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Week 16 Rankings


Updated 12/22/2013 at 2:30 PM ET. Calvin Johnson moved ahead of Keenan Allen upon news that he'll be active versus Giants. 

Updated 12/22/2013 at 12:00 PM ET. Maurice Jones-Drew added. Expecting a timeshare, with Jordan Todman being the slightly better play. Calvin Johnson moved down from No. 1 spot upon Adam Schefter's report that he's "not a sure thing to play."  

It’s all led up to this. Every add, every drop. Every last-minute roster decision. Every garbage-time miracle. Every Harry Douglas. Every Nick Foles.

Rarely, if ever, is the path to championship week a straight line. A good draft will only get you so far. Say, Week 4. You don’t reach Week 16 without a little luck, and a whole lot of waiver-wire vigilance. That’s the nature of a game where 12 of the first 25 picks by ADP have missed at least one week.   

It’s also why, even in Week 16, the best of the best fake footballers are mulling decisions that would have been unthinkable two weeks ago. Do I start Kirk Cousins? Who is Jordan Todman, where did he come from and how do I get him into my lineup? Can I trust undrafted rookie Dennis Johnson against the best team in the AFC? Is Matt freakin’ Flynn going to get a shot at his third straight comeback victory? So is the fantasy football life.

So how about the question of the week? No player is generating more championship-week discussion than Kirk Cousins, and rightfully so after he carved up the Falcons for 381 yards and three touchdowns in his first start of 2013. The question is not whether Cousins is daily-league gold (he is) or if he should be locked into two-quarterback league lineups (he should). It’s who can you trust him over in standard leagues? The answer? Probably not as many people as you’d think. For though Cousins’ upside is real — he’s facing a defense that’s allowed 81 more passing yards than any team in the NFL, and has been eviscerated up by career backups Flynn and Josh McCown the past two weeks — there’s no such thing as guaranteed upside for a player making his third-career start. Cousins isn’t quite a wing and a prayer, but he’s not the Rosetta Stone, either. Get excited, but don’t go crazy.

That means don’t start Cousins over season-long QB1s like Drew Brees and Cam Newton because they have “bad matchups,” however tempting it may be. Tom Brady or Andrew Luck? That’s at least a discussion. Luck is going on the road against one the league’s fiercest pass rushes, while Brady is without Rob Gronkowski and possibly Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins against one of the few teams that’s historically had his number. But Luck is overseeing an offense that’s looked far more competent in recent weeks, and getting a defense that let Matt McGloin drop 297 yards on it in Week 15. Brady? Think about the actual act of benching Tom Brady for Kirk Cousins in Week 16. Clicking “bench” on one of the greatest players in league history during the fantasy finals to insert a second-year fourth rounder with 118 career pass attempts. Is it so crazy that it just might work? Ask Monte Kiffin. Is it still crazy? Yes.

Start Cousins over a struggling Matt Ryan in San Francisco or banged up Carson Palmer in the thunderdome. But when it comes to the Breeses of the world, you’re on your own. Maybe it will be in the winner’s circle. More likely it will be in the “what was I thinking” Hall-of-Fame.   


Week 16 Quarterbacks       

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Peyton Manning at HOU Probable (ankle)
2 Nick Foles vs. CHI -
3 Drew Brees at CAR -
4 Matthew Stafford vs. NYG -
5 Cam Newton vs. NO -
6 Jay Cutler at PHI -
7 Philip Rivers vs. OAK -
8 Andy Dalton vs. MIN -
9 Tony Romo at WAS -
10 Colin Kaepernick vs. ATL -
11 Russell Wilson vs. ARZ -
12 Tom Brady at BAL Probable (shoulder)
13 Andrew Luck at KC -
14 Alex Smith vs. IND -
15 Ben Roethlisberger at GB -
16 Kirk Cousins vs. DAL -
17 Ryan Tannehill at BUF -
18 Ryan Fitzpatrick at JAC -
19 Jason Campbell at NYJ -
20 Joe Flacco vs. NE Questionable (knee)
21 Matt Ryan at SF -
22 Matt Cassel at CIN -
23 Carson Palmer at SEA Probable (ankle)
24 Matt Schaub vs. DEN -
25 Matt Flynn vs. PIT -
26 Eli Manning at DET -
27 Matt McGloin at SD -
28 Thad Lewis vs. MIA -
29 Mike Glennon at STL -
30 Chad Henne vs. TEN -
31 Kellen Clemens vs. TB -
32 Geno Smith vs. CLE -
33 Terrelle Pryor at SD -

