In this final installment of my weekly usage notes, I will focus
on insights that might help you with who to start in championship
week or what players might be good dynasty adds as we move into
If you’ve made it this far and are still alive, congratulations.
I am wearing my 13 finals as a badge of honor, since this was
the most difficult fantasy season ever. If you fell just short,
just know that next year will be a lot simpler to navigate, so
study up this offseason and come back ready to win!
Austin Ekeler played on 62% of snaps while three other backs
factored in. Kalen Ballage played on 32%, Gabe Nabers played
on 17%, and Joshua Kelley played on 8%. I mention that just
so you are aware that Ekeler is still not playing his typical
number of snaps. Nevertheless, 62% is enough for him to produce,
especially when he’s so involved in the passing game.
He only received 17 touches (4 targets), so hopefully that number
ticks up in Week 16.
Josh Jacobs played on 68% of snaps and received 29 touches.
He was not very effective, primarily due to absolutely putrid
blocking by the Raiders front. If he is active I’d play
him in Week 16 against the Dolphins, even though they are a
good defensive unit. He is a great back with a ton of opportunities,
which is the most you can hope for.
Devin Singletary had a long rushing TD at the end of the
game in Week 15, but he and Zack Moss both remain bad starts
on a weekly basis. The Bills are not committing to running the
ball, and these players continue to evenly split snaps. Find
another option if possible.
After Jamaal Williams got banged up in Week 15, Aaron Jones
saw 90% of the snaps. That was what fantasy owners have been
pleading for over the past couple seasons, and Jones turned
the extra snaps into 20 rushes for 145 yards and a score, plus
3 receptions for 13 yards. It is unknown whether Williams will
be ready for Week 16 against the Titans, but either way Jones
should have a very nice day.
With Ronald Jones on the Covid list, Leonard Fournette produced
14-49-2 on the ground. He was mildly effective but did not look
as dynamic as Jones. I would look for Jones to retake the bulk
of the carries this week, in a dream matchup against the Lions.
If he remains out, Fournette is a good play as well.
Todd Gurley, as I said last week, is done. He played on only
25% of snaps and got 1 carry. He needs to be on your bench or
on the wire.
James Robinson had a tough Week 15 against the Ravens, rushing
for only 35 yards on 16 carries. He again saved his fantasy
day with a score, going 3-18-1 through the air. It sounds like
he will be out for the rest of the season with a high-ankle
sprain, but dynasty owners need to be very happy with this find.
He looks likely to be a steady, high-upside back for several
years to come.
J.K. Dobbins played on 53% of snaps and received 15 touches,
going for 81 total yards and a score. He will never produce
what he could if he were on a team that used him as a workhorse,
but he has still been productive and effective the past couple
weeks. He faces a decent Giants front in Week 16, but if you
need a back he has some upside.
In what should have been a perfect set up for Raheem Mostert,
he again injured his ankle and only played 30% of snaps, going
for 68 yards on 14 carries. That left Jeff Wilson as the primary
back, and he went 16-60-1. I would avoid Wilson against the
Cardinals in Week 16, unless you are desperate. He is simply
not a very good player.
We may have seen a changing of the guard in the Dallas backfield
on Sunday. Elliott was inactive, giving Tony Pollard a shot
at lead duties. He went for 69 yards and two scores on only
12 carries, and also caught 6 of 9 targets for 63 yards! If
I ran the Cowboys, I’d try to trade Elliott and give this
backfield to Pollard, as he fits much more closely with the
offense Kellen Moore wants to run. I doubt that happens, but
I recommend getting Pollard on your rosters this offseason just
David Johnson had his best game of the season on Sunday.
He played on 80% of snaps and produced 133 yards of offense.
However, it’s important to notice that he produced 106
of yards through the air, on 11 receptions! So while it was
nice that he was involved, he still only produced 8-27 on the
ground. I think the inability of the Texans to run the ball
has to do with coaching, a bad offensive line, and a lack of
playmakers on the outside to keep the defense back. If those
things improve, Johnson could be much better next season.
Jonathan Taylor played on 70% of snaps and has clearly taken
over the mantle of lead back for the Colts. He rushed 16 times
for 83 yards and a score, and also caught 4 of 5 targets for
12 yards. He gets a tough matchup in Week 16 against the Steelers,
but is still a fine play with a Steelers defense that is banged
David Montgomery continued his workhorse role in Week 15,
rushing 32 times for 146 yards and two scores. He has looked
great recently, albeit against defenses that are bottom half.
He gets the Jaguars in Week 16, so keep him in those lineups!
D’Andre Swift played on 65% of snaps and looked to
be back to his dynamic self. He finished with 15-67-2 on the
ground and 4-15 through the air. He gets a tough Bucs defense
in Week 16, but you probably have to start him – particularly
if Matthew Stafford suits up again.
