What’s up, everyone? Welcome to week 16. Can you imagine, just two weeks left in the season?? Anyways, Billy’s away this week, so the Marksman’s here to fill you guys in.
Stats Don’t Lie is not a “you need to play this guy” type of article. It is instead a statistical-based look at injuries impacts, targets and touches (usage), matchup-based plays, and situations and their fantasy impact for the given week. Just because a player is not mentioned in the article does not mean they are not a good play. For example, if I don’t mention Antonio Brown, that doesn’t mean he isn’t an elite play almost every week. In addition, don’t let this article force you into plays or talk you off your reads. This is strictly an in-depth research-based analytical article. Be sure to check out Phill’s Foundation Model.
While many of us are aware that teams like to run the ball more while it’s cold, we may or may not be aware of the fact when it’s below freezing, running backs average 0.26 more yards per carry than under regular, warmer conditions. This is likely due to tacklers simply being physically unable to put as much force into tackles in such cold weather.
What does this mean for fantasy? Fire up those running backs in cold weather games! Even in nasty conditions (See Buffalo last week), workhorse backs will pile up the carries and consequently, rushing totals (Just ask Shady McCoy and Frank Gore).
That’s the number of receiving yards (In 14 games), that will be left behind by the injured Antonio Brown. Who will pick up the slack? Will it be Juju Smith-Schuster, Martavis Bryant or Eli Rogers? Regardless, that is a sizeable yardage count from Big Ben (over 100 per game) that will have to find a new receiver. All three of Juju, Bryant and Rogers are rather cheap relative to what they should be in such a favourable matchup against the Texans and with the league’s best receiver on the sidelines. Juju is my favourite target as he will be lined up against Kevin Johnson, who has struggled mightily in coverage this season.
Jimmy Garoppolo has thrown for just over 1,000 yards in his first three games as a San Francisco 49er as he is showing the world that the it’s not just the “system” in New England which has helped talented quarterbacks like himself thrive, but it’s what is learned from Coach Bill and of course the GOAT himself, Tom Brady. The question is, does his hot streak end today? The Jacksonville Jaguars, also known as Sacksonville, have been an absolutely dominant defensive unit led by three DPOY candidates in Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye.
The likely number of targets that will be missing from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lineup as DeSean Jackson (87) is likely out and O.J. Howard (36) is on IR. The Panthers are a heavy pass-funnel defence with their young corners’ inconsistent play as well as the suspension of one of the best cover backers in football, Thomas Davis Sr. Look for rookie Chris Godwin to possibly steal the show while Cameron Brate should heavily benefit and so should star wideout, Mike Evans.
That is the percentage of plays, over the past month where the Pittsburgh Steelers offence has decided to sling the ball, far and away, the pass-happiest team recently. Even without the best wideout on the planet, the aforementioned Brown, the Steelers should continue flinging the rocket around, as last week, Blake Bortles carved up the Texans. Houston is also a pass-funnel having giving up just 4.0 yards per carry (Eight fewest in the league).
Julio Jones’ WR rating in week 15, while being shadowed by Saints star rookie corner, and DROY slam dunk, Marshon Lattimore. Lattimore, who has quickly emerged as a top-5 corner in football, proved to the world that no matter how big, how fast, how quick, how strong or how good a wideout in football is, he can handle him, no problem. While targeted, Julio’s WR rating is 90.5 (Despite very few touchdowns on the season). On the other hand, Lattimore has given up just a 60.2 QBR while in coverage.
Something wrong with Los Angeles, Melvin? The Chargers’ running back, Melvin Gordon, has averaged 10.3 fantasy points per game more while on the road than at home (22.9 vs 12.6). Maybe it’s just a random variance, but there might very well be something behind this narrative.This matchup sets up nicely for Gordon against a middling Jets run defence which may not use it’s best run stopper, Mo Wilkerson, as the disgruntled veteran may cost them nearly $17 million if he is injured to end this season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars defence has averaged an absurd 15.2 fantasy points per game over the past five weeks, yet is at a sub-$4,000 salary against a Niners team that is lacking anything resembling offensive firepower. For comparison’s sake, on the season, Julio Jones is averaging 15.6 fantasy points at a salary that is more than double that of the Jags D/ST’s ($7,900). It’s tough to justify paying so much on a defence, a position which many believe are subject to high variance, but the Jags are an exception.
Seattle has given up 99 fantasy points to the running back position in the month of December, an absurd number in just 3 games of football. Ezekiel Elliott is RB5 in price, is fresh and is in a tremendous matchup where he will be pounded into the ground by the Cowboys. Take the discount and lock in Zeke in this wonderful matchup.