QB Notes: A first-world problem? Wondering if the Broncos get up so big, so fast on the Texans that Peyton Manning is limited to essentially one half of football in fantasy championship week. It’s a valid concern, but a little less so after the Texans announced Matt Schaub will be making the start in place of Case Keenum. Not that Schaub is a world-beater, but his train is at least still on the tracks. That’s more than can be said for Keenum in recent weeks. Manning has 54.8 more fantasy points than his next closest competitor, Drew Brees. That’s a horse you see through till the end. … Nick Foles finally had a game where everything didn’t go right. The result? A season-high 428 yards, three touchdowns and 41 yards rushing for good measure. Yes, Foles threw two picks, but this is a player who’s matchup proof heading into Week 16. The Bears are much stouter against the pass than the run, but that shouldn’t matter in what will likely be another shootout.

With the Packers showing remarkable restraint in the face of a possible playoff berth, Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) appears no better than 50-50 to return for Sunday’s game against the Steelers. If he does, “rust” will not be a valid excuse to leave him on your bench. If Rodgers takes the field, there’s not a single fantasy pine he should be riding. … You know the Drew Brees score by now, but to recap, here are his numbers through seven home games: 350.6 yards per game, 73.2 completion percentage, 8.76 yards per attempt, 23:3 TD:INT ratio and a 122.5 quarterback rating. Through seven road: 292.3 yards per game, 63.4 completion percentage, 6.94 yards per attempt, 11:7 TD:INT ratio and 86.4 QB rating. Yes, that’s a major dropoff. But notice something about his road numbers? They’re still quite good, and likely better than the overall numbers of anyone you’d consider starting in his place. Carolina’s defense is not a good matchup for Drew Brees. You know who’s not a good matchup for Carolina’s defense? Drew Brees. Start the man.

Despite the idiocy of some, Matthew Stafford is not the problem in Detroit, and he’s not the problem for your fantasy team, particularly at home. That’s where he’ll face the noncompetitive Giants this weekend. Stafford is not going to turn in back-to-back bad starts at Ford Field. Benching him is a game you will lose. … Philip Rivers is the No. 5 fantasy quarterback with two weeks to go. Last season he finished 20th. Even with the Bolts running the ball well of late, Rivers should have a nice day against the Raiders’ patchwork secondary. … It was looking like “Jaypocalypse Now” early in Chicago’s Week 15 win over the Browns, but Jay Cutler bounced back to finish with three scores and 265 yards. In the past four games he’s played from start to finish, Cutler has averaged 25.7 fantasy points. That would rank third on the year. He’s going to get his against an Eagles defense allowing the fifth most fantasy points to quarterbacks. … Can Tony Romo bounce-back mentally from the latest Desolation of Dallas? It’s a valid question, but he has the right matchup in one of the few defenses that’s almost as bad as Monte Kiffin’s. Emphasis on almost.    

Andy Dalton has been one of the least consistent players in football, but a much better player at home, he’s getting a team whose middle name might as well be “shootout.” Even if it’s begrudgingly, you need to trust Dalton for Week 16. … The last time Colin Kaepernick had a matchup this good, he was probably still at Nevada. Actually, it was Week 12 against the Redskins, where he racked up 25.8 fantasy points. Kaep is good to go for the ‘ship. … Oddly, Ben Roethlisberger finds his status tied to Aaron Rodgers’. If Rodgers plays, fire Big Ben up in a likely shootout. If he doesn’t, expect some ground-and-pound from Pittsburgh, and one of Roethlisberger’s every-other-week 220-yard efforts. … We talked about Andrew Luck in the lede, but the short of it? The matchup isn’t as dire as it appears on paper. Kansas City has sprung some leaks, while the Colts have found some competency and consistency. A big-play threat who tacks on yards with his legs, Luck is a high-upside play despite his up-and-down year. … Russell Wilson’s floor remains one of the highest in fantasy, but his ceiling is much lower than usual in a game that has all the makings of a brawl.

