Well, we made it. For the majority of us that play this game, the season is over barring Monday Night Football. In the large part, you probably have a good indication of how the championship game has gone. Allow me to say congratulations to those who came home with the hardware (or some sweet cash) as I hope I was able to help you get to this point in some small way. Please take a minute to sit back and enjoy this moment as it doesn’t happen every year. There is a lot of time spent during the fantasy football season that makes this moment happen. You put in the hard work, made your decisions, and it paid off in victory. Now, if you are in dynasty leagues, the fun is just getting started as our second season kicks off. Trades will happen soon, as guys list half their rosters on the block, and scouting begins for the incoming 2020 class. Oh, how much fun that is going to be. Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself in excitement. Before we close the books on this season, let’s take one more look back at this week and what happened in this NFL Week 16 fantasy football recap.
I do want to say before we get going that if you do play in leagues into Week 17, not to worry. We haven’t forgotten about you and will be putting out content like usual to help you get the win this week as well. Here at PFN, we have you covered from PPR & Standard rankings, weather forecasts, waiver-wire additions, start/sit recommendations, daily dynasty content, podcasts, and much more to help you make the most of this fantasy season.
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Saquon the Savior
If you saw back on November 25th, I put out an article where I said Saquon Barkley could very well be the MVP of your fantasy football championship. How did he follow up his season-best 30.30 points in Week 15? With a personal-best 43.90 points in Week 16. So long as you made it through his injury to the playoffs, Barkley was going to be there in the clutch when you needed him. Yes, he did get some points in overtime, but his 41.1 at the end of regulation already was a record-breaking day for him. Next week he gets a rematch against the Philadelphia Eagles in, hopefully, not monsoon conditions. You might not have had the best record this year if you took him at 1.01 as most did, but as long as you won the championship this week, do you care?
Taking a quick took into 2020, the end of this season was exactly what he needed for his value. Barkley is an elite athlete, and the offensive line will have to be a priority for the New York Giants in the offseason and could use a high draft pick on some help. Barkley will be my second running back in rankings next year and worthy of the 1.02 pick, right behind Christian McCaffrey.
Quarterback play was all over the place
Raise your hand if you had Daniel Jones, Andy Dalton, and Ryan Fitzpatrick finishing as the top 3 quarterbacks for Week 16. Now put your hand down because you’re lying, and no one likes that. Yes, all of those players were against horrible teams, but these were still unbelievable performances. The problem is hardly anyone was willing to risk their championship hopes on their shoulders. Look further down on the list, and you see guys who are generally weekly top 10 players all struggling. Deshaun Watson, Phillip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, and Jameis Winston all scored below 15 points in standard leagues. Prescott and even Winston to point had excuses. Prescott came into the game hurt, and Winston was missing both of his primary wide receivers in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. But even that doesn’t excuse the horrendous performance that Winston had. After throwing 4 interceptions in Week 16, Winston is one typical outing away from being the first to break the 30/30 mark. No, not the good baseball kind, but the 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions kind. This would be four straight games where he has thrown an interception to close out the season. He is sitting on 31 touchdowns and 28 interceptions in 2019, and if expectations hold true, we will see another QB record break in Week 17.
If you did win in spite of starting some of these quarterbacks, feel free to send me a tweet with a screenshot of your lineup — @TommyGarrettPFN
Waiting on Tight Ends in drafts paid off big
A lot of the talk leading into the season was that tight end, as a whole position group, was terrible outside of the “Big 3.” Once you got past Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and Geroge Kittle, you were hoping for a flier. For me, I didn’t have one of those guys on any of my teams this year in redraft leagues. My main target all draft season was on one guy in Baltimore, Mark Andrews. He gave productions exceeding his ADP more than almost anyone in fantasy football this year outside of quarterbacks. Week 16 was another example of this. After starting slow in the first quarter, Lamar Jackson locked in on him and ended the half with 2 touchdown passes to Andrews to close it out. He finished the day with 6 catches on 9 targets for 93 yards and 2 scores. Sunday was the 9th time Andrews scored double-digit points in PPR formats. Four of those games he went over 20 points. If you chose to wait on tight ends and got someone like Andrews, Darren Waller, or Austin Hooper, you were well rewarded. Even guys on waivers helped to win leagues, such as Dallas Goedert or Tyler Higbee. When we look back and recap what happened in the offseason, the position group wasn’t nearly as bad as people made it out to be.
Quick Notes from Week 16:
- Kenyan Drake had one of the best finishes to a season I can remember, especially compared to how it started. Between his last two games, Drake has an incredible stat line of 46 rushes for 303 yards and 6 touchdowns. You never were expecting these kinds of numbers out of him, but he came through for fantasy owners in the clutch for their championship runs. In his seven games since his trade from the Miami Dolphins, Drake ranks 4th among running backs in fantasy points. It will be fascinating to see what happens in the offseason for the Arizona Cardinals and their backfield. In all likelihood, David Johnson will be out of town, and Drake should be in the RB2 conversation for drafts in 2020.
- Another week, another 30-plus point performance from Christian McCaffrey. Week 16’s 32.30 total marked his 8th time breaking the barrier. Good luck to anyone trying to talk me out of putting him at the 1.01 in my rankings next year.
- Without a touchdown since Week 3, Alvin Kamara found the end zone twice on Sunday in the win over the Titans. Kamara rushed for 80 yards with two touchdowns on 11 carries and caught six of seven targets for 30 yards in a 38-28 win over the Tennessee Titans. Even though he is RB11 on the year, he sure feels like one of the worst busts on the season. Better late than never, though, if you drafted him.
- A quick round of applause for Devonta Freeman and his game in Week 16 as he set a new season-high when it mattered. While he did only rush 13 times for 51 yards, he did score a touchdown. The majority of his damage came thanks to his receiving ability out of the backfield. Freeman caught 9 of his 11 targets from Matt Ryan for 74 yards and another score. While not the most conventional way to score 33.70 points, Freeman’s total at the end of the day is all that matters. Thanks to staying healthy for most of the season, he is at RB21 on the year and was a solid RB2/Flex play for people willing to take the risk on draft day.
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Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.