The NFL’s Super Bowl is still over a month away, but fantasy football owners are facing a championship game of their own in Week 16.
Whether this is the final week of your season or if you have to play through Week 17 as well, the crucial matchups this Sunday will have every owner desperate to find the players who will exceed expectations.
Here are the sleepers for Week 16 who will help you secure a fantasy championship.
*Based on standard-scoring leagues. Points-against stats via Yahoo! Sports.
Greg Jennings, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Greg Jennings was one of the best fantasy wide receivers over the last several years with the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers, but the move to the Minnesota Vikings and the team’s quarterback carousel has damaged his fantasy value.
While everyone was selling low, owners that held on to Jennings will be paid tenfold.
After racking up 92 yards in his first game with Minnesota, Jennings failed to reach at least 80 yards again until Dec. 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles. While the stats haven’t been consistent, his nine or more targets in each of the last three games and two touchdowns during that span make him a viable fantasy start this Sunday.
A matchup against the tough Cincinnati Bengals defense won’t be easy—the team has allowed 20.89 fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season—but a budding rapport with QB Matt Cassel should have owners buying Jennings this week.
This is the kind of WR3 or flex play that could win you a championship.
Predicted Week 16 Stat Line: Seven receptions for 80 yards and one touchdown.
Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens are looking for any kind of rhythm on offense as the postseason approaches, and the return of tight end Dennis Pitta has been a blessing for the team’s playoff aspirations.
Pitta’s return may also be the key for your fantasy championship.
Whether you’re looking for tight end help because of an injury to New England’s Rob Gronkowski (knee) or Cleveland’s Jordan Cameron (concussion), Pitta could be the sleeper who produces like a top-tier star.
Despite catching only two passes for 24 yards in Week 15, Pitta is still one of Joe Flacco’s primary targets. With six receptions for 48 yards and one touchdown upon Pitta’s return on Dec. 8, the upside is clearly there.
The New England Patriots are giving up 8.56 points per game to tight ends. There are few other options with as much talent and skill as Pitta, and Baltimore’s dedication to getting the player involved will make him a TE1 in Week 16.
Predicted Week 16 Stat Line: Six receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown.
Dennis Johnson, RB, Houston Texans
The news broke this week that Houston Texans running back Ben Tate would miss the remainder of the season with a rib injury, and owners instantly turned their focus to new starter Dennis Johnson and his fantasy value.
Johnson has seen limited action behind both Tate and Arian Foster this season, but he will be the team’s unquestioned starter against the Denver Broncos in Week 16. Houston will likely trail on the scoreboard early, but instead of abandoning the run, the Texans will continue building for the future by stubbornly following the same game plan.
With Johnson’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield (five receptions in the last four games), the yards from scrimmage and goal-line carries should have the Texans starter in your fantasy lineup.
As if allowing 20.48 points per game to opposing running backs wasn’t enough for owners to start Johnson against Denver’s defense, the fact that the Broncos have allowed 432 yards and five touchdowns over the last three weeks should have them going all in.
Predicted Week 16 Stat Line: 17 carries for 90 yards and one touchdown; three receptions for 25 yards and zero touchdowns.