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Fantasy football start/sit advice guide: Best and worst picks for NFL Week 16

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: Starts and Sits are relative to where a player is ranked on the aggregate. In other words, a “Start” is someone I like more than most, and a “Sit” is the opposite. So if I say to start Jerick McKinnon and sit Ezekiel Elliott, that doesn't mean I'd start McKinnon over Elliott, it just means I think McKinnon will exceed his expectations while Zeke aka D-Bag will underperform his. Cool? Cool. -Seltz

Quick Post Disclaimer Note: Yoooooooo! It's that magical time of year – the time when regular old nobodies become legends and find eternal glory. That's right, it's fantasy playoffs time! And for many of you, the FANTASY CHAMPIONSHIP!!! Did I oversell that? Yeah, I probably oversold it. Either way, the fantasy playoffs are important to you if you're in them – so I'm going to try and honor that with more starts and sits, and (hopefully) less of my long-winded blabbering. Is blabbering a word? We're already off to a bad start. Let's get into it before I dig a hole I can't pull myself out of – but in case I forget to say it later (I will), good luck in your playoff matchups, I wish you nothing but W's. Lots and lots of Double U's . Alright, let's hit it.

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QUARTERBACK

START

Nick Foles (vs. OAK) – I told you to start Foles last week. That seemed to worked out ok, no? Sooooooo let's just re-rack what I wrote last week and hope for the same result: “Pro Bowl MVP. He left the field with the lead. 27-2. #Next”

Philip Rivers (@ NYJ) – Rivers has one bad game and everyone jumps off the bandwagon? For reals? Remind me not to have a bad column or everyone will leave. But you guys would never leave me, right? Guys? Uhhh...guys? *sticks head in hands; takes a deep breath; embraces the deafening silence and powers forward* Anyhoo, Rivers averaged 365.6 yards and 2 touchdowns per game in the three games prior to last week's debacle. This week he faces a Jets defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to QB's over the last month and the fifth-most all season.

Case Keenum (at GB) – I've got a bad Case of the Keenums! Yikes. That was terrible. Thank goodness you all bailed on me and no one read it. Which does beg the question of why I'm still talking to “you” in the first place, but I got nothing there so let's just go with me being a weirdo. Speaking of weird, how weird is it that Case (manager) Keenum is actually good? Not going to lie, it's pretty freaking weird to me. But he is. Good, I mean. And Green Bay is bad. Really, really bad. They've allowed the more fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last month than any team in the league...by a lot. Point being, we can now consider the start Keenum case...closed. Nailed it.

Blake Bortles (@ SF) – What has the world come to? I'm telling you to start Blake Bortles two weeks in a row (kinda). WTF is that? It's 2017, that's what. It's the year of weird. Bortles has been a top 12 fantasy QB for a month straight and faces a Niners defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to QB's this season. So as gross as it is, Bortles is a legitimate start this week.

SIT

Ben Roethlisberger (@ HOU) – The legend of “Home Ben” has been well documented in this space. In fact, all the way back in Week 2 I chronicled the tale of Ben's home glory and nothing has changed in the 14 weeks since. “Home Ben” is the hero we all want and don't deserve. However, for every hero there has to be a villain, and “Road Ben” is the villain of this epic tale. This week, “Road Ben” takes center stage by destroying what seemingly should be a good opportunity against a bad Texans pass defense. “Road Ben” even went so far as to (partially) tear Antonio Brown's calf to ensure his evil victory this week (unconfirmed). And his victory, is our defeat. Unless you sit Ben, of course.

Dak Prescott (vs. SEA) – Dak is back...to playing second fiddle. Because Zeke is actually back and the Cowboys offense will run through him, again. As it should. As it has whenever Zeke has not been serving a suspension for being a POS. Also, Dak is coming off an atrocious performance against a bad Raiders defense and faces a Seattle pass defense that has held up surprisingly well despite the injuries.

Alex Smith (vs. MIA) – Smith was better than expected last week, after being crappier than expected the week before, and way better than expected the week before that, and dogshit the month before that. All of which is to say, you can't count on him. Ever. Also, Miami has been sneakily mediocre against the pass, particularly of late. Yet Smith is the consensus #8 QB heading into the weekend. As Alex Smith himself would say, “that's cray, yo.”

Kirk Cousins (vs. DEN) – “You like that!” is something Kurt Coupons has not said this season. You know why? Because he hasn't liked “that,” or anything for that matter. He's playing on a mediocre team, behind an offensive line that may be worse than some rec league lines, with the prospect of a new non-Daniel Snyder owned team and millions (and millions and millions and millions and...you get the idea) of dollars only two games away. You think Coupons wants to eff with a suddenly not-terrible-again Broncos D? Yeah, me neither.

