Fantasy Football: One Sleeper From Each Team for Championship Week
With championship week officially here, take a look at one sleeper to consider adding from each NFL team for Fantasy Football Week 16.
After a long battle during the regular season, Fantasy Football Week 16 is finally here, as owners will scramble to potentially put together their game-winning lineups. All of a sudden, one final week will determine which owners get the honors of being crowned champions for the 2016 NFL season after an entire year of ups and downs in fantasy football.
This is arguably the toughest week of the year as fantasy football owners will examine every matchup possible to make sure their team has the best shot of winning the championship. Of course, one of the toughest parts about playing fantasy football is considering the available players in free agency that could turn out to make a difference.
It sounds crazy to think about, but sometimes finding that one sleeper ends up making the difference in winning or losing a league championship. Luckily, this list of potential sleepers will make it easier for fantasy football owners to decide what to do with their lineups before Thursday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants officially gets underway.
By kicking things off with J.J. Nelson of the Arizona Cardinals, here’s a look at one sleeper to consider from each NFL team for Fantasy Football Week 16.
Arizona Cardinals: J.J. Nelson
Over the last two seasons, J.J. Nelson has appeared in 24 games for the Arizona Cardinals, but when looking at the depth at wide receiver, it’s been difficult for him to receive a significant amount of playing time. Thanks to the recent release of Michael Floyd, Nelson finds himself in position to earn some unexpected playing time last in the regular season, even if the Cardinals are already eliminated from playoff contention.
- 12/20 – Fantasy Football: One Sleeper From Each Team for Championship Week
- 12/20 – 2016 NFL Picks, Score Predictions For Week 16
- 12/20 – NFC Playoff Picture 2016: Wild Card, Standings After Week 15
- 12/20 – Panthers at Redskins Recap, Highlights, Final Score, More
- 12/19 – Redskins Cheerleader Eats It After Accidental Kirk Cousins Hit (Video)
In fact, Arizona’s elimination from the playoffs may benefit Nelson even more if Bruce Arians decides to take it easier on some of his other star players on offense. Not only is Nelson coming off a strong outing against the New Orleans Saints after catching five passes on 11 targets for 38 yards to go along with a touchdown, but Sunday marked the third game in a row in which he found the end zone.
A matchup on the road against the Seattle Seahawks may not be the most favorable, but at least the Cardinals can count on this being a competitive game. Hopefully, Nelson can find a way to use his blazing speed to Arizona’s advantage against Seattle on Christmas Eve while increasing his touchdown streak to four games.
Atlanta Falcons: Aldrick Robinson
Instead of struggling without Julio Jones in the lineup, the Atlanta Falcons have cruised to back-to-back victories over the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. Obviously, the outcome may have been different with more competitive teams, but for a team in a battle for the NFC South with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Falcons will take any win they can get at this point.
Over the last two games without Jones in the lineup, Aldrick Robinson has taken advantage of more passes thrown his way as Matt Ryan has targeted him 11 times, which is crazy to think about when considering he’s only been targeted 29 times all season. Even though he hasn’t found the end zone in those two games, Robinson has still found a way to make an impact in the passing game by catching 11 passes for 153 yards.
Depending on whether Jones returns to the lineup in Week 14 is still to be determined, but there’s a good chance Robinson will have another opportunity to take advantage of more targets against the Carolina Panthers. With the NFC South title still up for grabs, Ryan is going to need all of the help he can get on offense, and Robinson seems more than ready to make sure that happens.
Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Dixon
Even though Terrance West is the main running back for the Baltimore Ravens, it’s tough to ignore the type of production the team has seen from Kenneth Dixon over the last two games. One week after catching eight passes for 42 yards with a touchdown against the New England Patriots, Dixon recorded his first rushing touchdown of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 15 as the Ravens look to keep the race tight with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC North title.
Speaking of the Steelers, football fans will be in for quite the treat when these two division rivals square off against each other on Christmas Day as the winner will officially be in control of first place in the AFC North. Hopefully, Baltimore continues to use Dixon as much they have as of late as he’s received 39 carries over the last four games, compared to the 27 carries he recorded in the six games prior to Week 12.
Finding a reliable running back this late in the fantasy season can always be a difficult challenge, and even though he’s considered a backup, Dixon’s ability to be effective on the ground and through the air makes him an attractive pickup. The Ravens will need all of the help they can get against the Steelers as these games always seem to be decided by single digits, so let’s hope Dixon finds a way to come through.