Alex Smith is fantasy’s No. 5 quarterback over the past five weeks. One spot behind him? Ryan Tannehill. The matchup isn’t amazing in a Bills defense that’s third in interceptions and leading the league in sacks, but Tannehill should pop enough big plays against Buffalo’s burnable secondary to make it worth fantasy owners’ while. … No. 19 is probably too low for the Amish Rifle, Ryan Fitzpatrick, but so is life when all 32 teams are playing. Fitzpatrick is an excellent daily-league option against a Jaguars team allowing the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks. … What Jason Campbell lacks in consistency, he makes up for it with Josh Gordon. The Browns are going to burn the Jets’ disintegrating secondary at least 2-3 times. … One of fantasy’s biggest disappointments this season, Matt Ryan is making a 2,500-mile trip to take on a top-five defense. If Ryan couldn’t shred the Redskins, he’s not going to have much luck against the 49ers. … Carson Palmer has been on a hot streak since a disastrous Week 7. Who shut him down that day? Seattle, whom he’ll now be facing in the toughest venue in sports. It’s been a nice ride, but it’s almost certainly over.

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Week 16 Running Backs

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 LeSean McCoy vs. CHI -
2 Jamaal Charles vs. IND -
3 Adrian Peterson at CIN Questionable (foot)
4 DeMarco Murray at WAS -
5 Matt Forte at PHI -
6 Eddie Lacy vs. PIT Questionable (ankle)
7 Zac Stacy vs. TB -
8 Reggie Bush vs. NYG -
9 Marshawn Lynch vs. ARZ Probable (shoulder)
10 Le'Veon Bell at GB -
11 Knowshon Moreno at HOU Probable (shoulder)
12 Alfred Morris vs. DAL -
13 Frank Gore vs. ATL Probable (ankle)
14 Ryan Mathews vs. OAK Probable (foot)
15 Rashad Jennings at SD -
16 Chris Johnson at JAC -
17 Bobby Rainey at STL -
18 Shane Vereen at BAL Probable (wrist)
19 Giovani Bernard vs. MIN -
20 Fred Jackson vs. MIA -
21 DeAngelo Williams vs. NO -
22 Ray Rice vs. NE Questionable (thigh)
23 Andre Brown at DET -
24 Dennis Johnson vs. DEN -
25 C.J. Spiller vs. MIA -
26 Chris Ivory vs. CLE -
27 Rashard Mendenhall at SEA Probable (finger)
28 Steven Jackson at SF -
29 Andre Ellington at SEA Probable (thigh)
30 Montee Ball at HOU -
31 Danny Woodhead vs. OAK -
32 Pierre Thomas at CAR -
33 Jordan Todman vs. TEN -
34 Lamar Miller at BUF -
35 BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. MIN -
36 Donald Brown at KC Probable (neck)
37 Joique Bell vs. NYG -
38 Darren Sproles at CAR -
39 Maurice Jones-Drew vs. TEN -
40 LeGarrette Blount at BAL -
41 Trent Richardson at KC -
42 Stevan Ridley at BAL -
43 Bilal Powell vs. CLE -
44 Chris Ogbonnaya at NYJ -
45 Mike Tolbert vs. NO -
46 Daniel Thomas at BUF -
47 Darren McFadden at SD Probable (ankle)
48 Shonn Greene at JAC -
49 Willis McGahee at NYJ Probable (concussion)
50 Jacquizz Rodgers at SF -
51 Roy Helu vs. DAL -
52 Kendall Hunter vs. ATL -
53 Bernard Pierce vs. NE -
54 Edwin Baker at NYJ -
55 Marcel Reece at SD -
56 Michael Bush at PHI -
57 Brian Leonard at STL -
58 Robert Turbin vs. ARZ Probable (groin)
59 Mark Ingram at CAR -
60 James Starks vs. PIT -
61 Toby Gerhart at CIN Questionable (hamstring)
62 Deji Karim vs. DEN -
63 Knile Davis vs. IND -
64 Michael Cox at DET -
65 Matt Asiata at CIN Questionable (ankle)
66 Bryce Brown vs. CHI -
67 Joseph Randle at WAS -
68 Fozzy Whittaker at NYJ -
69 Benny Cunningham vs. TB -
70 Jonathan Dwyer at GB -
71 Ronnie Brown vs. OAK -
72 Chris Polk vs. CHI -
73 Stepfan Taylor at SEA -

RB Notes: LeSean McCoy has 122 more rushing yards than anyone else. The Bears have allowed 279 more rushing yards than anyone else. Get excited. … Jamaal Charles has 58.6 more fantasy points than any other running back. … The matchup isn’t the greatest for Adrian Peterson, but here’s where we apply the Rodgers Logic: If Adrian Peterson plays for the Vikings, he plays for your fantasy team. The Vikes have insisted Peterson’s foot injury isn’t an issue, and he wouldn’t be playing if it was. … Riding a wave of strong matchups, DeMarco Murray has averaged 6.4 yards per carry over his past four games, bringing his season average to a crisp 5.5. Murray’s past 36 rushes have gone for 280 yards (7.7 YPC). The Redskins, who are allowing the third most fantasy points to running backs, aren’t going to slow him down. … Riding a wave similar to Murray’s, Matt Forte will be squaring off with an Eagles run defense that’s more formidable than it’s given credit for (3.8 yards per carry, 111 yards per game). That being said, owners should know by now that Forte’s all-purpose game is matchup proof. Only LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles have more yards from scrimmage, while Forte’s 66 catches are tied for second amongst running backs.  

