Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings - The Blueprint

Dec 21st 2022

Hayden Winks

Every site has a fantasy football rankings column. None of them will be as charted up on a Thursday afternoon up as this one. I'll go position-by-position with the charts, matchup notes, film, and injury nuggets that I view as worth your time.

Week 16 QB Rankings

1. Patrick Mahomes - Chiefs vs. SEA (29.75 team total, -10.0 spread)

Weather is slightly concerning (11° F with a 0% chance of rain and 14 MPH winds).

2. Josh Allen - Bills @ CHI (24.5, -8.5)

Weather is very concerning (9° F with a 25% chance of snow and 25 MPH winds), but Josh Allen can run like a mad man and probably can throw in these conditions better than any QB in the NFL. We'll see if Buffalo changes their pass-heavy ways in these conditions because offenses can win on the ground OR through the air against this tanking Bears defense. Allen will be doing this without veteran C Mitch Morse (concussion), however. Let's see if backup C and starting RG Ryan Bates (ankle) can play through injury.

3. Justin Herbert - Chargers @ IND (25.0, -4.5)

Finally surrounded by a healthy skill group, Herbert has easier paths to upside, especially indoors while the rest of the league deals with unprecedented shrinkage. In fact, Herbert's yards per attempt climbs from 6.4 to 7.3 when Mike Williams is on the field per SIS and a similar trend is replicated when C Corey Linsley is available. Both are healthy. The Colts are also coming off a depressing overtime loss where the defense played 92 snaps.

4. Kirk Cousins - Vikings vs. NYG (26.25, -4.0)

Blessed with the indoors and the 3rd-highest team total of the week, it's time to treat Cousins as a solid fantasy QB1 again, just as we did last week.

5. Tua Tagovailoa - Dolphins vs. GB (26.75, -3.5)

Weather is slightly concerning (49° F with a 36% chance of rain and 10 MPH winds).... The trend of playing Miami's receiver with tight coverage at the line of scrimmage continued in Buffalo (here's my thread of that game) , and it worked for the most part. I expect this to continue for the rest of the season, as it puts more pressure on Tua post snap and with arm strength. Still, it's not an adjustment that'll wipe out the offense. Miami will still get there's, especially with Miami top-8 in neutral pass rate. Green Bay is missing multiple solid starters on defense.

6. Tom Brady - Bucs @ ARI (24.0, -7.5)

The Bucs are returning to a more pass-heavy approach, and it's (potentially) a good week to buy the dip on the offense with indoor weather against the No. 26 fantasy QB defense. Let's monitor the offensive line injuries with LT Donovan Smith (DNP) and RT Tristan Wirfs (limited) both on the injury report.

7. Joe Burrow - Bengals @ NE (22.25, -3.0)

Weather is slightly concerning (21° F with a 2% chance of snow and 13 MPH winds), and so is the matchup. New England is 1st in passing EPA allowed, 3rd in adjusted sack rate, and 19th in offensive pace. The positive is Burrow's weapons are good enough to take advantage of the Patriots' MOFC (middle of field closed) defense with one-on-one matchups outside. Ultimately, this is meh environment with a 22.25-point team total.

8. Daniel Jones - Giants @ MIN (22.25, +4.0)

A career-high 42 rushing yards per game, indoor conditions, and a solid 22.25-point team total have Jones on the QB1 periphery in a projected down week in fantasy land. The Vikings defense also just played 79 snaps in an overtime thriller last week.

9. Dak Prescott - Cowboys vs. PHI (26.0, -4.5)

Offenses facing the Eagles defense have the lowest neutral pass rate in the NFL (44%), and we've seen the Cowboys lean heavily on the ground. That paired with a less-potent Eagles offense without Jalen Hurts leave Prescott in the mid-QB1 bucket despite a healthy 25.75 team total.

10. Justin Fields - Bears vs. BUF (16.0, +8.5)

Weather is very concerning (9° F with a 12% chance of snow and 25 MPH winds), as is the Bears lowly 15.75-point team total. Fields, as usual, needs to ball the hell out on the ground. He rebounded with 8 designed runs in Week 15 out of the bye. Don't expect Chase Claypool (limited-DNP) or Equanimeous St. Brown (concussion) to play. 4for4's Connor Allen tweeted that Fields' passing yards line (137.5) is the lowest of any legit starting QB since he's been doing this.

11. Aaron Rodgers - Packers @ MIA (23.25, +3.5)

Weather is slightly concerning (49° F with a 36% chance of rain and 10 MPH winds).

12. Geno Smith - Seahawks @ KC (19.75, +10.0)

Weather is slightly concerning (11° F with a 0% chance of rain and 14 MPH winds), and no Tyler Lockett. But the game script (10-point dogs) and the Chiefs No. 30 fantasy QB defense work in his favor.

13. Jared Goff - Lions @ CAR (23.0, -2.5)

Weather is slightly concerning (25° F with a 0% chance of snow and 11 MPH winds) for the fellow, tiny-handed California kid.

14. Gardner Minshew - Eagles @ DAL (21.5, +4.5)

The Eagles clinch NFC's first seed with a win or if SF/DAL/MIN each lose one game the rest of the year. The odds are around 95%, even with Jalen Hurts (shoulder sprain) on the sideline. It's possible the Eagles pull some starters late in the game, but it's very early in the season and coaches typically don't make these decisions until Week 17 and Week 18. Minshew has flashed at times and has the best weapons of his career in Philly (especially with Dallas Goedert due back), but he is simply a high-end backup. The Eagles have the 15th-highest team total of the week.

15. Tyler Huntley - Ravens vs. ATL (20.75, -6.5)

Weather is concerning (18° F with a 1% chance of snow and 16 MPH winds), and the Ravens have had a 33% and 36% neutral pass rate in the Tyler Huntley starts. This projects to be one of the most run-heavy game plans of the year, with Atlanta ranking 26th in rushing EPA allowed and 7th in neutral run rate. The good news is Huntley is a part of that run-heavy game plan. In 7 career games with 86% or more snaps, Huntley is averaging 14.4 fantasy points with 195 passing yards and 48.6 rushing yards. Those are fine enough numbers at home against a bad defense. At least the betting markets think the Ravens are going to score 21.5 points (13th).

16. Brock Purdy - 49ers vs. WAS (22.0, -6.5)

California weather.

17. Kenny Pickett - Steelers vs. LV (20.25, -2.0)

Weather is slightly concerning (10° F with a 6% chance of snow and 22 MPH winds).

18. Russell Wilson - Broncos @ LAR (19.75, -3.0)

He's back, and there's a chance Courtland Sutton (limited) is, too.

19. Malik Willis - Titans vs. HOU (19.5, -3.5)

I'm expecting Ryan Tannehill (ankle) to miss after a DNP on Tuesday and third-string QB Josh Dobbs being signed off the practice squad ... Weather is slightly concerning (20° F with a 0% chance of snow and 11 MPH winds), but that will effect Willis less, as a bazooka-armed dual threat QB. The question is: Is Malik Willis good enough to take advantage of the cupcake macthup? In Week 7, Willis had a brutal stat line against these Texans (55 passing yards on 10 passes with an INT, plus 12 rushing yards on 5 carries). Of course, Derrick Henry balled out (32 carries for 219 yards and 2 TDs) that game, so it's possible that swings towards Willis a bit more this time. He had 3 and 5 designed QB runs in his two starts, the two games with the lowest neutral pass rates of the Titans' season. To make matters worse, the Titans top-3 offensive linemen are out: LT Taylor Lewan (IR), C Ben Jones, and RG Nate Davis.

20. Trevor Lawrence - Jaguars @ NYJ (17.0, +2.5)

Weather is concerning (49° F with a 88% chance of rain and 16 MPH winds), and LT Cam Robinson has been ruled out. Tough run out for the on-fire Lawrence with the Jets No. 9 fantasy QB defense on deck.

21. Zach Wilson - Jets vs. JAX (19.5, -2.5)

Weather is concerning (49° F with a 88% chance of rain and 16 MPH winds).

22. Nick Foles - Colts vs. LAC (20.5, +4.5)

Matt Ryan was benched after partially being responsible for the largest regular season comeback of all time. Foles and this version of Matt Ryan are very similar players, so I don't see a big change in player projections for anyone in the game.

23. Sam Darnold - Panthers vs. DET (20.5, +2.5)

Weather is slightly concerning (25° F with a 0% chance of snow and 11 MPH winds).

