New Orleans Saints @ Tennessee Titans
Michael Thomas continued his remarkably consistent season with another big game and set the NFL record with 145 catches on the year. He burned a Tennessee secondary missing Adoree Jackson for his most yards (136) in a road game this season, and he’s now scored in five of the last six contests as well. Thomas had a ridiculous 75% percent catch rate last year but has somehow been even better in 2019, when he’s clearly separated himself as fantasy’s No. 1 wide receiver while leading the league in receptions, receiving yards, target share, and WOPR. Despite defenses knowing exactly where the ball is going and not having any special downfield explosion, Mike truly can’t be guarded and enters next year with a strong argument to be drafted with the second overall pick in PPR leagues.
Drew Brees entered getting just 6.4 YPA away from home this season but tossed three touchdowns against a banged-up Tennessee secondary. He “went to Jared” for two scores during the tight end’s revenge game, including this impressive 61-yarder by Cook, who’s scored four touchdowns over the last three games despite seeing just 10 targets … Speaking of touchdown luck, Alvin Kamara finally found positive regression Sunday when he hit pay dirt (twice) for the first time since Week 3. Kamara entered with one touchdown on the year after scoring 14 times last season, so many of his fantasy managers were likely annoyed with the delayed outburst.
Dion Lewis capably filled in for an injured Derrick Henry but didn’t help fantasy managers a ton in the process, while Ryan Tannehill got 10.1 YPA without his star back … One of Week 16’s most baffling things was A.J. Brown not seeing a target until late (and finishing with only two) in a game that featured 66 points scored and without Henry. Brown salvaged his fantasy day with this 49-yard TD run, but more targets for the future star would’ve certainly been nice … In an exciting game that decided many fantasy championships, Thomas’ historic season is somehow finishing even stronger than it started, and he’s truly spoiled his managers this year.
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins
Daniel Jones returned with a huge game, throwing five touchdowns without a pick and taking just one sack. The rookie was impressive going on the road — without Darius Slayton, who missed time in the game with an injury (and Evan Engram out) — even finishing the game with a TD toss in overtime. Fellow rookie Dwayne Haskins was in the middle of his second straight strong performance before leaving with an ankle injury, and his season likely ends on something of an encouraging note … Steven Sims has scored and seen 10+ targets in back-to-back games and would’ve had a third touchdown Sunday if Case Keenum didn’t overthrow him wide-open on a would-be 70-yarder … Saquon Barkley reminded everyone what a healthy version looks like with 279 yards from scrimmage and this ridiculous TD run. With Jones, Slayton, Engram, Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard forming an intriguing young group in New York, Barkley is also going to have a strong case at pick No. 2 (along with Michael Thomas) at fantasy drafts.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan still managed to throw for 384 yards despite a game script that included the Falcons immediately up 14-0 and not much countering from Gardner Minshew and Jacksonville’s offense. DJ Chark wasn’t close to 100% (this will help his 2020 ADP), Chris Conley continued to outplay Dede Westbrook, and Leonard Fournette predictably didn’t score against a sneaky tough defense vs. fantasy backs … Julio Jones has seen 35 targets over the last two weeks, while Devonta Freeman saw 11 on Sunday and looked like the rejuvenated RB fantasy managers thought they were drafting.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Jets
A road matchup against one of the league’s best run defenses wasn’t an ideal setup for a Pittsburgh team that wants to hide its quarterback, as Devlin Hodges was benched and then later returned after Mason Rudolph got hurt. The Steelers’ poor offense does those starting their defense no favors … James Conner’s durability concern is real and needs to be strongly factored in at drafts next year … Diontae Johnson’s late-season emergence further clouds JuJu Smith-Schuster’s fantasy value moving forward.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins
Andy Dalton threw four touchdowns (and converted two two-point conversions) in the final 19 minutes of Sunday’s game, as he combined with Ryan Fitzpatrick for 815 yards and eight scores in an epic overtime battle that secured the top pick of next year’s draft for the Bengals. They came back from down 35-12 with less than 7:00 left and certainly can’t be accused of tanking. Coincidentally, the two games with the biggest draft ramifications Sunday both ended regulation 35-35 … I moved Joe Mixon from my RB3 to RB14 with the Sunday morning news of him having a “stomach bug,” and that illness can probably be blamed for his 2.4 YPC in the high-scoring affair, as he entered as the hottest back in football up against an inviting Miami run defense. Tyler Boyd benefitted from Mixon’s flu and the game script in a big way … DeVante Parker had another strong performance, and this time against a Bengals secondary that entered holding his primary side to the third-fewest fantasy points this season. Only Miami’s uncertain QB situation prevents Parker from being an automatic WR1 entering drafts next year, and the same could be said for Mike Gesicki as a top-five tight end.
