Advice for StatHero NFL Team Survivor Picks in Week 16

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistDecember 24, 2020

Advice for StatHero NFL Team Survivor Picks in Week 16

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    David Montgomery and Mitchell Trubisky have led the Chicago Bears' offense to a late-season turnaround.
    David Montgomery and Mitchell Trubisky have led the Chicago Bears' offense to a late-season turnaround.Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Even when only choosing from one NFL team's roster, crafting the right StatHero lineup is far from a given.

    When entering a StatHero contest, the first step is to choose a team. You'll then roll with that squad's quarterback, three players from any skill position (RB/WR/TE), and an MVP whose point tally doubles. 

    Beat Stathero's lineup, and you advance to the next week while earning a payout. This blend of fantasy football and survivor pools makes for a simple and fun experience. There are still, however, unique layers of strategy involved.

    Picking the right squad is essential, but it won't guarantee victory without pinpointing the precise combination of players. This writer learned that lesson last week. Although the Indianapolis Colts earned a 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans, Zach Pascal was the unexpected star. A Colts lineup without his two touchdowns didn't pass muster.

    Gamers must keep this obstacle in mind when examining every NFL club for the best representative. Would you rather ride a star-driven offense in hopes of those anchors doing all of the work, or are you more comfortable backing a balanced attack? In the latter scenario, you instead might be more likely to pick a suboptimal MVP.

    The following Week 16 lineup takes more of a stars-and-scrubs feel. While the final two flex players could have slow days, they're positioned well to succeed in a favorable matchup. It's also unlikely any of their excluded teammates have a massive day, as most of their offense funnels through their two anchors.

Team: Chicago Bears

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    Chicago's resurgent offense should stay hot against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
    Chicago's resurgent offense should stay hot against the Jacksonville Jaguars.Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    Sunday is one of the biggest games in franchise history for the Jacksonville Jaguars. After receiving an assist from the Los Angeles Rams in Week 15, they're only two losses away from "earning" the right to draft Trevor Lawrence.

    Of course, per ESPN.com's Michael DiRocco, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone has no intentions of tanking to secure the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft.

    "I wouldn't be able to do that," Marrone said. "I couldn't do it. I just wouldn't. I've never done it at anything in my life. I got trouble letting my kids win when they were little."

    Their best effort, however, hasn't proven enough during an ongoing 13-game losing streak. Following last Sunday's 40-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, they're last in total yards allowed per game (418.2).

    The matchup is dreamy enough to place your eggs in the Chicago Bears basket.

    While the NFC North squad ranks 27th in total offense and 23rd in scoring, they've shown a pulse since returning from their Week 11 bye. After handing the reins back to Mitchell Trubisky, they have deposited 124 points over the last four games.

    More recently, they've snapped a six-game losing streak and salvaged their playoff hopes by commandeering their two highest-scoring outputs of 2020 in the last two weeks. At 7-7, Chicago is playing for its season this Sunday at Jacksonville. 

    According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bears are a 7-point favorite with a healthy over-under scoring line of 27.5. As hard as it will be to trust Trubisky and some spotty ancillary options, two studs at running back and wide receiver nevertheless make them an attractive option on StatHero.

    Perhaps their spotty reputation will deter fellow contestants from taking the plunge.

MVP: RB David Montgomery

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    David Montgomery has dominated since returning from a concussion in Week 12.
    David Montgomery has dominated since returning from a concussion in Week 12.Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    David Montgomery underwhelmed the Bears and fantasy players alike for a large chunk of 2020. The second-year running back registered a lethargic 684 total yards and two touchdowns through Week 9.

    After missing Week 10 with a concussion, and receiving an additional bye week to recover, he has returned with a vengeance.

    Over the last four games, Montgomery has tallied 571 yards and six touchdowns in easily the best stretch of his young career. He's crossed the pylon and exceeded 100 total yards in each of those contests, hitting triple digits solely on the ground three times.

    The Bears apparently took notice, as they handed him the keys to their offense in Week 15's pivotal 33-27 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Montgomery not only saw the field for a season-high 88 percent of their offensive snaps, but he also handled a career-high 32 carries. 

    Another substantial workload is likely on the horizon. Only the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans have relinquished more rushing yards per game than the Jaguars, who have also allowed two rushing touchdowns in each of their last two outings.

    Deploying Derrick Henry as the MVP paid off handsomely in Week 14 when he collected 215 rushing yards and two touchdowns at Jacksonville's expense. While Montgomery is not as ferocious a runner, he also chips in 3.3 catches per contest. That's a nice boost in StatHero's point-per-reception (PPR) format, especially if doubling his points from this premium spot.

