8 Players to Avoid in Week 16

Matt Hicks, Staff Writer 

Quarterbacks

Jimmy Garoppolo vs JAX

Garoppolo has been nothing but impressive since taking over the starting job in San Francisco, going 77-113 for 1,008 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. This week, however, he faces off against Jacksonville’s defense; who has allowed just 190 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks and have more interceptions (20) than touchdowns allowed (14). He’s going to be a great quarterback, but not in Week 16.

Tom Brady vs BUF 

Brady has fallen off since Week 13; completing just 62% of his passes (67-108) and throwing 2 more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (2). He’s failed to record a touchdown in one of those games, and didn’t break the 300-yard mark once. In Week 16 he faces off against Buffalo, who held him to 258 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception in Week 13. Buffalo has allowed the 3rd least fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season and has allowed the least fantasy points over the last two weeks. It’s tough to bench Brady, but consider him a low-end QB1; who can be replaced for players with better match-ups this week.

Running Backs

Samaje Perrine vs DEN

Perrine’s 15 minutes (or 3 weeks) of fantasy glory are over; the once promising back has just 120 yards on 33 carries (2.8 yards/carry) since Week 13. In Week 16, Perrine plays the Broncos; who have allowed the 7th least fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Over the last two weeks, Denver has allowed just 90 yards on 36 carries (2.5 yards/carry) and they’ve allowed just one touchdown to running backs over the last 4 weeks. Perrine should be considered as a flex option only in very deep leagues.

Carlos Hyde vs JAX

Hyde has rushed for 100 yards just once this season, and has rushed for more than 55 yards just once over the last 3 weeks. He’s scored just one touchdown since Week 6, and was shutdown in Week 15 against Tennessee; only putting up 25 yards on 16 carries (1.6 yards/carry). Jacksonville hasn’t allowed a touchdown to opposing running backs over the last 4 weeks; allowing just 91.5 rushing yards/game over that time-span. Hyde should be considered a flex play this week, and avoided in all but deep leagues.

Wide Receivers

Sterling Shepard vs ARI

Shepard showed up big against the Eagles in Week 15; he did so, however, on 16 targets. Shepard mas seen more than 10 targets just twice this season, and he saw just 9 total targets in Weeks 13 and 14. In those weeks, he totaled just 72 yards and 0 touchdowns. In Week 16 Shepard matches-up against Arizona; who has allowed the 4th least fantasy points over the last 2 weeks. They’ve allowed just 18 receptions over those two weeks, and 97.5 total yards/game to opposing wideouts. Shepard should be left on the bench; except in the deepest of PPR leagues.

Robby Anderson vs LAC

Anderson saw a high volume of targets in his first game against Bryce Petty, but caught just 5 of his 12 targets (42%). In Week 16, he gets a tougher match-up; against the Chargers who have allowed just 105 yards/game to opposing wide receivers over the last 4 weeks. In that same time-span, they’ve allowed just one touchdown; which seriously limits the upside of this possession based receiver who is struggling to remain fantasy relevant following the McCown injury. Consider Anderson a flex option, only in PPR leagues this week.

Tight Ends

Jason Witten vs SEA

Witten’s recent success has been based, primarily, on his ability to score 2 touchdowns in his last 3 games. In Week 16 he will have to score against the Seahawks who have allowed no touchdowns to opposing tight ends over the last 4 weeks and only 4 touchdowns to the position on the season. Witten is always a boom/bust play, and this week seems all but certain to be a bust; leave him on your bench.

Greg Olsen vs TB

Last week we saw the Greg Olsen we’ve been hoping for; the monster player that can catch 9 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. Those 116 yards, however, are 3x the total yardage he’s gained in his other 4 healthy starts this season. In Week 16 the Panthers play the Buccaneers; who shutdown opposing tight ends; allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to them this season. They’ve allowed just 3 touchdowns all season to opposing tight ends and are allowed an average of 4 receptions for 43 yards per game to them. It’s easy to get excited about Olsen, but you didn’t start him last week and you shouldn’t start him this week either.

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Week 16 Championship Caliber Streaming Options

Matt Hicks, Staff Writer 

Quarterbacks

Ben Roethlisberger vs HOU

Big Ben has been on fire since Week 11; going 153-226 for 1,727 yards, and a 14:5 TD:INT ratio. That’s propelled him to QB7, making him a sure fire QB1. This week he faces Houston, who has allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. Even without Brown, Roethlisberger has enough weapons to lead you to fantasy glory.

