Fantasy Football Start ‘em or Sit ‘em Week 16

The fantasy playoffs are in full swing. For a lucky few, this week may represent a chance at fantasy immortality. At this point in the season, you should ride your studs. And if your stud is Jamaal Charles, this was probably you last week:

It is a great week for quarterbacks, with a lot of good matchups. You can start up to 15 QBs this week, but only 10 are listed in the guide below.

These rankings assume a standard 10-team fantasy league; one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one Flex and one Defense. If I missed a player or you have a question, sound off in the comments.

Dolphins at Bills

Start ‘em:

Dolphins: Mike Wallace, WR; Charles Clay, TE

Bills: C.J. Spiller, RB; Fred Jackson, RB

Sit ‘em:

Wallace has been playing well the past few games, and that should continue. Spiller, Jackson and Clay are low-end plays this week.

Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB; Lamar Miller, RB; Daniel Thomas, RB; Brian Hartline, WR; Dolphins D

Bills: Thad Lewis, QB; Robert Woods, WR; Scott Chandler, TE; Bills D

Unless you really want to risk it and play in the Thad Lewis Fantasy Challenge, which is making it's glorious return this week, Lewis should sit on your bench. Stevie Johnson probably won’t play, so don’t play him. Miller, Thomas and Hartline are close, but probably shouldn’t be played in any league smaller than 12 teams.

Browns at Jets

Start ‘em:

Browns: Josh Gordon, WR; Jordan Cameron, TE; Browns D

Jets: No one

Gordon has been one of the best fantasy wide receivers the past few weeks, averaging an absurd 24.2 points since the Browns’ bye. Cameron is battling concussion-like symptoms, and may not play. If he can, he is worth a start. The Browns D has one of the best matchups this week, as the Jets and Geno Smith are turnover prone.

Sit ‘em:

Browns: Jason Campbell, QB; Edwin Baker, RB; Chris Ogbannaya, RB

Jets: Everyone

Running back Chris Ivory is the only Jets player worth consideration, but when he doesn’t score a touchdown, Ivory has averaged just 3.6 points per game.

Saints at Panthers:

Start ‘em

Saints: Drew Brees, QB; Marques Colston, WR; Jimmy Graham, TE

Panthers: Cam Newton, QB; DeAngelo Williams, RB; Greg Olsen, TE; Panthers D

Aside from Williams, these should be obvious starts. Colston has had back-to-back impressive games, after struggling early during the year. With Jonathan Stewart hurt, Williams should be getting most of the touches. On top of that, his performance tends to improve late in the season.

Sit ‘em:

Saints: Pierre Thomas, RB; Darren Sproles, RB; Saints D

Panthers: Mike Tolbert, RB; Steve Smith, WR

Thomas and Sproles aren’t awful plays, but they haven’t put up the numbers they did earlier this year and the Panthers are great at stopping the run. Smith has put up double-digit points just three times this year, although one of those games came against the Saints.

Vikings at Bengals

Start ‘em:

Vikings: Adrian Peterson, RB

Bengals: Giovani Bernard, RB; A.J. Green, WR; Bengals D

These are obvious starts, assuming Peterson is able to play.

Sit ‘em:

Vikings: Matt Cassel, QB; Greg Jennings, WR; Cordarrelle Patterson, WR; Vikings D

Bengals: Andy Dalton, QB; BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB; Marvin Jones, WR; Tyler Eifert, TE

Dalton has a great matchup this week, but he is too inconsistent to start in a 10-team league. There are safer options out there this week. Jermaine Gresham is nursing a hip injury, so Eifert should see an increase in playing time and targets. However, he is nothing more than a TD-or-bust player at this point in his career.

Cowboys at Redskins

Start ‘em:

Cowboys: Tony Romo, QB; DeMarco Murray, RB; Dez Bryant, WR; Jason Witten, TE

Redskins: Alfred Morris, RB; Pierre Garcon, WR

Both defenses have struggled, and these are obvious starts. I expect Dallas to actually run the football, opening up passing lanes for Romo. Since the Dallas D is the worst in the NFL, he’ll have to throw the ball no matter what.

Sit ‘em:

Cowboys: Miles Austin, WR; Terrance Williams, WR; Cowboys D

Redskins: Kirk Cousins, QB; Roy Helu, RB; Jordan Reed, TE; Redskins D

Austin has struggled all season, and Williams has too since Austin returned from his injury. Cousins has a great matchup, but there are safer options this week. Reed is hurt, and I don’t expect him to play. Morris is battling fumbling issues, so watch out for Helu, especially in deep leagues.

Broncos at Texans

Start ‘em:

Broncos: Peyton Manning, QB; Knowshon Moreno, RB; Eric Decker, WR; Demaryius Thomas, WR; Wes Welker, WR; Julius Thomas, TE; Broncos D

Texans: Andre Johnson, WR

If Welker is able to play, he should start for your team. Monitor his status closely. The Broncos D is a low-end play, but they have a good matchup against the terrible Houston offense. The rest should be obvious starts.

Sit ‘em:

Broncos: Montee Ball, RB; Andre Caldwell, WR

Texans: Case Keenum, QB; Dennis Johnson, RB; DeAndre Hopkins, WR; Garrett Graham, TE; Texans D

Ben Tate is on IR, which means Johnson will be the featured back. I wouldn’t start him, especially so late in the season. Graham is battling a hamstring injury. Even if is able to go, he’s not worth the risk. Caldwell is worth a look in deep leagues, but only if Welker can’t play.

Colts at Chiefs

Start ‘em:

Colts: No one

Chiefs: Jamaal Charles, RB; Chiefs D

Charles and the Chiefs are obvious starts.

Sit ‘em:

Colts: Andrew Luck, QB; Donald Brown, RB; Trent Richardson, RB; T.Y. Hilton, WR; Coby Fleener, TE; Colts D

Chiefs: Alex Smith, QB; Dwayne Bowe, WR

Luck, Hilton, Brown and Fleener are worth starts in a 12-team league, but they just miss the cut this week. The Chiefs D isn’t as good as it was early in the year due to injuries, but they still present a tough matchup. Smith is quietly becoming a top-12 QB. He is one of several QBs that you can play this week, but are better off sitting if you can find another option.

Titans at Jaguars

Start ‘em:

Titans: Chris Johnson, RB; Kendall Wright, WR; Delanie Walker, TE

Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew OR Jordan Todman, RB

Johnson and Wright are low-end plays this week, but I think Johnson will fail to put up double-digit points. Walker is healthy again, and facing the team that gives up the second most points to TEs. It is either MJD or Todman this week. If Jones-Drew is able to play, start him. If he isn’t, Todman becomes playable.

Sit ‘em:

Titans: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB; Titans D

Jaguars: Chad Henne, QB; Marcedes Lewis, TE; Jaguars D

These are obvious sits.

Buccaneers at Rams

Start ‘em:

Buccaneers: Bobby Rainey, RB; Vincent Jackson, WR

Rams: Zac Stacy, RB

Jackson is a safe play with Mike Glennon at QB. Stacy has been the only Rams player worth a start for a good chunk of the year. Rainey has struggled against the 49ers, Lions and Panthers, but those were good run defenses. He’s looked great against the Falcons and Bills, and those are bad defenses. The Rams give up the most points to opposing running backs. He’ll put up points for you this week.

Sit ‘em:

Buccaneers: Mike Glennon, QB; Timothy Wright, TE; Buccaneers D

Rams: Everyone else

These should be obvious sits.

Giants at Lions

Start ‘em:

Giants: Andre Brown, RB

Lions: Matt Stafford, QB; Reggie Bush, RB; Calvin Johnson, WR; Lions D

These should be obvious starts. The Lions D has a great matchup against Eli Manning, who leads the NFL with 25 picks and is 33rd in total QBR. Brown has a bad matchup against the Lions, but is still a low-end play this week.

Sit ‘em:

Giants: Eli Manning, QB; Hakeem Nicks, WR; Rueben Randle, WR; Brandon Myers, TE; Giants D

Lions: Joique Bell, RB; Brandon Pettigrew, TE

Nicks and Randle combined for three catches for 32 yards. Even though Victor Cruz might miss the rest of the year , they should sit on your bench.

Cardinals at Seahawks

Start ‘em:

Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, WR; Cardinals D

Seahawks: Russell Wilson, QB; Marshawn Lynch, RB; Seahawks D

Wilson, Lynch and the Seahawks D are obvious starts. Fitzgerald and the Cardinals D have a tough matchup, but both are low-end plays.

