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Fantasy Football NFL Week 16: Five Things We Learned

Welcome to Five Things We Learned. Every Monday morning, this article will bring you the top need-to-know storylines for Fantasy Football in 2022. All data included in this article comes from trumedianetworks.com unless otherwise stated. 

Panthers’ Boast Unstoppable Rushing Attack

  • Carolina Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks has fielded the league’s most run-heavy team since installing Sam Darnold at quarterback in Week 12. 
  • The table below ranks Carolina’s per-game rushing data in parentheses among NFL teams in Weeks 12-16. “RZ” refers to the red zone. “GZ” refers to the green zone.
NFL Team Per-Game Rushing Rush Att. per Game Yards Rushing per Att. Yards After Contact per Rush Att. Yards Rushing per Game Rush Att. Inside: RZ – GZ
Carolina Panthers 37.75 (No.1) 4.96 (No. 7) 3.18 (No. 6) 187.25 (No. 1) 8.75 (No. 1) – 5.00 (T-No. 1)
  • The table below ranks Nos. 1 and 2 running backs D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard’s per-game rushing data among 69 NFL running backs with at least 10 total rush attempts in Weeks 12-16.
NFL RB Per-Game Rushing Rush Att. per Game Yards Rushing per Att. Yards After Contact per Rush Att. Yards Rushing per Game Rush Att. Inside: RZ – GZ
D’Onta Foreman 19.00 (No.13) 4.75 (No. 19) 3.54 (No. 11) 90.25 (No. 3) 4.50 (No. 1) – 3.00 (No. 1)
Chuba Hubbard 11.75 (No. 31) 5.83 (No. 3) 2.70 (No. 34) 68.50 (No. 13) 2.00 (T-No. 25) – 0.75 (T-No. 41)
  • Carolina faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17.
  • Tampa Bay lost edge rusher Shaquil Barrett (ankle) to injured reserve in Week 8.
  • Nose tackle Vita Vea (calf) and outside linebacker Carl Nassib (pectoral) have not practiced since Week 14, and they look like long shots to play in Week 17.
  • Tampa Bay’s 4.50 yards rushing allowed per rush attempt, and 2.87 yards after contact allowed per rush attempt rank 20th in the NFL.
  • Carolina’s rushing machine offers high-upside fantasy potential in Week 17.

Harris’ Late-Season Shine

  • Pittsburgh Steelers No. 1 running back Najee Harris has been the offense’s focal point since the Week 9 bye.
  • Harris averaged 10.93 points-per-reception points per game in Weeks 1-8, good for the RB29 spot. 
  • In Weeks 10-16, Harris is averaging 14.53 points-per-reception points per game, rocketing him up to RB13. 
  • The table below reflects Harris’ pre-and-post-bye per-game data.
Najee Harris Rush Att. – Yards After Contact per Rush Att. Routes – Targets  Per Routes Run Rates: Targets – Yards PPR Points per Game
Weeks 1-8 13.5 – 2.66 18.8 – 3.5 18.7% – 0.75 10.93 
Weeks 10-16 17.0 – 2.84 17.6 – 3.0 17.1% – 0.77 14.53

Kittle Cooking With Purdy 

  • With wide receiver Deebo Samuel (MCL/high-ankle sprain) injured, San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle has averaged 27.65 points-per-reception points per game during the last two weeks. That ranks No. 1 at the position by 5.5 points.
  • Kittle’s Week 15, 25.3-point performance bore fluke potential as it came against fantasy football’s second most tight end-friendly defense, the Seattle Seahawks. 
  • However, he trounced the league’s top-ranked tight end defense in Week 16, the Washington Commanders, to the tune of 30.0 points-per-perception points, ending any fluke-related concerns.
  • The table below ranks Kittle’s Weeks 15-16 receiving data in parentheses among NFL tight ends with at least five targets during that span.
Tight Ends – Weeks 15-16 Per Routes Run Rates: Targets – Yards  Catch Rate aDot – Yards After Catch per Rec.  Longest Reception
George Kittle 25.5% (No. 6) – 4.18 (No. 1) 76.9% (No. 14) 8.92 (No. 8) – 10.90 (No. 1) 54 (No. 1)
  • Kittle’s Week 10 opponent, the Las Vegas Raiders, allows 13.0 points-per-reception points per game, which is the 10th most in the NFL. 

Willis Tanks Titans’ Passing Game

  • In Malik Willis’ limited action across six games this year, his lack of passing attempts and underwhelming abilities have trap-doored the floor of the Tennessee Titans’ pass-catching corps.
  • The table below ranks Willis’ passing data in parentheses among 53 NFL quarterbacks with at least 50 pass attempts.
NFL QB Passing Data Completion Rate Yards Passing/Attempt TD/INT Rate NFL Passer Rating
Malik Willis 50.8% (No. 53) 4.52 (No. 53) 0.00 (T-No. 50) 42.8 (No. 53)
  • Willis started in Weeks 8, 9 and 16. The table below shows the best weekly positional points-per-reception finishes of Tennessee’s wide receivers and tight ends in Willis’ three starts.
TEN WR/TE Finishes w/ Malik Willis Starting Week 8  Week 9  Week 16
Wide Receiver WR75 WR N/A* WR46
Tight End TE49 TE20 TE28

*All Tennessee wide receivers finished worse than WR90 in points-per-reception scoring in Week 9.

  • Tennessee faces the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17. Dallas’ 6.84 yards passing per attempt allowed is the 10th fewest in the NFL. 

Packers’ Dillon Takes Over With Jones Hurt

  • Green Bay Packers No.1 running back Aaron Jones has been on the injury report since Week 10. He’s been listed with shin, glute, knee and repeated ankle issues throughout the last six weeks.
  • Jones’ ankle and knee injuries in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively, stink of a potential high-ankle sprain and MCL sprain combination. The two injuries often occur together and Jones has four documented Grade 2 MCL sprains between 2017-2021, with one ambiguous Grade 1 knee sprain in January 2022.
  • Both injuries typically result in multiple games missed, resulting in decreased fantasy-point production upon a running back’s return, per Adam Hutchison’s Injury Index.
  • No. 2 running back A.J. Dillon assumed lead back duties in Week 13. 
  • The table below shows Jones and Dillon’s per-game snap averages between Weeks 13-16. Green Bay was on a bye in Week 14.
GB RBs – Weeks 12-15 Total Snaps per Game 1st & 2nd Down 3rd & 4th Down w/ 3+ Yards To Go Red Zone – Green Zone
A.J. Dillon 35.00 26.33 5.33 8.00 – 5.33
Aaron Jones 28.33 24.00 3.00 8.67 – 2.67
  • Dillon led in all five categories in Week 16. 
  • The table below shows Jones and Dillon’s per-game usage and production in Weeks 13-16.
GB RBs – Weeks 12-15 Rush Att. – YPC – Yards After Contact per Rush Att. Routes – Per Routes Run Rates: Targets – Yards RZ Rush Att. – Targets  GZ Rush Att. – Targets
A.J. Dillon 13.33 – 4.13 – 2.35 16.67 – 18.0% – 1.46 3.33 – 0.00 2.33 – 0.00
Aaron Jones 10.67 – 4.41 – 3.00 14.00 – 28.6% – 1.64 3.33 – 1.67 1.00 – 0.33
  • Green Bay faces the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17. Minnesota’s 18th-ranked 4.4 yards rushing allowed per attempt are hardly threatening to Dillon’s rushing prospects. Their soft defensive front is allowing 1.67 yards rushing before contact.

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