Darrynton Evans was finally back in action on Sunday as the
No. 2 back. He played on 13 snaps and got 8 carries and 2 receptions
(57 yards and a score). He is a guy the Titans have wanted to
get involved as a change-of-pace option, so I’d consider
picking him up in dynasty leagues in case he flashes in the
With Antonio Gibson still out, J.D. McKissic took over top
back duties for Washington, playing on 98% of snaps. He was
effective on the ground and through the air (13-51, 9-56-1).
Watch the reports carefully to see if Gibson plays. If not,
McKissic makes an intriguing start against the Panthers. He
might still be a good play even if Gibson is in, since he might
Miles Sanders played on 83% of snaps on Sunday. He ran for
64 yards on 17 carries and caught 1 pass for 26 yards. It wasn’t
a great day, but at least he’s out there and involved.
He is a must-start in Week 16 against the Cowboys.
Chase Edmonds played more snaps than Kenyan Drake on Sunday
(36 to 34), and out-produced him as well (66 total yards to
43). I don’t know if we are seeing a changing of the guard
at the top of the depth chart, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
Edmonds has looked more dynamic all season. Keep this in mind
for both your championship decisions and for dynasty.
Cam Akers was again the primary back for the Rams, playing
on 61% of snaps and getting all but 2 of the running back carries.
Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson got 4 touches combined,
so it certainly appears that Akers has a lock on this backfield
however his ankle injury will cause him to miss Week 16. He
is a nice dynasty asset moving forward, even though Sean McVay
is a head coach who consistently jerks fantasy owners around
with his decisions.
The Saints dared the Chiefs to run the ball all day, and
begrudgingly they did. Mahomes still threw it 47 times, but
with two deep safeties for the whole game he had to throw it
short. When the Chiefs did run, they were effective. Edwards-Helaire
ran 14 times for 79 yards, and Le’Veon Bell ran 15 times
for 62 yards and a score. Since CEH was injured, we should see
a lot of Bell in Week 16. However, be aware that the Falcons
are easy to throw against, so Bell may only get 10-15 touches.
Benny Snell had one of the best games of the season for the
Pittsburgh backfield, albeit in a losing effort to the lowly
Bengals. He finished with 18-84-1 on the ground, and 3-23 through
the air. He also played on 78% of snaps. If Conner is again
out for Week 16, Snell could provide double-digit points, even
if a tough matchup against the Colts.
A week after getting benched due to a fumble, Giovani Bernard
led the backfield in Week 15. He went 25-83-1 and also caught
a touchdown pass. He has a dream matchup in Week 16 against
the Texans, so if Mixon is still out, he is a solid start.
Cole Beasley played on 62% of snaps but has remained a favorite
target of Josh Allen all season. On Saturday he received 10
targets and went 8-112. I will have a very hard time benching
him for the fantasy finals, even though other players on my
rosters might be bigger names. In PPR leagues he has been money
almost every week.
Panthers wide receiver snaps: Robby Anderson 90%, Curtis Samuel 84%, and D.J. Moore 81%. Panthers wide receiver targets:
Anderson 5, Samuel 9, and Moore 8. Moore actually put up the
best numbers, with 6 catches for 131 yards. This receiving corps
is really difficult to figure out. I will start Moore due to
his explosiveness, but the others are hard to start for the
finals, particularly with the uncertainty surrounding Christian
Allen Lazard jumped Marquez Valdes-Scantling in Week 15,
playing on 8 more snaps and receiving 5 more targets. He finished
with 5-56. It was clear early in the season that the Packers
wanted Lazard to be the No. 2 wide receiver on the team, and
it looks like he has finally taken that role back after his
injury recovery. He is a worthy flex play against the Titans
in Week 16.
Although Chris Godwin played on 88% of snaps and Antonio Brown only played on 47%, Brown received 7 targets to Godwin’s
5. This is very disconcerting for Godwin owners, and emphasizes
that Tom Brady simply likes throwing to Brown. Until Brady retires
or Godwin leaves town, this might be a frustrating situation
for dynasty owners. You likely have to trust Godwin in your
finals, but you can’t feel great about the situation right
With Julio Jones out, Calvin Ridley received 14 targets and
went 10-163-1 on Sunday. He is a good start in Week 16 against
the Chiefs, as the Falcons should be throwing it a lot.
D.J. Chark seemed to re-take the mantle of Jacksonville’s
top receiver on Sunday, leading the group in snaps and yards
(4-53 on 5 targets). Still, in an offense with so little upside,
he should be avoided in championship week. However, for dynasty
his prospects rose on Sunday with the Jets victory, as it looks
likely that the Jaguars will land Trevor Lawrence.
Marquise Brown has finally started putting up numbers many
expected of him this season. He caught 6 of 7 targets on Sunday,
for 98 yards. He is still very difficult to trust on a weekly
basis due to the Lamar Jackson’s low passing volume, but
his value is trending up.
