Just hours before the start of Week 16 (for most teams anyways), I know many people have questions running through their heads. Whom should I start? Whom should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:
LeSean McCoy, Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles
Sheil Kapadia (via Twitter) is reporting that:
“For fantasy people, Reid on McCoy: ‘I’m going to keep a close eye on him. It won’t be a normal workload like you’d see during the season.’”
Bryce Brown, who had been filling in for McCoy, has struggled the past two weeks. While he is still going to be a factor in the offense, there is no way to trust him. As for McCoy, it sounds like he is going to get the majority of the carries, though it remains to be seen if it will be enough to be a productive option (will it be 55/45 or 80/20?).
The Redskins have been a poor passing defense this season, so it is very likely that we see a healthy dose of Nick Foles and Co. instead of focusing on the ground game anyways. While McCoy could be an option for the desperate, he is too risky of an option for most to trust.
Rob Gronkowski, Tight End, New England Panthers
Any hope of him returning in Week 16 has come and gone. According to Jeff Howe (via Twitter):
“Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Spikes and Alfonzo Dennard did not make the trip to Jacksonville.”
Obviously, you have already made alternative plans. Stick with them with your fantasy title on the line.
Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Washington Redskins
According to Adam Schefter (via Twitter):
“In the final anticipated step, Redskins doctors cleared QB Robert Griffin III to start Sunday’s game vs. Eagles, via league sources.”
Unless you have another elite quarterback, it is impossible to leave Griffin on your bench. Consider him a must-start option.
Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys passing attack draws an extremely favorable matchup against a New Orleans Saints team yielding 287.0 passing yards per game and 27 TD.
While Bryant is still dealing with his finger issue (listed as probable), it didn’t have a major impact in his Week 15 performance (4 receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown).
He now has scored a touchdown in six straight games (eight touchdowns over that span) and is a must-start option for Week 16.
DeAngelo Williams, Running Back, Carolina Panthers
It was a bit of a surprise to see Jonathan Stewart back on the practice field on Friday, but that’s what happened. He is listed as questionable, so it is far from a lock that he is going to return this week but, at this point, it would appear likely that he dresses based on what Joe Person said (via Twitter):
“gonna say probable. RT thanks Joe, any idea whether Stewart is on probable or doubtful side of questionable?”
The Raiders rushing defense has yielded a lot of touchdowns this season (17), so if Williams was guaranteed the bulk of the carries, he would hold potential value as a RB2/FLEX option.
However, the potential to lose short-yardage carries to Cam Newton (always possible) and the risk of Stewart eating into his time would make him a very risky play. At this point, I would highly consider your other options.
Larry Fitzgerald, Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals
According to Mike Sando of ESPN.com (click here for the article):
“The sixth-round draft choice has a chance to end the streak against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. No quarterback since at least 2001 has attempted more than 91 passes over a full season without connecting for a touchdown at least once, according to ESPN Stats & Information.”
The sixth-round pick being referred to is Ryan Lindley, who has attempted 141 to date and is still without a score. His struggles (as well as the rest of the Arizona quarterbacks) have helped to leave one of the more productive fantasy players useless.
Taking on a Bears’ defense that has allowed 210.6 passing yards per game and 16 TD, there’s a good chance Lindley continues to be shut out.
It’s unfortunate, but Fitzgerald remains an option that is only viable for those in three-receiver formats, and even that’s as a low-end option.
David Wilson, Running Back, New York Giants
Ahmad Bradshaw is listed as questionable after he returned to practice on Friday and, with the Giants season hanging in the balance, you have to think that there is a good chance he plays (though his health makes him an extremely risky play as well).
Even if Bradshaw were to miss the game, the dynamic Wilson would not be a lock to play for fantasy owners.
According to Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News (click here for the article):
“But he struggled as a blocker, getting flattened while trying to protect Eli Manning on one play early in the first quarter; he later admitted he was “out of position.” And he was shaky as a receiver out of the backfield. Midway through the second quarter, Manning tried to dump the ball off to Wilson, who never even turned around, and the ball sailed into the turf.”
Those mistakes led to fantasy owners seeing more of Kregg Lumpkin as the game went on. With a 4:25 p.m. EST start time, the potential return of Bradshaw and the chance for more mental mistakes, Wilson is an impossible player to trust.
Torrey Smith, Wide Receiver, Baltimore Ravens
Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (click here for the article) is reporting that:
“Meanwhile, offensive guard Marshal Yanda and wide receiver Torrey Smith practiced for the second day in a row on a limited basis. Yanda has a sprained right ankle and Smith is recovering from a concussion. Both are questionable, but expected to play Sunday. Yanda is no longer limping as badly as he was at the start of the week.”
Smith has obvious potential, especially considering the Giants’ banged-up secondary. That said, Smith is also a big-play receiver, so he just as easily could be shut out as he could post big numbers.
In his past three games, he has a total of five receptions for 68 yards and hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 10. In fact, he’s been held to four receptions or less in all but three games this season.
His upside makes him viable, but he’s a low-end option at best, especially with the late start time.
Sidney Rice, Wide Receiver, Seattle Seahawks
He’s listed as questionable and faces the 49ers; is that a combination you want to trust? Leave him for the absolutely desperate with your fantasy title on the line.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 16 Rankings: