Friday - May 14, 2021

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START/BENCH: Week 16

Eleven years ago, in September of 2020 (feels like it, anyway), fantasy managers far and wide started another season with a common goal—every team had hopes and aspirations of making a run at a championship.

For some, the dream died quickly—if you had the first or second overall pick in 2020, things came off the rails in Week 2. For others, attrition was cumulative. The injuries piled up. There was a close loss or two. Maybe they made it all the way to the postseason, only to suffer a devastating and disappointing loss in the postseason.

In any event, they came up short.

However, for a few fortunate souls, the season rolls on. The draft went relatively well. They have hit the waiver wire with aplomb and swung a trade or three. When it came to lineup calls, they made the right one more often than not. And now, just one game separates them from a fantasy championship.

Oh yeah, and it’s Christmas. What? Surely you can’t be tired of Holiday tunes.

Don’t worry. It gets better.

Anyway, I’ll spare you most of the rah-rah “go get that title” pablum—if you got this far, either you know what you’re doing, you’re one lucky SOG or a combo platter of the two.

I will, however, say this. This isn’t the week to leave points on the table—especially if you fashion yourself an underdog. Don’t be afraid to go for broke with low-floor, high-ceiling plays over “safer” options.

It’s better (in this writer’s opinion) to gamble and lose than play it safe and leave a title on the bench.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (vs. Atlanta)

Russell Wilson, Seattle (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

Kyler Murray, Arizona (vs. San Francisco)

Josh Allen, Buffalo (at New England)

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (vs. Tennessee)

Deshaun Watson, Houston (vs. Cincinnati)

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Denver)

ROLL THEM OUT

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay (at Detroit): Brady’s first half last week was miserable, but his line for the game wound up just fine. This week’s tilt against a Lions team allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to defensive backs should produce another solid outing.

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (at Seattle): Goff didn’t have a touchdown pass the first time the Rams and Seahawks met in Week 10, but he did top 300 yards through the air. The Seattle pass defense has been a sieve most of the 2020 season.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (at New York Jets): Since the fantasy postseason began, only two quarterbacks have more fantasy points than Mayfield, who draws a top-three matchup for quarterbacks this week in the New York Jets.

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami (at Las Vegas): Tagovailoa hasn’t posted massive numbers, but he has ranked among the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks since the playoffs started in Week 13. He also draws a top-10 matchup for the position this week when the Dolphins visit the Raiders.

SIT THEM DOWN

Josh Allen, Buffalo (at New England): Allen’s fantasy managers face a dilemma this week. The third-year pro has been mostly outstanding in 2020, but his Week 8 meeting with the Patriots tied for his worst fantasy outing of the season.

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota (at New Orleans): Cousins has functioned as a low-end QB1 in the fantasy postseason, and he was at least OK in a bad matchup last week with the Bears. He draws another one in Week 16 on the road in New Orleans.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee (at Green Bay): Tannehill was a beast last week against the Lions, accounting for five total touchdowns. But that was in a favorable matchup for quarterbacks. This week it’s a Packers team allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to the position.

Russell Wilson, Seattle (vs. Los Angeles Rams): Wilson’s a hard guy to bench in a must-win week, but it’s worth pointing out that in Week 10 Wilson had just 248 passing yards, no touchdowns and two picks in Los Angeles against the Rams.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last four years. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.