The NFL’s suspension of New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will have far reaching effects not only on the NFC East squad’s hopes of making the postseason, but will also impact FanDuel and DraftKings weekly fantasy football leagues throughout Week 16.
First of all, Giants quarterback Eli Manning and his fantasy value plummets almost completely out of Week 16’s purview. Manning is the seventh-highest scoring player in all of fantasy this season, according to FantasyData.com, and now without his top target Beckham he’s left with Rueben Randle, Dwayne Harris, Hakeem Nicks, and rookie tight end Will Tye. Not to mention how it might affect week-to-week fantasy sub running back Rashad Jennings, who’s gained 188 of his 619 yards on the season in New York’s last two games.
Secondly, despite ranking last in the NFL in total defense and against the pass, the Giants D/ST is the 11th highest-scoring defensive unit in fantasy this season and now it might face a ton more pressure with the offense essentially neutered against the Minnesota Vikings.
And speaking of the Vikings, their fantasy studs could soar sky-high in Week 16 due to Beckham’s absence. Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson can pound New York’s defensive frontline for huge chunks of yardage, and open things up for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and breakout receiver Stefon Diggs, as well as tight end Kyle Rudolph.
The Vikings passing game and Bridgewater looked especially sharp against Chicago’s No. 4 pass defense, racking up 231 yards and four touchdowns, two of which went to Diggs in Week 15.
Minnesota’s D/ST, just three spots back of the Giants in fantasy point totals, also becomes a major threat against a very limited New York offense on the road.
It figures to be a long Week 16 for the Giants and Beckham owners, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s our full Week 16 breakdown, complete with rankings at each position to maximize your roster and forget all about Beckham and the Giants for at least a little while.
1.Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
2.Cam Newton, Panthers
3.Drew Brees, Saints
4.Blake Bortles, Jaguars
5.Russell Wilson, Seahawks
There is just no stopping Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense, even if it’s the NFL’s best defense in Denver in Week 15. Now he gets to pluck the Ravens' feathers off one by one in Week 16. Baltimore’s the second-worst fantasy defense against QBs this season, allowing 19.3 points, a figure Roethlisberger will surely exceed. Newton’s equally unstoppable but an expensive hit to weekly salary caps, so Brees is a slightly cheaper option against Jacksonville’s third-worst D versus opposing quarterbacks. But Brees and Bortles could each light up fantasy scoreboards as New Orleans’ defensive woes have been well documented all season.
1.Adrian Peterson, Vikings
2.Latavius Murray, Raiders
3.Lamar Miller, Dolphins
4.Jeremy Hill, Bengals
5.Christine Michael, Seahawks
The Giants figure to drop from No. 21 in the NFL against the run with Peterson sure to receive 20 or more handoffs in Week 16, while Murray gets to chew up San Diego’s No. 24 ranked unit. Miller griped about touches in the second half in Week 15, but he won’t complain as Miami feeds him non-stop against Indianapolis' fourth-worst fantasy D versus opposing running backs. Hill reached the end zone twice in Andy Dalton’s absence, and will get lots more touches against the Broncos. And Michael has proved almost any back can excel in Seattle.
1.Antonio Brown, Steelers
2.Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs
3.Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
4.DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
5.Julio Jones, Falcons
As big a game as Roethlisberger will have against Baltimore, Brown will be a must own in both standard and full-point PPR leagues this week. Maclin already tore up Baltimore, and should have a big week against a Cleveland pass defense allowing 25.5 points per game to opposing receivers. Hopkins has already showed it doesn’t matter who’s under center for him to fly, but he slips to fourth in our rankings because of Brandon Weeden. Jones is only this low because of Matt Ryan’s turnover issues, but he could very well overcome those.
1.Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2.Julius Thomas, Jaguars
3.Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
4.Antonio Gates, Chargers
5.Delanie Walker, Titans
Gronk will of course be the focus of the Jets D and its No. 5 fantasy work against tight ends, but you can never doubt him or Tom Brady. Thomas does, however, have a much stronger matchup against New Orleans, and he’ll be a lot cheaper than Gates, Walker, or Gronk. Rudolph will present a huge matchup problem for New York’s third-worst D against TEs.
1.Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos
2.DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins
3.Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks
4.Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins
5.Ameer Abdullah, Lions
Sanders exploded for his fourth 100-yard game and second with Brock Osweiler under center, and next faces a Bengals D that’s No. 21 in the league letting up 262.4 receiving yards a game. Jackson’s healthy and his quarterback, Kirk Cousins, owns a 154.0 passer rating for 342 yards and three touchdowns to the speedster over the last four games, and they meet an Eagles secondary allowing 27.0 fantasy points per week to receivers. Lockett’s making a push for ROY honors and is still a relatively cheap option, while Morris showed signs of life against Buffalo and could have his best game of the season against Philly now that the passing game has opened up.
Seattle’s D should contain the Rams one-dimensional attack, especially since they’re at home, and while the Chiefs may not get linebacker Justin Houston back until the postseason they can still pummel Johnny Manziel and the Browns with their No. 3 pass rush. Minnesota has health issues, but if Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith come back in Week 16, the Vikings can thrive against a Giants offense that doesn't have Beckham.