Buffalo Bills: Charles Clay
When it comes to the most effective pass-catching tight ends in the NFL, Charles Clay has never ranked near the top of the list as he’s always been considered the type of player that only records a few catches per game. However, the Buffalo Bills tight end has found a way in the end zone each of the last two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns.
Will Clay’s streak carry over into Week 16 against the Miami Dolphins? With the Bills still technically in the playoff hunt (even if it’s an absolute long shot), Tyrod Taylor is going to need Clay to come through like he has over the last two games, especially since the Dolphins are one of the hottest teams in the league at the moment hanging on to the final Wild Card spot in the AFC.
Clay has certainly seen his share of targets throughout the 2016 season, but nothing compares to the type of impact he’s made for the offense over the last two games. If fantasy owners are in need of a tight end heading into championship weekend, Clay deserves to be ranked near the top of the list when it comes to availability.
Carolina Panthers: Devin Funchess
Despite a disappointing performance in Week 15 in which he failed to record a single catch against the Washington Redskins after being targeted three times, Devin Funchess seems like the kind of receiver that can find the end zone on any given play. Even if he’s only recorded two games of more than 50 receiving yards, Funchess has a favorable matchup next weekend against the Atlanta Falcons as their defense hasn’t been truly tested over the previous two weeks with games against the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers.
Reaching the playoffs would take a miracle for the Panthers, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to still try as they could even still play the spoiler role to the Falcons. Thanks to the emergence of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta faces a tougher challenge than originally expected when it comes to locking up the NFC South title.
Keep in mind Funchess did catch two passes for 56 yards when these two teams squared off in Week 4, and if he can figure out a way to match this performance, or even take it to a higher level, the Panthers will like their chances against the Falcons in this one.
Chicago Bears: Cameron Meredith
After barely making an impact as a rookie in 2015, Cameron Meredith‘s stock has been on the rise during his sophomore season with the Chicago Bears, despite all of the struggles this team has dealt with on offense. The former Illinois State star shined at the beginning of the season after catching 20 passes for 243 yards with a touchdown during Weeks 4 and 5, but Meredith struggled to receive targets throughout the middle of the season.
Now, Meredith seems to have found his groove again after catching 15 passes on 21 targets for 176 yards with a touchdown over the last two games. Chicago may not have anything to plate for this late in the season other than a draft pick, but that doesn’t mean members of the team shouldn’t be considered for a spot on fantasy football rosters.
As crazy as it sounds, Meredith seems to be receiving more passes with Matt Barkley running the offense as the quarterback is taking advantage of some unexpected playing time due to Jay Cutler dealing with injuries. With a favorable matchup against the Washington Redskins on Saturday, don’t be surprised if Meredith continues to stay hot for the Bears on offense.
Cincinnati Bengals: Rex Burkhead
With Giovani Bernard sidelined for the remainder of the season, Rex Burkhead has filled in nicely as the backup running back for the Cincinnati Bengals to Jeremy Hill, even though he’s yet to receive double-digit carries. However, with the Bengals officially eliminated from playoff contention, it will be interesting to see if Burkhead receives some extra playing time over the final two games, beginning on Saturday against the Houston Texans.
Just like some of the other running backs on this list, Burkhead is the type player that can be used in multiple ways, whether it happens to be in the backfield, or as a wide receiver. In fact, Cincinnati even uses Burkhead for special teams every once in a while, so the possibility for racking up fantasy points seems endless.
Burkhead as patiently waited four years to have the opportunity to receive playing time with the Bengals’ offense, and it’s amazing to see the former Nebraska star taking advantage of the opportunity. If all goes well, a strong finish to the year could give Burkhead a much better chance of being more involved with the offense beyond the 2016 season, but let’s focus on how he does against the Texans before looking that far ahead.
Cleveland Browns: Duke Johnson Jr.
Before jumping to any conclusions about why Duke Johnson Jr. is on this list when there are plenty of other members of the team to choose from, keep in mind the Cleveland Browns don’t provide fantasy owners with many options. As for Johnson, he may not be the most effective runner for the Browns offense, but let’s not forget how often Cleveland is trailing in games, making it tough to be consistent with running the football.
