Weather is going to play a big part in determining how Week 16's games turn out, so it's fitting that the first game looks like it could be a cold, rainy, windy mess. The Jets host the Jaguars tonight, with temperatures expected to be in the 40s and below, with rain and winds of 15 mph -- and gusts even higher than that.
Those are, obviously, not great conditions to be playing football in, especially if you're trying to throw the ball down the field. And, unfortunately, the most interesting players in tonight's game are in the passing games: Trevor Lawrence, obviously, riding his breakout, but also Zay Jones and Christian Kirk, plus Garrett Wilson on the other side.
I've still got Jones and Kirk as fringe WR2/3s for this week, though the matchup against a pretty tough Jets defense, led by superlative rookie corner Sauce Gardner is an added complication. Wilson is in that same range playing with Zach Wilson as his QB, and while I would probably start all three (and Evan Engram), I'm more than a bit concerned that there's some real risk of this game going sideways tonight.
You should check out CBS Sports' Doug Clawson's breakdown of how the winter storm might affect the rest of this week's games -- with Fantasy-centered thoughts on each game from me and some gambling notes from my editor, R.J. White.
Last night, you got Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em calls, and if you missed that, you can see why he's got J.K. Dobbins as his Start of the Week right here. I'll have previews for the rest of the games in tomorrow's newsletter, but if you need more help setting your lineups before tonight's first lock, I've got Heath Cummings' position previews in today's newsletter -- and I'll be live at 2 pm on the Fantasy Football Today YouTube channel to answer your questions for an hour. Now, let's get to those position previews, with the latest injury updates on every relevant player.
🔍Week 16 Position Previews
Every Tuesday, Heath Cummings previews each position, providing injury insights, key stats to know, the best waiver-wire adds, DFS targets, and more for quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. Here's a brief rundown of each position, along with some key details you need to know before you go read Heath's full breakdowns:
"There are few things worse than losing a superstar in the heart of the Fantasy playoffs. And while Jalen Hurts hasn't been ruled out yet, that's exactly what his Fantasy managers have to fear. Gardner Minshew can't match Hurts' upside, that much should be clear, but he's the clear next best option for both the Eagles and Fantasy managers. And he could deliver victory for both.
Minshew made two starts for the Eagles in 2021 and averaged more than 20 Fantasy points. One of those starts was basically played with the backups, against this same Cowboys defense. The other came in Week 13 against the Jets, and he threw two touchdown passes to Dallas Goedert."
Number to know: 13.1 -- Derek Carr has averaged 13.1 FPPG in eight career games below 40 degrees. The temperature in Pittsburgh on Saturday is forecast to be closer to zero than 40.
Matchup that matters: Dak Prescott vs. PHI (3rd vs. QB)
Waiver add/streamer: "Gardner Minshew. Minshew is the clear top add at quarterback, even with Nick Sirianni saying Jalen Hurts hasn't yet been ruled out yet. If Hurts does in fact play, you can add one of the handful of other options that simply aren't that different. Minshew is the only streamer available who cracks our top 12 this week."
Ryan Tannehill (Ankle) -- DNP. Tannehill suffered an aggravation of his previous ankle injury, and it sounds like this one might knock him out for good -- Paul Kuharsky, who covers the Titans reports that the injury will likely end his season. That pushes Malik Willis into the starting role, and while the rookie has an intriguing skill set, he attempted just 26 passes across two earlier starts and isn't a recommended Fantasy start. Neither are any of the Titans pass-catchers.
Jalen Hurts (Shoulder) -- DNP. Hurts hasn't been ruled out, but I'd be pretty surprised if he was able to play in Week 16 – and initial reports indicated he'd likely miss Week 17 as well. Gardner Minshew is a top-12 QB for me this week.
Lamar Jackson (Knee) -- DNP. Jackson still hasn't been ruled out for Week 16, but he still hasn't practiced since suffering the injury in Week 13. I wouldn't expect him to play at this point. Tyler Huntley was also limited with an injury to his throwing shoulder. He dealt with tendinitis in the shoulder earlier in the season, but it isn't clear if this is likely to keep him out. It'll be worth keeping an eye on Thursday's practice reports here.
Russell Wilson (concussion) -- Wilson has cleared the concussion protocol and will be back under center for Sunday's game against the Rams. He's not a recommended starter, even against a decent matchup.
Brock Purdy (Ribs/Oblique) -- LP. Purdy was apparently in quite a lot of pain when he played through the injury in Week 15, but the fact that he played through it and is still practicing seems to indicate he's going to keep playing this week. Purdy is a viable streamer, though still more like a QB2 in my rankings.
Kenny Pickett (Concussion) -- FP. Pickett has been cleared to return and will start for the Steelers against the Raiders. It's a good matchup, but Pickett just hasn't shown enough to be more than a QB2 at this point.
