The Best Fantasy Football Starts at Every Position for NFL Week 16

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIDecember 22, 2012

The Best Fantasy Football Starts at Every Position for NFL Week 16

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    If you're still wondering who the best start is at each position for Week 16 of the fantasy football season, its likely that you're playing for the championship trophy.

    Well, congratulations to you.

    For the rest of us whose season is over, it's all about pride and honor now. It's all about not finishing in last place and being forced to do whatever terrible thing your league has in store for the last-placed team.

    Today we'll break down the best starts at every position for Week 16 in fantasy football.

Quarterback: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

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    Now that all the skeptics have gotten off Cam Newton's back, we're seeing the type of dominant player that he can be for the Carolina Panthers.

    He's been ridiculously good the past month, and the Panthers have a 3-1 record over that span. Over that month, Newton has averaged over 30 points per game in standard-scoring leagues.

    Not only has he been successful with his arm, but he continues to make plays with his legs, too. However, the biggest benefit Newton is currently bringing to fantasy owners is the fact that he hasn't had a turnover in his last five games.

    With the Oakland Raiders on the schedule for Week 16, Newton should be in for another great week.

    Bonus Sleeper Pick: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

    Wilson is coming off his best game of the fantasy football season last week. He had three rushing touchdowns to go along with 92 rushing yards.

    While the San Francisco 49ers aren't an easy opponent this week, Wilson is playing at such a high level that he could surprise some people this week.

Running Back: Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

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    It has been a rather disappointing season for Ray Rice in terms of fantasy football production. In fact, this has been the first time all year that he's been considered the best start at running back.

    However, with Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson playing against stout defenses (they play against each other), Rice is your best option this week. His matchup against the New York Giants provides him with the perfect opportunity to have his best game of the season.

    As long as the Baltimore Ravens don't get down by a huge amount early, Rice should get the ball early and often. Look for him to post major numbers in both the run and pass game as Baltimore tries to bounce-back against the Giants.

    Bonus Sleeper Pick: Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts

    There is little doubt that the Kansas City Chiefs are the worst team in the NFL, and they've certainly been one of the easiest defenses to score against in fantasy football.

    While the Colts will continue to throw the ball quite often with Andrew Luck, Ballard has proven in recent weeks to be capable of being a No. 1 back. Look for him to play very well against one of the worst defenses in the league.

Wide Receiver: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

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    This could be a record-breaking week for Calvin Johnson as he takes on the Atlanta Falcons. He only needs 182 yards to pass Jerry Rice for the most receiving yards in a single season.

    While Atlanta's defense hasn't been horrid this year, they don't have the personnel to slow down a threat like Johnson. In fact, the only player capable of slowing down the best receiver in the game is his quarterback, Matthew Stafford.

    As long as Stafford can successfully put the ball in Johnson's hands, he should be in for a huge week in Week 16.

    Bonus Sleeper Pick: Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams

    Givens production has slowed down in recent weeks, but with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the schedule for Week 16, he should get back to playing at a high level.

    While Danny Amendola will likely be the first option that Sam Bradford looks for, Givens will still be the best deep-threat option. Look for him to make a few huge plays against a weaker defense to have a solid week in fantasy football.

Tight End: Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots

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    The New England Patriots scored 31 points against the San Francisco 49ers last week. This week they play the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Do you really need any more explanation as to why Aaron Hernandez should have a monster game this week? Jacksonville simply has no chance of slowing down New England or Hernandez.

    This game should get ugly pretty quickly.

    Bonus Sleeper Pick: Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers

    It's almost laughable to consider Finley a sleeper pick, but he hasn't played up to expectations at all this season.

    However, a matchup with the Tennessee Titans should give him the best opportunity to have a big week in terms of fantasy football. As long as he can hold onto the ball, which he's done a better job of recently, Finley should enjoy some great success in Week 16 against the Titans.

Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots

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    Remember how we talked about how lopsided of a game it was going to be between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars?

    Yeah, that is why Stephen Gostkowski is the best start at kicker this week. The Patriots have a serious chance of putting 50 points on the board this week, which gives Gostkowski the chance of putting up major points.

    Bonus Sleeper Pick: Rob Bironas, Tennessee Titans

    While the Green Bay Packers have been playing better on defense as of late, it is still a shaky unit in terms of slowing teams down.

    As long as Jake Locker doesn't turn the ball over, the Titans could have a big week offensively. That means Bironas is a sleeper pick to do well from the kicker position in fantasy football.

Defense: Chicago Bears

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    With defenses it is all about the matchup, and no team has a better matchup than the Chicago Bears this week. Why is that, you ask?

    Well, Chicago gets the wonderful privilege of playing the Arizona Cardinals this week. Yes, I know they put 38 points on the board last week, but that was more due to the awful play of the Detroit Lions than the dominance of Arizona.

    Look for Chicago to dominate this game from the start and force numerous turnovers.

    Bonus Sleeper Pick: Miami Dolphins

    It has been an up-and-down year for the Dolphins on offense, but their defense has played pretty solid throughout the season.

    With the Buffalo Bills coming to town this week, they'll have a rather difficult matchup on their hands. However, if Miami can slow down C.J. Spiller, it should have a chance of making this a low-scoring game.