There’s a reason why the Browns enter Week 16 still in search of their first win of the 2016 season as the team has been limited to scoring 13 points or less in each of their last six games. However, one of the few bright spots from Cleveland’s offense from a fantasy perspective is the amount of targets Johnson is receiving in the passing game.
The fact that Johnson has been targeted at least four times in five of the last seven games shows the potential is there for him to find the end zone each week. It seems like only a matter of time before the Browns finally break out of their offensive slump, and there’s no better way to do so than Week 16 when it matters the most for fantasy owners.
Dallas Cowboys: Terrance Williams
Throughout his career, Terrance Williams has proven to be extremely dangerous in the passing game whenever he gets hot for the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, it’s been more difficult for Williams to get the ball rolling on offense in 2016, but it’s not entirely his fault.
Believe it or not, Williams finds himself in a tough position from a statistics perspective when looking at all of the weapons the Cowboys have to work with on offense. With Cole Beasley picking up the slack in the passing game, Williams seems to have taken a backseat to his teammate. But the most important factor is Dallas has the best overall record in the league at the moment at 12-2.
No matter what, Williams will always be ready if needed and, if the last two games are any indication, he may be more involved with the offense over the final two games as the Cowboys look to clinch the top spot in the NFC. With Dak Prescott targeting Williams 10 times over the previous two games, expect the wideout to continue seeing more passes on Monday against the Detroit Lions.
On a positive note, at least the lack of production by Williams isn’t a serious issues as most teams would do anything to be in the position the Cowboys find themselves in with too many weapons on offense.
Denver Broncos: Justin Forsett
Remember in 2014 when Justin Forsett had a career year as a member of the Baltimore Ravens after rushing for 1,266 yards to go along with eight touchdowns? Since then, Forsett has struggled to return to that level of play as the Denver Broncos are the third team he’s been on this season (Ravens and Detroit Lions).
When looking at how much the ground game of the Broncos has taken a hit since C.J. Anderson went down, it’s easy to see why they were willing to take a shot on a running back like Forsett. Nothing against Forsett, but Denver seemed willing to try just about anything to help the running game receive a boost over the final few weeks as the defending Super Bowl champions will need a little help just to earn a spot in the postseason.
Forsett may have only received 10 carries for 37 yards against the New England Patriots on Sunday, but it should also be noted that Denver was trailing for a majority of the game. With the Broncos needing to win out just to have a chance at making the playoffs, this is the perfect opportunity for Forsett to prove he was worth taking a chance on to improve the running game.
At this stage in his career, Forsett isn’t going to receive many more opportunities to prove he can still be an effective running back in the NFL, which makes these two remaining games even more important.
Detroit Lions: Dwayne Washington
With Theo Riddick dealing with a wrist injury, it’s been Dwayne Washington that has been carrying the load in the backfield for the Detroit Lions over their last two games. He may not be producing the 100-yard games the Lions would love to see, but the team is giving Washington every opportunity in the world to produce as the running back has 30 carries over the last two games.
Up next, Detroit faces one of their toughest tasks in 2016 with a game on the road against the best team in the Dallas Cowboys. While the Cowboys defense has looked impressive at times, Matthew Stafford could be looking to rely on Washington in the backfield to take some of the pressure off him in the passing game.
For the most part, the Lions haven’t been known for being team that does a ton of damage in the ground game. Washington may not seem like the most attractive option in the world for a fantasy team at running back, but if Riddick ends up missing another game along with Detroit continuing to provide him with a ton of carries on offense, it would be tough to pass on him if available.
Green Bay Packers: Ty Montgomery
Is there any even a reason to go into detail about why Ty Montgomery should be snagged up in fantasy football if he’s available in free agency? If it wasn’t for Montgomery’s performance against the Chicago Bears, there’s a good chance the Green Bay Packers would have ended up losing that game, and be in bad shape for their final run at a playoff spot in the NFC.
For a player that started the year battling for time in the passing game, Montgomery has come up big for the Packers in the ground game as the team hasn’t been able to catch a break when it comes to dealing with injuries at the running back position. It would be one thing if Montgomery just helped moved the football down the field from time to time, but the fact that he rushed for 162 yards with two touchdowns on 16 carries in frigid temperatures against the Bears shows how valuable he’s been for the offense.
Any team that has a player capable of being dangerous in multiple areas on offense should consider themselves lucky since they’re never easy to find. If Green Bay miraculously finds a way to clinch a playoff spot, Montgomery will be one of the key players to thank.