24. Derek Carr - Raiders @ PIT (18.25, +2.0)

Weather is slightly concerning (10° F with a 6% chance of snow and 22 MPH winds).

25. Mac Jones - Patriots vs. CIN (19.25, +3.0)

Weather is slightly concerning (21° F with a 2% chance of snow and 13 MPH winds).

26. Redacted QB - Browns vs. NO (17.75, -3.0)

Weather is very, very concerning (6° F with a 14% chance of snow and 23 MPH winds).

27. Trace McSorley - Cardinals vs. TB (16.5, +7.5)

Not an NFL quarterback in my opinion and a notable drop off from Colt McCoy, not just from experience but also because McSorley is far more likely to run it himself.

28. Baker Mayfield - Rams vs. DEN (16.75, +3.0)

Peyton and Eli Manning put it beautifully on their MNF broadcast when they said Sean McVay can only call passing plays with one or two reads because he doesn't know the playbook. That's nearly impossible to work with.

29. Desmond Ridder - Falcons @ BAL (14.25, +6.5)

Weather is concerning (18° F with a 1% chance of snow and 16 MPH winds). I put all my Ridder thoughts in this film breakdown thread.

30. Davis Mills - Texans @ TEN (16.0, +3.5)

Weather is slightly concerning (20° F with a 0% chance of snow and 11 MPH winds).

31. Taylor Heinicke - Commanders @ SF (15.5, +6.5)

In-game bench risk with the Commanders season on the line.

32. Andy Dalton - Saints @ CLE (14.75, +3.0)

Weather is very, very concerning (6° F with a 14% chance of snow and 23 MPH winds).

Week 16 RB Rankings

Read the player notes above. Rankings below are half PPR.

  1. Christian McCaffrey - Jordan Mason (hamstring) left Wednesday's practice and is questionable.

  2. Austin Ekeler

  3. Derrick Henry - See QB19 Malik Willis.

  4. Josh Jacobs

  5. Saquon Barkley

  6. Dalvin Cook

  7. Rhamondre Stevenson - Damien Harris (quad) is out. Stevenson managed a big game despite playing through an ankle injury last week. Kudos to him.

  8. James Conner

  9. Joe Mixon

  10. Ezekiel Elliott - See RB14 Tony Pollard.

  11. Tony Pollard - Both RBs can get home with Dallas 2nd in RB fantasy usage over the last month. Philly's defense is good, but offenses facing them choose to run the ball at the highest rates in the NFL. That could mean a few more carries for Zeke.

  12. Aaron Jones - Most of the offense runs through the RBs.

  13. Nick Chubb - He went DNP-DNP-limited (foot) and will have to manage that injury in freezing weather, but Chubb was left off the final injury report. If healthy (as expected), Chubb can see 20+ touches in an obvious run-heavy attack. If not healthy, Kareem Hunt has sneaky upside.

  14. Miles Sanders - No Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck). Without him, Cowboys defense is allowing 5.5 YPC compared to 4.6 with him.

  15. Jerick McKinnon - He's averaged 13.5 half PPR points on 11.5 expected half PPR points since the Chiefs' bye, and it's possible the Chiefs lean on him even more. Isiah Pacheco was momentarily benched last week, leaving McKinnon with a league-winning second half workload. If Pacheco fumbles (or gets Patrick Mahomes killed in pass pro) again, McKinnon could be a bellcow, as he was during the Chiefs 2021 NFL Playoffs run. When both are playing well, the Chiefs like Pacheco between the 20s on early downs and McKinnon in just about every other situation, including near the goal line. Andy Reid likes to galaxy brain in the red zone. McKinnon's skills fit that.

  16. Kenneth Walker (Questionable) - He didn't practice all week, but last week's pre-game report suggested the Seahawks will have to manage this ankle ailment, one that he's played on since high school. The Seahawks are in must-win territory. I think Walker plays in a similar way as last week (48-of-64 snaps). Pete Carroll said he'll be fine, too.

  17. D'Andre Swift - Even with Justin Jackson battling through an illness, he played the same amount of snaps as Swift and Jamaal Williams. The latter saw the most inside the 5-yard line carries (as usual), while Swift mixed in between the 20s. He has 10.1 half PPR on 12.7 expected half PPR points since returning from his injury. The Gyration King: 12.4 half PPR on 12.1 expected half PPR. Perhaps both are used even more in 28-degree temperatures.

