It is championship week in most fantasy football leagues; meaning owners in the title game cannot afford to make poor decisions with their lineup.
A single mistake could end up being the difference between hoisting the trophy and winning a pile of cash, or a disappointing end to a once-promising season.
One way to ensure you are on the right side of that victory is to have the best players on your roster in starting spots. Here is a look at the top players at each position this week. Make sure you go with the higher ranked option if you have the fortunate problem of having to choose between these superstars.
|1||Peyton Manning||Jamaal Charles||Brandon Marshall||Jimmy Graham|
|2||Nick Foles||LeSean McCoy||Calvin Johnson||Julius Thomas|
|3||Matthew Stafford||Matt Forte||A.J. Green||Vernon Davis|
|4||Philip Rivers||DeMarco Murray||Josh Gordon||Delanie Walker|
|5||Tony Romo||Alfred Morris||Antonio Brown||Jason Witten|
Top Quarterback: Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (at Houston Texans)
Manning has a ton to play for this week, as the Denver Broncos have yet to lock up the AFC West or a bye in the playoffs. The future Hall of Famer is also just three touchdowns away from tying Tom Brady’s single-season record of 50.
There is a good chance he hits that mark and possibly even passes it against the lowly Texans on Sunday, as they have lost 12-straight games and won’t be putting up much of a fight against this hungry, motivated Denver team coming off a loss.
Manning had a “bad” game by his standards last Thursday, putting up just 289 yards and two scores with one interception on 27-of-41 passing attempts.
While Houston boasts a relatively decent secondary that only concedes 183.3 yards per game to opposing signal-callers, Manning has the advantage of playing inside a dome and has been carving up defenses with ease this year.
For example, the Tennessee Titans defense is ranked top-10 in passing yards allowed, but still conceded 397 yards and four scores, with no interceptions, to Manning in Week 14. This veteran quarterback is by far the top option and an absolute must play in Week 16.
Top Running Back: Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Indianapolis Colts)
Jamaal Charles went absolutely bonkers against the Oakland Raiders last week, securing his place as the near-unanimous top pick in 2014 drafts and helping his many, many owners to the championship.
The Chiefs’ primary weapon went off for 51 points in the contest, although he rushed just eight times for 20 yards and a score. He did his real damage in the passing game, hauling in eight receptions for 195 yards and four touchdowns.
Indianapolis is going to have its hands full trying to stop Charles, as it has been conceding 128.9 yards per game on the ground this season. Fantasy owners are salivating at this matchup and hoping that Charles can repeat his magic again in the championship.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com believes the Kansas City offense is one of the hottest in the league due to Charles’ versatility and big play ability, noting that the running back has gone for over 100 yards from scrimmage and scored at least one touchdown in 11 of his 14 games.
It’s not likely that he puts up as many points as he did against the Raiders, but there is every reason to believe he does some damage against Indy’s porous front in the fantasy championship.
Top Wide Receiver: Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears (at Philadelphia Eagles)
Brandon Marshall is going to be a top receiver regardless of who is under center in Chicago.
His production didn’t change much when Josh McCown took over the starting quarterback job and it may even increase now that Jay Cutler is back on the field.
The veteran wideout averaged nearly 10 targets and seven catches before Cutler went down with injury and still saw approximately 10 looks and hauled in six receptions per game with McCown.
Which quarterback is Marshall better off with under center?
In Cutler’s first game back, he targeted Marshall a team-high 12 times and the wideout responded with six catches for 95 yards and a score. It is clear that the quarterback is leaning on his most reliable and trusted option as he shakes the rust off from an extended absence due to injury.
Don’t be surprised if Marshall blows up against a Philadelphia defense that allowed Greg Jennings to explode for 163 yards in Week 15.
The Eagles give up an average of 291.6 yards per game through the air, the second worst mark in the entire NFL, and that bodes extremely well for Marshall and the rest of the Chicago receiving corps.
Top Tight End: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (at Carolina Panthers)
Graham is the best fantasy tight end by a mile and will once again prove that, even against a rock-solid Carolina defense.
While the St. Louis Rams held him to just two catches for 25 yards last week, Graham is due to bounce back in a big way.
The last time he was limited to three catches and 40 yards or less (by the Buffalo Bills in Week 8), he came back with a vengeance. The fifth-year man out of Miami rocked the New York Jets for 116 yards and two scores on nine receptions.
Don’t forget that Graham played a big role in the Saints’ first meeting with the Panthers, helping the team to a blowout win by hauling in six passes for 58 yards and two scores.
Carolina simply struggles to contain this 6’7”, 265-pound freak of an athlete and he will find a way to get his numbers against whoever ends up covering him.
Don’t dare bench Graham in the face of a tough matchup on paper, as he should end up being the highest scoring player at his position this week.