You may not even know whether you got a win in Week 15 until Wednesday morning – because all the Fantasy playoffs need is more stress and anxiety. And it's been a weird Sunday so far, with a lot of unexpected performances and outcomes – like the Lions beating the Cardinals! Who saw that coming?
And who saw Craig Reynolds putting in one of the best rushing performances of the week, rushing for 112 yards on 26 carries as the Lions led pretty much from the beginning. We assumed Reynolds would be the lead RB for the Lions, but going against a matchup like Arizona, it was hard to see him getting this kind of workload – surely, the Cardinals would bury the Lions, who would have to lean on the run.
Well, in an unpredictable week, the exact opposite happened, and Reynolds looks to have established himself as the lead back for the Lions. This isn't the best situation for a running back ever, but the Lions have been more competitive than their record suggests, and they probably won't get blown out against a pretty middling Falcons team next week, so Reynolds could be a top-24 RB for that one.
And, keeping the topic on things we didn't predict Sunday, how about the Dolphins riding Duke Johnson like a legitimate No. 1 RB, even with Myles Gaskin healthy? Johnson got the start and rushed for 107 yards on 22 carries with two touchdowns – career highs across the board – along with one catch for 20 yards in the win over the Jets.
I'll admit, I had Gasin as a top-16 RB in my rankings, but I was a bit worried his role might be limited after he missed the entire week of practice due to COVID. Head coach Brian Flores even hinted that might happen, so maybe we should have listened. Whether that'll happen next week remains to be seen, but given how good Johnson looked – albeit against a very easy matchup – you figure he has to have earned an expanded role. And, for what it's worth, Gaskin had a worse game against that same easy matchup, albeit with a short receiving touchdown.
Would you feel great starting either Reynolds or Johnson next week? Certainly not based on what we currently know. And, if Jamaal Williams is back from the COVID list or the Dolphins coaches name Gaskin the starter during the week, neither is likely to have much value. However, at this time of year, you've got less competition on the wire if you're still alive, and we know every-down running backs can be league-winners, so those two will definitely be worth chasing this week. Plus, if we learned anything from Week 15's COVID situations, having startable depth can save your season.
Here's who else we'll be looking to add in Week 16:
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CIN Cincinnati • #34
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Based on what we know as of Monday morning, Perine and Jeff Wilson would actually be my top two targets for Week 16 on waivers. In Perine's case, his value is directly tied to the health of Joe Mixon, who left Sunday's game with an ankle injury and was visibly frustrated on the sidelines. Whether that means he wanted to go back in or that he couldn't remains to be seen, however the Bengals have shown a willingness to trust Perine both as a runner and a pass catcher, and while he isn't on Mixon's level in terms of talent, his potential workload even against a tough Ravens defense could make him a must-start Fantasy RB. We'll have to keep a close eye on Mixon's status over the next few days, because that could end up decided countless Fantasy playoff matchups.
Jeff Wilson RB
MIA Miami • #23
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Wilson is another RB who might be in position to really help you out next week, though his status will obviously depend on Elijah Mitchell's health. However, Mitchell's knee injury remains a real concern, with Kyle Shanahan telling reporters Friday he is "not optimistic" about Mitchell's chances of returning for Week 16. And Wilson looked excellent Sunday, leading the team in rushing yards and carries by a significant margin, and even catching a couple of passes. Deebo Samuel remains a real threat for work near the end zone, but there should still be room for Wilson to have a chance to score, and frankly, I'm not sure he's much worse than Mitchell – let's not forget, he had 100-plus yards on the ground in two of his three starts last season. This is a great situation to be in for a running back, and with the Titans and Texans on the schedule the next two weeks, he could be a league-winner in his own right.
DET Detroit • #14
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
St. Brown might just be a must-start Fantasy WR for Week 16 coming off his third straight game with at least 15 PPR points. That is a long, long way from where he was just three weeks ago, as he entered Week 13 averaging just 6.6 PPR points per game in his prior six games. However, with T.J. Hockenson out for the season and D'Andre Swift's return still very much in doubt, St. Brown has emerged as the go-to short-area target for Jared Goff. And while I think St. Brown is a pretty limited receiver overall, one thing he absolutely excels at is getting open quickly – a lot like Hunter Renfrow or Diontae Johnson. I'm not saying he'll be as good as those guys, but St. Brown now has 26 catches for 249 yards and two touchdowns over the past three games, and with three straight with double-digit targets, it's going to be hard to go away from him next week.
Gabe Davis WR
BUF Buffalo • #13
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Davis has been a touchdown magnet throughout his short NFL career, so I was very excited to see what he would do in Week 15 with Emmanuel Sanders out. And what he did was lead the team in catches and yards while finding the end zone two more times. We've mostly just seen Davis flash in a smaller role, however, he kept doing exactly what he's been doing with Sanders out the past two weeks. Davis seems like a really solid talent, and he's in an excellent offense, so I'm viewing him as a top-30 WR as long as Sanders is out.
BAL Baltimore • #2
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Watching Huntley play, he looks eerily like Lamar Jackson. From his mannerisms to his style of running, it looks like the coaching staff told him, "Do everything Lamar does," and he took it really literally. And, while I'm not saying Huntley is as good as Jackson, he did a pretty convincing impersonation of him Sunday, looking nimble and dangerous as a runner and good enough as a passer with the weapons he has. I'm hoping Jackson is back for Week 16, but if his ankle injury keeps him out again, Huntley's rushing abilities just might make him a top-12 QB.
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