Fantasy Football Week 16: Top 20 TD Targets To Win Your Playoff Matchup

Sam WestmorelandFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2010

Fantasy Football Week 16: Top 20 TD Targets To Win Your Playoff Matchup

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs with the ball during their game against the Denver Broncos at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Fantasy football Week 16 is what you've been playing for all season. It's the promised land, the start of most leagues' championship round. If you're still playing (and reading), then congratulations. 

    However, this makes Week 16 the most crucial one of your entire season. After all, it's essential to get off to a fast start in the finals of your matchup. A slow start could kill your title hopes before they even get off the ground.

    That makes these 20 touchdown targets more crucial than at any point before. After all, touchdowns can make a bad day turn to a good one in a heartbeat, they can take you to a fantasy title, and, if you want to win your league, you'll probably need several players to find the end zone. Who will do it this week? Read on and find out!

20. Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots

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    FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 19:  Tight end Aaron Hernandez #85 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown after catching a pass from quarterback Tom Brady #12 (not pictured) in the fourth quarter of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadiu
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Hernandez has turned into one of Tom Brady's top red zone targets in the second half of the season; he's totalled six receiving touchdowns since Week 9, including two scores against the Packers last week. 

    Who’s the Matchup: Buffalo's defense ranks 29th in the NFL against opposing tight ends, and Hernandez has the skills to burn the Bills for a big day. 

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 6.5/10. The issue with Hernandez is not a lack of talent; instead, it's the presence of fellow talented rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski that keeps the former Florida Gator from being a lock to score.

19. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 19: Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs rushes against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on December 19, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Chiefs beat the Rams 27-13.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Charles is running better right now than he has at any other point in his career. For proof, one need look no further than last week's complete demolition of a typically solid Rams defense, in which Charles posted 126 rushing yards and a score.

    Who’s the Matchup: Tennessee's defense just locked down Arian Foster, and ranks 17th in the NFL against the run, but Charles is running so well right now, it might not matter much.

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 6.5/10. The issue with Charles is not big play potential, rather, it's the presence of bruising power back Thomas Jones in the Kansas City backfield. As we saw last week, Charles can rip off a big gain and not get the touchdown to cap it off. Still, with his skills and versatility, he can score from anywhere.

18. Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland Browns

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    CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 28:  Running back Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns scores a touchdown in front of safety Sherrod Martin #23 of the Carolina Panthers at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 28, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sulliva
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Hillis has gotten himself into a bit of a funk the last three weeks, as he's gone up against some tough defenses. That trend continues this week, but his power, explosiveness and receiving skill make him a potential touchdown candidate. His 13 touchdowns in 14 games don't hurt, either.

    Who’s the Matchup: Baltimore ranks fourth in the NFL against the run, but Hillis lit them up for 144 yards and a score in Week 3. 

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 7/10. Hillis has cooled off a bit down the stretch, but against a defense he's found success against in the past, the bruising back should regain his scoring touch.

17. Steve Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 19:  Receiver Steve Johnson #13 of the Buffalo Bills catches a pass  against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida.The Bills defeated the Dolphins 17-14.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Johnson went into a funk from Week 12 through Week 14, failing to find the end zone after posting nine scores in 11 games prior to that. However, he seemed to find his groove again last week, delivering a solid performance.

    Who’s the Matchup: New England's defense ranks 26th in the NFL against opposing wideouts, and Johnson's pretty much the only one the Bill have to work with. 

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 7/10. Johnson's far from a sure thing to score a touchdown this week, but given the matchup, and the fact that he's scored on them once before, you've got to like his chances. 

16. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 19: Dwayne Bowe #82 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs up field after catching a pass against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on December 19, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Chiefs beat the Rams 27-13.  (Photo by Dilip V
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Bowe has cooled quite a bit from his scalding play from Week 6 through Week 12, a span in which he posted 13 touchdowns in six games. Still, with Matt Cassel back under center, the Chiefs figure to throw the ball much more, which means Bowe can expect most of those passes to come his way. 

    Who’s the Matchup: Tennessee ranks 12th in the NFL against opposing wideouts, but they're reeling right now, having allowed four touchdowns in the last two weeks to the position. 

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 7/10. Bowe could be stymied by the Titans this week, but given his go-to receiver status in Kansas City, don't be surprised to see red zone targets come his way. 

15. Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 19: Steven Jackson #39 of the St. Louis Rams rushes against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Edward Jones Dome on December 19, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Chiefs beat the Rams 27-13.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Jackson has posted two touchdowns in his last three contests, a pretty good run from a guy whose value typically resides in his yardage totals, rather than his ability to find the end zone. He's an explosive runner who's a solid pass catcher as well, making him that much more likely to find the end zone.

