What a rough week for the first or second round of the Fantasy playoffs. I’ve rarely seen a bigger collection of major disappointments that resulted in playoff exits. The Bucs offense with a cake matchup, the Giants offense as a whole, Ray Rice, Jamaal Charles, Matthew Stafford, Demaryius Thomas, Danario Alexander, Josh Gordon and the Lions D/ST, all severely hurt owners… and I am sure I missed a few! Most of the Given Up matchups produced as expected, but even the matchup analysis felt the sting of disappointment.
With a championship on the line for many, let’s check those Week 16 matchups and make sure you bring a title home!
Quarterback Points Allowed
|1||Dallas Cowboys||NO||18.8||17||New Orleans Saints||DAL||13.7|
|2||Carolina Panthers||OAK||16.8||18||Baltimore Ravens||NYG||15.9|
|3||St Louis Rams||TB||19.4||19||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||STL||14.3|
|4||Washington Redskins||PHI||17.9||20||New York Giants||BAL||12.9|
|5||Houston Texans||MIN||18.1||21||Oakland Raiders||CAR||13.4|
|6||Miami Dolphins||BUF||18.4||22||Tennessee Titans||GB||14.0|
|7||New England Patriots||JAX||16.3||23||Detroit Lions||ATL||12.8|
|8||Indianapolis Colts||KC||16.7||24||Minnesota Vikings||HOU||14.5|
|9||Kansas City Chiefs||IND||15.9||25||Pittsburgh Steelers||CIN||12.1|
|10||Philadelphia Eagles||WAS||17.2||26||Cleveland Browns||DEN||13.4|
|11||Green Bay Packers||TEN||15.4||27||San Diego Chargers||NYJ||12.1|
|12||Jacksonville Jaguars||NE||16.7||28||Cincinnati Bengals||PIT||11.5|
|13||New York Jets||SAD||16.3||29||Seattle Seahawks||SAF||12.5|
|14||Atlanta Falcons||DET||14.9||30||Arizona Cardinals||CHI||10.8|
|15||Denver Broncos||CLE||15.3||31||Chicago Bears||ARI||10.0|
|16||Buffalo Bills||MIA||15.1||32||San Francisco 49ers||SEA||9.8|
ACES IN THE HOLE
Someone told me, “You can’t win a title with Tony Romo.” While that may be true in the NFL, it’s not the case in Fantasy Football. Romo has three games with over 21 Fantasy Points (FP) over the last four weeks, and now, he has the best matchup of Week 16, the Saints. Romo is not Josh Freeman, and he won’t let the potential of this matchup go to waste. Start him with confidence in every league.
Right behind Romo in matchups is Cam Newton. You likely weren’t considering benching him, but if some owners grabbed backup insurance after his rough first half, there are few QBs that will rank higher. Cam faces the Raiders defense that has allowed at least one passing TD in each game… until they faced Brady Quinn. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that a game versus Quinn means jack squat.
If you’ve made it this far, you don’t have Sam Bradford on your roster or don’t need him to start. Either way, ignore his nice matchup with Tampa Bay.
Now, the Skins, there is a QB situation worth your attention. If Robert Griffin III is back, he obviously starts for you – yes, even off a missed week because of an injured knee. The matchup and Griffin himself, are just too good. Now, if RG3 is out and Kirk Cousins starts, we could have an interesting dilemma. If RG3 owners had a solid backup (Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, etc.) there is no reason to risk Cousins, even after his nice showing last week. It’s still only his second start. However, if owners have no backup or pickings are in the Jay Cutler, Brandon Weeden, Jake Locker, etc. range, Cousins is worth the upside play against an Eagles D/ST that’s allowed 2.4 passing TD per game since their bye.
Colin Kaepernick has looked great as the 49ers starting QB. He’s notched at least 14 or more FP in each game started, with an average of 18.2 per game. That’s why it’s tough to bench him. However, CK wasn’t your No. 1 QB until you grabbed him off the waiver wire, and it’s possible you have a safer option this week. The Seahawks allow just 9.8 FPPG to QBs with only 214.2 passing YPG and only 12 TDs allowed on the year. Seattle also ranks in the Top Five against the run, so that further limits Kaepernick’s upside as a QB who averages 44.7 YPG rushing. Don’t sit him for a flier like Cousins, but if you have one of the aforementioned QBs, the risk is a lot lower with one of them.
