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Power Rankings

Week 16 Power Rankings

by Jesse Pantuosco
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Oh, ye of little faith. Let’s hear it from Bodio Kozak in Chicago: Yeah, that fantasy team is absolutely awful. Might be the worst I've ever seen.”

 

Tom Kelleher from ... well I don’t know where he’s from: “That team is pretty bad. Well below average QB and absolutely brutal RBs. It does offer the ‘if’ dream. If Rawls plays like 2015, if Martin comes back and plays well, if Reed stays healthy. If Palmer stays healthy and performs well, this could be a good team. That's a lot of ifs.”

 

What about you, Jonathan Mata? Any thoughts? “Crash and burn with that team .... You’re looking at a long season ahead .... Won't see you in the postseason.”

 

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, let me fill you in. If you recall, when I wrote my first Power Rankings back in Week 1, I spent a good chunk of the article describing what may have been the worst draft experience of my life. A massive thunderstorm hit my area (power outages, trees and telephone poles down, you name it), forcing me to miss the first half of my draft before desperately trying to salvage my team at a near-empty Panera Bread. The result was this auto-drafted monstrosity:

 

QB: Carson Palmer

RB1: Danny Woodhead

RB2: Jacquizz Rodgers

WR1: Antonio Brown

WR2: Michael Thomas

TE: Jordan Reed

FLEX: Doug Baldwin

OP: Sam Bradford

D/ST: Cardinals

K: Mason Crosby

BENCH: Michael Crabtree

BENCH: Doug Martin

BENCH: Theo Riddick

BENCH: Thomas Rawls

BENCH: Eric Ebron

 

Even in a 12-team, two-quarterback setup (the second QB spot is technically a super-flex, but that’s splitting hairs), that’s not exactly a top-shelf fantasy lineup. And predictably, readers gave me crap for it.

 

Three months later, I’m here to say that team will be competing for a championship this week. I realize fully that A) bragging about my fantasy accomplishments is loathsome, borderline sociopathic behavior, B) bragging about said accomplishments is even less acceptable when knowing and writing about fantasy football is literally my entire job and C) on top of all that, I’m probably going to lose this week! My best player, Antonio Brown, is hurt, while my opponent is coming off a 170-point week in the semifinals (yes, he has Todd Gurley). But hey, I’m here and I’m going to enjoy the view a little.

 

As you’d expect, the current incarnation of my team looks much different than the one I (aka the computer) drafted for me in early September. Thirty acquisitions later, this is what I’m working with:

 

QB: Tyrod Taylor

RB1: Marshawn Lynch

RB2: Alex Collins

WR1: Michael Thomas

WR2: Michael Crabtree

TE: Vernon Davis

FLEX: Latavius Murray

OP: Case Keenum

D/ST: Cardinals

K: Chris Boswell

BENCH: Antonio Brown

BENCH: Martavis Bryant

BENCH: Jamison Crowder

BENCH: Doug Martin

BENCH: Kerwynn Williams

 

You’ll notice only four players (five if you include the Cardinals, who I’ve added and dropped a number of times) remain from my original lineup. Needless to say, I’ve hit the waiver wire hard this year. They weren’t all winners—Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Mike Glennon and Jay Cutler all enjoyed forgettable tenures with my team—but at least a few of my waiver experiments (see Alex Collins and Case Keenum) worked. It’s not a masterpiece by any stretch, but after a long period of trial and error, I think my team is at least competitive, which is more than I could say three months ago at Panera Bread.

 

Maybe it’s destiny for Case Keenum to lead my team to the Promised Land. Or maybe the clock will finally strike midnight for my scrappy band of overachievers. Either way, it’s been a fun ride. Thanks for doubting me, Bodio. Now for the Power Rankings, where the Patriots are No. 1 for the second time in three weeks.