    Who’s the Matchup: The last time the 49ers and Rams locked horns, Jackson torched San Fran for 148 total yards and a touchdown. There's nothing to suggest he can't do it again.

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 7/10. The Rams need Jackson to step up big in what is a must-win game for them this week, expect him to rise to the occasion. 

14. Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego Chargers

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    SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 16:  Wide receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers scores a touchdown on an 11-yard pass in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 16, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Phot
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Jackson made his triumphant return to fantasy relevancy in Week 15, posting a 112-yard, three-touchdown game in his second contest back from suspension. He immediately becomes the best wideout in San Diego, and with Antonio Gates possibly out again this week, expect Jackson to get the lion's share of touches.

    Who’s the Matchup: The Bengals defense might be getting better against the run, but they still stink against the pass, ranking 28th against opposing wideouts this season.

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 7/10. It's possible that Philip Rivers tosses his touchdown passes elsewhere this week, particularly if Antonio Gates plays. But if he doesn't (which seems likely at this point), Jackson stands to have another stellar week. 

13. Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints

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    BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19:  Marques Colston #12 of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball while being defended by Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens  at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Saints 30-24. (
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Marques Colston has been one of the NFL's most reliable receivers in the second half of 2010. He's posted seven touchdowns in his last eight games, and is by far the best wideout in New Orleans' pass-heavy system. 

    Who’s the Matchup: Atlanta's secondary has had it's share of serious issues all season long, and currently rank 27th in the NFL against opposing wideouts.

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 7/10. Colston has to be considered an elite touchdown target at this point, with the division title on the line and Atlanta's struggles against the pass, he should find his way into the painted rectangle this week.

12. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, New England Patriots

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    FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 19:  Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 of the New England Patriots runs 33 yards to score a touchdown in the first quarter against safety Charlie Peprah #26 of the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on December 19, 2010 in F
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: The Law Firm has been ripping apart opposing defenses in 2010, posting 12 touchdowns since Week 3, when he started getting a decent number of carries. He's a powerful, versatile runner who's capable of giving you a solid eight points on yards alone each week, and even when the yards aren't there, he has a nose for the end zone. 

    Who’s the Matchup: Buffalo's defense has been miserable against the run all season, and currently rank 28th in the NFL against it this season. Green-Ellis burned them for 98 yards and a score in Week 3. 

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 7/10. Given his excellent performance this season, it stands to reason he's in line for yet another score with such a soft matchup this week. 

11. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 12:  Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs for yardage during the game against the Oakland Raiders during the game at EverBank Field on December 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Gett
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Jones-Drew may have come back to Earth in Week 15, but don't let that lackluster showing fool you. He's still posted four touchdowns since Week 10, and has been held under 100 rushing yards just once since Week 8. He's a human pinball with the kind of hands that make him a huge asset in the passing game as well.

    Who’s the Matchup: Washington ranks 23rd in the NFL against opposing running backs, and have given up eight rushing touchdowns since Week 10. 

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 7.5/10. With the Redskins looking like they've given up on 2010, expect MJD to come through with a big week when you (and the Jaguars) need it most. 

10. Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts

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    NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 09:  Reggie Wayne #87 of the Indianapolis Colts catches a pass while defended by Cortland Finnegan #31  of the Tennessee Titans during the NFL game at LP Field on December 9, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Get
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Wayne may have had a tough outing against Jacksonville in Week 15, but he's still Peyton Manning's go-to receiver. He's got the skills to beat elite corners and it only takes one target in the red zone to make your week. 

    Who’s the Matchup: Oakland ranks fifth in the NFL against opposing wideouts, and have one of the league's top corners in Nnamdi Asomugha. Still, expect Wayne to get enough passes thrown his way to keep you happy. 

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 7.5/10. Reggie has been following up bad games with good ones in 2010 and he had a tough week against Jacksonville last time out. Expect his strong play down the stretch to continue. 

9. Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 31:  Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball against the New York Jets on October 31, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: It doesn't matter who's throwing Jennings the ball; the talented wideout has now posted six touchdowns over his last five contests. He's playing better than any wideout in Green Bay right now, and his matchup is decent this week. 

    Who’s the Matchup: The Giants rank fourth in the NFL against opposing wideouts, but they lack the kind of talent needed to contain Jennings over the middle. 

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 7.5/10. The matchup isn't the best for Jennings this week, but given his recent tear, you've still got to like his chances. 

8. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 19:  Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers rushes during the game against the New York Jets at Heinz Field on December 19, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)
    Karl Walter/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Mendenhall has been a reliable fantasy back this season, posting an excellent 10 rushing touchdowns on the year despite not getting a ton of carries each week. 

