The fantasy football playoffs are in full swing. Whether your league is starting its championship in Week 16, or if the title game isn’t until next week, it’s time to decipher which players will be busts.
Fantasy stars like the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan and Roddy White, as well as the St. Louis Rams’ Zac Stacy, will struggle this week, and owners must find another play that can fill that role in such a pivotal week.
Here are the players owners must avoid like the plague this weekend.
*Based on standard-scoring leagues. Points against stats via Yahoo! Sports.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons were heralded as Super Bowl contenders coming into this season, but the struggle to stay healthy on either side of the ball has doomed Matt Ryan’s chances of becoming the elite fantasy quarterback many had expected.
If you have a backup plan for Ryan, use it in Week 16.
Not only is Ryan and the futile Falcons offense on the road playing under the lights of Monday Night Football, but they are squaring off against the vaunted defense of the San Francisco 49ers that is looking to cement the team’s spot in the postseason.
Ryan is coming off a game where he threw for 210 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and the task only gets tougher against a San Francisco defense giving up just 13.34 points per game to opposing quarterbacks.
If you have another option on the bench or find a gem on the waiver wire this late in the season, take it and sit Ryan for Week 16.
Predicted Week 16 Stat Line: 250 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams
Fantasy owners across the nation saw Zac Stacy’s 143 all-purpose yards and one touchdown last Sunday and fell in love. Instead of starting Stacy over one of your top running backs, consider that a tough Week 16 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is bad news.
Stacy had failed to reach 100 yards rushing since Nov. 3 before his team’s victory over the New Orleans Saints, and the Buccaneers are stingy against the run. Tampa Bay has only allowed 14.48 points per game to opposing running backs.
Last week’s numbers and Stacy’s role as the No. 1 back has fantasy owners buying into the hype, but lingering issues resulting from injuries will cost him practice time this week, per the team’s official Twitter account.
If Stacy isn’t 100 percent healthy against the Buccaneers, he will have a mediocre fantasy day.
Predicted Week 16 Stat Line: 17 carries for 50 yards and zero touchdowns, two receptions for 15 yards and zero touchdowns.
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Just as Matt Ryan will struggle against the 49ers on Monday night, wide receiver Roddy White will regress once again and be a non-factor in Week 16. White has dealt with nagging injuries all season, and San Francisco will exploit that by playing him extremely physically.
White was never the fastest receiver in the league, but his unique mix of raw power and elusiveness made him one of Ryan’s favorite weapons. Hamstring, knee and ankle injuries have slowed him, and the result is a target the Falcons can’t consistently find open.
The fantasy hype has picked up as White has played much stronger over the last three weeks—racking up 23 receptions for 270 yards—but the 49ers have been stingy, allowing just 17.85 points per game to opposing receivers.
White will be targeted often on Sunday, but Ryan and his receiver will not find a rapport.
Predicted Week 16 Stat Line: Five receptions for 50 yards and zero touchdowns.
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