We made it to fantasy championship weekend. Some fantasy championships were decided on Friday after Alvin Kamara scored six touchdowns, but many more champs were crowned today.
As always, this collection of fantasy reactions will include snap counts for skill players on each team, along with notes on players who saw their fantasy stocks rise or fall during the action — and how we should react to anything new.
Some trends will impact Week 17 and the NFL playoffs for those interested in certain players’ production those weeks. Other usage changes will impact how we view players for 2021.
Mark Ingram II was inactive despite being healthy for a second straight week. Justice Hill is the Ravens third-down back, but the Ravens saw a third down with five or more yards to go for a first down just once.
This led to the ideal situation for Dobbins and Edwards, who each played roughly half the snaps. Dobbins had the best yards per carry and gained the only rushing touchdown. The running back usage today is likely what we’ll see in Baltimore in 2021 — potentially for several years.
Golden Tate landed on the inactive list due to a calf injury that kept him out of practice. Austin Mack took most of the snaps in 11 personnel in the first half but didn’t catch any of the three targets thrown his way.
Pettis started playing more in Mack’s place as the game went on. Pettis was released from the 49ers in November and had spent most of the time in the last two months either on the Covid-19 list or inactive. Tate’s injury allowed Pettis to be active. Pettis caught two of three passes thrown his way for 33 yards, the third-highest yards total for the Giants. Pettis is worth a pickup in deeper dynasty leagues in case he earns a spot in 11 personnel for New York in 2021.
Snead left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury and didn’t return after catching both of his targets for 24 yards. Rookie Devin Duvernay took over Snead’s role in the slot. Duvernay has played sparingly throughout the season and has filled in for Snead in the slot before. Devernay caught his only pass but didn’t gain any yards. He also ran the ball once for seven yards. If Snead misses any more time, expect Duvernay to take all of his snaps.
This game was full of great offensive performances, but Johnson took the cake. Houston’s top two backup running backs were inactive for the second-straight week. This allowed Johnson to stay on the field for all but two offensive snaps.
In that time, Johnson ran for 128 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown. He added three catches for 11 yards and another touchdown. Johnson has made the case in recent weeks to remain the Texans lead back in 2021.
Tyler Boyd hadn’t practiced all week with a concussion. Erickson took over as the slot receiver in Cincinnati’s last game. The longtime Bengal took all of Boyd’s snaps again today and matched Boyd’s typical production. Erickson caught all six passes thrown his way for 88 yards.
He finished second in receiving yards for the Bengals behind Tee Higgins, who caught six passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. Erickson will remain the starter if Boyd misses another game.
Brandin Cooks led the way for the Texans receivers with seven catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. Coutee was the second-most effective receiver for the Texans with five catches for 54 yards. It was his third time in four weeks gaining at least 50 receiving yards.
Randall Cobb only had three 50-yard games for the Texans over his 11 games with the team. Houston is probably stuck with Cobb in 2021 due to his contract, but at this point it wouldn’t be surprising if Coutee is a big part of the Texans offense next year due to his talent and production.
Graham has been the clear backup tight end in Chicago for over a month, but today he was the Bears’ red zone star. He caught four of five passes thrown his way for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
Rookie Cole Kmet took nearly all of the offensive snaps and gained more targets (6) but had fewer catches (2), yards (18) and touchdowns (0). Kmet should be the Bears starting tight end for the foreseeable future, but Chicago could keep Graham as their backup. If that happens, Graham will continue to vulture touchdowns away from Kmet and other Bears starters.
Jaguars star rookie running back James Robinson missed his first game of the season with an ankle injury. It was difficult to predict how Jacksonville would handle the situation because Robinson has taken nearly all of the early-down work the entire season.
Ogunbowale took over as the every-down back, playing 78% of early downs and 58.3% of third downs. He gained 71 yards on 14 carries, while each of the backups to Ogunbowale ran the ball once each. He added three catches in the pass game for seven yards. The Jaguars could very well leave Robinson out of Week 17 with nothing to play for, which would again leave Ogunbowale as the every-down back.