Carolina Panthers @ Indianapolis Colts
Will Grier showed why undrafted Kyle Allen had been starting over him during an ugly performance, although to be fair he lost DJ Moore early. Jacoby Brissett actually produced a worse YPA (4.4), although it didn’t matter in the easy win … Christian McCaffrey still totaled 173 yards despite the ghastly QB play, thanks in no small part to securing all 15 of his targets (no other teammate saw more than five). CMC will attempt to become just the third back in league history to record a 1,000/1,000 season (he needs 67 receiving yards) in Week 17 … What a disappointing season by Curtis Samuel, whom I had much higher hopes for and entered Sunday top-10 in air yards this year … Fantasy managers who used the Colts defense not only benefitted from the Grier experience but they were spoiled with two punt return touchdowns as well … Marlon Mack had a nice game, but it could’ve been much more in arguably the best fantasy matchup for a back (the Panthers have allowed the most rushing TDs — 29 — since the 2008 winless Lions), as Jordan Wilkins and Brissett each stole one-yard scores. Mack saw his first target since November 10, and his upside remains severely limited until his role as a receiver expands significantly.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
For a while, it appeared the fantasy MVP candidate was going to have a quiet Week 16, but Lamar Jackson quickly changed that and ended with three TD passes and 100 rushing yards. Because of his unique rushing ability, Jackson will have a case to be taken in the first round of fantasy drafts next year … Baker Mayfield appears to be a real problem, and the future remains cloudy in Cleveland, where the team has now missed the playoffs for 17 straight seasons.
Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos
In a tough setup for Detroit, Kenny Golladay came through thanks to a whopping 50% target share, while Kerryon Johnson predictably had a limited workload during his return … Phillip Lindsay took advantage of a favorable matchup and produced a nice game, but he also ceded a goal-line TD to Royce Freeman, and Denver continues to underutilize him as a receiver … David Blough apparently told the telecast that it was a huge difference and upgrade in how organizations were run when he was traded from Cleveland to Detroit, which tells you all you need to know about the Browns’ future.
Oakland Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers
Derek Carr got 9.7 YPA (86.7%) and played well in the upset win, but he’s still failed to record a single 300-yard game all season, and it’s going to be weird being neighbors with Jon Gruden in Las Vegas with recent reports of Oakland ready to move on at quarterback … I’m beginning to think the Chargers won’t live up to expectations … Hunter Renfrow looks like a terrific late-round find by Oakland (as do Maxx Crosby and Foster Moreau), but his presence is a buzzkill for Darren Waller’s fantasy value … Philip Rivers didn’t produce a touchdown at home against an Oakland pass defense that entered ranked 31st in DVOA, and Melvin Gordon was held to just 1.7 YPC. Then again, we could be talking about a playoff-bound Raiders team here.
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
Dak Prescott put up a dud (6.0 YPA) against a struggling secondary while playing through a shoulder injury, although Dallas committed at least six drops (including one late on a deep ball by Michael Gallup). Meanwhile, Carson Wentz had a solid game despite missing most of his weapons on offense … Dallas Goedert benefited from Zach Ertz hurting his ribs (and the whole WR depth chart injured), as did Miles Sanders, who’s now totaled 328 yards from scrimmage with three touchdowns over the last two weeks, as few players have seen their fantasy stock rise more down the stretch (although it was tough to see him voluntarily go down at the end of this would-be TD run) … Facing a Philadelphia defense that shut down Ezekiel Elliott and entered allowing the most fantasy points to outside receivers this season (and the fewest to the slot), Amari Cooper put up an absolute bomb, producing just 24 scoreless yards on 12 targets. Considering he was on the sideline during the Cowboys’ final offensive play on fourth down with the team’s season on the line, it’s probably safe to assume his knee isn’t right (or maybe he just needed a breather?). Cooper scored all seven of his touchdowns last year at home, where he’s averaged 111.0 yards per game this season. He averaged just 40.0 yards on the road … Cowboys fans have to be thinking the silver lining here is that Jason Garrett is finally gone.
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson had a surprisingly quiet game in the fantasy championship despite Seattle losing Chris Carson early and at home against an inviting Arizona defense that’s yielded the NFL’s highest Passer Rating against. Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf somehow combined for 12 receiving yards, while Jacob Hollister didn’t score in his favorable matchup … The Cardinals have won five of their last seven games in Seattle, and the Seahawks may have been overlooking this one with next week’s upcoming matchup with San Francisco, which is as big as regular-season games get … Kenyan Drake was a monster for the second straight game and has now run for 303 yards and six touchdowns over the final two weeks of the fantasy season, helping lead many managers to championships (don’t ever forget Adam Gase didn’t like Drake or DeVante Parker). Drake is also plenty capable as a receiver, so given his skill set and Arizona’s system (assuming he returns), he’s going to look awfully tempting at the end of the first round of fantasy drafts next year.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Chicago Bears
Patrick Mahomes totaled three scores and became the fastest QB to reach 75 passing TDs (30 games) in NFL history, and Kansas City’s defense continued to show big improvement down the stretch. It makes sense considering the unit underwent overhaul scheme changes during the offseason, and the addition of Terrell Suggs could help too … Mitchell Trubisky continued his boom-or-bust season with his fifth game with a Passer Rating under 70, as Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller were kept quiet against a Chiefs secondary that remains stingy versus wide receivers … Damien Williams took over KC’s backfield with LeSean McCoy a healthy scratch, dominating work while totaling 92 YFS with a TD-catch in a performance that was likely too-little, too-late for fantasy managers.