If you’re still reading the column this week then you are either in your fantasy football finals or you’ve ran out of things to look at on BroBible. Hopefully it’s the former, so we’ll congratulate you on getting this far. A key thing to remember is always be process oriented. Sometimes you make the lineup decisions like starting Doug Martin over Frank Gore or Michael Crabtree over Brandin Cooks that don’t turn out the way you expected. The key is that a sound process got you to those decisions. Your decisions shouldn’t be results oriented. Thinking that way will more likely than not leave you a week behind rather than being successful during that week.
Below is a list of guys I’m focused on for one reason or another this week. They’re especially important in daily fantasy sports (DFS) leagues like DraftKings. If you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics like PPR. You can always ask about trades as well.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Jameis Winston (QB – Tampa Bay)
The quarterback situation is pretty easy to figure out this week since the studs are all gonna be started. If for some reason you’ve been surviving without a stud then Winston and a couple guys mentioned below are in good enough spots to start. The over/under on the Buccaneers game in New Orleans is 52, so Vegas is projecting a shootout. Winston wasn’t great against New Orleans two games ago, but games in the Superdome skew high-scoring and Tampa’s pas defense will likely be more of a sieve than it was last time around.
Todd Gurley (RB – Los Angeles)
Gurley has been awful this year, but the 49ers are the cure for what ails running backs. They’ve given up at least 20 points to the position in all but one of their last 12 games. Gurley is a slight home favorite and San Francisco doesn’t have the defensive quality to bother rookie Jared Goff too much. Expect the Rams to rely heavily on Gurley and his 20+ touches should lead to production and a touchdown, something Gurley has produced in his last two home games.
Ty Montgomery (RB/WR – Green Bay)
It seems as if the Packers finally realized they should rely heavily on Montgomery. The Vikings are seen as a somewhat stout run defense, but they just gave up 153 yards to the Colts. Montgomery is obviously also a factor catching balls out of the backfield, which means he’ll remain on the field most of the game. He seems safe enough to use in championship week.
Malcolm Mitchell (WR – New England)
We’re going back to the well with Mitchell because he’s done well in his last five games other than the one against Minnesota, who obviously has one of the best secondaries in the league. The Patriots are projected to put up plenty of points this week against the worst pass defense in the league according to Football Outsiders DVOA. Mitchell scored two touchdowns against the Jets in their last matchup and that was before he fully fit into the offensive scheme. Expect similarly positive results this Saturday.
Cameron Meredith (WR – Chicago)
We love our old favorites in the last fantasy relevant week of the year. Meredith has produced surprisingly well in recent weeks in large part to Matt Barkley’s surprising ability to keep the offense moving. Meredith has produced double digit fantasy points in the last two games and is primed for another big effort. Josh Norman is expected to be on Alshon Jeffery, so Meredith will see plenty of room against the mediocre remainder of Washington’s secondary.
Charles Clay (TE – Buffalo)
The tight end situation has been pretty dreadful all year and that continues this week. Injuries to Gronk, Jordan Reed, and now Tyler Eifert have left owners desperate for an option. There is no waiver-type TE in a good spot this week to see heavy targets. With that being the case, the best option we can offer is Clay. The Dolphins have given up 11+ points to the position in half of their last six games, so at least Clay has something to work with. He’s also managed to score a touchdown in his last two games. Let’s hope for the best.
Other guys you should start: Cam Newton (QB – Carolina), Philip Rivers (QB – Cleveland), Tyrod Taylor (QB – Buffalo), Colin Kaepernick (QB – San Francisco), Matt Barkley (QB – Chicago), Jordan Howard (RB – Chicago), Jonathan Stewart (RB – Carolina), Frank Gore (RB – Indianapolis), Kenneth Farrow (RB – San Diego), Isaiah Crowell (RB – Cleveland), DeAndre Hopkins (WR – Houston), Emmanuel Sanders (WR – Denver), Michael Crabtree (WR – Oakland), Golden Tate (WR – Detroit), Dontrelle Inman (WR – San Diego), Eli Rogers (WR – Pittsburgh), Pierre Garcon (WR – Washington), Ted Ginn (WR – Carolina), Hunter Henry (TE – San Diego)
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Matthew Stafford (QB – Detroit)
As we said, most QBs are in good spots, but we’ll still highlight a few you should stay away from. Stafford didn’t look great last week with a busted finger against the Giants. He’s also struggled in recent weeks having only put up one two-touchdown game in his last five. The Cowboys limit possessions for their opponents with their ball control offense, so don’t expect Stafford to light things up in a game with a modest 44.5 over/under.
Bilal Powell (RB – New York Jets)
You’re likely feeling good about starting Powell against the Patriots because of his pass-catching ways, but the Patriots are actually pretty good at holding down RBs. Their defense is rounding into form and has limited opposing RBs to under 10 fantasy points in three of the last four games. Bill Bellichick’s defenses are also really effective against young QBs, which means the Jets offense should sputter most of the day.
Ryan Mathews (RB – Philadelphia)
As with Powell, owners are feeling good about Mathews after his performance last week. As with Powell, owners should hesitate to insert Mathews into their lineup because Darren Sproles is back healthy this week, which will limit the total touches Mathews receives. The Giants are also good against the run, ranking 5th in Football Outsiders DVOA.
Davante Adams (WR – Green Bay)
Adams has definitely helped your team reach this point even if he did drop two easy touchdowns last week. Unfortunately you need to sit him for the finals because the matchup against the Vikings is too tough. Minnesota allows the second least amount of fantasy points to wide receivers and Adams isn’t a clear talent winner.
Terrelle Pryor (WR – Cleveland)
Few cornerbacks have surprised with their elite play this year than San Diego’s Casey Hayward. Hayward has shut down numerous receivers including the likes of Mike Evans and Amari Cooper. Pryor is still reasonably raw and it’s shown in recent weeks as defenses pay him more attention. He offers too much risk in a must win game for you this weekend.
Coby Fleener (TE – New Orleans)
Rather than present a TE for you who you usually start but need to bench this week, I want to reinforce the idea that Fleener shouldn’t be considered for a starting spot. He’s awful. He hasn’t scored in double digits since Week 6. He’s managed three catches or less in five of his last seven games. He only went for one catch the last time he faced the Bucs. Stay away from Fleener. Don’t buy into any hype for him this week.
Other guys you should sit: Eli Manning (QB – New York Giants), Carson Palmer (QB – Arizona), Andy Dalton (QB – Cincinnati), Thomas Rawls (RB – Seattle), Tevin Coleman (RB – Carolina), Terrance West (RB – Baltimore), Jerick McKinnon (RB – Minnesota), T.J. Yeldon (RB – Jacksonville), Chris Ivory (RB – Jacksonville), Alshon Jeffery (WR – Chicago), Brandon Marshall (WR – New York Jets), Donte Moncrief (WR – Indianapolis), Jeremy Maclin (WR – Kansas City), Jamison Crowder (WR – Washington), Steve Smith (WR – Baltimore), Dennis Pitta (TE – Cleveland), Jermaine Gresham (TE – Arizona)