Eddie Lacy ate against the Cowboys’ inept run defense, but will find things tougher going against the Steelers if Aaron Rodgers isn’t there to invite soft fronts. Either way, Lacy’s monster workloads keep his floor high, and while the Steelers aren’t a doormat against the run, they aren’t exactly stout. Lacy is a legit RB1 for the fantasy finals. … Le’Veon Bell’s yards per carry (3.3) leaves much to be desired, but his usage does not. Bell has rushed the ball fewer than 15 times only once all season, and is averaging four catches. He’s a low-risk option that gives owners guaranteed points in an unpredictable game. … Averaging just 3.16 yards per carry over his past four games, Marshawn Lynch will do battle with a Cardinals defense with the second lowest YPC against (3.6). Lynch’s workload keeps him locked in as an RB1 in what will likely be a hard-fought game, but he should get a rest come Week 17. … Reggie Bush rushed 17 times for 86 yards and a touchdown in proving his calf was no longer an issue in Monday’s loss. He’s not even on the Week 16 injury report. Averaging 5.0 yards per carry and 137.6 yards from scrimmage at home, there’s no reason to worry about Bush for the fantasy finals.

Alfred Morris has proven to be a source of frustration for fantasy owners, but how do you bench a guy averaging 4.8 yards every time he rushes the ball against a defense serving up 4.9 yards per carry? You don’t. … This time last year, Ryan Mathews had crushed more dreams than William Shatner at a “Star Trek” convention. This season, he’s tied with LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson for the most 100-yard games (five), and is leading the league in rush attempts over the past five weeks (105). Old ghosts are hard to kill — and could always haunt again — but Mathews cannot be benched for the fantasy finals. … Rashad Jennings’ hostile takeover of the Raiders’ backfield has included five touchdowns in his past four games. He’ll be in position to score against a Chargers defense allowing 4.7 yards per carry. … Owners have to shake off Shane Vereen’s Week 15 dud. He means too much to the Patriots’ offense to post back-to-back clunkers. … Ray Rice is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and 87 yards from scrimmage over his past two games. That’s something, right? Right? … Rice should be good for at least FLEX production against a Pats defense allowing a weekly 147 yards from scrimmage to enemy running backs.

To trust Jordan Todman or not to trust Jordan Todman, that is the question. The answer is probably yes. Todman entered Week 15 with 193 yards from scrimmage. He exited it with more yards rushing (109) and YFS (153) than Maurice Jones-Drew had managed in a game all season. Guaranteed a huge workload for a team that has little interest in passing the ball, Todman should have success against a Titans club allowing the second most fantasy points to running backs. Todman is an ideal FLEX option who can produce like an RB2 if you enter the ‘ship low on runners. … Steven Jackson has five touchdowns over his past four games, but is still averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. He’s a tough sell against a 49ers defense that’s allowed only four rushing scores all year. … DeAngelo Williams had the best game by any Panthers runner this season in last week’s win, rushing 15 times for 81 yards while adding three grabs for an additional 87 yards and a touchdown. Now he gets a Saints defense allowing 4.6 yards per carry. Even with Mike Tolbert vulturing goal-line work, D-Will is a strong FLEX option.

Andre Brown got erased by the Seahawks last weekend, and things aren’t going to go much better against the Lions’ No. 4 run defense. Only Brown’s likely workload is keeping him on the RB2 fringe. … Want to walk on the wild side for the fantasy finals? Plug C.J. Spiller in against a Dolphins’ run defense allowing the 10th most points to rival runners. … Want to really walk on the wild side? Start Dennis Johnson in a game that could be a blowout. Be that as it may, the Broncos are allowing the ninth most fantasy points to running backs, while the Texans will likely keep feeding Johnson the rock even if things get out of hand early. Evaluation, not winning, is the priority in Houston for Weeks 16 and 17. … What’s the point in “trusting” Lamar Miller or Daniel Thomas. … Stevan Ridley: Still unlikely to be used near the goal-line. … Donald Brown is going to play through his stinger, but with 130 total yards over his past four games, he isn’t much of a FLEX option. … Willis McGahee will probably “start” for Cleveland, but look for him to split carries with Edwin Baker. Avoid.

