2019 Fantasy Football Week 16 Preview: Conclusions

by Richard Savill
2021 Fantasy Football Week 16 Blurbview

The 100th season of the NFL is coming to a close. Although 1920 is generally accepted as the first season of the NFL, the actual name to begin with was the APFA (American Professional Football Association) before the association formalized the name to "NFL" in 1922.

There was no "championship game" in the early days, and the Akron Pros were the first "named" champions of the league.

The first league season where the structure was in a form we'd sort of recognize today, and one where fantasy might be feasible, if it existed, would be arguably in 1933. This was the year of the first formalized championship game. This was also the first season the NFL diverted from the rules in the college game.

The league now began to formulate in earnest its own unique specifications, rules, and regulations to gridiron football.

My opinion is that 1934 and 1935 were just as great or greater landmark seasons for the NFL.
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Still from the 1934 Championship Game - Bronko Nagurski is the ball carrier.

The storied trophy, "The Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy" was awarded for the first time in 1934 to the New York Giants. The Green Bay Packers in 1967 were the last team to win it before the Lombardi Trophy era.

In 1936, an organized schedule developed. This finally established an equal number of games among the franchised participants. Also, the changes in 1933 solidified, and the NFL was finally a league with growing fanbases outside of college devotees.

The NFL establishes itself in sports

From 1936 onwards, the NFL was firmly on the professional sports map. The first draft of college players into the league arrived and in turn began to rival the collegiate game in broad appeal.

However, the game would remain behind baseball for decades to come.

By 1958 that began to change. The television age embraced the linear action and the rival AFL came along with TV advances at the right moment to evolve into the structure we enjoy today.

The dawn of the internet in the early 1990s began to massify fantasy football. Yes, our little off-shoot pastime is a part of this 100 year celebration too.

Merry Christmas everyone and good luck in your finals!

This is the last Weekend Preview of 2019. I hope to see you next year.

If you like this series or have any suggestions of what you'd like to see in it send me a tweet @RRSSavill and I'll get back to you.

2019 Fantasy Football Week 16 Preview 2019 Fantasy Football Week 16 Preview

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Games to Watch 2019 Fantasy Football Week 16 Preview

A brief rundown of the games this weekend. You have your fantasy playoff lineup set, now it's time to watch 'em play.

Saturday games in brief...

Texans (9-5) at Buccaneers (7-7) +3.0 49.5

Seems like Breshad Perriman was the wrong man in the wrong scheme in Baltimore and Cleveland. He never had a 100+ yard receiving day (add three TDs) in four seasons until last Sunday. Chasing the points in fantasy? I wouldn't bet on it. With sidelining hamstring injuries to both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, the door remains open for Perriman to thrive in your fantasy final.

Bills (10-4) at Patriots (11-3) -6.5 37.0

The Bills come into Gillette stronger than the team New England faced in Week 5. The Patriots look vulnerable even after their recovery win versus the Bengals. Julian Edelman's health is concerning for owners going into the finals and wear is showing on Tom Brady as well.  Your fantasy starters are much in the same position as Bills at Steelers in Week 15.

Rams (8-6) at 49ers (11-3) -6.5 45.0

Following a steady revival of fortunes, the Rams fell apart against the Cowboys last Sunday. The Rams need to win out and the Vikings the opposite. The 49ers still hold the upper hand for top seed, but the pivotal Week 17 Seattle game remains unchanged.  The Rams will use Todd Gurley heavily to neutralize that 49ers pass rush. 49ers' RBs are risky fantasy starts.

Early Sunday: Saints (11-3) at Titans (8-6) +2.5 50.0

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The Saints are in the odd man out spot for a bye-week seed. It's likely to change, but the Packers are currently the main thorn to their path to a divisional playoff home field advantage.

Although the Titans do not control their road to the playoffs, they remain in a strong position to overtake the Steelers for the second wild card.

Can the Saints get Alvin Kamara involved? Michael Thomas is carrying the offense, but defenses aren't stopping him. It's clear that Thomas has overtaken DeAndre Hopkins as a preferred fantasy option in the foreseeable future.

It's another good matchup for Thomas too as the Titans continue as a middle rated defense against both the run and pass. This is where the Saints should be able to take advantage with Kamara and Latavius Murray.

