Well kids, this is it. In most fantasy football leagues, this is the most pressure-packed, nerve-wracking week of the fantasy football season. A week filled with second-guessing and lineup switches and the pulling of hair from one’s own bucket.
It’s the end of the line. Fantasy championship week. At the conclusion of Monday’s game in Minnesota, one team will reign over all others as champion until next year’s draft. Everyone else gets to sit and think about where it all went wrong.
It’s the end of the world … but if you’re playing in Week 16, you feel fine.
Yes, there are leagues that hold the championship game in Week 17. And this column will return a week from now to take one final abbreviated (again) run through the week to come in the NFL. But in nine leagues out of 10, we’ve reached Endsville — where all rail service terminates.
(That’s a Stephen King reference.)
We’re going to keep things short and sweet in this column over the next couple of weeks. There are at best four teams playing in each league at this late juncture in the year. In most, there are just two. And most of the lineup decisions for those teams make themselves. If you didn’t have viable starters available, you wouldn’t have made it this far into the season to begin with.
But plenty of teams have a hole or two. The wide receiver position has been blasted by injuries over the past couple of weeks, with Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin just the latest big name to go down. Whether it’s at quarterback or tight end, there are teams searching for streaming options.
And in a week where every lineup decision could be the difference between a title and crushing disappointment, everyone (be they favorite or underdog) is looking for an edge.
So let’s get to work.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (at Chicago)
Deshaun Watson, Houston (at Tampa Bay)
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (at Cleveland)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (vs. Arizona)
Matt Ryan, Atlanta (vs. Jacksonville)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (at Philadelphia)
ROLL THEM OUT
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami (vs. Cincinnati): Since Week 11, Fitzpatrick has quietly been a Top 5 fantasy option under center — thanks in large part to string of favorable fantasy matchups that continues this weekend against Cincinnati’s 29th-ranked defense.
Kyler Murray, Arizona (at Seattle): Seattle isn’t an especially great fantasy matchup for Murray — especially on the road. But the rookie’s playing well of late, and the Seattle pass rush has been chewed to pieces by injuries.
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Oakland): Rivers is a hard player to trust after throwing three more interceptions last week against Minnesota. But the matchup with a bad Oakland pass defense is mighty tempting for streamers at quarterback.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (vs. Houston): All Winston’s done the past two weeks is become the first quarterback in NFL history to top 450 passing yards in consecutive games ahead of facing a Houston team allowing the most fantasy points in the AFC to quarterbacks in Sharks League Scoring.
SIT THEM DOWN
Josh Allen, Buffalo (at New England): Allen’s been a solid fantasy starter most of the year, but his Week 4 start in Buffalo against New England was a disaster — just 153 passing yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. It’s not gonna be any easier at Gillette Stadium.
Tom Brady, New England (vs. Buffalo): Brady may well be the best quarterback to ever play the game, but his numbers have dropped off precipitously this year — less than 170 passing yards in each of his last two starts. Only New England allows fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks than Buffalo.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (at San Francisco): San Francisco has been a tough out for quarterbacks in 2019 — 27th in fantasy points allowed to the quarterback position. In their first meeting this year in Los Angeles, Goff passed for a whopping 78 yards in a 20-7 loss.