Week 16 NFL Matchup Preview Part Two
Be sure to check out Part One of our Week 16 NFL Matchup Previews.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2016
4:05 PM EST
Indianapolis Colts at Oakland Raiders
QB Andrew Luck: Championship week and one of the league’s best fantasy QBs gets to face off with the defense allowing the 11th most points to opposing QBs. Andrew Luck is a top 5 QB play.
RB Frank Gore: Frank Gore is doing exactly what he was projected to do from the onset of the season. Slowly and steadily rack up fantasy points. While he barely cracked 20 PPR points twice, he also has just 3 games below flex level, making him a high floor, low ceiling RB2 against the Raiders who are allowing the 8th most points to opposing RBs.
WR T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief: When you’re tied to Andrew Luck in a juicy matchup, there’s a good shot at fantasy points. T.Y. Hilton should be a low-end WR1. Donte Moncrief is expected to be active for the game and has a great chance to return to the end zone, as he’s done 6 times in 8 games. He’s a TD-dependent WR3.
TE Jack Doyle, Dwayne Allen: While the usage hasn’t been exciting for the Colts TE duo, the matchup is excellent. The Raiders are a defense TE streamers have been targeting all season. Jack Doyle has the more consistent target volume and is an interesting streamer, but his counterpart should not find his way into lineups.
QB Derek Carr: Derek Carr is dealing with a finger injury and has not been startable the past two weeks. This week, however, he faces a Colts defense allowing the 8th most points to opposing QBs. This game has all the makings of a shootout and you couldn’t ask for anything else in your championship game. Carr is a low-end QB1.
RB Latavius Murray: The Raiders are finally using Latavius Murray like a bell-cow back, with his 4 week low of 14 touches coming last week. The Colts are allowing the 11th most points to opposing RBs, planting Murray firmly in the RB1 ranks.
WR Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree: Both WRs have been hit-or-miss recently, but the matchup makes both of them WR2 starters.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2016
4:25 PM EST
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
QB Jameis Winston: This is why you held onto Jameis Winston; a championship week trip to the Superdome. The Saints defense is often burned as opposing teams try to keep up with Drew Brees. Winston is a low-end QB1.
RB Doug Martin, Charles Sims: Doug Martin was a disappointment last week, but tallied 85 yards and a TD in the Week 14 game against the Saints. He should be treated as a low-end RB1, even with Charles Sims returning to steal some of his passing down work. Sims, however, hasn’t seen the volume to be trusted in a championship game, but the matchup is nice and the thought of playing from behind does point to a greater opportunity for the pass catching back. He’s a desperation flex option.
WR Mike Evans: The most targeted WR in the league with a great matchup? Yes Please!
TE Cameron Brate: With the TE position being a complete mess most weeks, Cameron Brate has emerged as a must-start TE.
QB Drew Brees: The Buccaneers defense was doing pretty well prior to their loss last week and did not allow a passing TD. They will need to get into the backfield regularly if they want to disrupt Drew Brees. He’s still a QB1 based on an expected 40+ passing attempts.
RB Mark Ingram, Tim Hightower: If you can figure out the Saints backfield, great job. The reality is that both continue to be useful fantasy assets, but their outcomes can be wildly inconsistent. Mark Ingram is a mid-level RB2 while Hightower is more of a flex play in deeper leagues.
WR Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, Willie Snead: All three Saints WRs are useful for your fantasy championship game. Brandin Cooks is a borderline WR1, Michael Thomas is a high-end WR2 while Willie Snead is a low-end WR2/flex.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
QB Colin Kaepernick: Colin Kaepernick is a decent streaming option, however, there are probably better options.
RB Carlos Hyde: Carlos Hyde should have plenty of volume to justify being an RB2.
TE Garrett Celek: Garrett Celek scored a TD to help his stat line last week, but facing a Rams defense allowing the 7th fewest points to opposing TEs is not a matchup you want in your championship game.
QB Jared Goff: Jared Goff is coming off a concussion, but should be cleared for the game. The matchup with the 49ers who are allowing the 3rd most points to opposing QBs is nice, making Goff is a surprisingly decent streaming option for those who are brave enough to stream the position in the championship game.
RB Todd Gurley: It’s been a hugely disappointing season for Todd Gurley, but he has a great matchup and the interim head coach should feed his stud RB. The 49ers are allowing, BY FAR, the most points to opposing RBs. If you made the championship game in spite of Gurley, this is the week he can make it all up for you. He’s a borderline RB1.