Chark put together his best game in over a month with 62 yards on four catches and a touchdown. He left the game late in the fourth quarter with a lower leg injury. Chris Conley took over in three wide receiver sets late in the game. Conley finished third in receiving yards for Jacksonville with 27 yards. Collin Johnson would ordinarily take over, but he was inactive with a hamstring injury.
Kelce caught seven of 13 passes thrown his way for 98 yards and a touchdown. His receiving total on the season is now 1,416. That’s the most ever for a tight end in a season, and he still has one game to go. Kelce might not play a lot next week with the Chiefs wrapping up the top seed in the AFC.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire missed this game with a high-ankle sprain. Le’Veon Bell was expected to have a larger role, but instead it was Williams who put up the bigger numbers for Kansas City. Bell played in 12 of 13 first-quarter snaps, but Williams played 20 of 28 in the second and third quarters and all 16 fourth-quarter snaps. There were reports of Bell limping on the sideline, so this likely had more to do with Bell’s health.
Williams led the team in rushing yards with 46 on 10 carries. He also caught four passes for 27 yards. Bell gained 30 yards on seven attempts, along with a nine-yard catch. Williams could be the starter next week.
Williams could easily see the majority of snaps next week if Bell isn’t 100% if the team decides to save Bell for the playoff run.
Watkins left the game early in the fourth quarter with a calf injury and didn’t return. He caught two of four passes for 14 yards before his exit. Tyreek Hill was limited in practice all week with a hamstring injury, leading to Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman both playing more than usual. They became every-snap players after Watkins’ exit.
Both players could start next week as the starting receivers recover. They will both see extended roles as long as one of the receivers isn’t 100%.
The Falcons continued to use Smith as the primary back on early downs, as was the case in other recent games. He gained 46 yards on 10 attempts. The Falcons rotated backs in and out even more frequently than usual, with all three backs seeing at least 10 snaps on first downs. Todd Gurley II remained the back on all 13 third downs, which was enough to give Gurley the snap lead. Gurley gained 16 yards on four carries and 34 yards on three catches. This backfield will look very different in 2021 with both Gurley and Brian Hill free agents.
Crowder was the clear winner of the day thanks to his best receiving day since early October. He caught seven of nine passes thrown his way for 92 yards and a touchdown. He had a clear lead in targets, receptions and yards for the Jets receivers.
That alone would have been enough to give him the winning spot. His fantasy value was helped further with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Braxton Berrios. Berrios was the Jets’ second-most effective receiver with three catches for 60 yards despite only playing seven offensive snaps.
The Jets outside wide receiver duo of Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims had a combined zero catches on eight targets. Mims will be back next year, but the rest of the Jets pass offense could look very different in 2021.
The Browns declared their top four wide receivers out for this game because they were all close contacts to someone with Covid-19. This left the Browns with Marvin Hall, whom they picked up off waivers earlier this month, and undrafted rookie Bradley, who was elevated off the practice squad.
The Browns stayed in 12 personnel for 89.9% of their offensive snaps. They were largely ineffective rushing with 39 yards on 15 attempts from their pair of running backs. Bradley was the most effective of the two wide receivers with five catches on 11 targets for 60 yards.
Austin Hooper’s fantasy managers were the biggest beneficiary of the situation. Hooper had seven catches on 15 targets for 71 yards. This was his best reception and yardage total since joining the Browns. Ideally, the close contacts at wide receiver don’t have Covid-19 and will all be able to return next week.
Perine missed the last month with a high-ankle sprain. Perine was the backup to Frank Gore on early downs while Ty Johnson kept his third-down role. Perine wasn’t all that effective with 30 yards on nine carries, but Gore wasn’t any better with 48 yards on 14 carries. We will likely see the same distribution of snaps among the three backs in Week 17. The Jets seem pretty likely to add a running back in either free agency or the draft.
Taylor has been one of the best running backs over the second half of the season, and that continued to be true today. He gained 74 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns on the ground. Backup Nyheim Hines gained 44 yards on eight attempts while also catching five passes for 20 yards. The success of both of these players has led the Colts to stick with a two-back rotation in recent weeks after using a three-back rotation for most of the season. Taylor will likely be a first-round draft pick in fantasy drafts in August.
