Matt Hicks, Staff Writer
Dak Prescott vs SEA: Start
Prescott is like Dr. Jekyll (with Zeke) and Mr. Hyde (without Zeke). In Weeks 1-9 when Zeke was active Dak went 163-259 (63%) for 1,818 yards, 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Since Week 10, Dak’s gone 107-167 (64%) for just 1,146 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. With Zeke back, and an outside shot at the playoffs on the line, look for a motivated Prescott to have a big game.
Matt Ryan vs NO: Sit
Ryan has been consistently disappointing this season, and we discussed in our Atlanta vs New Orleans preview that Ryan should be avoided this week against a tough New Orleans defense.
Blake Bortles vs HOU: Start
Bortles is one of our championship caliber streamers this week. He’s got the perfect combination of being red hot and having a great match-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.
Matthew Stafford vs CIN: Start
Stafford is quietly the QB10 on the season, and has posted a successful month; going 109-143 (76%) for 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions against defenses that included Baltimore and Minnesota. This week Stafford faces a depleted Bengals team with no playoffs hopes. Over the last 4 weeks, Cincinnati has allowed the 6th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. This combination could make Stafford the difference maker in your fantasy championship.
Drew Brees vs ATL: Start
Brees is QB9 on the season, and looked strong when he played Atlanta in Week 14. We breakdown Brees more in-depth earlier this week.
Jimmy Garoppolo vs JAX: Sit
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).
Ben Roethlisberger vs HOU: Start
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.
Case Keenum vs GB: Start
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.
Tom Brady vs BUF: Sit
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.
Carlos Hyde vs JAX: Sit
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.
Frank Gore vs BAL: Start
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.
Jordan Howard vs CLE: Sit
Howard is a tricky play; he’s one of the top boom/bust players of 2017. He’s rushed for more than 125 yards 4 times this season, but he’s rushed for less than 75 yards 8 times. His production seems to be touchdown dependent but he’s facing the Browns; who have allowed just 2 touchdowns to opposing running backs over the last four weeks. If you’re debating him as a RB2, pick your other option. He’s still a decent flex option this week.
Devonta Freeman & Tevin Coleman vs NO: Start
We mentioned earlier this week that both guys could be good plays this week. Look for Freeman to be a solid RB2 option is shallow leagues and Coleman to be a good flex option in deeper leagues.
Latavius Murray vs GB: Start
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.
Jerick McKinnon vs GB: Sit
McKinnon just hasn’t had the same level of volume as Murray. Since Week 13, he has had just 25 rushing attempts for 94 yards (3.7 yards/carry). Although he had a great receiving game in Week 15, he only had 1 other game this season with more than 51 receiving yards. The match-up makes McKinnon is huge candidate for a flex trap that will leave you bitter all off-season.
Samaje Perrine vs DEN: Sit
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.
Lamar Miller vs PIT: Start
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.
Christian McCaffery vs TB: Start
McCaffery is coming off a huge Week 15 performance where he caught 6 passes and rushed the ball 12 times for a combined 136 yards and a touchdown. In Week 16 he faces off against Tampa Bay who has allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing running backs and the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers over the last 4 weeks. He’s a must start in all PPR leagues and I believe he has RB1 upside this week.
Mohammed Sanu: Start
We discussed Sanu is our preview of New Orleans and Atlanta this week, however, I’ll mention here that Sanu has been consistently underrated this season. Expect him to be a great flex option, and show up for what Vegas pegs as the highest scoring game of the week. Bonus: it hurts, but start Julio.
Josh Gordon vs CHI: Start
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.
Mike Evans & Adam Humphries vs CAR: Start
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 and Howard in Week 15 these two WRs could both have big impacts in Week 16.
Jarvis Landry vs KC: Start
On paper, the match-up should make fantasy owners hesitate on Landry; the Chiefs have allowed the 3rd least fantasy points to opposing wideouts over the last two weeks. Landry, however, is too consistent to leave on your bench, especially in PPR leagues. He’s the only receiver in the league to have at least 5 receptions in every game, and has at least 8 receptions in 3 of his last 4 games. He’s WR14 on the season, and we need to treat him like a WR1 this week.
Robby Anderson vs LAC: Sit
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.
JuJu Smith-Schuster vs HOU: Start
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.
Ted Ginn Jr. vs ATL: Sit
Earlier in the season Ginn was a great flex option. Ginn, however, has just 4 receptions for 37 yards and 0 touchdowns since Week 13. We mentioned this earlier in the week, but avoid Ginn at all costs this week.
Marquise Goodwin vs JAX: Sit
Goodwin has all of the makings of a future fantasy star; but this week he won’t look like that at all. I see his volume staying high (33 targets since Week 13) but there little chance the rookie can compete with Jacksonville’s defense. The Jaguars have allowed just 7 touchdowns to opposing receivers this season and have given up just 107 total yards to opposing wideouts.
Sterling Shepard vs ARI: Sit
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.
Antonio Gates vs NYJ: Start
Gates has seen limited work this season, but had done well when given volume. Gates has caught 20 of his 38 targets (52%) this season. He’s averaging 9.4 yards/reception and is coming off a Week 15 touchdown. With Henry out for the season, Gates could put up some big numbers in what very well could be his last playoff run. Look for a flash of the Antonio Gates of fantasy seasons past this week.
Jason Witten vs SEA: Sit
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.
Jack Doyle vs BAL: Start
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.
Austin Hooper vs NO: Sit
Please do understand that the Atlanta offense is full of weapons so Austin Hooper really does not have any value this week. The Falcons’ game plan will likely revolve around their top 2 receivers and running back duo. Hooper only posted a 4-point performance against the Saints two short weeks ago so you’d be better suited looking elsewhere for a tight end.
Eric Ebron vs CIN: Start
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.
Greg Olsen vs TB: Sit
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.
Benjamin Watson vs IND: Start
Watson caught all 4 of his targets in Week 15, racking 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.
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