Houston Texans: Ryan Griffin
Who would have thought after all of the money invested in Brock Osweiler, it would be Tom Savage leading the way for the Houston Texans this late in the season? After throwing two more interceptions in the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Osweiler was benched for Savage before halftime. And after leading the Texans to a comeback win, Savage will lead the way for the offense on the night of Christmas Eve against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Obviously, Savage is going to do everything he can to get the football in the hands of DeAndre Hopkins, but Ryan Griffin is another name to keep an eye on the passing game. Plenty of players benefit from playing alongside players with the talent level of Hopkins, and Griffin could see some extra passes thrown his ways if the Bengals’ defense is focused on the Texans No. 1 wideout.
Not only was Griffin targeted eight times against the Jaguars in Week 15, but he happened to catch all eight passes thrown his way while recording 85 receiving yards. If he can find a way to play at that high level against Cincinnati, Griffin will make life much easier for Savage during his first career NFL start.
Indianapolis Colts: Erik Swoope
The great thing about playing for a quarterback like Andrew Luck is he’s always been the type of player that can make everyone around him better. As for Erik Swoope, the tight end hopes Sunday’s first career NFL touchdown will be one of many as he came up big for the Colts offense during their blowout win against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15.
The funny thing about Indianapolis is nobody ever knows which player is going to step up on offense each game as it seems to be someone different each week. From a receiving standpoint, Swoope has never really been a player to worry about when considering Sunday marked the first time he caught more than two passes in a single game.
Still, maybe Sunday’s performance against the Vikings was the confidence boost Swoope needed to finally become more involved in the passing game as the Colts are fighting for their playoff lives since they’re currently one game back in the race for the AFC South title. Here’s to hoping that Swoope carries the momentum over from last weekend’s win for Saturday’s big game against the red-hot Oakland Raiders, who have already clinched a playoff berth in the AFC.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Marqise Lee
Even though he failed to record a single catch against the Houston Texans in Week 15, the highlight of the game for Marqise Lee was his 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Unfortunately for the Jacksonville Jaguars, they still ended up on the losing end of this game for the ninth time in a row as Gus Bradley was fired shortly after.
As bad as it sounds, the decision to fire Bradley was long overdue as the former head coach never won more than five games during his four years with the Jaguars. Now that Bradley is out and Doug Marrone is taking over as interim head coach, it will be interesting to see if some of Jacksonville’s players will be extra motivated for their next game against the Tennessee Titans.
This tends to happen in sports where players tend to perform better once a terrible coach receives the boot, and Lee will be one of those guys to keep an eye on. Prior to last weekend’s game against the Texans, Lee displayed a stellar performance against the Minnesota Vikings after catching five passes for 113 yards.
Not to mention, Lee has a quarterback in Blake Bortles that is known for being the king of garbage time, which always causes mixed emotions among fantasy football players.
Kansas City Chiefs: Chris Conley
Despite being one of the hottest teams in football at times during the 2016 season, it’s clear the Kansas City Chiefs are going to need some extra help on offense if they have any intention of making a deep run in the postseason. Alex Smith has always been considered one of the best game managers in the NFL, but there’s only so much he can do on his own if his teammates aren’t going to help him find the end zone more.
Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce are always going to be considered two of Smith’s top targets on offense, but Chris Conley seems like the type of player that’s long overdue for scoring his first touchdown on the season. Even if Conley has only caught four passes or more three times this year, the wideout seems like the perfect breakout candidate for a key AFC West showdown against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Conley did catch three passes for 26 yards when these two teams met back at the end of November as the Chiefs would love to see more from their wideout this time around. There’s a reason why the Broncos defense is considered one of the best in the league as a player like Conley may be the last one they expect to step up in the passing game.
Los Angeles Rams: Brian Quick
After ranking near the bottom of the league in offense last year, the Los Angeles Rams took a major step back in 2016 as this team has plenty areas in need of change to focus on in the offseason. The biggest mistake made by the Rams last offseason was rewarding Tavon Austin with a $42 million extension as that money easily could have been spent elsewhere.
For now, Los Angeles hopes to just end their disastrous season on a positive note with a favorable home matchup this weekend against the San Francisco 49ers. When considering the Rams are the only team the 49ers have defeated all season, here’s to hoping for better results this time around after Los Angeles was shutout by San Francisco 28-0 on opening weekend.
