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THE FIRE SALE: Week 16

The end is finally here. After 18 years, this is my final Fire Sale. I started this column to make some funny football observations. During its existence, The Fire Sale has been featured on five different web sites, including SI.com and my final home here at Fantasy Sharks.

I appreciate everyone that’s followed this column. It’s been an honor to give you fantasy advice and talk football. Throughout the years, I’ve hit big on players like Priest Holmes, Willie Jackson, Peerless Price, Eric Decker, Alshon Jeffery, Allen Hurns and Cameron Brate. I’ve also bombed on players like Cade McNown, Donald Brown, Donte Stallworth, Marquise Walker and Montee Ball. At the end of the day I always tried to have fun and my only goal was to help you win your fantasy leagues.

Thank you for reading my column for one, two, three or 18 years. My time has come to an end. The day has arrived for me to sit back in my Dak Prescott jersey and relax. Good luck to you the rest of the way. I’ll see you in the funny papers.

Here are some under the radar starts for Week 16 if you made your Fantasy Super Bowl.

For the final time…Now on with The Fire Sale

Derrick Henry, RB Titans – Henry only got nine carries on Sunday but he made them count. He ran for 58 yards and two touchdowns. That was Henry’s best fantasy performance since Week 8 when he faced the Jaguars. Guess who Henry gets this week? The Titans ran over the Jaguars in the first meeting. Both Henry and DeMarco Murray had big fantasy performances. Expect a similar game plan this week as Jacksonville’s defense is much tougher against the pass than the run. Henry is a solid Flex play this week and as I’ve been preaching all year, you should be all over him in 2017. That’s my final piece of advice for everyone. Draft Henry on your fantasy teams next year. All the touches Murray has received in two of the last three seasons will catch up with him. Henry will start to take over the NFL next season.

Dion Lewis, RB Patriots – Lewis carried the ball 18 times for 95 yards against the Broncos. It’s obvious the Patriots came in with a conservative game plan Sunday. New England wanted to run the football and play defense. Bill Belichick didn’t think the Broncos would score 10 points and he was right. Lewis’ usage may be a one-game thing but I think Belichick wants to start getting him ready for the playoffs. I’m not saying he’ll get 20 carries this week. The Jets have a good rush defense. The first time the two teams met LeGarrette Blount only carried the ball 11 times. It won’t surprise me if Lewis is a big part of the offense again this week as both a runner and receiver. He’s a risky play but I’d rather take a shot with Lewis than Kenneth Dixon.

Dontrelle Inman, WR Chargers – My fantasy team in one league is on life support and somehow I made it to the Super Bowl because people keep scoring 100 points against me. I have trash like Allen Robinson and Spencer Ware on my roster. One of my better players over the last few weeks has been Inman. He’s gone over 50 yards receiving in six of his last eight games. Inman has scored in three of his last four games. Tyrell Williams is battling a shoulder injury and it’s obviously impacting him. Williams committed several drops against the Raiders. Inman is entrenched as Philip Rivers No. 1 receiver for this week’s elite matchup against the Browns. I’d consider Inman a solid WR3 this week. Unless your team stinks like mine. Then he’s your second-best receiver behind Dez Bryant.

Cameron Meredith, WR Bears – The receiver seeing the biggest fantasy bump since Matt Barkley took over as the Bears quarterback is Meredith. Even with Alshon Jeffery back from suspension, Meredith caught 9-of-13 targets for 104 yards against the Packers. Meredith has gone over 67 yards receiving in his last three games and been targeted 25 times over that span. He has a nice matchup with the Redskins this week in a game where Jeffery is likely to draw Josh Norman. The Redskins are going to score points. Barkley might have to throw the ball 40+ times this week. Meredith is a solid start if you’re hurting at receiver.

Taylor Gabriel, WR Falcons – Gabriel stepped up again on Sunday with Julio Jones out. He caught 3-of-6 targets for 60 yards and a touchdown. Few receivers in the NFL maximize their targets better than Gabriel. He’s scored five touchdowns in his last five games. Gabriel gets another good matchup this week against the Panthers. Obviously, Gabriel’s fantasy value takes a hit if Jones returns to the lineup. Jones is going to test his sprained toe on Wednesday and if all goes well, he’s expected to start. Still, the Panthers defense has been susceptible to big plays through the air this season and Gabriel is hot. He’s still on the WR4 radar this week even if Jones returns.

Cameron Brate, TE Buccaneers – I’m going to ride the Brate train all the way to the end. I predicted Brate would catch 60 passes and seven touchdowns this year. I sold him short. With two games left he has 56 receptions and seven touchdowns. Go find someone else who predicted those numbers for Brate. I’m retiring on top like John Elway.

Hunter Henry, TE Chargers – The Browns are horrible when it comes to covering tight ends. How bad are the Browns at covering tight ends? Even Charles Clay caught seven passes for 72 yards and a touchdown against them last week. Henry doesn’t see a ton of targets but he’s scored in four of his last five games. I wouldn’t run to start Henry but he has a good chance to score again if you’re desperate for a tight end.

Chargers Defense – The Chargers defense has forced at least one turnover in all 14 games this season. You can go ahead and make it 15 games now. The Chargers play the Browns this week and the disaster that is RG3. I find it comical that Griffin is still taking snaps for an NFL team. He’s been by far the Browns worst starting quarterback this season and that’s really saying something. The only thing that scares me about using San Diego’s defense as a streaming option this week is the Chargers must travel to Cleveland on Christmas Eve. We saw last week with the Vikings what can happen when a team packs it in. I’m afraid the Chargers may not show up and the Browns could get their first win. I kind of hope they do so I don’t have to see Hue Jackson cry anymore. Then again, RG3 is the quarterback, so the Chargers cannot show up and still win by 14. Go ahead and use them.

About Thomas Casale

Thomas began playing fantasy football back when owners had to mail in their starting lineups and work out trades over the phone. He started writing The Fire Sale in 1998. Since then his articles have appeared on numerous web sites sites including Fantasy Sharks, USA Today and SI.com.