WR Kenny Britt: It’s absolutely amazing to say that Kenny Britt is having a career year during an absolutely dismal season for the Rams. He’ been a reliable WR2 most weeks and should definitely be in your lineup for the championship game.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
QB Carson Palmer: Carson Palmer has been playing much better recently after a rocky start. He has multiple TDs in 5 straight games. A trip to Seattle is never a good proposition for fantasy points. Palmer is a risky start in the championship game.
RB David Johnson: Even in a tough matchup, there is no way you’re benching this stud.
WR Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown: Larry Fitzgerald is WR2 in PPR leagues on sheer volume at this point, considering he hasn’t visited the end zone since Week 5. The last time he faced the Seahawks he was targeted 14 times and went 9/70. He’s a safe WR2. John Brown got back into the mix last week without Michael Floyd on the team, but it’s too tough of a matchup to trust him in your lineup.
TE Jermaine Gresham: The Seahawks are allowing the 5th least points to opposing TEs, limiting the upside of Jermaine Gresham. While he’s been receiving a decent target share for a TE, there are probably better options out there for you.
QB Russell Wilson: The Cardinals secondary is almost as stingy as the Seahawks. Without the rushing yardage of years past to boost his floor, Russell Wilson is more of a QB2 this week.
RB Thomas Rawls: The Cardinals run defense hasn’t given up huge yardage, but they have allowed the 4th most rushing TDs in the NFL, making a Rawls a solid RB2 start.
WR Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett: Doug Baldwin continues to Doug Baldwin. He’s an uninspiring WR2. Tyler Lockett has been getting more target volume over his past 4 games and exploded last week with a 7/130/1 performance. While he probably shouldn’t be trusted in your lineup, he does make for an interesting flex play if you need a “boom” week.
TE Jimmy Graham: After having a great season returning from his knee injury, the past few weeks have seen Jimmy Graham’s target share decrease as Tyler Lockett’s has increased. The Cardinals are allowing the least points in the league to opposing TEs. You may have ridden him to the championship game, but it’s probably a good idea to have him riding the bench this week.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2016
8:25 PM EST
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
QB Andy Dalton: Andy Dalton should be getting his favorite target, A.J. Green, back this week. A road matchup with the Texans defense that has allowed the 5th least points to opposing QBs is not something to be excited about for your championship game.
RB Jeremy Hill: The Texans are mid-pack against RBs and recent volume for Jeremy Hill is inspiring. He also has a TD in 3 straight games. The scary part is that he missed practice with a knee injury and his yards per carry is pathetic. He’s been doing well enough to warrant RB2 status, but his floor is pretty low.
WR A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Brandon LaFell: All indications are that A.J. Green will return to game action this weekend and hopefully help deliver a Christmas championship for his owners that slot him into their lineups. Green’s return will cut into the prospects of Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd, although neither has been enticing enough to use in a championship game.
TE Tyler Eifert: Has been ruled Out for Saturday night’s game.
QB Tom Savage: No.
RB Lamar Miller, Alfred Blue: Lamar Miller tweaked his ankle last week, but said he would suit up Christmas Eve. As of Thursday, he has yet to practice, putting his availability in jeopardy. with the Saturday kickoffs and just three games after his, you’ll need to know early if he’s playing, unless you own Alfred Blue. If Miller misses the game, Alfred Blue is an uninspiring fill-in but could get enough volume to be an RB2.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller: Tom Savage came in and seemed to spark DeAndre Hopkins. He was on the receiving end of 17 targets last week. If he gets similar volume, Hopkins is a WR2. Will Fuller has been getting enough volume to be a flex option, but his lack of TDs (has not scored since week 4!) limits the upside and should push him to your bench.
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin: The Texans are definitely targeting the TEs and while C.J. Fiedorowicz was out, Ryan Griffin filled in nicely. The Bengals are allowing the 3rd most points to opposing TEs, which should make Fiedorowicz a decent streaming option upon his return to action, but beware of Griffin stealing a few targets.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2016
4:30 PM EST
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
QB Joe Flacco: While Joe Flacco has accumulated some nice passing yardage this year, the lack of TDs kept him out of the starting conversations. Now on a three-game streak with multiple TDs, some owners may be looking at Flacco as an option for this weekend. However, the Steelers are currently the allowing the 6th fewest points to opposing QBs. Flacco shouldn’t be in most starting lineups.
