Fantasy Football Power Rankings: Week 16
It’s championship week in most fantasy leagues this week. With that being the case, this is the last Fantasy Football Power Rankings of the season, and if it’s not your league’s championship week, consider remedying that next year. Week 17 is often a disaster-filled week from a fantasy perspective since teams that have clinched playoff spots will rest starters.
Anyway, getting back on topic, all the marbles are up for grabs for most this week, so if you’re still reading this and playing for something, kudos. One familiar resident in the top five all year suffered a huge loss to injury last week, but will that cause them to topple out of the top five for the first time in a non-bye week all year? The return of a suspended stud running back also results in his team shooting up the rankings in the final edition of the Fantasy Football Power Rankings for the 2017 season.
|32||Packers (vs. Vikings)|
|31||Jets (vs. Chargers)|
|30||49ers (vs. Jaguars)|
|29||Broncos (@ Redskins)|
|28||Colts (@ Ravens)|
|27||Giants (@ Cardinals)|
|26||Titans (vs. Rams)|
|25||Cardinals (vs. Giants)|
|24||Redskins (vs. Broncos)|
|23||Browns (@ Bears)|
|22||Bears (vs. Browns)|
|21||Bengals (vs. Lions)|
Aaron Rodgers was reportedly sore Monday, and Green Bay’s ranking operates under two assumptions. The first assumption is that Rodgers will be rested, and the other is that Davante Adams will be out this week. Adams has a history of concussions, so I’m taking the pessimistic viewpoint in regards to his availability for this week. Add in the muddied backfield (more on that tomorrow), and the Packers have zero viable starters this week if Brett Hundley is their starting quarterback.
Jimmy Garoppolo is quickly showcasing franchise-QB skills through his first three starts with the 49ers, but the visiting Jaguars pose a nightmare matchup. Garoppolo’s top option in the passing attack, Marquise Goodwin, also faces a tough matchup. Jacksonville has held wideouts to the second lowest per-game scoring output this year, per Pro-Football-Reference.
Goodwin has big-play ability and volume working in his favor, but he’s merely a fringe flex option. Carlos Hyde is a low-end RB2/flex. Like his aforementioned teammates, he has a tough draw with a unit that’s tightened up their run defense with the addition of Marcell Dareus.
|20||Buccaneers (@ Panthers)|
|19||Raiders (@ Eagles)|
|18||Lions (@ Bengals)|
|17||Bills (@ Patriots)|
|16||Texans (vs. Steelers)|
|15||Seahawks (@ Cowboys)|
|14||Dolphins (@ Chiefs)|
|13||Ravens (vs. Colts)|
|12||Jaguars (@ 49ers)|
|11||Eagles (vs. Raiders)|
Miami’s rank is the product of consolidated looks and touches among two excellent fantasy options. Kenyan Drake has blossomed into an RB1 with 22 or more touches in three straight games and more than 100 yards from scrimmage in each. During that three-game stretch, he’s tallied 312 yards rushing, 14 receptions, 135 yards receiving, and two touchdowns.
Jarvis Landry has also been a solid and steady contributor, and he’s done so for a longer stretch. He’s totaled at least 60 yards receiving or a touchdown in seven straight games, and 11 of 14 games played this season. Landry’s even more valuable in PPR leagues than standard formats, too, averaging 7.0 receptions per game.
Alex Collins flubbed a favorable game script last week with 12 carries for 19 yards, but he did save face in PPR formats with five receptions for 33 yards. His touchdown streak was halted at four games, but he has a prime bounce-back matchup this week against the Colts. Indianapolis is tied for the fourth-most fantasy points allowed per game to running backs. The game script should once again benefit Collins — and the Ravens D/ST, which is one of the best options at the position this week — with the Ravens serving as the largest favorites of the week at 13.5 points, per Pinnacle.
Jeremy Maclin is expected to be out this week, and that raises Mike Wallace’s stock. Having said that, Wallace has also been playing well with three straight games clearing 70 yards receiving. He’s bested 70 yards or scored a touchdown in five of his last six games played, and he has a favorable matchup this week. The Colts have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to wideouts this year.
|10||Cowboys (vs. Seahawks)|
|9||Rams (@ Titans)|
|8||Chargers (@ Jets)|
|7||Panthers (vs. Buccaneers)|
|6||Falcons (@ Saints)|
The Cowboys can only move up so far with Tyron Smith banged up and his playing status for this week unclear. Of course, Ezekiel Elliott is back, though, and his fresh legs could serve him well against a Seattle defense that was just gashed by Todd Gurley for 21-152-3 on the ground and 3-28-1 through the air last week. Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant are also fantasy starters against the injury-depleted secondary of the Seahawks.
