Frank Dyevoich | December 23rd, 2018
It is here! It is finally here! We have scratched and clawed our way through 15 grueling weeks for a chance to contend for the title and the championship is upon us. Week 15 was brutal to fantasy owners so here is to hoping that Week 16 can go a little more according to plan. I will not recommend any long shots or dart throws in this week’s Start Em’ Sit Em’ because we can’t afford to be wrong. No more hunches. No more speculations. The only thing that matters is who is going to score the most points this week. So let’s get to it. I recommend that you start and sit the following players if you want the best chance at taking down the title!
Russell Wilson vs. KC – Wilson has the Seahawks thinking playoffs and they need to win this game in order to keep those hopes alive. After a miserable performance in Week 14, he had a nice rebound game against the 49ers where he scored an acceptable 23 fantasy points. This week he comes back home to take on the Chiefs, who are allowing the most fantasy points to opposing QBs. The Chiefs are still fighting for the number one seed in the AFC so they are not going to let up in this game, which means Wilson is going to have to light it up if the Seahawks have any hopes of winning. Further, this game is in primetime on Sunday Night Football and Wilson always balls out when the lights are on. He is certainly capable of finishing as this week’s QB1 so make sure he is in your lineups. Projection: 354 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 52 rush yards and 1 TD.
Baker Mayfield vs. CIN – Mayfield is going to light up the Bengals this Sunday. The first time these teams met, Mayfield had his best game of the season throwing for 258 yards and four TDs. He has been hyper-critical of Hue Jackson ever since he was fired and joined their division rivals, and this Sunday he gets to embarrass his former coach again. Further, Mayfield has taken his game to another level since Jackson was fired and the Bengals are allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Baker will gladly run up the score in this one so you can start him confidently and roll with him all the way to your fantasy title. Projection: 323 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT and 32 rush yards.
Dak Prescott vs. TB – Dak is coming off an embarrassing performance last week where he and the Cowboys were shutout by the Colts and he is itching to get his team back on track for the playoffs. This week the come back home to face the Buccaneers, who are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs and have given up the second-most receiving TDs. Further, the Cowboys have been involving Ezekiel Elliott much more in the passing game recently and he should dice through this defense every time he touches the ball. Dak is the QB11 on the season, even after his six-point performance last week, so look for him to bounce back in a huge way at home. Projection: 314 yards, 2 TDs, 37 rush yards, and 1 TD.
Mitch Trubisky vs. SF – Fortunately for fantasy owners, the Bears are still in contention for the number two seed and a first-bye in the playoffs. Trubisky had a decent 22-point performance last week in a division-clinching win against the Packers, and the Bears will look to carry that momentum into San Francisco. I’m a little worried that this could be a trap game since the Bears just won their most important game of the season, but on paper, they should steamroll the 49ers and Trubisky should be at the forefront of the assault. Further, he has elite weapons in Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen, and he provides fantasy owners with a decent floor due to his rushing. Projection: 296 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 64 rush yards and 1 TD.
Tevin Coleman vs. CAR – Tevin Coleman is the only show in town for the Falcons now that Ito Smith has been placed on Injured Reserve. Last week, Coleman torched the Cardinals for 145 yards and a TD on only 11 carries, and this week he should smash once again versus the Panthers, who have allowed an RB to score a TD in six straight weeks. Even though the Falcons are out of playoff contention, Coleman is a free agent and is still auditioning for teams next year. I expect him to get a ton of volume and run with as much power and physicality as he ever has. Projection: 112 yards, 1 TD, 5 receptions for 61 yards.
Elijah McGuire vs. GB – McGuire came through for fantasy owners last week against a stout Texans rush defense and this week he gets a much softer matchup versus the Packers. McGuire is the only show in town for the Jets and as such he is going to get all of the touches he can muster. Over the last two weeks, he has 35 carries for 102 yards and two TDs, as well as six catches for 52 yards on eight targets. The entire offense for the Jets are McGuire and Robby Anderson (foreshadowing), and as such McGuire needs to be in your lineup. Projection: 83 yards, 1 TD, 1 FUM, 4 receptions for 37 yards.
