NFL Challenge: Fantasy analyst Adam Rank's Week 16 picks
Last Updated: 19/12/18 5:19pm
Fantasy analyst expert Adam Rank takes on the NFL Challenge, picking his team for Week 16...
Each week you get to pick a passing offense, rushing attack, defense and special teams unit to pick up points for your team while, on top of that, you can select a quarterback, running back and wide receiver to score additional points. Register to play by clicking here.
I have but a few precepts in my life. For instance, if anybody ever asks me what I want to eat for dinner, I say tacos. The answer is always tacos. I always wear sunscreen. (Ask your friends outside the UK what the sun is.) And I never play poker with a person whose name is the first name of a major city. But most importantly, I don't tinker with my roster at the last minute. I'm more a set it on Thursday and forget it kind of gal. I mean, barring injuries.
But, as I continued to refine my research last week, I decided to switch off Josh Allen late last week to Baker Mayfield. Mostly because I'm an idiot. And mostly because the Lions had done a really nice job of limiting running quarterbacks this year. There was going to be no way Allen was going to rush for 100 yards again. He didn't. He rushed for 16 yards. But he did rush for a touchdown, because he's Josh Freaking Allen and that's just what he does. Allen also threw the ball and, the point is, I should have just stayed the course with Allen. Learn from my mistakes, kids.
All right, here are some more recommendations here. Obviously, if you have Patrick Mahomes and the ilk available to you, then by all means use those up. I'm looking for good mid-tier and contrarian plays to not only make good copy, but also, yeah, just make good copy. I kid. It's boring to read the obvious stuff, so let's get to some picks...
Seattle Seahawks passing offense
You're probably thinking that I might have made a mistake and meant to recommend the Seahawks rushing offense. And this is me, so there's a great chance that I would make that mistake. But no, I really mean the Seahawks passing offense. This despite the fact that no team in the NFL fancies the run quite like Seattle. Chris Carson has crushed it. And Russell Wilson guards his passing attempts much in the same way your grandmother looks after her holiday towels when you come over for a visit. And when you go to use those towels, you know that you need to make it count. Similarly, Wilson needs to make it count, too. My conjecture here is Mahomes and Co. realise they have to score a billion points to win games, so they will. If Wilson wants to keep up there, he's going to need to throw the ball more than he wants to.
Tennessee Titans rushing offense
Many of us playing in traditional fantasy leagues are waiting for the other shoe to drop with Derrick Henry. He's long promised us that he's going to be a top fantasy running back. Henry has even given us hope. But he's also the same guy who will ghost your lineup. Like your friend you're afraid to make New Year's Eve plans with because they are so prone to flake on you. But you really want to go, so you make it out to the public house early to save a seat. And then some time around 11.30pm you get a text that says, "Can't make it. Sorry, brah." We're just waiting for that. So, we solve this problem and go with the Titans rushing offense as a whole, just in case it's Dion Lewis who gets the call this week.
Dallas Cowboys defense
It's funny. The Cowboys always played their best defense with Sean Lee. And the drop-off was noticeable in his absence. That has completely reversed this season, thanks in no small part to rookie Leighton Vander Esch. So, perhaps it's just coincidence that Lee returned to the Cowboys lineup in Week 15 and they were lit up like the Griswold family home. I mean, it probably is. But it's the kind of thing you can troll your Cowboys buddies with. None of that should matter this week in a matchup with Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If the Cowboys don't get at least one turnover this week, well, I would be surprised.
Los Angeles Rams special teams
Greg 'The Leg' Zuerlein came up one point shy for my mate who was in a hotly-contested, traditional fantasy battle over last weekend. So I know what I'm getting him for Christmas this year. But the Rams check all the boxes for what I look for in a special teams unit: High-scoring offense that will be playing in a dome. It's pretty easy for me. But I'd obviously still use the Chiefs if you had them available to you, especially given the way Sebastian Janikowski doesn't cover kicks.
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Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams (Captain)
I know I tend to stay away from the obvious picks, though Goff's play in recent weeks has made him less so. But I did want to make one quick point. The Rams are going to need Goff to be right if they are going to make a run during the playoffs this season. And while it might be best to protect their quarterback and run the ball, that's not Sean McVay's way. He's going to throw the rock this week. Hell, I should probably go with Josh Allen because it's not like the New England Patriots' slow defense is going to keep up with him. But I'm putting my faith in my football brain and going with Goff.
Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
Chubb rushed for 100 yards against the Broncos, and I still came away feeling that it was a disappointment. But that's a good thing. The bar is so incredibly high for Chubb that just getting those basic milestones seem like a letdown. The Cincinnati Bengals should provide a good matchup here. Fun fact, I'm in the championship in one of my most-important fantasy leagues and I'm going with both Chubb and Baker Mayfield. I might purchase a Browns hat if I pull this off.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
The Philadelphia Eagles looked better defensively in their 'upset' of the Rams last week. But I'm undaunted with Hopkins. For many playing in traditional leagues, you advanced to your finals if you had Hopkins on your team after he registered 170 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He seems like a lock for triple digits and a score this week. And really, we need to start thinking about who the first receiver off the board is going to be next year. Because for my money, it's going to come down to him or Julio Jones.