Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 16: Advice for Fringe Flex Fantasy Football Starters

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2018

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Foster (16) runs toward the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

We're heading into the 16th week of the 2018 NFL season. For all but the largest conventional leagues, this means it's championship week. All of your smart drafting, savvy waiver-wire moves and sound roster management has led you here. One wrong move will make it all for naught.

Ideally, you would ride with the same stars you've relied on all season. However, injuries and other developments may make that impossible. With guys like A.J. Green and Greg Olsen on injured reserve, you may have survived the last few weeks with streamers.

We're here to help those streaming managers by examining some of the top fringe starters of the week. We'll look past the must-starts and dig into the borderline FLEX stars, determining which to sit and which to start in Week 16.

All decisions are based on PPR scoring. Fantasy matchup rankings via FantasyPros.

         

Running Back

Start 'Em: Theo Riddick vs. Minnesota Vikings

There's a chance that the Detroit Lions get running back Kerryon Johnson back this week. Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, Detroit hasn't placed the rookie on injured reserve. Head coach Matt Patricia admitted that Johnson could return if he can help the team win.

"If he can go out and contribute and help us then we'll go from there, but obviously just full steam ahead trying to get ready for Minnesota," Patricia said, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Regardless of Johnson's situation, we're sticking by Riddick and his PPR ability against the Minnesota Vikings. He's averaged three receptions over the last three weeks and has 57 catches on the season. He should have at least 3-4 against the rival Vikings.

         

Sit 'Em: Kenyan Drake vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars haven't had the best run defense in 2018, but they've allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. This is not good news for a back who is likely looking at a limited role in the offense.

Kenyan Drake was Miami's lead back earlier in the season, but he's recently taken a back seat to Kalen Ballage and Frank Gore. Drake did have three catches against Minnesota, but he only had four total touches and 34 yards.

Drake may have helped you win earlier in the season, but he shouldn't be relied upon in Week 16.

          

Wide Receiver

Start 'Em: Robert Foster at New England Patriots

The Buffalo Bills passing attack has been inconsistent with Josh Allen under center. That shouldn't be a surprise at this point. Allen is a terrific runner and has plenty of arm strength, but he's still developing touch, accuracy and pocket presence.

Fortunately, wideout Robert Foster has been able to take full advantage of Allen's arm strength. The speedy Alabama product has topped 100 yards in each of the past two games, and he really only needs a couple of catches to produce strong fantasy number. He had four for 108 yards and a touchdown last week.

"That boy is balling," safety Micah Hyde said of Foster, per Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic.

Let him ball for you in Week 16.

         

Sit 'Em: John Ross at Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals wideout John Ross is also a speedy downfield threat. However, he hasn't been as consistent a catcher as Foster, and he hasn't had the huge plays Foster has. He hasn't had more than three receptions in a game this season, and 52 yards is his season high.

Ross does have four touchdowns over the last six games, but he's a complete bust when he doesn't score. He had one catch, one run and nine total yards last week. He's a major risk on the road against the Cleveland Browns.

        

Tight End

DENVER, COLORADO - DECEMBER 15: Matt LaCosse #83 of the Denver Broncos carries the ball against the Cleveland Browns at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on December 15, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Start 'Em: Matt LaCosse at Oakland Raiders

The Denver Broncos have had a number of injuries at the tight end position. They're now down to journeyman Matt LaCosse as the starter, but he's actually an intriguing sleeper for Week 16.

LaCosse started against the Cleveland Browns last week and finished with four receptions and 43 yards. This week, he'll go up against an Oakland Raiders defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

LaCosse should easily finish in the 10-point range against Oakland, and he has the potential to find the end zone.

            

Sit 'Em: Nick Vannett vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Given the propensity of the Kansas City Chiefs defense to surrender passing yards—it's allowed a league-high 282.5 per game—you may be tempted to take a chance on Seattle Seahawks tight end Nick Vannett. Don't.

It briefly looked like Vannett would be a significant piece of the offense earlier in the season. He had a four-game stretch in which he caught 10 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns. However, he's fallen out of the game plan in recent weeks.

Over the last three weeks, Vannett has caught just two passes for four yards. Sure, he may sneak in a surprise touchdown this week, but he's too big a risk.

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