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Fantasy Football: Best/Worst Options for Week 16




One to start, One to sit is a weekly column where each NFL game will be evaluated and the best/worst fantasy match-ups will be listed.

Sunday’s Match-ups


Dolphins @ Bills

Best Option- Charles Clay

A mid tier/Bye week filler TE for most of the season, Clay enters this week’s match against a Bills defense that’s allowed a TE to score in four straight games. In their last meeting, Clay had just one catch for 7 yards, but it was for a TD which nearly saved his fantasy day, he has also caught 7 passes in 2 of his last 3 games.

Worst Option- Lamar Miller

Even with Daniel Thomas re-injuring his ankle last week, Thomas remains the passing down/goal line back for the Dolphins. Miller hasn’t scored a TD since week 4 and is questionable to even get double digit carries with the Dolphins leaning on the passing attack week after week. Even against the Bills 26th ranked rushing attack, starting Miller is still a risky play for any fantasy owner. He’s a borderline Flex option at best.

Bears @ Eagles

Best Option- Jay Cutler

Cutler comes into this week with one of the most friendliest matchups on paper. The 31st ranked Eagles defense who just made Matt Cassel look like a superstar. What’s not to like? How about Cutler knowing how to keep defenses guessing by incorporating Martellus Bennett in the passing game on a consistent basis as well (something Josh McCown doesn’t seem to do). Throw in Forte, Jeffrey and Marshall, and how can Philly’s secondary stop them? Cutler is a top 10 QB play this week.

Worst Option- DeSean Jackson

He is Nick Foles go-to receiver, and the Bears have given up TD’s to Josh Gordon and Dez Bryant on back to back weeks, however, their secondary has played better as of late and with how bad their rushing defense has been, throw in LeSean McCoy opposing the Bears. I think Philly will rely more on their running game this week than their passing offense. Don’t expect Jackson to get shut out, but I would downgrade him to a TD or bust type of player this week.

Browns @ Jets

Best Option-  Geno Smith

Even if you’re in 2 QB leagues, starting Geno this week does sound crazy, but as of late he’s been pretty strong. Going two straight weeks of double digit fantasy performances and now facing a Browns defense that may be without star CB Joe Haden. Throw in the stats listed below about the Browns defense as to why they’re the worst option this week, Geno could be in line for a big day tomorrow.

Worst Option- Browns Defense

Few reasons behind this, one being Geno Smith has averaged 13 fantasy points while playing at home, so the argument of “the browns are playing against Geno, START THEM” is thrown out the window. Secondly, the Browns defense has given up an average of 33 points a game since their bye week. Your fantasy defense is hurt by the amount of points the opposing team puts up on you. You can’t score a lot of points when you give up 33 points a game. Finally, I’m a big Browns fan, but… It’s the Browns, they find ways to make even the worst QB’s look good.

Cowboys @ Redskins

Best Option- Kirk Cousins

Take your pick. Dallas’ defense can’t stop anybody. Cousins is a solid backup QB. Dallas made Matt Flynn look amazing. Cousins nearly threw for 400 yards last week. He knows how to use his weapons like Pierre Garcon. He’s made Santana Moss relevant again. The choice is yours.

Worst Option- Tony Romo

A trend you’ll notice this week is how QB’s who normally play in domes fair in the outdoors. Romo isn’s too bad as he’s averaging nearly 15 points an outing. Also, it’s not like the Redskins defense is anything to fear (ranked 21st against the pass). To be fair, Dallas’ defense is terrible, just terrible, so everyone on Washington is worth starting. While anyone on Dallas’ offense (Dez,Murray,Witten) is worth starting this week, just out of all of them, I think Romo will have the worst statistical outing.

Broncos @ Texans

Best Option- Andre Caldwell

With Wes Welker out, and Caldwell coming out of the slot for Peyton (he loves throwing to the slot guy), Caldwell put up season high numbers last week (6 catches 59 yards and 2 TD’s). Even with the Texans providing one of the league’s top passing defenses (2nd with 183 yards per game). Expect Peyton Manning and Co to rise against it and still put up a solid amount of points.

