2014 Fantasy Football: Start 'Em/Sit 'Em WEEK 16
2014 FANTASY FOOTBALL: START ‘EM or SIT ‘EM WEEK 16
A helpful look into who should be in your line up or riding your bench this week.
Always remember one of our biggest rules here at FFChamps.com:
Commandment #10: Thou shall ALWAYS start thy Studs
Now that every league is in full playoff mode, I'm going to switch up the start 'em and sit 'em. Now is the time of year that you prepared for. Why you studied pre-draft. Why you worked the waiver wire hard. Why you made that last-minute trade before the regular season ended. So instead of just putting names up of players that may or may not be in the playoffs here's how this is going to work:
1. Stud are Studs! They will continue to be listed as they have been the entire season and should ALWAYS be played!
2. After our stud list I will post the "Must Start" list. These are the players a step below our studs (borderline stud basically). These players should be in your line up virtually throughout the playoffs unless someone is injured or potential weather is coming to town.
3. After you have your studs and "must starts" in your line up then we will move onto "Flex plays." These will be the players you will use to round out your line ups for the week.
4. Finally I will throw up a few D/ST and K's that are good starts for the week, because at this point D/ST and K's will be a factor.
*You may notice there aren't any sits this week, and won't be the last few weeks. While sitting certain players is important, the more important factor is WHO IS IN YOUR LINE UP! So we are going to get some positive vibes flowing for your playoff run!
Peyton Manning Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals (Monday Night)
Drew Brees New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady New England Patriots @ New York Jets
Andrew Luck Indianapolis Colts @ Dallas Cowboys
QB MUST STARTS
Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints:
Ryan is averaging 320 yards with 10 total TDs in his 6 career games in New Orleans with no fewer than 300 in each of his last 3 trips into Saints territory. Matt Ryan is also the 2nd highest scoring quarterback over the last 3 weeks averaging 29 points per game (Luck 1st with 30 per game).
Tony Romo Dallas Cowboys vs Indianapolis Colts:
Over the last 5 weeks Romo has 20+ points in 4 of 5 games. He's thrown for 13 touchdowns compared to just 2 interceptions, and has less than 200 yards passing just once. And in games at home against non-division opponents this season Tony is averaging 23 points with over 250 yards in each game and at least 1TD pass as well.
QB FLEX PLAYS
Alex Smith Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers:
Over their past 4 games the Steelers have given up 21, 32, 31, and 26 points to opposing quarterbacks (that included the likes of rookie Zach Mettenberger all the way to studs like Drew Brees). At home the Steelers haven't given up fewer than 15 points to a QB this season. Smith has double-digit points in all but 1 game this season and has 20+ in 3 of his last 4 (2 of those 3 games of 20+ coming on the road).
Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals vs Denver Broncos (Monday Night):
Dalton threw for just 117 yards with 0TDs and 1INT last week and was still the best quarterback on the field. But it was against the Browns who stymied Dalton this year into his 2 worst games in the last 3 seasons. The Broncos are a bottom 5 team against the pass this season, allowing over 22 points per game to QBs. And take away that Cleveland game at home a few weeks back and Dalton has multiple TDs in his last 4 home games with over 250 passing in 3 of those 4 while averaging 25 points per game.
Robert Griffin III Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles (Saturday 4:30PM): You have to be in a real dire situation to consider using RGIII but he has some history on his side versus the Eagles even if it's a short history. In his 4 career games he's faced Philadelphia, Griffin has averaged 247 passing yards per contest, the 2nd most against any teams he's faced multiple times and most against any division opponent. He also has 10 total TDs against the Birds; he has more than 5 against just one other team in the league (7 versus Minnesota). He's also averaging 39 rush yards per game against the Eagles. Again not an ideal guy to trust during championship week but if you're in a real bind they're worse paths to take.
LeSean McCoy Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins (Saturday)
Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Matt Forte Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions
Eddie Lacy Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals
DeMarco Murray Dallas Cowboys vs Indianapolis Colts
Arian Foster Houston Texans vs Baltimore Ravens
Justin Forsett Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans
Le’Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers vs Kansas City Chiefs
RB MUST STARTS
Mark Ingram New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons are still ranked dead last against running backs allowing over 24 points per game to them. Atlanta is also the only team in the NFL to have allowed 20+ total touchdowns to RBs this season (21). Ingram has 90+ total yards or a touchdown in 7 of his last 8 games, including four 100-yard games and 4 total TDs over that period. Ingram also went for 60 yards on 13 carries and scored twice (good for 18 fantasy points) back in week 1 in Atlanta.
