Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings: Stars That Will Deliver Playoff Success

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2013

Dec 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) looks down after failing a fourth down conversion during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

With many leagues likely in the championship round, it's important to identify who will be Week 16's star performers.

If you're lucky enough to have any of these players, it could mean the difference between winning and losing. That one huge showing can swing the entire week in your favor.

Conversely, should you be facing one of these players, you may want to plan accordingly, whether it's preparing for the worst or trying to scrounge for whatever extra points you can find on the waiver wire.

These five players at each position look poised to put up massive fantasy totals. They've been successful this season and have very favorable matchups.

Quarterback Rankings

Week 16 Quarterback Rankings
Pos.PlayerOpponentProj. Score
1Peyton Manning, DENHouston Texans28
2Philip Rivers, SDOakland Raiders24
3Andy Dalton, CINMinnesota Vikings21
4Nick Foles, PHIChicago Bears20
5Drew Brees, NOCarolina Panthers19
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Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

Dec 15, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Although Andy Dalton has had his fair share of infuriating weekends in terms of actual performance, he's never slumped too far as a fantasy performer. He's already matched his touchdown numbers from last year and is only 20 passing yards short of his 2012 total, as well.

With the Cincinnati Bengals welcoming in the Minnesota Vikings, Dalton should wriggle himself into the top five quarterbacks this week.

The third-year QB has to atone for last Sunday night, when he went 25-of-44 for 230 yards with two touchdowns. It wasn't a great performance, and Dalton acknowledged that he couldn't execute the deeper throws, per the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy:

We had some good looks for the underneath throws, so we kept going after them. I think it was one of the things that the defense wasn’t letting us get down the field. That’s just how it was.

Things should come easier against the Vikings, who have consistently been kind to opposing quarterbacks.

Running Back Rankings

Week 16 Running Back Rankings
Pos.PlayerOpponentProj. Points
1LeSean McCoy, PHIChicago Bears25
2DeMarco Murray, DALWashington Redskins23
3Jamaal Charles, KCIndianapolis Colts20
4Alfred Morris, WASDallas Cowboys18
5Le'Veon Bell, PITGreen Bay Packers17
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Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 15:  Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after rushing for a 1 yard touchdown in the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals during the game on December 15, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Although Le'Veon Bell hasn't broken the century mark rushing in one game this season, he's become a steady fantasy producer because of his receiving skills.

Last week was the kind of performance we've come to expect from Bell. He had 57 yards and a touchdown on the ground as well as 50 yards receiving. The rookie didn't do either one great, but he did each one very well.

The Green Bay Packers' defense is one of the worst in the league. Bell figures to be an impact player in both the running and passing games.

Although he won't put up a crazy fantasy game this week, Bell should crack the top five.

Wide Receiver Rankings

Week 16 Wide Receiver Rankings
Pos.PlayerOpponentProj. Score
1AJ Green, CINMinnesota Vikings24
2Josh Gordon, CLENew York Jets22
3Calvin Johnson, DETNew York Giants21
4Dez Bryant, DALWashington Redskins17
5Brandon Marshall, CHIPhiladelphia Eagles16
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Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 15: Wide receiver Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears signals touchdown after catching a touchdown pass during the final minute of the first half at against the Cleveland Browns FirstEnergy Stadium on December 15, 2013 in Cl
Jason Miller/Getty Images

You saw last week how porous the Philadelphia Eagles can be, and they've given up the most fantasy points on average to opposing wide receivers, per ESPN.com's fantasy points against. In addition, Philly ranks 20th, according to Football Outsiders, against a team's No. 1 wideout.

If Brandon Marshall is wearing a smile for most of this week, it's probably because he knows what lies ahead on Sunday night.

Jay Cutler was solid in his return last week, and Marshall had 95 yards and a touchdown receiving.

Considering how poor the Eagles defense is, Marshall shouldn't have any problems eclipsing 100 yards and notching at least a touchdown.

Tight End Rankings

Week 16 Tight End Rankings
Pos.PlayerOpponentProj. Score
1Jimmy Graham, NOCarolina Panthers15
2Julius Thomas, DENHouston Texans12
3Jordan Cameron, CLENew York Jets10
4Jason Witten, DALWashington Redskins9
5Vernon Davis, SFAtlanta Falcons8
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Jordan Cameron

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 08: Jordan Cameron #84 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates following a touchdown in the second half against the New England Patriots during the game at Gillette Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Between Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon, the Cleveland Browns have something to build around for the future. Although Cameron's form dropped off as the season went on, he played very well against the New England Patriots two weeks ago and he should find that zone again this week.

The New York Jets defense isn't the intimidating force it was earlier in the year, and tight ends are having some success.

Cameron should get plenty of targets, so it's a matter of him getting open and making the most of his opportunities.