Sunday - Jan 17, 2021

Home / Commentary / RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 16


Welcome to the Week 16 edition of “Red Light, Green Light,” a matchup guide for all of this weekend’s NFL contests (and Monday night).

In each NFL Week 16 game profile below, I will choose a total of 3 players to highlight as green, yellow or red light options.

green-light Green Light: Players who have a great matchup. These guys are rock solid fantasy options, and can be counted on as a strong source of fantasy production.
yellow-light Yellow Light: Players with just an OK matchup and/or usage concerns. These guys are passable fantasy options but don’t expect them to set the world on fire.
red-light Red Light: Players with serious matchup/usage concerns, thus requiring lowered expectations lowered for the week, and/or should just be avoided altogether 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 carry your team to victory.

As always, the information conveyed below is not intended to be solely a start/bench list, but can be used to evaluate those decisions as well.

Note: Fantasy points allowed statistics are based off of the Fantasy Sharks default points per reception (PPR) scoring system. Point Spreads and Over/Unders are based off the Fantasy Sharks consensus analysis.

Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2020 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Colts Steelers
Quarterback 21st 31st
Running Back 19th 32nd
Wide Receiver 25th 22nd
Tight End 28th 32nd
Defense/Special Teams 28th 21st
Vegas Line: Colts -2
Vegas Over/Under: 44.5

green-light Green Light – Colts D/ST

Though the fact they are a dome team on the road in the middle of winter is a little concerning, Pittsburgh’s offense has been on struggle street for the last month, having failed to eclipse 20 points for in any of their last four games. This contest features the lowest over/under of the week, and Pittsburgh’s 21.5 implied point total is the 6th-lowest of all teams.

yellow-light Yellow Light – Jonathan Taylor (RB, Indianapolis)

The stats show a touch Steelers run defense on paper, but lately, they’ve been faltering as the injuries on that side of the ball start to mount up. Averaging 103.5 rushing yards per game over his last four, Taylor has completely changed the conversation regarding his rookie season performance after struggling for much of the first half of 2020.

red-light Red Light – Eric Ebron (TE, Pittsburgh)

The enigmatic tight end pulled a vanishing act last season by way of leaving Monday night’s loss early due to injury, but is expected to be fine for this contest. However, the Colts have allowed the 9th-fewest receiving yards to opposing tight ends, and just two touchdowns to the position.

Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2020 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Falcons Chiefs
Quarterback 1st 12th
Running Back 24th 10th
Wide Receiver 2nd 31st
Tight End 4th 12th
Defense/Special Teams 16th 30th
Vegas Line: Chiefs -10.5
Vegas Over/Under: 53.5

green-light Green Light – Calvin Ridley (WR, Atlanta)

This is one where you can throw the matchup right out the window. In the last three games where Julio Jones (hamstring) has been out or hobbled, Ridley has averaged 131.7 receiving yards on 12 targets. Atlanta figures to have a pass-heavy gameplan this week as double-digit underdogs.

yellow-light Yellow Light – Sammy Watkins (WR, Kansas City)

Watkins has not eclipsed 62 receiving yards in a game since Week 1, though could see more work than usual with Tyreek Hill (hamstring) potentially playing at less than 100 percent. Atlanta has allowed the second-most receiving yards to opposing wideouts.

red-light Red Light – Le’Veon Bell (RB, Kansas City)

Bell inherits the Chiefs’ no. 1 running back role following the injury to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who is expected to miss at least the rest of the regular season. However, the Falcons have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards to opposing backfields.

Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2020 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Bears Jaguars
Quarterback 24th 2nd
Running Back 23rd 3rd
Wide Receiver 26th 8th
Tight End 2nd 10th
Defense/Special Teams 9th 6th
Vegas Line: Bears -7.5
Vegas Over/Under: 47

green-light Green Light – David Montgomery (RB, Chicago)

Montgomery’s torrid streak continues against inferior defenses, as he’s averaged 108.5 rushing yards and 34.3 receiving yards over the past four weeks to go along with 6 total touchdowns during that span. The looming absence of Cordarrelle Patterson (knee, questionable) would further ensure Montgomery receives nearly all the Chicago backfield touches.

yellow-light Yellow Light – Tyler Eifert (TE, Jacksonville)

Eifert might be the only Jag worth taking for a whirl this week, as the Bears tight end funnel defense has allowed the fourth-most receiving yards to the position.

red-light Red Light – James Robinson (RB, Jacksonville)

Though he has yet to be officially ruled out, Robinson (ankle) missed practice all week, and appears to be a longshot to play. Even if active, Robinson’s effectiveness will be compromised against a stout Bears defense.

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2020 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Bengals Texans
Quarterback 20th 13th
Running Back 17th 2nd
Wide Receiver 20th 9th
Tight End 5th 14th
Defense/Special Teams 4th 14th
Vegas Line: Texans -8
Vegas Over/Under: 46

green-light Green Light – Giovani Bernard (RB, Cincinnati)

Bernard won’t likely handle 26 touches as he did against Pittsburgh last Monday night, though this matchup against Houston is quite juicy. The Texans have allowed the most rushing yards to opposing backfields, and Bernard can chip in as a receiver should the box score become lop-sided early on.

yellow-light Yellow Light – David Johnson (RB, Houston)

It was quite refreshing to see Johnson dial back the clock to 2017 with a 100-yard receiving performance last week, which was more than double what he had put up through the air in any other single 2020 contest. Expect Johnson’s usage to shift more toward the ground, as the Bengals have allowed the 5th-most rushing yards to opposing backfields.

red-light Red Light – Brandin Cooks (WR, Houston)

Though he’s missed one game due to an injury, Cooks just doesn’t seemed suited for the no. 1 wideout role in Houston the same way Will Fuller (suspension) was. Cincinnati has allowed the 10th-fewest receiving yards to opposing wideouts.

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.