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RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 16

Welcome back for the Week 16 edition of “Red Light, Green Light”, your matchup guide for all of this weekend’s (and Monday’s) NFL contests. While this piece is not intended to be solely a start/bench list, it can be used for some of those decisions as well.

In each NFL Week 16 game profile below, players mentioned in the green light sections have a great matchup, and can be counted on as rock solid options for the week. Players mentioned in the yellow light sections have just an okay matchup and/or usage concerns, meaning they are passable fantasy options but don’t expect them to set the world on fire. Players in the red light sections have serious concerns, and need to have expectations lowered for the week, and/or should be avoided if possible. Remember, seeing your stud listed in the yellow or red light section isn’t necessarily grounds to bench them, but more of an indication they may not be the guy(s) carrying your team to victory this week.

Note: Fantasy points allowed statistics are based off of the Fantasy Sharks default PPR scoring system.

Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans (Saturday 12/22)

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Redskins Titans
Quarterback 15th 27th
Running Back 19th 32nd
Wide Receiver 11th 10th
Tight End 24th 32nd
Defense/Special Teams 9th 6th
Vegas Line: Titans -10.5
Vegas Over/Under: 37
green-light
  • Derrick Henry – For just the second time all season, Henry had a larger snap share (70 percent) than teammate Dion Lewis (33 percent). Henry appears to have seized control of the Titans backfield after compiling 408 rushing yards and six scores over the last two weeks. This matchup projects as another one the Titans should be able to control on the ground as heavy Vegas favorites.
  • Titans D/ST – Redskins quarterback John Johnson has done a good job of limiting turnovers, though team as a whole figures to have a difficult time scoring. Washington’s 1.75 implied team point total is the lowest of the week.
yellow-light
  • Corey Davis – With the Titans going run heavy the past few weeks, Davis simply hasn’t been needed to put up big numbers. Washington has allowed the 9th-most receiving yards to opposing wideouts, so if they stack the box to stop the run, Davis should be able to take advantage of a weak secondary.
red-light
  • Dion Lewis – Suddenly there’s only room for one guy in the Titans’ backfield, and it isn’t Lewis, who has averaged just 12.5 touches and 48 scrimmage yards per game the past two weeks.
  • Marcus Mariota – The Titans are expected to continue leaning on their run game, so Mariota’s pass attempt count should remain depressed for a third week in a row.
  • Adrian Peterson – The Redskins are huge underdogs, so Peterson is in danger of getting scripted out of the game plan if Washington can’t keep this close. Tennessee is ranked 10th in Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA.

Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers (Saturday 12/22)

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Ravens Chargers
Quarterback 29th 26th
Running Back 31st 9th
Wide Receiver 29th 25th
Tight End 13th 19th
Defense/Special Teams 25th 30th
Vegas Line: Chargers -4
Vegas Over/Under: 
43
green-light
  • None of note.
yellow-light
  • Lamar Jackson – Leads the NFL in rushing yards among quarterbacks, despite not starting his first game until Week 10. The Ravens’ ground-and-pound approach continues to win games, so there’s no reason for the team to back off Jackson’s 17.2 rush attempts per contest as a starter.
  • Gus Edwards – He’s now gone over 100 rushing yards in three of the Ravens’ last five contests. The Chargers have allowed 8 rushing touchdowns to opposing backfields over that same span.
  • Melvin Gordon (knee) – Practicing fully after missing the Chargers’ last three games. Gordon should see even more work in the pass game than usual with Austin Ekeler (concussion) still not ready to return.
  • Keenan Allen (hip) – Was riding a five game scoring streak prior to putting up a bagel in Week 15 due to suffering an injury early in that contest. Having returned to practice on Wednesday, Allen should be good to go against a stout Ravens secondary that has stumbled a bit lately, allowing at least 120 receiving yards to an opponents no. 1 wideout in each of their last two contests. Update: In Thursday’s post-practice update, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn reportedly labeled Allen a game-time decision, so he’s not out of the woods just yet.
  • Ravens Wide Receivers – This group just isn’t being used enough in the pass game to warrant fantasy consideration.
  • Kenneth Dixon – He actually out-snapped Gus Edwards 39-33 last Sunday, but was though was out-gained and out-carried by the starter. While Dixon seems to have swiped the change-of-pace role from Javorius Allen, the former isn’t seeing an acceptable amount as a receiver (just three catches over the past three weeks)
  • Ravens D/ST – The Chargers are tied for having allowed just the 6th-fewest sacks, and only the Seahawks have committed fewer turnovers as a team.
  • Philip Rivers – Tough draw for Rivers, as the Ravens have held a total of 8 opposing quarterbacks to just one touchdown pass or less this season.
  • Mike Williams – With Keenan Allen on track to play, William likely goes back to his low volume role as a red zone target and deep threat. Update: Allen has been designated a game-time decision for Saturday. If Allen sits, bump Mike Williams up to yellow light status.
  • Tyrell Williams – Like teammate Mike, Tyrell’s spiked production in Week 15 (6-71-0 on 12 targets) was out of necessity. So long as Allen and Melvin Gordon are healthy, they should soak up the majority of QB Rivers’ attention.