Blake Bortles vs SF

Forget everything you’ve ever known about Bortles, close your eyes, and put this man in your starting line-up. Bortles has finished as a Top 10 QB in 3 of the last 4 weeks and has thrown for 1,063 yards and 7 touchdowns, with just 1 interception, in the process. The 49ers have allowed the 9th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks over the last 4 weeks, and the 3rd most on the season. Bortles can win you a fantasy championship, I repeat; Bortles can win you your fantasy championship.

Case Keenum vs GB

Green Bay has allowed 7 touchdowns over the last 2 weeks, Keenum has 4 touchdowns over the last 2 weeks. Green Bay has allowed 14 touchdowns over the last 4 weeks, Keenum has 8 touchdowns over the last 4 weeks. Keenum has been a safe play since Week 12; finishing as QB 13, QB 6, QB 17, QB 4. He’s sure to make an impact against the Packers who have allowed the most points to opposing QBs since Week 12.

Running Backs

Lamar Miller vs PIT

Miller struggled in Week 15, but that can be attributed to a game script that favored the pass. In Week 16, he faces a Pittsburgh defense that’s allowed the most points to opposing running backs over the last 4 weeks. In that span, opposing running backs are averaging 104 yards and 2 touchdowns per game. IF the Texans can keep the game close, Miller can make a big impact; he’s a must start if he’s on your squad.

Frank Gore vs BAL

Baltimore sounds like an intimidating match-up, but for running backs it’s not. The Ravens have allowed 7th most fantasy points to opposing running backs over the last 4 weeks. That includes allowing 8 touchdowns and 4.1 yards/carry. Over those 4 weeks, Gore has rushed for 284 yards and caught 6 passes for 64 yards. He’s averaging 3.7 yards/carry and 19 carries a game. Gore is the RB20 on the season, making him a weekly RB2; this match-up secures his value as a starter.

Latavius Murray vs GB

Murray finished as RB10 in Week 15, rushing for 76 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. That’s Murray’s 4th touchdown since Week 12. The game script is going to favor Murray; as the Vikings are likely to take an early lead against the Rodgers-less Packers. This, combined with Green Bay allowing the 9th most fantasy points to opposing running backs over the last 4 weeks makes Murray a solid flex play.

Wide Receivers

JuJu Smith-Schuster vs HOU

This is a perfect storm for JuJu’s high upside. Smith-Schuster put up 114 yards and caught all 6 of his targets in Brown’s absence in Week 15. Expect more of the same, and at least one touchdown, from JuJu against the Houston offense that’s allowed 26 receptions, 461 yards and 3 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers over the last two weeks. JuJu is WR 31 on the season, but becomes a high-end WR2 in Week 16, as he takes over as WR 1 in Pittsburgh.

Mike Evans & Adam Humphries vs CAR

In deep leagues, you should already know to start Evans, but I’ve seen him questioned a lot in shallow leagues. Evans and Humphries face off against a Carolina squad that’s allowed 15.5 receptions, 205 yards, and 1.75 touchdowns per game to opposing receivers over the last month. Both Evans and Humphries have had the impact diluted by the vast array of options in Tampa. With injuries to Jackson, Howard, and Brate in Week 15 these two WRs could both have big impacts in Week 16.

Josh Gordon vs CHI

Since returning to the league in Week 13, Gordon is averaging 9 targets per game. He’s facing off against Chicago in Week 16; the team that’s allowed the 12th most fantasy points to opposing wideouts over the last 4 weeks. Corey Coleman has failed to catch more than one pass in 2 of his last three games; making Gordon the WR1 in Cleveland and a solid flex play with high upside in Week 16.

Tight Ends

Eric Ebron vs CIN

Ebron has been hot over the last two weeks, catching 15 of his 18 targets for 127 yards and a touchdown. In Week 16 he faces off against the Bengals, who have allowed the 5th most fantasy points to opposing tight ends over the same two-week span. Consider the red-shot Ebron a WR 1 this week, and a difference maker in PPR championships.

Benjamin Watson vs IND

Watson caught all 4 of his targets in Week 15, wracking up 74 yards and a touchdown. In Week 16, Watson is matched up against the Colts, who have allowed 13 receptions. 212 yards and 2 touchdowns to opposing tight ends over the last four weeks. He won’t make a huge impact, but if you’re in need of a safe option in a deep league; Watson could be your saving grace.

