Fantasy football advice, Week 16: Who to start/sit for Ravens vs. Texans
A week after playing Jacksonville, the Baltimore defense gets to go against Thad Lewis or Case Keenum. Okay then.
Riding a two-game winning streak, the 9-5 Baltimore Ravens currently own one of the two AFC Wild Card slots. With five teams in the hunt for those two slots, though, they can’t afford to let up in their push for the playoffs. The Houston Texans, meanwhile, are 7-7, but are on their fourth or fifth choice at quarterback after a rash of injuries and will just be playing out the string when the two teams face off Sunday.
The Ravens are getting healthier — running back Lorenzo Taliaferro was placed on injured reserve, but wide receiver Torrey Smith isn’t even on the week’s injury report, and no other fantasy contributors on the roster are a Week 16 worry. The Texans aren’t in nearly the same shape. The team has lost quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett and Tom Savage, the first two for the rest of the season. Running back Arian Foster and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins both missed some practice this week, though both should play Sunday, and wide receiver Andre Johnson is expected back from his concussion as well.
The game, scheduled for 1 p.m. ET Sunday, will be played in Houston. Here’s a look at the fantasy considerations:
Start ‘em: Even off his worst performance of the season, you probably have to trust Justin Forsett in your lineup. He’s a must-start. … With the Texans’ quarterback mess, the Ravens’ defense looks like a must-start.
Start ‘em?: A perpetual No. 2 quarterback, Joe Flacco at least looks like a high-end QB2 by virtue of all the other injuries at the position. … With Torrey Smith healthier but not 100 percent, and Steve Smith Sr. showing his age, the two receivers are both dodgy fantasy options, but both could be low-end flex plays. … Owen Daniels had a big game in Week 15, but had 12 total points the five games before that. He’s a high-risk play. … Justin Tucker has 10 combined fantasy points the last two weeks. He’s hard to trust.
Sit ‘em: Even if Forsett’s struggles continue, Bernard Pierce isn’t near starting territory.
Start ‘em: The appearance on the injury report of Arian Foster looks more procedural than anything; even against a great Baltimore run defense, he’s a must-start.
Start ‘em?: If you’re pressing, you can still justify using DeAndre Hopkins as a low-end starter, but the situation is so bad it might be better to avoid him. … Randy Bullock has been decent in recent weeks; he’s not an exciting starter, but he’s got potential. … The Texans’ defense is averaging 11.7 fantasy points per game in its last six. That’s usable.
Sit ‘em: The Texans might go with Case Keenum Sunday, or they might go with Thad Lewis. You will go with neither. … Andre Johnson is returning from injury Sunday, but the team’s offense is such a potential mess that you can’t use him. … Ryan Griffin hasn’t done much in the absence of Garrett Graham.
Start in every league: Justin Forsett, Baltimore defense, Arian Foster
Start if you’re desperate: Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith, Steve Smith Sr., Owen Daniels, Justin Tucker, DeAndre Hopkins, Randy Bullock, Houston defense
Bench: Bernard Pierce, Case Keenum, Thad Lewis, Andre Johnson, Ryan Griffin, Garrett Graham