Merry Christmas and a happy fantasy playoffs season to you. Let’s dig into some week 15 data and go hunting for more touchdowns to stick in our stockings and create some fantasy championships for a happy new year.
The holiday vocabulary having been duly plundered for appropriate seasonal references, may I remind you that I collect weekly NFL data and post it on a sheet here for free.
Now let’s get to it.
Last week’s results were – if I’m being generous – fine. All but one finished as “startable” at their position relative to most league settings. Only Alvin Kamara’s RB24 finish was disappointing. However, Greg Dulcich did, indeed, disappoint me after disappointing a lot of matchup enthusiasts the week before.
Somehow Diontae Johnson finished back inside the top 12 without catching any touchdown regression. As a side note, it’s starting to look like he and Mitchell Trubisky have a connection (more so than he and Kenny Pickett at any rate) as Johnson was also doing better between weeks one to three when Trubisky was playing.
Additionally, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Marquez Valdes-Scantling also caught touchdowns last week. This means four of the top five (non-injured) players – all with more than two “due touchdowns’ last week – hit. If we include Johnson finishing in the top 12, it brings it to all five.
Nevertheless, with Zay Jones catching three touchdowns – not to mention Noah Brown and Russell Gage catching two touchdowns each – I think it’s fair to say variance, not regression won the week.
Touchdown Regression for Week 16
It’s another week where fewer players are “due” a great deal of regression. This makes sense since our concept suggests production trends should wave up and down, week to week. I’ve placed our decision line of interest at 1.3 “touchdowns due.” We had good results focusing close to that “two due” threshold line last week and this seemed like the best line based on our weekly tracking for current options.
Tyler Higbee, Aaron Jones, and Rhamondre Stevenson all had touchdowns last week. This doesn’t discount them from doing better than expected this week but I think it’s worth mentioning for full disclosure.
Brandin Cooks still hasn’t practiced this week so I’m leaving him as injured for this article. The same is true for DeVante Parker and Courtland Sutton. However, there is currently the potential all three could be available for week 16.
Rondale Moore is on injured reserve and won’t play again this week, or, likely this season.
Alvin Kamara, RB PIT
I enjoy seeing David Johnson back in the NFL and getting work. However, he hasn’t managed to fill a significant role behind (or alongside) Kamara. Kamara, while still a fair distance away from his former role and production, had his highest rushing attempt share last week and Johnson fumbled in the red zone. His opportunity share was back over 40% for the first time since week eight. Since week ten he has had the majority of touches inside the 20-yard line (27%) and is only behind Taysom Hill inside the 10-yard line.
I think Kamara is a strong start this week with a top-12 upside in a matchup against Cleveland who has allowed 3.5 points above average to the position this year in PPR.
Rachaad White, RB TB
Since Leonard Fournette came back to the field (week ten), White has maintained a decent balance of the rushing work – while his target share has been less consistent. However, he holds most touches inside the 20-yard line while Fournette has only just edged him out inside the 10-yard line.
While Fournette certainly has the more valuable red zone role, White is still involved and looks like a decent RB2 with an upside in week 16.
Aaron Jones, RB GB
Jones has always been frustrating, even from his rookie year. Or rather, Green Bay’s usage of Jones has always been frustrating. But whether it’s Jamaal Williams or AJ Dillon, the workload will be split. The fact Dillon and Williams were also capable didn’t help (for fantasy).
Last week, once again, Dillon had what looked like a full workload with Jones filling in behind him. Earlier this season, Dillon’s workload was so high we speculated about whether he would, finally, take over the majority role. But a concussion for Williams and Jones’s predilection for doing well on fewer touches pushed him back over 20 fantasy points in week 15 – leaving us once again, guessing about the future.
With Dillon’s recovery time up in the air – in a high Vegas total matchup against Miami – Jones is currently projected inside the top 12 for week 16 of the fantasy season by the majority of projections I have checked. All the projectors I’ve looked at have him ranked there this week.
Honorable mention: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB NE
Anyway, that’s about all I have time for this week, let me know what you think, and thanks for checking it out.
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