Week 16 Receivers  

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Josh Gordon at NYJ -
2 A.J. Green vs. MIN -
3 Brandon Marshall at PHI Probable (quadriceps)
4 Demaryius Thomas at HOU Probable (shoulder)
5 Dez Bryant at WAS -
6 Alshon Jeffery at PHI -
7 Pierre Garcon vs. DAL -
8 Antonio Brown at GB -
9 Andre Johnson vs. DEN Probable (wrist)
10 Calvin Johnson vs. NYG Questionable (knee)
11 Keenan Allen vs. OAK Probable (shoulder)
12 Eric Decker at HOU Probable (ribs)
13 DeSean Jackson vs. CHI -
14 Julian Edelman at BAL -
15 Marques Colston at CAR -
16 Jordy Nelson vs. PIT -
17 Vincent Jackson at STL Probable (hamstring)
18 Torrey Smith vs. NE -
19 Mike Wallace at BUF -
20 T.Y. Hilton at KC -
21 Kendall Wright at JAC Probable (ankle)
22 Michael Crabtree vs. ATL Probable (ankle)
23 Larry Fitzgerald at SEA -
24 Brian Hartline at BUF -
25 Danny Amendola at BAL Probable (groin)
26 Greg Jennings at CIN -
27 Roddy White at SF -
28 Anquan Boldin vs. ATL -
29 Harry Douglas at SF -
30 Dwayne Bowe vs. IND -
31 Riley Cooper vs. CHI -
32 Steve Smith vs. NO Sidelined (knee)
33 Rueben Randle at DET -
34 James Jones vs. PIT -
35 Cordarrelle Patterson at CIN -
36 Michael Floyd at SEA Questionable (ankle)
37 Emmanuel Sanders at GB Probable (foot)
38 Doug Baldwin vs. ARZ -
39 Rod Streater at SD -
40 Hakeem Nicks at DET -
41 Golden Tate vs. ARZ Probable (hip)
42 Robert Woods vs. MIA -
43 Jarrett Boykin vs. PIT -
44 Da'Rick Rogers at KC -
45 Andre Holmes at SD -
46 Aaron Dobson at BAL Questionable (foot)
47 DeAndre Hopkins vs. DEN Probable (ankle)
48 Nate Burleson vs. NYG -
49 Marvin Jones vs. MIN -
50 Denarius Moore at SD -
51 Jerricho Cotchery at GB Probable (shoulder)
52 Eddie Royal vs. OAK -
53 Marlon Brown vs. NE -
54 Brandon LaFell vs. NO -
55 Jacoby Jones vs. NE -
56 Aldrick Robinson vs. DAL -
57 Santana Moss vs. DAL -
58 Justin Hunter at JAC -
59 Rishard Matthews at BUF -
60 Jeremy Kerley vs. CLE Probable (elbow)
61 Dexter McCluster vs. IND Probable (ankle)
62 Kris Durham vs. NYG -
63 Tiquan Underwood at STL -
64 Jermaine Kearse vs. ARZ -
65 Jerrel Jernigan at DET Questionable (knee)
66 Jerome Simpson at CIN -
67 Mike Brown vs. TEN -
68 Nate Washington at JAC -
69 Andre Caldwell at HOU -
70 Lance Moore at CAR -
71 LaVon Brazill at KC Probable (foot)
72 Ace Sanders vs. TEN -
73 Greg Little at NYJ -
74 Cole Beasley at WAS -
75 Mohamed Sanu vs. MIN -
76 Tavon Austin vs. TB Sidelined (ankle)
77 Santonio Holmes vs. CLE Probable (hamstring)
78 Vincent Brown vs. OAK -
79 Kenny Stills at CAR -
80 David Nelson vs. CLE -
81 Ted Ginn vs. NO -
82 Terrance Williams at WAS -
83 Donnie Avery vs. IND Probable (shoulder)
84 Miles Austin at WAS -
85 Jason Avant vs. CHI -
86 Stedman Bailey vs. TB -
87 Chris Givens vs. TB -
88 Marquise Goodwin vs. MIA Sidelined (knee)
89 Andre Roberts at SEA -
90 Griff Whalen at KC Questionable (calf)
91 Drew Davis at SF -
92 Chris Hogan vs. MIA -