RB Terrance West, Kenneth Dixon: The Steelers defense is holding opponents under 90 rushing yards per game, but are allowing the 5th most fantasy points this season. Terrance West has been getting enough carries and receptions to keep himself in the low-end RB2 rankings. Outside of an 8-catch day in Week 14 and a TD last week, Kenneth Dixon has not gotten enough touches to be anything more than a desperation flex option.
WR Mike Wallace, Steve Smith Sr.: Both Ravens WRs are good enough to be started as low-end WR2, but not doing enough to be must-starts if you have better options.
QB Ben Roethlisberger: The story says that we must-start Ben Roethlisberger at home. The recent stats for Roethlisberger do not exactly instill confidence, having not exceeded 300 yards since Week 9 and throwing just 6 TDs in his last 5 games. The matchup is also tough, with the Ravens allowing the 9th least points to opposing QBs. Roethlisberger is barely on the QB starting list, depending on your roster.
RB Le’Veon Bell: Don’t get silly. He’s a must-start every week.
WR Antonio Brown: Same thing as Le’Veon Bell.
TE Ladarius Green: Ladarius Green finds himself in the concussion protocol heading into the Christmas weekend. The Sunday kickoff does give him an extra day to get cleared for play, but it’s a tough matchup if he plays and is probably bet left on the bench in favor of someone you are sure is playing.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2016
8:30 PM EST
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
QB Trevor Siemian: Trevor Siemian has had some nice yardage totals, but the TDs are hit or miss. The matchup is ok, but pinning your fantasy championship hopes on him is a risky proposition.
RB Justin Forsett, Devontae Booker: It’s hard to say that Justin Forsett has “taken over the job” because both RBs are getting touches, but Forsett has taken the lead in the committee. Devontae Booker has lost enough work to make him unstartable, while Forsett is not getting enough work to be more than a flex start. Use with caution, even in a good matchup.
WR Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders: Both players continue to soldier on as a solid WR2s. You can start both with confidence to produce a solid floor for your WR2 slot.
QB Alex Smith: No. Just no.
RB Spencer Ware: Spencer Ware has lost some luster from the earlier part of the season, but he has a good matchup against the Broncos defense allowing the 10th most points to opposing RBs and should be considered an RB2.
WR Jeremy Maclin, Tyreek Hill: Jeremy Maclin appears to be back to his WR2 ways, posting 6 receptions on 8 targets for 82 yards last week. This week’s matchup is much tougher, limiting the upside of Maclin to a low-end WR2. Tyreek Hill had a nice fantasy day last week but he had ZERO catches. In a tough matchup, he should probably be left on the bench or used as a boom/bust flex option.
TE Travis Kelce: The Broncos are mid-pack vs TEs and Kelce is a weekly starter.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2016
8:30 PM EST
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys
QB Matthew Stafford: Dallas is mid-pack in points allowed to opposing QBs, but the Lions offense has sputtered lately. After a hot start, Matthew Stafford has just 2 multiple TD games since Week 7. Facing a Dallas team that looks to keep opposing offenses on the sideline, Stafford falls into the high-end QB2 ranks and is an iffy option to start in your fantasy championship game.
RB Dwayne Washington: Dwayne Washington has done very little to instill enough confidence to use him in a fantasy championship game. He’s best left on the bench, especially facing a Cowboys defense allowing the 2nd fewest points to opposing RBs.
WR Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, Anquan Boldin: Golden Tate has been a WR1 in PPR leagues since week 6. He’s a must-start as a WR2 for most teams. If we could combine Marvin Jones yardage and Anquan Boldin’s red-zone work into one player, it would be great for fantasy teams. As it sits, they cap each other’s upside, making both risky flex options.
TE Eric Ebron: Dallas is allowing the 6th most points to opposing TEs. Ebron is a solid TE start.
QB Dak Prescott: After a few quiet games, Dak Prescott gets a great matchup for the fantasy championship week, facing a Detroit team allowing the 7th most points to opposing QBs. What better way to win your championship than with a player on Monday Night Football.
RB Ezekiel Elliott: Detroit has allowed the 6th fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs, but you’re not benching Ezekiel Elliott. He’s a stud RB1 regardless of matchup.
WR Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley: Dez Bryant is a weekly TD threat and must-start every week. Cole Beasley has really cooled off, but still provides a decent floor in PPR leagues as a flex play, however, there is little upside and is probably better off on your bench.
TE Jason Witten: The cagey veteran can still exploit great matchups, as he did last week, catching all 10 targets. This week he faces a Detroit team allowing the 6th most points to opposing TEs, putting Witten in the starting discussion for most owners.