Week 16 Lineup Rankings
Welcome to another installment of The Commish Report
, a weekly look into the world of fantasy football. Unless you’re in a league that foolishly continues its season through week 17, which typically becomes a proverbial crapshoot, fantasy championship week is here. If you have made your league’s championship game, congratulations. A link to my rankings appears at the top of this page, but in general, the advice is to stick with the guys that got you there. Don’t overthink things. And for any roster spot where you do have a weekly decision to make, remember that the best tie-breaker is to look at the matchups. We have 15 weeks of information to use, and now is the best time to use it. Another strategy involves whether or not you’re going into your championship matchup as the favorite or the underdog. For example, let’s say you have both Marshawn Lynch and Knowshon Moreno on your roster. If you are the favorite, you’d be crazy not to continue putting Lynch into your lineup. However, as an underdog, you may want to consider Moreno, who has received at least 24 touches in each of his last 4 games, and holds more upside considering his much more favorable matchup this weekend, and the fact that Denver is much more likely to take an early lead over Cleveland than Seattle is over San Francisco.
For more specific championship week advice, feel free to drop me a note in the comments below, or in the comments on the weekly rankings page.
Last week, I looked back at this season by revealing some of the things I’ve learned
over the course of this season. This week, I’m looking back at the 9 players that many considered to be the safest 9 options coming into this season. Not all were typical 1st round choices, but it was widely considered that each of these players had the best combination of high floor/high ceiling among any other players at their respective positions.
The QB position, which is usually a position many try to avoid early in drafts, included 3 of these so-called safe
players. Due to the uncertainty at a usually stable position like RB, more often than not, all 3 of these players were finding their way into the first round of drafts. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees have certainly not been disappointments, considering each rank within the top 5 in standard scoring leagues. However, based on the performance of many who were selected in middle rounds, the value of Rodgers, Brady, and Brees was diminished, likely rendering their owners a bit disappointed as the season wore on.
The RB position also had 3 players who were considered safe
selections. Arian Foster was the consensus number 1 player available this year, and has not disappointed, ranking as the #2 RB overall, behind only the incomparable Adrian Peterson. I’d guess that many Foster owners have had successful seasons, especially considering his week-to-week consistency. Ray Rice owners, on the other hand, are probably a bit frustrated by his performance. Despite finishing among the league leaders, Rice has been relatively inconsistent this season, finishing with 13 or fewer points in half of his games thus far, including 4 games in single figures. The 3rd safe option was thought to be LeSean McCoy. But even prior to his injury against Washington in week 11, McCoy didn’t live up to his lofty expectations, only topping 13 points one time this season.
The TE position had 2 players thought to be safe
. While neither Rob Gronkowski nor Jimmy Graham were going in the first round of many 10 or 12 team leagues, both were players that produced at a similar level to many #1 WRs, despite playing a position not usually accustomed to seeing such lofty numbers. Owners who were able to snatch either player in round 2 had to be feeling great about their chances. However, Gronk will be missing his 5th consecutive game this Sunday, while Jimmy Graham has posted disappointing numbers throughout most of this season, only hitting double figures in points a total of 5 times.
At WR, there was only 1 truly safe
option, and he certainly hasn’t disappointed this season. While Calvin Johnson’s TDs have dropped significantly this year, he has successfully avoided the “Madden Curse” by performing at a weekly level never before seen from a WR. Because of the volatility of the WR position, which forces each player to rely upon a number of factors in receiving their weekly targets, and ultimately touches, WRs are typically less consistent performers than QBs or RBs, and subsequently see their value downgraded on draft day. But in standard leagues, Johnson has been about as consistent as possible, gaining over 100 yards in each of his last 7 games, and 10 times overall this season. In a PPR league, Johnson has only scored fewer than 17 points a total of 3 times this season. Johnson is currently on pace to break Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yardage record, and is the only WR to put up back-to-back 1600 yard seasons. His consistency at a historically inconsistent position has likely rewarded his owners handsomely, and I’d guess that of all the 9 players mentioned here, Johnson appears on more championship rosters than any other player listed, with the possible exception of Arian Foster. It’s also this consistency that will make Johnson, along with Foster and Adrian Peterson, one of the top 3 players available in next year’s fantasy drafts.
In summation, of the 9 players profiled, the only 2 who unquestionably lived up to their pre-season status were Arian Foster and Calvin Johnson. Brady, Brees, and Rodgers were all very good this year, but considering the level of play at QB around the league, it’s tough to justify their lofty draft status. Ray Rice, if not disappointing, has certainly been a frustrating player to own, but not nearly as bad as McCoy, Gronkowski, and Graham, who were all major disappointments.
In the wake of the tragedy and turmoil that has affected so many this year, I hope we can all use that as motivation to take the time to enjoy our loved ones, and squeeze them extra tight. I’d like to wish everyone safe travels, enjoy your families, and have a great holiday season. Merry Christmas!