Week 16 Starts and Sits December 21, 2016  |  Jackson Safon


We’re here. Week 16. The second to last week of the NFL regular season but the most important week of your year. Fantasy football championship games.

Whether you have one game this weekend or eight, you’ve done something right. And if you’re reading this column, looking for advice, I’ll do my best to help. I’m in a few championship games myself this weekend, so we’ll be rooting against David Johnson together.

Last week, I hit on most of my picks. The only misses were Tevin Coleman and Ryan Matthews. I expected the Falcons to dominate the ground game, and they did, but it was just all Devonta Freeman. Otherwise, I pretty much nailed all the picks.

Good luck this weekend. The Force is with you and you are with the Force.

 

Quarterbacks

Start: Ben Roethlisberger vs. Bal

There are two sides of the coin here.

  1. Big Ben is much better at home than he is on the road…Over 3 points per game better.
  2. Big Ben is much worse against Baltimore over the course of his career…Over 2 points per game worse.

The good news is, when at home against the Ravens, he averages virtually the same amount of fantasy points as he does at home against the rest of the league. While Baltimore’s defense is great, as usual, this year, they’re significantly better against the run than the pass. I expect Ben to get back on track, just in time.

Other starts: Andrew Luck @ Oak and Russell Wilson vs. Ari

Sit: Marcus Mariota @ Jax

After a red-hot middle of the season, Mariota has put up two stinkers in a row. Granted, it was against some elite defenses in Denver and Kansas City, but 165 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 0.5 interceptions per game is less than ideal come fantasy playoff time. And while the word “Jaguars” doesn’t exactly strike fear into you, their pass defense has actually been pretty solid this season.

Jacksonville is allowing the seventh fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. This game has a mediocre over/under at 44 and I’m just not confident in Mariota’s ability to bounce back this week. They should pound the rock and win with relative ease, not forcing Mariota to sling it.

Other sits: Tyrod Taylor vs. Mia and Matthew Stafford @ Dal

 

 

Running Backs

Start: Spencer Ware vs. Den

Keep the faith. Ware has hardly rewarded fantasy owners over the past several weeks, but there’s reason to be optimistic. One reason? His workload.

Ware has had at least 18 touches in five straight weeks. The Chiefs are committed to feeding him the rock, even when it’s been a little rocky at times. While the Denver defense can be scary, Dion Lewis averaged over five yards per carry on 18 attempts last week, so there are some creases to be attacked. I think Ware finally gets in the end zone and rewards fantasy owners at the best possible time. Keep the faith.

Other starts: Todd Gurley vs. SF and Latavius Murray vs. Ind

Sit: Ryan Mathews vs. NYG

I was wrong in the “sit Mathews” department last week, and the reasoning is largely the same this week. The Giants have a really strong run defense, as we’ve seen against the Cowboys this season, and I expect them to commit to stopping the run this week.

Carson Wentz has been incredibly mediocre after the first few weeks, and I don’t think the Eagles will be able to move the ball particularly well this week…Doesn’t bode well for Mathews.

Other sits: Tevin Coleman @ Car and Adrian Peterson @ GB

 

Wide Receivers

Start: Dontrelle Inman @ Cle

You probably didn’t know Inman’s name before this season, and you didn’t really have a reason to. But holy smokes has he been incredible. Inman has had double digit PPR points in six of the last seven games and had a touchdown in three straight before last week. Even with Travis Benjamin back from injury, Inman continues to produce.

What does he have in store for fantasy championship week? A matchup with one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. Start. Start. Start.

Other starts: Steve Smith @ Pit and Jamison Crowder @ Chi

Sit: Jordan Matthews vs. NYG

See Mathews, Ryan.

While it’s obviously not the exact same because one is a running back and one is a receiver, I really don’t expect the Eagles to have much success moving the ball this week. Matthews has been getting a strong amount of targets recently, but doesn’t have a ton to show for it. Even with Janoris Jenkins possibly missing this week, I’m staying away.

Other sits: Brandon Marshall @ NE and Anquan Boldin @ Dal 

 

 

Tight Ends

Start: Cameron Brate @ NO

Confession: I’m a huge Cameron Brate fan.

Confession #2: It’s because I picked him up before the season in one of my dynasty leagues.

The guy has really clicked with Jameis Winston and has been performing at an extremely high level. He has at least four receptions in six of the last seven games and five touchdowns over the last eight.

Over the past eight games, this is his 16-game pace: 72 receptions, 844 yards, 10 touchdowns. Good for 216.4 PPR points which would’ve placed him as the TE6 last year. Guy is good. Oh yeah, he goes up against the disastrous Saints’ defense this week. Yeah, I’m starting him.

Other starts: Jason Witten vs. Det 

Sit: Jermaine Gresham @ Sea

Confession: There’s not a lot of bad tight ends matchups this week.

While Gresham isn’t a popular start, he’s gained some traction in recent weeks with three straight five-catch games before last week. But let’s put that to bed right now. The Seahawks’ defense isn’t the Seahawks’ defense of old without Earl Thomas, but they’re still dangerous. Carson Palmer has been a disaster against the Seahawks in Seattle over the past couple seasons, and I don’t expect Gresham to have any success at all this week.

Good luck. You can contact Jackson on Twitter @JacksonSafon

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