As frustrating as Austin’s production level has been, the one sleeper to keep an eye on for the Rams entering Week 16 is Brian Quick as the wideout made quite the splash in the passing game in the first half of the season. Quick’s most impressive game of 2016 came in Week 4 agains the Arizona Cardinals when both of his catches went for touchdowns, which unfortunately was the last time he coincidentally found the end zone.
Then again, if Quick was able to play like this against a team like the Cardinals, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to do the same against the 49ers as there’s a reason why the team has lost 13 games in a row.
Miami Dolphins: Dion Sims
All of a sudden, the Miami Dolphins are in amazing shape to make the playoffs as they control their own destiny for a Wild Card spots thanks to some help from the Denver Broncos. After a 1-4 start to the season, nobody could have predicted the Dolphins would go on to win eight of their next nine games, but that’s exactly what happened as they’ve found a way to overcome all odds by becoming strong contenders in the AFC.
Miami will need extra help from numerous players on offense now that Ryan Tannehill is out for the remainder of the season, and one of the key players that’s been getting hot at the right time in the passing game has been Dion Sims. Prior to Week 14, Sims was limited to recording just one touchdown catch, but by finding the end zone three times over the previous two games, he’s proving to be a reliable weapon at wideout, which Matt Moore needs more than ever right now.
Last weekend marked the first time in five years that Moore started a game at quarterback in the NFL, and after watching him throw four touchdown passes, there’s no question he has what it takes to lead the Dolphins into the postseason. If Sims can find a way to continue his surprise hot streak of finding the end zone, Miami’s chances of making the playoffs are only going to get better.
Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson
Early in his career, Cordarrelle Patterson seemed like he was eventually going to emerge as one of the most dangerous players in the NFL. Not only was Patterson a nightmare for opponents due to his blazing speed, but he was seen as a triple threat since he was able to contribute on offense as a running back and wide receiver along with being a returner on special teams.
There’s been some bumps over the years for Patterson, but he seems to finally be turning things around as he could set a career high for receiving yards, depending on how the final two games go. Thanks to his speed, Patterson is capable of turning even the smallest play into a big touchdown, which is why it’s always tempting for fantasy owners to insert him into their lineups.
With already a career high of 49 receptions heading into Minnesota’s next game against the Green Bay Packers, here’s to hoping Patterson figures out a way to contribute this time around. The only time Patterson failed to record a single catch this season happened to come in Week 2 against the Packers, but the circumstances are much different this time around for the wideout.
New England Patriots: James White
What’s the most frustrating part about having any running back on the New England Patriots on a fantasy roster? How about the fact that Bill Belichick likes to keep owners on their toes as the head coach seems to favor a different running back on a weekly basis.
Then again, nobody is going to argue with Belichick’s ways as the future Hall-of-Fame coach has seen his methods bring plenty of success to the Patriots over the years as this team recently locked up yet another AFC East title, with the main focus now being the No. 1 seed. As for who to focus on for this weekend, the one name that sticks out the most for New England in the backfield is James White, although he’s most known for his skills as a catcher.
It’s hard to imagine a running back being more productive as a receiver than on the ground, but that’s exactly been the case for White throughout his young career. Just look how White has received more targets (78) than carries (36) through the first 14 games as fantasy owners hope to see Tom Brady dump off numerous passes to one of his most reliable running backs, including a few that find their way into the end zone.
New Orleans Saints: Tim Hightower
Can Tim Hightower carry over his success from Week 15 into next weekend’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? The New Orleans Saints running back managed to find the end zone twice against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, but this was the first time he scored a touchdown since Week 9 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Of course, it’s always tough to predict what to expect from Hightower since he plays behind Mark Ingram, who finished with 78 rushing yards of his own against the Cardinals. Even if the playoffs are a long shot for the Saints at this point in the season, that doesn’t mean they’re not going to be motivated to end the year on a strong note.
When given the opportunity, Hightower has proven to be reliable in the ground game and is capable of handling 20+ carries. It may seem like a long shot, but with all of the inconsistencies surrounding Ingram, Hightower is a running back to monitor heading into championship weekend for fantasy owners.
As mentioned before, New Orleans may most likely be out of the playoff hunt in the NFC, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love to play the role of spoiler against a team in control of their own postseason destiny in Tampa Bay.