QB: Mitchell Trubisky

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    Mitchell Trubisky has flourished against mediocre opposition this month.
    Mitchell Trubisky has flourished against mediocre opposition this month.Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    You may feel queasy hinging your hopes on Trubisky. Given a great matchup and his stellar play in December, it's nevertheless a chance worth taking.

    Since reclaiming his job, the No. 2 pick in 2017—has anyone ever mentioned that Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson were both still available?—has accrued 978 passing yards and eight touchdowns in four games.

    He's also surrendered five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles) in that same sample size. However, three of those came in an ugly Week 12 loss to the Green Bay Packers, where most of his production occurred in garbage time. After that, he's played much better against a trio of bottom-10 passing defenses.

    Given the benefit of a favorable slate, Trubisky has completed over 70 percent of his passes in each of his last three games against the Detroit Lions, Texans and Vikings. The last time he accomplished that feat was ... never.

    The Jaguars rank below them all at 28th against the pass. Furthermore, they have also yielded the NFL's second-highest completion rate (70.0 percent) and a league-high 8.3 yards per attempt.

    Montgomery's busy Week 15 took the ball out of Trubisky's hands, leading to just 21 pass attempts. It's possible he again doesn't do much simply because he doesn't have to, but he previously went 24-of-33 for 267 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-7 rout over Houston.

    Trubisky should have another efficient day by carving up a mushy secondary on play-action passes.

Flex: WR Allen Robinson II

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    Allen Robinson II has 90 receptions in 14 games this season.
    Allen Robinson II has 90 receptions in 14 games this season.Associated Press

    Rather than dreaming of what Allen Robinson II could accomplish with a proficient quarterback, let's appreciate how much he's achieved anyway.

    With two games remaining, the star wide receiver has already secured his second straight 1,100-yard campaign for Chicago. He's also 10 receptions from notching his first career 100-catch season.

    Robinson has offered double-digit PPR points in every game since settling for 33 yards on three catches in Week 2. Although that dud came with Trubisky under center, Robinson has averaged more receiving yards in seven Trubisky starts (83.6) than in Nick Foles' seven starts (75.0).

    Meanwhile, last Sunday marked the first time since Week 4 that Jacksonville was not responsible for a 100-yard receiver. Marquise Brown had 98. 

    Per NFL.com, wide receivers have accounted for 18 total touchdowns (one rushing, 17 receiving) and 13.4 yards per catch against Jacksonville. This tremendous opportunity fortifies Robinson as a high-floor, high-ceiling option.

Flex: WR Darnell Mooney

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    Darnell Mooney has scored a touchdown in each of the last two games.
    Darnell Mooney has scored a touchdown in each of the last two games.Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    There's no clear-cut reliable wide receiver to select after Robinson. Currently separated by just one catch this season, Darnell Mooney and Anthony Miller are liable to trade off production every week.

    Miller, however, has only three targets in the last two games. On the other hand, Mooney has found pay dirt in back-to-back bouts.

    Since the Bears benched Foles for Trubisky, Mooney has 22 targets (and two rushes) to Miller's 14. The former has accrued 169 yards in those four games to the latter's 116.

    Mooney has also played more snaps than Miller in every game since the duo each logged 44 plays in Week 6. The gap was never as wide as last weekend; Mooney lined up for 53 plays while Miller saw a season-low 16 snaps.

    That doesn't guarantee a big day from Mooney, who has reeled in just 59 percent of his targets (46-of-78) this season. Yet a more accurate Trubisky could work wonders for the speedy rookie lining up all across the field.

Flex: TE Cole Kmet

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    Cole Kmet has seen a much larger role in the past few weeks.
    Cole Kmet has seen a much larger role in the past few weeks.David Berding/Associated Press

    According to The Athletic's Adam Jahns, Trubisky said the Bears have accommodated some of his requests since re-assuming the starting role. This includes moving beyond the pocket, operating out of play-action and getting Cole Kmet involved.

    In Trubisky's first three starts of the season, he found his rookie tight end once on only two targets. Kmet hadn't played more than half of Chicago's snaps until Week 10, when he hauled in a lone seven-yard grab from Foles.

    Over the last three games, Trubisky and Kmet have connected on 11 of 16 targets for 90 yards and a touchdown. The second-round pick recorded just 12 yards last Sunday, but he was on the field for every one of the offense's plays. 

    Jimmy Graham remains a touchdown threat; both he and Kmet have received three red-zone targets in the last four games. Kmet, however, is getting far more reps alongside a quarterback who wants to get him the ball. 

    That could lead to a breakout performance against a Jaguars defense that has permitted 11 touchdowns to tight ends, per NFL.com.

    StatHero awards 1.5 points for every reception from a tight end, so Kmet is a better final selection than Miller or Cordarrelle Patterson.

           

    Note: Advanced stats are courtesy of Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.


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