Worst Option- Denver defense

Even though they are going up against an awful Texans offense (lead by Matt Schaub this week), Denver is still not worth the pickup/start this week. This unit hasn’t scored double digit fantasy points in 3 weeks, their secondary is so questionable to giving up the big play, Houston still has a strong passing attack lead by Andre Johnson (and possibly Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham who could be returning). Schaub is no where close to a flawless QB, but Houston is still capable of scoring enough to make whatever the Broncos defense does, irrelevant.

Giants @ Lions

Best Option- Detroit defense

Why? Eli Manning and his 7 interceptions in the last 2 games, and NYG allowing the most fantasy points to opposing Defenses/Special Teams that’s why.

Worst Option- Andre Brown

This isn’t because of how bad Brown is playing (although his 17 rushing yards last week didn’t help his cause), but more because of how good the Lions rushing defense is. The Lions have not allowed an opposing RB to score a rushing TD in 9 of their last 10 games. With the Giants passing game scaring no one, expect the Lions devastating front 7 to give Andre Brown no room to run all game.

Titans @ Jaguars

Best Option- Jordan Todaman/ MJD

Obviously this all comes down to whether or not MJD plays. However, Todman had an explosive game last week getting 29 touches for a combined 153 yards. The 23rd ranked Titans defense has allowed a rushing TD in 7 of their last 9 games and allowed 2 rushing TD’s (one to MJD, one to Todman) in these teams last game. With Jacksonville’s passing game still struggling without Cecil Shorts (IR), they will once again lean on their running game to move the chains.

Worst Option- Chris Johnson

Week after week I preach about it, the Jags running defense is not that bad (fantasy wise). Did they surrender nearly 200 yards rushing against the Bills last week? Yes, but it was divided amongst 4 players with EJ Manuel having the most productive fantasy outing. Fred Jackson was held to just 8 fantasy points, Spiller to 6. While Johnson has been getting his points through the passing game lately, his situation is still downgraded due to Shonn Greene getting the goal line and short yardage carries.

Colts @ Chiefs

Best Option- Alex Smith

I believe the Chiefs have turned the corner. Holy crap! 4 games of scoring 28 or more points. 2 straight weeks of scoring 45 or more. Now they’re home against a Colts defense that has been hot/cold for the past 4 weeks… Unfortunately for Indy, it’s the bad week’s turn. Alex Smith has been incredible as of late, throwing for 14 TD and just 2 ints in his last 5 games. Throw in a 5 TD performance (Alex Smith threw for 5 TD’s in 1 game?!?) last week. Smith is a borderline QB1 this week against a mediocre Colts secondary.

Worst Option- Trent Richardson

No. No! NO! Don’t think about it! Fluke’s happen! Donald Brown was sidelined last week  (stinger) in the second half which allowed the RB formally known as “T-Rich” to run for his highest total this season… 64 yards on 19 carries! (3.3 ypc… Still awful). With Brown expected to return this week, T-Rich should be back where he’s been since week 7 of this season. On your fantasy bench.

Raiders @ Chargers 

Best Option- Rod Streater/Andre Holmes

Matt McGloin has made both of these guys into big waiver wire pickups. While they are both boom/bust players, you can’t argue the potential of both of them against the Chargers 29th ranked passing defense. Streater remains the top option and is probably off the waiver wire in most leagues, but Holmes is still a valuable player in the Raiders passing game as well. He has 58 yards or more in his last 3 games, including a 136 yard performance against Dallas on Thanksgiving (had a TD called away). If they’re both available for pickup, Streater’s your guy, but if you desperately need a WR3/Flex option, Holmes could be very valuable this week.