WR Notes: Calvin Johnson has just one touchdown over his past four games. Expect him to get you one for the fantasy finals. … Josh Gordon has cleared 100 yards in six of his past nine games. According to Pro Football Focus’ ratings, no team has been worse than the Jets in pass coverage. The matchup couldn’t be better for fantasy’s most ascendant player. … Only the Eagles are allowing more fantasy points to receivers than Minnesota. Quiet for the better part of the past month, expect A.J. Green to erupt when it matters most. … Dez Bryant has had some good battles with DeAngelo Hall, but it’s not as if he’s gotten erased. Only six teams have allowed more aerial scores than the ‘Skins. Expect an angry Dez to flash some “positive exuberance” as he builds on last week’s 11/153/1 line. … Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are going to do bad things to an Eagles defense that’s surrendered the most fantasy points to enemy receivers. Cary Williams better have his fireman’s suit on.

Refreshed and restored with Kirk Cousins under center, Pierre Garcon stung a bad Falcons secondary for 7/129/1. Now he gets Dallas’ even worse unit. Only Demaryius Thomas and Josh Gordon have more yards after the catch than Garcon. Good luck to the second level of Monte Kiffin’s defense … The only two players with more receiving yards than Antonio Brown? Josh Gordon and Calvin Johnson. Don’t expect the fantasy finals to be the first week Brown is held below five catches. … Although he’s done his best work with Case Keenum under center, Andre Johnson’s Week 16 lot should be improved by Matt Schaub. … As is the case with all of Green Bay’s pass catchers, Jordy Nelson’s status is wholly dependent on Aaron Rodgers’ health. If Rodgers returns, Nelson is a WR1. If he doesn’t, low-end WR2. For James Jones it’s high-upside WR2 or high-risk WR3. Jarrett Boykin, high-upside WR3 or high-risk WR4. … Shake off Eric Decker’s slow Week 15. Decker isn’t going to have back-to-back down weeks with Wes Welker (concussion) on the shelf.

This isn’t the same Julian Edelman who set the fantasy football world aflutter in September. This Edelman is more than just a PPR-league dynamo. Fantasy’s No. 6 receiver over both the past three weeks and five, Edelman has eclipsed 100 yards in three of four games, posting four scores in the process. Tom Brady’s clear No. 1 option in the absence of Rob Gronkowski, Edelman is an eminently safe WR2. … DeSean Jackson seems to rotate weeks as a locked-in WR1 and low-end WR2. For Week 16, the matchup isn’t great in a Bears defense that’s far more stout against the pass than run. D-Jax belongs in all lineups, but can’t be counted on as the linchpin of your championship drive just seven days after dropping 10/195/1 on Minnesota. … Marques Colston has been a different player since sitting out in Week 9 with a knee injury, averaging 6.2 catches for 79 yards in six games. … Fantasy’s No. 14 receiver over the past five weeks, Mike Wallace is going to find the holes in a Buffalo defense that picks off passes and sacks the quarterback, but also gives up a lot of big plays to receivers. Only four teams have allowed more passing scores.  

T.Y. Hilton hinted at a breakout in Week 15, catching six passes in the game’s first 17 minutes. He finished with just eight for 78 yards, however, after the Colts put the Texans out of their misery early. Hilton benefitted from both a renewed emphasis on getting him the ball, and Da’Rick Rogers occupying defensive attention. Hilton is a high-reward option for the fantasy finals. … Larry Fitzgerald (concussion) is tentatively expected to suit up for Week 16, but it will be in a brutal matchup with the league’s best secondary. Fitz caught just two passes for 17 yards when the sides squared off in Week 7, and that game was in Arizona. Fitz has been playing too well to be outright benched, but he’s a low-end WR2. … Seventh in the league in catches and 17th in receiving yards, shake off Kendall Wright’s lack of touchdowns and plug him in as a guy you know is going to get you points. … That was the Danny Amendola New England paid $28.5 million. Making tough catch after tough catch, Amendola finished last week’s loss with 10 grabs for a season-high 131 yards. He should continue to run as Tom Brady’s No. 2 receiver even if “X” man Aaron Dobson (foot) returns for Week 16. Dobson is practicing.

