Last week’s advice was a real mixed bag. There were some gems among the group, but also a DeForest Buckner-sized handful of busts. We can just tack that up to being a week in fantasy football, but I refuse. You deserve better, and I’m very bitter about losing my semifinals by two points.
Hopefully you were able to sieve out the Bradys while cashing in on the Gabriels, and have the opportunity to play for your fantasy championship. If you want to review last week in its entirety, see here. Below is a quick version. I hit big on…
- Tyreek Hill – 12.80 points (WR9)
- Taylor Gabriel – 12.00 points (WR14)
- Bilal Powell – 16.20 points (RB11)
- Andrew Luck – 18.80 points (QB8)
- Antonio Brown – 5.80 points (WR44)
- Todd Gurley – 3.60 points (RB48)
- Blake Bortles – 7.18 points (QB30)
- Matthew Stafford – 10.22 points (QB24)
- Kelvin Benjamin – 2.00 points (WR80)
But these guys put a real damper on the week…
- Carlos Hyde – 5.70 points (RB35)
- Isaiah Crowell – 2.80 points (RB56)
- Tom Brady – 7.42 points (QB28)
- Trevor Siemian – 9.68 points (QB26)
- Doug Martin – 4.20 points (RB44)
- T.Y. Hilton – 4.50 points (WR51)
- Ryan Mathews – 21.30 points (RB6)
If you want advice from someone who is still alive in our fantasy pool – even though I outscored him by nearly 20 points – Nicholas has the best advice for the top of the board in his top-50 flex players of the week; I’ll cover the fringe players here.
A Definite Seven Fantasy Tips for Week 16
1. Todd Gurley will meet you in the endzone
Judging from all the hostility being sent his way, you’d think Todd Gurley was the worst fantasy back in the league. On second thought, fantasy owners may prefer that so they can just move on instead of being stuck in limbo with the RB19. But now is not the time to move on.
The 49ers defense is allowing a league-high 28.94 PPG to RBs, and it only seems to be getting worse for them. Since Week 5, their first week without NaVorro Bowman, they have only held the RB position under 29 points twice, and have surrendered more than 43 on three occasions. In that span they have allowed an average of 33.07 PPG to RBs.
I know it may be tough, but Todd Gurley will make up for all his wrongs this week. I’d go as far as projecting him to be a top-three play at RB this week.
2. Thanks to matchups, start…
Cam Newton – The Panthers quarterback may not be fully healthy, but that didn’t hold him back last week. Now he gets a Falcons defense that allows 19.56 PPG to QBs (most). View him as a top-eight play this week. Also, if you’re willing to forgive and forget, and the weather isn’t too bad, Philip Rivers is due for a big week.
Jonathan Stewart – For the first time in a while, we saw some explosion from J-Stew on Monday night against Washington. He’ll have every opportunity to display that burst again this week, when he takes on a Falcons defense that’s allowing 20.21 PPG to RBs (sixth-most). Stewart is a high-end RB2 in this matchup. I’d also send Doug Martin back out there, in spite of him being a disappointment last week.
Emmanuel Sanders – After being shutdown by Malcolm Butler, Sanders has a prime opportunity to rebound against a Chiefs defense that’s allowing 24.65 PPG to WRs (seventh-most). The last time these two played, Sanders recorded 22.20 fantasy points. View him as a very high-end WR2. Dontrelle Inman also becomes a safe WR2 against the Browns, while Kenny Britt has the potential to be a top-ten play against the 49ers.
3. Thanks to matchups, bench…
Andy Dalton – The return of A.J. Green makes Dalton an enticing start, but I’d go elsewhere. The Texans defense is only allowing 14.47 PPG to QBs (fifth-fewest), and the switch under center may spark the whole team. Dalton will still be in the top-18, if you’re a two QB league. Not sure if I need to say this, but I wouldn’t touch Carson Palmer in Seattle, either.
Ryan Mathews – Yes, I said bench him last week and it bit you in the ass; but this week will be different. The Giants are only giving up 15.48 PPG to RBs (ninth-fewest) this season, and it drops to 11.80 PPG in their last four (fifth-fewest). Mathews is a very low-end RB2, at best. Although you can’t bench him, David Johnson drops to RB2 status in Seattle.
