In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter Waz breaks down another crazy week and shares his updated Week 16 rankings . It's 12/24. Take it away, Peter Overzet…
It was brought to my attention that this is the 300th edition of the Fantasy Life newsletter. That’s pretty cool.
I think I can speak for Matthew when I say that we very much appreciate you reading and hope you have a happy holidays.
This year we really took things to the next level thanks to an all-star team of contributors:
- @waznfl - Rankings
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If you’ve enjoyed the newsletter over the past couple years, drop them a line on Twitter.
Hopefully you started your holidays off with A.J. Brown (11-145-1) or Deebo Samuel (9-159; 5-32) in the starting lineup of your semifinal matchup. If not, don’t worry.
Below, Waz breaks down all of the COVID and injury situations across the league and shares his updated Week 16 ranks.
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As of today, there are over 200 players on the COVID-19/Reserve list. Some of the notable names that may affect your league’s semi-final matchups include Adam Trautman, Alex Collins, Austin Ekeler, Baker Mayfield, Brandin Cooks, Cole Beasley (out), Dalvin Cook (out), Jalen Guyton, Jared Goff, Jarvis Landry, Kareem Hunt (out), Kendrick Bourne, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Gabriel Davis, Sammy Watkins, Taysom Hill (out), Travis Kelce, Tyler Higbee, and Tyreek Hill.
James Conner (RB23) and Rondale Moore are GTD tomorrow. I don’t expect Moore to play, but Conner has indicated he is confident that he will play. If Conner sits, Chase Edmonds (RB25) would climb to RB2 status against a stingy Colts rush defense. Edmonds, Christian Kirk (WR16), Zach Ertz (TE4), A.J. Green (WR28), and Antoine Wesley (WR68) would all benefit in the passing game with Moore out.
With Leonard Fournette on IR, Ronald Jones II (RB7) is the heir apparent to the Buccaneers’ backfield. With no Chris Godwin the rest of the season and likely no Mike Evans this week, Jones could see a lot of work against a Panthers rush defense that ranks 24th in DVOA.
On his podcast yesterday, Austin Ekeler told Dawson Knox (TE6) to pick up Justin Jackson (RB20) this week, practically confirming that he will not be activated from the COVID-19/Reserve list in time for Sunday’s matchup against the Texans. Sure, nothing official on Ekeler’s status has been released, but it’s hard to deny the source himself.
David Johnson hasn’t practiced all week due to a quad injury and is unlikely to play on Sunday. Rex Burkhead (RB35) would assume lead-back duties with some Royce Freeman sprinkled in. With Brandin Cooks (WR32) at risk of missing the game due to COVID-19, Burkhead and Nico Collins (WR58) could be in line for increased looks.
Lamar Jackson (QB13) hasn’t practiced this week due to the ankle sprain he suffered in Week 14. Tyler Huntley (QB27) performed admirably in Jackson’s absence last week against the Packers, completing 70% of his 40 passes for 215 yards and 2 TDs and rushing for 73 yards and 2 TDs on 13 attempts. If Jackson sits, Huntley should be viewed as a high-end QB2 against a Bengals defense that ranks 13th in Pass DVOA and 10th in Rush DVOA.
Keep an eye on Miles Sanders’ (RB21) availability leading up to Sunday. He’s been nursing a quad injury that he likely sustained last week against Washington. If Sanders plays, I still like Jordan Howard (RB42) in a complementary role. If he doesn’t, Howard would assume lead-back duties and should be valued as an RB2.
Alexander Mattison (RB10) was activated from the COVID-19/Reserve list this week and is in line for 20-25 touches with Dalvin Cook out. He will be facing a stout Rams defense, but should see enough volume to warrant top-12 consideration. If Adam Thielen (WR21) is limited or out again, Mattison could also see additional looks in the passing game.
Rhamondre Stevenson (RB31) hasn’t practiced this week due to illness and Damien Harris (RB22) continues to be limited with a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined last week. It’s still too early to tell, but I’m assuming that both backs will be active against Buffalo. If one of them sits, the other would assume RB2 upside. Brandon Bolden would assume lead-back duties with some J.J. Taylor in the mix if both sit.
D’Andre Swift (RB50) hasn’t played since Week 12 due to a shoulder injury but was designated as limited in back-to-back practices this week. If Swift is active this week, I don’t expect him to fully regain control of the backfield and assume he’d be eased in while splitting work with Craig Reynolds (RB32) and Jamaal Williams (RB37). With Jared Goff (QB20) on the COVID-19/Reserve list and at risk of missing the game, Swift, Reynolds, and Williams could benefit from a run-heavy run script if Tim Boyle (QB31) were to draw the start.
After being tagged as limited in Wednesday’s practice, Justin Fields (QB14) logged a DNP yesterday with an ankle injury. A mid-week downgrade is never a good sign, especially when it’s an ankle injury on a mobile quarterback, so have a backup plan if you’re relying on Fields this week. Andy Dalton was activated from the COVID-19/Reserve list this week and would draw the start as a fantasy QB2 against the Seahawks’ lackluster pass defense if Fields is out.
Antonio Gibson (RB13) hasn’t practiced since sustaining a toe injury against the Eagles on Tuesday, but the team could be letting him rest due to the short week. J.D. McKissic was placed on Injured Reserve earlier this week and is likely another factor for not wanting to rush Gibson back on the practice field. If Gibson does miss the game, Jaret Patterson (RB51) would likely lead the team in carries, with Jonathan Williams cycling in for a few.
🥇WAZ'S .5 PPR RANKS
Rob Waziak aka "Waz" is a fantasy football analyst who competes in draft and season-long expert rankings competitions. He's consistently been at or near the top of all industry-wide leaderboards since 2017.
We are taking tomorrow off, but we’ll be back on Sunday. Happy holidays.