CJ Anderson Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals (Monday Night):
Remember how Mike Shannahan turned basically every running back in Denver into a monster? Well maybe it's just the rocky mountain air because the Broncos always seem to have a running back step up and become a fantasy relevant player even if they are buried on the depth chart. C.J. Anderson is the latest example of that. Since week 10 Anderson has scored 9+ points in every game but 1. He's had 2 games with 160+ rush yards, 2 games with 7+ targets, at least 2 catches in all but 1 of those games, and has 6 total TDs in those 6 weeks. The Bengals are 1 of 5 teams to be allowing 22+ points to RBs, and the last 4 backs to visit Cincinnati have come away with at least 15 fantasy points.
Fred Jackson Buffalo Bills @ Oakland Raiders:
The Raiders are 1 of 5 teams to have allowed 1550+ rush yards this season. They are giving up a shade under 24 points per game (23.7) and the 19 total TDs surrendered to backs this season is 2nd most in the league. Jackson has been the man in the Bills backfield most of this year, especially over the last 4 weeks. He's got 19 catches over that period as well as double-digit carries in 3 of those 4 (20+ in 2). In 2 career games against Oakland, Jackson has averaged 70 rush yards a game with 2 total touchdowns and added in 3 catches for 24 yards. Definite start in all leagues, but even better in PPR formats.
RB FLEX PLAYS
Tre Mason St. Louis Rams vs New York Giants:
Mason has definitely been a focal point in this offense and that won't stop now and honestly probably not in 2015 either, but that's a story for another day. Mason has done a majority of his damage in the confines of his home dome in St. Louis. Take away his rough start last Thursday against the Cardinals and their top-tier rush defense, and Mason has at least 85 rush yards in every home game he's started this year. He combined for 230 rush yards in his last 2 home games (not against Arizona) and has 4 total touchdowns in 4 home starts. And although the Giants defense has been playing much better they are allowing an average of 20 points to RB1s coming out of the NFC west that they've faced in 2014 (all 3 thus far not named Mason).
Joique Bell Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears:
The Bears defense is in shambles the past few seasons, something that is uncommon in the Windy City, and while their pass D is much worse (actually the absolute worst in the NFL) their rush defense isn't much better barely in the middle of the pack this season. The last 3 backs to come up against the Bears have all went for 11+ fantasy points and are averaging 20 per game over that period. Bell ended up having his best game of the year a few weeks back against this team rushing for 91 yards and 2 touchdowns. Joique is hands down the main man in that Detroit backfield, getting on the field for 126 snaps the past 3 weeks (compared to just 39 for Reggie Bush and 27 for Theo Riddick). Bell and the Lions know they must win this game to have a shot at the NFC north crown and this is the time for Bell and all RBs to put their respective teams on their backs and take them where they need to go.
Demaryius Thomas Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals (Monday Night)
Dez Bryant Dallas Cowboys vs Indianapolis Colts
Calvin Johnson Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals vs Denver Broncos (Monday Night)
Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers vs Kansas City Chiefs
Jordy Nelson Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Emmanuel Sanders Denver broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals (Monday Night)
T.Y. Hilton Indianapolis Colts @ Dallas Cowboys
Odell Beckham Jr. New York Giants @ St. Louis Rams
WR MUST STARTS
Mike Evans Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Green Bay Packers:
Evans and the Buccs take on an angry Packers team that will score a lot and often which means one thing for Evans and Tampa ... throwing the ball, throwing the ball, followed by a little more throwing the ball. The Packers are already a bottom 10 team at preventing wide receivers from scoring fantasy points, and the 20 TDs they have given up to WRs is 2nd most in the league. And speaking of the touchdowns allowed by Green Bay, last week in Buffalo was the first time a wide out failed to score on the Pack since week 5. In fact since week 5 here are the points put up by teams WR1s on Green Bay: 13, 12, 21, 17, 16, 11, 15, 31, 7. Over that same period here's how Evans has been scoring points: 11, 7, 24, 18, 32, 10, 4, 16, 7. He's bounced back from every single-digit games to average 20 per contest the next week out.