Jamaal Williams vs. NYJ – Much like McGuire, Jamaal Williams is the only RB that the Packers can rely on. He has been awful all season, but when he is the only RB on the field he is more than serviceable as an RB2 with upside. Last week, after Aaron Jones went down along with many number one seed fantasy teams, Williams stepped up to lay 12 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown, as well as four catches for 42 yards on five targets on the Bears. This week he gets a much softer matchup in the Jets and as such he should be started as a solid RB2 with upside. Projection: 79 yards, 1 TD, and 5 receptions for 53 yards.
Jaylen Samuels vs. NO – James Connor is out again so fire up Jaylen Samuels everywhere. Samuels is a gifted pass catcher, evidenced by his 100% catch rate on nine targets in the last two games, and last week he proved that he is also an excellent runner when he put down 142 yards on 19 carries. This is a tough matchup for Samuels as the Saints are top-five in fewest yards allowed to RBs and fewest fantasy points allowed to RBs, but it impossible to bench him with the volume that he is going to see in this game. Samuels is game-script proof since he will be heavily involved either way and as such, he needs to be in fantasy lineups across the board. Projection: 79 rush yards, 1 TD, and 6 receptions for 75 yards.
Damien Williams vs. SEA – Spencer Ware is out again which means that Damien Williams is the RB1 for the Chiefs once again. Williams has two TDs in each of his last two games, and this week the Chiefs are going to lean on him in a tough matchup on the road in Seattle. Do not over think this one. Damien Williams is a top-ten RB for your championship week. Projection: 73 yards, 1 TD and 5 receptions for 53 yards.
Chris Carson vs. KC – Carson is on a tear right now and fantasy owners need to start him accordingly. The Seahawks are the most run-heavy offense in the NFL, and this week they will be without Rashaad Penny, which will lead to more work for both Carson and Mike Davis. Further, the Seahawks desperately need to win this game and their best shot at doing so is to slow the game down by running the football and grinding down the clock. Carson has a floor of 20 carries this week, and if the Seahawks manage to hold a lead, Carson will finish as a top-ten fantasy RB in Week 16. Projection: 111 yards, 1 TD and 3 receptions for 31 yards.
Marlon Mack vs. NYG – I recommended that fantasy owners sit Marlon Mack last week in a brutal matchup against the stout Cowboys defense, and it blew up in my face as Mack went off for 139 yards and 2 TDs. I failed to acknowledge how dominant the Colts offensive line has been playing this season and blindly shied away from the matchup. Big mistake. My sincerest apologies to everyone. That being said, the Colts are fighting for a playoff spot and they are going to lean on Marlon Mack once again. Only this time, he faces a much softer New York Giants defense who just surrendered 170 yards and two TDs to Derrick Henry. The Colts should win this game handily and as such Mack should see a ton of volume once again. Projection: 107 yards, 1 TD, and 4 receptions for 50 yards.
Julian Edelman vs. BUF – Edelman is my favorite play at the WR position for championship week. Josh Gordon has left the team which will funnel more targets Edelman’s way, and Rob Gronkowski has not played at full strength all season. I expect Edelman to see between 12-15 targets in this game. Further, the Bills’ dominant cornerback TreDavious White has not followed WRs into the slot this season so I expect the Patriots to line up Chris Hogan outside as a decoy to take White out of the equation on defense. The last time these two teams faced each other Edelman had nine receptions for 104 yards on 10 targets, and I expect those numbers to go up. Projection: 11 receptions for 122 yards and 1 TD.
Alshon Jeffrey vs. HOU – Jeffrey has re-emerged as a WR2 for fantasy purposes due to the return of Nick Foles. Carson Wentz is most likely done for the season so the Eagles are relying on Foles once again to take them into the playoffs. In his first game back as the starter, Foles targeted Jeffrey a team-high eight times and he caught all eight for 160 yards. This week he faces the Texans who have just allowed WR1 performances to Robby Anderson and T.Y. Hilton. Fire up Jeffrey and sleep like a baby this weekend. Projection: 7 receptions for 123 yards and 1 TD.
