Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 16
We’re entering the final week of the season more the majority of owners. Time to break down the best and worst matchups once more prior to the championship weekend.
If you’re still playing at this point in the season, congratulations. You’ve likely made it to your league’s fantasy championship. Some leagues will continue on into Week 17, but the majority culminate this week.
Keep in mind there are two games on Saturday this week, so you’ll have to keep a closer eye on your lineup prior to Sunday’s slate. Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst plays of Week 16 to help get you ready for one last matchup.
QB Matt Ryan at Saints: Last week, Ryan was able to throw for 310 yards and two touchdowns without Julio Jones in the lineup. He might be without his star wide receiver again for Week 16, but that shouldn’t hurt his value too much as Ryan faces a Saints defense that allows the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
QB Alex Smith at Steelers: His past two games have finished at 293 and 297 passing yards, respectively. The Steelers have allowed 28 passing touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Smith’s matchup makes him a borderline QB1 again.
RB Mark Ingram vs. Falcons: Atlanta has allowed 18 rushing touchdowns to running backs. That is remarkably bad. Ingram hasn’t broken 60 yards rushing in either of his past two games, but he did manage a touchdown and 17 carries against the Bears in Week 15. The Saints can feed him once again and gain huge dividends from those touches against the most generous defense to running backs.
RB Dan Herron at Cowboys: Dallas has allowed a rushing touchdown to a running back in each of its last six games. Herron did not help fantasy owners out much over the past two weeks, but he’s still averaging over 6.0 yards per game since taking over for Ahmad Bradshaw and he’s outperforming Trent Richardson. Herron will provide a valuable role once again in a high-scoring offense going up against a potential playoff contender.
WR Marques Colston vs. Falcons: I previously mentioned the Falcons are bad at defending the run. Well, they’re bad at defending the pass, too. Colston caught five passes for 110 yards in Week 1 against Atlanta. He’s scored a touchdown in three of his last four games, and he’s broken double-digit points in PPR scoring in four straight weeks. Trust Colston again facing a leaky pass defense.
WR Jordan Matthews at Washington: The rookie disappeared in Week 15, failing to catch a single pass against Dallas. He only caught two passes the week prior. Why should you expect a bounce-back? Consider Washington has allowed 13 passing touchdowns over the last five games. Wide receivers have scored 19 times on this defense in 2014. If there was ever a week to put faith in Matthews, this is it.
TE Travis Kelce at Steelers: He finally posted back-to-back double-digit fantasy performances. Kelce is leading the Chiefs in targets, receptions and receiving yards over the past five weeks, as Rich Hribar of XN Sports points out. The Steelers have allowed a tight end to score in nine games this season. Kelce is in for another solid day.
QB Johnny Manziel at Panthers: Manziel’s introduction to the starting lineup did not well, and that’s putting it lightly. He finished with 80 yards passing and 13 yards rushing in Week 15. The Panthers just held Josh McCown to 154 yards on 13-of-28 passing. There’s no way a fantasy owner can play Manziel at this stage in the season and feel comfortable. Even daily fantasy players should look to avoid him.
QB Philip Rivers at 49ers: As Adam Schefter reported this week, Rivers is battling a back injury that is more serious than we know. Rivers will be ready to face San Francisco on Saturday, but considering his condition and the fact that the 49ers allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, this is another situation that’s best to steer clear of as much as possible.
RB Doug Martin vs. Packers: Before you decide to claim Martin is “back,” consider that 63 of his 96 rushing yards in Week 15 came on one run. He gained 92 of his 99 total yards in the first half. The Packers have allowed two rushing touchdowns to running backs in their last five games. After seeing Josh McCown struggle again last week, I wouldn’t be putting all my stock in Martin for a fantasy championship.
RB LeGarrette Blount at Jets: After dominating the backfield workload for several consecutive games, Blount finished with eight carries for 17 yards and a touchdown in Week 15. Jonas Gray was back in the mix, which means I’m backing off Blount. The Jets allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs. In the Patriots‘ first meeting of the year with the Jets, Shane Vereen scored two touchdowns and finished with 114 total yards. It’s a Vereen week.
WR Josh Gordon at Panthers: Since returning to action in Week 12, Gordon hasn’t scored a touchdown, and he’s finished among the top 30 wide receivers in fantasy points just once. I’m low on Manziel again, which means I’m not expecting much from Gordon. He’s clearly the top option for the rookie quarterback, but Gordon hasn’t looked like the same receiver we saw in 2013.
Any Cardinals WR vs Seahawks: This is basically a no-brainer. The Seahawks allow the fewest fantasy point to wide receivers. Drew Stanton is somehow practicing after hurting his knee in Week 15, but that seems to be more of a decoy than anything. Ryan Lindley taking on the Seattle secondary? No thanks. Pass on every Cardinals target.
TE Larry Donnell at Rams: He has one game in double-digit PPR scoring over the last four weeks. Donnell failed to take advantage of a great matchup against Washington in Week 15. Now he faces a Rams defense that allows the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends.