Fantasy Football: Week 16 starts, sits
|12.22.12 at 11:30 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 16 starts and sits. If you are reading this article, then there’s a good chance you are in the championship game for your league. Congratulations on that. Now let’s see if we can give you a little guidance on some of this week’s tough lineup choices. I will also be hosting our final Sunday morning chat this weekend, so feel free to swing by if you have any tough choices. We kick off the chat at 11 a.m. If you need comprehensive lineup help, join us at Rotobahn, where I will have full lineup rankings posted later Saturday.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins at Eagles
If he plays, you should play him. Washington sat him last week, so you know the coaches have some standards in place. They won’t just throw him out there. The matchup is favorable and he’s an effective QB even without his typical mobility. Unless you happen to have another elite option, you should start RGIII and just accept the risks. His upside merits it in my view.
Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Saints
Dez Bryant proved that he can be a factor with his injury last week and this is a solid home matchup. Romo has been a fantasy asset over the last eight weeks and we expect that to continue in Week 16. Expect QB1 results in a high-scoring game.
Bradford is playing well, has a nice matchup and has a full complement of weapons to work with now that Danny Amendola is back. He makes a solid start this week if you are in need. Start him in all leagues.
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers vs. Rams
Freeman is reeling along with the entire Bucs offense. After last week’s debacle, we’d be very leery of starting him against a solid yet inconsistent St. Louis defense. If you have another viable option, I’d use it.
Yes, we love this kid, but this is not a great week to use him unless you are weak at the position. Wilson is viable, but we have him ranked as an average QB2 this week, not the monster he was in Week 15. He’s not running for a bunch of scores on San Francisco. At least, we’re not willing to bet our season on it.
Jake Locker, Titans at Packers
For those in deep leagues, don’t let Green Bay’s recent defensive struggles tempt you into using Locker. He’s missing way too many throws right now for you to trust your title game to him. He’s an exciting young player, but he could let you down on the road in Green Bay and hasn’t topped 20 points since Week 3. If you are a Freeman owner looking for another option, keep looking and avoid Locker in Week 16.
Reggie Bush, Dolphins vs. Bills
He’s a solid RB2 option this week in 12-team and even in 10-team leagues. He’ll lose a few carries to rookie Lamar Miller, but he will not lose goal-line carries to Daniel Thomas, who is out for the year. He ran strong last week, eclipsing 100 yards for the first time since Week 2. Bush, a pending unrestricted free agent, is playing for a new contract, so we expect him to hit the hole with vigor over the last two weeks.
LeSean McCoy, Eagles vs. Redskins
He’s risky and we certainly do not expect his usual RB1 output. That being said, he’s still a viable play as a RB2 and we’d play him over Bryce Brown if that’s your choice. He’ll have fresh legs after sitting out four straight games. McCoy is worth a look as a flex or RB2 in 12-team leagues.
Mark Ingram, Saints at Cowboys
For deep leaguers, this is a decent play. Ingram is running very well and is getting almost all of the early down work plus a lot of looks in the red zone. The big back has scored three times over the last five weeks and we think he has a good chance to score again in Week 16. I like him as a flex option in 12-team formats.
All San Diego running backs, Chargers at Jets
This backfield is one to avoid. If you must start a Charger, go with Jackie Battle, who we think will get most of the goal-line love — if there is any. Still, this team is a mess and the backfield is right at the heart of it. The Jets handle power backs well, and that’s all San Diego really has. This might look like an opportunity to plug-and-play a flex option off of the waiver wire, but even in deep leagues, we’d be careful.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys vs. Saints
Maybe you sat him last week for justifiable reasons. Maybe you wished you’d benched Danario Alexander, Roddy White or Demaryius Thomas instead. Regardless, Bryant, even playing with a clearly damaged hand, is a WR3 or better and should be active in all formats and league sizes.
James Jones, Packers vs. Titans
With Jordy Nelson likely to sit out again, we like Jones as a solid WR3 play. Yes, his three Week 15 scores did get our attention, but he’s been a threat for much of the year and he has a nice matchup this week. He’s worth a play as a WR3 or flex in 12-team leagues.
Greg Jennings, Packers vs. Titans
He’s been mediocre since returning, but he had a decent game last week in a tough matchup with the Bears. We expect him to make the big play this week against the Titans. He’s playable as a WR3 in 12-team leagues.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts at Chiefs
At this point, he is worth a look in most leagues as a WR3 or flex. This little man makes big plays — lots of them. As I said back in July: ‘This guy has DeSean Jackson-like potential without the hype.’
Josh Gordon, Browns at Broncos
We love Gordon, as you may know, but we don’t like him on the road in Denver. He’ll see a ton of Champ Bailey in coverage and the Denver pass rush likely will take away Gordon’s double moves. He can always make the big play because he is a high-end talent, but his odds are relatively low on Week 16. Consider other options.
Danario Alexander, Chargers at Jets
Nobody saw his statless Week 15 coming, myself included, but this week was going to be a problem even if Alexander was still hot. The Jets almost certainly will use CB Antonio Cromartie on him and Cromartie is playing his best ball as a Jet right now. Given the way the Chargers are playing, Alexander’s risk outweighs his reward.
Dennis Pitta, Ravens vs. Giants
Pitta’s big play last week was a bit fluky and that is not what landed him here. The Raven has been a solid TE1 option over the last few months with the exception of two horrendous games against the Steelers. Well, the Steelers are off his schedule now and this week’s matchup against New York is a good one. Pitta can be your TE1 in any league size this week.
Greg Olsen, Panthers vs. Raiders
Olsen is playing well these days and this is a very solid matchup. Of course, the biggest reason to play Olsen is Cam Newton, who has been torching defenses the last month or so. Olsen is Newton’s best and most targeted red zone option and he should be active in all leagues this week.
Tony Scheffler, Lions vs. Falcons
There’s just not much else to throw to in Detroit these days once you get past Calvin Johnson. Scheffler will be used as a tight end and as a slot receiver and we expect him to see plenty of targets. He’s also a good red zone option. You could do a lot worse in large formats this week, so consider Scheffler if you need a little help at tight end.
Jermaine Gresham, Bengals at Steelers
As I just alluded to, the Steelers handle tight ends very well due to their strong safety play. For some of you, Gresham is your best or even only tight end, so you might have to play him, and that’s OK. His talent makes him a threat even in a bad matchup like this one. However, if you have a guy like Pitta or Heath Miller as a backup, you might want to give that a try this week.
Martellus Bennett, Giants at Ravens
I don’t like the matchup. The Ravens blitz creatively and the Giants have a tendency to use Bennett in pass protection when things get ugly. The Ravens also have Ed Reed limiting tight end production, as quarterbacks tend to stay away from him. Bennett is viable if you need him, but this is a week to consider other options if you have them.