From unexpected player performances to devastating injuries, Week 16 of the NFL season delivered its fair share of twists and turns. This article delves into the most significant headlines and developments from Week 16, offering insights into key players’ performances, potential game-changers, and the implications for fantasy managers as they prepare for the climactic finale of the fantasy football season. Good luck in your fantasy championships this weekend and thanks for winning with PlayerProfiler.
Week 16 Fantasy Football Fallout
Purdy’s Fantasy Flop Fuels Frustrations
Brock Purdy had a disastrous performance in Week 16. He threw four interceptions before ultimately suffering a stinger that ended his day. While the injury shouldn’t keep him from missing any time, fantasy managers are left wondering what to expect in their championship matchups this weekend.
Purdy remains a must-start option in fantasy championships because he is still part of one of the most talented offenses in the NFL. However, this serves as a reminder of his volatility as a dynasty fantasy football asset going forward. The 49ers rank last in pace of play and pass attempts per game. In addition, they are No. 2 in Game Script so far in 2023. Purdy hasn’t been asked to take on a large workload or play from behind, hiding his flaws and allowing him to minimize mistakes.
This results in Purdy ranking No. 4 in fantasy points per game but a surprising No. 26 in Expected Fantasy Points Per Game. He remains safe with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk, but fantasy managers should worry about his long-term value. Purdy has relied on efficiency, which can’t be counted on year to year from pocket-passing quarterbacks.
While many pundits peg Purdy as an elite dynasty asset going forward, he sits at No. 12 among quarterbacks in my dynasty rankings. He holds significant value in 2024 and has shown tremendous strides this year. Regardless, he doesn’t have the skill set to project as a top-10 fantasy quarterback going forward consistently. Pocket-passing quarterbacks face an uphill battle and are more reliant on their offensive situation. Purdy is in one of the best situations in the league but could see a large drop in production when that changes.
Swift’s Struggles in Recent Weeks
Despite finishing as a top-15 fantasy football running back in Week 16, fantasy managers shouldn’t get too excited about D’Andre Swift. Despite rushing for 92 yards, his fantasy day was ultimately saved by a touchdown. He received zero targets and is only No. 20 among running backs in target share for the season. Swift has finished outside the top 24 running backs five out of the last seven weeks as a result.
With Jalen Hurts dominating the goal-line work, and his role in the passing game remaining minimal, Swift is only a low-end RB2 in fantasy championships this weekend. Touchdowns and passing work are the biggest drivers of a running back’s fantasy production, particularly in PPR leagues. Swift will be tough to depend on and will need a touchdown to finish as a top-20 running back in Week 17.
In addition, Swift will be a free agent this off-season, making him a volatile dynasty fantasy football asset too. Nonetheless, there are plenty of situations he would be projected for an increase in passing work. Dual-threat quarterbacks tend not to check down to running backs as much, and Swift remains explosive, ranking No. 11 in Evaded Tackles. A slow end to the season could make him a buy in dynasty fantasy football leagues come January considering the upside. Explore sending a mid-second-round rookie pick or a promising player such as Jayden Reed for his services.
Season Ending Setback Sours T.J. Hockenson’s Outlook
T.J. Hockenson suffered a torn ACL and MCL that will end his 2023 season. He obviously won’t be able to help fantasy managers in their championships this weekend, but the bigger concern is how this will affect him in 2024. Given the physicality of the tight end position and players such as Chris Godwin‘s timeline of recovery, it’s safe to say he will be limited to begin the season.
Ultimately, this injury occurred very late in the season, and the Vikings have an uncertain situation at quarterback. Hockenson will be outside my top 5 fantasy tight ends for 2024 because he is likely to start slow to begin the season. However, Hockenson will likely be near 100-percent by midseason, just when fantasy managers need him most. Pay attention to camp reports, and the Vikings should hopefully see him return to practice at the end of training camp.
Tagovailoa’s Troubles Take Toll
Since Week 9, Tua Tagovailoa has been the QB27 in fantasy football leagues. Despite the Dolphins’ success on the field, Tagovailoa hasn’t lived up to fantasy managers’ expectations of late. The biggest reason for this is the schedule. At the start of Week 8, he faced the toughest remaining schedule for a fantasy quarterback. This has resulted in him being No. 17 in fantasy points per game through 16 weeks.
Similar to Brock Purdy, Tagovailoa is a pocket-passing quarterback who has relied on efficiency to stay fantasy relevant. The Dolphins are No. 22 in pass plays per game, and Tagovailoa is averaging 3.5 rushing yards per game. This is another player who adds zero fantasy value with his legs which will make him a much more vulnerable when facing a great defense.
Looking at Tagovailoa’s fantasy performances this season, they are almost entirely dependent on the quality of his opponent. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, Tagovailoa will face off against the Baltimore Ravens, whose defense just shut down the 49ers. Leave him on your benches in your fantasy championships despite the impressive offensive ensemble around him. For dynasty fantasy football managers, Tagovailoa’s outlook is much more difficult.
Mike McDaniel has created a terrific scheme around him, and there is a plethora of offensive talent. However, for pocket passers to be relevant in 1 QB formats, everything has to go right that particular season. Because of this, Tagovailoa will always project as a borderline QB 1 in fantasy leagues. He’s my QB13 in dynasty leagues, just outside of QB1 territory, and one spot behind Purdy.