One QB you definitely can’t win a championship with is Jay Cutler. Not only because you likely didn’t make it this far with him, but also because he faces a stingy Cardinals pass defense. Arizona allows just 10.0 FPPG to QB, except for one game since their bye in which a QB topped 11 FP, which is exactly how often Cutler has exceeded that amount in his last four games. Don’t even think about using Cutler for your title hopes.
Skipping past the Cardinals and Ryan Lindley, we have the other side of the 49ers-Seahwaks matchup, Russell Wilson. The question here is how do you sit a QB that just put up 39 FP? You do it with some hesitation. Wilson has a ton of upside, that’s true. Against the 49ers, though, he also has a ton of risk. In their first meeting, Wilson managed just three FP with zero TDs (passing or rushing). He also had just eight FP against Arizona two weeks ago, a team that we just covered as being a similarly tough matchup. Wilson is the boom-or-bust QB of Week 16, and I for one, would stay away.
Running Back Points Allowed
|1||Dallas Cowboys||NO||21.2||17||Tennessee Titans||GB||16.2|
|2||Carolina Panthers||OAK||20.6||18||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||STL||16.9|
|3||New England Patriots||JAX||20.4||19||Houston Texans||MIN||14.9|
|4||Miami Dolphins||BUF||20.9||20||Baltimore Ravens||NYG||14.1|
|5||Green Bay Packers||TEN||19.2||21||Philadelphia Eagles||WAS||14.3|
|6||Indianapolis Colts||KC||17.6||22||Washington Redskins||PHI||14.4|
|7||New York Giants||BAL||17.9||23||New York Jets||SAD||15.1|
|8||Kansas City Chiefs||IND||16.9||24||St Louis Rams||TB||15.1|
|9||Oakland Raiders||CAR||17.6||25||Jacksonville Jaguars||NE||14.1|
|10||Detroit Lions||ATL||17.5||26||Cincinnati Bengals||PIT||13.6|
|11||San Diego Chargers||NYJ||17.4||27||Buffalo Bills||MIA||13.8|
|12||Denver Broncos||CLE||16.8||28||Cleveland Browns||DEN||12.7|
|13||Pittsburgh Steelers||CIN||15.1||29||San Francisco 49ers||SEA||12.9|
|14||New Orleans Saints||DAL||15.9||30||Arizona Cardinals||CHI||12.0|
|15||Atlanta Falcons||DET||15.4||31||Minnesota Vikings||HOU||11.1|
|16||Chicago Bears||ARI||16.6||32||Seattle Seahawks||SAF||10.5|
ACES IN THE HOLE
In his three games since returning from injury, DeMarco Murray has 15, 13 and 15 FP with a TD in each. You can expect that run to continue, as the Cowboys host the Saints. Ignore the Doug Martin disappointment from last week. The Bucs were down early and the game plan went out the window. The Cowboys won’t let that happen, or abandon the run like Tampa Bay. They know their offense is much better when balanced with Murray. No team allows more FPPG to RBs, and the Saints previous four games allowed an average of 22.8 FP to the RB position.
We always knew the RBs in Carolina would have better success if one of them left or suffered an injury. Well, fortunately for DeAngelo Williams and unfortunately for Jonathan Stewart, a high ankle sprain has kept Stewart off the field. DWill has 16 and 18 FP in his last two games,. Even with Mike Tolbert stealing the touchdowns, Williams has a great chance for double-digit points again with the Raiders headed to town. The Raiders allow the third most FPPG to RBs, and before the Chiefs miserable Week 15 performance, Oakland was allowing 26.0 FPPG to RBs since Week 9. DWill makes for a nice flex play.
The last two weeks presented Stevan Ridley with difficult matchups. Thanks to a garbage time TD against Houston, Ridley’s day was saved, but he was much less fortunate against the 49ers, as he had more fumbles (two) than FP (zero). The fumbles could land him in Bill Belichick’s doghouse for Week 16, but I’m sure Belichick will give him at least 15 carries after the season Ridley has put together. The other good news is that Jacksonville is weak against the run, allowing 20.4 FPPG to RBs and the second most rushing TDs (13). Even with the fumble concerns, it’s hard not to like Ridley as a RB2.