Golden Tate Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears:
Tate has been the best thing to happen to Detroit in a long time. He's caught at least 4 balls in every game but one this year, and has 6 or more targets in all but 2 games. He's got 50+ yards or a touchdown in all but 2 games this season. The Bears (as mentioned before) are the bottom of the barrel at stopping the passing game. They have allowed a TD to a WR in 7 of their last 8 games and have given up the 5th most touchdowns to wide outs this season (17 total). Tate also has the best catch rate of any WR who's gotten 100+ targets this season, catching 74% of passes thrown his way and that rate is tied with the next man on our list ...
Julian Edleman New England Patriots @ New York Jets:
Yep Edleman is tied for the league lead with the aforementioned Tate with a league-leading 74% catch rate. And this tends to be the time of year when Edleman really hits his stride and chemistry with Tom Brady. Since week 11 Edleman has double-digit targets in every game, 7 or more catches in each, 85+ yards in 3 of the 4 games, and 2 touchdowns. Last season in his last 6 games Edleman had double-digit targets in 5 of 6, 6 or more catches in each (4 games with 9+), 3 games with 100+ yards (no fewer than 64), and 4 total TDs plus two 2-point conversions. The Jets are still a bottom-tier team against the pass allowing 24 points per game to WRs (1 of 12 teams to be giving up 24+ per game). And Edleman's QB Tom Brady, perhaps you've heard of him, is averaging 233 yards per game in his career versus the Jets with 35 touchdowns to just 11 picks in 25 career games (including averaging 251 yards over his last 5 against New York with a 9:1 TD:INT ratio).
WR FLEX PLAYS
DeSean Jackson Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles (Saturday 4:30PM): Jackson put up 117 yards and a touchdown on his former team in their first meeting in Philadelphia at the beginning of 2014. He had 11 targets that week (season high) and his 17 fantasy points were the 3rd most he's scored this season. The Eagles still have the worst defense at stopping wide receivers, still giving up 28 points per game to wide outs (worst in the league and only team at 28+ points per game), so Washington will definitely be throwing the ball. And in his career, DeSean has never gone more than 2 games in a row without scoring a touchdown. He hasn't scored in his last 2 at FedEx Field. He's scoring, and he's going to toast his former team once again. #revenge
DeAndre Hopkins Houston Texans vs Baltimore Ravens:
If he had a better quarterback DeAndre would be a must start, but his potential signal caller being Thad Lewis or Case Keenum doesn't get anyone excited. However having a QB like that means the Ravens will be pressuring the passer and stacking the box to stop Arian Foster. Not a good idea against a talent like Hopkins. Definitely not a good idea when you're the 2nd worst team at stopping wide receivers in the league, allowing over 27 points per game. Hopkins has gotten 8+ targets in 7 of his last 8 games (double-digit targets in 3) including a career-high 13 last week without Andre Johnson so if Andre can't go again expect a huge number of passes being thrown at DeAndre once again. In his last 3 home games Hopkins has gone for 392 yards on 20 catches and scored 3 times. Even with a crappy to less-than-crappy QB throwing to him, Hopkins can still produce for you this week.
Marques Colston New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons:
Colston has been on a nice streak of late, going for 65+ yards in 3 of the last 4 and a touchdown in 3 of the last 4. The Falcons are the 4th worst team against wide receivers giving up points per game, have held just 2 WR1s to less than 10 points this season, and have allowed a league-high 2861 receiving yards. In their first match up this year Colston caught 5 of 8 targets for 110 yards in Atlanta week 1. And in his last 5 home games against the Falcons, Colston has caught a touchdown in 4 of the 5 and is averaging 5 catches for 57 yards. This game is more-than-likely going to decide the NFC south champion so expect Drew Brees (who averages 304 yards and 2TDs per game with Atlanta) & Co to put in their best home effort this season, which make Colston a great play championship week 2014.
Jimmy Graham New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons
Julius Thomas Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals (Monday Night)
Rob Gronkowski New England Patriots @ New York Jets
Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers vs Cleveland Browns
TE MUST STARTS
Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers:
Kelce has obviously been Alex Smith's favorite target in the pass game this season. He already has 5 touchdowns (Chiefs wide receivers still at the anti-magical number of 0), and over the past 3 weeks Kelce's 26 points are 5th among tight ends (more than Jimmy Graham's 11). The Steelers are 1 of 8 teams to be allowing 9+ fantasy points per game to TEs and are 1 of 6 teams to have given up double-digit touchdowns to TEs. Pittsburgh has let tight ends score on them in 7 of the last 9 weeks.
