Fantasy football Week 16: Joe Burrow, T.J. Hockenson lead the way

Week 16 of the 2022 fantasy football season featured huge performances by Joe Burrow, T.J. Hockenson and Justin Jefferson on Saturday. Which other developments from the week are worth reading into? Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft offer their analysis.

Weather, Patriots no match for Burrow

His 23.50 fantasy points aren't the kind that'd carry a fantasy team on their own, but consider the context in Cincinnati's 22-18 victory over New England. Burrow entered Foxborough, Massachusetts, a visitor playing in temperatures in the teens, in a week when weather dragged down many quarterbacks' point totals, while facing a Patriots defense tough against the position. Sure, it took 52 passing attempts for him to get there, and two of those were intercepted, but the game film reflects that Burrow was largely in control considering the circumstances. It's especially good news heading into a final two weeks that has the Bengals set to host the Bills and Ravens, two other playoff hopefuls, in games that will have a bearing on playoff seeding. Next week's game is critical, and with the matchup similarly challenging, Sunday's performance should earn Burrow another top-eight (with a top-five) positional ranking despite it. -- Cockcroft

Jefferson rewrites Vikings' record book

On the day he broke Randy Moss' 19-year-old franchise record for receiving yards, Jefferson managed his third consecutive game of 30-plus PPR fantasy points, scoring 31.3 in the Vikings' tightly contested, back-and-forth victory over the Giants. The three straight represented only the seventh such streak by any wide receiver this century, and the first since Davante Adams did it in Weeks 7-9 of 2020, giving him seven such performances in 2022 alone and 11 in his career. The former -- those seven this season -- are the most in a single year by any wide receiver in history, and only two shy of the record by a player at any position. The latter -- the 11 in his career -- match Lance Alworth's 11 for the most by any wide receiver in history through his first 48 NFL games, and are only one shy of the record held by four running backs (Chuck Foreman, Larry Johnson, Christian McCaffrey and LaDainian Tomlinson). Jefferson's final game totals gave him 1,756 receiving yards for the season, putting him on pace for what would be a record-shattering 1,990 (Calvin Johnson's 1,964 in 2012 represents the current standard). He's an elite NFL talent only getting better at his craft, is a top-three positional option for Week 17 against the Packers -- bear in mind, the Vikings might sit him for Week 18 if their playoff seeding is known -- and a near lock to be the No. 1 wide receiver entering 2023. -- Cockcroft

Hockenson dominates in win

Hockenson scored 35.9 PPR points on the Giants' defense in Week 16, producing season highs in both receptions (13) and targets (16). And the Vikings tight end also caught two touchdown passes on schemed concepts to beat the Giants' defensive tendencies in the red zone. Hockenson, who has now seen at least eight targets in each of his past three games, gets the Packers' defense in Week 17. And based on what we are seeing with his deployment in the route tree, Hockenson will remain a top-five play at the position. -- Bowen

Better times ahead for Fields

I didn't expect Justin Fields to post big numbers in the pass game versus the Bills in Week 16. Brutal weather here in Chicago. Cold. Wind. Take the underneath options. Scheme a shot play or two. However, that's why I was even more confused by the lack of rushing volume (and production) for the Bears quarterback. Fields posted a season-low 11 yards rushing -- on just seven carries. And he finished with 9.86 fantasy points, his lowest total since the Week 2 game. If you roster Fields, however, and make it through to the next round of the fantasy playoffs, he will be a top-five quarterback for me in a much more positive matchup at Detroit in Week 17. -- Bowen

And that's really it, isn't it? If you advanced to your fantasy championships -- something that was hardly easy for anyone, considering this historically poor weather week -- Fields aligns for a pair of dream quarterback matchups in the Lions and Vikings in the final two weeks, and the weather report next weekend looks to be substantially better than this one. I completely forgive him for Sunday; I could see a 25-plus-point rebound coming in either or both of those games that he fully plays through. -- Cockcroft

Other observations:

DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: He keeps on rolling, exceeding 17 PPR fantasy points for the fourth straight week, and his 31.1 points in Week 16 represented a career best. Smith has been targeted at least eight times in seven consecutive games and 10 of his past 13, and he made plenty of critical catches as his Eagles attempted to play catch-up against the Cowboys. Even as the team's No. 2 target in the receiving game, and with tight end Dallas Goedert back in action, Smith was a go-to guy for Gardner Minshew. Whether it's Minshew or Jalen Hurts under center for Week 17 against the Saints, Smith needs to be in your lineup as a fantasy WR2 since the Eagles haven't yet wrapped up the NFC's No. 1 seed. -- Cockcroft

