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AFC West Player Analysis
Joshua Simmons,, Staff Writer

Denver Broncos (vs Cincinnati Bengals)

QB Peyton Manning: Granted, his play has fallen off and traveling to face the Bengals defense is no easy task but don't over think it. Peyton could potentially crush your opponent by himself, which is why he stays in your lineup. ( 222 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int )

QB Brock Osweiler: ( 7 yds pass )

RB C.J. Anderson: Obviously enjoying a break-out season and carving out for himself a more permanent role, but if nothing else, Anderson get so many touches that he remains a fixture of your lineup until further notice. Crippled by injuries to some of their better run defenders, Cincinnati has yielded a lot of fantasy points to opposing running backs and coincidentally, Anderson has scored a lot of points. ( 100 yds rush and 1 TD; 4 catches for 40 yds )

RB Juwan Thompson: At this point there's no real fantasy value to be mined here, especially considering Ronnie Hillman should be back this week or next. ( 33 yds rush; 1 catch for 7 yds )

RB Jeremy Stewart: ( 5 yds rush; 1 catch for 1 yd )

RB Ronnie Hillman: It is unclear whether Week 16 will mark Hillman's return to the lineup, so check back closer to game time for relevant updates. ( 40 yds rush; 2 catches for 14 yds )

WR Demaryius Thomas: Tough matchup here, as not many receivers have gotten over on the Bengals secondary the past six weeks -- Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant the notable exceptions therein. As evidenced by his six for 123 (and a touchdown) stat line against San Diego, however, Demaryius reminded us of why he is a must-start every week. ( 7 catches for 86 yds and 1 TD )

WR Emmanuel Sanders: Relatively meager fantasy production of late, trending downward in conjunction with Peyton Manning. Still probably in your lineup although with an outlook more in keeping with WR2 type numbers. ( 2 yds rush; 6 catches for 68 yds )

WR Wes Welker: From six receptions (and back into some of our good graces) a couple weeks ago, to just two receptions this past Sunday. Still, you could do worse than having to flex or otherwise roll with Welker in PPR formats given the offense he plays in. ( 5 catches for 43 yds )

WR Andre Caldwell: ( 1 catch for 6 yds )

WR Cody Latimer: ( 1 catch for 1 yd )

TE Julius Thomas: The Bengals defense has improved against tight ends down the stretch, plus Julius' role has become dubious and difficult to count on. Hard to argue with the tremendous fantasy upside he brings to the table though. ( 4 catches for 40 yds and 1 TD )

TE Jacob Tamme: ( 1 catch for 9 yds )

TE Virgil Green: ( 1 catch for 3 yds )

PK Connor Barth: With a pair of recent five field goal games, Barth merits consideration if your team is still in it, despite the fantasy kicker you've been rolling with. ( 3 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def Denver Broncos: Maybe not a marquee matchup, traveling to Cincinnati. This defense isn't allowing many points to the opposition, however, and forces its share of turnovers. ( 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 Fumble )

Kansas City Chiefs (vs Pittsburgh Steelers)

QB Alex Smith: Don't be surprised when the game script lends itself to more passing as in recent weeks, which coupled with an excellent matchup can only help Smith's fantasy upside. Pittsburgh has yielded multiple passing touchdowns to eight consecutive opponents. ( 247 yds pass with 2 TDs; 17 yds rush )

QB Chase Daniel: ( 4 yds pass )

RB Jamaal Charles: Less touches lately, mostly on account of the knee injury he's been playing through. Jamaal helped get you this far, and you don't want to bench his massive scoring potential. ( 77 yds rush and 1 TD; 3 catches for 27 yds )

RB Knile Davis: Wasn't particularly impressive last week as a ball carrier but he did score twice, including a scintillating catch & run that went for 70. If Andy Reid sees fit to again limit Jamaal Charles' touches, Knile would reap the benefits. ( 24 yds rush; 1 catch for 12 yds )

RB De'Anthony Thomas: Same as usual: De'Anthony has value in leagues with heftier return yardage bonuses, otherwise not so much. ( 7 yds rush; 1 catch for 7 yds )

