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Week 16 Sleepers

A look at the best under the radar plays for Week 16

Quarterback

Nick Foles, PHI (vs OAK) - This one is easy. Foles was very effective last week, bringing the Eagles back from a deficit with four touchdown passes. He is riffing well with his receivers behind a good offensive line in a scheme he knows well. The matchup against the Raiders is a positive one despite their recent two-game resurgence against the passing game. Previously, they had allowed three touchdown passes to four different quarterbacks this year, including Jay Cutler, Alex Smith, and Kirk Cousins.

Tyrod Taylor, BUF (at NE) - Taylor had one of his best games of the year last week and he’s facing a Patriots defense that is reverting back to their poor early season form against the pass. Jay Cutler just threw for three scores against them two weeks ago, and Ben Roethlisberger should have had three in a game that he lost Antonio Brown. Taylor is threat to run too, and if the Bills predictably fall behind the Patriots, he’ll have to take more chances to bring them back, which should mean a high ceiling.

Joe Flacco, BAL (vs IND) - Flacco might not win your title for you this week, but he’s unlikely to be the reason you lose. He has accounted for two scores in three straight games, and he’s facing a Colts pass defense that just made Brock Osweiler look like Norm Van Brocklin. Only Nathan Peterman, Tom Savage, and Marcus Mariota have failed to put up 18 standard scoring points among quarterbacks that have faced the Colts this season.

Running Back

Theo Riddick, DET (at CIN) - Riddick is practicing in full and the wrist injury that popped up in Week 15 is not a worry for his Week 16 status. He appears to be the lead back for the Lions now, with 11 touches last week in the first half before leaving the game, and at least 14 in the previous two weeks. Riddick also scored twice on goal to go carries in Week 14, and he also had at least five catches in each of Week 13 and 14 to give a high floor in PPR leagues.

James White, Mike Gillislee, NE (vs BUF) - No one wants to predict the split of the Patriots backfield, but we know that this week should be a big one for the group if it goes anything like the first matchup with the Bills in Week 13, when Patriots backs combined for 39 touches, 255 yards, and two scores. Even if you just divide that three ways between Dion Lewis, White, and Gillislee, that’s over 80 yards and a better than 50-50 shot at a score.

Javorius Allen, BAL (vs IND) - Allen had two scores just two weeks in the shootout against the Steelers, and he outplayed Alex Collins last week, with 51 more rushing yards on just one more carry. The Colts just gave up 196 rushing yards to Broncos backs last week, and 190 to Bills backs the week before. Alex Collins could get 100 yards, and Allen could still work out as a strong play in what should be a romp for the Ravens Saturday night.

Wayne Gallman, NYG (at ARI) - Gallman has come alive in PPR leagues with 13 catches in the last two games, for 40 yards in each game, and no fewer than six catches in either game. Last week, Washington backs combined for six catches, 76 yards, and a score as receivers, and opposing backfields have at least six receptions in five of the previous six games against the Cardinals before that. Gallman doesn’t have a high ceiling, but if Eli Manning continues to lean on him as a receiver, he’ll have a high floor.

Elijhaa Penny, ARI (vs NYG) - Kerwynn Williams hasn’t practiced yet as of Thursday, which is a strong sign that he won’t be available for Week 16. DJ Foster will handle passing down work, but Penny will likely get the start at home, where the Cardinals should be able to establish the run against a Giants defense that has allowed over 100 rushing yards for four straight games, with running backs accounting for four scores during that span. Penny looked at least adequate posting 45 yards on 10 carries in relief of Williams last week.

Wide Receiver

Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, JAX (at SF) - Allen Hurns is practicing and on track to play against San Francisco, but he has said that he’s not 100 percent, and he won’t be weeks from now. Westbrook will likely start whether or not Hurns is active, but Hurns could relegate to Cole to #3 duties. It will still be difficult to bench Cole in deep leagues, as he has scored in three straight weeks, and the 49ers have allowed three wide receiver scores in the last two weeks. Westbrook drew two pass interference penalties in the end zone last week, so he wasn’t as disappointing as his box score indicated.

Martavis Bryant, Juju Smith-Schuster, PIT (at HOU) - Ben Roethlisberger has had his struggles on the road, but the Steelers passing game has been excellent in the second half of the season, and it’s hard to see them slowing down against a Texans that just gave up 268 receiving yards and three scores to the Jags #4, #5, and #6 receivers last week. The Steelers #2 and #3 will start this week with Antonio Brown out, and both should be top 20-25 plays, with the upside to be top 5-10 plays this week.

Mike Wallace, BAL (vs IND) - Wallace should get most of the Ravens wide receiver targets with Jeremy Maclin likely out this week, and he has actually been a consistent fantasy presence for over a month now. He hasn’t been below 9.8 PPR points in the last six weeks, with a score or at least 72 receiving yards in five of the six games. The Colts are down their top four corners, and just gave up 197 yards and a score to Broncos wide receivers last week even though Brock Osweiler was the quarterback for most of the game.

Cody Latimer, DEN (at WAS) - Emmanuel Sanders is looking unlikely for Sunday’s game against Washington, which should thrust Latimer into a key role. If Paxton Lynch starts, Latimer should probably be out of lineups in even the deepest leagues, but he and Brock Osweiler looked to be simpatico in the passing game last week, and Osweiler is coming off of the best game of his career. Demaryius Thomas is likely to draw Josh Norman, which would give Latimer the better matchup of the Broncos wideouts. Monitor Latimer's status as he is listed as questionable after missing practice on Friday.

Adam Humphries, TB (at CAR) - Desean Jackson is probably going to be out this week, which would put Humphries in a prime matchup against the Panthers, who just gave up a big game to Packers slot receiver Randall Cobb. Humphries had five catches and a score once Jackson left the game last week, and should be a core part of the game plan with OJ Howard also out, and Cameron Brate limited in practice this week with a knee injury.

Tight End

Cameron Brate, TB (at CAR) - Brate is a risky play, but he had all four of his catches in the fourth quarter last week, after he left briefly with a knee injury, and he has at least been able to practice this week. Jameis Winston always looks to Brate in the red zone, and the Panthers have given up seven tight end touchdowns since Week 5, including two in the last two weeks. Brate had 4-64 in the first matchup, so there’s definitely something there for Winston and Brate to find again this week.

Charles Clay, BUF (at NE) - Clay is basically Tyrod Taylor’s #1 receiver in a must-win game at New England. Clay only had 3-20 in the first matchup with New England, but all three of those receptions came from Taylor, one of three quarterbacks the Bills used in the loss. Clay has 5-68 and 4-60 in the last two games that Taylor started and finished.

Jermaine Gresham, ARI (vs NYG) - As long as Gresham is over the illness that sidelined him in Week 15, he’s a good waiver wire play at tight end this week. The Giants have allowed 13 tight end scores this year, and tight ends have scored against them in 11 of 14 games. In Drew Stanton’s two games that he started and finished this year, Gresham caught two of his three touchdown passes, and also added five catches for 64 yards in one of the games. He should be a favored target for Stanton again this week.

Antonio Gates, LAC (at NYJ) - One more ride with Gates for the title? It’s risky, but he did score last week against Kansas City, and the Jets have given up eight touchdowns to tight ends this year, including scores to players like Anthony Fasano and Austin Hooper. Philip Rivers has completed at least four passes to a tight end in each of the last four weeks, with a touchdown pass to a tight end in three of them.