With the Falcons starting two rookie corners, Week 16 is the time to bust out Michael Crabtree if you’ve been stashing him since mid-season. … It’s been a quiet four weeks for Riley Cooper, but his big-play ability still makes him a high-reward WR3. … Steve Smith is basically just a body at this point in his career. He won’t really hurt you, but he’s not helping you, either. … Rueben Randle is a high-risk, high-reward gamble for the fantasy finals. Starting in place of an injured Victor Cruz (concussion, knee), Randle is getting an opportunity to flash his game-breaking skills against a secondary that can be broken. The problem is Eli Manning, but 3-4 catches could be all Randle needs to make himself a fantasy hero. … Michael Floyd has been a legitimate breakout player, but at less than 100 percent against Seattle’s Legion of Boom, he can’t be trusted for Week 16. … You’d be hard pressed to find a more exciting WR4 than Cordarrelle Patterson. … Da’Rick Rogers is a close second, especially if he gets a few targets against burnable Chiefs No. 2 CB Marcus Cooper. … Justin Hunter is too risky following his Week 15 deactivation. … Ace Sanders has tumbled down the depth chart.  

Week 16 Tight Ends

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Jimmy Graham at CAR -
2 Vernon Davis vs. ATL -
3 Julius Thomas at HOU Probable (knee)
4 Greg Olsen vs. NO Probable (foot)
5 Delanie Walker at JAC Probable (concussion)
6 Jason Witten at WAS -
7 Tony Gonzalez at SF Questionable (toe)
8 Dennis Pitta vs. NE -
9 Charles Clay at BUF -
10 Martellus Bennett at PHI -
11 Heath Miller at GB -
12 Antonio Gates vs. OAK Probable (hamstring)
13 Ryan Griffin vs. DEN -
14 Zach Miller vs. ARZ Probable (ribs)
15 Coby Fleener at KC -
16 Scott Chandler vs. MIA -
17 Tim Wright at STL -
18 Zach Ertz vs. CHI Probable (shoulder)
19 Brandon Myers at DET -
20 Andrew Quarless vs. PIT -
21 Joseph Fauria vs. NYG -
22 Marcedes Lewis vs. TEN Probable (thigh)
23 Logan Paulsen vs. DAL -
24 Jared Cook vs. TB -
25 Jermaine Gresham vs. MIN Probable (abdomen)
26 Tyler Eifert vs. MIN -
27 Mychal Rivera at SD -
28 Anthony Fasano vs. IND Probable (concussion)
29 Brent Celek vs. CHI Probable (hip)
30 Kellen Winslow vs. CLE Probable (knee)
31 Rob Housler at SEA Questionable (groin)
32 Jeff Cumberland vs. CLE -
33 Lance Kendricks vs. TB Probable (finger)
34 Luke Willson vs. ARZ -
35 Michael Hoomanawanui at BAL Probable (knee)
36 Ladarius Green vs. OAK -
37 MarQueis Gray at NYJ -
38 Rhett Ellison at CIN -
39 Ed Dickson vs. NE -
40 Clay Harbor vs. TEN -
41 Fred Davis vs. DAL -
42 Ben Watson at CAR -
43 Jim Dray at SEA -
44 Sean McGrath vs. IND -
45 Jacob Tamme at HOU -
46 Gary Barnidge at NYJ -
47 Chase Ford at CIN -
48 Dorin Dickerson vs. NYG -
49 Tony Moeaki vs. MIA -

TE Notes: Vernon Davis has scored in five straight games, and 10 of 13 on the season. Now there’s a TE1. Julius Thomas has almost been Davis’ equal, finding paydirt in 9 of 12 games. The difference is Thomas has 131 fewer yards on five more catches. Davis’ big-play ability is the kind rarely found at the tight end position. Davis’ 16.4 yards per catch is first amongst tight ends, and eighth in the league. … Greg Olsen’s 28 catches over the past five weeks are tied with Heath Miller for the most amongst tight ends. Playing his best football at the right time of year for both Carolina and fantasy owners, Olsen is an extremely safe option even in a fairly-forbidding matchup. … Facing a Cardinals team allowing the most fantasy points to tight ends, Delanie Walker took advantage of a cakewalk matchup in Week 15, stinging Arizona for 8/53/1. His reward? A matchup with the second worst defense against tight ends, Jacksonville. Walker can’t be benched for the fantasy finals.

