Thursday, December 24, 2020

Week 16 Fantasy Football WR Start'em, Sit'em

The decision on which player to start, or sit, largely comes down to the options on your roster (and/or possibly the players available on your league's waiver wire).

As an example, Corey Davis is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting wide receivers.

Then again, Davis may be a "sit" for your team.

In other words, if you own both Allen Robinson, A.J. Brown and Davis and only start two receivers, you should start Robinson and Brown and, in turn, bench Davis.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

[Note: This will be our final Start'em, Sit'em of 2020, but we will post Week 17 rankings.]

Week 16 Fantasy Football WR Start'em

Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers (at ARI)

When he's been on the field, Aiyuk has been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL. The first-round rookie had nine catches for 73 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15. While he's missed a few games, Aiyuk's 73 yards were a six-game low.

In fact, Aiyuk has either surpassed the 100-yard mark or scored a touchdown in each of his past six games. During that stretch, he has averaged 7.5/94.7/0.7 on 11.7 targets per game and he's scored a minimum of 14.5 (half-PPR) fantasy points to finish no worse than WR20 in all six games. Not only does he have a minimum target share of 23.08% over that six-game span, but he has more than a 31.0% target share in back-to-back games and three of his past four.

Even though tight end George Kittle (foot) may return in Week 16, Deebo Samuel (hamstring) is expected to miss another week (or two). The Arizona Cardinals have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions (vs. TB)

Assuming Kenny Golladay (hip) misses another game, Jones should be in line for a massive target share in Week 16 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jones' 12 targets in Week 15 were the third time in his past four games that he's had a dozen targets. In addition, Jones has averaged 10.0 targets over his past six games with a minimum target share of at least 28.57% in four of those six games.

Jones hauled in 10 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans and now has at least 112 yards and a touchdown in two of three games. While there is some boom-or-bust to his game, he has three top-seven fantasy performances since Week 10. Albeit an arbitrary threshold, the only other receivers to have as many top-seven performances during that span are Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams.

The Bucs have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. In addition, the Buccaneers have allowed four top-seven WR performances since Week 11. Only the Houston Texans have allowed as many.

Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (at GB)

Davis bounced back from a disappointing 3/34 Week 14 performance with four catches for 110 yards and a touchdown on six targets against the Lions in Week 15.

Having his best season (by a wide margin), Davis is 55 yards shy of the 1,000-yard milestone. The former top-five pick has five of his seven career 100-yard games this season and his per-game average of 78.8 YPG is more than 20 yards better than his previous career high (55.7, 2018).

Setting efficiency career highs with 15.8 Y/R and 75.9% catch rate, Davis is making the most of his opportunities in Tennessee's run-first offense as the No. 2 option in the passing game. Despite a difficult matchup on tap against the Green Bay Packers, there should be more volume than usual as the Titans are road underdogs in the game with the week's highest over-under.

Week 16 Fantasy Football WR Sit'em

D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. CHI)

Chark had a breakout sophomore campaign (73/1,008/8), but things have not gone as well in 2020. On a positive note, Chark's 53 receiving yards and WR50 half-PPR finish in Week 15 were his best numbers in four games. On a negative note, those were his "best" numbers during that span.

Excluding the three games in which he scored this season, Chark has finished as the WR59 on average in those nine games and no better than WR35 (Week 2). Chark remains a TD-or-bust play this week as the Chicago Bears have allowed the third-fewest to opposing wide receivers this season.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. IND)

At one point this season, "yes" was the no-brainer response to the question, "should I start [insert Steelers WR here]?"

That's no longer the rule -- and I have Claypool ranked the lowest amongst the team's top three receivers.

Mapletron isn't a must-sit, as he currently slots into my rankings as WR36, but he has three or fewer receptions in three consecutive games and no touchdowns in his past four games. Over the past three weeks, he's finished as fantasy's WR74, WR85 and WR61, respectively.

Not only are the once 11-0 Steelers on a three-game losing streak, but they are home underdogs in Week 16 to the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos (at LAC)

Jeudy's struggles continue. The first-round rookie receiver out of Alabama had one catch for 19 yards on five targets in Week 15.

If you were told that one of his past five games included a game where a practice squad wide receiver was under center, it might not be as obvious as it should by only skimming the game logs. Here are his game logs since Week 11: 3/37 (eight targets), 0/0 (one), 1/5 (four), 2/42 (four) and 1/19 (five). Jeudy has finished no better than WR57 over that stretch.

Over that five-game stretch, Jeudy has a catch rate of 31.8% and a total of seven catches for 103 yards on 22 targets.

Jeudy had four catches for 73 yards on 10 targets in his first matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers (Week 8) and that kicked off a three-game stretch with 68-plus yards. Perhaps this game will start a two-game stretch to allow him to close the season strong, but he's better left on your bench even in leagues where you can start four receivers.

BUST ALERT - Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (vs. LAR)

Along with Tyreek Hill, Lockett is one of two receivers to score at least 45 fantasy points in a game this season. While it feels so long ago, Lockett had 15 catches for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 20 targets in Week 7 against the Arizona Cardinals. In fact, Lockett had the second-most fantasy points among wide receivers from Weeks 1 to 7. (Only Calvin Ridley had more.)

Since Week 8, Lockett has been much less impressive. Over his past eight games, Lockett has 67 yards or less every week and only one total touchdown. In addition, he has finished outside the top 36 fantasy wide receivers in all but two games over that stretch.

Coincidentally, one of the two exceptions was a WR33 performance against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 10. That said, the Rams have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

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