The Rundown: Week 16
For those heading into a Week 16 championship, congratulations to you! This is what the fantasy season is all about with the constant attention paid to waivers, lineups, and an endless stream of information culminating in some bragging rights and maybe a little financial gain as well. Now isn’t the time to get cute with key players, but it also isn’t the time to ignore matchups or avoid all risk. It’s about putting that best lineup out there and feeling confident that you did all you could to win this week.
We talked about the rookie running back class last week, and three finished inside the top 18 in Week 15, helping many, myself included, to fantasy title weeks. Russell Gage, Keke Coutee, and Chad Hansen all finished in the top 30 wide receivers as well, giving many fantasy players some key fill-ins where injuries struck. Kyler Murray put up a strong week against a good defense, rebounding from a few non-dominant performances.
This article leverages the wide array of 4for4’s data library including snaps, touches, targets, fantasy scoring, and red zone information. Lucky for you, this article will put everything in one place in time for those weekly matchup decisions.
I also want to thank everyone who has read The Rundown this year and given me another season to share my passion for player analysis and fantasy football with each of you. Please enjoy the holidays and have a wonderful New Year!
Quarterbacks Trending Up
2020 Rookie Quarterbacks
It’s a credit to this class, much like the running back position, that the quarterbacks have proven to be quite successful very early. Over the past four weeks, three of the top 20 quarterbacks are rookies, and had Joe Burrow not been injured, it would likely be four. Add in the fact that Jalen Hurts has only started in two of the last four games and still ranks 13th during this time and it’s clear that the NFL is going to see another passing boom over the next few years. The 2021 NFL Draft class is similarly talented at the top with perhaps even more depth, making the transition from elder statesmen like Tom Brady and Drew Brees an easy decision for savvy fantasy players.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Drafted by many in the first round of redraft leagues this season, Jackson has been more disappointing than successful in 2020. However, the last three weeks may have redeemed him for many, averaging nearly 30 fantasy points per game and propelling many into the fantasy playoff finals. Jackson has three straight top-six finishes and has just one game below 10 rushing attempts since his Week 7 bye. The four rushing touchdowns pairing with his six passing touchdowns in the past three weeks is what fantasy players who rostered him expected all season long. The Giants matchup in Week 16 does give him some opportunity against a below-average pass defense and a defense that struggles to get offenses off the field, allowing the sixth most plays per drive (6.5).
Quarterbacks Trending Down
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Five straight games outside the top 15 at quarterback, Roethlisberger has six interceptions during that time and has failed to crack 200 passing yards in the past two contests. He remains inconsistent on the season and hasn’t been a threat to run in years, totaling 12 rushing yards in 2020. The Colts matchup won’t help either, they have allowed the fifth-fewest passing touchdowns this year while averaging over an interception per game. The game will likely be a defensive struggle and won’t create a sense of urgency for either team, meaning the focus will be on avoiding mistakes, not creating big plays.
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars
During Minshew’s first stint as the starting quarterback this season, he was a fringe QB1 with top 15 finishes in six of his seven starts. However, his return has been less fruitful with two starts leading to fantasy games outside the top 20. A big difference is in the passing volume, as Minshew averaged over 40 attempts per game early in the year compared to just 30 attempts in the two most recent starts. The Bears won’t make it easy for Minshew this week either as they are the third-best red zone team in the league, and are top 10 in yards and points allowed per drive this season.
Running Backs Trending Up
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