WR Dwayne Bowe: Savory matchup here but who's going to bank on Bowe with any degree of confidence? Perhaps in deeper leagues where viable lineup options are scarce, although we strongly advise caution. Bottom line is, he just doesn't play with the same level of talent anymore. ( 4 catches for 51 yds )

WR Donnie Avery: One catch in his return to the lineup, followed by absolutely nothing in the two games since. Avery couldn't be much more removed from this team's plans. ( 3 catches for 43 yds )

WR Junior Hemingway: Having compiled a four for 19 stat line over the nine weeks since this team's bye, Hemingway isn't your guy. ( 2 catches for 15 yds )

WR Frankie Hammond: ( 1 catch for 4 yds )

WR Albert Wilson: Flourishing with the increase in playing time, Wilson offers decent fantasy upside with the Steelers defense in mind -- albeit in deeper leagues only. ( 1 catch for 19 yds )

WR Jason Avant: His five for 64 stat line against Arizona was respectable but after finishing last week's game with one reception, Avant wouldn't appear a good bet to exploit this favorable matchup. ( 2 catches for 18 yds )

TE Anthony Fasano: Caught one ball for two yards in his last two games combined. Travis Kelce is being necessarily leaned on more heavily as a pass catcher, rendering Fasano devoid of fantasy value. ( 3 catches for 24 yds )

TE Travis Kelce: The sober reality of this years tight end situation is such that if you've got Kelce, you're thrilled every week at the prospect of utilizing one of the better fantasy options. Here's to hoping 'Gronk Junior' keeps his streak of 100+ yards and/or a touchdown going. ( 5 catches for 66 yds and 1 TD )

TE Phillip Supernaw: ( 1 catch for 1 yd )

PK Cairo Santos: Not a prolific offense, not a prolific fantasy kicker. It's that basic. ( 2 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Kansas City Chiefs: Highlighted by the pass rushing prowess characteristic of this defense, the Chiefs fared well at home against Oakland. Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell are wreaking havoc on most of the league though, meaning this would not be an ideal week to stream this defense. ( 2 sacks, 1 Fumble )

Oakland Raiders (vs Buffalo Bills)

QB Derek Carr: The recent Niners game was an aberration, judging from Carr's sub-5.5 yards per attempt on the year. This just in: Buffalo's defense is quality, embarrassing Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers in recent weeks. Avoiding the rookie quarterback this week is a very easy decision. ( 167 yds pass with 1 TD and 1 Int; 9 yds rush )

QB Matt Schaub: ( 18 yds pass; 1 yd rush )

QB Matt McGloin: ( 14 yds pass )

RB Latavius Murray: Looking more and more like an integral part of this offense going forward, although there are games (such as last week) that get out of hand too quickly for Murray to get many carries. The Bills defense is more vulnerable versus the run, so look for this team to get Latavius plenty involved from the get go. ( 65 yds rush; 3 catches for 25 yds )

RB Darren McFadden: With just six touches over the past two weeks, McFadden is clearly being phased out. ( 30 yds rush; 2 catches for 15 yds )

RB Marcel Reece: With zero touches in Week 15, mister PPR special has lost some of his luster. ( 7 yds rush; 2 catches for 19 yds )

RB Maurice Jones-Drew: ( 9 yds rush; 1 catch for 8 yds )

WR James Jones: Eleven targets against Kansas City and he did manage to score a touchdown, therefore Jones is the guy if you're looking to harness any fantasy production from this erratic passing attack. He now has 70 receptions for a paltry 646 yards, with five touchdowns. ( 6 catches for 49 yds )

WR Andre Holmes: A whopping 15 targets last week, including thrice in the red zone. Lest you start feeling uncharacteristically warm toward Holmes though, the Bills has gone four consecutive games without allowing a touchdown to opposing wideouts. ( 4 catches for 45 yds )

WR Vincent Brown: Declared inactive for Week 16.