New York Giants: Will Tye
Don’t look now, but it seems to be that type of year where the New York Giants seem to be ready for another run a the Super Bowl as they’re getting hot in the second half once again, just like they did the other two seasons in which they won it all.
So why have the Giants been so successful in the second half of the regular season? While the defense deserves a ton of credit for elevating their game to the next level, the offense is going to end up being the difference maker moving forward if New York plans on making a deep run into the postseason.
Odell Bekcham Jr. and Sterling Shepard have been the main reasons behind the success of the offense, but Eli Manning is going to need more help from some of his teammates against the Philadelphia Eagles. One name that comes to mind is tight end Will Tye as he’s managed to record multiple receptions from Manning every game this season.
If only he could find the end zone more than once, Tye would be a much better fantasy option, which is why he still falls into the sleeper category heading into Week 16.
New York Jets: Bilal Powell
When seeing how much he’s carried the ground game for the New York Jets over the last two games, it’s tough to consider Bilal Powell this late in the season. But at the end of the day, Powell is still technically the backup to Matt Forte, which is why he’s going to be part of this list anyway.
Despite a devastating loss to the Miami Dolphins last weekend, Powell still found a way to earn 84 rushing yards on 16 carries while also catching 11 passes for 78 yards. Prior to that game against the Dolphins, Powell played a big part in helping the Jets pull off a win on the road against the San Francisco 49ers after rushing for 145 yards while finding the end zone twice.
Chances are, Powell has been scooped up in most leagues by now. However there’s still a possibility that he’s available in some. Who would have thought that Powell would be putting up better numbers at this point in the season than some of the running back that went in the first two rounds of most leagues?
New York may be a terrible team overall, but at least Powell is giving fans something to be excited about.
Oakland Raiders: Seth Roberts
The Oakland Raiders have every reason in the world to feel confident at the moment after clinching their first playoff berth since the 2002 season following Sunday’s win against the San Diego Chargers. There’s been plenty of reasons behind the team’s success this season, and while Derek Carr deserves most of the credit, he wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what he has without a strong receiving corps.
Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are going to receive most of the attention for the success in the passing game, but Seth Roberts is another name to keep an eye on during the homestretch. Even if he’s only recorded one game of 50+ yards this season, Roberts found a way to find the end zone five times.
Not to mention, Carr always seems to be trying his best to get Roberts more involved with the offense as he’s constantly targeting the wide receiver. Playoffs may already be a guarantee for the Raiders, but now the focus becomes clinching the AFC West title, starting with Saturday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Who knows, maybe Roberts has what it takes to be a difference maker by finding the end zone for the sixth time to set a career high for his very young career.
Philadelphia Eagles: Trey Burton
The only word to describe this season for the Philadelphia Eagles is disaster as this team went from looking like strong contenders following a 3-0 start, only to turn out to be one of the worst teams in the league sitting at 5-9 heading in to the final two weeks. To top it off, the Eagles remaining games are meaningless since their first-round pick is going to the Cleveland Browns, which means the only thing they are playing for at this point is experience.
Until Philadelphia provides Carson Wentz with more reliable weapons in the passing game, the rookie is only going to continue struggling as there’s only so much he can do on his own. From dropped passes to terrible play calling, it’s hard not to feel bad for a rookie quarterback like Wentz as this team could be in much better shape than their record indicates.
From a fantasy perspective, it’s tough to count on any members of the Eagles, but if there are any owners seeking a last-minute decision to acquire a tight end for their championship, Trey Burton is certainly a name to consider. The fact that Burton’s been targeted 25 times over the last three games after being quiet for most of the season shows how hard Wentz is trying to get him more involved in the passing game.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Eli Rogers
On paper, the Pittsburgh Steelers have the kind of offense that can erupt at any time thanks to having some of the league’s most dynamic players in Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell. However, every once in a while, another player will come out of nowhere and record a big game for the Steelers on offense.
Last Sunday, that player was Eli Rogers as the wide receiver caught five passes for 75 yards to go along with what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown from 24 yards out in the middle of the fourth quarter. Rogers has displayed some impressive games throughout the 2016 season, but it had been a while since he made this type of impact for Big Ben in the passing game.
Pittsburgh may currently sit in first place in the AFC North, but that can quickly be taken away from them with a loss to the Baltimore Ravens next weekend. If the Ravens focus most of their attention on containing the trio of Steelers, it could open up the field for Rogers to see more passes thrown his way.
