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It amazes me that we are already at the end of December in Week 16 of the 2017 season. We spent all offseason preparing for this year and now it is all or nothing for many teams. To those of you in the championship, I congratulate you for making it, a feat in and of itself. To everyone else looking to next year already, keep paying attention to this season and the playoffs. Situations are still changing that can affect depth charts next year and you want to be sure you are in the know with everything happening in the NFL.

For everyone in the championship, you need to have consistency in your lineups, now more than ever. I will assume that you have an elite core of players that have carried you this far, but like the past two weeks, duds will kill your week and may cost you the ship. Floors are just as nice as ceilings, especially when looking for replacements to key players that got injured last week like Antonio Brown, Rex Burkhead, or Davante Adams. Maybe some of you are lucky enough to be getting Ezekiel Elliott back this week!

So, without further introduction, here is Week 16's consistency charts for each position:

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Quarterbacks

It is time for us in the fantasy community to start taking Jimmy Garoppolo very, very, very seriously. Since becoming the starter, Garoppolo has increased his fantasy points every single week: 5.1, 10.5, 15.1, 19.6. Through four weeks, he has already established a connection with Marquise Goodwin and Garrett Celek and has shown the poise needed from franchise quarterbacks to win games in the clutch.

Even though he has one of the worst CORs among QBs over the past five weeks and is not startable this week in the championship, he is the type of player fantasy owners need to watch for next season. Assuming he stays in San Francisco, Garoppolo will enter the season as a major sleeper pick for redraft and a top-15 option at the position. A second season under head coach Kyle Shanahan with Pierre Garcon coming back from injury on top of his favorite targets in Goodwin and Celek, about $100 million in cap space for the Niners to use in free agency, and high draft capital in a loaded 2018 draft, the Niners can be very dangerous next year. People who were excited for the new LA Rams in 2017 should also be very excited for the future of San Francisco and the potential for massive fantasy production offensively. He will be a heavy target of mine for redraft next year and already a major target for me in dynasty, both in 1QB leagues and superflex.

 

Running Backs

If there is one take I am planting my flag on for championship week, it's this: Jordan Howard is a trap in Week 16. Despite being RB12 on the season, Howard has the highest CV among the top-15 running backs and is near the bottom of the list in COR both yearly and in the past five weeks.

Since Week 11, Howard has been one of the most inconsistent running backs in fantasy. He has two games under five points but also two games above 18. Looking at Week 16, the Bears play at home against the Browns. To many owners, that may seem like a cake matchup. I mean, it is the Browns. However, on the season the Browns are 20th in fantasy points given up to the running back position. They are averaging 22.9 fantasy points per game to running backs, most of which is through the air. For Howard, his fantasy weeks rely heavily on scoring touchdowns more than yards or receptions. On the season, the Browns have given up the seventh LEAST amount of rushing touchdowns, meaning Howard may be very limited against a formidable rushing defense in Cleveland. This is why I believe Howard is a trap this week and I would not trust him as a core piece of my championship lineup.

 

Wide Receivers

I should make it known that I am not a Niners fan, but I need to talk about Maquise Goodwin. Athletically, the dude is a freak of nature and a favorite of Player Profiler. Fantasy-wise, owners struck gold this season. Despite being the WR31 on the season, Goodwin is the WR18 over the past five weeks and the WR7 over the past three weeks. He has established himself already as the favorite target for Jimmy Garoppolo, who I have already expressed my love for, and has been a consistent fantasy producer since Garoppolo has taken over.

In fact, Goodwin has the second highest COR among wide receivers over the past five weeks. He has not scored under double-digit fantasy points since Week 9 and has three top-20 performances in that time period. However, Goodwin and the Niners take on the Jaguars in Week 16. Because of this, I am not advocating the start of any 49ers players this week against arguably the best defense in the NFL. Looking ahead to next season, however, I am very optimistic about Goodwin's outlook, even with the return of Garcon or even a big free agent signing like Allen Robinson or Sammy Watkins in the offseason. He is an electric player in a Kyle Shanahan offense that made Taylor Gabriel a viable fantasy option in 2016 and I am excited for Goodwin's future with the 49ers.

 

Tight Ends

Jack Doyle may be a league winner for some teams this week. On the season, Doyle is the TE8 with the ninth highest COR among tight ends. He has been fairly inconsistent on the year, shown by his very high CV of almost 65%. However, Doyle has been one of the best tight ends in fantasy over the past five weeks as shown by the chart below.

Saying he has been one of the best tight ends in fantasy over the past five weeks may be a slight exaggeration, especially if you are a Doyle owner. Since Week 11, Doyle has posted two top-12 finishes, but also two finishes outside the top-15. As inconsistent as that may seem, Doyle is still a very high-upside play in Week 16, as the Colts take on the Raven Saturday afternoon. Now, do not let the Ravens defense scare you away from Doyle. On the year, the Ravens are the ninth worst against the tight end position for fantasy, with most of the damage coming through receptions. Doyle is a PPR machine, so this matchup in Week 16 may be a godsend to some owners. I would be confident starting Doyle as a top-5 option at the position, sitting him for only the elite options like Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, or Delanie Walker.

 

Flex

 

More Week 16 Lineup Prep