Happy Week 16!
We've reached the playoffs, congrats if you made it and if not, let's play "Perfect Challenge!" We prefer fun in this article. To reflect the differences in the end of the season, I've changed this up a little. I'm going to give five stats still, but each point will be about the fantasy positions (QB, WR, RB, TE and DEF) with an extra ceiling pick or two at the end. Let's give it a try, let me know how you feel about it.
So the "rules" for this article:
- Not super obvious.
- As exclusive as possible to this article.
- You give me feedback and we evolve it together. Twitter @cfrelund is the best for this, unless you are creepy then just stick to rules No. 1 and No. 2.
Got all that? Let's go!!!
That's Matthew Stafford's passer rating on 20-plus air yard attempts, good for second-highest in the league (behind Alex Smith) and about 32 points above than the league average (80.5). His 54 completions of 20-plus yard passes overall (these combine air yard and ones with yards after the catch) is good for No. 3 and his overall passer rating of 99.1 is a career-best. This is an upside pick because I don't have an extremely high total projected in this game (23-20 Lions). However, with the Bengals defense being so banged up, Stafford's safer floor makes this my favorite kind of upside pick.
Note: If you want a risky "perfect challenge pick" make your lineup work with Drew Stanton
2. > 100 and < 10
Cowboys rookie corner, Chidobe Awuzie has an over 100 passer rating allowed over the past two games while fellow rookie corner Jourdan Lewis has a sub 10 passer rating allowed on deep passes so far this season… Russell Wilson has the fifth-best passer rating on deep balls this season (101.5) and even though we saw a rough outing last week against the Rams, it's unlikely we see two in a row from this MVP-caliber quarterback. Especially considering their losses prior had all been within seven points (Wilson has accounted for 33 of the Seahawks 34 touchdowns. That's 97 percent and totally insane). As for the upside pick here, Paul Richardson is a smart choice.
The Chiefs defense has allowed 59 rushes of 10 or more yards, the most in the NFL. Kansas City also ranks 25th (eighth-worst) in percentage of first downs where opposing rushers earn four or more yards. Additionally, offenses have been able to earn first downs due to Kansas City defensive penalties second-most often in the NFL. Kenyan Drake has averaged over 21 rushing attempts per game over the past three games and only earned an average of 3.7 first downs per game. Drake's volume, ability to force missed tackles and the opportunity against this defense gives him a high ceiling (and one with a solid floor).
Rookie tight end Evan Engram was targeted 13 times last week, but unfortunately added a drop to his resume, bringing his season total to 12 (most in the NFL). Engram has been inconsistent overall this season. He will likely matchup against Cardinals' rookie safety, Budda Baker who has been susceptible in coverage, but, like most rookies has improved over the course of the season. As outsiders we can't always be completely sure who was "at fault" when a touchdown is given up on defense but at least two touchdowns appear to be the result of a receiver in Baker's coverage. The point I am making is that you are likely playing Engram due to his volume, with the understanding that there is risk (both up and downside).
DeShone Kizer has thrown the most interceptions in the red zone this season, with four of the six on passes 10 yards or closer. He also leads the league with the most overall interceptions at 25 (36 total turnovers). The Bears' defense has seen an almost 10 percent uptick in the number of pressures per game over the past three games and only allowed three touchdowns over that same period. I know it's very hard to go 0-16, but it's unlikely that the turnovers and offensive mistakes will stop against Chicago's underrated defense.
Two more ceiling plays: Washington and Detroit