Where have we seen this story before: Marshawn Lynch versus the dominating 49ers run defense? Oh wait, last year in Week 16 also, as Lynch rattled off 107 rushing yards and scored the first rushing TD of the year against San Fran. Check again, and Lynch put up 116 total yards in the first meeting this year. You do NOT bench Marshawn Lynch.
Minnesota and Adrian Peterson check in with the second most difficult matchup… yea, if you don’t bench Lynch, you certainly don’t even entertain the thought with ADP.
Now, Beanie Wells, there’s a player you can bench. The Bears allow just 12.0 FPPG to RBs and have given up just six rushing TDs. Wells was fortunate to put up those numbers last week, as the Lions looked like the pitiful version we’ve seen for years. That will not happen again against Chicago.
Checking in with the next four teams(!) we have Frank Gore, Trent Richardson, C.J. Spiller and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. You can’t sit any of these RBs for your championship week. Even with matchups, you have to play your studs, and each one of them is a Fantasy RB stud that can’t be benched. It’s apparently going to be a good week for RBs on the whole.
Wide Receiver Points Allowed
|1||Dallas Cowboys||NO||24.8||17||New England Patriots||JAX||20.1|
|2||Kansas City Chiefs||IND||24.0||18||Minnesota Vikings||HOU||23.1|
|3||St Louis Rams||TB||27.6||19||New York Giants||BAL||19.9|
|4||Philadelphia Eagles||WAS||25.6||20||Buffalo Bills||MIA||20.0|
|5||Washington Redskins||PHI||22.1||21||Tennessee Titans||GB||20.4|
|6||Miami Dolphins||BUF||21.7||22||Oakland Raiders||CAR||16.6|
|7||Denver Broncos||CLE||23.4||23||Pittsburgh Steelers||CIN||16.5|
|8||Jacksonville Jaguars||NE||23.3||24||Cincinnati Bengals||PIT||16.6|
|9||Indianapolis Colts||KC||20.7||25||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||STL||16.8|
|10||Carolina Panthers||OAK||20.4||26||Cleveland Browns||DEN||17.4|
|11||New Orleans Saints||DAL||21.4||27||Chicago Bears||ARI||17.9|
|12||Houston Texans||MIN||21.1||28||Arizona Cardinals||CHI||18.8|
|13||Atlanta Falcons||DET||21.1||29||Detroit Lions||ATL||15.8|
|14||Green Bay Packers||TEN||20.6||30||Seattle Seahawks||SAF||16.1|
|15||Baltimore Ravens||NYG||23.9||31||San Diego Chargers||NYJ||15.6|
|16||New York Jets||SAD||21.7||32||San Francisco 49ers||SEA||15.4|
ACES IN THE HOLE
Back to Big D, the Cowboys again find themselves atop a matchup ranking. The Saints are equally as bad against WRs as they are RBs. Even after the Bucs blew the matchup last week, the Saints still allow 188.0 receiving YPG to WRs and have given up the second most WR TDs (18). Last week, Dez Bryant proved he could play with a padded glove and broken finger, as he finished with 59 yards and a TD. Miles Austin had his best game since Week 8 as well, which is even more reason why both Dallas WRs are must-starts against New Orleans.
Let’s skip past the Chiefs since it’s a waste of a matchup when you have Brady Quinn at QB, and it might be Ricky Stanzi if Quinn can’t go. The Rams face off against the Bucs, who, like their Week 15 opponent (Saints), are terrible at defending WRs. With Danny Amendola healthy again, he returns to must-start status in all leagues and is a WR2 if it’s PPR.
With the Eagles and Redskins facing each other, we have WRs aplenty worth starting for your team. Pierre Garcon is a great play, even if Cousins is at QB, Jeremy Maclin is worth a WR3 tag, and desperate or deep leaguers can find value in Jason Avant and Leonard Hankerson. Both have upside, but only use either of them if you can handle the risk or are in a tough spot.
Back to Cali and the 49ers, with the Seahawks No. 1 WR defense headed to town; all 49ers WRs are risks and worth a bench spot. Seattle allows just 10.6 receptions and 129.1 receiving YPG to WRs and have given up just nine WR TDs. Michael Crabtree has some PPR value but is still just a WR3 at best.