 

1. New England Patriots

 

Record: 11-3

 

Last Week: 2

 

Duron Harmon pulled a Malcolm Butler with his game-ending interception in Sunday’s win over Pittsburgh. Harmon sealed the deal but it was Rob Gronkowski’s outrageous second half that really buried the Steelers. Gronkowski has gone for an insane 315 receiving yards over his last two games. Rex Burkhead (six touchdowns over his last four games) sprained his knee against Pittsburgh but should be ready come playoff time.

 

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2. Philadelphia Eagles

 

Record: 12-2

 

Last Week: 3

 

What rust? Making his first start for the Eagles since 2014 and his first start anywhere in over a year, Nick Foles was unstoppable in Week 15, torching the Giants for 237 yards and four touchdowns. Alshon Jeffery couldn’t buy a touchdown last year. This year he has nine including seven in his last seven games. The Eagles have kept Nelson Agholor busy. He’s drawn 32 targets over his last three games including nine Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

 

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Record: 11-3

 

Last Week: 1

 

It wasn’t the Jesse James non-touchdown or even Ben Roethlisberger’s ill-advised pass to Eli Rogers that did the Steelers in against New England. It was Sean Davis, who struggled mightily against Rob Gronkowski (check out his PFF grade) and dropped what should have been a sure interception on the Patriots’ final drive. Last year it was Le’Veon Bell’s groin, this year it was Antonio Brown’s calf—the Steelers just can’t catch a break against New England.

 

4. Minnesota Vikings

 

Record: 11-3

 

Last Week: 4

 

Here’s the saga of Kyle Rudolph’s Week 15: first he was ruled out with an ankle injury, next he was upgraded to doubtful, then questionable, then somehow was able to play against the Bengals. Later he aggravated his injury, only to score a touchdown upon his return. Teddy Bridgewater received a thunderous ovation in his first game in almost two years, then proceeded to immediately throw the ball to the other team. Either way, it’s good to have Teddy back.

 

5. Los Angeles Rams

 

Record: 10-4

 

Last Week: 5

 

Todd Gurley hit the jackpot in Week 15, lighting up the Seahawks for a career-high four touchdowns in the Rams’ blowout victory. Gurley has scored as many touchdowns the last two weeks (six) as he did all of last season. Robert Woods didn’t miss a beat in his return from a three-week shoulder injury, capturing six-of-seven targets for 45 yards and a touchdown. The Rams can clinch their first division title in 14 years with a win Sunday at Tennessee. 

 

6. New Orleans Saints

 

Record: 10-4

 

Last Week: 6

 

What a week for Mark Ingram. The former Heisman Trophy winner hammered the Jets for 151 yards (74 rushing, 77 receiving) and two touchdowns while going over 1,000 yards rushing for the second straight year. His 11 touchdowns are a career-high. Michael Thomas recently joined Odell Beckham as the second player to begin his career with two straight 90-catch seasons. He’s averaged 93.3 yards over his three-game touchdown streak.

 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

 

Record: 10-4

 

Last Week: 8

 

Chris Ivory and Dede Westbrook were the chalk in DFS last week. But because fantasy football is a bleak hell-scape of endless disappointment, both of them did squat while the unlikely trio of Tommy Bohanon (two touchdowns on two carries), Keelan Cole (career-high 186 yards) and Jaydon Mickens (two touchdowns) were busy ripping the Texans to shreds. Blake Bortles this month: 65-for-91 (71.4 completion percentage), seven touchdowns, no interceptions with a 128.6 QB rating. Not bad for a guy who barely beat out Chad Henne in training camp.

 

8. Carolina Panthers

 

Record: 10-4

 

Last Week: 7

 

First there was the Butt Fumble. Now we have the Butt Touchdown thanks to Damiere Byrd. Greg Olsen broke out in a big way in Week 15, destroying the Packers for 116 yards on nine catches. Both were season-highs. I’d love to see Diddy buy the Panthers from Jerry Richardson, but is someone going to tell him they’re not actually called the “North Carolina” Panthers?

