Cody Pagels
The Fantasy Matrix - Week 16

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EDITOR'S NOTE: I realize that the charts are very small and it is something that we'll be working to correct going forward. But for Week 16, you can depress the Control (Ctrl) button in the lower left of your keyboard and push the '+' button to make the screen larger. To make the screen smaller, depress the Control (Ctrl) button while hitting the '-' button. 

And now for something completely different. This week I introduce The Fantasy Matrix, which charts the upside and risk of all fantasy-relevant players for Week 16, with one chart for each of this week’s games. The chart itself is pretty self-explanatory. Guys on the right side have low risk, players on the left side have high risk, dudes on the top have high upside, and bros on the bottom have low upside.

Players in the top right should pretty much always be started, names on the bottom left should be avoided at all costs, guys on the bottom right are usable if you’re low on options and want to at least avoid a goose egg, and people on the top left are usable if you’re crushed in the projections and could use a guy who could unexpectedly go off for multiple touchdowns.

Cool. Let’s stop the overexplaining and let’s start admiring my mad MS Paint skills.

Miami at Buffalo

Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace are enjoying a late-season renaissance that perfectly coincides with a date with the poor Bills defense. Both players are downright usable. Starting a Dolphins running back is an unsafe proposition, but Daniel Thomas has a better shot of producing big numbers than Lamar Miller . Charles Clay doesn’t have any epic monster performances, but he always gives his owners something. This week should be no different.

It feels crass to consider the fantasy impact of a personal tragedy, but it is kind of my job. The death of Stevie Johnson’s mother may impact his availability for this week’s game. Adjust the upside of
Robert Woods accordingly if Johnson doesn’t play. Buffalo’s backfield is vexing as ever, but both backs have the potential to go off against Miami’s below-average rush defense.

Minnesota at Cincinnati

All Vikings that are not
Adrian Peterson or Greg Jennings can be safely ignored. The emergence of Matt Asiata, the tough matchup and Peterson returning from a painful foot injury all work against Peterson, but nobody is benching him as long as he gets the start. Greg Jennings has been a reliable pass catcher and done damage after the catch in the last three weeks. He looks like the player he was in Green Bay. The matchup is tough in Cincinnati, but he’s not a terrible flex play.

A.J. Green is the second-best receiver in the NFL and he’s against one of the league’s worst pass defenses.
Tyler Eifert would actually be usable assuming Jermaine Gresham can’t go. With two straight games with a touchdown, a four-touchdowb performance to his name, and a phenomenal matchup, Marvin Jones is the ultimate desperation dice roll. The ever-streaky Andy Dalton could blow up this week. Giovani Bernard is a quality start in any format, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis could get enough red zone opportunities to warrant a start for a desperate team in a non-points per reception format.

Indianapolis at Kansas City

The Colts offense as a whole is as unpredictable as it gets. If I’m in a championship, T.Y. Hilton just might be the last player I would want in a must-win scenario. There’s literally a 2-in-3 chance he’ll score less than five points. The
Trent Richardson ranking is assuming Donald Brown is out. Coby Fleener's athleticism and connection with Andrew Luck always gives him a chance for a touchdown, but the Chiefs allow the fewest points to tight ends, and Fleener only has one touchdown in his last seven games.

Jamaal Charles is a no-brainer. Alex Smith is hot and makes for a great start in two-quarterback leagues, but as always he spreads the ball around far too much to make any of his receivers into reliable every-week plays.

Tampa Bay at St. Louis

Bobby Rainey has run over every bad rushing defense he’s faced, and he’s put up horrendous rushing totals against strong run defenses. It’s a good thing the Rams have allowed the fourth-most points to opposing running backs. Vincent Jackson has a decent matchup and has the potential to blow up against anyone. Tiquan Underwood has amassed a pathetic combined five receptions for 66 yards over his last three games.

Kellen Clemens has hit double digits in five of his last six starts, but he hasn’t scored more than 15 points in any of them. The dearth of big passing performances from the quarterback extends to the dearth of reliable fantasy starters among Rams receivers. Zac Stacy might not reach his typical highs against a strong Tampa Bay rushing defense, but you can’t bench this much talent and workload.

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