Martellus Bennett Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions:
Liked Bennett before the Bears benched Cutler, and that's not going to change with Claussen coming in at QB this week. If anything Bennett may see more targets in the usual "safety blanket" role most tight ends play with a new quarterback. Bennett already has set career highs in targets (114), catches (81), yards (857), and TDs (6). The Lions are a good D but the one spot they do lack is stopping TEs. They are allowing 8 points per game, and the 77 receptions they have let TEs catch is 5th most in the league. Bennett had 8 grabs for 109 yards yards in the first match up between these two teams this year, and is averaging 7 catches for 72 yards vs the Lions since joining the Bears.
TE FLEX PLAYS
Dwayne Allen Indianapolis Colts @ Dallas Cowboys:
Allen got back into the end zone last week for his 8th touchdown of the season, 5th most among tight ends this season. In fact Allen is scoring in 72% of his games (8 out of 11), so while he may not get a ton of catches or yards, he gets into the end zone. And while Allen isn't necessarily a catch/yardage machine, the Cowboys are allowing the most receptions (92), 2nd most yards (904), 5th most TDs (10), and 2nd most points per game (10.7).
Antonio Gates San Diego Chargers @ San Francisco 49ers (Saturday 8:25PM): Even though he has had some really down games this year, Gates is still the 4th highest scoring tight end in fantasy football this year averaging 9 points per game (1 of 4 ends to put up 9+ per week). Even though it's a small sample, in his only career game against the 49ers Gates had 5 catches for 78 yards and a TD. If you're in the championship you need to rely on someone like Gates, who, at a thin position like tight end can come through with a good game to bring home that trophy.
D/ST MUST START
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals:
The Cardinals are starting Ryan Lindley at quarterback against the Seahawks this week. Lindley averages under 100 pass yards per game in the 8 he’s appeared in through his 3 year career and he has 0 touchdowns with 7 interceptions in those 8 contests. Lindley faced Seattle once in his career in 2012 when he went 8/17 for 59 yards with 0TDs and 0INTs. Seattle must win this game to have a shot at the NFC west title and a first-round bye. They've been here before and I fully expect them to not only win this game but dominate it.
Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans:
The Ravens have 5 or more sacks in 4 of their last 5 games including 14 combined over the last 2 weeks. In the 3 games the Ravens have faced the AFC south they have combined for 7 turnovers, 14 sacks, and are giving up just 13 points per game. Oh and the Texans are on quarterback number three right now, starting Thad Lewis. In his 6 career starts Lewis has never thrown for 250 or more yards, has 2 games without a touchdown and 4 games with an interception. Juicy JUICY match up for this Baltimore defense!
***Some other D/ST I like this week: Bill (@ Raiders), Patriots (@ Jets), Dolphins (vs Vikings), Giants (@ Rams), Rams (vs Giants)***
K MUST STARTS
Steven Hauschka Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals:
Hauschka is averaging just under 9 points per game (8.6) while he's not missed an XP this season and has hit 29 of 32 field goals. His only 3 FG misses came in Seattle and this game is on the road where he is 13/13. Hauschka's average goes up by more than a full point against the NFC west this season (9.75), and he's had at least 2 FG opportunities in 3 of the 4 division games in 2014 with 4 FG attempts in 2 of those games (1 coming against the Cardinals in Seattle).
Dan Carpenter Buffalo Bills @ Oakland Raiders:
Carpenter is leading the league in both FG attempts (36) and FGs made (32). He's got at least 1 FG attempt in all but 1 game this season and has multiple attempts in 8 games. He has 7+ points in 6 of his last 7 games and on the road this season he is averaging just less than 9 points per contest (8.7). In his career Carpenter has hit all 14 of his XPs and on 7/9 FG attempts.
Justin Tucker Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans:
The Texans are 1 of 6 teams to be allowing kickers to hit 90% of FGs or better, and in his career thus far Tucker is hitting 89.3% of his FG attempts. Although he's missed 5 FGs this season, all have come from 50+ yards away. The Ravens are a good offense; good enough to move the ball close enough for Tucker to get several FG opportunities this week.
***If you need other Kicker options look at guys kicking INDOORS (Falcons/Saints Matt Bryant & Shayne Graham; Giants/Rams Josh Brown & Greg Zuerlein) or in WARM CALM WEATHER (Mason Crosby GB @ TB; Colts/Cowboys Adam Vinatieri & Dan Bailey; Vikings/Dolphins Blair Walsh & Caleb Sturgis)***