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys: I thought Lamb played one his best game as a pro -- given the matchup versus the Eagles secondary. Lamb caught 10 of 11 targets in this one for 120 yards with two touchdowns. That's good for 34.0 PPR points, his second-highest total of the season. The Cowboys wide receiver worked all three levels of the route tree, highlighted by a fade-ball score in a matchup against Philly cornerback James Bradberry. That was a savvy route when you look at the setup to get loose. And with a Week 17 matchup versus the Titans, Lamb will be a midtier WR1 in my ranks. This Cowboys offense is rolling right now. -- Bowen

Evan Engram, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars: Engram, who has topped the 100-yard receiving mark in two of his past three games, scored 18. 3 PPR points on the Jets' defense in the Thursday night win. And I loved the game plan from Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson here to scheme up his tight end. Lot of quicks, unders, screens to get the ball out of Trevor Lawrence's hands on high-percentage throws. Engram had seven receptions while averaging just 3.75 yards per target. And with four straight games of at least 14 PPR points, you can keep Engram in the TE1 mix for the Week 17 matchup versus the Texans' defense. -- Bowen

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans: You know a player has a particular defense's number when you look at his score and say, "Geez, Derrick Henry was good for only 18.6 PPR fantasy points?" Going into Saturday, Henry had scored 35 PPR fantasy points or better in four straight meetings with the Texans, though about the only thing holding him back from another eye-popping score in this one was Malik Willis' presence under center, hampering the team's passing game. Henry continues to get heavy volume while delivering elite fantasy production, and Willis' presence lowers the ceiling from record-challenging scores to merely locked-in RB1 value. He'll face the Cowboys in five days and should be locked into your lineup for that one. -- Cockcroft

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants: His rebound campaign continued on Saturday, as Barkley's 27.3 PPR fantasy points were most among running backs from the 1 p.m. ET game block, his second best in a game this season and his ninth performance of at least 18 points in 2022. Barkley has played 15 games, the second most in his career, and his 276.7 PPR fantasy points are also his second most, with both totals trailing only his rookie-year (2018) 16 and 385.8. He's a locked-in RB1, and he should be drafted once again as one in 2023, wherever he's playing. -- Cockcroft

George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers: Maybe it's something in the coffee? Kittle scored 25-plus PPR fantasy points during his December trip to Seattle both last year and this, and he has now followed up those visits with a subsequent 25-plus-point performance the very next week. This time, he enjoyed a 30.0 PPR fantasy point day, his sixth game of 30-plus in his career and first since that Week 14 follow-up to his Seattle visit last season. Kittle has been heavily targeted in the absence of Deebo Samuel, and with Samuel potentially out for the rest of the regular season, that shouldn't change in Week 17, when the 49ers face the Raiders. -- Cockcroft

D'Onta Foreman, RB, Carolina Panthers: In a game in which the Panthers absolutely gashed the Lions' run defense (320 yards), Foreman scored 22.5 PPR points, his highest total since Week 8. Foreman finished with 165 yards rushing in this one, on a team-high 21 carries, and he added a score on a red zone attempt, his first since Week 10. Still a touchdown-dependent back given his lack of pass game usage, the rush volume and the Panthers' offensive structure will keep Foreman in the RB2 discussion for the Week 17 game versus the Bucs. -- Bowen

Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions: One of my top streaming pickups this week, Goff posted 25.57 PPR points in the Week 16 loss at Carolina. Negative game flow boosted the throwing volume for Goff in this one (42 pass attempts), but the Lions quarterback finished with three touchdowns, his fourth game in his past five starts with multiple touchdown passes. With a Week 17 game at home versus Chicago, you can target Goff again as a streaming option in deeper leagues. -- Bowen

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, New England Patriots: Just one week after his encouraging return from an ankle injury, Stevenson took a big step backward, scoring only 3.3 PPR fantasy points on 15 touches against the Bengals. More importantly, he had a critical drop and a lost fumble in scoring position, sinking his day. The main concern there is whether either affects Stevenson's workload going forward, as volume is a big part of his RB1 status. He gets a favorable matchup against the Dolphins in Week 17, though the game script might work against him in that one, casting him as a risk/reward play for the championship week. -- Cockcroft

James Cook, RB, Buffalo Bills: The 17.8 PPR points for Cook in the Week 16 win over the Bears were a season high. In a shared backfield with Devin Singletary, Cook finished with 108 total yards on 12 touches. And we saw that open-field juice on his 27-yard touchdown run. He can scoot, now. With a double-digit PPR production in three of his past four games, Cook will remain as a mid-tier Flex option in my rankings for the Week 17 matchup versus the Bengals. -- Bowen