Week 16 Fantasy Football Wrap: At last, all three Cowboys WRs go off

Dalton Del Don
·10-min read

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys

A 14-3 Eagles lead turned into a 37-17 Cowboys blowout thanks to a big game from Andy Dalton and the passing attack (and Fletcher Cox leaving injured). It took until Week 16, but Sunday marked the first time this season all three Dallas wide receivers had a big game together, with Amari Cooper dropping a late TD ruining each of them scoring. The Cowboys completed the most 50+ yard passes (three) in an NFL game this season, matching their previous season total (while relentlessly picking on Michael Jacquet). Remarkably, the 990 combined yards were easily the most ever in the rivalry (127 games).

Dalton’s huge game was mostly a reminder of what could have been had Dak Prescott not gotten injured, as both Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb scored twice, with the rookie wideout adding a rushing score to go along with one of the easier TDs of the season ... A late 31-yard run helped Ezekiel Elliott break 100 yards, as he actually outplayed Tony Pollard (1.3 YPC) but was frustratingly bypassed at the goal line at times (teams pass far too often in GL situations in general).

Miles Sanders didn’t have an eruption game against a Dallas team that’s allowing the most YPC and rushing yards in football, but he scored, dominated work in Philly’s backfield, and encouragingly saw six targets. While mobile quarterbacks typically help running backs improve their YPC, they also tend not to throw to them much, so hopefully, Jalen Hurts isn’t the same (although he will clearly bring the problem of stealing touchdown runs).

Hurts committed three turnovers (although his lost fumble late makes you wonder why instant replay exists, as it couldn’t have been clearer his knee was down) and has plenty of growing pains ahead, but to say his fantasy future is bright would be an understatement. The rookie quarterback appeared to enjoy having a deep threat, as DeSean Jackson is getting 81 yards per target with Hurts starting at QB this season. I’m going to be drafting Hurts silly high in 2021 Superflex leagues.

Cleveland Browns @ New York Jets

The Browns were in a tough spot, losing a bunch of players (namely receivers) to the COVID-reserve list suddenly Saturday, but they were still near-touchdown favorites. They entered halftime with only four rushing yards despite having two top-20 RBs in Fantasy Pros’ expert consensus ranks and became the second team in a row to lose to Adam Gase … Frank Gore and La’Mical Perine had more rushing yards than Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, although at least the Cleveland backs were active as receivers and both scored. Fantasy managers, however, expected a much different game script … Austin Hooper predictably saw a bunch of targets with so few alternatives in the weird Browns situation, but he disappointed by turning 15 of them into just 71 scoreless yards against a Jets defense that’s been by far the friendliest to fantasy tight ends … Baker Mayfield lost a crucial fumble late, while Jamison Crowder had a nice game, catching a touchdown and throwing another.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans

Despite some key players sidelined, this turned into a productive fantasy game (totaling 68 points), with Deshaun Watson and Brandon Allen combining for 695 passing yards and a 5:0 TD:INT ratio. The Bengals got 5.1 YPC, while a Houston team that’s struggled to run-block all season finished getting 9.6, as defense was optional. David Johnson didn’t see as many targets as expected but scored twice and reached 100 rushing yards for the first time for the Texans. Gio Bernard countered with 131 YFS but lost two touchdowns to Samaje Perine; Houston’s run defense is bad … Tee Higgins had a terrific game that included multiple impressive catches and another 30+ yarder called back on a shaky penalty. He’s legit and will be a WR to target in 2021 fantasy drafts … Brandin Cooks had 115 yards and a touchdown by halftime despite Watson missing him on a wide-open throw for another 50-yard TD … The victorious Bengals entered winless over their last 20 road games.

Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers looked dead when down 24-7 late in the third quarter (the team had as many rushing yards (four) at halftime as the Colts had tackles for loss), but Ben Roethlisberger tossed three touchdowns over the final 20 minutes to help Pittsburgh win its division. It was a nice comeback, but it came against a fading Colts defense; Pittsburgh’s offense has serious issues (they finished with 20 rushing yards Sunday, and only the Jets have a higher three-and-out% this season) … Not sure why Chase Claypool saw just six targets while JuJu Smith-Schuster and Dionte Johnson combined for 27, although the latter did secure this nice TD catch … Jonathan Taylor continues to finish the year strong, climbing up and up 2021 fantasy draft boards … Philip Rivers tied Dan Marino for fifth all-time in TD passes with his 420th on this strike to Zach Pascal.

Chicago Bears @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Mitch Trubisky has the Bears averaging 33.0 points since reclaiming QB duties five games ago. An easy schedule has helped, but he’s completed 72.4% of his passes while getting 8.1 YPA over the last four, and he’s been a big boost to Allen Robinson’s fantasy value (so you’ll have to excuse Trubisky’s ugly interception in the end zone at the end of the first half) … David Montgomery had another nice game, although it almost felt a little short given his recent performance and the matchup, helped by Artavis Pierce and Trubisky stealing TD runs. No player saw their fantasy value increase more over the second half of the season than Montgomery (although Jalen Hurts has a strong argument if you play in Superflex) … DJ Chark pulled down a beautiful catch for a score, while Laviska Shenault answered with one of his own. No two receivers saw their dynasty league value skyrocket more over the last two weeks than Chark and Shenault, who will be seeing a slight upgrade at quarterback next season.