RUNNING BACK

START

Devonta Freeman (@ NO) – Devonta is Deshit. Nope. Obviously you're starting Freeman in your fantasy championships if you own him, so this is more of a DFS recommendation for y'all (y'all?). Since DFS pricing usually comes out on Monday, before Devonta ran all over the Bucs, his price is way lower than it should be. As a result, he's my favorite DFS play of the week. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, Devonta is DeDFSplay. Swing and a miss, again.

Dion Lewis (vs. BUF) – Remember the good old days of never trusting a Patriots running back? Man, those were good (terrible) times. But those days are gone. They're so gone in fact, that we've been able to trust two Pats running backs on a weekly basis. However, one of those running backs got hurt (see ya, Rex) and now the little guy stands alone. Lewis has received double-digit touches nine weeks in a row as it is, and could see a season-high against the league's worst run defense on Sunday. Boom.

Jordan Howard (vs. CLE) – Look, I get it. Howard has sucked three out of the last four weeks. But to have him as the consensus #14 RB at home against the Browns is...is...outrageous. It's absurd. It's a joke. Don't fall prey to this grievous injustice (too much?). Start Howard against a Browns run defense that has been up and down over the last two months of the season.

Christian McCaffrey (vs. TB) – Yet again I have a bone to pick with “the consensus” who've deemed McCaffrey the #15 RB this week. However, they've done so in spite of a Panthers offense that seems to be clicking, with McCaffrey right at the heart of it. He's coming off an 18-touch, 136-yard, 1-touchdown performance and faces a Bucs defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs over the last month (fifth-most this season). Suck on that, consensus.

Jerick McKinnon (@ GB) – The Packers are really bad at defending running backs in the passing game. How bad, you ask? Funny you should ask, they're the worst in the league at it...handily. You know who's a running back who's good in the passing game? Yeah, you know. McKinnon had 7 catches for 114 yards last week and could do even better this week. Even. Better.

SIT

Ezekiel Elliott (vs. SEA) – Ok. I know this kind of contradicts what I said about Dak. Luckily, no one read that. Either way, it's not that I think Zeke will have a bad week, because I don't. I think he'll be solid based on volume alone. But he's the consensus ranked #3 RB this week. That's too high for a guy who may have been sitting on a beach the last six weeks for all we know. Either way, this is a case where you're starting him in seasonal leagues (if you survived without him), but I'd shy away in DFS formats, personally.

Leonard Fournette (@ SF) – This is another DFS-related sit. Fournette is expected back after missing last week's game with a quad strain, so you probably don't have better options in your fantasy championships, but I'd be nervous about trusting him past that. After sucking against RB's most of the season, the Niners have turned it around lately, big time. In fact, they've allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs over the last month and should be able to limit Fournette enough to force Bortles to have to beat them.

Carlos Hyde (vs. JAX) – Same game alert! The Jags have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to RB's over the last month and Hyde has disappointed in two of the three games Jimmy G has started. Make it three of four after the Jags are done with him aka Hyde yo kids, Hyde yo wife, but most importantly, Hyde yo Carlos Hyde.

Marshawn Lynch (@ PHI) – Speaking of disappointments, man the Eagles defense sucked ass last week. Having said that, they still stopped the run. They always stop the run. Ipso facto, Marshawn Lynch's runs will be stopped. Done and done.

Jamaal Williams (vs. MIN) – Minnesota. Vikings. Defense.

WIDE RECEIVER

START

Adam Thielen (@ GB) – I've been banging on the consensus a lot today, because it's the right thing to do, but I think it's time to give them their due. I'm a fair man. I don't hold grudges. I've long been calling Thielen a top 5 WR and getting rebuffed by the consensus. Well, I'm happy to report that Thielen is the consensus ranked #4 WR this week, marking the second week in a row I haven't had to yell about his ranking. For what it's worth, you can make a strong argument he should be the #1 ranked wide receiver this week, but let's not go down that rabbit hole. Thielen is awesome and should be started in all formats from now until the end of eternity. Or the season. Whichever comes first.

Michael Crabtree (@ PHI) – Alright, let's tighten this ish up – my whole not being long-winded thing isn't working out so hot. Let's not make me a liar. Or let's not let me make myself look like a liar. My head hurts. Focus. The Eagles just got roasted by Eli Manning and four guys you've never heard of, while Crabtree was just scored a pair of touchdowns and received an eye-popping 17 targets (30 over last two weeks). #Brevity.