Robby Anderson vs. GB – Robby Anderson has come back to life with the return of Sam Darnold at the helm for the Jets. He has at least seven targets per game over his last three games, and last week he saw a league-high 11 targets. Over his last two games, Anderson has 11 receptions for 172 yards and two TDs, and this week he faces the Packers who are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing WRs. Further, Aaron Rodgers is going to play this week so this game could be much more competitive than originally thought. The Jets might find themselves in catch-up mode in the second half. Projection: 6 receptions for 83 yards and 1 TD.
Robert Foster vs. NE – Foster has been a pleasant surprise for the Bills and fantasy owners alike recently. He has at least 90 receiving yards in four of his last five games and he is averaging an absurd 30 yards per reception over that span. The Bills are going to have air it out in this one if they have any hopes of keeping this game competitive and Zay Jones should be covered by Stephon Gilmore, which leaves Foster to run free on the opposite side. Projection: 5 receptions for 111 yards.
Evan Engram vs. IND – Engram has been a target monster over the last few weeks and that should continue this week against the Colts. He saw 12 targets last week versus the Titans and the Giants are without Odell Beckham again, so the opportunities for Engram should be plentiful. The Colts are going to run away with this game and that will lead to a heavy passing attack for the Giants and Engram. He is the TE4 for me this week, especially in PPR formats. Projection: 8 receptions for 73 yards and 1 TD.
Austin Hooper vs. CAR – It is very hard to trust Hooper after he laid a goose egg in Week 15, but this matchup is too good to ignore as the Panthers are allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing TEs. Further, Julio Jones has been banged up all week, which could lead to a reduced role and more targets for Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley and Austin Hooper. Projection: 5 receptions for 63 yards and 1 TD.
Atlanta Falcons vs. CAR – The Falcons defense is coming on lately and this week they get to face a rookie QB in his first ever start. Yes, please.
Dallas Cowboys vs. TB – The Cowboys are looking for a huge bounce-back performance this week against the Bucs at home. Jameis Winston is a lock for at least one interception and the Cowboys should be able to keep the score low and get a few sacks on the QB.
Indianapolis Colts vs. NYG – The Colts defense is playing well beyond expectations under the guidance of Matt Eberflus and this week they get the ailing New York Giants who could find themselves starting their rookie QB in the second half if this game gets out of hands.
New England Patriots vs. BUF – The Bills are allowing the most fantasy points to opposing defenses this year and the Patriots are looking to lay a whooping on them at home after two straight losses. I expect a ton of turnovers in this game, so start the Pats with confidence.
Jameis Winston vs. DAL – Winston has only had two games this season where he did not throw an interception. He is a turnover machine, and this week he goes on the road to face the Cowboys defense, who are allowing an average of 17.3 fantasy points to opposing QBs, tied for sixth-best in the league, and just held Andrew Luck to 192 scoreless yards. Further, Byron Jones has been excellent at shutting down opposing WR1s so Winston will not be able to lean on Mike Evans in this one. Avoid putting Winston at the helm for your fantasy championship. Projection: 231 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs.
Tom Brady vs. BUF – Brady has been notoriously bad as a fantasy producer at the end of the season and this week will be no different. The Bills are allowing a league-low 15.2 fantasy points to opposing QBs, tied for first with the Bears, and last time Brady faced the Bills, he did not throw a TD and he lost a fumble. Further, Josh Gordon has once again stepped away from the team for personal reasons after another suspension for substance abuse was looming so Brady will be down one of his favorite targets over the last month. I expect the Pats to go run-heavy in this game and as such Brady will disappoint yet again. Projection: 328 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs.
Kirk Cousins vs. DET – Cousins has been a major disappointment lately, and in their first game since the Vikings fired John Defilippo as offensive coordinator, they became extremely run-heavy on offense. Last week, the Vikings had 34 rush attempts to Cousins 21 pass attempts. This week, Cousins faces the Lions who held him to under 200 passing yards on only 22 attempts the last time the faced off. Further, the Lions play at the slowest pace in the NFL and opposing teams have run the fewest plays against them, which limits the maximum upside of opposing offenses. Over the last month, there have been zero indications that Cousins can be a reliable starter for your fantasy team, and you simply can’t risk it with your title on the line. Projection: 237 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.