Conner hadn’t played much in the last month, first due to landing on the Covid-19 list and then a quad injury that kept him out of last week’s game. Conner returned to the lineup but didn’t play in his usual role. Conner typically plays the vast majority of snaps, but Benny Snell Jr. remained a part of the offense this week. Snell ended up with more carries (6) but ended with a total of zero yards. Conner ran the ball five times, gaining 20 yards and a touchdown. Conner put together his best receiving game of the year with five catches for 45 yards. Conner should return to his usual role next week as he gets closer to 100%.
James Washington played more snaps than Claypool in Weeks 13 and 14, leading to some concern about how productive Claypool could be in a backup role. Claypool saw a slight lead over Washington last week but dominated snaps for Pittsburgh today. Claypool was given his most snaps and Washington his fewest since Week 9.
Claypool caught four of six passes thrown his way for 54 yards on the day. Both Dionate Johnson and Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster saw double-digit targets, and both players scored a touchdown. Next season, Claypool should be the one seeing double-digit targets each week.
Ekeler gets the winner spot by default as the only skill player to score a touchdown. No offensive player gained over 80 yards rushing or receiving. Ekeler had an alright game with 45 yards on 10 carries. He added 23 yards on three catches and a touchdown in the pass game. Ekeler has certainly put together better performances for the Chargers, but this was enough to help Los Angeles win today.
Keenan Allen missed this game with the hamstring injury that has been hurting him for awhile. This allowed Johnson to join the starting lineup. The Chargers spread the ball around with seven different players catching between two and four passes. Johnson caught all three passes thrown his way for 26 yards. Johnson remains one of the top five wide receivers in yards per route run on the season — he’s an intriguing dynasty option if he can stay in the starting lineup in 2021.
Hunter Henry landed on the Covid-19 list, leaving the Chargers without each of their top two receiving options. Parham took over as the lead tight end, playing the majority of snaps in single tight end formations regardless of down or situation. He caught two of three passes thrown his way for 47 yards.
His backup, Stephen Anderson, ended up with a bigger receiving day despite fewer routes run. Anderson caught four of six passes thrown his way for 48 yards. If Henry misses Week 17, Parham would likely have a better receiving day next time around.
Hamler left the game in the first quarter with a concussion and didn’t return. He didn’t have a catch in the game. DaeSean Hamilton replaced Hamler in the slot and put up the best numbers among the Broncos receivers. He caught five of nine passes thrown his way for 77 yards. The Broncos wide receiver position will be interesting in 2021 with Courland Sutton coming back. Tim Patrick has been the Broncos’ highest-graded slot receiver on the season even though Patrick primarily lines up outside. Patrick could end up being the man with the job in 2021 with Hamler rotating in.
Samuel pulled off the rare accomplishment of leading his team in both rushing and receiving yards. Samuel gained 52 yards on the ground on seven carries, with 106 receiving yards on five catches. Samuel is an unrestricted free agent after this season ends, and he probably helped increase his salary in the next few seasons.
Gibson returned to Washington’s run game after missing the last two weeks with a toe injury. His role with Washington was reminiscent of early in the season — he was given the majority of carries but still split some early-down work with the other backs. Washington was losing throughout the game, so J.D. McKissic was primarily used in the second half. Even if Gibson was 100%, this was likely how the snaps for Washington would have ended up.
Gibson played well in the run game with 61 yards on 10 catches. He didn’t find as much success as a receiver with eight yards on three catches. McKissic was the best receiver for Washington on the day with 77 yards on eight catches, plus Washington’s only touchdown.
The fourth-round rookie returned to Washington’s lineup after missing the last nine weeks with a hamstring injury. His return coincides with Terry McLaurin missing the game with an ankle injury. Gandy-Golden was a rotational receiver for Washington early in the season but was a clear starter on the outside for Washington today. He didn’t catch any of the three passes thrown his way. Gandy-Golden should see plenty of opportunities next week even if McLaurin is back in the lineup.
Gallup led the Cowboys in a rare game where all three wide receivers for Dallas found success. Gallup caught six of eight passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first 100-yard game in exactly three months and his first multi-touchdown game for Dallas since Week 16 of last season.