Mike Evans (@ CAR) – Don't get me wrong, I still hate Mike Evans. He's still the opposite of my spirit animal. But in classic a-hole fashion he's waited until I'm eliminated from the playoff to decide to stop sucking. Last week he converted 8 targets into 5 catches, 79 yards, and a tuddy. This week he faces a Panthers defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers over the last month. So, ugh, start Mike Evans.

Jarvis Landry (@ MIA) – Back to hating on the consensus – they rank Landry as the #18 WR this week despite a matchup with a Chiefs defense that has allowed the third-most points to wide receivers this season. Landry got 13 targets last week and is averaging over 10 targets per game. In other words, ranking Landry at #18 is preposterous simply based on volume alone. Yes, preposterous.

Kendall Wright (vs. CLE) – Looking for a home run play? Well guess what, I've found the Wright guy for you! See what I did there? All hilarity aside, Wright has been quietly productive the last two weeks (17 catches, 188 yards) and has led the team with 24 targets in that span. Most importantly, he's facing the Browns.

SIT

A.J. Green (vs. DET) – Look, this is another one of those “you're not sitting him in your fantasy championship but stay away from him in DFS formats” kind of guy. The reason he's not a “start across the board” kind of guy is a young man named Darius Slay. The Lions, led by Slay, have been the league's 3rd best team at shutting down opposing #1 WR's (according to Football Outsiders). So when it comes to A.J. Green, don't get slay'd, stay away.

Marvin Jones (@ CIN) – Man I'm killing it with the word play today #RhymeGame. Marvin Jones has been killing it too. Well, maybe not killing it, but he's been good for the most part. Having said that, Jones is another victim of the consensus being dumbasses. He's over-ranked as the #12 WR, despite facing a Bengals pass defense that is, at the very least, solid. For reference sake, Crabtree, Evans, and Landry are all ranked below Jones, but I'd start any of the three over him.

Robby Anderson (vs. LAC) – This actually has way less to do with Bryce Petty than it should. Don't get me wrong, Petty hurts Robby, but less than he hurts other receivers because they have chemistry, and history together from the scout team before Robby busted out and all that jazz. This is more about the Casey Heyward and the Chargers being terrific at shutting down opposing receivers. But also Bryce Petty.

Jamison Crowder (vs. DEN) – What I said about Coupons applies to Crowder too. Plus, Chris Harris Jr. is one of the league's best slot cornerbacks. That's enough for me.

T.Y. Hilton (vs. BAL) – This is more of an honorary sit than anything. No one in their right mind would start Hilton after his horrendous, embarrassing, disaster of a season. But I just wanted to take one more opportunity to call T.Y. a sit, just for old times sake.

TIGHT END

START

Kyle Rudolph (@ GB) – Rudolph has five touchdowns over the last four weeks and faces a Packers defense that has yielded more tuddies to tight ends over the last month than any other team in the league. #OnlyNeededOneSentence

Jack Doyle (@ BAL) – Jack Doyle Rules! Sorry, had to. Doyle is Indy's most targeted receiver this season and faces a Ravens defense that has struggled to control tight end production. So I guess in this case, Jack Doyle does indeed rule.

SIT

Eric Ebron (@ CIN) – So let me get this straight, Ebron has sucked basically forever – then he has 10 catches one week, a touchdown the next, and all of a sudden he's a star? Is that what's happening here? Cause that's the way it seems. Well count me as one of the few not hopping on the Ebron bandwagon. For what it's worth, outside of Ebron's 10-catch, 94-yard performance two weeks ago, he's averaging 3.6 catches and 29.8 yards per game over his other 13 outings. Just sayin.

Jason Witten (vs. Seattle) – No team has allowed less fantasy to points to tight ends over the last month than Seattle. Also, Dallas sucks.

DEFENSE

START

Minnesota Vikings (@ GB) – The Vikings are the #7 ranked defense according to the consensus. Like, seriously? Against Brett Hundley? You're telling me that one of the league's two best defenses is ranked #7 despite facing BRETT FREAKING HUNDLEY?!? I can't even.

SIT

Philadelphia Eagles (vs. OAK) – This is 100% an attempt to motivate the Eagles' defense. Show me something, fellas. That is all.

KICKER

START

Some guy who's playing in a dome or who's on a team with a good offense.

SIT

Any guy who doesn't qualify the above set standard for “Start.”

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