Josh Adams vs. HOU – The Texans have been shutting down everyone on the ground lately and Josh Adams will be no different. Over the last few weeks, Adams has been the dominant RB for the Eagles, but last week he took a backseat to Wendell Smallwood after he left briefly due to a sore back. The problem for Adams is that Smallwood came in and smashed the Rams for 48 yards and two TDs on only 10 carries. Adams is still the RB1 for the Eagles, but this backfield has been muddied even further. I can’t trust Adams to deliver for fantasy owners as a member of a three-headed RB committee in a brutal matchup against the Texans. Projection: 53 yards.
Peyton Barber vs. DAL – Barber is not going to have the same success against the Cowboys as Marlon Mack did in Week 15 mainly because Barber is not a very good RB. If that was not enough, the Buccaneers offensive line is atrocious and the Cowboys defensive line is one of the best in the league. If the Bucs have any success against the Cowboys this Sunday it is going to have to be through the air, so do yourself a favor and leave Barber on the bench where he belongs. Projection: 46 yards.
Doug Martin vs. DEN – Martin was primed for a nice game last week against the Bengals and he fell flat on his face as he failed to reach 40 yards rushing and did not secure his lone target. This week he faces a much tougher Broncos defense that will take an early lead and force the Raiders to abandon the run game. Martin scored a TD in three straight games from Weeks 12-14, but do not get caught in his tragic end of season decline. Projection: 43 yards.
Matt Breida vs. CHI – Breida has displayed tremendous toughness this season. He would get injured one week and then be ready for the start of the next game. We could rely on it like clockwork. Once again, Breida is dealing with an ankle injury, but he put in a full practice and is off the injury report for Week 16. However, there is one small problem: he is going up against the Bears. The Bears have been far and away the best defense in the NFL this year, allowing the fewest number of rushing TDs, and the fourth-fewest amount of fantasy points to opposing RBs. If Todd Gurley and Aaron Jones were shut down by the defense, you can’t trust that Breida will have any success in your championship round. Projection: 46 yards, 1 FUM, and 4 receptions for 22 yards.
Kenny Stills vs. JAX – Stills is going up against Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars. Not much more needs to be said. I expect the Dolphins to be very run-heavy in this game and when Ryan Tannehill does drop back to pass he will be avoiding Jalen Ramsey’s coverage at all costs. Leave Stills on your bench this week because his four to six fantasy points are not going to help your championship chances. Projection: 2 receptions for 26 yards.
Sterling Shepard vs. IND – Shepard has been a disaster recently despite the absence of Odell Beckham. A combination of factors are responsible for his poor performance, but regardless of why, fantasy owners need to realize that he is not getting it done. This week he faces the Colts who just held Amari Cooper to 32 yards. Heir on the side of caution and stray away from Shepard in your championship matchups. Projection: 4 receptions for 30 yards.
Chris Godwin vs. DAL – Godwin has completely derailed and must be benched at all costs. He only has one reception for 13 yards in his last two games, and this week DeSean Jackson is returning to the lineup, which will muddle things even further. If that wasn’t enough, Godwin faces the Cowboys this week, who have not been friendly to opposing WRs all season. Projection: 2 receptions for 19 yards.
D.J. Moore/Curtis Samuel vs. ATL – Cam Newton has been shut down for the year and rookie QB Taylor Heinicke will be making his first start. There is no telling how effective or ineffective he will be, but what we do know is that we can’t trust him to make Moore or Samuel relevant. In other words, starting either one of them could be disastrous. Projection: DM 3 receptions for 23 yards and 1 rush for 12 yards/CS 2 receptions for 27 yards and 2 rush for 17 yards.
Kyle Rudolph vs. DET – Rudolph is not a factor in the Vikings offense. He has not scored a TD since Week 3 and he has failed to have more than three receptions in six of his last seven games. Further, the Vikings are going to be extremely run-heavy under new OC Kevin Stefanski so look for Rudolph to do a lot more blocking than route running. Projection: 3 receptions for 26 yards.
Ian Thomas vs. ATL – You can’t start any pass catcher on the Panthers because we do not know anything about Taylor Heinicke. If this was Week 8 and you were looking for an upside play then maybe the unknown of Heinicke and Thomas would be intriguing, but in your championship matchup, you can’t start him with any confidence. Projection: 3 receptions for 28 yards.
Questions and comments?
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