Welcome to week 16 of the NFL regular season and for many folks, round 2 of the fantasy football playoffs. If you’re alive and well, congrats! One more win and you’re into the money round. Before we get too excited about our fantasy flex players for week 16, let’s hold ourselves accountable for our week 15 picks.
Results of Our Week 15 Picks
D’Onta Foreman, RB, Titans @ Steelers, projected for 10 points. Actual 14.5, hit!
A.J. Green, WR, Cardinals @ Detroit, projected for 9.1 points. Actual 8.4, miss.
Michael Carter, RB, Jets @ Dolphins, projected for 11.8 points. Actual 2.5, miss.
Cole Kmet, TE, Bears v. Vikings, projected for 6.7 points. Actual 10.1, hit!
A.J. got 8 targets but didn’t do much with them and Carter, well, I don’t know. He only got 8 carries and 2 targets. I’ll blame that one on poor coaching. And just so you know that I stand by my picks, I played them all in Fanduel against my fantasy league mates. Of course, I got roasted. But it’s on to week 16 and COVID-19 and injuries make for tough sledding. Let’s see if we can discover some fantasy goodness in our week 16 picks for fantasy flex players. I use ESPN projections for .5ppr scoring.
Fantasy Football Flex Boomers Week 16
Craig Reynolds, RB, Lions @ Falcons, 9.2 points
Reynolds almost made the list last week and in hindsight, I wish I had unleashed this Lion. He ran 26 times for 112 yards and scored 12.2 fantasy points. Reynolds had a great day on the ground but failed to cross the goal line. He looks explosive and while starting running back D’Andre Swift could return this week, why would the 2-11-1 Lions risk the health of their stud running back for a lost season? Let’s hope that rational minds prevail and Reynolds remains the Lions’ primary running back this week. Against the Falcons, let’s ride this Lion.
Jordan Howard, RB, Eagles v. Giants, 5.8 points
Any Eagles running back is a risky play as running QB Jalen Hurts hurts the potential of the whole backfield, but this game is against the Giants. That’s all we need to say. On the season, the Giants are 6th worse against running backs and the Eagles have the ability to run the ball. Miles Sanders (questionable), should get the bulk of the carries, but he has been woefully inefficient at the goal line with 5 carries within the 5-yard line and no touchdown. Howard has converted 4 goal line carries into 3 touchdowns. The Eagles should be knocking on the Giants’ door quite often and ESPN’s projections don’t allow for a score for this TD machine.
Antonio Brown, WR, Bucs @ Panthers, 11.3
Brown has a few things in his favor this week that ESPN isn’t accounting for in his projections. One is an angry Tom Brady. He’s coming off his first shutout in 15 years as the New Orleans Saints defense crushed him 9-0. Brady threw an interception, lost a fumble, and was sacked 4 times. His frustration boiled over as he destroyed a Microsoft Surface and made a point to run over to the Saints’ sideline to tell Saints’ defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to “Go f— yourself!” I expect that Brady will have his team corrected and dialed in this week and he will hit Bank of America Stadium on fire.
Two, the Bucs star wide receiver Chris Godwin is out for the season and his stud teammate, WR Mike Evans, missed practice Wednesday and Thursday with an injury. Evans is trending toward missing the game as well and there is one thing we know about Tom Brady – he likes to target players in which he has a rapport and trusts. With running back Leonard Fournette also out this week with an injury, Brady will only have 2 players on the field in which he has much history – Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. Bank on big games from both as angry Brady looks to torch the Panthers.
Oh, three, it’s the Panthers.
Cole Kmet, TE, Bears @ Seahawks, 7 points
I’m going back to the cave to pull out this Bear again for the second week in a row as one of my fantasy flex players. I watched the Bears/Vikings game and there is an obvious connection between QB Justin Fields and Kmet. Kmet led the team in targets with 9, catching 6 for 71 yards – a nice stat line. However, through week 15, Kmet has yet to find the end zone, but this is his week. Chicago travels to Seattle to face the Seahawks who are 27th worst against tight ends on the season and over the last 4 weeks have surrendered 16.48 points to opposing tight ends. Roll with Cole!
Michael Pittman, WR, Colts @ Cardinals, 11.1
In my recent article, “How to Stream Quarterbacks in Fantasy Football“, I highlighted Colts quarterback Carson Wentz as a potential streaming option this week against the Cardinals in Arizona. I also mentioned in the article that this game is the second-highest projected scoring game on the slate with 49 points and the Colts should account for about half. Honestly, this game could be a shoot-out and blow the lid off 49 points and if I already believe that Wentz is in line for a good game, logic flows that his number one wide receiver can be a fantasy flex boom as well.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Bucs @ Panthers, 2.3 points
Ok, honestly, I doubt I would play Bell if I was in the second round of the playoffs, but I will have him in some Fanduel lineups. As I mentioned above, Tom Brady has trust issues. Since arriving in Tampa, he has recruited Leonard Fournette, Rob Gronkowski, Gio Bernard, and Antonio Brown to have key offensive players around him that he knows and trusts. And to the best of my researching ability, I found that Tom and Le’Veon have faced each other 8 times through the years, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Brady had his hands in Bell’s signing as well.
Ronald Jones II should get the bulk of the carries, but Tom loves to dink and dunk to his running backs, and Jones isn’t known for receiving work. In almost 4 seasons, Jones has 73 catches on 100 targets. The other Tampa RB option is second-year man Ke’Shawn Vaughn, but if Brady has much trust in him, why sign Bell? Bell, on the other hand, is a pass-catching running back specialist with 395 receptions on 498 targets – exactly what dink and dump Tom needs.
It’s been painfully obvious this year that Le’Veon has lost a step, but he still has good hands. And since this is a total gut call, based on nothing solid other than closely watching Brady’s career through the years, my gut also tells me that he doesn’t trust Rojo very much. The Bucs drafted Jones in 2018, but he lost the starting job to Brady recruit Fournette. If my instincts are correct, this game against the Panthers could be more Bell-heavy than anyone expects. Will you ring the Bell?
I hope that you fight your way to the fantasy championship next week. Let me know if any of my fantasy flex players helped you – or hurt you, too, I guess. Check out my fantasy brothers, Chris and the Waterboy on this week’s episode of the Laces Out football podcast on Youtube.
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