Breakdowns

Week 15 Fantasy Overreactions: You Should Bench Saquon Barkley in Week 16

Week 15 Fantasy Overreactions

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Welcome to Week 15 Fantasy Overreactions! The day or two after the dust settles during the NFL season, meaning that we can take any occurrence from Sunday or Monday and make a completely wild narrative with it. We also want to make bold claims to remain ahead of the curve!

Every week, we’re going to identify five of these potential overreactions from the week’s NFL action. While these are just our opinions, feel free to use your own thoughts on each narrative. The storylines have been played out, now it’s our job to decide if we feel the story is fact or fiction.

The stories were aplenty this week: The Buccaneers outlasted the Bills in a clash of two Super Bowl hopefuls. The Kansas City Chiefs dropped the hammer on their division rival Las Vegas Raiders and won by nearly 40 points. The Cowboys beat the Washington Football team to further cushion their NFC East division lead. All that and more in an exciting Week 14!

All of this has led to some great overreactions. So as we will do each week, it’s now time to react to the potential overreactions! 

1) You can trust Tyler Huntley as your Quarterback for the Fantasy Playoffs

Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION

Let’s preface this by saying that Lamar Jackson is expected back next week so there’s a chance this doesn’t come to fruition in Week 16. If Jackson for any reason doesn’t start over the next few games, you can trust Huntley in your fantasy lineups. Huntley looked fantastic in his start against the Packers completing 28 of his 40 passes for 215 yards and two TDs while adding 13 carries for 73 yards and two more scores. The QB1 on the week after Sunday’s games. Not only did Huntley look good, but so did this Baltimore offense, as it totaled up 354 total yards. That’s a mark they’ve reached as a team just one other time since November 7th.

You would think that potentially blitzing a young and experienced quarterback would be the answer, but as Kevin Patra of NFL.com states, according to NFL Next Gen stats, Tyler Huntley completed 9 of 12 passes for 94 yards, 2 TDs versus the blitz. Huntley gives you upside with his legs and seemed to be more than capable of guiding this Ravens offense. If at any point Jackson can’t go, I’d trust Huntley as a low-end QB1.

2) You should BENCH Saquon Barkley in Week 16

Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION

If I roster Saquon Barkley, I’m a little worried right now. Barkley has not topped 64 yards in any of the five games since he returned from injury. Over that same time span, he’s topped double-digit fantasy points only one time. Barkley appears to be dancing and continuing to try and hit home runs, rather than take what’s given to him. You don’t need to look further than the Giants last game where Barkley had 15 carries for 50 yards (3.3 ypc) with his longest run being six yards. Conversely, Devontae Booker behind that same line and with the same quarterback carried the ball eight times for 74 yards (9.3 ypc) and had a long run of 31 yards. This isn’t surprising as Booker tends to hit the hole harder and not try to make something that isn’t there.

Barkley’s next three games include the Eagles, Bears, and the Football Team. Each rank 10th, 19th, and 20th in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. With the schedule being less than ideal and Barkley continuing to struggle, he should be benched outside very deep leagues.

3) The Cardinals pass offense is in trouble without DeAndre Hopkins

Verdict: OVERREACTION

A moment of silence for all people that were still left in survivor pools that picked the Arizona Cardinals to beat the Detroit Lions. One of the most unexpected results we’ve seen from a game this year. Kyler Murray struggled in this one, completing 23 of his 41 passes for 257 with one touchdown and one interception. No Cardinals wide receiver reached 100 yards on the day against this poor Lions secondary and it seems that the Cardinals truly missed Hopkins in this game.

There should be better days ahead for this offense. In the Lions game, three pass catchers recorded at least 64 yards receiving. The Cardinals also weren’t able to use their run game as much as they normally like to (14 carries between James Conner and Chase Edmonds) and I expect them to be able to utilize them more in neutral game scripts to set up the passing game even more. Murray still has an 86.4 passer rating and nearly 4,000 passing yards without Hopkins in his career so he and this offense will get the job done starting next week at home against the Colts.

4) Gabriel Davis is a GREAT flex play going forward

Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION

What an awesome week for Gabriel Davis, as he posted five catches on seven targets for 85 yards and two touchdowns, giving people who had the faith to start him in Week 15 a huge boost to their lineups. Davis’ 25.5 PPR fantasy points were actually the third-highest among wide receivers at the conclusion of Sunday’s games.

The biggest difference is Davis playing without Emmanual Sanders. Over the last two weeks where Sanders hasn’t played, Davis has put up 40.8 fantasy points, which is the WR4 over that time span. Davis is the downfield threat the Bills have lacked recently and someone who Josh Allen is continually looking for in the red zone. As long as Sanders is out, start Davis with confidence as a high-end flex play.

5) Duke Johnson is the running back to roster in Miami

Verdict: OVERREACTION

Whatever Duke Johnson had before his game against the New York Jets, I hope he continues to keep up the same pregame meal. The seven-year veteran turned in the best game of his career in this spot start for the Miami Dolphins where he carried the ball 22 times for 107 yards and two scores while adding one catch for 20 yards. This was an awesome full-good game as Johnson had spent most of the season on the practice squad. Lost in this game was the normal starting running back who was activated over the weekend from the reserve/COVID-19 list in Myles Gaskin, who had a nice game in his own right with 10 carries for 54 yards.

Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Phillip Lindsay, and even Malcolm Brown should be healthy going into Week 16. Even though Johnson is now signed to the active roster, I’m worried about the number of touches he can realistically receive with this many players in the backfield for the Dolphins. The Dolphins also face the Saints in Week 16, the team that just held Tom Brady’s Buccaneers scoreless and allowing the least amount of fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. I would not roster Johnson at this point in the fantasy playoffs.