Week 16 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Advice on Fantasy Football Stars to Play or Bench

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 23, 2021

Week 16 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Advice on Fantasy Football Stars to Play or Bench

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    The fantasy football playoffs mark some of the most exciting weeks of the season. However, they're also some of the most nerve-racking, especially if you're dealing with injured players.

    If you're going to be without some key playmakers for Week 16 (which is also the week of the playoff semifinals in most fantasy leagues), then you may have tough decisions to make. And the choices that are made could impact whether you're playing in the championship game in Week 17 or having to settle for third or fourth place.

    Here's some start/sit advice to help with your lineup for Week 16.

Start 'Em: Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    In Week 15, Joe Burrow had a quiet showing, passing for only 157 yards and a touchdown in the Bengals' win over the Denver Broncos. But there's a good chance that he's going to bounce back and have a big showing this week given Cincinnati's home matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

    Burrow has already had one successful showing against the Ravens this season, as he passed for 416 yards (his most this year) and three touchdowns in the Bengals' Week 7 win in Baltimore. Even if Burrow doesn't reach those numbers again, he should put up some solid ones in this crucial AFC North matchup in which first place in the division will be on the line.

    The Ravens are allowing 264.9 passing yards per game, the second-most in the NFL, but they're usually solid at stopping the run. It should be a perfect setup for Burrow to have a strong showing, making him a terrific option at quarterback for fantasy managers this week.

Sit 'Em: Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Saquon Barkley continues to have a disappointing season, as the Giants running back has dealt with numerous injuries and has struggled when he has been on the field. He hasn't rushed for more than 64 yards in a game, and he's coming off a showing against the Dallas Cowboys in which he had only 50 yards on 15 carries.

    Over his past six games, Barkley has only one touchdown, and that was a receiving score late in a lopsided loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 14. And with New York's offense struggling as a whole, it seems unlikely that Barkley is going to get it going down the stretch.

    This week, the Giants are taking on the Philadelphia Eagles, who rank 10th in the NFL in rushing defense (106.1 yards allowed per game). At this point, it's too risky to start Barkley in fantasy, unless you have absolutely no other options, as he isn't putting up big enough numbers to help your team win.

Start 'Em: Van Jefferson, WR, Los Angeles Rams

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Cooper Kupp may be the Rams' clear-cut top wide receiver, but Van Jefferson is a solid secondary option on their offense. However, Jefferson is also a boom-or-bust player for fantasy purposes, and there's a risk that comes with starting him in any week.

    Jefferson was on a roll from Weeks 12-14, as he scored a touchdown in three consecutive games and was frequently being targeted. Then, he had only two passes come his way in Week 15 against the Seattle Seahawks, which resulted in only two receptions for 23 yards.

    But Jefferson has a much better chance to put up big numbers this week. The Rams are facing the Minnesota Vikings, who are allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers per game in the league, per NFL.com. So if there's any week to take a risk on Jefferson, it's this one, as he could have a huge performance if he completes several big plays.

Sit 'Em: DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers

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    Doug Murray/Associated Press

    The Panthers passing attack hasn't been putting up huge numbers in the second half of the season, and that's had an effect on DJ Moore's fantasy value. Over his past 10 games, he's scored only one touchdown, and he's had only one 100-yard game during that span.

    Last week, Moore had six catches for 48 yards in a loss to the Buffalo Bills. He may not put up much bigger numbers in Week 16, especially with Carolina set to give both Cam Newton and Sam Darnold playing time at quarterback. So it may be tough for Moore to get into a rhythm with either QB.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to be looking for a bounce-back win against the Panthers, and that may lead to a quiet day for Carolina's offense on Sunday. There should be other wide receivers available who are likely to have better showings than Moore this week as a result.