The Titans are running the offense through Derrick Henry and the crowd calls his name every time the Titans reach inside the 10 yard line. A.J. Brown continues as the guy to rely on among fantasy receivers against the Saints.

Fun Fact: Michael Thomas needs 11 receptions in the last two weeks to surpass Marvin Harrison's record of 143 in a single season.
Sleeper: Corey Davis, WR, Titans

Other Early Sunday Games in Brief...

Ravens (12-2) at Browns (6-8) +10.0 49.0

The Ravens clinch top seed with a win and a Patriots loss. All your relevant fantasy Ravens are in play for this game - including Hollywood Brown. For the Browns, don't use anyone except Nick Chubb. Kareem Hunt was a good flex choice weeks ago in a game like this, but I'd pass on him for another sleeper for your final. Sit Odell Beckham. Bad matchup and the heart isn't there.

2019 Fantasy Football Week 16 Preview

Steelers (8-6) at Jets (5-9) +3.0 37.0

The Steelers are playing for the playoffs, but other than the defense, all are risky plays. I would hesitate on James Conner too. There is no guarantee he'll handle more than 10-12 carries. The Jets have some options, but all the receivers are closer to the range of sleeper hopefuls. LeVeon Bell should see a decent workload and is a safe enough start.
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Giants (3-11) at Redskins (3-11) -2.5 42.0

At least the kids can enjoy a fun Christmastime tailgate party. And it's a good thing there's probably a CBS affiliate in your area with a game that's better than this. Saquon Barkley is getting his confidence back and is your RB1. It's best to avoid sleepers from this game. Stick to the main high ranked starters if needs must.

Panthers (5-9) at Colts (6-8) -7.0 46.5

Christian McCaffrey needs a total of 186 receiving yards in the next two games to be CMC2K. Tall order and he'll need to do it with Will Grier, the rookie out of West Virginia. His first NFL start makes D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel uneasy fantasy options. For the Colts, T.Y. Hilton's return isn't much better. His name will feature heavily on twitter "should I start" questions.

Jaguars (5-9) at Falcons (5-9) -7.0 46.5

D.J. Chark should be back. He is safe enough to put in your lineups. As for Julio Jones, boy did I get that badly wrong in Week 15. Start him. As for the rest of the regular fantasy starters in this game, the outlook is rather spotty. Austin Hooper, start. Dede Westbrook, sit. Chris Conley, sit. Russell Gage, sit. Leonard Fournette is volatile, but start. Devonta Freeman, flex.

Bengals (1-13) at Dolphins (3-11) 0.0 46.5

One of the ironies in fantasy football is that games like this can decide your championship. My sleeper of the week, John Ross, is in this game. There are other choices from both teams. Too many to mention in this abbreviated breakdown. Nothing is preventing Andy Dalton or Ryan Fitzpatrick from having a big day. They are each decent choices in 2QB leagues.

Late Sunday: Cowboys (7-7) at Eagles (7-7) +1.0 46.0

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This is virtually a playoff game. The Cowboys clinch the division with a win. However, the Eagles need to win next week as well to avoid an 8-8 record. Which, if the Cowboys match, wins the NFC East for Dallas.

The Cowboys are in better shape, not just in terms of divisional tie-breakers, but in overall health. The only main component of their team, Leighton Vander Esch on defense, is out for the season unless the Cowboys make the playoffs and his status improves.

The Eagles, well, it's getting very thin. The latest casualty, pro bowl tackle Lane Johnson, is out for this game.

The best the Eagles have right now are Carson Wentz, Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz. Greg Ward stepped up last week and is actually a very sneaky sleeper for those losing Chris Godwin or Christian Kirk for the finals. Put him in with confidence in PPR - he's far from a last resort option.

As for Cowboys, start everyone relevant. There are some worthy sleepers down the chain too. One of them below.

Fun Fact: This is the 50th game, including playoffs, the Cowboys have visited the Eagles since the merger. The Cowboys hold a 27-22 record in this scenario.
Sleeper: Randall Cobb, WR, Cowboys

Other Late Sunday Games in Brief...

