The Predictalator has run every Week 16 2014 NFL game 50,000 times. Below we present the up-to-date top three at each fantasy position for the week, a sleeper likely to have a breakout game (generally chosen as the best $/FP value on daily fantasy sites), a player to avoid (the worst $/FP value) and some injury situations to monitor heading into the week.
1. Aaron Rodgers 29.1 FPs (GB @ TB) – We projected a down week for Rodgers last week, but he bounces back into the top three this week against a bottom ten pass defense that will be without its best pass rusher this week. Those that were able to survive through the fantasy football playoffs with Rodgers on the roster last week should be rewarded with a monstrous performance this week.
2. Andrew Luck 28.9 FPs (IND @ DAL) – Luck is the league's fantasy point leader for the season and has a great matchup in what is expected to be a shootout in Dallas. Luck is owned in 62% of the Top 500 public league teams on Yahoo!, meaning he is likely on many teams still alive in the playoffs.
3. Drew Brees 28.7 FPs (NO vs. ATL) – As strong as the two preceding performances are, Brees may be playing in the individual game that has the greatest impact on the fantasy football week as two defenses that are bottom five against both the run and the pass meet in a game that has averaged 50 combined points in the last four seasons.
Breakout Candidate: Mark Sanchez 22.5 FPs (PHI @ WAS) - It's a tough week for quarterbacks in the NFL, so finding breakout performers is definitely not easy. Sanchez has the best opportunity to rebound with a big game on Saturday against the Redskins. Washington gives up the most fantasy points to opposing pass offenses.
Must Avoid: Philip Rivers 16.3 FPs (SD @ SF) – No Keenan Allen. No Ryan Matthews. Facing a top five pass defense. Despite the bad week for NFL passing productivity, Rivers only ranks ahead of Andy Dalton (in primetime), Teddy Bridgewater, Jimmy Clausen, Derek Carr, Johnny Manziel, Geno Smith and Ryan Lindley in fantasy
1. Le'Veon Bell 20.0 FPs (PIT vs. KC) – Look at that gap. Bell, who is second behind Andrew Luck as fantasy MVP (he is owned in 42% of Yahoo! Top 500 teams), is projected to score almost 3.5 more points than any other running back. Kansas City is last in the NFL in run defense and Bell averages 146 total yards a game.
2. Jamaal Charles 16.7 FPs (KC @ PIT) – The top two running backs come from the same game, a sneaky-good shootout in our projections.
3. Eddie Lacy 16.7 FPs (GB @ TB) – Lacy was limited throughout the week in practice before playing Buffalo and still topped 100 total yards and a touchdown. Expect Green Bay to score easier (almost at will) against Tampa Bay, opening up the chance for an even bigger game for Lacy.
Breakout Candidate: Matt Asiata 14.7 FPs (MIN @ MIA) - Asiata is the clear favorite remaining at running back for the Vikings' coaching staff. He has had at least 18 touches in each of his last three games. The Dolphins, Minnesota's opponent this week, have lost four linebackers to IR and currently rank as having the third-worst run defense in the NFL.
Must Avoid: LeGarrette Blount (NE @ NYJ) – Those who trusted Blount and Bill Belichick last week are likely already out of the fantasy football playoffs, but don't go back to that well. The Patriots' backfield needs to be avoided more often than not with Belichick coaching. It does not help that this week's opponent has the best run defense in he NFL.
1. Jordy Nelson 14.7 FPs (GB @ TB) – Despite only 55 yards receiving last week, Nelson was targeted 12 times and is a must start at the position. He was just an inch or so away from adding 94 yards and a TD to those numbers against Buffalo. Things should come easier against Tampa Bay.
2. Calvin Johnson 14.4 FPs (DET @ CHI) – Oddly, no wide receiver is projected to top 100 yards this week (someone will, but it is not obvious who). Megatron is the closest to do so in our projections at 99.9 receiving yards against Chicago. Even having sat out three full games (and almost all of two others), Calvin Johnson should top 70 catches and 1,100 yards receiving this season.
3. Dez Bryant 14.4 FPs (DAL vs. IND) – Bryant is not targeted quite as often as most others this high in the rankings (he has not seen double-digit targets since November 2), but he makes the most of his opportunities. Since his last 10+ target game, Bryant is averaging 18.7 fantasy points-per-game. And we are projecting 60 points in this shootout.
Breakout Candidate: Malcom Floyd 7.9 FPs (SD @ SF) – At #35 for the week, this is not much of a breakout, yet without Keenan Allen or Ryan Matthews, Floyd is a decent bet to be a major factor in the Chargers' game plan against San Francisco on Saturday. He has been targeted at least five times in nine straight games.
Must Avoid: Andre Johnson 6.4 FPs (HOU vs. BAL) – This is a situation to monitor. Right now, we are projecting Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins to both play, yet both are limited in practice. If Johnson plays and not Hopkins, Johnson is a top 30 WR for the week. As it stands, he's just #56. Johnson has not topped 70 yards receiving since October 20. He did have some big games earl into Case Keenum's tenure as starting quarterback last year, yet Johnson finished averaging just 43 yards over his last three games in 2013.
1. Rob Gronkowski 12.6 FPs (NE @ NYJ)
2. Jimmy Graham 9.5 FPs (NO vs. ATL)
3. Greg Olsen 9.3 FPs (CAR vs. CLE)
Breakout Candidate: Jared Cook 8.1 FPs (STL vs. NYG)
Must Avoid: Charles Clay 5.5 FPs (MIA vs. MIN)
1. Cody Parkey 10.9 FPs (PHI @ WAS)
2. Mason Crosby 10.1 FPs (GB @ TB)
3. Adam Vinatieri 10.0 FPs (IND @ DAL)
Breakout Candidate: Shayne Graham 9.8 FPs (NO vs.. ATL)
Must Avoid: Jay Feely 4.2 FPs (CHI vs. DET)
1. Buffalo Bills 13.3 FPs (BUF @ OAK)
2. Seattle Seahawks 12.7 FPs (SEA @ ARI)
3. Detroit Lions 11.4 FPs (DET @ CHI)
Breakout Candidate: Green Bay Packers 8.4 FPs (GB @ TB)
Must Avoid: Arizona Cardinals 5.6 FPs (ARI vs. SEA)
Injuries to Watch
1. DeMarco Murray - We have conservatively given Murray about 60% of the running back touches this week and he ranks #17 at the position. If he plays through the broken left hand, Dallas will use him, but I would not expect a 25+ touch day like he averages (especially since he already has fumbling issues). We have been advocates of rostering Joseph Randle all season. That could pay off this week. Randle would be a top 20 RB if Murray does not play and he is already a top 35 play.
2. Falcons Receivers - Harry Douglas, Roddy White and Julio Jones have all been limited in practice this week, which is certainly of note considering how the Saints fared against the Falcons to start the year (White, Jones and Devin Hester each had 15+ PPR points) as well as other strong WR units like Dallas Detroit, Cincinnati Pittsburgh and even Chicago last week. Julio Jones is a top 15 wide receiver if he plays. That can only improve if Douglas or White miss time. Douglas and White are #61 and #24 for the week, but would each become startable if any of the three misses the game.
3. Chargers - Keenan Allen has two injuries that would normally keep a player out and very likely will not play. Ryan Matthews does not appear ready to come back on a short week (by a day). It's a messy situation against a generally good defense. However, San Francisco has been decimated defensively with injuries and there could be a breakout performer among the healthy Chargers (the 49ers have more issues currently defending the run than pass so watch the situation at running back closely).
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