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Week 16 Start-Sit: Making The Tough, Championship-Caliber Decisions

Week 16 Start-Sit
Brook Ward

It is Fantasy Football Championship Week for most of us! Well, those of us that were not knocked out of the playoffs by Alvin Kamara’s or Antonio Brown’s early injury the past two weeks. The Week 16 Start-Sit is here to help you make the toughest decisions of your season.

There is no next week for most leagues; this is it. Do not be afraid to roll the dice. More importantly, do not worry about where you drafted or picked up a player. Case in point: I would start Keelan Cole over Dez Bryant this week.

I know, that seems like Fantasy Football Blasphemy. I don’t care if you took Dez in Round 2 of the draft and Cole was just picked up this week. You have to look at the current landscape of each team. Right now, Dez is only Flex-worthy, while Cole led all receivers in scoring in Week 15.

So don’t be afraid to make a tough call on your lineup. Championships are not won by being safe.

Last week was another solid week as my picks went 11-5-1 with six major wins. Hopefully, this string of strong performances can continue with my championship week picks in the Week 16 Start-Sit.

As always I am keeping track of my predictions. Going into the Week 16 Start-Sit picks I am 154-88-7 with 98 major wins. Just a reminder, a “win” is correctly picking a start that out-performs his rankings and underperforms as a sit. A “loss” is the opposite happening. A major win is when a guy over- or under-performs by 12 or more spots.

So let’s get to the Week 16 Start-Sit plays. For our Week 16 Start-Sit projections, I am going to focus on guys ranked outside of the Top-24 RB/WRs and Top-10 QB/TEs for my Starts. I will focus on guys inside the Top-20 RB/WRs and Top-8 QB/TEs for my Sits.

Week 16 Start-Sit

(All rankings based off of the Fantasy Pros consensus PPR rankings as of 12/21)

Start

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Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (QB22)

I am going to keep riding the Jimmy G-Train! I know, the matchup is unbelievably difficult, but let’s consider a couple of things. Jimmy G has played in four games as a 49er. He has increased his passing yardage and Fantasy Point total in every single game he has played. He is completing almost 70% of his passes, throwing for nearly 340 yards per game, and has turned Marquise Goodwin into a high-end WR2. I’m starting him in a Championship game so I am putting my money where my keyboard is.

Jay Cutler, QB, Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs (QB29)

Cutler is the ultimate zig-zag quarterback. He followed up his 3-TD/0-INT spectacular performance beating New England by going the opposite way with a 0-TD/3-INT day against Buffalo. I think he bounces back against a Chiefs’ secondary that has given up the fifth most passing yards of any defense in the league. I’m not saying he will be a QB1, but he is definitely worthy of a 2-QB league start.

Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (RB32)

Davis did not get much run last week but that had more to do with the game script than anything. Dallas has given up the fourth-most receiving yards and second most catches to opposing running backs. Their tackling was quite suspect last week against the Raiders and luckily for them, Oakland did not feed Marshawn Lynch more.

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears (RB33)

Crowell received an alarmingly low five carries last week, but he was still able to rush for 72 yards. I think Hue Jackson will see the error in his ways and feed the dreadlocked-back more against a Chicago team that has given up the 10th-most rushing yards over the last eight weeks. Crowell also has 7 catches over the last two contests giving his overall floor a solid boost.

Danny Woodhead, RB, Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts (RB34)

Woodhead has multiple catches in every game he has played this season. The Ravens are slowly ramping up his snap count and I have a gut feeling that this is the week he explodes. The Colts are done for the season and playing for a high draft pick, so the tackling will be very suspect on the outside.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans (WR30)


I mean, did you see what the rag-tag group of Jaguars’ receivers did to the Texans’ secondary last week? The Jacksonville receivers alone had 13 catches for 268 yards and three touchdowns. That is 57.8 PPR Points. With no Antonio Brown, Bryant will get a huge increase in target share and I expect him to break at least one for a big touchdown.

Marquise Goodwin, WR, San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (WR31)

Jalen Ramsey might be the best defensive player in football. I know that DeAndre Hopkins’ final line was decent, but he also was force-fed targets. Ramsey was on an island with arguably the toughest receiver in the league to cover one-on-one and he won the battle. With that said, Goodwin is a completely different type of receiver than Hopkins. He will move around more in the formations and there will be more trickeration to get the ball in his hands. He will get his touches and I doubt Ramsey follows him.

Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Oakland Raiders (WR33)

Until Agholor stops catching touchdowns, I don’t see how you bench him. No matter who is under center for the Eagles, they tend to look the former-Trojan’s way in the Red Zone.

Keelan Cole, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars at San Francisco 49ers (WR38)


Most people will think that last week was just an abnormality and luck that Cole led all receivers in Fantasy Scoring. In reality, I think that it was more of a sign of things to come. Cole has increased his production in four straight weeks, including three straight games with at least 13.9 points with a touchdown. Blake Bortles is 13-of-15 targeting the rookie over those three games. Cole is my top pick in the Week 16 Start-Sit predictions.

Antonio Gates, TE, Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets (TE19)

Hunter Henry is on IR so Gates will get the majority of the TE snaps for the Chargers this weekend. The Jets look like they are turning it around defending the tight end, but I think it is more of playing offenses that do not utilize the position as much. This is the same defense that gave up over 20 PPR Points a game over a 5-game stretch earlier this year playing average-to-good tight ends.

Garrett Celek, TE, San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (TE25)

Celek has become Jimmy G’s go-to threat down the middle of the field. He has multiple catches in each of Garoppolo’s starts and has scored a touchdown in back-to-back games.

Seahawks D/ST at Dallas Cowboys (DST18)

Tyron Smith is still hobbled and Dak Prescott is still throwing interceptions. There’s no question that the Seattle defense will bounce back from the pitiful performance they put on last week. I mean there is a reason that the Vegas spread on the game opened as the Cowboys as only a 2.5-point favorite. Seattle will come ready to play.

 

Sit

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Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons (QB4)

Fun fact: Drew Brees’ highest Fantasy Point total this season is 22.2 points in Week 2 against New England. That was before Alvin Kamara was fully involved, as well. Brees only has two other games this year that he even cracked the 20-point mark. He has thrown for 300 yards just once since Week 7. This is a running team now with the best 1-2 backfield punch in the league.

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Miami Dolphins (QB7)

Besides the 37-point outlier/outburst against the Jets a few weeks ago, Smith has been mediocre for over two months. He has zero games besides the Jets where he scored more than 18.5 Fantasy Points. Since Andy Reid gave up play-calling duties, the Chiefs have relied more on Kareem Hunt and I expect that to continue.

Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills (RB13)

With Rex Burkhead out the obvious correction would be an uptick in touches for Lewis. However, when has Bill Belichick ever done anything obvious with his running backs? More importantly, Lewis will be needed more in the NFL Playoffs with Burkhead’s status unclear. I think either Mike Gillislee or Brandon Bolden gets thrown into the fray with Lewis and James White, giving Dion a bit of relief.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (RB15)

McKinnon had a huge game for those that started him last week, catching seven passes for 114 yards. I do not think that type of performance will be repeatable or needed this week against Green Bay. With the Packers out of the playoff hunt now and Aaron Rodgers back to IR, the Vikings will likely cruise to a nice victory. That will mean fewer screens and short dump-offs to McKinnon, and more ground-and-pound with Latavius Murray.

Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (WR16)

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I think his shoulder injury is more serious than the Panthers are letting on. Carolina has Super Bowl aspirations and will need Funchess later down the road, so I doubt he gets much usage this week in what should be an easy win.

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks (WR18)

Ho hum, just another week of Dez being over-ranked and me fading him.

I am on board with the majority of the tight ends ranked highly. I would caution against Rob Gronkowski in daily play: the Patriots basically have home-field locked up so there is no reason to risk his body too much.


That’s it for the Week 16 Start-Sit! Good luck in your championships and if you have any other questions, shoot them to me on Twitter @Tomlin3 !

Michael Tomlin
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Michael Tomlin

Michael Tomlin is an ESPY-nominated, former college football player who stays associated with the game through Fantasy Sports. He has been writing his personal blog, Dirkland.blogspot.com, for three years and it focuses on Fantasy Sports, as well as handicapping. He was born and raised in the DFW Metroplex, and he follows all of the Dallas teams, along with Texas Tech athletics and Manchester City F.C.
Michael Tomlin
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