Colt McCoy (Concussion) -- DNP. McCoy was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Buccaneers Wednesday, so Trace McSorley will start for the Cardinals. It's not a terrible matchup, but McSorley has basically no track record to go off, so I would have to be pretty desperate to trust him. He's got some rushing ability that could make him worth using in 2QB or SuperFlex leagues if you're desperate, though.
"It's been a roller coaster ride trying to capture Fantasy points from the Kansas City Chiefs' backfield, but for as long as he stays healthy we now expect Jerick McKinnon to level out as a Fantasy starter.
For what it's worth, the Chiefs have always treated McKinnon like their most valuable back. He's consistently ranked towards the top in terms of red zone snaps, and third-down snaps, and he's played the most whenever a game was in doubt. But we don't receive Fantasy points for snaps played, so outside of a two-game stretch with six catches, he'd mostly been an afterthought, at least until the last three weeks."
Number to know: 892 -- Derrick Henry has 892 yards rushing in his last four games against the Texans.
Matchup that matters: Alvin Kamara @CLE (30th vs. RB)
Waiver add: "Zack Moss. I truly hope you aren't dependent on a waiver wire add at running back this week. But if you are, Moss is likely the best option. He saw 24 carries in Week 15 and faces a Chargers defense that ranks dead last against the run. Still, there's a very low floor here as both Deon Jackson and Jordan Wilkins could possibly eat into Moss's role, or even lead the team in rushing."
Stash: "Jordan Mason. Mason is the clear No. 2 behind Christian McCaffrey with Elijah Mitchell out of the picture. We all know McCaffrey's injury history, and Mason now appears to be just one injury away from 15-plus touches per game in an offense that has been even more RB-centric with Brock Purdy at quarterback."
Nick Chubb (Foot) -- DNP. I thought Chubb's absence from Tuesday's practice might have been a rest day, but he was out again Wednesday, so there's clearly something to be concerned about here. That doesn't necessarily mean Chubb won't play, but you should definitely make sure you have an alternative ready to go. Kareem Hunt would be a top-12 RB against the Saints if Chubb is out.
Aaron Jones (Knee) -- LP. Jones was limited in practice last week with an ankle injury, so this is a new one. Being limited at the start of the week makes me think this isn't too much of a concern, but we'll watch it. The good news is that AJ Dillon has cleared the concussion protocol after being pulled from Monday's game, so he should be good to go for Sunday's game against Miami. Jones is a top-12 RB while Dillon is more like a TD-dependent RB2/3.
Kenneth Walker III (Ankle) -- DNP. Walker played through the injury and then got a few extra days of rest last week, so I didn't think this injury would be much of a concern. However, he's missed both days of practice to open the week, so it looks like there's real risk of him sitting out here. DeeJay Dallas (ankle) got back to a limited practice Wednesday and would be worth adding if he is cleared to play and Walker can't go.
Rhamondre Stevenson (Ankle) -- LP. Stevenson played through the injury last week, so I'm assuming he'll do the same this week. Whether Damien Harris (thigh) will be cleared remains to be seen, since he's still limited.
Najee Harris (Hip) -- DNP. Harris was downgraded after being limited Tuesday. That seems concerning, but I'm not sure if it should be – he was a DNP last Wednesday before practicing in full Thursday, so hopefully he follows the same pattern this time around.
Jeff Wilson (Hip) -- LP. Wilson got a limited practice in last Thursday but wasn't able to play in Week 15, so we can't say how likely he is to play Sunday against the Packers just yet. I would say he's more likely than he was at this time last week, but we'll still need to see what his status looks like Thursday and Friday before we know. Wilson will likely return to a timeshare with Raheem Mostert if he's healthy enough to play, but I'd guess Mostert would be the lead back if I had to pick one.
Latavius Murray (Foot) -- LP. This appears to be a new injury for Murray, and the fact that he was limited seems to suggest he's got a good chance of playing this week against the Rams. He had 24 carries in Week 15, so this might just be more of a maintenance thing. He's an RB3 for Week 16, and he could have another big role in a game the Broncos could win pretty easily.
"As of Wednesday afternoon there are seven games projected to be played in sub-freezing temperatures in Week 16. While it's less than ideal for everyone, the passing games are what we should be particularly concerned about, especially where wind is involved.
While there could be some precipitation concerns in New York on Thursday night, and the wind in Chicago is always something to watch, Cleveland looks like the only certain problem area. The forecast there calls for temperatures around 10 degrees, with sustained winds over 25 MPH and gusts as high as 50 MPH. Oh yeah, and snow."
Number to know: 13.8 -- Garrett Wilson has scored at least 13.8 PPR Fantasy points in three of his last four games with Zach Wilson. He's a start no matter who the QB is.
Matchup that matters: Zay Jones @NYJ (31st vs. WR)
Waiver add: "Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin has a huge opportunity filling in for Tyler Lockett against a Chiefs defense surrendering the fifth-most Fantasy points to wide receivers. He already has two games with more than 20 Fantasy points this season and has the upside to produce a third against Kansas City."