WR Brice Butler: Just three receptions for 23 yards, but the second-year pro has shown flashes. Brice could well in the mix next season. ( 2 catches for 25 yds )

WR Kenbrell Thompkins: Targeted six times, as he was two weeks prior, but didn't manage to snag any passes. Nothing to see here. ( 1 catch for 14 yds )

TE Mychal Rivera: Fresh off another seven-catch game, Rivera is now squarely in TE1 territory on the year. Buffalo has gone eight consecutive games without yielding a touchdown to opposing tight ends though -- somehow limiting them to just one catch in three of their last four games as well. ( 4 catches for 35 yds )

PK Sebastian Janikowski: Slight uptick in scoring lately, but Janikowski remains limited by Oakland's lackluster offense. ( 2 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Oakland Raiders: Aside from the exploitation of visiting San Francisco, this crew has consistently earned the title of worst fantasy defense. ( 2 sacks )

San Diego Chargers (vs San Francisco 49ers)

QB Philip Rivers: Two unsatisfying games in a row for Rivers, and traveling to San Francisco in Week 16 doesn't bode well for his fantasy outlook. In fact, only once over the past five weeks has an opposing player enjoyed QB1 caliber success versus the 49ers defense. Rivers isn't throwing a ton of passes, per the usual, and has been intercepted more frequently of late. ( 220 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 6 yds rush )

QB Kellen Clemens: ( 21 yds pass; 1 yd rush )

RB Ryan Mathews: Ankle injury kept him out of last week's game against Denver, and he's questionable for Week 16. Stay tuned but if he plays, Mathews would be facing a 49ers defense that lately isn't so fiersome. Update: officially ruled out.

RB Branden Oliver: Started once again in relief of Ryan Mathews, rushing for just 26 yards versus Denver. His four receptions did help (especially in PPR formats) although to a larger point, Oliver has done little for fantasy since October. ( 57 yds rush; 4 catches for 32 yds )

RB Donald Brown: In line for more touches, Brown responded with 56 combined yards. Has marginal fantasy value in deeper leagues, but only in the event Ryan Mathews misses more time. ( 19 yds rush; 2 catches for 20 yds )

RB Ronnie Brown: ( 4 yds rush; 1 catch for 6 yds )

WR Malcom Floyd: Probably stands to gain the most from Keenan Allen's absence (broken collarbone), in terms of fantasy upside. Just two touchdowns in his last eight games, and he isn't a target monster, but Floyd is poised for above average fantasy production in Week 16. ( 4 catches for 58 yds and 1 TD )

WR Eddie Royal: Probably the most high risk, high reward of this team's receivers: Royal will rack up five or more catches and a touchdown, in a given week, but most of the time catches just two or three passes. Not a great matchup here, either. ( 4 catches for 41 yds )

WR Seyi Ajirotutu: Caught his third ball of the season, last week. Ajirotutu looks to benefit from increased playing time, not that you'd benefit from plugging him into your fantasy lineup. ( 1 yd rush; 2 catches for 22 yds )

WR Dontrelle Inman: ( 1 catch for 2 yds )

TE Antonio Gates: San Francisco has yielded 100+ yards and/or touchdown(s) to opposing tight ends, in four of their last six games. Add to that, their team was physically beaten into submission by the Seahawks and plays Saturday following a short week. In a year when it seems there is Rob Gronkowski and ... everybody else, Gates owners have to feel pretty confident about their competitive advantage heading into championships. ( 6 catches for 66 yds and 1 TD )

TE Ladarius Green: Good matchup, pity he's a non-factor these days. ( 2 catches for 20 yds )

TE John Phillips: ( 1 catch for 3 yds )

PK Nick Novak: Missed two field goals last week, and sees less scoring opportunities anyway. There's bound to be somebody more promising on the waiver wire. ( 2 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def San Diego Chargers: Have certainly had their ups and downs but if you think about it, facing Baltimore, New England and Denver in succession will take its toll on any defense. The cure? Why, that would be Kaepernick & the bruised and battered 49ers ground game. ( 1 sack, 1 Fumble )

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