- Who will carry his fantasy teams to championships in Week 16?
Week 16 is here. No more time for explanatory intros. Let's get right to the final fantasy football Cheat Sheet of the season.
Fantasy football championship week has arrived. Fantasy owners have arrived at this place after traveling down myriad paths. Some had dominant drafts. Some worked the waiver wire like magicians. Some made season-changing trades. Most used a combination of all three. No matter how they got to this point, here they are. They may have gotten here via complex means, but we're going to keep it simple in this season's final edition of the Cheat Sheet. The player active in Week 16 who will lead the most teams to titles is...who?
Michael Beller (@MBeller): I was just going to take the layup here and go with Todd Gurley or Christian McCaffrey, but I’m a bit worried about the now. Gurley’s knee inflammation could limit him this week, especially if the Rams get out to a big lead against the Cardinals. McCaffrey is as sure a thing as there is in fantasy, though the move to Taylor Heinicke does have me slightly concerned for McCaffrey’s ceiling. I still lean toward McCaffrey being the guy, here, but I’m going to go a bit off-script and say Nick Chubb. The rookie out of Georgia has started eight games for the Browns this season. In those eight games, he has 687 yards, 16 receptions for 150 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns. That comes out to 16.46 points per game in standard-scoring leagues, and 18.46 points per game in PPR formats. If he had those numbers over the full season, he’d be the No. 9 back in standard leagues, between Ezekeil Elliott and Joe Mixon, and the No. 10 back in PPR formats, between Mixon and James White. The Browns are 8.5-point favorites at home against the Bengals, whose defense is ranked dead last in the league against running backs in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric, aFPA. Chubb is about to put his teams on his back this week.
Stephen Andress (@SportsByStephen): I believe most will say Todd Gurley and Christian McCaffrey, and they wouldn't be wrong. However, I would venture to guess Davante Adams is going to be right there with them. Adams has been the model of WR1 consistency all year. What makes it all the more remarkable is Aaron Rodgers has had a below-average season by his standards, and the Packers have lacked a reliable WR2 most of this season, forcing Adams to beat elite corners and double coverage. In PPR leagues, only Gurley, McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara and Ezekiel Elliot have outscored him among FLEX eligible players. His "worst" game this season was a 16 PPR-point performance Week 9 at New England. To put that in perspective, only 13 WRs in PPR this season averaged 16 points per game in PPR leagues. And when it has mattered most to those that have him in fantasy leagues, Adams delivered, scoring 20-plus points in five of the last six weeks. Truly a remarkable fantasy season, right up there with the best and most consistent we had ever seen from Antonio Brown in 2014 and 2015.
Chris Allen (@ChrisAllenFFWX): We’re always so sure of ourselves after we leave our drafts. We rely on our first-round picks not only during the regular season, but through the playoffs all the way to a championship. Todd Gurley helped fantasy GMs get there, but an injury and a recently lagging offense have his availability in doubt. Melvin Gordon is coming off an injury. Saquon Barkley still must contend with a broken offense. The Cardinals have held David Johnson back all season. No Le’Veon Bell. It’s just Ezekiel Elliot.
I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t see this level of production coming. The rushing volume was always there, but his work in the passing game is unprecedented for him. Elliot had 77 targets over his first two seasons. He’s had 89 this season alone. Since the Cowboys added Amari Cooper, Elliot’s targets per game have jumped from 5.1 to 6.7. Plus, the Cowboys facing Tampa Bay in Week 16. The Buccaneers’ secondary hasn’t been the same target for quarterbacks as it was early in the season, which could put even more on Elliott’s shoulders. And even with that improved pass defense, it’s still a poor unit overall, and has allowed 170 rushing yards per game the last three weeks. Elliott will have all the opportunity in the world, and he’ll come through on it, carrying his GMs to a championship.