Few players were more disappointing that Danario Alexander and his goose egg last week. DX had been amazing since his return, and no one saw that coming. With the Jets on tap, Week 16 might not be much better (allowing that even one point would be an improvement). The Jets are the second toughest matchup for WRs, especially teams’ No. 1 options; look at how they shut down Kenny Britt on Monday night. Avoid the entire Chargers receiving group if possible, and if not, DX is the only one worth the risk.
Don’t be surprised if this Seattle-San Fran game ends up 6-3. After all, the first game was only 13-6. As you can tell by now, you’ll want to avoid most skill players outside of Lynch and Gore. That includes all WRs for Seattle, as they all combined for just 97 yards and nine FP in the first meeting. Don’t expect much different.
Tight End Points Allowed
|1||Carolina Panthers||OAK||8.2||17||Minnesota Vikings||HOU||8.1|
|2||Green Bay Packers||TEN||9.3||18||Detroit Lions||ATL||6.9|
|3||Philadelphia Eagles||WAS||9.9||19||Washington Redskins||PHI||6.2|
|4||Dallas Cowboys||NO||7.8||20||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||STL||6.6|
|5||Jacksonville Jaguars||NE||8.9||21||Chicago Bears||ARI||6.6|
|6||St Louis Rams||TB||7.9||22||San Diego Chargers||NYJ||6.5|
|7||Atlanta Falcons||DET||7.8||23||Baltimore Ravens||NYG||6.3|
|8||Houston Texans||MIN||7.3||24||New York Jets||SAD||5.9|
|9||Kansas City Chiefs||IND||6.7||25||Buffalo Bills||MIA||6.0|
|10||New England Patriots||JAX||6.8||26||New York Giants||BAL||5.7|
|11||Cleveland Browns||DEN||10.4||27||Seattle Seahawks||SAF||6.3|
|12||Oakland Raiders||CAR||7.4||28||Tennessee Titans||GB||6.0|
|13||Miami Dolphins||BUF||6.6||29||Denver Broncos||CLE||5.4|
|14||Pittsburgh Steelers||CIN||7.1||30||Cincinnati Bengals||PIT||5.6|
|15||New Orleans Saints||DAL||6.6||31||San Francisco 49ers||SEA||6.1|
|16||Indianapolis Colts||KC||6.3||32||Arizona Cardinals||CHI||5.5|
ACES IN THE HOLE
The Panthers have the best matchup for TEs this week. Yes, several teams average more FPPG than Oakland does to opposing TEs, but due to added defensive metrics and more consistent FPPG allowed , the Raiders are the worst at defending tight ends. Greg Olsen becomes a definite TE1 as a result. Olsen has needed TDs to have big days, but Oakland has let a TE find the end zone in four of their last six games. In the two where they didn’t, one was against KC (Quinn again) and the other still resulted in 11 FP due to 111 yards allowed.
I, no way, no how, want to trust Jermichael Finley as my championship week tight end. Finley has hit double-digit FPs just twice and hasn’t surpassed five FP seven times. That said, the Titans are still one of the worst teams in the league at stopping opposing TEs. Two of the last three opponents have scored via the tight end, and Finley (plus, Aaron Rodgers obviously) has a decent bet to make it three of four. I don’t want to use him, but I’ll certainly risk Finley over similar hit-or-miss types such as Kyle Rudolph, Scott Chandler and Antonio Gates.
And one more time back with this Seahawks-49ers game. Tired of these two yet? Well, I’m sure you’re tired of Vernon Davis at least. Davis has just one game with over three FP since Kaepernick took over. He has twice that many games with zero FP. In fact, since Week 6, Davis has eight games with three FP or less, and just one with more. You do not want to use Davis in Week 16.
Jermaine Gresham has been a bit of a hit-and-miss this year. He does have at least three catches in every game, which makes him a solid PPR play every week. However, Gresham also has more single-digit outings than double-digit ones (10 to four). With Cincy heading to Pittsburgh, Gresham is more likely to post one of his low outputs, as the Steelers give up just 5.6 FPPG to TEs, while allowing just five total TE TDs.
(Reminder: You’ll notice the rankings are not in exact order of points allowed. Other metrics are calculated in along with just straight points. It allows for better analysis so one off-week doesn’t skew the opponent difficulty too greatly.)