Week 16 Matchup Rankings
Well if you’re reading this column it probably means that you are having or had a successful season, so congratulations and hopefully you bring home the championship this week. So many tough decisions will have to be made this weekend. There are a few injuries to worry about, but at least there aren’t any teams that have a reason not to play their best players (Carolina is close). Good luck to everyone in their finals and have a happy and healthy holiday season, and don’t forget, there is once again a game on Christmas Eve and Saturday, so don’t forget to set your lineup.
- 1. Baltimore Ravens: Is there anyone on Pittsburgh you don’t want to start? Maybe you have a better tight end than Heath Miller or are more than deep enough at WR where you don’t have to start Markus Wheaton, but everyone else goes.
- 2. Jacksonville Jaguars: This ranking is way too low if Drew Brees does indeed miss the game Sunday with plantar fasciitis. Everyone on New Orleans takes a hit if he has to sit, but as of now he does want to play. Make no mistake though, he’s a risk and therefore so is Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, Ben Watson and Tim Hightower.
[caption id="attachment_85195" align="alignright" width="375"] No Odell Beckham Jr on the field for the Giants means no Giants worthy of Fantasy use this week. Photo Credit: Hooman Tehrani[/caption]
- 3. Atlanta Falcons: Atlanta got wrecked by the Panthers just a couple of weeks ago, and Cam Newton is coming off quite the performance versus the Giants last week. This could be gas meets match. Jonathan Stewart (knee) is likely to be out again, so that leaves the mess at RB once again. Before you ask, I do have Cameron Artis-Payne ranked higher than Fozzy Whitaker, but don’t say this with any kind of confidence as Mike Tolbert and Cam are still there to steal goal line touches. Ted Ginn may not catch many balls, but whenever he does, they always seem to be for big plays.
- 4. New Orleans Saints: How many Fantasy owners were disappointed by the offensive production from Jacksonville last week? We all expected a heavy shootout that would help our Fantasy numbers, really didn’t happen. Well if you survived last week, the Jags could once again payoff in what should be another high-scoring game. I mean really, who have the Saints stopped all season, and they may not have Brees this week? Two areas of caution are Denard Robinson in case T.J. Yeldon starts (unlikely) and Allen Hurns who is dealing with a thigh injury.
- 5. Cleveland Browns: Yes, I do expect Spencer Ware to return this week but don’t expect him to receive a full complement of snaps. The Chiefs know they don’t need Ware to beat the Browns, just want to get him back in the lineup. Charcandrick West is still a good play for me. Alex Smith is a sneaky play for me this week, but with so many good QBs out there, it’s hard to see a situation where I would recommend him.
- 6. St. Louis Rams: There is just no way I can sit Russell Wilson or Doug Baldwin this week. The running game is much more interesting for Seattle. Pete Carroll stated earlier this week that just because Christine Michael was the main ball carrier last week doesn’t mean he will be, so Sunday, it’s still a committee.
- 7. Green Bay Packers: The Cardinals are another team that it’s hard not to start everyone. I’d even want to go with all three WR if possible. Carson Palmer likes to throw the ball deep and will continue to take his shots this game.
- 8. San Francisco 49ers: What happened to Calvin Johnson last week? How many Fantasy owners lost because he only had one reception for 19 yards against the hapless Saints and only two catches for 35 yards the last two weeks. What a time for him to go into a slump. Still, he’s a mid-range WR2 for me this week, but not a must starts.
- 9. Washington Redskins: Let me reinforce this, if I had a choice between DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles, I’m not starting Murray, not even close. The Eagles either don’t know how to use him or have just come to the realization that he is not a fit in their offense. I do want to start Zach Ertz however, as he has 20 targets in his late two games and at this point he may be the Eagles most reliable receiver.
- 10. San Diego Chargers: Will we see the Raiders play an inspired game on offense tonight, possibly their last game in Oakland, like the Chargers did last week? I have Derek Carr as a Top 10 QB this week and would start him over the likes of Matt Ryan, Eli Manning and Kirk Cousins. Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray are also starts for me. Michael Crabtree is in Flex consideration.
- 11. Chicago Bears: I’m starting Mike Evans and Doug Martin in this one but not sure I can trust Jameis Winston enough to sit an Eli Manning or Tyrod Taylor, there would be risk involved.
- 12. Indianapolis Colts: I really don’t want to trust the Miami offense in any way shape or form. They don’t seem to know how to use Lamar Miller or maybe they just don’t want to use. Jarvis Landry has missed a couple of practices this week but that is likely just to give him some rest. Yes, he is banged up but he is still expected to play Sunday. I want no part of Ryan Tannehill; I’m not hopping on that train.
- 13. Philadelphia Eagles: I have Kirk Cousins at my 10th starting QB this week, but I have to admit, I’d have a tough time starting him and hoping I can win my championship with him at the helm. Still, it’s a good matchup but remember, his numbers on the road aren’t very pretty and the pressure will be on Saturday.
