News & Analysis

Jahnke: Fantasy football reactions from the Week 16 Saturday Night Football tripleheader

Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans catches a touchdown pass against Detroit Lions cornerback Justin Coleman during the first half Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020 at Ford Field. Lionstampa, Sad Detroit Lions

Saturday gave us a trio of NFL games, all with playoff implications for the bottom seeds in both conferences. It was also a big day for fantasy championship games.

Tight Ends ruled the storylines of the day, with Rob Gronkowski scoring two touchdowns in the first matchup, George Kittle returning to the 49ers for the second game and the clear TE2 on the season, Darren Waller, playing in the third.

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As always, this collection of fantasy reactions will include snap counts for skill players on each team, along with notes on players who saw their fantasy stocks rise or fall during the action. 

This article will be updated throughout the day as more games reach their completion.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Detroit Lions
WR WR
Mike Evans – 62 snaps Marvin Jones Jr. – 50 snaps
Chris Godwin – 51 snaps Mohamed Sanu – 38 snaps
Antonio Brown – 46 snaps Danny Amendola – 31 snaps
Scotty Miller – 24 snaps Quintez Cephus – 20 snaps
Tyler Johnson – 24 snaps Jamal Agnew – 12 snaps
TE TE
Rob Gronkowski – 33 snaps T.J. Hockenson – 46 snaps
Cameron Brate – 32 snaps Jesse James – 12 snaps
Tanner Hudson – 22 snaps
HB HB
Ke'Shawn Vaughn – 35 snaps D'Andre Swift – 37 snaps
Leonard Fournette – 25 snaps Kerryon Johnson – 10 snaps
LeSean McCoy – 13 snaps Adrian Peterson – 6 snaps
Kenjon Barner – 1 snap
Total – 77 snaps Total – 53 snaps

Winner: WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Everyone involved in the Buccaneers' passing offense could be called winners today, but Evans looked most impressive of the group with 10 catches on 12 targets for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Tom Brady threw four touchdowns in the first half; Blaine Gabbert replaced the veteran at halftime and threw another two. 

Chris Godwin was the second favorite target for both quarterbacks, with five catches on nine targets for 84 yards and a touchdown. Future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski added two touchdowns, and Antonio Brown added one on limited targets.

When all of this talent was assembled throughout the year, this was the kind of day we envisioned. There is a chance this offense could look different in 2021, but Evans will likely remain the top wide receiver regardless of the potential changes.

Dynasty Watch: RB D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

The Lions' offense had plenty of problems today, but Swift wasn’t one of them. He ran 10 times for 45 yards and added four receptions on five targets for 25 yards.

This game is exciting for Swift's prospects going forward. He stayed in on over two-thirds of the Lions' offensive snaps for the second time this season. A new coaching staff will likely determine how much Swift will be used in 2021, but it’s promising to see that he’s capable of playing that much in an NFL game. He could potentially be a late first-round pick in 2021 redraft leagues.

Dynasty Watch: RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers were again without Ronald Jones at running back, so Leonard Fournette got the start and was expected to have a big game due to his projected playing time and the Lions' run defense.

The Buccaneers already had a big lead by the early parts of the second quarter, and Vaughn was already starting to take snaps away from Fournette. Fournette ended the day with 34 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Vaughn played 85% of first and second downs over the last 40 minutes of the game. He looked more impressive in the run game, with 62 yards on 15 carries.

LeSean McCoy remained the third-down back throughout the game, but Vaughn had that role earlier in the season when other backs were injured. Both Fournette and McCoy are free agents after the season, so Vaughn could be both the change-of-pace back to Jones as well as the third-down back in 2021.

Injury: QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

Stafford left the game with a foot injury after one drive and didn't return. The Lions' pass offense was already going to struggle without Kenny Golladay against the Buccaneers defense, but this made things even more difficult.

Chase Daniel initially took over, with David Blough also getting opportunities in the fourth quarter. The Lions were never able to put a drive together longer than seven plays, and all of them ended without a score. No receiver on the Lions ended up with more than 40 receiving yards.

There is at least a chance this was the last time Stafford plays in a Lions uniform.

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers Arizona Cardinals
WR WR
Brandon Aiyuk – 52 snaps DeAndre Hopkins – 75 snaps
Richie James Jr. – 51 snaps Larry Fitzgerald – 71 snaps
Kendrick Bourne – 19 snaps Christian Kirk – 68 snaps
River Cracraft – 1 snap KeeSean Johnson – 20 snaps
Trent Sherfield – 5 snaps
TE TE
George Kittle – 28 snaps Dan Arnold – 36 snaps
Ross Dwelley – 26 snaps Darrell Daniels – 30 snaps
Jordan Reed – 10 snaps Seth DeValve – 19 snaps
Daniel Helm – 7 snaps
HB HB
Jeff Wilson Jr. – 39 snaps Kenyan Drake – 52 snaps
Jerick McKinnon – 10 snaps D.J. Foster – 17 snaps
Tevin Coleman – 7 snaps Chase Edmonds – 16 snaps
Total – 56 snaps Total – 82 snaps

Winner: RB Jeff Wilson Jr., San Francisco 49ers

Raheem Mostert landed on injured reserve earlier in the week, allowing Wilson to take the vast majority of the first- and second-down snaps. The third-year running back ultimately ran for a career-high 183 yards from 22 carries. He also caught his only target for 21 yards and a touchdown.

