2021 Fantasy Football: Week 16 Bold Predictions
The fantasy football playoffs continue to rage on. It is evident that this season, more than ever, having a first-round bye in the playoffs proves to be extremely valuable. With so many of this season’s studs playing like duds in Week 15, after fantasy managers navigated injuries and Covid-19 all week, making it through to Week 16 is a major accomplishment. In fact, some of our Fantrax bold predictions may have gotten you here.
Specifically, myself and Ahaan Rungta made the claims to start Buffalo Bills wide receiver, Gabriel Davis, and New England Patriots tight end, Hunter Henry, respectively. Making the call to start players, that may not be ranked as highly as your typical starters, can be difficult in do-or-die situations. However, given the current landscape of fantasy football, especially with a surge of Covid-19 issues, you may have to make a few bold predictions of your own to get through to your league’s title game.
With that said, many fantasy football managers, like yourself, may have worked the waiver wire or are constantly monitoring free agency for players to start in a pinch this week. Again, there may be more unlikely starters than usual this week, but our Fantrax bold predictions will highlight specific players we think can stand out above the rest in the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
With the above circumstances in mind, understand that any and all predictions and rankings this week are subject to change prior to every game’s kickoff this weekend. Be sure to follow all of these bold predictions and more @Fantrax on Twitter and @fantraxsports on Instagram!
2021 NFL Week 16 Bold Predictions for Fantasy Football
Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Bold Prediction: 18 rushes, 110 yards, 1 touchdown
17.0 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Colin McTamany, @Colin_McT on Twitter
Colin’s Breakdown: Unfortunately, it looks unlikely that the overall RB2 in fantasy football, Austin Ekeler, will be sidelined on the Covid-19/Reserve list this weekend. There are mixed reports out there as to when Ekeler landed on the list, however it became officially Thursday that he was, in fact, in jeopardy of missing Week 16, though with a slight chance of playing given that he is vaccinated.
Covid-19 aside, Ekeler is still coming off of a Week 15 game where he played his lowest snap count (34%) of the season. He is still working through an ankle injury that has since opened the door for Justin Jackson to see more work. Jackson actually played his highest snap count of the season (54%) and saw a season-high number of opportunities as well with 13 carries and one target.
In Week 16, Jackson and the Chargers head to Houston. He’ll face a Texans defense that allows the most rushing yards to running backs this year. Given that the Chargers are 10 point favorites in this one, I also love Jackson, with a heavy workload, to get into the end zone. The Texans have allowed 16 rushing touchdowns in 14 games this season.
If you need any more convincing that Jackson is a good bet to fulfill my bold prediction, Austin Ekeler himself is out here giving advice to others to pick up Jackson in his own fantasy football league:
Dropping some fantasy advice on this week’s episode of Ekeler’s Edge
Allen Lazard, WR, Green Bay Packers
Bold Prediction: 6 receptions, 95 yards, 1 touchdown
21.5 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Mike Omelan, @mikeomelan on Twitter
Mike’s Breakdown: Another team, another Covid-19 fantasy impact. In Green Bay, wide receiver, Marquez Valdes-Scantling looks like he’ll miss Week 16 as he is on the Covid-19/Reserve list. Given that the Packers are averaging 37.3 points per game in their last three games, getting a piece of this offense is a driving force behind my Week 16 bold prediction.
Allen Lazard is the next man up as the number two wide receiver behind Davante Adams. As Aaron Rodgers continues his MVP campaign, it’s also worth noting the Packers rank ninth in the league in percentage of targets (64%) to wide receivers this season.
Though Valdes-Scantling had the better statistical day last weekend, Lazard had a better Week 14 of the two. In fact, Lazard has played more snaps this season than MVS, specifically the last two weeks coming out of the Packers’ Week 13 bye. Now, without MVS on the field at all, I love my bold prediction that Lazard tops 20 fantasy points for the second time in three weeks. If you’re deciding between Lazard and another receiver on another team, go with the player catching passes from Aaron Rodgers.
DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Bold Prediction: 6 receptions, 80 yards, 1 touchdown
20.0 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Ahaan Rungta, @AhaanRungta on Twitter
Ahaan’s Breakdown: Since Russell Wilson’s return from injury, one of the most talented receivers in football, DK Metcalf, has been held in check in the fantasy score, failing to score a touchdown or reach my 80-yard bold prediction since Seattle’s Week 9 bye. The Wilson-Metcalf connection has been nothing like the potential suggests and has raised questions about starting Metcalf in the fantasy playoffs.
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Bold Prediction: 317 passing yards, 3 touchdown TDs
24.68+ fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Lauren Auerbach, @lkauerbach on Twitter
Lauren’s Breakdown: Joe Burrow says “There’s not a ton to do in Cincinnati.” Well, for my Week 16 bold prediction, I think Burrow “does a ton” in Cincinnati this weekend when the Baltimore Ravens come to down. This game will likely decide the 2021 AFC North title. I expect Burrow to rise the occasion and get the Bengals the win.
So far in 2021, the Baltimore Ravens defense is allowing the second-most passing yards per game. Furthermore, they’ve recorded the sixth-least interceptions this season. With those stats in mind, and given the Bengals average of 25.0 points per game in Cincinnati this season, Burrow has a solid floor in Week 16.
It looks like Bengals running back, Joe Mixon, is going to play in this one. With him in the backfield, and his full complement of weapons of wide receiver, I expect Burrow to easily finish in the top-10 at quarterback. My bold prediction should firmly place him in the top five. Joe Burrow is going to lead you to the fantasy football finals.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bold Prediction: 4 receptions, 34 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
19.4 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Mick Ciallela, @themick23 on Twitter
Mick’s Breakdown: It’s quicker to tell you who you can trust on the Buccaneers’ offense this week in fantasy football than who you can’t. That’s because their usual, stacked offense is missing key pieces. Last week, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette all exited Week 15 with injuries. Godwin and Fournette now find themselves on the Injured Reserve. Godwin, specifically, is done for the year with an ACL tear.
Now, Tom Brady will look to the player who has caught 106 total touchdowns from him since 2010, Rob Gronkowski. Gronk is Brady’s most trusted target, evident in the fact that he ranks first in touchdown recipients Brady has thrown to in his Hall of Fame career.
Looking beyond the two catch and 29 receiving yard performance, Gronk had 11 targets in Week 15. Brady looked rattled without his top targets on the field. However, it was unsurprising and extremely encouraging, to see the heavy volume for Gronk.
Regardless of the matchup, he will continue to be Brady’s top target moving forward. I expect plenty of others to catch passes from Brady. My bold prediction, though, suggests Gronk will be a top target in the red zone as he’s a good of a bet as any to haul in a touchdown. I trust him as a set and forget tight end in the fantasy football semi-final round.
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