Who To Start And Sit In Week 16 Of Fantasy Football
If you have Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, LeSean McCoy, Justin Forsett, Jamaal Charles, Jordy Nelson, A.J. Green, T.Y. Hilton, or Emmanuel Sanders, you probably had a pretty good regular season. Your playoffs came crashing down last week and that’s just the cruelness of fantasy football. I was right there with you, losing a few semifinals because my star players didn’t come through. All I can say is that I hope you survived the issue and if not there’s always daily fantasy sports for the next couple weeks.
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 Know Who You Should Start?
Alex Smith (RB – Kansas City)
It’s championship weekend and I’m telling you to start Alex Smith. Yes, it hurts me to say it, but I think it’s the right call. There are a lot of question marks out there this week. Jay Cutler got benched. Philip Rivers has a messed up back. Eli Manning faces a dominant pass rush in St. Louis. Joe Flacco generally has bad road splits and could have a big lead. Andy Dalton is terrible in night games. Since the bye in Week 7, Smith has scored less than 10 fantasy points only once. Sure, he’s only scored more than 15 twice, including last week, but a solid floor is a good for a championship game. It definitely helps that the Steelers have given up more than 15 fantasy points to quarterbacks in every game since Week 6.
Lamar Miller (RB – Miami)
I’ve gotten numerous questions about Miller this week and it’s likely because owners are depressed by his performance in recent weeks. He’s crossed 60 yards once since Week 9 and has only found the end zone twice in that time. Luckily for him, the Dolphins haven’t been winning and they should rededicate themselves to the run this week. The Vikings have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and Miller is still running for a strong yards per carry number.
Tre Mason (RB – St. Louis)
One spot ahead of Minnesota in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs is the Giants, who conveniently happen to be playing against Tre Mason this week. Don’t be scared about Mason’s usage from last week because we know Arizona is great against the run. The Rams were likely steering away from Mason due to that, but he’ll be back at it again this week. There’s even the potential the Rams get a nice early lead and ride Mason most of the game.
Charles Johnson (WR – Minnesota)
Before we get to Johnson, let me say that I like Harry Douglas if Julio Jones doesn’t play and I like Dante Moncrief if T.Y. Hilton is out. You may have been afraid to use Johnson because after his breakout game against Chicago in Week 11 because he wasn’t a brand name. You shouldn’t feel weird about it now since Johnson has continued to perform as Minnesota’s #1 wide receiver. Miami’s pass defense hasn’t been as great as it used to be after losing safety Louis Delmas and Johnson should the chance for at least a couple home run shots this week.
Golden Tate (WR – Detroit)
Tate found the end zone last week, but he hasn’t been nearly as good since Calvin Johnson came back. Tate hasn’t passed 100 yards since Week 10 and last week was his first touchdown since Week 8. Thankfully his owners have the opportunity for him to return to form this week since the Bears are horrible at everything in the secondary. Tate did work in their match-up a few weeks ago, putting up eight catches for 89 yards. That’s not bad and there’s definitely potential for more.
Jason Witten (TE – Dallas)
You don’t always know when Witten shows up, but this should be another week in which he does. Indianapolis has gotten carved up in recent weeks by Heath Miller, Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, and to a certain extent Jordan Cameron. Their best games were against Larry Donnell (clearly he isn’t as good as people thought he’d be), Clay Harbor, and Garrett Graham. As you can tell there’s a name value issue with the points the Colts allow and Witten has the talent to elevate his production to the name-value level.
Jacksonville Jaguars Defense
I’m giving you a bonus play today because it’s championship week and I seem to be all over the Jaguars. Jacksonville is sixth in the league in sacks and fifth in the league in fumbles forced. They haven’t necessarily gotten the interceptions to boot, but Tennessee is eight in the league in giveaways, so the time is ripe for the Jaguars to pounce. I don’t mind Carolina either if you’re desperate for a defense. They’ve gotten better in recent weeks and Johnny Football clearly doesn’t value the football.
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Philip Rivers (QB – San Diego)
Everyone was buying into Rivers earlier in the season and for good reason. He threw two touchdowns or more in every game from Week 2 to Week 8. Since then, he’s done that only once and now news is surfacing that Rivers has been playing with a bad back in recent weeks. Things make a little more sense now and Rivers isn’t going to improve this weekend against a team allowing the fourth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. It certainly doesn’t help Rivers’ best receiver, Keenan Allen, is missing the game with a broken collarbone.
Lesean McCoy (RB – Philadelphia)
Last week I told you to bench A.J. Green for Marquess Wilson. If you listened to me then you saw Wilson outscore Green and were rewarded. If you didn’t, well that’s your own dumbass fault. McCoy is the star I’m telling you to sit this week for a few reasons. For starters Washington is great at holding down running backs, allowing the third fewest points to the position this season. Secondly McCoy has seemed to lose his goal line role to Chris Polk after already losing plenty of passing down work to Darren Sproles. With all that taken away from him, there’s very little upside to McCoy this week as Philadelphia avoids running the ball and attacks one of the worst passing defenses in the league.
Andre Williams (RB – N.Y. Giants)
After McCoy, I’m not that scared of situations involving Marshawn Lynch, Arian Foster, Matt Forte, or Jeremy Hill this week despite their matchups. I’ll move on to someone else who owns his team carries as the Giants look likely to be without Rashad Jennings again. The Rams may’ve gotten gashed by Kerwynn Williams last week, but he’s a small shift back. Williams is more of a power back and the Giants’ line is quite mediocre. The Rams generally do a good job at shutting down the run, so look for them to do so again this week.
T.Y. Hilton (WR – Indianapolis)
You might be hard pressed to bench Hilton given how good he’s been this year, but remember that hamstring injuries are awful things for running backs and wide receivers. They re-injure very easily and you can’t generate your top speed if you’re nursing one. It’s great that Hilton’s going against the burnable Cowboys’ secondary, but he hasn’t practiced yet this week. He could easily get pulled from the lineup after re-injury or maybe the Colts sit him because their chances of a home bye are very remote. You should definitely avoid him in DFS.
Kelvin Benjamin (WR – Carolina)
I’m not huge on my man Benji this week because of the matchup against Joe Haden. Haden has shut down some great receivers this week, including star A.J. Green last week. Benjamin is young and raw as a receiver. He certainly doesn’t have all the tricks yet and he’s afraid of getting hit over the middle at times. Haden should be able to lock him up, forcing Newton to hit Greg Olsen if he wants to advance the football.
Jordan Reed (TE – Washington)
Robert Griffin III doesn’t look for Reed. It’s that simple. He didn’t when he returned from injury and he didn’t when he replaced Colt McCoy last week. Reed hasn’t been a red zone threat either, so there’s really not much to like here.