Are we seeing big changes in the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers backfields? Will Austin Ekeler get back to scoring touchdowns? FantasySharks.com senior writer Matt Wilson answers those questions, updates us on the latest injuries and gives a quick recap of the Week 16 fantasy action in his final edition of “Traps & Trends” for this season.
THE WEEK 16 FANTASY FOOTBALL SUMMARY
- Alvin Kamara gave his fantasy managers a Christmas Day present that Santa Claus couldn’t match. The elite every-down tailback made up for some lean performances during the previous month by gashing the Minnesota Vikings with an NFL record-tying six rushing touchdowns along with 155 rushing yards on 22 carries. He also chipped in three catches for 17 yards. Kamara’s absolutely insane unworldly rushing performance single-handedly won quite a few fantasy bowls. Kamara cranked out 56.2 PPR points, which set several fantasy scoring records including the most points scored by a running back in Week 16. Wow, I didn’t know they kept such records.
- Tom Brady has racked up most of his best fantasy outings in road contests this season. He continued to travel well, feasting on a demoralized and injury-torpedoed Detroit Lions defense by hitting on 22 of 27 throws for 348 yards and four touchdown strikes…in the first half. It was the best first half performance of his storied Hall of fame career. In case you missed the game, Brady was rested in the second half. Seriously – he didn’t see the field while Blaine Gabbert handled two quarters of mop-up duty. Two of Brady’s scoring passes went to Mike Evans, who topped the Bucs with 10 receptions for 181 yards on 12 targets. Rob Gronkowski notched his first two-score outing of the season, catching one touchdown pass from Brady and one from Gabbert.
- The Aaron Rodgers-to-Davante Adams connection sizzled Sunday night at a cold and snowy Lambeau Field. Unfazed by the wintry weather, Rodgers hit on a super-efficient 21 of 25 throws for 231 yards and four touchdowns against one interception. He spent a good part of the evening playing pitch-and-catch with favorite target Adams – Rodgers would throw it to his No. 1 wideout on every play if he could – to the tune of 11 catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns on 12 targets.
- Ben Roethlisberger, coming off two straight dud fantasy outings, bounced back this past Sunday during his team’s come-from-behind victory over the Indianapolis Colts but not without some drama. After he battled through a near-benching by amassing a dismal 98 scoreless passing yards in the first half, Roethlisberger erupted with 242 passing yards and three touchdowns during the Pittsburgh Steelers’ second-half comeback. He finished with 34 completions on 49 attempts for a season-high 342 passing yards and the three scores.
- Travis Kelce hauled in seven passes for 98 yards and one touchdown on 13 targets to help his team outduel the Atlanta Falcons. The fantasy outing wasn’t Kelce’s best one of the season, but it helped him set a new season highs of 105 receptions for 1,416 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 1,416 receiving yards shattered George Kittle’s NFL single-season record of 1,377 receiving yards by a tight end, which he set back in 2017. By the way, Kelce has one more game to play.
- The Patrick Mahomes-to-Tyreek Hill connection sputtered at the worst possible time for fantasy managers. The Kansas City Chiefs had come off a hard-fought Week 15 win over the New Orleans Saints, which is probably one reason why they didn’t look sharp during a surprisingly close 17-14 home win over the Atlanta Falcons. I also figure the Chiefs didn’t take the Falcons very seriously. Mahomes completed just 54.5 percent of his throws for just 278 yards and two touchdowns versus one pick (he should have been intercepted a second time).
- The Kyler Murray-to-DeAndre Hopkins connection disappointed fantasy managers when the duo was needed the most. A lethargic looking Arizona Cardinals offense just didn’t get on track during a pounding at the hands of an energetic San Francisco 49ers defense. Murray passed for 247 scoreless yards versus one interception and rushed for 75 scoreless yards on eight carries. It was only Murray’s second game of the season with no passing or rushing touchdowns. As for Hopkins, he caught eight of 12 targets for 48 yards, which was his second-worst fantasy outing of 2020.
- The Russell Wilson-to-D.K. Metcalf connection also disappointed during fantasy bowl weekend. The Seattle Seahawks offense did what it could against a rock-solid Los Angeles Rams defense. Wilson’s production has dropped off noticeably during the last few weeks because of tougher matchups and the Seattle Seahawks relying more on their ground game with Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde. In the Rams game, Wilson passed for only 225 yards and one touchdown with no picks and rushed three times for nine yards and one score. He has tossed only one touchdown pass in four of his last five outings. Getting back to Metcalf, he caught just six of eight targets for 59 scoreless yards, which was just his fourth outing without at least 80 receiving yards or one touchdown grab during an otherwise impressive 2020 breakout campaign. During the last month, Metcalf has scored once and has failed to clear 100 yards in a contest.
- Start No. 3 of the Jalen Hurts Experiment didn’t go as well as Start No. 2 did versus the Arizona Cardinals last week. Hurts didn’t totally leave his fantasy managers high and dry with a bad fantasy outing, but a bigger performance had been expected. During a 37-17 road loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Hurts passed for a career-high 342 yards but threw just one touchdown pass, and carried nine times for 69 yards. His performance was mix of big plays and big mistakes, including two interceptions and a large number of pre-snap penalties. Hurts’ “lost fumble” with about four minutes left in the game was a bad call plain and simple. With the Philadelphia Eagles eliminated from the playoff hunt, Hurts gets one more chance to impress with a Week 17 start against a solid Washington Football Team defense.
- One of the most surprising late-season fantasy storylines, the “David Montgomery Express” continues to roll. Since Week 12, he’s averaging 21.8 touches and 138.4 total yards per contest, and has scored at least once in five straight games (seven touchdowns total). Montgomery also has compiled three 100-yard games (and one 95-yard effort against the Jacksonville Jaguars this past Sunday), which included a season-best 32-146-2 performance versus the Minnesota Vikings two weeks ago. What’s the secret to Montgomery’s recent ground-and-pound success? An offensive line reshuffling that included moving center Cody Whitehair from center back to his natural position of left guard plugging in surprisingly solid second year undrafted free agent Sam Mustipher at center. On top of that, head coach Matt Nagy gave up the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
THE WEEK 16 INJURY REPORT
There are some high-profile quarterbacks on this longer-than-usual list. Keep in mind that some teams withhold injury information, so a few more names could be added Monday or Tuesday.
QB Kyler Murray (leg)
QB Jared Goff (broken thumb)
QB Deshaun Watson (throwing hand; returned to his game)
QB Matthew Stafford (ankle)
RB J.K. Dobbins (chest)
RB Frank Gore (chest/lung)
RB Darrell Henderson (ankle)
RB Chase Edmonds (hip)
RB Aaron Jones (hip; returned to his game)
RB T.J. Yeldon (reserve/COVID-19)
WR Jakeem Grant (high-ankle sprain)
WR Sammy Watkins (calf)
WR KJ Hamler (concussion)
TE Dallas Goedert (calf)