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky
Mitchell Trubisky has been a fantasy-league winner late this season. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

New York Giants @ Baltimore Ravens

A hobbled Daniel Jones lost more yards on sacks (-37) than the Giants’ leading rusher gained (Wayne Gallman finished with 27 rushing yards). Meanwhile, the Ravens had three players with 75 rushing yards (again), continuing to be the only franchise to accomplish the feat since the 80s … J.K. Dobbins finished third on the team in rushing attempts but scored for the fifth straight game anyway, while Lamar Jackson made it look easy moving the ball against a solid Giants defense … The Ravens have won an NFL-high 97 straight games when leading by 14+ points … This is the Jackson-to-Gus Bus connection everyone is talking about.

Atlanta Falcons @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Falcons’ defense played well and nearly came away with three Patrick Mahomes interceptions (including one in the red zone), but KC secured the AFC’s #1 seed thanks to a late Younghoe Koo missed field goal … Le’Veon Bell saw less action than Darrel Williams and should never again be in fantasy lineups, while Hayden Hurst scored on some trickery ... Travis Kelce became the first tight end in history with multiple 100-catch seasons, also setting the NFL record for receiving yards at the position (with a game to spare). Kelce is going to be something rare as a 32-year-old tight end going in the first round of all fantasy leagues in 2021.

Carolina Panthers @ Washington Football Team

Dwayne Haskins entered with the lowest CPAE in the league by a mile and managed just 36 yards (2.4 YPA) with three turnovers at halftime. When you’re committing more turnovers than you’re getting yards per attempt, it’s typically not a sign of excellence. WFT was missing Terry McLaurin, but Taylor Heinicke was an immediate and obvious improvement, and he had a nice TD connection during his revenge game … Curtis Samuel led Carolina in rushing and receiving yards (despite seeing half as many targets as both Robby Anderson and DJ Moore). Panthers receivers are going to be tricky to rank next year.

Denver Broncos @ Los Angeles Chargers

Jerry Jeudy has racked up air yards during his rookie season, but few players struggled on the field more in Week 16. He dropped balls on back-to-back plays at one point in the first half, and then suffered yet another in the end zone later. Drew Lock also missed a wide-open Jeudy that would have resulted in a 70-yard touchdown, and if that wasn’t enough, the wideout dropped another pass with 30 seconds left that likely would’ve resulted in overtime. Jeudy turned 15 targets into five drops and 61 scoreless yards in a game that improbably had the division-rival Raiders feeling OK about drafting Henry Ruggs ahead of Jeudy … The Broncos’ defense entered battered by injuries and having allowed the most yards per play in the NFL over the last three weeks, so Justin Herbert’s fantasy line could certainly be seen as a disappointment during championship week, although no Keenan Allen didn’t help (Tyron Johnson turned out to be more catatonic than he did a sleeper) … Melvin Gordon saw a few more carries as expected without Phillip Lindsay, but he lost a goal-line score to his QB, and it was odd he saw zero targets in a game Lock attempted 47 passes … Austin Ekeler’s three targets were also disappointing, but at least he took one for a touchdown. When drafts come around next year, don’t forget Ekeler finished this season while playing hurt.

Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks won an important NFC West matchup, while the Rams may have lost more than just the game, as Jared Goff suffered a broken right thumb. This was mostly a big fantasy disappointment throughout, including Darrell Henderson leaving injured after taking a carry literally to the one-yard line (which was followed by a goal-line stand). Remember when Henderson was PFF’s #1 graded running back over the first month of the season? Cam Akers is going to have a ton of fantasy value next year … DK Metcalf or Calvin Ridley – who goes first in 2021 fantasy drafts? I’d lean Metcalf right now.

Tennessee Titans @ Green Bay Packers

Cold weather conditions couldn’t prevent Aaron Rodgers from tossing another four touchdowns (matching his number of incompletions on the night), as he continued to play like an MVP while getting 9.2 YPA in the blowout win. Rodgers was picked off, although that still ends his regular season at home with an acceptable 23:2 TD:INT ratio … Ryan Tannehill struggled badly but saved his fantasy day with a 45-yard touchdown run. Corey Davis, however, was somehow a complete no-show despite A.J. Brown being quiet while dealing with an injury and Jaire Alexander … The Titans attempted the most cowardly punt in more than a decade.

While Aaron Jones battled through his toe injury and later a new one to his hip (and somehow had a long gain stand after Tennessee didn’t challenge him stepping out of bounds), AJ Dillon got the bulk of Green Bay’s backfield work with Jamaal Williams out and certainly impressed. The Titans weren’t exactly the ‘85 Bears on defense, but Dillon looked good while scoring twice and will enter 2021 as one of the top backup running backs to target at fantasy drafts (assuming Jones re-signs) … Those drafts will likely start with Davante Adams going #1, as he recorded three more TDs Sunday night. His 17 touchdown catches rank top-five in NFL history in a season, and Adams has done so over just 13 games.

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