Worst Option- Rashad Jennings

Jennings may be this year’s biggest waiver wire find. 4 TD’s in his last 2 games played, Jennings now faces a Chargers front 7 that basically made Denver’s running game obsolete (18 yards on 11 carries). With Matt McGloin still struggling under center, Jennings will get a lot of touches, but against this Chargers squad, it’s very tough to trust him to put up a significant amount of points. I’d consider Jennings a borderline top 15 RB play this week.

Buccaneers @ Rams 

Best Option- Zac Stacy 

I’d like to apologize last week, I totally missed the mark on Stacy, apparently the Saints thought the Rams passing game was worth stopping, and I bought into that. Thanks Rob Ryan. If it makes you feel better, I benched Stacy last week for Ray Rice and it cost me a spot in the finals. Anyways, this is an obvious pick, but the Rams defense has been playing great at home, destroying opponents passing games, and the Rams still don’t have a lead receiver of their own, so I’m going with Stacy and his probable 25-30 touches in this game. Like Josh Gordon with the Browns, Stacy IS the Rams offense. So who else would you want on this squad?

Worst Option- Bobby Rainey

The Rams allow the 5th most points to opposing RB’s, however, I hate to say it, Rainey isn’t very good. Okay, wrong choice of words, but Rainey is averaging just 2.5 yards a carry over his last 4 games. Sure he’s made some big runs (80 yard TD run vs Buffalo), but look at the whole game instead of just one play (to be fair one play is all it takes to make a fantasy impact). I know I’m being wishy/washy about this guy, but with how the Rams have played at home this year, and how much Rainey has been overhyped (he’s had just 2 games where he’s scored 18 or more fantasy points, the other 4 games= 22 fantasy points total), I just wouldn’t trust him in my semi final/title game.

Vikings @ Bengals 

Best Option- Greg Jennings

Welcome back to the world of relevancy Greg Jennings! All it took was Matt Cassel to be under center. Jennings returned last week with an 11 catch, 163 yard and a TD game against Philly and will be leading the Vikings passing attack against the Bengals who have given up 7 TD’s to opposing WR’s in their last 5 games. Jennings is a definite WR3 this week and could have top 10 WR potential against a sketchy Bengals secondary.

Worst Option- Adrian Peterson

While he is listed as questionable (foot/groin), his matchup on paper vs the Bengals is tough to say the least. Cincy has the 5th best rushing defense in the NFL and have allowed just 5 rushing TD’s all season. With the revived passing game there for the Vikings, they may not have to lean on Peterson so much in this game. I’d put him as a TD-or-Bust type of player this week.

Patriots @ Ravens

Best Option- Ray Rice

If you were to tell me before the season that Ray Rice would be considered a sleeper option/start him because the matchup is good by week 16 I would have probably lost a lot of money on that. Rice is terrible this year, furthermore, he’s been bad on a consistent level. Only missing one game this year, Rice has put up just 4 double digit fantasy outings, with only 1 20 point game (vs the bears of corse). This week may be a revival game for Rice (who is questionable with a thigh injury) against the Patriots 31st ranked rushing defense. I have faith in Rice this week, however, it’s gone to “there’s no one else better/there’s no reason for him not to do well” kind of faith.

Worst Option- Tom Brady 

This is more towards history than what Brady has done so far. Coming off 4 straight 20 plus point fantasy outings, Brady now faces a Ravens defense that is coming off a 3 interception performance against Matthew Stafford. Even though the Ravens are coming on a short week, their defense has absolutely dominated Brady in the past (268 yard average, 5 TD’s 9 INT’s). With Gronk out for the season, and Brady relying heavily on the Edelman/Amendola/Vareen trio, my guess is he can only do so much against the Ravens improving defense.

Saints @ Panthers

Best Option- DeAngelo Williams

While I’ve been terrible lately calling opposing RB’s against New Orleans (Zac Stacy last week, I missed my mark, what can I say?), Carolina’s running game could be returning to form late in the season. Williams will always remain a crap shoot, but with fellow RB Johnathan Stewart sidelined (knee) again, and Williams involved in the passing game (had 3 catches for 87 yards and a TD last week). Look for Carolina to lean on Williams against the Saints 21st ranked running defense.

