Booms, Busts and Breakouts: Week 16 Fantasy Football predictions

Yahoo Sports

Each week our gaggle of Yahoo analysts show their hands and reveal their top booms, busts and breakouts. Gaze into the crystal ball and list your picks in the comment section below.

Among non-obvious starts in Yahoo leagues, the loudest BOOM in Week 16 will come from ________.

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Brad — ROBBY ANDERSON. Rocketing to Mars last week with an 11-4-96-1 performance, the Jets speedster could blaze a fiery trail to even hotter numbers. Facing much softer competition compared to Buffalo and Houston — two defenses he scored against in back-to-back weeks — he should melt a Packers defense decimated by injuries and ineptitude.

Since the midpoint mark of the regular season (Week 8), no secondary has allowed more fantasy points to WRs than Green Bay. Drawing Josh Jackson in coverage (98.2 passer rating, 66.7 catch% yielded), Anderson bolts his way to 100-plus yards and a score.  

Matt — DEMARYIUS THOMAS. The veteran receiver has yet to clear 70 yards in any game with the Texans, which isn’t surprising given his skill set at this point in his career. However, he’s still the clear No. 2 in this offense, routinely pushing an 80-plus-percent snap share. Thomas is also the only non-DeAndre Hopkins pass-catcher on the team who has more than a single red zone target in any game over the last four weeks. We should see the Houston passing game come out of its shell this week against a broken Eagles secondary that’s rotating bodies in the back end.

Scott — I’m emphatically in the Anderson corner, above. And I’m going to proactively use JAYLEN SAMUELS this week, no matter what the status of James Conner is. Pittsburgh’s probably seen the light with their rookie hybrid, and if the game starts to get out of hand, Samuels can get it done in the passing game. No matter if you flex him or tight-end him (don’t @me), Samuels should be somewhere in your lineup.

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Conversely, the brand name set to be the biggest Week 16 BUST is ________.

Brad — JARED GOFF. Downright Goff-ul over the past three weeks and with a difficult opponent, Arizona, on the slate, the once-invincible passer needs to be benched. Since Week 12, he’s QB30 in fantasy points per game, completing 55 percent of his attempts for 242 pass yards per game and one touchdown. His 5.5 pass yards per attempt during that span is equally wretched. The Cardinals, despite their inadequacies in most areas, have staunchly defended the pass. On the year, the desert birds have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points, 7.0 yards per attempt, 228.5 pass yards per game and 1.4 passing TD per game. Under another barrage of blitzes, Goff falls outside the QB top-20 again.

Jared Goff has been a shell of his early-season self lately. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Jared Goff has been a shell of his early-season self lately. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Matt — MIKE EVANS. Rather quietly, Mike Evans is in the middle of one of the best statistical years of his career. He’s maintaining career-highs in yards per game (94.9) and catch rate (61.7 percent). However, it is far from unreasonable to fear he might have a slower week in this spot, as he’s been a touch volatile all season. He’s gone over 100 yards in seven games this season but under 60 yards in five. He’s scored just twice since Week 4.

While he just crushed a tough matchup last week with four catches for 121 yards on nine targets in Baltimore, he gets another difficult draw here in Week 16. Dallas has largely limited wide receivers on the perimeter, with top corner Byron Jones allowing a mere 75.3 passer rating in coverage. Tampa Bay is littered with passing game weapons, so don’t be too shocked if the spotlight travels away from the quite-gifted Evans.

Scott — It’s not that you must bench COREY DAVIS, but I’ve pushed him outside my Top 30. The awful Giants secondary held him down last week — rain didn’t help Davis — but what’s really hurt is the Tennessee play-calling. Davis has just 24 targets (with a high of seven) over the last five weeks. This isn’t a juicy passing game to begin with, and Davis is getting a much smaller slice than we want. He’s not Circle of Trust calibre in Week 16, with Tennessee likely to play 1977 football (run run reindeer) against Washington.

Chuck a Hail Mary, one deeper player you believe BREAKS OUT in Week 16 is ______.

Matt — NICK FOLES. The storybook dreamers about another magical Eagles run can get all the way the hell out of my life but Foles is at least an appealing fantasy start here in Week 16. The Texans at Eagles game looks like a spot that could go over its seemingly conservative 46-point total. Not only is the Philadelphia secondary a major issue, Houston’s secondary also has its fair share of leaks. No team has allowed more passing yards (1,352) over the last month than the Texans.

Scott —  Tight end has been fantasy quicksand all season, so when we see a couple of games of reasonable production, we sit up and take notice. BLAKE JARWIN, come on down. Jarwin has a useful 11 catches for 101 yards the last two week (14 targets), and the Buccaneers have struggled in seam coverage all year. The Jarhead is an especially appealing option as a DFS punt, costing the stone minimum of $10.

Brad —  JOSH JOHNSON. Without much publicity, Johnson ranks QB12 over the past two weeks in fantasy points per game output. In those contests, the vagabond passer compiled 8.4 pass yards per attempt, completed 65.9 percent of his attempts and padded the bottom line with 94 rush yards. Similar to Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen, Johnson’s dual-threat abilities raise his profile. Though his opponent, Tennessee, has tightened up defensively — its surrendered the 10th-fewest fantasy points to QBs since Week 10 — the unlikely QB1 has excellent odds of totaling a 190-2-65 line. 

Handicapping Lounge: If I had to go to the window to punch a Week 16 against-the-spread ticket, my jelly beans would be on  ______.

Matt — Texans (+1). The people are clearly getting a little starry-eyed about Foles and another late season starting run here in 2018 after how last season ended. Miss me with those dreams. The Eagles just aren’t a good team right now, mostly due to a litany of injuries on both sides of the ball. The Texans are the current No. 2 seed in the AFC and have discernable strengths in the front seven and their passing game. They should not be getting points against a fringe team like the Eagles, even on the road.

Scott — Urgency and need often get overpriced at this time of year, which is why New England is spotting two touchdowns to Buffalo. Give me the BILLS +14 all day. While Buffalo understands it’s the underdog, it won’t flinch against the division kingpins; the first meeting was competitive. The nasty Bills defense gives you a puncher’s chance against anyone.

Brad — SEATTLE ML +115. The public, predictably, is hammering the Chiefs with 60% of the action already placed on KC. Wiseguys, however, will ultimately pound Seattle. The ‘Hawks, off an embarrassing loss to rival San Francisco, are 8-4 ATS on the season (4-2 as an underdog). Bank on an outright home win. 

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