    Who’s the Matchup: Given Mendenhall's success against the Jets' fourth-ranked defense in Week 15 (17 carries, 100 yards and a touchdown), the matchup with Carolina's 30th-ranked unit has to make Mendenhall a happy man. 

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 8/10. With one of his softest matchups of the season coming up this week, expect Mendenhall to deliver a rousing performance. 

7. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions

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    TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 19:  Receiver Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions runs through the tackle of defensive back E.J. Biggers #31 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Have you watched Megatron work in 2010? He's capable of beating good corners, bad corners  and everyone in between, and has posted 12 touchdowns in 14 games. 

    Who’s the Matchup: Miami's defense may rank 14th in the NFL against opposing wide receivers, but they don't have anyone who matches up well with Johnson in their ranks. 

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 8/10. Megatron's got the skills to torch Miami's secondary; if Drew Stanton looks for him as much as he did last week, he'll find his way into the end zone.

6. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens

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    BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens score the Ravens second touchdown against the New Orleans Saints  at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Saints at the half 21-14. (Photo by L
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Rice finally showed us what he's capable of with a truly inspired performance in Week 15. He tallied 233 total yards and a pair of touchdowns, showing his rushing and receiving skills in the same game. 

    Who’s the Matchup: Cleveland ranks 12th in the NFL against opposing running backs this season, but if Rice plays as well as he did in Week 15, that won't matter much.

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 8.5/10. Rice's versatility will be his biggest asset in Week 16; with the Browns defense softening a bit in recent weeks, expect him to find his way to the painted rectangle one way or another. 

5. Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons

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    SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 19:  Running back Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons rushes against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on December 19, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Turner came back to Earth in Week 15, failing to register a touchdown or break 100 rushing yards for the first time since Week 10. Still, he's posted 10 touchdowns in his last eight games, and looks to be running well. 

    Who’s the Matchup: New Orleans' defense ranks 19th in the NFL against opposing running backs, and just gave up a rushing and receiving touchdown to Ray Rice in Week 15. Turner gashed the Saints for 114 yards and a touchdown in Week 3.

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 8.5/10. It's possible that the Saints have figured out how to contain Turner in the last few weeks. Possible, but highly unlikely; look for his strong play to continue.

4. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

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    NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 19:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs against the Houston Texans at LP Field on December 19, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Texans, 31-17. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Johnson's season is officially back on track after his second straight 100-plus yard performance. He's scored a touchdown in two straight as well and he has found the painted rectangle 11 times this season. 

    Who’s the Matchup: Kansas City ranks 16th in the NFL against opposing running backs, but they've given up three rushing scores in the past two weeks, and Johnson is the most explosive runner in football

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 9/10. With a decent matchup and a pass game keeping defenses honest expect Johnson's strong stretch run to continue this week. 

3. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans

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    HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 13:  Wide receiver Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans comes scores as he get's his foot down in the endzone in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Reliant Stadium on December 13, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Baltimore
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Johnson has been scalding hot over his last three games, posting 347 receiving yards and three touchdowns, and all three scores came in his last two contests. He's looking like the unstoppable force of nature we all remember him being in 2009. 

    Who’s the Matchup: Denver's pass defense has improved noticeably in recent weeks, and currently rank 16th against opposing wide receivers. Still, even Champ Bailey will struggle to contain Johnson given his torrid play of late.

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 9/10. Johnson's one of the best wideouts in the NFL and he's playing like it right now. Given the Broncos penchant for defensive collapses, expect Johnson to have a huge game this week. 

2. Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs with the ball during their game against the Denver Broncos at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: McFadden has been electric all season for the Raiders, posting 10 total touchdowns. But, he's been downright stellar over his last three contests, posting four touchdowns over that span. His versatility rushing and receiving the ball make him a serious touchdown threat week in and week out. 

    Who’s the Matchup: Indianapolis ranks 22nd in the NFL against opposing running backs, and McFadden is exactly the type of runner capable of giving them fits. 

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 9.5/10. With a soft matchup combining with his fantastic performances lately, McFadden seems to be a virtual lock for a score this week. 

1. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 02:  Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans runs with the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Why He’s a Touchdown Candidate: Foster has been the most prolific scorer of all fantasy running backs in 2010. He may have gotten hurt in Week 15, but he says he could have played if the Texans had needed him. Foster has posted 15 touchdowns in 14 games this year, and he's just as dangerous a pass-catcher as he is a rusher. 

    Who’s the Matchup: Denver's defense is the league's worst against opposing running backs, and they've given up 22 total touchdowns to the position.

    Likelihood of a Touchdown: 10/10. Foster said he could have played at the end of last week's game, which bodes well for his status in this one. As long as he plays, you know he'll find the end zone.