in the league at a 15-game pace.
Flex: Dwayne Bowe (6.0% | 26.4%)
Man, the Chiefs receivers have been horrifically dreadful this year, combining for a grand total of zero touchdowns all season. Bowe, who hasn't hit 100 yards receiving all year, is at least tops on the team in targets, with 82 on the year.
Another matchup-only play, Bowe faces the Steelers in Week 16, who rank 25th in our pass defense metrics and 26th in fantasy points against. Pittsburgh hasn't kept a receiver out of the end zone since Week 7 against the Texans. If Bowe has anything in him, this week could be the best week of the year.