It somehow feels fitting that Week 16 of the 2016 NFL season falls squarely on Christmas weekend.
It would have taken a few ‘miracles’ in the last two weeks for owners to have reached what is considered championship week in many leagues (there are of course exceptions). The fantasy landscape has been a minefield of big names under-performing over the last two weeks.
Did Le’Veon Bell owners manage to survive his huge drop-off from Week 14 to Week 15. Were there still any fantasy teams left to enjoy Russell Wilson’s bounce back last week? Do we dare to rely on Julio Jones and his bum toe if he suits up in this all important week? For the record, I would.
We have dug deep and researched each and every matchup to come up with this week’s Start/Bench article to help your team bring home a championship. No. We have not had time to even start our Christmas shopping.
On that note. Let me take this opportunity to wish everyone the Happiest of Holidays!
Now let’s do this!
Dak Prescott, DALLAS vs. Detroit- The Lions just allowed a pair of touchdown passes to Eli Manning and could be without cornerback Darius Slay who is dealing with a hamstring issue. The Detroit defense doesn’t bring much pressure and Prescott will have all day to get the ball to Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.
Russell Wilson, SEATTLE vs. Arizona- The Seahawks offense, as well as Wilson, got back on track last week and faces a faltering Cardinals defense at home. Arizona was just torched by Drew Brees and the Saints to the tune of 389 passing yards with four touchdowns. The emergence of Tyler Lockett down the stretch gives Wilson too many weapons for Arizona to contend with.
Jameis Winston, TAMPA BAY at New Orleans- Even though he came up flat at home a couple of weeks ago against the Saints, I like Winston to bounce back in Week 16. The Saints won their shootout with the Cardinals but allowed a struggling Carson Palmer to carve up their secondary. Winston tossed a pair of touchdowns against a solid Dallas defense and will target Mike Evans plenty in what should be a high scoring game.
Philip Rivers, SAN DIEGO at Cleveland- Yes. We continue to chase the ‘Bad News Browns’ and their porous defense. The Browns have allowed six touchdown passes in their last three games and this week Rivers gets the chance to pad his stats. Even if running back Melvin Gordon returns (which seems unlikely), Rivers will put up huge passing numbers versus the winless Browns. The Chargers simply don’t have the running backs to mount a ground game.
Matthew Stafford, DETROIT at Dallas- The injured finger didn’t seem to hamper Stafford last week but the stagnant running game did in a big way. It’s too easy for defenses to consistently force the Lions into third and long situations. Then they pin their ears back and bring pressure forcing Stafford to run for his life or make errant throws. That will continue in Dallas this week. We can’t trust the Lions offense or Stafford.
Andy Dalton, CINCINNATI at Houston- Having just lost a tough game game against the Steelers in which he managed just 157 yards and an interception (he did rush for a score), we can’t trust Dalton. Even if A.J. Green does return, I see Cincinnati attacking the Texans with a heavy dose of Jeremy Hill. Dalton hasn’t topped 200 yards passing in the last two games and has turned the ball over 10 times on the season. We can do better this week.
Alex Smith, KANSAS CITY vs. Denver- We are not starting a quarterback in the fantasy playoffs against a defense that just held Tom Brady to 188 yards passing and zero touchdowns. In the first meeting between the teams, Smith finished with 220 yards and one score. But I see that as his ceiling and his floor is way too low to trust him this week.
Carson Palmer, ARIZONA at Seattle- When these teams met back in Week 7, Palmer failed to throw a touchdown in five quarters as the game ended in a tie. There’s no reason to believe he will have a better game in the rematch at Seattle. He’s had an up and down season with most of it being of the down variety. Seattle has allowed only three touchdown passes in their last three home games. No thanks.