 

9. Atlanta Falcons

 

Record: 9-5

 

Last Week: 9

 

Devonta Freeman stayed hot in Week 15, demolishing the Bucs for 204 yards from scrimmage, his most since Week 3 of 2016. He’s followed up a six-game touchdown drought by scoring in back-to-back weeks. Julio Jones blew the roof off when he faced Tampa Bay in Week 12 (12-253-2) but struggled in the rematch, producing just three catches for 54 yards on eight targets. Julio ranks third in the league in receiving yards (1,215) but is tied for 63rd in touchdowns with just three.

 

10. Kansas City Chiefs

 

Record: 8-6

 

Last Week: 14

 

Kareem Hunt chewed the Chargers up and spit them out in Week 15, delivering 206 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns on 31 touches. The rookie trails only Le’Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott in rushing yards per game. Marcus Peters looked motivated in his return from a one-game suspension, intercepting Philip Rivers twice while holding Keenan Allen to his fewest yards since Week 10. 

 

11. Dallas Cowboys

 

Record: 8-6

 

Last Week: 13

 

The Cowboys were saved by the grace of an index card in Sunday’s win over Oakland. Gene Steratore owed the Cowboys one after what happened the last time he officiated one of their games. Sunday marked Dak Prescott’s fourth multi-interception game of the season. He only had one such game in 2016. Ezekiel Elliott will be ready to rock Sunday against Seattle. The Cowboys went 3-3 during his six-game suspension.

 

12. Baltimore Ravens

 

Record: 8-6

 

Last Week: 12

 

After snoozing through the first three months of the year, Mike Wallace has come to life with 92.3 yards per game over his last three contests. With Jeremy Maclin (knee) a long shot to play Saturday against the Colts, Wallace should be in for another big week. Ben Watson has averaged 82.5 yards in two games against the Browns this year. Against the rest of the league, he’s averaged just 21.3.

 

13. Los Angeles Chargers

 

Record: 7-7

 

Last Week: 10

 

Philip Rivers finally cooled off, tossing three picks as the Chargers watched their four-game winning streak come to an end Saturday at Kansas City. That loss put a major dent in L.A.'s playoff hopes. The Chargers finish the regular season with winnable games versus the Jets and Raiders but will have to do it without Hunter Henry, who is done for the year with a lacerated kidney. If Joey Bosa practicing technique with Tamba Hali doesn’t restore your faith in humanity, I don’t know what will.

 

14. Detroit Lions

 

Record: 8-6

 

Last Week: 16

 

Even with Theo Riddick battling a wrist injury, Ameer Abdullah only logged eight snaps in Week 15. That makes him droppable in redraft leagues. Darius Slay starred with two interceptions in Saturday’s win, giving him a league-high seven for the year. That’s more picks than he had in his previous four years combined. Marvin Jones is closing in on his first 1,000-yard season and now ranks second in the league in yards per catch behind only Jacksonville’s Keelan Cole.

 

15. Seattle Seahawks

 

Record: 8-6

 

Last Week: 11

 

Russell Wilson didn’t have it on Sunday, completing just 14-of-30 passes for 142 yards with two fumbles (he lost one) in a loss to the Rams. Plagued by injuries and in-fighting, the Seahawks are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Jimmy Graham’s recent disappearance hasn’t helped. The veteran has caught just one-of-three targets for -1 yards over his last two games.

 

16. Buffalo Bills

 

Record: 8-6

 

Last Week: 18

 

Tyrod Taylor kept the Bills’ playoff hopes alive with a pair of touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) Sunday against Miami. LeSean McCoy did his part with two touchdowns of his own (one rushing, one receiving), giving him five in his last five games. Sunday all eyes will be on Tre’Davious White, who is facing New England for the first time since Rob Gronkowski laid this brutal hit on him in Week 13.

 

17. Green Bay Packers

 

Record: 7-7

 

Last Week: 15

 

Aaron Rodgers’ return was short-lived as the veteran signal-caller lasted just one game before landing back on I.R. Rodgers didn’t look fully healthy in Sunday’s loss to Carolina, but in a must-win game, you can’t blame the Packers for rolling the dice. With two games remaining, Green Bay may be tempted to shut down Davante Adams, who suffered his second concussion of the year on this hit from Thomas Davis. For the first time since 2008, the Packers won’t be playing postseason football this year.

 

18. Tennessee Titans

 

Record: 8-6

 

Last Week: 17

 

Rishard Matthews was a no-show in Week 14 (three catches for 19 yards) but bounced back Sunday with 95 yards and a touchdown in a loss to San Francisco. Delanie Walker scored Tennessee’s other touchdown in Week 15, giving him three in his last four games. After dropping two straight to the Cardinals and Niners, the Titans wrap up the regular season with tough home games against the Rams and Jaguars.

 

19. Oakland Raiders

 

Record: 6-8

 

Last Week: 20

 

Of all the heartbreaking ways to lose, fumbling in the end zone for a touchback has to be near the top of the list. At least Michael Crabtree got back on track in the loss to Dallas, scoring for the first time since Week 7. Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn is headed for season-ending surgery on his injured foot. Christmas night against the Eagles will be the first game he’s missed since 2006.

 

20. Washington Redskins

 

Record: 6-8

 

Last Week: 22

 

Kapri Bibbs impressed in his Redskins debut, contributing 53 yards and a touchdown on six touches as Washington knocked off the Cardinals in a close game at FedEx Field. While Josh Doctson did battle with Patrick Peterson, Jamison Crowder broke loose for 55 yards on five catches including a five-yard touchdown on the Redskins’ opening drive. Vernon Davis has hit a wall, averaging 14.8 yards with only one touchdown over his last four games.

 

21. Miami Dolphins

 

Record: 6-8

 

Last Week: 21

 

Fantasy owners love the Drake. Kenyan Drake, that is. He’s averaged 149 yards from scrimmage with two touchdowns throughout Damien Williams’ three-game absence. One week after throttling New England in the upset of the year, Jay Cutler reverted to train-wreck status with a nightmare game against the Bills in Week 15 (28-for-49, 274 yards, three interceptions). The frigid temperatures in Western New York must have woken up DeVante Parker, who corralled six catches for a season-high 89 yards in Sunday’s defeat.

 

22. Arizona Cardinals

 

Record: 6-8

 

Last Week: 19

 

Life comes at you fast. Last week a report surfaced that the Cardinals were considering a contract extension for Blaine Gabbert. This week he’ll be holding the clipboard for Drew Stanton. The tipping point was Sunday’s game in Washington when Gabbert completed just 16-of-41 passes (39 percent) for 189 yards and an interception. If you’re desperate for a flex this week, Elijhaa Penny might be a name to consider. He logged a career-high 10 carries against the Redskins and would lead the backfield if Kerwynn Williams (quad) is absent for Week 16.

 

23. San Francisco 49ers

 

Record: 4-10

 

Last Week: 27

 

The verdict is in: Jimmy Garoppolo is indeed good. Like “name your price” good. Jimmy G continued his dominance in Sunday’s win over Tennessee, throwing for a career-high 381 yards while improving to 5-0 as an NFL starter. He’s the first Niner to top 300 yards passing in consecutive games since Jeff Garcia in 2000. Marquise Goodwin has averaged 106.3 yards per game while Robbie Gould has converted all 15 field goals since Garoppolo took the reins in Week 13.

 

24. Denver Broncos

 

Record: 5-9

 

Last Week: 25

 

Brock Osweiler was near perfect in relief of Trevor Siemian in Week 15, gashing the Colts for 194 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. As good as Osweiler looked, the Broncos may prefer to have former first-round pick Paxton Lynch play out the stretch. C.J. Anderson’s 158 rushing yards on Thursday were his most since Week 13 of 2014. Emmanuel Sanders also brought out the big guns for Week 15, coming down with seven catches for 68 yards. That’s more yards than he had in his previous four games combined.