Jordan Cameron is extremely dicey for Week 16 after coming down with concussion symptoms on Monday. Although the odds that he suits up are probably less than 50-50, he’ll be a must start if he goes. Only seven teams are allowing more fantasy points to rival tight ends than the Jets. … The 49ers defend everything well, including tight ends. Tony Gonzalez is always a good bet to find the end zone, but don’t expect him to match the 8/78/1 he dropped on San Francisco in last season’s NFC Championship Game. … Dennis Pitta was one of Week 15’s major disappointments, but owners have to shake it off against a Patriots team with linebackers that can’t cover anybody. Only four teams have allowed more catches to tight ends than New England. Baltimore needs Pitta as much as you do. He’s going to get the rock. … Charles Clay’s Week 15 dud wasn’t surprising — Miami’s game plans have never been known for their consistency — but it was spectacular. It was just the second time all season that Clay caught fewer than three passes. He should bounce back against Buffalo.

The Eagles are stout against tight ends, but Martellus Bennett is still a good bet to find the end zone. Bennett is a much bigger part of the Bears offense when Jay Cutler is under center. … With Garrett Graham (hamstring) “iffy” for Week 16, owners should be prepared to roll with Ryan Griffin, who essentially did the world’s greatest Garrett Graham impression in Week 15. … The Broncos are allowing the ninth most fantasy points to tight ends. … Coby Fleener is a no-go against a Chiefs defense allowing the fewest fantasy points to tight ends. … Zach Miller’s specialty is random touchdowns. A score wouldn’t be so random against Arizona’s infamous tight-end defense. … Scott Chandler is a low-upside, but safe, TE2 against a Dolphins defense that’s been getting burned by tight ends all season. … Tyler Eifert would be an intriguing play if Jermaine Gresham (hip) can’t go. For now, it appears he will, rendering both fantasy nonentities.  

Week 16 Kickers

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Justin Tucker vs. NE -
2 Stephen Gostkowski at BAL -
3 Steven Hauschka vs. ARZ -
4 Mason Crosby vs. PIT -
5 Matt Prater at HOU -
6 Nick Novak vs. OAK -
7 Adam Vinatieri at KC -
8 Blair Walsh at CIN Probable (hamstring)
9 Dan Bailey at WAS -
10 Phil Dawson vs. ATL -
11 Josh Scobee vs. TEN -
12 Shaun Suisham at GB Probable (hamstring)
13 Shayne Graham at CAR -
14 Ryan Succop vs. IND -
15 Jay Feely at SEA -
16 Robbie Gould at PHI -
17 Dan Carpenter vs. MIA -
18 Caleb Sturgis at BUF -
19 Nick Folk vs. CLE -
20 Alex Henery vs. CHI -
21 Kai Forbath vs. DAL -
22 Graham Gano vs. NO -
23 Greg Zuerlein vs. TB -
24 Mike Nugent vs. MIN -
25 Rob Bironas at JAC -
26 David Akers vs. NYG -
27 Matt Bryant at SF -
28 Sebastian Janikowski at SD -
29 Randy Bullock vs. DEN -
30 Josh Brown at DET -
31 Rian Lindell at STL -
32 Billy Cundiff at NYJ Probable (quadriceps)

Week 16 Defense/Special Teams

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Seahawks Def/Spec Team vs. ARZ -
2 Fortyniners Def/Spec Team vs. ATL -
3 Dolphins Def/Spec Team at BUF -
4 Browns Def/Spec Team at NYJ -
5 Chiefs Def/Spec Team vs. IND -
6 Lions Def/Spec Team vs. NYG -
7 Broncos Def/Spec Team at HOU -
8 Bengals Def/Spec Team vs. MIN -
9 Bills Def/Spec Team vs. MIA -
10 Rams Def/Spec Team vs. TB -
11 Titans Def/Spec Team at JAC -
12 Buccaneers Def/Spec Team at STL -
13 Panthers Def/Spec Team vs. NO -
14 Chargers Def/Spec Team vs. OAK -
15 Saints Def/Spec Team at CAR -
16 Cardinals Def/Spec Team at SEA -
17 Jaguars Def/Spec Team vs. TEN -
18 Patriots Def/Spec Team at BAL -
19 Steelers Def/Spec Team at GB -
20 Ravens Def/Spec Team vs. NE -
21 Packers Def/Spec Team vs. PIT -
22 Jets Def/Spec Team vs. CLE -
23 Eagles Def/Spec Team vs. CHI -
24 Cowboys Def/Spec Team at WAS -
25 Colts Def/Spec Team at KC -
26 Bears Def/Spec Team at PHI -
27 Falcons Def/Spec Team at SF -
28 Vikings Def/Spec Team at CIN -
29 Raiders Def/Spec Team at SD -
30 Giants Def/Spec Team at DET -
31 Redskins Def/Spec Team vs. DAL -
32 Texans Def/Spec Team vs. DEN -


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