Stash: "Mecole Hardman. Hardman is eligible to return from injured reserve this week. He averaged more than 20 Fantasy points per game in the past three games before he was injured. If he has the same role in Week 15, we may be looking at him as a starter in the Fantasy semifinals."
Tyler Lockett (hand) -- DNP. Lockett may end up only missing one game after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured finger, but that would be this week's game. I'm not expecting him to play.
Chris Olave (Hamstring) -- DNP. Olave has yet to practice this week, and with the Saints doing a full session Wednesday after Tuesday's walkthrough, this is officially a concern. We'll keep a close eye on today's session, but at this point, I would be making alternate plans -- especially with wind gusts of up to 50 mph projected for the game in Cleveland Saturday.
Deebo Samuel (knee/ankle) -- DNP. Samuel's injury was expected to require at least three weeks of recovery, and this is Week 2. I don't expect him to play.
Courtland Sutton (Hamstring) -- LP. This is the first time we've seen Sutton on the practice field since suffering the injury in Week 13. I'd like to see him get up to a full participation before the end of the week, but his return is mostly just bad news for Jerry Jeudy -- neither would be a top-24 WR for me against the Rams if both are active.
Diontae Johnson (Toe) -- DNP. Johnson went from being limited Wednesday to sitting out Thursday, which typically isn't a great sign. Mike Tomlin already told us earlier in the week he expects Johnson to be fine by the end of the week, and the Steelers often give their starters time off mid-week, so I'm not too worried yet. Johnson is a WR3 if he plays.
Corey Davis (Concussion) -- FP. Davis has cleared the concussion protocol and will play Thursday against the Jaguars. He's a boom-or-bust WR3/4.
Nico Collins (Foot) -- DNP. It doesn't look like Collins is ready to return, but Brandin Cooks (calf) was a full participant in practice Wednesday, so he should be good to go against the Titans. It's not a bad matchup, but Cooks hasn't done enough this season to make me feel comfortable trusting him. He's a WR3/4.
Treylon Burks (Concussion) -- FP. Burks looks like he's going to be back from his two-game absence Saturday against the Texans. Unfortunately, with Malik Willis likely to start at QB for the Titans, Burks is very tough to trust. I'd need to be desperate in a deeper league to consider him.
Jakobi Meyers (Shoulder) -- LP. This seems to be a recurrence of an injury Meyers dealt with a few weeks back, and since it's the Patriots, it's hard to say whether he's more like a "probable" limited or a "questionable" limited, and we likely won't know until game-time. Meyers is in that WR3/4 range for PPR.
DeVante Parker (Concussion) -- DNP. Parker missed last week's game and it looks like his absence could extended another week.
Julio Jones (Knee) -- LP. Jones missed Week 15's game with the injury, but the limited tag here suggests he's got a chance to return. I wouldn't plan on using Jones, but his presence would make it harder to trust Russell Gage in deeper leagues.
Jarvis Landry (Ankle) -- DNP. This is a new injury for Landry, who wasn't on the practice report Tuesday. I'd say that doesn't bode well for his chances of playing, and I wouldn't use him even if he does.
"The second half of 2022 has been a disaster for Mark Andrews. In his last seven games, he has just 22 catches for 247 yards on 42 targets. He has not scored a touchdown in that stretch. For anyone else, we would have benched or dropped him long ago. But Andrews' upside makes that nearly impossible, especially if Lamar Jackson is able to return.
That's because in the first six weeks of this season, Andrews was as good as he's ever been. He was on pace for 110 catches, 1,289 yards, and 14 touchdowns. There were legitimate reasons to think he'd overtaken Travis Kelce as the best tight end in Fantasy Football. "
- Number to know: 15.3% -- Dawson Knox has a 15% target share in six games since Josh Allen hurt his elbow. Fewer deep shots means more targets for Knox.
- Matchup that matters: Cole Kmet vs. BUF (4th vs. TE)
- Waiver add: "Jordan Akins. Akins has five or six targets in three of his last four games. The Titans have allowed the fifth-most Fantasy points to tight ends this season. Four of the last five tight ends to see five or more targets against them have scored 11 or more PPR Fantasy points."
Noah Fant (Knee) -- DNP. Fant has yet to practice this week, a bad sign for his chances of playing. His potential absence could make Will Dissly an intriguing streamer if you're desperate, especially with Tyler Lockett expected to be out.
Hayden Hurst (Calf) -- LP. Hurst has been limited both days in practice so far, a sign that he's got a chance to come back after missing the previous two games. He's a fringe starter even against a Patriots defense that has allowed the 10th-most PPR points to tight ends so far this season.
Pat Freiermuth (foot) -- FP. Freiermuth has seemingly been slowed by this injury over the past few weeks, but a pair of full practices to open the week seems like a pretty good sign. He's a fringe TE1.