Brandon Aiyuk dynasty owners are feeling very pleased. He
played on 95% of snaps and received 13 targets, going 9-73-1.
He looks like the real deal, and I recommend holding on to him
long term if possible.
CeeDee Lamb continues to show he is the most talented receiver
on the Cowboys roster. He played on only 57% of snaps (fewer
than Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper) but led the group in receptions
and yards (5-85). He will become a top receiver in this league
and is a great buy candidate this offseason.
Sort of out of nowhere, Zach Pascal led the Colts’
receivers in snaps, playing on 87%. Michael Pittman Jr. played
on 83% and T.Y. Hilton played on 65%. Pascal received 6 targets
and caught 5 for 79 yards, with two touchdowns. This was an
outlier and I would still not consider starting Pascal. In fact,
I’d avoid the whole group in Week 16 against the Steelers.
Jakobi Meyers played on virtually every snap and was again
Newton’s primary target. He received 10 targets and went
7-111. With how bad this Patriots offense has looked, I would
avoid starting him in the championship, but if you’re
desperate he should get volume against the Bills.
Inexplicably, Adam Thielen received only 3 targets on Sunday,
despite playing on 94% of snaps. He caught 2 for 11 yards, but
did score. Either way it looks like Justin Jefferson (11 targets,
8-104) has taken over as the No.1 receiver in Minnesota, so
I wouldn’t start Thielen in Week 16 against a very good
Saints defense unless I had no other good options.
Marvin Jones more than doubled the targets of any other player
on Sunday (12) and went for 112 yards on 10 receptions, with
a score. He has been up and down, but certainly he produced
for owners in this important week. He gets the Bucs in Week
16, so look elsewhere if possible.
I’m not sure what’s going on with the Seahawks
passing offense, but they have struggled of late. Both DK Metcalf
and Tyler Lockett have cooled off considerably along with Russell
Wilson, so it has become hard to trust them in these important
matchups. They get the Rams in Week 16, one of the best defenses
in the league. On the positive side, they are both playing around
90% of snaps and the team certainly wants to get them the ball.
Terry McLaurin finally saw double-digit targets in Week 15
(12), and caught 7 for 77 yards. He likely would have produced
more if Smith had been able to play, and he gets a dream matchup
in Week 16 against the Panthers. Start him with confidence.
With Michael Thomas out, Emmanuel Sanders is the No. 1 receiver
for the Saints. He played on 71% of snaps and got 5 targets,
catching 4 for 76 yards. He gets the Vikings in Week 16, making
him an excellent start in the fantasy finals.
Rashard Higgins continues to be very involved for the Browns,
and is playing well. He led all receivers with 73% of snaps,
and finished 4-76 on 5 targets. He also gets to play the Jets
in Week 16, so if you’re in need of wide receiver help,
he is an option.
Diontae Johnson received another huge target share in Week
15, getting 13 targets and finishing with 8-59-1. The offense
couldn’t get anything going, but Johnson was the long
bright spot. Since he has gotten double-digit targets in a majority
of his games, he is always a good start.
Darren Waller produced with both Carr and Mariota, and is
a must-start every week. He has become a top-3 dynasty tight
Noah Fant finally showed up in an important fantasy week,
rewarding owners who stood with him after he was sick in Week
14 and gave them a 0. He received 11 targets, more than twice
that of any other Bronco, and caught 8 for 68 yards and a score.
He might be a good play against the Chargers in Week 16, but
you never know with Lock under center.
Hayden Hurst remained a confounding player to own. You simply
never know if he will get you 0 points or score a touchdown.
He scored in Week 15, but I cannot recommend playing him in
any week due to his volatility.
Mark Andrews caught all 5 targets for 66 yards and a score
on Sunday, on only 52% of snaps. The low snap count was likely
mainly due to the Ravens being so far ahead of the Jaguars.
He remains a good weekly option, although those who drafted
Andrews early may not still be alive.
If you are a regular reader of this column, you know I’ve
been touting Logan Thomas all season. He plays on every snap,
and again he hit that rare 100% mark on Sunday. He is not only
on the field but has developed as one of their primary weapons,
and caught 13 of 15 targets on Sunday, for 101 yards. He needs
to be started every week, in all formats.
I’ve given up on Chris Herndon being a fantasy asset,
but for those longsuffering believers, he did play on 66% of
snaps and got 4 targets, catching 3 for 48 yards. Perhaps with
an upgrade at every other position around him he could become
a dynasty asset.
Austin Hooper has had a nice surge near the end of the season.
He finished with 6 targets and caught 5 for 41 yards and a score.
He is not going to be as involved in the passing game as he
was in Atlanta, but he is at least bringing value and a decent
floor. He gets the Jets in Week 16, who have been very poor
against tight ends.
Kevin Scott is a fantasy pro who is the co-host for The Lowdown
Fantasy Football Podcast. He plays in over 40 leagues annually and
has made over $100,000 playing fantasy football. You can follow