After spending all of last year on injured reserve, this is Rogers’ time to shine for the Steelers on offense as they look to continue their push for a playoff spot.
San Diego Chargers: Travis Benjamin
Just when the San Diego Chargers seemed like they couldn’t take another step back after losing nine games by single digits in 2015, they picked up right where they left off this year by already suffering eight losses by single digits. On the bright side, at least the Chargers are loaded with players capable of making an impact for the final week of fantasy football, especially when it comes to the wide receivers Philip Rivers has to work with.
In his first season with San Diego, Travis Benjamin has put together a few impressive games, but the argument can be made that he’s capable of doing more for this team on offense. If only Benjamin had been playing each week like he did on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders in which he caught a 47-yard touchdown in the first quarter, the Chargers may have won more of those close games.
The good news for fantasy owners is Benjamin will be playing with an extra chip on his shoulders when he faces his former team in the Cleveland Browns for the first time, which always seems to bring out the best in players. Any fantasy owner with Benjamin on their bench may want to consider putting the wideout into their starting lineup as it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him come up big against the Browns.
San Francisco 49ers: Garrett Celek
All year, fantasy football owners have been patently waiting for Garrett Celek to become an effective pass-catching tight end, although it doesn’t help when the team’s top two quarterbacks are Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert. Celek may have only caught three passes for 27 yards with a touchdown over the previous two games. But with a matchup against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday, this may finally be the breakout game for the tight end.
Despite a 3-1 start, the Rams have been one of the most disappointing teams from the 2016 season after losing nine of their last 10 games. For most of the season, defense had been playing well as it was the offense that was failing to do their part with their inability to score points.
With that being said, the defense hasn’t looked as dominant as they were earlier in the season as Celek and the 49ers hope to see similar results when these NFC West rivals square off for the second time. Celek may have only caught one pass for 15 yards when he faced the Rams opening weekend, but he wasn’t needed as much on offense as the 49ers went on to win that game with ease 28-0.
Seattle Seahawks: Luke Willson
Jimmy Graham is always going to be considered the top pass-catching tight end on the Seattle Seahawks, but Luke Willson has come through with big games for this team when nobody expects it. For the first time this year, Willson found the end zone against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 15, even if he only finished the game with three catches for 19 yards.
With the division title locked up, the Seahawks are simply playing for a first-round bye at this point as they prepare for their next game against the Arizona Cardinals. Believe it or not, these two NFC West rivals ended their first meeting in a tie as both teams just couldn’t seem to get anything going on offense.
This time around, Seattle is a much healthier team as they look to come out firing in this one. Not to mention there’s more on the line in this meeting as the last thing the Seahawks want to see happen is allow the Detroit Lions to overtake them for the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
If Arizona’s defense focuses their attention on stopping Graham and the other weapons on the Seahawks’ offense like Doug Baldwin, maybe Willson could find his way into the end zone for the second weekend in a row.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adam Humphries
Nothing against Adam Humphries, but it’s safe to say that not many fantasy football owners had the wide receiver in their lineup when he caught that miraculous touchdown pass against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. After his performance against the Cowboys, is Humphries worth taking the risk with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fighting for their playoff lives?
Thanks to a little help from the Washington Redskins, the Buccaneers are back to controlling their own playoff destiny as they currently hold on to the No. 6 seed in the NFC. But as good as earning a Wild Card spot would be, Tampa Bay has their eyes set on the bigger picture since they can still catch the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South standings.
The Buccaneers have seen their defense carry most of the weight over the last few weeks to get back into the playoff hunt. Now it’s time for the offense to do its part with players like Humphries making more contributions. The targets have been there for Humphries all season, and now it’s time for the wide receiver to take advantage of the situation by making more catches, whether they happen to be miraculous or not.
Tennessee Titans: Derrick Henry
After finishing at the bottom of the division in 2015, the Tennessee Titans have become one of the best stories from this season as they look to continue building a case for a playoff spot in the AFC. With two wins in a row over the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, the Titans are playing with a ton of confidence at the moment, and one of the main reasons behind their surprise turnaround is due to an improved running game.
