Week 16 Start or Sit Advice
By: Aldo Panessidi
All I Want for Christmas Is a Fantasy Football Championship
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints
Consider yourself gifted this week if you were lucky enough to pick up and ride Bortles to your championship. Well this gift just keeps on giving as the Jags take on the Saints and their NFL worst defense. Bortles is now over 3,800 yards on the season to go with 31 TDs. He has firmly put himself into the top tier of QBs in his second year. The young Jags QB has now pushed himself up to the 4th ranked QB in fantasy points on the season and should add significantly to that in week 16.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals
If he helped get you to the finals you need to stick with Rodgers, but there are concerns here. He’s thrown less than 220 yards in four of his last five games and hasn’t thrown more than two TDs since week nine. Rodgers is in the midst of a down year so relying on him for elite performance is not a good idea in your final. Arizona’s defense is very good overall and top 10 against QBs in fantasy points allowed. The loss of Tyrann Mathieu will hurt, but the Cardinals are still a quality unit and have the ability to shut an offense down. This looks like another difficult week for the Packers. Still, I’d hate to bench him then watch the old Rodgers emerge for a shootout in Arizona. I almost feel like recommending a sit for Rodgers could trigger him to break out of this slump.
I think it’s safe to say that you should bench Matt Ryan against Carolina if possible. His 224 yard performance that included a fumble and a pick against the same team two weeks ago suggests this is not going to end well for Atlanta. Don’t think about getting cute in daily games with the likes of A.J. McCarron, Case Keenum, or Brock Osweiler. Each one faces one of the top three defenses in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.
Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints
It looks like Robinson is in line for another start this weekend against the Saints with T.J. Yeldon missing practice while wearing a knee brace. Throw away last week’s 28 yard performance and rest easy in the fact that he gets an even worse defense to exploit this week. Robinson is a speed back so you are somewhat reliant on him breaking runs for long chunks of yardage. Last week he didn’t get away from the defense, but I would expect him to have multiple shots at ripping a long TD run in week 16.
Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys
Williams will continue to add to his impressive rookie campaign this week with LeSean McCoy again missing time. Williams has a juicy matchup against Dallas, now allowing over 118 rushing yards a game. With the Cowboys offense unable to put points on the board expect the Bills to control this game on both sides of the ball leading to positive game flow for the Bills and Williams. Mike Gillislee has some role, but anything more than spot duty would be unexpected as long as Williams is healthy.
Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Traveling to CenturyLink Field to face the Seahawks during a hot streak is not something any running back wants to do. They have allowed less than 50 yards to RBs in each of their last five games and get to play with the 12th man at home. Gurley has been a dichotomous enigma of a back this year. He’s looked like the next Adrian Peterson at times and then the next week averages two yards a carry. Take his last four game’s rushing totals for example; 19, 41, 140, 48 yards. Rather than this being Gurley’s fault it’s likely that the Rams lack of flexibility on offense has allowed teams to key on Gurley to shut him down. Unless he gets lucky and breaks one, this looks more like one of those 48 yard games for the talented young running back.
Could Ameer Abdullah possibly put up two good games in a row? He’s facing the 49ers at home and might be an intriguing dart throw in a tournament. This week projects as another James White week over Brandon Bolden/Joey Iosefa against the Jets. DeAngelo Williams has another tough day ahead traveling to Baltimore.
DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
After missing much of the season Jackson has brought fresh legs to the ‘Skins along with four scores in the last five games. The Eagles are nowhere close to decent against the pass and look very susceptible to a couple big plays against Washington. While Jackson has a history of being hit or miss, he’s the big play guy that could dial up a couple long TDs in this one. He’s a tournament option due to volatility, but has a huge ceiling based on the matchup.
DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts
Parker showed up again last weekend after disappearing in week 14. He’s now had totals of 80, 63, 16, and 87 yards with two TDs in the last four games. Parker is getting himself targets and has flashed some of the potential that led to him being a first round draft pick. This week if Vontae Davis is asked to shadow Jarvis Landry it could mean Parker is in line for a bunch of targets. I could possibly even see a “breakout” game if he is able to pull in a high percentage of the throws that go his way.
Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end. Baldwin has put up a whopping ten TDs over the last four games, an impressive feat for a season! Sooner or later though this streak will stall out and I am worried your Fantasy Bowl is the week he throws up a dud. The Rams have an above average secondary for one. Doug’s yardage totals have also decreased each week during this journey leading to just 45 yards on four catches last week. While I think he still gathers a few catches I’m concerned this will be 4-50 sort of game and without the TDs that’s not going to do it for you.
Cincinnati receivers have an uphill battle against the Broncos with A.J. McCarron set to lead them once again. How does Ted Ginn keeping scoring when he drops half the passes thrown his way? Sammy Watkins gets a tough matchup against Dallas, but he’s scored six times in the last four games and shown dynamic skills. I’d still roll him out with some confidence.
After shredding the excellent Broncos D last week, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant get a dream matchup in your Fantasy Bowl against the Ravens.
Zack Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
Well hello Mr. Ertz. It took most of the season but the Eagle’s tight end has finally emerged as a weekly starter over the last three games. He had 13 targets last week and has scored in two of the last three games. It still befuddles me as to why the Eagles didn’t use him like this all year, but better late than never. Even though the Redskins have done well against the position if Ertz can get another eight-plus targets he should have ample opportunity to put up a nice stat line.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans
It might finally be time to jump off the Delanie bandwagon. He’s been a beast this season and one of the best in fantasy football. However, he’ll have to play without Marcus Mariota this week and faces a difficult foe in the Texans. Their defense has been very solid and allows the 8th fewest points to tight ends on the season. Walker will have voluminous targets on his side, but 80 yards and a touchdown is asking too much.
The Chiefs allow the fewest points to tight ends in football and will face Gary Barnidge for your final. Philadelphia hasn’t let tight ends gather points either, but don’t let that discourage you from starting Jordan Reed. After staying healthy for most of the season he has a firm grasp on TE1 numbers including for this week. Even with missing the first four games Julius Thomas has put up the 16th most points for all TEs this year. Start him against the Saints in your final week. Antonio Gates is a top TE for the week facing the Raiders who have allowed the most TDs to the position.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns
The Chiefs have become the surprise defense of the year. They have a league leading six defensive touchdowns are ranked third in most scoring formats after Denver and Carolina. Over their last eight games this squad has a plus 17 turnover ratio and gets to face the Browns who have the seventh most turnovers on the season. This looks like another good week for the Chiefs so if you’ve ridden them to the championship you can happily throw them out there again one last time.
New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
The Jets have been a top ten defense this year and many expected big things from a blitz happy scheme. While they’ve been good, they haven’t been the great defense many expected. With the Patriots coming to town this is a squad to avoid in your final. New England ran over them in their first meeting and could very well put up another 30 this week. In the most important game of your season you can find something better on your waiver wire and should look at your options.
Best of luck with your fantasy football teams this week! Hopefully advice helps guide you to victory. Make sure you check out our new Lineup Optimizer tool – RotoPicker