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Start/Bench – Week 16

The 2015 fantasy football season is nearing the finish line and owners are dealing with bruised and battered rosters. Some owners are also dealing with bruised and battered egos if they sat Danny Woodhead last week (I am raising my hand).

This has been as crazy of a season as I can remember (remember I am an old man) and is especially so heading into Week 16.

There will be a plethora of second- and even third-string players starting for their respective NFL teams at offensive skill positions. The trickledown effect will be felt throughout fantasy leagues (I am looking at you, Kellen Moore).

A big suspension could also affect many leagues.

For the sake of full disclosure this article is due in to my editor before the Odell Beckham Jr. appeal will be ruled on. We are going under the assumption that he loses that appeal and will miss Week 16.

We have sifted through the rubble of injuries to find the best starting options in what is the championship weekend in many leagues.

Let’s get to it!

QUARTERBACK

STUDS

Tom Brady
Aaron Rodgers
Cam Newton
Carson Palmer
Drew Brees (there is an outside chance he misses Week 16 with a foot injury)
Blake Bortles
Ben Roethlisberger
Russell Wilson

 

START

Kirk Cousins, WASHINGTON at Philadelphia: Yes. He has been better at home but this is the Philadelphia defense. Over the past four games, Cousins has put up 10 touchdowns and a single turnover. More impressively, Cousins has rushed for a touchdown in three of those games. “We like that!”

Tyrod Taylor, BUFFALO vs. Dallas: Taylor has scored 10 touchdowns and turned the ball over twice in the last month. He is also averaging 51 rushing yards per game in that time and faces a Dallas defense that’s on its last legs. Taylor and Buffalo rolls Dallas this week.

Jameis Winston, TAMPA BAY vs. Chicago: Chicago just allowed Teddy Bridgewater and his rag-tag receiving options to hang five touchdowns (Bridgewater ran for one score) on them. Winston will have his way against Chicago with twin towers Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins leading the way.

Derek Carr, OAKLAND vs. San Diego: Carr had one of his better games of the season in the first meeting with San Diego, throwing for three touchdowns. Look for another big week as rookie Amari Cooper got back on track last week and San Diego will be hard-pressed to hold the Oakland passing game in check.

Matthew Stafford, DETROIT vs. San Francisco: The San Francisco pass defense has really struggled on the road. In seven games away from home, San Francisco has allowed 13 touchdowns and intercepted only three passes. Look for Stafford to enjoy some home cooking this week.

 

BENCH

Sam Bradford, PHILADELPHIA vs. Washington: Even in one of his better performances (more than 360 passing yards and two scores), Bradford still turned the ball over three times. He cannot be trusted in a week that is this important.

Philip Rivers, SAN DIEGO at Oakland: We see the big game that San Diego had last week as an indictment on Miami as opposed to an endorsement of San Diego. Miami is down the drain and the Oakland defense will be a much stiffer challenge. Rivers still has few receiving options and will be playing on a short week. No thanks.

Matt Ryan, ATLANTA vs. Carolina: Yes. Eli Manning had a good game against Carolina. No. We don’t see Ryan having one this week. Only two weeks ago, Carolina shut out Atlanta and forced Ryan into a pair of turnovers. This is not a week to rely on Matty “used to be Ice.”

Eli Manning, NEW YORK GIANTS at Minnesota: How confident are you in the receiving corps of Rueben Randle, Hakeem Nicks and Dwayne Harris? Not very, we are guessing. No Odell Beckham Jr. means no rolling the dice with Manning this week.

Jay Cutler, CHICAGO at Tampa Bay: Just as Manning will suffer without Beckham, Cutler may be without Alshon Jeffery this week, or at least have a hampered Jeffery. That does not bode well for a quarterback who’s thrown five touchdowns while turning the ball over four times in the last month. Sit Cutler this week.

*Bonus Benchings: Ho! Ho! Ho!*

It’s the holiday season so here’s a little something extra:

Kellen Moore DALLAS at Buffalo, Brandon Weeden HOUSTON at Tennessee, A.J. McCarron, CINCINNATI at Denver, Zach Mettenberger vs. Houston: No. No. No. No. You are welcome.

About Wally Spurlin

Wally Spurlin is a Fantasy Football Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writer Association (FSWA). Spurlin’s work has appeared in print publications, including the FSWA award winning 2014 USA Today Fantasy Football magazine as well as the 2015 edition. Wally is also a weekly co-host on the Fantasy Football Feeding Frenzy pod cast on Fantasy Sharks Radio at Blog Talk Radio.Follow him on Twitter @WaltonSpurlin