More from NFL Spin Zone
- 2016 NFL Picks, Score Predictions For Week 162h ago
- NFC Playoff Picture 2016: Wild Card, Standings After Week 1510h ago
- Panthers at Redskins Recap, Highlights, Final Score, More11h ago
- Redskins Cheerleader Eats It After Accidental Kirk Cousins Hit (Video)11h ago
- Jordan Reed Ejected for Punching Kurt Coleman (Video)12h ago
Not only did the team make a strong move in the offseason by acquiring DeMarco Murray in the offseason from the Philadelphia Eagles, but they came up big in the draft when they were able to land Derrick Henry as well. The running back duo has played a big part in the success of Tennessee’s offense, and believe it or not, they could be the difference maker for a lot of teams battling for a fantasy football championship.
While Murray has been a popular pick all season, it’s tough to ignore that Henry has three rushing touchdowns over his last three games, two of which came last weekend against the Chiefs. Fantasy owners would feel more confident in starting Henry if he had recorded his first career 100-yard game by now. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t still be considered for use against an awful team like the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Washington Redskins: Pierre Garcon
Before anyone freaks out about how a player like Pierre Garcon is even on this list, keep in mind that he currently ranks fourth on the Washington Redskins when it comes to receiving touchdowns. Garcon may have been a dominant receiver a few years ago, but he’s only crossed the 1,000-yard mark once since joining the Redskins in 2012.
Sure, there’s a good chance Garcon’s numbers would be better if it wasn’t for Washington having a ton of talent in the receiving department, but that’s what makes him such a sleeper pick heading into Week 16. Not only is Garcon available in most leagues, but the Redskins find themselves in desperation mode after falling to the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football.
And if that wasn’t convincing enough, Washington gets to face one of the worst teams the NFL has to offer in the Chicago Bears. If all goes well, Garcon may have the opportunity to post his second 100-yard game of the 2016 season as the Redskins will need all of the extra help they can get over these final two games. Hopefully, Garcon finds a way to play like he did back in the day not just to help his team, but fantasy owners as well.
- Aaron Rodgers
- Adam Humphries
- Aldrick Robinson
- Amari Cooper
- Andrew Luck
- Arizona Cardinals
- Atlanta Falcons
- Baltimore Ravens
- Bilal Powell
- Blaine Gabbert
- Brian Quick
- Bryce Petty
- Buffalo Bills
- C.J. Anderson
- Cameron Meredith
- Captain Munnerlyn
- Carolina Panthers
- Carson Wentz
- Chad Greenway
- Charles Clay
- Chicago Bears
- Chris Conley
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Cole Beasley
- Colin Kaepernick
- Cordarrelle Patterson
- Dallas Cowboys
- DeAndre Hopkins
- DeMarco Murray
- Denver Broncos
- Derek Carr
- Derrick Henry
- Detroit Lions
- Devin Funchess
- Dion Sims
- Doug Baldwin
- Duke Johnson Jr.
- Dwayne Washington
- Eli Manning
- Eli Rogers
- Erik Swoope
- Garrett Celek
- Giovani Bernard
- Green Bay Packers
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- J.J. Nelson
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- James White
- Jay Cutler
- Jeremy Hill
- Jeremy Maclin
- Jimmy Garoppolo
- Julio Jones
- Justin Forsett
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Kenneth Dixon
- Kirk Cousins
- Kurt Coleman
- Larry Fitzgerald
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Los Angeles Rams
- Luke Willson
- Mark Ingram II
- Marqise Lee
- Mason Foster
- Matt Barkley
- Matt Forte
- Matt Moore
- Matt Ryan
- Matthew Stafford
- Miami Dolphins
- Michael Crabtree
- Michael Floyd
- Minnesota Vikings
- New England Patriots
- New Orleans Saints
- New York Giants
- New York Jets
- Nolan Carroll
- Oakland Raiders
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Philip Rivers
- Pierre Garcon
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Rex Burkhead
- Russell Wilson
- Ryan Tannehill
- San Francisco 49ers
- Seattle Seahawks
- Seth Roberts
- Sterling Shepard
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Tavon Austin
- Tennessee Titans
- Terrance West
- Terrance Williams
- Theo Riddick
- Tim Hightower
- Tom Brady
- Tom Savage
- Travis Benjamin
- Travis Kelce
- Trevor Williams
- Trey Burton
- Ty Montgomery
- Tyrod Taylor
- Washington Redskins
- Will Tye
- Willie Snead IV
- Xavier Rhodes