  18. Jamaal Williams - See RB18 D'Andre Swift.

  19. Travis Etienne - In a slump but is a positive regression candidate. The worry is the Jaguars' 18.5-point team total against the Jets. No Quinnen Williams (full practice Wednesday) would help.

  20. Raheem Mostert - Jeff Wilson (limited) is questionable again and "his hip is feeling lot better but not yet sure about Sunday". This assumes he's playing but not truly healthy.

  21. Isiah Pacheco - See RB17 Jerick McKinnon.

  22. Alvin Kamara - He's had under 12.5 expected half PPR points in 6-straight games. Even without Mark Ingram (knee), Kamara lost passing down snaps to David Johnson. Yes, that David Johnson. He hasn't ripped off as many big plays this year and isn't the elite passing-down back any more. New Orleans is dead last in projected points this week.

  23. Najee Harris (Questionable) - He went limited-DNP to start the week with a hip injury. It was an oblique in previous weeks.

  24. J.K. Dobbins - The Ravens' neutral pass rate has dipped with Tyler Huntley under center, and this week's weather will give them even more incentive to run the ball. Dobbins has ripped off big runs despite questionable long speed due to an impressive run scheme, but he's also one of the biggest negative regression candidates. He's only posted 9.4 and 8.3 expected half PPR points since returning. Gus Edwards has been at 6.8 and 4.3 over that span as the clear No. 2 back.

  25. Latavius Murray

  26. Rachaad White - Both Bucs RBs are averaging 11.9 expected half PPR points over their last 4 games together, and both have played poorly. In fact, in PFF's yards after contact per carry, they rank 56th and 57th out of, you guessed it, 57 qualifying RBs. White would've ran away with the full-time job if he was better. This week, they could be running behind an OL without their LT or RT.

  27. Leonard Fournette - See RB28 Rachaad White.

  28. Devin Singletary - It's a 3-RB rotation, but when the Bills have leads, Singletary is the most likely to close out games. The Bills are 9-point favorites in blizzardy conditions.

  29. AJ Dillon - The Packers are 3rd in RB fantasy usage over the last month, so there are upside scenarios for the thiccccccc back, especially in December weather.

  30. David Montgomery - Khalil Herbert returning is bad news. His expected half PPR points drop from 14.0 to 10.9 with him, and it could get worse down the stretch with the front office needing to make decisions on each back this offseason. Herbert is unproven. Montgomery is a free agent. This week, however, there's paths to each hitting home with weather really acting up. Unfortunately, the Bears team total is 3rd-lowest on the week.

  31. Zonovan Knight (Questionable) - He only ran a route on 8-of-41 dropbacks last week, so Knight desperately needs to be playing with a lead on Thursday Night Football. The good news is the Jets are 1.5-point home favorites and if he does have a lead, Knight will get fed carries. ... As for health, he went unlisted-unlisted-full before being listed as questionable. That's very odd. Michael Carter and Ty Johnson would take over RB duties if Knight can't play, but I think he will.

  32. Brian Robinson - A negative regression candidate on the 5th-lowest team total offense.

  33. D'Onta Foreman - Early-down and goal-line RB who can't play from behind. Chuba Hubbard is basically the opposite.

  34. Kareem Hunt - Nick Chubb (foot) hasn't practiced this week. Per John Daigle, "Kareem Hunt has averaged 18.5 touches in five career starts for Chubb." I could move Hunt way up in a projected run-heavy snow game.

  35. Zack Moss

  36. Cam Akers

  37. Gus Edwards - See RB19 J.K. Dobbins but I think there is in-game upside if Dobbins struggles in the weather. The Ravens team total is higher than most this week.

  38. Cordarrelle Patterson - Both Falcons backs have spiked-week potential, but it'll be harder to hit a ceiling in an offense with the 2nd-lowest team total on the week. It's also possible Post-Bye Rookie Bump Tyler Allgeier cuts off a larger piece of the pie with the 31-year-old CPatt not being a long-term asset to the organization.

  39. Tyler Allgeier - See RB36 Cordarrelle Patterson.

  40. Chuba Hubbard - See RB33 D'Onta Foreman.

  41. James Cook

  42. Deon Jackson

  43. Antonio Gibson

  44. Michael Carter

  45. Samaje Perine

  46. Jaylen Warren

  47. Marlon Mack

  48. DeeJay Dallas

  49. Joshua Kelley

  50. Royce Freeman

Week 16 WR Rankings

Read the player notes above. Rankings below are half PPR.

  1. Justin Jefferson - Giants CB1 Adoree' Jackson will be out. Plus, Jefferson gets to play in a dome this week. He's the best fantasy asset of Week 16.

  2. Tyreek Hill

  3. Ja'Marr Chase

  4. Amon-Ra St. Brown

  5. Davante Adams

  6. DK Metcalf - No Tyler Lockett, and Seattle is 2nd in neutral pass rate over the last month with a rapidly declining defense.

  7. Stefon Diggs - An "eruption spot" matchup, but we'll see if weather cooperates.

  8. Mike Williams

  9. Keenan Allen

  10. CeeDee Lamb

  11. A.J. Brown

  12. Chris Godwin

  13. Mike Evans - He's the cover image of my Week 16 regression candidates column. Nobody is more due for a big play then Evans.

  14. Jaylen Waddle

  15. Tee Higgins - Improving in practice by starting limited-full-full, and Patriots CB Jalen Mills remains out.

  16. JuJu Smith-Schuster

  17. Garrett Wilson - The short throw has been largely erased with Zach Wilson under center, a part of the field Garrett Wilson can show off his YAC skills. The splits with/without Wilson are massive, though Wilson did manage a WR2-worthy 12.5 expected half PPR points last week. Jacksonville's defense is mid.

  18. Christian Watson

  19. DJ Moore

  20. Terry McLaurin

  21. Michael Pittman

  22. Christian Kirk

  23. Brandon Aiyuk

  24. DeAndre Hopkins

  25. Zay Jones

  26. Adam Thielen

  27. DeVonta Smith - Expected half PPR per game: With Dallas Goedert (8.5), without him (10.7). He's back this week, without Jalen Hurts.

  28. Drake London - My Desmond Ridder thoughts are here. No Marcus Peters or Calais Campbell helps London a bit.

  29. Gabe Davis - An "eruption spot" matchup, but we'll see if weather cooperates.

  30. Brandin Cooks (Questionable) - He was limited-full-full in practice, while Chris Moore (limited all week) and Nico Collins (out) were sidelined. The Titans pass defense is horrendous.

  31. Jerry Jeudy - Russell Wilson returns, but Courtland Sutton (limitedx2) might, too. If out, I'll move Jeudy up.

  32. Amari Cooper - The chart shows some of the things I'm seeing on tape from Deshaun Watson: not having a good feel in the pocket. He's been a primarily panic checkdown or break the pocket QB, rather than ripping throws over the middle like Brissett was doing off of play action. Cooper lives in the intermediate, so it's worth diving into. This week, Cooper will be dealing with weather (8° F with a 62% chance of snow and 27 MPH winds). Our Pick'em projection is set at a wild 6.15 fantasy points.

  33. Marquise Brown

  34. George Pickens - No Raiders CB1 Rock Ya-Sin (knee), while Diontae Johnson (toe) is banged up.

  35. Diontae Johnson (Questionable) - No Raiders CB1 Rock Ya-Sin (knee), but DJ went limited-DNP-DNP in practice with a turf toe injury that he's been playing through.

  36. Marquise Goodwin - Will be a full-time player without Tyler Lockett.

  37. DJ Chark

  38. Michael Gallup

  39. Allen Lazard

  40. Jakobi Meyers - No DeVante Parker. It'll be Meyers, Nelson Agholor, and Tyquan Thornton (questionable) in 3-WR sets.

  41. Darius Slayton

  42. Jahan Dotson

  43. Tyler Boyd

  44. Curtis Samuel

  45. K.J. Osborn - Outlier Week 15 but always has spiked-week potential as near full-time player in quality offense. Helpful to play in a dome this week, too.

  46. Joshua Palmer

  47. Parris Campbell

  48. Isaiah McKenzie

  49. Marquez Valdes-Scantling

  50. Demarcus Robinson - Devin Duvernay is banged up.

  51. Mack Hollins

  52. Donovan Peoples-Jones

  53. Treylon Burks (Questionable) - This assumes Malik Willis starts without his top-3 offensive linemen. Burks was a full participant all week and should see his normal workload.

