Plus, more fantasy football stuff heading into Week 16

By Gary Gramling
December 20, 2016

If you’re still playing fantasy football, chances are you’re in your championship game (because no one ever listens to me). And seeing as you’ve done so well, I deem you ready to fly on your own. You don’t need me anymore. But I will leave you with one final piece of advice: If you see a penny on the ground, pick it up. But only if it’s head up. If it’s tail up and you pick it up, you’ll lose your game and likely become violently ill. And you’ll know why.

Tom Savage and DeAndre Hopkins: Hey look, it’s DeAndre Hopkins! And he’s doin’ stuff! Hopkins and Brock Osweiler never got on the same page, but Savage targeted Hopkins 15(!) times on 36 throws on Sunday. That’s enough of a floor to make Hopkins a must-start in Week 16.

Tyler Lockett: He had his long-awaited breakout game on Thursday night against L.A. (first receiving TD of the year!). Still, Russell Wilson has a lot of mouths to feed. Lockett was only targeted eight times on TNF and, y’know, one touchdown catch this season. He’s a high-risk/high-reward play in standard leagues. And in PPR league, I’d send a sensitive but firm letter telling him he’s staying on the bench.

Alshon Jeffery, Cameron Meredith and Deonte Thompson: Jeffery’s return (which went as well as it could have for anyone stashing him) had an interesting domino effect. Meredith, the bane of my existence, moved to the slot almost exclusively, which is a nice place to be when Matt Barkley is your quarterback. I think Jeffery is startable, and even Meredith if you’re scraping bottom-of-the-barrel options. Deonte Thompson had a 100-yard game as well against the Packers, but I wouldn’t trust him.

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Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount and James White: This is how it’s gonna be: Blount only runs, White only receives, and Lewis mostly receives but is the only one of the three who does a little bit of both. I had a feeling they were holding him back for the Broncos matchup, in which they needed some kind of new dimension for the offense to make up for the loss of Rob Gronkowski. (New dimension in that, when Blount is on the field he’s one less receiver, when White is on the field there’s little threat of a run, when Lewis is on the field defenses have to worry about the pass and the run.) That said, you’re probably looking at a three-way split in what should be a blowout win over the Jets on Sunday. I’d expect all three to see work, with Lewis likely edging out Blount for carries due to garbage time. Lewis is playable in PPR leagues.

Melvin Gordon, Kenneth Farrow and Ronnie Hillman: Gordon has a chance to return this week, which would make all of this a moot point. Farrow played 41 of the 55 snaps on Sunday, but for the second straight week was almost solely responsible for a game-changing turnover. Two weeks ago it was a blown blitz pick-up leading to a strip sack, and on Sunday it was a lost fourth-quarter fumble inside the Chargers’ 20, leading to a game-tying field goal. Trust issues aside though, Farrow is potentially the lead back on a team that isn’t the Cleveland Browns in a game that involves the Cleveland Browns, so he’s a low-end starter.

Robert Griffin III: He’s still the starter in Cleveland. And if he were ever going to do anything again (and he probably isn’t), it will be in a meaningless home game against the Chargers.

Bryce Petty and Robby Anderson and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall: It sounds like Petty will be back under center for the Patriots game, making Anderson a desperation play in standard scoring leagues. And unless Fitzpatrick gets the call, Marshall is not playable. But if you have Marshall on your team, you probably didn’t make it this far anyway.

Blake Bortles: He’s still the Jaguars starter, because he’s forever the Jaguars starter. And if you’re in one of those weird Week 17 leagues, he’s worth consideration as a starter at Indianapolis.

Terrelle Pryor: He has a broken finger and Robert Griffin III as his quarterback. As Sammy Hagar once told me: “Dream another dream. This dream is over.”

Sammy Watkins: Merry Christmas to anyone starting Watkins in a semifinal game, as he took a metaphorical dump on your stocking with a one-catch performance against the Browns. Still, if you survived that, he’s a PPR starter this week against the Dolphins.

Michael Floyd: Not even worth a roster stash. And he’s a bad influence on the rest of your roster.

Adrian Peterson: I’m not sure why the Vikings would burn more mileage on Peterson in a meaningless game or two. He did not look any better after tearing his meniscus than he did before he tore his meniscus, and a large part of that has to do with the Vikings’ inability to block anyone.

Frank Gore and Robert Turbin: Whatever. As much as TD vulturing annoys me as a fantasy owner, I’ve always said that if I were a head coach (call me, Shad Khan!) I’d save my lead back a few carries by taking him off the field in short yardage, assuming I had a capable short-yardage back on the roster behind him. So that’s just kinda the way it’s gonna be sometimes in Indy. I’d still start at Oakland and vs. Jacksonville the next two weeks.

Bilal Powell: He’ll be fine against the Patriots as a volume guy, and PPR leaguers can go ahead and start him.

Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis: Jordan Reed is playing in pain (and doesn’t throw much of a punch), and Davis suddenly can’t catch the ball again. It’s not a good tandem to trust going forward, but I’d consider Reed a low-end TE1 for the Bears game this week.

Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West: Dixon was in the doghouse after missing a blitz pickup on Sunday, and this might be back to a 50/50 timeshare. I wouldn’t start either guy in Pittsburgh.

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