 

25. New York Jets

 

Record: 5-9

 

Last Week: 26

 

Bryce Petty did nothing to stop the bleeding in Week 15, struggling to a miserable 49.0 quarterback rating as the Jets fell for the fourth time in five games. Despite Petty face-planting against the Saints, coach Todd Bowles still has no plans for Christian Hackenberg to see the field this year. Elijah McGuire’s touchdown Sunday was his first since Week 4.

 

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Record: 4-10

 

Last Week: 28

 

It’s not looking good for Doug Martin in Tampa Bay. One week after being benched against the Lions, Martin sat out Week 15 for violating a team rule. He ranks last among qualified rushers in yards per carry (3.1) this year. With DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard hobbled, Mike Evans led the Bucs with 79 yards and a touchdown in Monday night’s loss to Atlanta. The touchdown was his first since Week 7.

 

27. Cincinnati Bengals

 

Record: 5-9

 

Last Week: 23

 

The Bengals showed some fight early in the year, but now they’re limping to the finish line. They’ve lost their last two games by a combined score of 67-14 including a 34-7 beat-down Sunday at Minnesota. A.J. Green was a ghost in that game, catching just two-of-four targets for 30 yards against Xavier Rhodes. It looks like this is it for Marvin Lewis, who didn’t win a single playoff game during his 15-year tenure in Cincinnati.  

 

28. Chicago Bears

 

Record: 4-10

 

Last Week: 24

 

Mitchell Trubisky threw for a career-high 314 yards in Week 15 but was intercepted three times in a loss to Detroit. He’s now 3-7 as the Bears’ starter. Kendall Wright hasn’t been a huge help to fantasy owners this year but he’s been in the giving mood with 17 catches for 188 yards over the last two weeks. Tarik Cohen ranks sixth among rookies and fourth among rookie running backs with 45 catches this year.

 

29. Houston Texans

 

Record: 4-10

 

Last Week: 29

 

The Texans were waxed again Sunday, falling to the suddenly-good Jaguars in blowout fashion. That was their seventh loss in the last eight games. A concussion sent Tom Savage to I.R. on Tuesday. Headed for free agency, it’s likely Savage has played his final game with Houston. Injuries to J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus haven’t helped but the bigger issue has been Houston’s secondary led by Kevin Johnson, who holds PFF’s second-worst grade among qualified cornerbacks.

 

30. Indianapolis Colts

 

Record: 3-11

 

Last Week: 30

 

Coming off a career-high 36 carries in Week 14, Frank Gore looked gassed on a short week, struggling to just 31 yards on 10 carries against the Broncos. He’s on pace for 906 rushing yards, which would be his fewest in a season since 2010. Jacoby Brissett has limped to a 74.2 quarterback rating during the Colts’ five-game losing streak. For the first time in 20 years, the Colts won’t have a representative in the Pro Bowl.

 

31. New York Giants

 

Record: 2-12

 

Last Week: 31

 

Finally healthy after various bouts with migraines, ankle and hamstring injuries, Sterling Shepard eviscerated the Eagles in Week 15, leading the G-Men with 11 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown. Sunday was Shepard’s third 100-yard game of the year and the fourth of his career. Eli Manning showed he still has something left by slinging 434 yards in Sunday’s loss, his most in a game since Week 5 of 2015.

 

32. Cleveland Browns

 

Record: 0-14

 

Last Week: 32

 

The Browns have only two chances left to win a football game this season. If it doesn’t happen, they’ll become the second team to go 0-16, following in the footsteps of the 2008 Detroit Lions. It’s been an ugly year for DeShone Kizer but at least he’s making plays with his feet. He’s tied for second in the league among quarterbacks with five rushing touchdowns. Duke Johnson has found the end zone three times in his last five games. That’s the same number of touchdowns he had in his previous two years combined.

 

Biggest Jump: Chiefs, 49ers

4

 

Biggest Drop: Bengals, Bears, Seahawks

4

Jesse Pantuosco
Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.