If you are still alive, I am willing bet you either had Jamaal Charles or at least didn’t play against him after his historic Week 15 outburst.
A lot of people are in their championship this week, while some may still have a week left.
It’s time to earn that championship trophy. so let’s take a look at the Week 16 matchups.
Week 16 Start or Sit
Denver Broncos at Houston Texans
Wes Welker still has not been cleared to practice as of Wednesday his status is up in the air for Sunday. When he missed last Thursday’s game, Andre Caldwell filled in and played well. If Welker is out again, expect them to utilize Caldwell in the slot role again and put up similar number to Welker.
They really seem to have gained trust Montee Ball quickly but with how bad the running back position has been this year Knowshon Moreno is still a must-start option splitting snaps.
The Texans just placed Ben Tate on the injured reserve, ending his season. It looks like Dennis Johnson would be the beneficiary but unless you owned Tate and are scrambling, it is hard to trust him with the matchup.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Ryan Tannehill is coming off his third straight 20-plus-point game. Since week 10 he has had at least 250 yards or 2 touchdowns in each game. For once I actually like Mike Wallace. The Bills are a great matchup for opposing receivers and I think Wallace comes up big. I would not want to start either running back this week but if I were forced to I would go with Daniel Thomas.
The Bills will be starting Thad Lewis and I think that leads to more of the running game. It should make both running backs good low end RB2 or flex plays.
Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs
Donald Brown left the game early, but as of now it looks like he will be good to go. Trent Richardson actually played well in relief of Brown and that could mean he eats in to Brown’s playing time this week. Coby Fleener had a goose egg for anyone who started him. The Colts got up early and the game was never really in doubt and no one in the Colts passing game was really successful.
Alex Smith had a great Fantasy week last week, but it had a lot to do with Jamaal Charles. Smith should be a solid start again this week against a Colts team that has struggled on defense other than last week against the Texans who have quit on the season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at St. Louis Rams
Bobby Rainey struggled last week against a tough 49er run defense. He has a better matchup and should bounce back with a good performance this week against the Rams who have given up 16 rushing touchdowns on the season.
Zac Stacy has had either 70 yards or a touchdown in every game since taking over as the starting running back for the Rams. The Rams lean heavily on him and I wouldn’t expect that to change this week. Stacy should be a borderline RB1 again this week.
Cleveland Browns at N.Y. Jets
The Browns offense didn’t do a whole lot last week. Josh Gordon was invisible until the last drive of the game saving his owners a terrible performance. Jordan Cameron struggled but in the big group of tight ends that is average he has high upside and I would go with his upside over some of the other options.
Chris Ivory is still the only person who should be on a roster. If you are looking for a desperation play for a defense the Jets could be a good play. Playing at home against a team that has been a good streaming option for defenses. I wouldn’t have them as a top 10 play but they should be a top 15 option.
New Orleans Saints at Carolina PanthersA lot of owners have a tough option this week with Drew Brees. The Panthers are a tough matchup and it comes on the road where Brees has struggled this year. His best game on the road, fantasy wise, this season came last week against the Rams and he turned the ball over 3 times. Brees did dominate the last time these two teams faced off but the Saints and Brees are a completely different team in home primetime games. Jimmy Graham and Brees are the only Saints I would want near my starting lineup with the tough matchup in Carolina.
With Jonathan Stewart out last week DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert both saw an uptick in playing time. Tolbert is still the back with the better bet for the touchdown but Williams did a lot more with the extra playing time. He had over 5 yards per carry and turned a short reception into a long touchdown. If you are looking for help in your, flex Williams is a top-25 running back this week.
Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals
Don’t buy into Matt Asiata based on what he did last week. He had 3 carries where he just happened to make it into the end zone and didn’t even average 2.0 yards per carry. Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart were both limited on Wednesday and there is not sure bet that both or either plays. If Peterson or Gerhart is active they are good options with Peterson being a top-10 play and Gerhart, if Peterson is out, a top 15 play.
If Cordarrelle Patterson is out there in a keeper or dynasty league he needs to be added. His talent is off the charts, but he isn’t involved enough to trust him at this point in the season.
Giovanni Bernard was used a lot in Week 15 against the Steelers and it isn’t a surprise with the Bengals being behind early. An encouraging sign for Bernard owners is he was given numerous carries inside the 10-yard line. He now has 5 straight games of double digit carries and he has at least 14 touches in each of those games. Bernard is a top 20 play against the Vikings who are giving up 4.2 yards per carry.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
As bad as Tony Romo might be as a real life quarterback late in games, he is still a good Fantasy quarterback. Last week, he still managed to throw for over 350 yards and two touchdowns before he threw the game away.
Kirk Cousins played well in his first start of the season and now gets to play a Cowboys defense that didn’t force a punt in the second half against the Matt Flynn. I expect big games for Cousins, Alfred Morris, and Pierre Garcon. Garcon and Morris are top 10 plays at their positions and Cousins a top 12 and a great option for daily leagues.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Kendall Wright had 150 yards and 21 targets last week in the comeback effort against Arizona. The Jaguars have given up 17 touchdowns to opposing receivers this year and Wright could be in for another big day. For the first time in a while the Jaguars got beat on the ground and not through the air. That is something Chris Johnson owners would like to hear but I think the defense bounces back and holds Johnson in check.
