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Scott Cullen

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Jacksonville’s suddenly surprising passing game, late-season randomness and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.

Week 16 is often the final week for fantasy football playoffs, in part because Week 17 is such a random roll of the dice based on injuries and teams resting regulars.

But, don’t pretend that only starts in week 17, because there is some randomness at play already. For example, the likes of Keelan Cole, Sterling Shepard, Jaydon Mickens and Tavarres King were four of the top wide receivers in Week 15. Who would ever predict such a thing – one, that the Jaguars and Giants would offer such productive passing attacks, and two, that those players, specifically, would be the beneficiaries.

There’s more of that to come in these next couple of weeks.

Here are some players to consider adding at this late stage of the season, still owned in less than 60% of TSN leagues:

Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville – The (justifiably) much-maligned quarterback has been coming on lately. Supported by a premier defence, Bortles has passed for 903 yards and seven touchdowns in the past three games. Owned: 39.3%

Kerwynn Williams, RB, Arizona – Though he’s dealing with a quadriceps injury, the Cardinals’ lead runner in the absence of Adrian Peterson (and David Johnson) has gained 246 yards from scrimmage in the past three games. Owned: 35.8%

Benjamin Watson, TE, Baltimore – Living on short passes, and averaging just 8.6 yards per catch this season, the 37-year-old had his most productive game of the season in Week 15, catching four passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Owned: 11.3%

Keelan Cole, WR, Jacksonville – An undrafted free agent out of Kentucky Wesleyan, the 24-year-old has scored touchdowns in three straight games and had a monster performance in Week 15, catching seven passes on nine targets for 186 yards. Owned: 1.3%

Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh – With superstar Antonio Brown injured, opportunity knocks for Bryant, the talented but underused receiver who has gone for more than 60 yards just once this season. Owned: 42.1%

Mentioned last week and still owned in less than 60% of TSN leagues: Nick Foles (45.3%), Peyton Barber (16.8%), Eric Ebron (30.9%), Corey Coleman (23.4%), Mike Wallace (34.4%)

HEROES

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina – The Panthers’ playmaker only rushed for six yards, but threw for 242 and four touchdowns in a 31-24 win over Green Bay. His 211.6 passing yards per game is his lowest since 2013.

Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles – It’s become routine this year for Gurley to put up big numbers. After 180 yards and four (!) touchdowns against Seattle, though, he’s up to 1,817 yards and 17 touchdowns this season, with two games to go.

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina – Injury has sabotaged the star tight end’s season, but he busted out in Week 15, catching nine passes, on 12 targets, for 116 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay. With a couple of weeks left in the season Olsen, who has gone for more than 1,000 yards in each of the past three seasons, has a chance to be a difference-maker.

Keelan Cole, WR, Jacksonville – As noted above, Cole had a breakout performance against Houston, with seven catches, on nine targets, for 186 yards and a touchdown.  

ZEROES

Philip Rivers, QB, L.A. Chargers – The Chargers had been on a good run, but crashed hard in Kansas City, with Rivers throwing for 227 yards, his fewest since Week Eight, and one touchdown with three interceptions.

Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco – Even in a 49ers win, they couldn’t get the ground game going, and Hyde managed a total of 39 yards on 18 touches against Tennessee.

Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle – The Seahawks tight end was a touchdown machine from Week Five through Week 13, scoring nine touchdowns in eight games, but he had one catch for minus-1 yard against the Rams, a week after getting shut out against Jacksonville.

Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta – Possibly the only receiver who can challenge Antonio Brown’s claim to the throne as the best at the position, Jones has had an up-and-down season, and finished with a modest three catches, on eight targets, for 54 yards at Tampa Bay.

Scott Cullen can be reached at scott.cullen@bellmedia.ca