The 2013 fantasy football championships have finally arrived.
Whether you made the Super Bowl in your league or are stuck watching from the sidelines in a consolation matchup, it’s important to end the season on a high note.
One way to ensure you do that and emerge from your final contest victorious is to make quality roster decisions. With so much on the line—for some of you, at least—it’s easy to make a mistake that could have been prevented with a little bit of research.
I’ve done that for you and hopefully took some of the guesswork out of setting your lineup in Week 16, so sit back, relax and read on to find out some of the must-starts and tough—but smart—sits for the upcoming slate of games.
Start ‘Em: Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler’s return to the field in Week 15 was an up-and-down affair. He threw two interceptions but atoned for that with three touchdowns and 265 yards while connecting on 22 of 31 passing attempts.
It seemed like he shook the rust off as the game went on, and he should be an excellent play in Week 16 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Their inept secondary is giving up over 290 yards per game through the air and should be very beatable by two of the NFL’s best receivers—Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Expect Cutler to capitalize and put up big numbers.
Sit ‘Em: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
Palmer has been decent, but not great, in recent weeks—generating just 231 yards and one score this past Sunday—and he runs into a Seattle Seahawks buzzsaw this coming Sunday. The ‘Hawks completely blanked the New York Giants in a 23-0 blowout and have all the momentum in the world.
You will want to avoid attempt to avoid this matchup at all costs—on both sides of the football—with the notable exception of team defenses and absolute stars like Marshawn Lynch. Expect a low-scoring slugfest with little fantasy output.
Start ‘Em: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
CJ2K hasn’t been the best fantasy option this year, but if he’s ever going to be worth his salt and redeem himself for being a relatively high draft pick, it will be in Week 16.
The once-great rusher has a cushy matchup against a Jacksonville Jaguars squad that just gave up a whopping 198 yards rushing to the Buffalo Bills and concedes over 130 yards per game on the ground on average.
Sit ‘Em: Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons
Jackson may have scored two touchdowns in Week 15, but that came against a crumbling and dysfunctional Washington Redskins team.
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who'd describe the San Francisco 49ers, whom the Falcons must play on Monday Night Football this week, as such. Expect them to lock in and shut Jackson down, limiting his already mediocre yardage totals and keeping him out of the end zone.
Start ‘Em: Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins
The ‘Skins may be having some internal turmoil, but Kirk Cousins and Pierre Garcon clearly have chemistry. The pair connected seven times in Week 15, racking up 129 yards and a score in the process. Garcon could have done even more damage, as he had 10 total targets and dropped at least one catchable ball.
Expect Cousins to once again lean on his top option in his second start of the season against the Dallas Cowboys—a team that gives up a whopping 297.4 yards per game via the air, the most in the entire league.
Sit ‘Em: Andre Caldwell, Denver Broncos
However, those numbers are bound to decline against a Houston Texans squad that plays the pass well.
While the Texans are undoubtedly the worst team in the league right now, the secondary has kept opponents to just 183.3 yards per game via the air, the second-best mark in the NFL. Peyton Manning will clearly get more yardage than that, but Caldwell isn’t going to be a surefire stud with this tough matchup.