Time to Shine or Ride the Pine: Week 16 Start or Sit

J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets! It was an early Christmas miracle, as New York defeated the Rams for their first win of 2020. It likely means coal in their stockings, as they’re no longer the favorite to land Trevor Lawrence. Week 15 was full of upsets, as Mitchell Trubisky led Chicago past Minnesota. My Boys beat San Fran on the legs of Tony “The Tiger” Pollard, and Cincinnati handled Pittsburgh on Monday night. We saw the Patriots get eliminated from playoff contention. A duel between dynamic QB’s in the desert, and two Super Bowl contenders in The Big Easy. With the plethora of awesome performances during the week, it was disappointing to see my start/sits fall flat.

Only D’Andre Swift performed up to expectations with 2 touchdowns, as both Irv Smith Jr. and Christian Kirk played minor roles in their teams offensive success. The aforementioned Jets had two different RB’s score touchdowns, Jakobi Meyers had a monster game, and Benny Snell found the end zone on Monday Night. There is no time to sulk, it’s Holiday season and Trophies are on the line! Merry Christmas all, it’s Week 16 start or sit!

Time to Shine

Tee Higgins ([email protected] 1pm est)

The Bengals’ offense hasn’t been the same since Joe Burrow got injured. In the spirit of Christmas however, Santa is delivering a wonderful present just in time for fantasy championships. It’s a matchup with the Houston Texans defense, which has allowed 20 receiving TD’s to receivers in 2020, and at least 1 in 12 of their 14 games. They’re also giving up an average of 14 receptions for 172 yards on the season (excludes week 10 in Cleveland), and an NFL worst catch rate of 71%. With Tyler Boyd in the concussion protocol and him already playing 90%+ of the snaps the last 5 weeks, look for Higgins to Tee off against the lowly Houston pass defense.

Prediction: 5 rec 85 yards 1 TD: 17 pts   

Melvin Gordon ([email protected] 4:05pm est)

It’s revenge week part deux for Gordon, as he gets to face the Chargers again. The first matchup didn’t exactly go as planned for Melvin and the Broncos. He was only able to muster 26 yards rushing and 21 through the air. As a matter of fact, his season as a whole hasn’t exactly gone to plan. Prior to last week’s 2 touchdown performance against Buffalo, Gordon had scored in just 1 of his previous 8 games after starting the year scoring in 3 of 5. He has a great shot to find the end zone this week with the LA Chargers ranking 22nd in rush yards against (123/gm), and 26th in pts/gm (27.8). Since Week 11, he’s seeing 77% of the team’s red zone carries and 100% inside the 10. Also during this time, he has eclipsed 60 rushing yards in 4 of 5 games, 80+ twice, while adding 7 receptions over the last 2 weeks. Look for MG3 to be featured heavily in his second game against the Chargers.

Prediction: 14 car 73 yards 1 TD, 4 rec 18 yards: 17.1 pts 

Allen Lazard ([email protected] SNF 8:20pm est)

It’s time for the Lazard king to reclaim his throne alongside Devante Adams, in the Packers offense. He played the 2nd most snaps at WR, and was the only other receiver to see double digit targets (6) during Week 15. He is trending towards his early season role where he played nearly 90% of the snaps, and caught a TD in 2 of the first 3 games. Allen and the Packers host the Titans on Sunday Night Football in a game with the highest implied total (56) of week 16. 

Tennessee is allowing 34.8 fpts/gm (29th), and has given up a total of 232 receptions (31st) to WR’s in 2020. They’re also giving up a ridiculous 200 yards on 17 receptions/gm to wide receivers (excludes week 11 vs. Baltimore) thus far. Aaron Rodgers will attack down the field, and even if playing second fiddle to D. Adams, the matchup sets up Allen Lazard to help bring home the trophy.

Prediction: 5 rec 83 yards 1 TD: 16.8 pts  

Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times/TNS

Ride the Pine

Nelson Agholor ([email protected] Saturday night 8:15pm est)

Agholor looked like a potential week-winner heading into his last game but an injury to Derek Carr derailed that. He had a decent day, hauling in 4 of 8 targets for 49 yards while drawing a couple of pass interference penalties. Nelson also played his most snaps since Week 9 with Henry Ruggs absent, but the speedy rookie is returning this week, and the Miami Dolphins are on tap.

Miami has been one of the toughest pass defenses to score on, with just 10 receiving TD’s (T-3) allowed to WR’s on the season. They have also made simply catching passes difficult, allowing just a 59% catch rate which is good for 2nd in the NFL. If a stingy defense isn’t enough to shy away from, consider the Raiders’ defense is allowing the 3rd most plays, and 2nd most points against this season. Miami should have no problem controlling the clock against the Raiders, thus limiting opportunities for Agholor while sharing snaps and targets. Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs (leary of him too) are the only Raiders I’m interested in during Championship week.

Prediction: 4 rec 52 yards: 7.2 pts 

Falcons RB’s ([email protected] 1pm est)

Atlanta has elevated Ito Smith into the “starter’s” role ahead of Week 16 vs. Kansas City, but I’m not excited about his or any other Falcons running back outlook. They’re double digit underdogs on Sunday and over their last 3 games (all losses), Atlanta RB’s have totaled just 51 carries and 12 receptions combined. They were able to amass 155 rush and 62 receiving yards on these touches. An average of 52 rush yards & 21 receiving yards/gm isn’t even start worthy for one guy, let alone an entire RB room. Kansas City has allowed only 6 rushing (T-1st) and 4 receiving TD’s to backs this season leaving scoring opportunities scarce. Stay Away!

Prediction: Nobody over 40 rushing yards or 20 receiving

D.K. Metcalf ([email protected] 4:25pm est)

The cyborg, Metcalf, has been somewhat quiet over the last 3 weeks, accumulating just 184 yards and 1 score. The silence might get louder in Week 16, as D.K. faces his arch nemesis, the Rams. Against LA, he has been held below 50 yards twice and under 80 in all 3 matchups. His lone touchdown came in Week 5 of 2019, before the arrival of Jalen Ramsey and was 1 of his 2 receptions during that game. The Rams have continued their dominant pass defense into 2020 ranking 1st against WR’s allowing 22.9 fpt/gm. They have also given up a league-low 7 TD receptions, and least yards/target of 6.96 to the position. D.K. is a beast and is almost certainly going to be in your lineups, but be prepared for the potential egg.

Prediction: 4 rec 63 yards: 8.3 pts

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