Matchup Based Plays for the Fantasy Football Finals
We’ve finally made it. NFL Week 16. The week Fantasy owners hope and dream about. All the hard work you’ve put into this season -- the blood, sweat, and beers, as I like to put it -- will all be worth it with one more victory.
You just need to rack up enough points to outscore one more team, one more time. And whether you like it or not, those much-needed points could be sitting out on the waiver wire.
Don’t hesitate to stream Week 16 starters, just as long as they have a good -- no -- great matchup.
[caption id="attachment_261818" align="alignright" width="422"] Nick Foles is a streaming option for championship week following a four-touchdown performance against the Giants. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun[/caption]
These players may look like a bit of a gamble, but like any gamble, the risk can pay major dividends; the reward of being crowned a 2017 Fantasy Football champion.
Fly High With Foles
On Sunday, Nick Foles looked like the quarterback who won lots of Fantasy matchups in 2013. Yes, he was facing a Giants defense that gives up the most Fantasy points to opposing QBs, but his four-touchdown performance should be enough for owners to trust him this week.
Foles and the Eagles face an Oakland defense that has given up three touchdowns four times this season and at least 250 yards seven times in 2017. And while the Raiders are ranked in the middle of the pack when it comes to giving up Fantasy points to opposing QBs, in reality, there’s only a five point difference between first and fifteenth.
With the nearly seamless transition, Foles made in replacing would-be MVP Carson Wentz, he slides in as a QB1 for Fantasy championship week. Since you can snag a possible QB1 off the waiver wire in Week 16, it’s a true no-brainer to play Foles in the finals on your way to a first-place finish.
Make Martavis Great Again
Martavis Bryant was an early-round draft pick heading into the 2017 Fantasy season. One benching and one rookie wide receiver filling his shoes later, Bryant was riding the pine and the waiver wire for much of the year.
Now, in Week 16, Bryant is Fantasy relevant again. The aforementioned rookie, JuJu Smith-Schuster, will likely lead the Steelers in receiving on Monday Night Football, but there should be enough to go around with Big Ben Roethlisberger playing like an MVP candidate since coming out of the team’s Week 9 bye.
With the passing offense averaging almost 350 yards and three touchdowns over the past five weeks, Bryant was already trending up, even before Antonio Brown went down with a calf injury last week. And no better way to replace a player then with their physical replacement on the field.
Over the past three weeks, Bryant has tallied 14 grabs on 22 targets for 132 yards and a TD. I could see him matching those yard and TD totals while facing a Houston defense that allows the fourth-most points to opposing wide receivers. I’m back on the Bryant bandwagon and starting him as a WR2 during championship week.
Rely On Riddick as Flex Play
Despite Theo Riddick’s questionable tag, I’m stashing the Lions running back and hoping for a positive prognosis before Sunday’s matchup with the Bengals, a defense that allows the second most points to running backs this year.
With Ameer Abdullah in the dog house and not much else behind him, Riddick played 30-of-40 snaps in the first half before being forced to leave with a wrist injury last week. As long as the veteran running back suits up on Sunday, he should get the lion’s share of carries to go along with his already appreciated receiving ability and red zone play.
His three touchdowns and nearly 15 touches a game over the past three weeks give Riddick a high floor with blow-up potential, facing a Cincinnati team that gave up 100 yards on the ground and through the air to running backs last week. One hundred yards and a touchdown courtesy of a fortuitous matchup sounds like the perfect flex play for the Fantasy finals.
Go Deep With Gresham
Drew Stanton was again named the Arizona Cardinals’ starting quarterback. Outside of the very few two-QB league owners of the career back up, this is also quietly good news for Jermaine Gresham.
The veteran tight end put together his best two games of the season with Stanton under center in weeks 9 and 10, totaling 87 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches and 10 targets. That’s more than enough run to put him in the TE2 streamer conversation against a Giants team that gets absolutely killed by opposing tight ends. (Note: The Giants have given up the most points to tight ends this season, including a whopping 13 touchdowns.)
If you’re wavering on who to start at tight end this week, Gresham is well worth a look in deep leagues.
Win With Washington’s Defense
The Washington Redskins defense is atop my list of streaming options. They're facing a Denver team that will likely be starting either Brock Osweiler or Paxton Lynch this Sunday. No matter who starts for the Broncos, this matchup is too good to pass up with the Broncos handing over double-digit Fantasy points to opposing defenses in all but three games in 2017.
Coming off a game in which the Skins allowed just 15 points while racking up five sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery, I’d look for a similar output from the defense in Week 16. Go with Washington for the win in your Fantasy Football finals.
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