Jeremy Maclin – The Chiefs receiver had a pretty encouraging stat line in his second game back from injury, but he has to deal with the Broncos defense this week. Denver is only giving up 12.88 PPG to WRs (fewest), and as a Chief, Maclin has totaled 74 yards in two games against their divisional foe; bench him. I’d do the same with Steve Smith, too.
4. You have to trust A.J. and Nuk
The Texans defense only allows 18.52 PPG to WRs (fourth-fewest), and Kareem Jackson is a very good corner. But A.J. Green is an elite receiver, and he is fully healthy. The Bengals do not have anything left to play for this season, as they have been eliminated from the playoffs, so there’s no need to push Green back on the field. The fact he’s suiting up says he is ready to play; trust him as a WR1.
DeAndre Hopkins has likely sat on your bench this season as well, but not due to health concerns. The man who was supposed to be responsible for throwing him the ball, Brock Osweiler, will now be sitting on the Texans bench watching Tom Savage rip it. After Savage took over last week, Hopkins saw 15 targets, catching eight of them for 87 yards (second-best total of the season). Savage made it clear Hopkins is still an upper-tier receiver; and in his first professional start, Savage will ensure Nuk gets his. Even though the Bengals only allow 19.12 PPG to WRs (fifth-fewest), treat him as a low-end WR1.
5. You must be cautious with Julio
Remember what I said about A.J. Green and the Bengals situation above? It’s a much different scenario down in Atlanta with Julio Jones. The Falcons are only one game up on the Buccaneers and for tie-break purposes, can’t afford to lose games within their division. The last time these two played, Julio went off for 300 yards and a touchdown. Having Jones as merely a decoy on Saturday is very advantageous for Atlanta.
You need to monitor his practice reps the rest of the week, and have a suitable replacement in mind, if you don’t have one already. Turf toe is an injury that can linger and is likely to hold the star receiver back this weekend. Jones is one of the riskiest plays of the week, but with Carolina giving up 25.11 PPG to WRs (sixth-most), he’s awfully tempting. I wouldn’t value him as anything more than a WR2.
6. Despite tough matchups, stick with…
Ben Roethlisberger – The Ravens are only giving up 15.37 PPG to QBs (eighth-fewest), and Big Ben has only thrown one touchdown pass in the last two weeks. But those were road games; Roethlisberger’s numbers are much better at home – averaging 327.2 yards, 3.4 touchdowns, and 0.6 interceptions per game at Heinz Field. He’s a low-end QB1 against a secondary that was just exploited by the Pats two weeks ago.
Ty Montgomery – The Vikings are only giving up 16.58 PPG to RBs (11th-fewest), but their defense doesn’t look the same without Harrison Smith. Last week they gave up a whopping 30.90 points to Indy RBs. With Aaron Rodgers nursing a calf injury, the Packers would love for him to do as little as possible. View Montgomery as an RB2.
Robby Anderson – He is clearly a favorite of Bryce Petty’s, receiving 29 targets over the last three weeks. Anderson does have a tough matchup with a Patriots defense that is only allowing 20.78 PPG to WRs (seventh-fewest), but I see the Jets having to play from behind for the majority of the game. Anderson should still see his targets, and be able to pick up some big chunks when the Pats drop into their prevent. Value him as a high-end WR3.
7. Do not be fooled into starting…
Matt Moore – Don’t chase points. Moore took advantage of a terrible Jets secondary last week, but won’t produce anywhere near that level against a much tougher Buffalo defense that only allows 15.78 PPG to QBs (11th-fewest).
Sammy Watkins – The Bills don’t want to throw the ball, and why should they? Buffalo possesses the league’s best rushing attack. Watkins is still playing at less than 100-percent, and is only averaging 40.8 yards per game this season; not to mention, he’s only found the endzone once. The Dolphins are surrendering 24.38 PPG to WRs (ninth-most), but Watkins should not even be trusted as a WR3.
Photo credit: By Navin75 (Flickr: WR AJ Green) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons