Week 16 may be the penultimate week of the NFL season, the bridesmaid to Week 17 in its ultimate glory, but for many, it's the most important week of the fantasy football season.
More likely than not, your fantasy league is set to have its championship game in Week 16. If you're reading this, congratulations; you either qualified for your grand finale, or you're masochistic and still reading about fantasy football advice even without a team to field.
As fantasy veterans know, Week 16 can be tricky, as some teams, if not flat-out resting their starters, will (officially or unofficially) keep players on a snap count. As always, you want to follow the matchups, but there are so many other factors at play here.
If you have a go-to player whose team is headed to the postseason who's also a little banged-up (New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman, Minnesota Vikings receiver Dalvin Cook), do you feel secure starting him, or do you worry that the team will try to preserve his health?
Trying to consider every factor, we've broken down the rankings of the top 50 flex players this week in points-per-reception scoring leagues. If a player carries an injury designation, we noted that as well. Glance at the rankings to help you set your lineup, with more in-depth information below.
Week 16 PPR Rankings: Top 50 Flex Players
1. RB Christian McCaffrey, CAR @IND (26.0 points)
2. WR Michael Thomas, NO @TEN(22.9)
3. RB Dalvin Cook (Q), MIN vs. GB (20.3)
4. RB Saquon Barkley, NYG @WAS (20.1)
5. RB Alvin Kamara, NO @TEN (19.8)
6. RB Leonard Fournette, JAX @ATL (19.3)
7. WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @TB (19.1)
8. RB Chris Carson, SEA vs. ARI (18.7)
9. RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL @PHI (18.3)
10. RB Derrick Henry, TEN vs. NO (18.0)
11. RB Aaron Jones, GB @MIN (17.2)
12. WR Davante Adams, GB @MIN (17.1) ()
13. RB Nick Chubb, CLE vs. BAL (17.0)
14. WR Tyreek Hill, KC @CHI (16.9)
15. WR Julio Jones, ATL vs. JAX (16.4)
16. WR Amari Cooper, DAL @PHI (16.4)
17. WR Julian Edelman (Q), NE vs. BUF (16.4)
28. WR D.J. Moore, CAR @IND (16.3)
19. RB Todd Gurley, LAR @SF (16.1)
20. WR Robert Woods, LAR @SF (16.0)
21. TE Travis Kelce, KC @CHI (16.0)
22. TE Zach Ertz, PHI vs. DAL (15.9)
23. WR Kenny Golladay, DET @DEN (15.9)
24. WR Keenan Allen, LAC vs. OAK (15.7)
25. TE George Kittle, SF vs. LAR (15.6)
26. WR Allen Robinson, CHI vs. KC (15.6)
27. WR Jarvis Landry, CLE vs. BAL (15.6)
28. RB Melvin Gordon, LAC vs. OAK (15.5)
29. RB Austin Ekeler, LAC vs. OAK (15.5)
30. WR Cooper Kupp, LAR @SF (15.0)
31. RB Josh Jacobs (Q), OAK @LAC (14.7)
32. RB LeVeon Bell, NYJ vs. PIT (14.7)
33. TE Darren Waller, OAK @LAC (14.6)
34. WR DeVante Parker, MIA vs. CIN (14.3)
35. WR Stefon Diggs, MIN vs. GB (14.3)
36. RB Devonta Freeman, ATL vs. JAX (14.1)
37. RB Miles Sanders, PHI vs. DAL (14.1)
38. RB Mark Ingram, BAL @CLE (14.1)
39. RB Devin Singletary, BUF @NE (14.0)
40. RB Phillip Lindsay, DEN vs. DET (14.0)
41. WR Michael Gallup, DAL @PHI (13.8)
42. WR A.J. Brown, TEN vs. NO (13.8)
43. WR Christian Kirk, ARI @SEA (13.8)
44. WR Emmanuel Sanders, SF vs. LAR (13.6)
45. RB James White, NE @BUF (13.6)
46. WR Courtland Sutton, DEN vs. DET (13.5)
47. RB Patrick Laird, MIA vs. CIN (13.4)
48. RB Joe Mixon, CIN @MIA (13.4)
49. WR Odell Beckham Jr., CLE vs. BAL (13.3)
50. RB Kareem Hunt, CLE vs. BAL (13.3)
True fantasy savants know that, even if you're extremely happy with the team you drafted, you should always be surfing the waiver wire through the very end of the season. After all, you never know when a breakout star will pop up out of nowhere and change your entire lineup.
That's the case for Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown, who has been on a tear. If he's available in your league, snatch him up right now. He netted his fantasy managers point totals of 25.4 and 33.6 in his last two games, and since the Titans' Week 11 bye, he's amassed 111.8 receiving yards per game and four touchdowns.
Another player who has come on as of late is Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders, who has seen his workload increase as Jordan Howard has been sidelined with a shoulder injury. He amassed 35.2 points in his Week 15 outing against Washington, his highest point total of the season (and his best game as a pro.)
If you have Sanders, he's a lethal start in PPR leagues thanks to his dual-play ability; in Week 15, he logged 122 yards on 19 rushing attempts and added another 50 yards on six receptions, scoring both on the ground and through the air. He is owned in 98 percent of leagues, but he's a must-start this week if you happen to have him.
There hasn't been much movement at the top of the rankings from week to week this season; if you're a savvy fantasy manager who drafted the Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey, New Orleans Saints wideout Michael Thomas or New York Giants running back Saquon Barkely, you've been happy all year.
But it's been rewarding to watch the bottom half of the top 50 rankings morph and shift from week to week this season, and see managers rewarded for their astute pickups on waivers.
For example, Miami Dolphins running back Patrick Laird is still only owned in 55 percent of leagues and is only started in 25 percent. He's a little risky, as he exists in a timeshare with Myles Gaskin.
However, managers who started Laird in Weeks 14, 13 and 11 were happy with his double-digit outputs. Expect him to have a solid outing against a leaky Bengals run defense.
The key to winning your matchup this week likely lies in the wide receiver position, which has been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks. If you make the right call there, perhaps with one final savvy wire pickup like Breshad Perriman in place of Chris Godwin, you'll be golden. Not in a keeper league? Even better; drop whoever you need to drop to get where you need to be in your championship.