- 14. Oakland Raiders: I want to start Antonio Gates, as the Raiders have had trouble stopping the TE all season long but that may be about it when it comes to the Chargers. The four-TD game for Danny Woodhead last week was a fluke, he’s not in my Top 20. Steve Johnson could return but he’s not enough to make me feel all that comfortable with Phillip Rivers either.
- 15. New York Giants:The Vikings keep saying that Adrian Peterson will play Sunday night despite missing about half the game last week after having his ankle rolled over. He has yet to practice this week and is also dealing with a shoulder injury. Yeah, they are probably just being cautious here and let’s face it, if AP starts for the Vikings, he starts for your Fantasy team.
- 16. Tennessee Titans: Am I worried about DeAndre Hopkins with Brandon Weeden at QB? Of course, would be silly to say I’m not, but it wasn’t like he’s had All-Pros throwing to him all season long.
- 17. Dallas Cowboys: LeSean McCoy hasn’t practiced this week and would seem to be highly unlikely to play due to the knee injury. Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee would form some kind of committee in his place with Williams being the RB I’d want if I had a choice.
- 18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alshon Jeffery left the game early last week due to a hamstring injury and will likely be a game time decision this week. Has there been any player more frustrating to own in Fantasy this season other than Jeffery? It seems like he is always questionable. The problem is, when he plays, he produces. Keep an eye on his status over the weekend.
- 19. Detroit Lions
- 20. Miami Dolphins: Andrew Luck was announced as out for this game earlier this week and Donte Moncrief is in a walking boot. This could be an ugly game on offense for the Colts as Matt Hasselbeck is also dealing with multiple injuries and although he will probably start the game for Indy. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not he will be able to finish it.
- 21. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kamar Aiken has been a sneaky play of late. He’s not an automatic start, but also not someone that should be put on the pay no attention to list either. The Ravens are likely to have to throw the ball a ton Sunday to keep up with the Steelers, and he could be a strong Flex play this week. Javorious is a low end RB2, as the Ravens may not be doing too much running when they are down by three scores.
- 22. Minnesota Vikings: No Odell Beckham for the Giants this week means I don’t want to have much if anything to do with the Giants offense. Could Reuben Randle have a big game? Sure, he will get a bunch of targets, especially with Dwayne Harris nursing a shoulder injury, but he’s just not all that good and the Vikings will be paying more attention to him also.23. Buffalo Bills: So, the Cowboys finally woke up and decided that Matt Cassel is not for them. It only took them about a month longer than everyone else to figure this out. The problem is the offense is still a mess. I’ll start Darren McFadden, but that’s it. Even if Dez Bryant plays this week, I’d prefer to sit him. There is a chance that the Cowboys will choose to shut him down for the remainder of the season as Dez is still dealing with multiple foot problems.
- 24. New England Patriots: I may downgrade my Jets a little bit in this game but not all that much. I’m still starting both Brendan Marshall and Eric Decker. I can be talked out of Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the truth is I’m not all that afraid of him either. Chris Ivory is a different story, he still doesn’t look the same back to me, and with Bilal Powell coming in with fresh legs and tearing up the field, Ivory will continue to lose touches to him.
- 25. New York Jets: Who is healthy enough for the Patriots to start this week? Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Brandon Lafell are all battling injuries with Edelman highly unlikely to return Sunday. I can’t sit Tom Brady, but I would certainly think about it. As for the running game, I’d rather have James White than Brandon Bolden if given the choice.
- 26. Arizona Cardinals: What to do about Eddie Lacy? This may not be the week to bank on him as the Cardinals have a legitimate defense. The problem is the passing game hasn’t been clicking either. It’s hard to say this about an Aaron Rodgers led offense, but outside of Rodgers, there is no one else on Green Bay who is a must play.
- 27. Cincinnati Bengals: The last two weeks the Broncos offense has been a tale of two halves, good in the first, but bad in the second. Seems they having a hard time adjusting to what defenses do during the break. I’m starting Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but that’s about it here, I don’t trust the running game.
- 28. Denver Broncos: Tyler Eifert has already been ruled out for this game but A.J. Green should play. The question will be should you start him? It’s not the best matchup and even though Antonio Brown lit up the Broncos last week, Green doesn’t have Ben Roethlisberger throwing to him. He’s still a mid-range WR2 which means he probably has to start for you.
- 29. Houston Texans
- 30. Kansas City Chiefs
- 31. Carolina Panthers: I can’t sit Julio Jones. We had this discussion the last times these two teams meant and Jones had a solid day. He’s about the only must start for me on Atlanta although I doubt you will have enough RB depth to sit Devonta Freeman.
- 32. Seattle Seahawks: What I just mentioned about Freeman applies to Todd Gurley as well.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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