Cecil Shorts was placed on the injured reserve ending his season but I think this actually hurts Ace Sanders. The Titans have a good secondary and Sanders will get tougher matchups being the number 1 receiver. If I own Maurice Jones-Drew and Jordan Todman I would be hoping that Jones-Drew doesn’t suit up. Todman had over 150 yards filling in last week and should do well again against a team that can be beat on the ground.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
The only starter on Arizona that you would want to start regardless of the matchup is Larry Fitzgerald and he is coming off a concussion and facing the number 1 defense when it comes to fantasy points against for receivers. A lot of owners will start him because he is their best option but I don’t see him as a top 25 receiver this week and he has only 1 100 yard game this season and it came back in week 6 against the 49ers. Fitzgerald has become a touchdown dependent option and that is what he is again this week.
You are starting Marshawn Lynch because unless you’re in an 8 or fewer team league you don’t have a choice. In daily leagues you want to look elsewhere. He hasn’t topped 75 yards on the ground in his last 4 games and is facing a run defense that hasn’t given up over 100 yards on the ground since week 7 when these two teams faced off where Lynch had 91 of those 106 yards.
N.Y. Giants at Detroit LionsVictor Cruz could sit out the last 2 weeks of the season after getting banged up last week. This opens up an opportunity for Rueben Randle to show what he can do. I have been a fan of Randle for a while and I think he performs well if he gets the chance to start but his stat line is dependent on what Eli Manning can do. Andre Brown ended a lot of seasons last week with only 17 yards. Brown is still a good option at running back but he has moved from a high end RB2 to a low end RB2 or a flex option.
Yes, Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford did not play well Monday night, but they are still top-5 players at their positions and I still think Johnson is the No. 1 receiver. Reggie Bush came back and played well for everyone who waited it out and started him Monday night. He should be fine again this week and I expect big things for all of these Lions options against a Giants team that wants this season to end as soon as possible.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Packers
Starting in Week 9, Antonio Brown has only had one game where he didn’t score double digits. Brown should be a good option again this week in all leagues against a Packers team that ranks in the bottom six in points allowed to receivers.
Le’veon Bell is tied for 10th among running back in targets this season and he missed three games to start the season. The last time Bell didn’t have either 80 total yards or a touchdown was back in Week 6 when the Steelers faced the Jets. Bell is a borderline RB1 this week regardless of how bad the offensive line is in Pittsburgh.
Aaron Rodgers still has not been cleared to play but if he does he should go back to being a top 5 quarterback. That is not a mistake for Andrew Quarless’s stats in weeks 14 and 15. He did in fact post the exact same stat line with 6 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. If Flynn plays again Quarless could be a decent deeper option at tight end.
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers
The magic number for Rashad Jennings is 15. In the 6 games he received 15 more carries he has either totaled 100 yards or scored at least 1 touchdown. Darren McFadden won’t play again this weekend and Jennings should get the work again and provide for his owners. The return of Denarius Moore hurts Rod Streater’s fantasy value as being another mouth to feed in the offense. Moore’s return makes all of the receiving options bad plays in leagues of 14 teams or less.
Ryan Mathews has surprised a lot of people this season. He has managed to play every game and is coming off back-to-back 29 carry games. Mathews has 5 100-yard games. After what Jamaal Charles did to Oakland last week I wouldn’t be surprised to see Danny Woodhead get a bump in snaps and be able to do something with them. It is a risky play though and not something I would want to do with my season on the line. Woodhead is not a top 25 option this week.
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
No one thought Shane Vereen would only have three catches for eight yards last week. The Dolphins game planned to stop Vereen and it worked well I think Vereen bounces back and gets about 100 total yards this week as Tom Brady finds a way to get him involved. Vereen was shut down so that meant someone else had to be open. In this case there were two people Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman both went over 130 yards and Edelman hauled in a touchdown. Edelman should be a high end WR2 and Amendola is a mid range WR2.
The only person I would want to start on the Ravens is Justin Tucker. However, if I owned Ray Rice I would have been pleased with what I saw out of him against a tough run defense in Detroit. New England hasn’t held a team with a true starting running back in check since they played Tampa Bay with Doug Martin back in week 3. If the Ravens let Rice get involved he could have a good day.
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles
Jay Cutler came back with mixed results. He started off poorly but shook off the rust to finish with a good game. Cutler should play well for the full 60 minutes against the Eagles who can be beaten through the air giving up the 2nd most passing yards of any team in the league.
This could be a meaningless game for the Eagles and that could worry some owners of LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Nick Foles. If Dallas wins their game earlier in the day the Eagles have nothing to play for this week and could rest some starters. Chip Kelly said he wasn’t resting starters but I think it is just coach speak and the starters will play but not get a normal workload. McCoy and Jackson have to be started against this terrible Chicago defense, but people might be able to find a better option than Foles but he should still be a top 10 play.
Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers
Tony Gonzalez was the only Falcon to have a good game that wasn’t touchdown dependent like Steven Jackson’s. The tough matchup against the 49ers after struggling to have a good game against the Redskins is just another reason to stay away from the Falcons.
This is a great matchup for every 49er. People were worried about Frank Gore’s workload decreasing in recent weeks but last week’s 22 carries should provide some relief that Gore is still a clear cut number 1. If you need a receiver I think it is time to trust Michael Crabtree as a flex option and borderline WR2.
Good luck, and I hope this Week 16 Start or Sit column helps you bring home a trophy! As always, if you have any questions leave a comment below or ask me on Twitter @TheSportsGuy40.