Fantasy Football Week 16: Who to Start and Who to Sit
It's finally here. Fantasy football championship time!
Nothing makes writing these articles easier than having a team that made it this far. I have ridden my own, sometimes ridiculous, advice all the way to my league's title game. There's still unfinished business, though.
Making the championship is nice, but winning it is the goal.
Well, I am here to help. If you are playing for the No. 1 spot in your fantasy league or even trying to avoid being dead last, everyone could still use a little assistance this late in the season.
Next week, I promise this portion will be a bit longer. It normally goes on for a while, but I'm saving that up for the finale next week. Right now, I'm guessing you're just interested in starts/sits. I don't blame you. So let's get to it.
You've been reading this for a couple of months now, so I think you get the gist of it.
Sam Bradford plays the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tony Romo plays the News Orleans Saints. Which means that each quarterback is virtually a lock for 20 points.
Andrew Luck (Indianapolis)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
No stranger to this article, Andrew Luck has proved himself to be a fantasy stud when given the right matchup. This week, he gets one of those matchups against St. Louis.
He may make a couple of mistakes and toss an interception or two, but he should be able to provide plenty of yards and scores to make you forget about that.
He's only being started in 32.2 percent of leagues right now, which makes me wonder who people are starting over him. They must have some studs on their teams. Either that, or there are a lot of Cleveland Browns fans that have a lot of confidence in Brandon Weeden.
Stevan Ridley (New England)
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You know all about the roller-coaster ride I've had with Stevan Ridley all season. Last week, I advised benching him because they were taking on San Francisco.
I'm glad I listened to myself. He got a whopping zero points on Sunday night.
Granted, I played Bryce Brown instead of him and only got four, but hey, that sure beats nothing.
The risk in having a New England running back is that Bill Belichick has a penchant for benching young running backs after making a mistake. Ridley made two mistakes, so we may not see him a lot but against Jacksonville, he should be able to prove himself worthy to his coach again.
Reggie Bush (Miami)
How many points will Reggie Bush get?
This is risky, but I like Reggie Bush a lot this week. Against Buffalo, he should be able to rack up some yards, and with Daniel Thomas shaken up, he should get the necessary carries to be a fantasy star, too.
As a life-long Notre Dame fan who's spent many Saturdays in South Bend (including the infamous "Bush Push" game) and a fantasy nerd, I've hated Bush for a long time.
However, he is a good play this week. I have to push my hatred aside just this once.
DeMarco Murray (Dallas)
After missing six games with an injury, he's come back and put up three very good fantasy performances in a row.
He's clearly over any nagging pain left over from that injury and should blow up for another big day against the Saints, especially with Dallas trying to make a playoff push.
Cecil Shorts (Jacksonville)
Look who bounced back from a concussion to get a 100-yard game! I'm so proud of you, Cecil.
Brandon Gibson (St. Louis)
This is the big sleeper pick of the week, but he followed up a good game with an above-average game, and this week against the No. 32 pass defense (Tampa Bay), he should get some looks.
I'm not sure if he will get the 20 points that you are hoping for, but 10 points seems like a fair estimate for Week 16.
Miles Austin (Dallas)
Nothing says "bounce-back game" for a receiver quite like a date with New Orleans! He should be able to get into double digits this week, so I'm buying him.
Dez Bryant will obviously be the stud for Dallas again this week, but Miles Austin will still turn in a fine performance.
Greg Olsen (Carolina) and Dennis Pitta (Baltimore)
If you don't have Aaron Hernandez or Tony Gonzalez, then why not play one of these guys? They've been hot lately and there really aren't many other options.
What else are you going to do, play Antonio Gates? Come on, don't be ridiculous.
Matthew Stafford (Detroit)
Should next week's Grand Finale have more Cecil Shorts highlights?
I don't trust a guy coming off of a short week in which he got just three points against Arizona, going against Atlanta.
The Atlanta Falcons are No. 8 in defense against fantasy quarterbacks, and this may be their last meaningful game before the playoffs, so you know they are going to be ready to go.
Russell Wilson (Seattle)
He's been fantasy gold lately, and he's trying to work his way into "matchup proof" territory, but against San Francisco, I just don't see him having a big game.
He gets a boost because they are at home, but if you do play him, just don't expect another 30-point game. The 49ers aren't exactly the Bills.
Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay)
You can throw Josh Freeman in the same boat as Stafford. Freeman got just one point against a miserable New Orleans defense.
St. Louis actually has a good pass defense, and Freeman shouldn't be fully trusted with your championship game unless you really have no one else.
So if you picked up Kirk Cousins while banking on RGIII to miss another game, you may be stuck with Freeman. I'd almost rather play Ryan Tannehill.
Shonn Greene (New York Jets)
I don't think that Shonn Greene is a bad running back, but with the amount of carries he splits with Bilal Powell, especially in the red zone, I'm not buying him this week.
Even if they are playing the San Diego Chargers. The same Chargers that just gave up 36 points to Carolina running backs. Just imagine Bilal Powell being Mike Tolbert this week.
Also, quick question, why does Bilal not pop-up as a misspelled word on my autocorrect? Is it that common of a name?
Chris Johnson (Tennessee)
Yes, he had that amazing 94-yard touchdown run which made for a good fantasy week. But that's about all he got.
Are you banking on CJ to win your fantasy championship?
Other than that? Twenty carries and 28 yards.
They travel to Green Bay this week, and I fully expect the Tennessee Titans to be in passing mode for most of the game since I don't see them in a good position to have a lead against the Green Bay Packers.
Especially in Lambeau Field. In December. With the Packers still in contention for a first-round bye.
LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia)
This pick is purely cautionary. If you've made it to the championship game with LeSean McCoy still on your bench, there's no need to rush him back just yet.
You still have one more week of fantasy football, so wait and see what he does this week against the Washington Redskins before feeling confident enough to play him in Week 17.
Bryce Brown struggled the last two weeks, but those games were against very good run defenses in Tampa Bay and Cincinnati, so expect him to still get a chunk of carries.
I still wouldn't play either guy, though.
Wes Welker (New England)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
He has a nagging injury, he's struggled in the last two games and Aaron Hernandez is eating up a lot of the targets that were coming his way.
I just don't feel very confident in Wes Welker this week. Especially against the "Fightin' Cecil Shorts."
Michael Crabtree (San Francisco)
He's been good in the past three weeks, but let's not get excited. He's not a matchup-proof player, and it's hard for any receivers to have productive days in CenturyLink Field.
If you didn't know, that's where the Seattle Seahawks play their home games. Just a heads-up.
Mike Wallace (Pittsburgh)
He's been better over the last two games, but I still am afraid of his inconsistencies overall this season.
This week with the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the No. 7 pass defense in the form of the Cincinnati Bengals, he is a boom-or-bust player, but I am leaning more toward bust.
Are you coming back next week for the Finale?
Jermaine Gresham (Cincinnati) and Vernon Davis (San Francisco)
Both have been struggling enormously lately (Davis more than Gresham), and both have killer matchups in Week 16. I'd almost be more inclined to tell you to play Antonio Gates.
All right guys (and gals), that's all I have for this week. Enjoy the game on Saturday night and the huge slate of 15 games on Sunday. As always, thanks for reading, and good luck. Remember to like me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/koreybeckettBR and I promise I will try to be more entertaining if I get more "likers." I'll see you next week for the "WtSx2 Grand Finale Special Extravaganza" (working title). Until then, bon voyage!
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