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Bengals Browns
Quarterback 1st 14th
Running Back 2nd 8th
Wide Receiver 19th 7th
Tight End 5th 4th
Defense/Special Teams 16th 17th
Vegas Line: Browns -9
Vegas Over/Under: 
44
  • Nick Chubb – Was able to notch his third 100-yard rushing effort of the season last week against Denver, and now sits just 140 yards shy of 1,000. The Bengals have allowed the fourth-most rushing yards to opposing backfields this season, and Chubb already did a number on them back in Week 12, going for 128 scrimmage yards and two scores.
  • Baker Mayfield – Playing at home as the Browns hang to their playoff hopes for dear life, look for Mayfield to shake off his mediocre performances of the past three weeks. The Bengals have allowed the fourth-most passing yards per game, and Mayfield lit them up for 258 and four touchdown passes back in Week 12.
  • Jarvis Landry – Despite posing just a 3-30 receiving line in Week 15, Landry led the Browns with 71 air yards. Look for a better result against the mediocre Bengals secondary.
  • Joe Mixon – Over his last four games played, Mixon averaged 129.5 total yards and scored three times. With the Bengals receiving corps decimated by injuries, Mixon should be given all he can handle against Cleveland’s suspect rush defense.
  • Bengals Wide Receivers – Tyler Boyd (knee) is all but certain to sit out this contest, leaving 2017 first-round pick John Ross, 2016 third-round pick Cody Core, and undrafted special teamer Alex Erickson has the remaining healthy wideouts. Growing more deserving of the bust label every week, Ross has played at least 84 percent of the Bengals’ offensive snaps from Week 10 onward, and despite scoring four touchdowns during that span, he only averaged 21.7 receiving yards per game. Quarterback Jeff Driskel hasn’t shown anything in the pass game to get excited about either.
  • C.J. Uzomah – Should stand to see more pass game work, but has generally underwhelmed all season. Uzomah hasn’t gone over 45 receiving yards in a game since Week 6.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Buccaneers Cowboys
Quarterback 4th 24th
Running Back 5th 24th
Wide Receiver 4th 30th
Tight End 8th 12th
Defense/Special Teams 13th 5th
Vegas Line: Cowboys -7.5
Vegas Over/Under: 
48.5
  • Ezekiel Elliott – Not having G Zack Martin (knee) was a problem for the Cowboys last week, but Elliott still managed 128 total yards on 25 touches against the Colts. Tampa Bay presents a much softer run defense, so Martin’s status should have little impact on Elliott’s ability to put up big numbers.
  • Amari Cooper – Limited to his lowest receiving output as a Cowboy last Sunday (4-32-0 on six targets), look for big rebound from Cooper against the Buccaneers’ porous secondary.
  • Dak Prescott – Another rebound candidate, Prescott is back in the safe confines of the Jerry-Dome this weekend, and faces a Buccaneers defense that is tied for the second-most passing touchdowns allowed (30).
  • Mike Evans – The Cowboys are a brutal matchup, but so were the Ravens last week, and that didn’t stop Evans from dropping a 4-121-0 line on them. The Bucs’ don’t have a good rushing offense, so they’re going to need to move the ball through the air if they plan to score points.
  • Cameron Brate – Aside from scoring a few touchdowns, Brate has thoroughly underwhelmed since starting tight end O.J. Howard (ankle, injured reserve) went down. The way to move the ball against Dallas is to attack the middle of the field, as they’ve allowed the 12th-most receiving yards and third-most receptions to opposing tight ends.
  • Jameis Winston – It’s great to see Winston taking better care of the football (just two interceptions and no lost fumbles over his last four starts), but his newfound conservatism has seemed to put a cap on his fantasy ceiling, which wouldn’t be very high anyway this week against a Dallas defense allowing just the 7th-fewest passing yards per game.
  • Chris Godwin – He’s caught just one pass for 13 yards over the two games since going off for 5-101-1 in Week 13. DeSean Jackson (thumb) appears to be ready return, and should immediately resume eating into Godwin’s snaps.
  • Adam Humphries – Has been held to just 8-65-0 over the past two weeks, and like Godwin, figures to see a dip in targets with Jackson coming back into the fold.
  • Peyton Barber – He does have four touchdowns over the Bucs’ last five games, though is barely involved in the pass game, and has been held to 47 rushing yards or less 8 times this season. The Cowboys are heavily favored, so the Bucs are likely to abandon the run early.

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.