Sit ‘em:

Cardinals: Carson Palmer, QB; Rashad Mendenhall, RB; Andre Ellington, RB; Michael Floyd, WR

Seahawks: Doug Baldwin, WR; Golden Tate, WR; Zach Miller, TE

Both Ellington and Mendenhall played well last week, but they have a terrible matchup against the Seahawks D. Floyd is battling an ankle injury, and isn’t worth the risk against the talented Seahawks D.

Patriots at Ravens

Start ‘em:

Patriots: Shane Vereen, RB; Julian Edelman, WR; Danny Amendola, WR

Ravens: Torrey Smith, WR

Vereen was shut down by the Dolphins last week, who keyed on him. But he is still getting the vast majority of snaps (48 of 81 last week), so there is no reason to worry. He’ll bounce back this week. With the loss of Rob Gronkowski, Edelman and Amendola appear to be the only WRs Tom Brady trusts. Both can be started.

Sit ‘em:

Patriots: Tom Brady, QB; Stevan Ridley, RB; LeGarrette Blount, RB; Patriots D

Ravens: Joe Flacco, QB; Ray Rice, RB; Malcolm Brown, WR; Dennis Pitta, TE; Ravens D

Brady just barely misses out on being a start this week. You can play him and it probably won’t hurt you, but he’s not a top-10 play. Ridley and Blount have done very little since Vereen returned, aside from one Blount touchdown. Rice has been a real disappointment this season, and should sit on your bench. Pitta should too, at least until he shows something.

Steelers at Packers

Start ‘em:

Steelers: Le’Veon Bell, RB; Antonio Brown, WR

Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB; Jordy Nelson, WR

These are obvious starts.

Sit ‘em:

Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger, QB; Emmanuel Sanders, WR; Heath Miller, TE; Steelers D

Packers: Matt Flynn, QB; Packers D

These are obvious sits.


Aaron Rodgers, QB; Jarrett Boykin, WR; James Jones, WR

These are game-time decisions. If Rodgers is cleared to play, then he, Boykin and Jones are worth starts on your team. If Rodgers still isn’t cleared, they should sit your on bench.

Raiders at Chargers

Start ‘em:

Raiders: Rashad Jennings, RB

Chargers: Phillip Rivers, QB; Ryan Matthews, RB; Keenan Allen, WR; Antonio Gates, TE

Jennings has played incredibly well since taking over for an injured Darren McFadden. You can play him until he gives you a reason not to. The same goes for Ryan Matthews. I’ve never been a fan of Matthews, because of his tendency to get hurt, but he has put up double-digit points in five of his last six games. Rivers and Allen are mid-level plays, while Gates is low-end one.

Sit ‘em:

Raiders: Matt McGloin, QB; Darren McFadden, RB; Rod Streater, WR; Raiders D

Chargers: Danny Woodhead, RB; Chargers D

Bears at Eagles

Start ‘em:

Bears: Matt Forte, RB; Brandon Marshall, WR; Alshon Jeffery, WR

Eagles: Nick Foles, QB; LeSean McCoy, RB; DeSean Jackson, WR

These six players have put up great numbers all year (or since becoming a starter in Foles’ case). There is no reason to expect that to change.

Sit ‘em:

Bears: Jay Cutler, QB; Martellus Bennett, TE; Bears D

Eagles: Riley Cooper, WR; Zach Ertz, TE; Eagles D

Cutler isn’t a terrible play this week, but there are better options. Cooper had some big games early this year, but needs a TD to put up respectable numbers. Bennett is a top-12 TE this week, but not top-10. I think Ertz will thrive in Chip Kelly’s system in a few years, but he’s not worth starting this year.

Falcons at 49ers

Start ‘em:

Falcons: Roddy White, WR; Tony Gonzales, TE

49ers: Colin Kaepernick, QB; Frank Gore, RB; Michael Crabtree, WR; Vernon Davis, TE; 49ers D

White is low-end play, but he’s finally healthy and you can take the risk. Gonzales, Davis, Gore and the 49ers D are safe plays. Crabtree is looking better and better each week, and has a great matchup against a poor Falcons secondary.

Sit ‘em:

Falcons: Matt Ryan, QB; Steven Jackson, RB; Harry Douglas, WR; Falcons D

49ers: Anquan Boldin, WR

I don’t trust Jackson or Douglas against the 49ers D. I’ve never been a fan of Boldin, from a fantasy perspective. His production has dropped with the return of Crabtree and hasn’t put up double-digit points in game without scoring a TD.

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