  54. Corey Davis

  55. Van Jefferson - Ben Skowronek (calf) hasn't practiced.

  56. Tutu Atwell - Ben Skowronek (calf) hasn't practiced.

  57. Richie James

  58. Nelson Agholor

  59. Rashid Shaheed - No Chris Olave or Jarvis Landry, but the weather is so bad that there may not be many pass attempts. Shaheed is the top Saints WR.

  60. Chris Moore (Questionable) - This assumes Brandin Cooks (limited-full) returns without Nico Collins (DNPx2). Moore has a foot injury himself, too.

  61. Isaiah Hodgins

  62. Alec Pierce

  63. Elijah Moore - Corey Davis returns, but Denzel Mims and Jeff Smith are out. It'll be the top-4 WRs only getting snaps, including Braxon Berrios.

  64. Terrace Marshall

  65. Robert Woods

  66. Russell Gage - Julio Jones is questionable.

  67. Romeo Doubs

  68. Noah Brown

  69. Kadarius Toney - Played 5 snaps in his return, and now Mecole Hardman (questionable) is back.

  70. Josh Reynolds

  71. Dante Pettis

  72. Byron Pringle

  73. N'Keal Harry

Week 16 TE Rankings

Read the player notes above. Rankings below are half PPR.

  1. Travis Kelce

  2. T.J. Hockenson

  3. Dalton Schultz

  4. George Kittle - It's insane to see how similar the Jimmy Garoppolo and Brock Purdy splits look. As always, Kittle is a boom-week TE1 on TE2 usage. Take the lows with the highs, especially when Deebo Samuel isn't drawing schemed up looks. That's how Kittle gets mind-melting looks over the middle on double pump fakes.

  5. Mark Andrews

  6. Taysom Hill - No Chris Olave (out) or Jarvis Landry (IR), and the weather is as bad as it gets in Cleveland. Why not go with a crazy Taysom game plan this week? No Jadeveon Clowney for the Browns.

  7. Dallas Goedert (Questionable) - If last week's game mattered for the Eagles, Goedert likely would've played. He should be near full-health, though the Eagles could rest players late in the game or run struggle more in general without Jalen Hurts.

  8. Pat Freiermuth (Questionable) - He started the week with two full practices, which is a major upgrade. He was DNP-DNP-limited last week, with a groin not a foot.

  9. Evan Engram

  10. Gerald Everett

  11. Dawson Knox

  12. Noah Fant (Questionable) - One of my deep sleepers of the week if healthy.

  13. Greg Dulcich

  14. David Njoku (Questionable) - Limitedx2 to start the week. Terrible weather, too.

  15. Cole Kmet

  16. Darren Waller

  17. Daniel Bellinger

  18. Hunter Henry

  19. Juwan Johnson - Adam Trautman (foot) has been limited, and more importantly, Chris Olave (hamstring) has been a DNP all week. Johnson is a converted WR-turned-TE with legit receiving skills. Take notice.

  20. Tyler Higbee

  21. Jordan Akins

  22. Robert Tonyan

  23. Mike Gesicki

  24. Chigoziem Okonkwo - The Titans had 25% and 28% neutral pass rates in Malik Willis' two starts this year, and when Willis does pass, it's rarely underneath. If Treylon Burks (concussion) returns as expected, it's possible Chig's rookie run comes to a hault as they could be influenced to run more 3-WR sets, thus putting either Chig or Austin Hooper on the sideline. The floor odds are high here, even if we think he's good.

  25. Austin Hooper

  26. Cade Otton

  27. Tyler Conklin

  28. Logan Thomas

  29. Trey McBride

  30. Will Dissly

Week 16 Fantasy Defenses For Sickos

The defenses of the week are the Bills, Ravens, Broncos, Browns, 49ers, Bucs, Titans, Saints, Rams, and Chiefs.

Underdog Fantasy "Battle Royale" DFS

To me, this is the most beatable DFS game out there, as drafters too often go off the default rankings. Simply add one or two players who are commonly undrafted to get a unique DFS team. And of course, stack. I truly believe my readers/followers would enjoy the game theory (and the edge) of this contest.