Amari Cooper contributed in a major way with 121 yards of his own on four catches. CeeDee Lamb added a touchdown on the ground and another through the air. Dallas needs a few things to go right next week to make the playoffs, but if anything they’ve built some momentum for 2021.
Elliott returned to action after missing last week, and it looked like he was 100%. He ran for 105 yards on 19 carries — his most rushing yards this season. The only problem is that Elliott did not run for a touchdown, and he hasn’t scored since early October.
Tony Pollard put together a career game last week in Elliott’s absence, but Pollard was largely ineffective today. He ran for 12 yards on nine carries and caught one pass for eight yards. Elliott should be safe to trust next week. It might be harder to trust him next year as Pollard fights for a higher percentage of the touches.
Jackson returned to the lineup for Philadelphia after missing every game since Week 7 with a right ankle injury. This was the first game all season where all of the Eagles’ targets were healthy. Jackson led the team in receiving yards thanks to an 81-yard touchdown catch.
That was his only target. Jackson mostly took playing time away from Alshon Jeffery, who caught his only target for 22 yards. Quez Watkins saw the fewest offensive snaps among the six wide receivers but gained the second-most receiving yards with 57 off of two catches. The Eagles’ wide receiver room will continue to evolve both in Week 17 and in 2021.
This game was mostly a defensive battle with only two total touchdowns scored. Wilson was involved with both, giving the Seahawks a lead with a 4-yard touchdown run and clinching the division with a late touchdown pass. Wilson ended the day with 225 passing yards thanks to 20 completions on 32 targets. None of his receivers ended up with more than 60 receiving yards. Wilson was potentially benched in fantasy championships because of the matchup, but he ended up faring just fine.
The Rams running back situation has been a topic of discussion all season, and that remained true for this game. Cam Akers suffered a high-ankle sprain last week, which kept him out of the lineup. The Rams running backs were used in a similar way to early in the season, with Henderson playing the majority of early downs and Malcolm Brown the majority of third downs. Henderson left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury, leaving Brown as the last man standing.
Henderson looked good before the injury with 62 yards on 12 carries. Brown was OK with 27 yards on seven carries. Brown was the only back with a catch, and he gained eight yards on that play. There is a chance Brown could be an every-down back for the Rams next week and potentially in the playoffs.
Olsen missed just over a month of football with a ruptured fascia in his left foot. He returned earlier than expected this week. Seattle eased him into action, using him exclusively in 11 personnel with 11 of his 12 snaps coming on third downs. All three tight ends for Seattle ended up with between 15 and 17 receiving yards, with Jacob Hollister reeling in the Seahawks’ only touchdown catch. Based on how Olsen was used, he is the tight end most likely to put up big numbers in Week 17 and the playoffs.
In a cold, snowy game where three different running backs gained over 80 yards rushing, it might be surprising to see a wide receiver in the winner spot. Adams laid claim to the honor by catching 11-of-12 targets for 142 yards and three touchdowns. Green Bay’s No. 1 receiver finished with more touchdown catches than any other Packer had total receptions. Adams no doubt helped plenty of fantasy managers bring home the championship with tonight’s performance.
Jamaal Williams was held out of the game with a quad injury, which pushed Dillon up the depth chart. Aaron Jones didn’t seem 100% throughout the game, resulting in the rookie leading the team in carries. He gained 124 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Both Jones and Williams are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. The chances are that only one — at most — re-signs, which would result in Dillon playing significant time in 2021, similar to what he saw tonight.
Davis came into the week with the third-highest overall grade among wide receivers, but he was a non-factor in this game. He wasn’t targeted in the first half, and both of his second-half targets fell incomplete.
He wasn’t the only member of the Titans’ offense to have problems, though, as quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed less than half of his passes, and no one in the passing game reached the 50-yard mark.
Derrick Henry’s quest for 2,000 yards took a big hit tonight, as he only gained 98 yards on the ground. The Titans ran 23 times, though his efficiency took a hit with the snow and the Packers’ stout run defense. It was not a good day all-around for the Titans’ offense.