Tevin Coleman was his primary backup on early downs, but he only ran the ball twice. Jerick McKinnon was the third-down back, catching three passes for 28 yards.

Both Coleman and McKinnon are free agents this offseason. Today, Wilson made a case for the 49ers not to re-sign either player so that 2021 can be the tandem of Mostert and Wilson.

Returning From Injury: TE George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

Kittle returned from the foot injury that has kept him out for nearly two months. His playing time was limited, although most of the plays he missed were run plays.

He led the team in receiving yards (92) after catching four of the five passes thrown his way. No other 49er reached 30 receiving yards. Kittle should receive more playing time next week and should be back to being a top-two fantasy tight end in 2021.

Injury: RB Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals

Edmonds didn’t practice for most of the week with an ankle/knee injury but was active tonight. However, he left the game before halftime with a hip injury and didn’t return.

This left Kenyan Drake to take a higher percentage of the early-down snaps while D.J. Foster took over as the third-down back. Edmonds ended the day with no carries and two catches for 8 yards. Drake had an okay game, with 45 yards and a score on 18 carries, and Foster didn’t gain a yard on his only carry. Drake is an unrestricted free agent after the season, so this backfield could look different in 2021.

Dynasty Watch: TE Dan Arnold, Arizona Cardinals

Arnold is becoming a larger part of the Cardinals' offense as the season goes on, and he's found the end zone four times in Arizona's last six games. He set a season-high in targets last week with five and matched that again today. He caught three of them for 25 yards.

The Cardinals were short a tight end coming into the game with run-blocker Maxx Williams out with an ankle injury. Unfortunately, this didn’t lead to any more playing time by Arnold, as Seth DeValve took Williams’ role. Arnold missed a few snaps in the third quarter while he was evaluated for a concussion, but he returned later in the quarter. Arnold could be a late-round flier in 2021 redraft leagues.

Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins Las Vegas Raiders
WR WR
Lynn Bowden Jr. – 58 snaps Nelson Agholor – 49 snaps
Mack Hollins – 49 snaps Henry Ruggs III – 44 snaps
Isaiah Ford – 33 snaps Hunter Renfrow – 39 snaps
Jakeem Grant – 19 snaps Bryan Edwards – 12 snaps
Malcolm Perry – 1 snap Zay Jones – 6 snaps
TE TE
Mike Gesicki – 45 snaps Darren Waller – 63 snaps
Durham Smythe – 30 snaps Jason Witten – 22 snaps
Adam Shaheen – 15 snaps Foster Moreau – 2 snaps
HB HB
Myles Gaskin – 48 snaps Josh Jacobs – 32 snaps
Salvon Ahmed – 15 snaps Jalen Richard – 17 snaps
  Devontae Booker – 15 snaps
Total – 63 snaps Total – 64 snaps

Winner: RB Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins

Gaskin returned to the Dolphins after spending the last two weeks on the Reserve/Covid-19 list. He was sidelined for most of November due to injury, so this was just his second game in the last two months. It was also the first time Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed played together since Ahmed’s breakout performance in Week 10.

The two backs split time to start the game, as each back was given nine offensive snaps through the first three drives. Ahmed played more on early downs and Gaskin played more on third down.

However, Gaskin’s play was much more effective in that time, leading the Dolphins to stick with him as the hot hand. Ahmed only received two offensive snaps over the rest of the game, with Gaskin taking the rest of the work. 

Gaskin ended the day with 87 rushing yards on 14 carries, and he added five catches for 82 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. This included a 59-yard catch in the last four minutes to give Miami a lead. Ahmed ran for two yards on six carries and caught a one-yard pass.

The Dolphins' running back situation could be one to watch this offseason. Miami could look to upgrade, but if not, Gaskin and Ahmed will be sharing playing time in 2021.

Runner Up: WR Nelson Agholor, Las Vegas Raiders

Agholor emerged as the top wide receiver for Las Vegas early in the season, and he waited to put up his best game when the Raiders needed him most. He caught five of the six passes thrown his way for 155 yards, and it was his 85-yard touchdown catch that gave Las Vegas the lead. 

The only other bright spot for the Raiders offense was Darren Waller, who made several impressive catches tonight. He caught five of the six passes thrown his way for 112 yards. Agholor is an unrestricted free agent after the season, but the Raiders will likely try to bring him back.

Injury: WR Jakeem Grant, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins lost two wide receivers due to opt-outs before the season; they also lost Preston Williams in the middle of the season and DeVante Parker was inactive tonight with a hamstring injury.

This made Grant the top receiving option, though he had been limited in practice all week with a hamstring injury, and he ended up leaving the game early in the third quarter. He was leading the Dolphins in targets (6), receptions (5) and yards (43) before leaving the game.

Mack Hollins and Isaiah Ford rotated in and out over the first half, and both players played more in the second half. Lynn Bowden Jr. played the majority of the game, which would have happened regardless of who was healthy. Bowden was limited to two catches on three targets for eight yards.

Dynasty Watch: WR Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders

Ruggs was thrown at twice but didn’t bring in either pass. It was the fifth time this season he’s been held to eight yards or fewer while playing most snaps.

One season is too early to give up on a rookie like Ruggs, but the more games he has like this, the further his dynasty stock plummets. The Raiders have Tyrell Williams coming back next year (if he’s not a salary cap cut), and the team could re-sign Nelson Agholor. Ruggs could be a rotational wide receiver in 2021.

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