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Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings: Positional Overview, Guide and Advice

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 17, 2019

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 15:  Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs rolls out against the Denver Broncos during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Cheers to every fantasy football owner who still has a pulse entering Week 16 of the 2019 NFL season.

No matter what happens from here, you've had an excellent season and one worth celebrating.

But let's be honest—the celebration will be a whole lot sweeter if it involves a league title. So, let's do everything we can to get you to that point by laying out our top-10 positional rankings at every spot for Week 16.

               

Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings

Quarterback

1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns

2. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

4. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears

5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

6. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Houston Texans

7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

9. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans vs. New Orleans Saints

10. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers

It really did snow in Kansas City on Sunday, right? The blizzard was right in front of our eyes, but didn't you question its existence after reviewing the box score? Who goes 27-of-34 for 340 yards and two scores in a snowstorm?

Patrick Mahomes, reigning NFL MVP, that's who. He won't match last season's statistical output, but he can work as much magic at the position as anyone. So, while we might point out with other passers that the Bears aren't an especially favorable matchup—sixth-fewest fantasy points allowed to the position, per Yahoo—the 24-year-old is so talented that the matchup doesn't even matter.

It doesn't always look nearly as pretty with Jameis Winston, but fantasy victories aren't decided by style points. Volume remains king, and his is elite.

The 25-year-old has thrown for more than 450 passing yards and four touchdowns each of his last two times out with the Buccaneers. He's had at least 300 passing yards in eight of his last nine games, and he had multiple touchdown strikes in six of them.

Winston could post silly statistics again, as he draws a Texans defense surrendering the sixth-most points to opposing quarterbacks.

                   

Running Back

1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers at Indianapolis Colts

2. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants at Washington Redskins

3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

4. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins

5. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

6. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans vs. New Orleans Saints

7. Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers

8. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens

9. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons

10. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

Remember when Cincinnati's struggles seemed destined to deal Joe Mixon a wasted season? Well, even though the team never did spring to life, the running back found his footing on his own.

He has cleared 100 scrimmage yards in four of his last six games, including Sunday, when he converted 25 rushes and three receptions into 156 total yards. The week before, it was 23 carries and three catches for 186 yards and a score.

None of those matchups look as sweet as a date with a Dolphins defense surrendering the sixth-most points to the position. Mixon now seems determined to close his campaign on a high note.

Chris Carson's fantasy stock was never hurting, but it exploded in value once the Seahawks lost Rashaad Penny to a season-ending ACL injury. In his first game since Penny was shut down, the 25-year-old carried the ball 24 times for 133 yards and two scores.

Granted, the matchup was great, as the Panthers allow the most points to running backs of any defense. But it's not like the Cardinals are that much stingier. They give up the 11th-most production the position, and they just watched Nick Chubb reel off 127 yards and a score on only 17 attempts.

                      

Wide Receiver

1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

4. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

5. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

6. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders

7. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

8. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears

9. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins

10. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Michael Thomas has officially entered taking-no-prisoners mode. He's destroying defenses on an almost weekly basis and separating himself from a position group loaded with playmakers.

The gap between the 26-year-old and everyone else just keeps widening. After Monday night's effort of 12 catches (on 12 targets) for 128 yards and a score, he now has 22 more receptions than anyone and nearly a 100-yard cushion on second place in that category (1,424, next is Chris Godwin's 1,333).

At this point, he makes every defense seem exploitable. A week ago, he put up 11 catches, 134 yards and a touchdown against the stingy San Francisco 49ers. For Week 16, he gets a Titans unit that just watched DeAndre Hopkins pop for six grabs and 118 yards.

If you have the good fortune of owning Thomas, congratulations—the rich (in this case, you) are about to get richer.

Elsewhere, DeVante Parker is doing the unthinkable by playing in a mostly punch-less Dolphins offense and nevertheless cracking the elite ranks.

The 26-year-old just had his second multi-score performance in the last three weeks. His touchdown total is up to eight, which is tied for fourth-most in the NFL. He's also delivering 16.2 yards per catch, which is the seventh-best mark among players with at least 50 receptions.

                 

Tight End

1. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams

2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears

3. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys

4. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

5. Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers

6. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns

7. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders

8. Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

9. Jacob Hollister, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

10. O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Houston Texans

Consistent volume has been tricky to find among this season's tight end crop, but a rash of injuries to the Eagles' receiving core has all but guaranteed that luxury to Zach Ertz.

The 29-year-old was targeted 10 times on Sunday. Believe it or not, that was actually his second-lowest target total in his last six games. During that stretch, he's had four different outings with at least nine receptions for 91-plus yards, and he's found the end zone five times.

If there's a defense capable of slowing his run, Dallas doesn't appear to be it. The Cowboys yield the 11th-most points to the position, and they just allowed Tyler Higbee to snag a season-high 12 receptions for 111 yards.

Also, if you're hoping for a miracle from Jacob Hollister—who hasn't scored since mid-November and only topped 50 receiving yards all season—you just might be in luck.

He gets Arizona this week, which is basically a holiday gift for a tight end. The Cardinals allow an average of 16.6 points per game to the position. The Seahawks are the second-most generous unit at 13.1. Eleven different tight ends have scored against the Cardinals, and two sniffed the end zone twice.

                 

Defense

1. Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns

2. New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills

3. San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams

4. Denver Broncos vs. Detroit Lions

5. Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

6. Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

7. Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets

8. Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears

9. Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

10. Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants

                     

Kicker

1. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns

2. Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

3. Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears

4. Jason Myers, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

5. Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

6. Zane Gonzalez, Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

7. Michael Badgley, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders

8. Younghoe Koo, Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

9. Matt Gay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Houston Texans

10. Jason Sanders, Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals