Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 16: Lineup Advice for Difficult Fantasy Decisions

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2013

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 27:  Marvin Jones #82 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the New York Jets at Paul Brown Stadium on October 27, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It's championship time in fantasy football leagues everywhere, making every lineup decision that much more critical. 

Whether you're wondering which quarterback to start this weekend or curious as to which top available players are staring down the most favorable matchups, you've come to the right place.

Below I'll highlight some notable fantasy performers and provide you with last-minute advice on how to handle each one heading into a pivotal Week 16.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 16
PlayerWeek 15 PtsAvg PtsWeek 16 Opp (Rank vs. Pos.)Fantasy Play
Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins21.221.2Cowboys (32nd)Start
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions8.318.5Giants (18th)Sit
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons8.315.249ers (3rd)Sit
Zac Stacy, RB, Rams20.311.6Buccaneers (7th)Start
Rashad Jennings, RB, Raiders22.310.0Chargers (10th)Start
Steven Hauschka, K, Seahawks11.09.7Cardinals (6th)Start
Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots19.99.3Ravens (18th)Start
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Cardinals19.88.8Seahawks (4th)Sit
Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals10.88.3Vikings (31st)Start
Josh Scobee, K, Jaguars10.06.5Titans (29th)Start
Coby Fleener, TE, Colts0.06.1Chiefs (1st)Sit
Zach Miller, TE, Seahawks0.85.0Cardinals (32nd)Start
Andre Caldwell, WR, Broncos17.92.4Texans (4th)Sit
Statistics via NFL.com

 

Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins 

Dec 15, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (12) throws a touchdown pass to tight end Fred Davis (83) (not shown) against the Atlanta Falcons during the first quarter at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is available in most fantasy leagues across the country. And while Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers offer tremendous potential in Week 16, keep in mind that Cousins will be an easy add and is set to face off against the NFL's worst secondary at home this weekend when Washington hosts the division-rival Dallas Cowboys.

No team is giving up more yards per game through the air than Dallas, and only the Vikings (32) have surrendered more passing touchdowns than the Cowboys (30) through 15 weeks. 

On top of that, no team in the NFL is allowing more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than Dallas, who has let up nearly 4,400 combined passing yards to opposing passers in 2013. 

Those numbers bode extremely well for Cousins owners, who saw their underrated quarterback throw for 381 yards and three touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15.

And as head coach Mike Shanahan added earlier this week, Cousins is looking more and more comfortable with the first team, per Redskins.com's Jordan Zappulla: "...he’s enjoying the repetition that he’s gotten and he gets to work with the first unit again. So that’s a big plus for him. You can see he’s more comfortable this week than he was last week."

Fantasy Play: Start

 

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Oct 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall (28) against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall will be another tough call in Week 16. While he's rushed for three total touchdowns over the past two weeks, his matchup this weekend is a frightening one for fantasy owners looking to bring home a league title this winter. 

Mendenhall and the Cards will be on the road in Seattle where they'll take on the NFL's fourth-best fantasy defense when it comes to shutting down opposing running backs. Only the Cardinals, Panthers and Jets have fared better against opposing backs in 2013. Not to mention Mendenhall will be sharing carries with Andre Ellington. 

Seattle's defense has allowed 1,186 combined rushing yards to opposing running backs through 14 games but has been stellar at keeping them out of the end zone, surrendering just four rushing touchdowns and five total touchdowns to running backs coming into Week 16. Only the Panthers and Bengals have been better in that regard. 

If the Seahawks' stout front doesn't scare you into starting another running back this weekend, keep in mind that Mendenhall hasn't rushed for more than 76 yards in a game this season.

Fantasy Play: Sit

 

Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 27:  Marvin Jones #82 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the New York Jets at Paul Brown Stadium on October 27, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

If you're looking to add an explosive wide receiver to your championship lineup this weekend, look no further than Cincinnati Bengals playmaker Marvin Jones, who is available in roughly three-fourths of all ESPN fantasy leagues this December.

Plus, Jones will be going up against one of the worst secondaries in football in Week 16 when the Bengals host the Minnesota Vikings. No defense has given up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than the Vikings over the past four weeks. 

What's more, Jones has had a big year and is sure to see plenty of balls come his way on Sunday, having caught nine touchdown passes in 2013. He's caught at least one touchdown in each of the Bengals' past two games and is projected to catch another this weekend with Minnesota having surrendered six touchdowns to opposing wide receivers since Week 12.

Fantasy Play: Start

 

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