2019 Fantasy Football Week 16 Preview

Raiders (6-8) at Chargers (5-9) -7.0 45.0

Josh Jacobs is out for this game, but DeAndre Washington should see enough carries in the timeshare with Jalen Richard to be a serviceable RB3. The Chargers are among the stingiest defenses against the run in the second half of the season.

Lions (3-10-1) at Broncos (5-9) -7.0 38.5

Detroit is the poor defense against the pass, so Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant are strong starts. Drew Lock is a play for two QB leagues. On the other side, the Lions have no safe fantasy options in the backfield or, in this matchup at least, in the passing game. Kenny Golladay is a regular option, but your expectations have to be closer to his floor.

Cardinals (4-9-1) at Seahawks (11-3) -9.5 50.5

Christian Kirk is questionable for this late game. The Seahawks are a surprisingly poor defense versus the pass. Kyler Murray has shown promise, but at Century Link, this is a real challenge. Kenyan Drake and Chris Carson are fine double-plus starts. Get your Seahawks receivers out there too. We could see a lively contest here and a win by the home team is no given.

Featured Games

Sunday Night: Chiefs (10-4) at Bears (7-7) +6.0 44.5

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The Chiefs are nearly locked in as 3rd seed for the playoffs. However, they defeated both the Patriots and Ravens giving them a tiebreaker over both teams. Should the Bills win on Saturday against the Patriots, the Chiefs will have the 2nd seed to play for.

The Bears defense have fallen off their higher level of 2018, but remain a solid unit. That said, this is Patrick Mahomes and the high octane passing game of the Chiefs.

The Chiefs are lacking in a coherent running attack, which could be their undoing. It allows defenses, like these Bears to attack the passing at the source.

Where the Chiefs have dramatically improved is on defense. They have come on over the latter half of the season and are among toughest for passing touchdowns and yardage.

This makes the Bears on offense in fantasy somewhat concerning starts. Adding to this is the overall inconsistency of their ability to put together drives.

Fun Fact: The Bears and Chiefs last played under the lights in 1973 on Monday Night Football in Kansas City. This is their 13th meeting.
Sleeper: Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs

Monday Night: Packers (11-3) at Vikings (10-4) -5.5 47.0

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Right in time for Christmas we get the best, and the last, Monday Night game of the 2019 season. A game with an playoff importance factor of 191/100 according to Playoff Status.

This game affects the seeding configurations for five other teams in the chase. Only the Cowboys and Eagles are in their own playoff bubble for the 4th seed in the NFC.

The most serious problem for fantasy is the condition of Dalvin Cook. He's currently doubtful for this game, so play it like he is. Alexander Mattison is also doubtful, so that leaves Mike Boone as the likely heavy work ball carrier.

Normally, Mike Boone would be a fill-in flex play, but as fate would have it, the defense of the Packers are a unit that opposing offenses find success targeting running backs in the passing game. This makes Boone a solid RB2 with RB1 upside in a game where the Vikings need him to step up.

The Vikings are approximately equal to the Packers defending the run. I would give Aaron Jones the best chance for heavy production, but Jamaal Williams is a playable flex too.

Adam Thielen should be in better form this week, but Stefon Diggs is a better, and safer, fantasy option.

Roll with Davante Adams as usual, but sleepers are tricky owing to the fact the Packers' running backs are often red zone targets.

Fun Fact: The Packers and Vikings have met just eight times on Monday Night Football. The last Monday nighter at Minnesota was in the Metrodome in Week 4 of 2009; Vikings won 30-23.
Sleeper: Allen Lazard, WR, Packers

In the Booth on Sunday

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Saturday NFL Network

Early> Texans at Buccaneers: Rich Eisen, Joe Thomas, Nate Burleson
Late>  Bills at Patriots: Mike Tirico, Kurt Warner
Night>Rams at 49ers: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis

CBS Early

Ravens at Browns: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Steelers at Jets: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Bengals at Dolphins: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton

FOX Early

Saints at Titans: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber
Giants at Redskins: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman
Panthers at Colts: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth
Jaguars at Falcons: Joe Davis, Brady Quinn

CBS Late

Raiders at Chargers: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Lions at Broncos: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon

FOX Late

Cowboys at Eagles: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Cardinals at Seahawks: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston

Check out the rest of our 2019 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

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