Worst Option- Drew Brees

Brees has been at best, average while playing on the road this year. While he has had 3 games of 16 points or more on the road, he looked downright awful in his last outdoor game against the Seahawks, only scoring 7 points. What does this have to do with Carolina? Who Brees torched last time for 28 fantasy points. The Panthers have allowed a grand total of 67 fantasy points to opposing QB’s while playing at home this year. That’s 67 COMBINED POINTS in the span of 7 games (9.5 point average). While this game is pretty much for the NFC South division. I would definitely give the advantage to the Panthers defense. They’ll be ready for Brees on Sunday.

Cardinals @ Seahawks

Best Option- Zach Miller

If you’re looking for a last minute, waiver-wire TE play (maybe you lost Gronk), look no further than Zach Miller. He isn’t involved in the Seahawks passing game a whole lot (has had just 2 games where he’s caught 5 passes), but the matchup on paper is there. The Cards have allowed 15 Tight End TD’s this season (including one to miller in week 7). While the Seahawks don’t necessarily have to rely on their passing game to win, they may lean on it more with the Cards 1st ranked run defense. If you’re in need of a waiver wire help, Miller may be your guy.

Worst Option- Arizona Defense

While the Cards defense do rank 4th overall in fantasy scoring defense, the Seahawks have averaged nearly 33 points at home. Also, following a 400 yard performance from Ryan Fitzpatrick last week, one has to wonder if the Cardinals secondary is going to be the same without Safety Tyrann Mathieu?

Steelers @ Packers

Best Option- Emmanuel Sanders

Sanders remains a huge PPR pickup, having at least 4 receptions over the past 4 games and scoring a TD in 3 of his last 4 games. While his numbers don’t match Antonio Brown’s, you cannot ignore that Sanders is getting nearly the same amount of opportunities as he (Brown has  33 targets over the last 4 games to Sanders 30).The Packers have struggled to stop the pass and with the Steelers ranking 9th in most passing attempts, Sanders remains a quiet option for any 3rd WR/Flex option. His value only increases in PPR leagues.

Worst Option- Eddie Lacy 

While Lacy has been a beast this season (he’s my pick for offensive rookie of the year). The Steelers rushing defense has been playing stellar lately, allowing just one RB (Daniel Thomas) to rush over 100 yards in just 5 games. They’ve also surrendered 3 rushing TD’s durning that span. However, take away Daniel Thomas’ big game, and you’ll see the Steelers running defense hold opposing RB’s to under 50 yards rushing in 4 of their last 5 games. Ray Rice, Giovanni Bernard, and Reggie Bush couldn’t get past this defense. Unlike Dallas (which again I dropped the ball on, how could you not get pressure on Flynn?), Pittsburgh ranks 7th in the NFL in sacks, and should be ready for anything Lacy can give them.

Falcons @ 49ers

Best Option- Colin Kaepernick

Shaky at times, Kaep has been on run as of late, scoring 17 or more fantasy points in 3 of his 4 last games. He now returns to Monday Night Football against the 25th ranked Falcons defense. The same Falcons defense that gave up almost 400 yards to KIRK COUSINS last week. Kaep’s running ability also gives him that extra potential to take advantage of Atlanta’s 29th ranked rushing attack. If you have him, you should feel safe leaning on his abilities on Monday night.

Worst Option- Matt Ryan

Like Drew Brees, Ryan hasn’t faired well in outdoor games, averaging just 11.2 fantasy points per outing. Facing the 49ers 4th ranked passing, 6th ranked rushing defense and their 14 sacks in their last 4 games doesn’t help either. If you’ve made it this far with Ryan as your fantasy QB, more power to ya, however, with this matchup at hand, you may be better off grabbing a waiver wire QB (Matt Schaub, Kirk Cousins, or Jason Campbell) than starting Ryan.

Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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