Jack Doyle vs BAL

On the other side of this match-up, Doyle also makes a solid streamer. He caught 7 of 8 targets in Week 15, the 8th game this season he’s caught at least 5 receptions. The Ravens have allowed 16 receptions to opposing tight ends over the last 2 weeks; giving Doyle a safe floor in PPR leagues. The Ravens have also allowed 90.5 yards/game to tight ends over that timespan; giving Doyle some upside. Just like Gore, don’t let Baltimore’s name intimidate you, Doyle is a TE 1 this week.

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Week 16 Waiver Targets & Dynasty Stashes

Matt Hicks, Staff Writer 

Quarterbacks

Jimmy Garoppolo

Garoppolo has progressed past a dynasty stash. He finished as QB10 in Week 15; going 31-43 for 381 yards and a touchdown. He’s reenergized a previously flailing 49ers offense and will be their franchise quarterback moving forward. The 49ers have a lot of cap room to fill in the off season, and that can mean the addition of some great offensive weapons for Jimmy G. In the meantime, he’s a stream able option in Week 16. He’s available in 60.6% of ESPN leagues.

Brock Osweiler

The name doesn’t instill confidence in any player savvy enough to be playing in their fantasy championship this week. Savvy players, however, know to look past names; and they’ll see Osweiler looked strong coming in mid-game in Week 15. He completed 70% of his 17 passing attempts for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns, he also had a rushing touchdown. The Jets aren’t an intimidating match-up for anyone in need of a streaming option. He’s available in 99.2% of leagues.

Nick Foles

Foles took advantage of a bad Giants defense in Week 15; going 24-38 for 237 yards and 4 touchdowns. Things don’t get much tougher for Foles; he gets the Raiders in Week 16, who have allowed the 6th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Foles performed as the QB3 last week, and is available in 54.8% of leagues.

Running Backs

Wayne Gallman

The Giants have shown an interest in giving Gallman an increased role late in the season. He’s seen 20 carries over the last two weeks, which is 1 less than he had in his previous 4 games combined. He’s averaging a strong 4.9 yards/carry since Week 14 and had caught 13 of his 16 targets in those games. The Giants have bigger concerns in the offseason, and likely won’t focus on the running back position; making this rookie a sneaky stash for dynasty players. He’s available in 94.9% of leagues.

Tion Green

Green is another rookie to keep an eye on. He just began seeing snaps in Week 13, but since then he’s seen 26 carries. He’s averaging 3.8 yards/carry and has a touchdown in those 3 games. The Lions could shake things up in the offseason in their disappointing backfield; which could mean a lot more action for Green moving forward. He’s a deep stash, but don’t be surprised to see Green as the RB2 in Detroit next season. He’s available in 99.9% of fantasy leagues.

Wide Receivers

Keelan Cole

Like Green, Cole is an undrafted free agent. Unlike Green, Cole is making his impact now. Cole finished as the WR1 in Week 15; catching 7 of his 9 targets for 186 yards and a touchdown. Since Week 13, Cole has caught 86% of his 15 targets for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’s another piece of a young, dynamic receiving corps in Jacksonville that will be potent next season. Cole is available in 98.8% of leagues and is a must-own for dynasty owners.

Martavis Bryant

With Antonio Brown out for the remainder of the regular season, the Steelers need to fill a void. Bryant is a prime candidate. Bryant has already seen an increase in targets since returning from his one game benching (37 targets since Week 10). In Week 15 he caught 4 passes for 59 yards and pulled in a touchdown. He’s likely to see an increase in targets and red zone opportunities; making him a flex play with high upside in Week 16. He’s available in 57.9% of leagues.

Robert Woods

Woods was a must start Week 7-11, before going down with an injury. He came back strong in Week 15; catching 6 of 7 targets for 45 yards and a touchdown. He’s available in 33% of leagues and has the potential to be a difference maker as a WR2 in a championship match-up against a weak Titans defense.

Tight Ends

Eric Ebron

Ebron has put together back to back solid fantasy outings. Since Week 14 Ebron has 15 receptions on 18 targets and has one touchdown. Since Week 12, Ebron has caught 73% of his targets; which indicated that Ebron’s volume should keep increasing. Ebron is available in 69.1% of leagues and is a great streaming option in PPR leagues.

Trey Burton

Burton proved in Week 15 that he can be an impact player even with Ertz in the game. Without Ertz, he caught 9 of 13 for 117 yards and two touchdowns. With Ertz, in Week 15, Burton caught both of his targets for just 15 yards, but one of those was a touchdown. I wouldn’t stream his this season, but I’m interested to see how the Eagles can build him into their offense next season. He’s available in 87.4% of leagues.

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