I’ve been burned buying into Cam Newton before, but he’s coming off of a massive showing against the Packers. Newton passed for 242 yards and four touchdowns, and he added 58 yards on 14 carries. He’s rushed for more than 50 yards in three straight, and he’s hit 50 yards rushing or scored a touchdown rushing in 10 of his last 12 games.
Greg Olsen can be fired up as a starter at the weakest fantasy position after torching the Packers for 9-116-1. Devin Funchess is in a bounce-back spot against a Bucs defense that’s yielded the most fantasy points per game to wideouts.
Christian McCaffrey is coming off of his best game of the year. He rushed for 63 yards on 12 carries and rattled off a 6-73-1 line through the air. The rookie is an RB2 in all formats, not just PPR leagues.
5. Steelers (@ Texans)
I teased the Steelers in a not-so-subtle fashion in the intro, but they remain a top-five fantasy team even in the wake of Antonio Brown’s injury. Le’Veon Bell is a stud, and both Juju Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant stand to soak up AB’s vacated targets.
Smith-Schuster corralled all six of his targets for 114 yards against the Patriots, and he’s a WR2 with WR1 upside. Bryant is coming off of his second most productive game of the year (4-59-1) and is firmly in the WR3 mix.
The matchup is great for both. Houston has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to wideouts.
I’ve belabored Ben Roethlisberger’s home/road splits that favor playing at home in this piece all year, but he’s rolling and a top-10 QB this week even without the best receiver in the game available for him to chuck the pigskin to. The Steelers are 10-point favorites, and Houston’s latest fill-in quarterback, T.J. Yates, isn’t an NFL-caliber signal caller and likely to be counted on to start again this week. Pittsburgh’s defense is a great option this week.
4. Vikings (@ Packers)
Minnesota’s two-headed monster backfield of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon bludgeoned the Bengals last week. Murray rushed for 76 yards, one touchdown, and caught a pass for 28 yards. McKinnon rushed for only 24 yards, but he secured seven of eight targets for 114 yards receiving. They’re both RB2s against a Green Bay defense that’s yielded the eighth most fantasy points per game to running backs and is beatable on the ground and through the air by them.
As favorable as the matchup is for Minnesota’s backs, it’s even more desirable for their receivers. The Packers are tied for the fifth-most fantasy points allowed per game to receivers, cementing Adam Thielen’s status as a WR1 and making Stefon Diggs a WR3 with significant upside. The Packers are coming off of back-to-back bad showings against tight ends, and Kyle Rudolph is a low-end starter who’s still fairly TD dependent.
Case Keenum’s impressive season is one of the more surprising storylines this year, and he’s a top-10 QB during fantasy Super Bowl week. The defense rounds out the fantasy options, and they’re an elite one if Hundley starts.
3. Chiefs (vs. Dolphins)
Prior to Kansas City’s Week 13 game at the Jets, Andy Reid forfeited his play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. In their three games with Nagy calling the offense, the Chiefs have hung 31, 26, and 30 points in successive weeks. Alex Smith is a fringe starter at QB, but it’s Kareem Hunt’s resurgence that’s most noteworthy.
Hunt rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 22 yards in Week 14, and he kicked things up a level last week with a 24-155-1 rushing line and 7-51-1 receiving line last week. Welcome back to RB1 territory, rookie.
Travis Kelce is in the discussion for the top option at tight end this week, and Tyreek Hill is firmly inside the top-20 wide receivers after weeks of 6-185-2, 4-75-0, and 5-88-1 with Nagy running the offense. Kansas City’s fantasy options are rounded out by a defense that I refer to as my favorite D/ST to stream this week in “Week 16 Defenses to Stream.”
2. Patriots (vs. Bills)
New England is down one of their RB2s with Rex Burkhead hurt, and Chris Hogan’s status for this week is up in the air after he was inactive last week. Otherwise, it’s the usual faces for this incredibly talented offense. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are the top options at their respective positions, Dion Lewis is an RB2 with a higher ceiling in Burkhead’s absence, and Brandin Cooks is a WR2 who is a fringe WR1 if Hogan is sidelined again.
The Patriots are 12.5-point favorites at home with an implied team over/under total of 29.75 points. The spread and location of this week’s AFC East showdown make the Patriots D/ST startable.
1. Saints (vs. Falcons)
The Saints are in a familiar position topping this list again this week for the second time in the last three weeks. That’s what happens when you boast a pair of RB1s in the form of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, Drew Brees as a fantasy starting QB, Michael Thomas as a WR1, and Ted Ginn as a big-play dependent flex — if he returns from the rib injury that sidelined him last week.