If you are reading “The Dive” in Week 16, your team is likely still in contention for the championship or at least 3rd place. Or, you just really love reading about fantasy football, your holiday shopping is complete, and can’t get enough of my weekly column! I am certain all fantasy managers will appreciate the holidays this weekend including delicious food, generous gifts, and time with family. However, you may find yourself singing Mariah Carey’s famous holiday song “All I Want for Christmas” but ending the chorus with”is a win!”
Week 15 had a lion’s share of clutch performances, which included your normal batch of fantasy studs as well as a several strangers. Running backs Mark Ingram, Todd Gurley, and Kareem Hunt continued to pile on points for their lucky fantasy managers. However, a few surprises were mixed into the names of high scoring quarterbacks including Cam Newton, Blake Bortles, Brock Osweiler, Eli Manning, and Nick Foles. Congratulations if you won your matchup starting Osweiler or Foles in Week 15 as you are either extremely brave or should look into “fortune telling” for a career.
Let’s take a dive into Week 16 which is championship week in most leagues. If you planned to start Aaron Rodgers or Antonio Brown this weekend, then think again. The Week 16 weather forecast may may be a factor with rain expected in Baltimore, New York, New England, and snow flurries headed for Chicago.
QB Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
After a potential MVP season in the works, it was disappointing for any NFL fan to see Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz suffer a season-ending injury in Week 14. However, backup quarterback Nick Foles turned back the clock to 2013 and filled in nicely to help Philadelphia defeat the New York Giants. Foles should be considered a QB2 option for Week 16 against the visiting Oakland Raiders. Although the Oakland has only allowed the 13th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, Foles’ upside is too high to ignore especially after last weekend’s stellar start.
Week 16 forecast: 225 passing yards; 2 TD
RB Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
When the season began, the New England Patriots’ running back situation seemed too complicated to figure out. However with Rex Burkhead recovering from injuries and not a factor this weekend, Dion Lewis and James White will carry the majority of the workload. Lewis is likely to serve more as a contributor on the ground, while White will continue to play more of a role as a receiver for Tom Brady. Lewis has averaged over five yards per carry this season and totaled 67 yards or more in each of his last five games. With a matchup against the Buffalo Bills who have allowed the most points and 2nd most rushing yards to opposing running backs, Lewis needs to be started as an RB2 or Flex with high upside. He ran for 92 yards against Buffalo in Week 13, but should receive even more work this weekend.
Week 16 forecast: 100 total yards; 1 TD
WR Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Martavis Bryant’s status earlier this season seemed like a situation to avoid. However, Bryant has become more consistent with at least six targets in each of the last four games along with two touchdowns during that span, and will be a primary target for Ben Roethlisberger with Antonio Brown sidelined this weekend. The Pittsburgh Steelers will be visiting the Houston Texans who have given up the 5th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers including three scores to Jacksonville Jaguars’ wide outs last game. For the first time this season, start Bryant with confidence!
Week 16 forecast: 80 receiving yards; 1 TD
TE Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers
After a controversial overturn of a game-winning touchdown last weekend, Pittsburgh Steelers’ tight end Jesse James will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. He will also receive more targets with Antonio Brown sidelined. Although James had a strong performance in Week 14, it’s been slim pickings in most other weeks. Regardless, consider him as a low TE2 with upside in Week 16 when he visits the Houston Texans who have surrendered the 6th most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
Week 16 forecast: 50 receiving yards; 1 TD
D/ST Chicago Bears
Although the Chicago Bears are far from playoff contention, they are certainly a team on the rise. Their offense is young and building chemistry, but their defense made a statement this season. In fact, their defense has scored in double digits in six of the last nine games. With a home matchup in cold snowy weather against the winless Cleveland Browns, consider starting Chicago’s defense for Week 16 as they have forced seven turnovers in the last four games. Cleveland’s offense has allowed the most points to opposing defenses, so consider Chicago Bears’ defense to help win your championship!
Week 16 forecast: 11 points