It’s Week 16 and the fantasy football championships are here. If you’re one of the lucky managers who have one of this year’s powerhouse players, (or more); Christian McCaffrey, Lamar Jackson, or Michael Thomas, you have to be feeling good entering Championship Week. If you’re facing a team that sports any or all of the three, well, know that funny things can happen sometimes in the fantasy playoffs.
McCaffrey enters Week 16 the highest-scoring player in PPR formats (416.1) by 30.2 points, and the highest-scoring running back by 123.7 points. He has recorded 62.0 PPR fantasy points in Weeks 14-15 combined, most among running backs and third-most among all skill position players.
Lamar Jackson is on pace to set a new single-season record for fantasy points by a quarterback, his 385.9 points only 31.2 shy of Patrick Mahomes’ record set in 2018. Jackson owns a 74.0-point advantage over the next-closest quarterback on this season’s leaderboard, and he scored 56.9 points in Weeks 14-15 combined, third best among quarterbacks and sixth best among all players.
Michael Thomas, who posted 30.8 PPR fantasy points, in week 15 is the top-scoring wide receiver (335.3 PPR fantasy points) with a margin of 59.2 points ahead of the next highest WR. His 61.2 PPR fantasy points in Weeks 14-15 combined led all wide receivers, and he was one of only four players to score at least 25 points in both weeks the others you ask; Drew Brees, A.J. Brown, and Jameis Winston.
Now this is not to say that everyone with these three on their rosters advanced to the finals, and that if you don’t own one of them you didn’t. The intend of this intro is to tell you to always start your studs, especially in Championship week. Do not get cute!
You can not afford to mess up your Week 16 lineup, and I can’t screw up on my Week 16 fantasy lineup advice. I have been bringing you two starts, two sits, a sleeper and a bust weekly. This week is why we all play fantasy and as a result I am upping my game and bringing you a trio of starts and sits! So, let’s nail this thing and win your Ship(s), and have a Merry Christmas.
1. Start of the Week
Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals RB15 185.50 PPR Fantasy Points
Mixon has been on a tear over the last two weeks, totaling 282 rushing yards. He’s now scored 17.10+ fantasy points in six of his last seven games. Last week he ran all over a Patriots defense that surrenders a league best 15.90 points to the opposing running backs. This week Mixon faces a Miami defense that surrenders the third-most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season, and is fresh off of giving up 30+ points to Saquon Barkley a week ago. I have been advising fantasy managers to sit Mixon for the past three weeks. In those three weeks he has posted 17.00, 27.60, and 18.60 PPR fantasy points. The Dolphins have allowed an average of 125 total yards to starting RBs over their last four games. Joe Mixon is a must start in Championship Week.
Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB4 303.82 Fantasy Points
Jameis Winston is down his two top receivers, but he has been throwing often and at a high level with his red-hot fantasy playoffs so far. There’s no way you can go away from him now in a third straight terrific matchup. Over the last two weeks Winston has lost not one, but both of his top receivers. Yet over that same span, he ranks as the highest-scoring fantasy player at his position with an absurd 35.7 points per game. He’s now averaged 25.49 points over seven of his last eight contests. Houston has allowed an average of 25.12 fantasy points to opposing QBs over the last three weeks, along with the third-most passing yards in football over that time.
Ryan Tannehill – Tennessee Titans QB23 188.58 Fantasy Points
Ryan Tannehill ladies and gentlemen is legit. Tannehill has been getting it done with his arm and his legs. He has been a consistent multiple-TD machine since taking over for Marcus Mariota back in week 7. Since getting the keys to the Titan offense, Tannehill is fantasy’s 4th highest scoring QB averaging 22.93 points per game and has back to back performances with at least 25.16 points. Don’t let New Orleans’ performance against a beat-up, Colts team this past Monday night fool or scare you here. Prior to that game, opposing QBs had scored an average of 22.4 fantasy points over the last four games against the Saints.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Miami Dolphins QB21 197.50 Fantasy Points
Fitzmagic has seemingly re-emerged, as the Miami gunslinger is QB6 in fantasy over the last four weeks of play with an average of 22.15 fantasy points per game. Fitzpatrick has scored fewer than 20.46 points just once over that span. The Bengals are, well, the Bengals. They allow the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season, including surrendering eight games of 19.32+ points to the position.
Tom Brady – New England Patriots QB13 238.60 Fantasy Points
Tom Brady is facing a tough Buffalo Bills pass defense at home, with limited assets. Julian Edelman is banged up as is Mohammed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett. His additional wideouts are both rookies, and unproven. See where I am going here. Since returning from his Week 10 bye, Brady has scored more than 12.92 points just once. That type of production makes him the QB21 in fantasy over that span. Brady has also thrown for 190 passing yards or fewer in three of his last four games. Buffalo surrenders the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs this season, including an average of just 143 passing yards in three of their last four games. Sitting the G.O.A.T is easy here.
Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns QB17 212.04 Fantasy Points
The Browns won the first meeting, back in Week 4, but the Ravens’ pass defense has improved dramatically since then. Mayfield has failed to throw for 200 passing yards in three of his last five games, and has topped the 20 fantasy point plateau only three times this season. Last week in a fantastic matchup, Baker put up 17.98 fantasy points on an Arizona defense that averages a league worst 24.60 points to the quarterback position this season. In addition Mayfield has failed to throw for 200 passing yards in three of his last five games. Four of the last six quarterbacks to play the Ravens have failed to even accumulate 170 passing yards. Since acquiring Marcus Peters, Baltimore has surrendered a meager average of just 10.95 fantasy points to the quarterback position.
Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills QB6 276.74 Fantasy Points
Allen and the Bills are facing a tough Patriots pass defense on the road. He has been extremely consistent this season, scoring 17+ fantasy points in all but two games. However, one of those two games happened to be against the Patriots where the second-year pro tossed three interceptions and put up just 11.72 points on the day. Allen has also failed to eclipse 185 passing yards in three of his last five games. The Pats allow an average of just 154.8 passing yards and 11.46 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs this season.
Drew Lock, Broncos – QB40 46.34 Fantasy Points
Drew Lock is not afraid to throw downfield and has pretty good weapons that can get open deep. This week, his Broncos face a Lions defense back home that gave up big play after big play last week. Do I recommend starting Drew Lock in your championship game? I wouldn’t if you could avoid it, but if you are stuck you could do a lot worse. Lock’s underwhelming performance a week ago can in some ways be written off due to the weather conditions. Detroit has made nearly every opposing quarterback they’ve faced this season look like a viable starter. Eight of the last 10 opponents at the QB position to face off with the Lions have scored at least 19.32 fantasy points.
Sam Darnold- New York Jets QB26 181.78
Since Pittsburgh’s Week 7 bye, only one QB has eclipsed 196 passing yards against them. The Steelers have surrendered an average of just 9.55 fantasy points to the position over four of their last six games. This is not the week to fire up Sam Darnold.
3. Running back
Saquon Barkley – New York Giants RB18 179.50 PPR Fantasy Points
It’s nice to see Barkley owners rewarded for their patience last week. After a string of disappointing showings from Barkley, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year racked up 143 total yards, two touchdowns, and 30.3 fantasy points last week. Week 15 also marked his first 100+ yard rushing performance since way back in Week 2. Washington has allowed the past two starting running backs they’ve faced off with to both eclipse 120+ rushing yards and find the end zone. Championship week expect Barkley to build off of what he accomplished last week.
Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks RB9 185.50 PPR Fantasy Points
Week 15 Start of the Week, Chris Carson had a monster stat line in the win over Carolina, and he needs to be in your lineup again when the Seahawks host the Cardinals this week. Their defense has allowed the sixth-most scrimmage yards, 12 total touchdowns and an average of nearly 26 fantasy points per game to enemy running backs, so Carson is a virtual must start, and nearly went back to back as my Start of the Week.
Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts RB24 143.50 PPR Fantasy Points
It was a horrendous showing for Mack and his Colts this past Monday night vs. the Saints. Don’t lose give up on him this week, however. Panthers QB Will Grier is no Drew Brees, chances are Indianapolis will get to dictate the game flow, which means a heavy workload for Mack. Carolina also happens to allow the most fantasy points to the RB position this season. The Panthers have allowed three 99+ yard rushers over their last three games. Forget what you saw against the Buccaneers and Saints. He’s finally facing a sieve of an NFC South run defense — at home, to boot, fire him up!
Sony Michel – New England Patriots RB37 128.10 PPR Fantasy Points
After averaging just 7.5 carries in the two weeks prior, Michel was fed the ball 19 times in Week 15. He produced his typical numbers with that type of volume, 80 some odd yards, zero touchdowns, and little to no involvement in the passing game. Since Week 10, Buffalo has allowed an opposing RB to rush for more than 57 yards just once, and none to score a TD on the ground since Week 11. Michel is a low ceiling-low floor play on Saturday, as he’s been for the majority of the season.
Carlos Hyde – Houston Texans RB28 141.20 PPR Fantasy Points
Hyde is coming off a one touchdown, 104-yard rushing performance a week ago. Tampa Bay allows just 73-rushing yards per game this season, the fewest in the NFL. In fact, over the last three games, that average has dropped to 53.3 ypg. Hyde has scored rushing TDs in back-to-back weeks just once this season, while never rushing for more than 65-yards following his previous 100-yard performances this year. He has had those sporadic big games all season, but the Bucs have been tough on the run all season.
David Montgomery – Chicago Bears RB22 146.20 PPR Fantasy Points
Montgomery’s matchup this week looks great on paper, but the rookie has failed to exploit good matchups often. In fact, he’s scored fewer than seven fantasy points in all but one of his last six games. Usage in the offense is unpredictable, as Matt Nagy cannot for the life of him commit to the running game.
Phillip Lindsay –Denver Broncos RB19 172.60 PPR Fantasy Points
Lindsay was a major disappointment a week ago, touching the ball a meager seven times. However, the Broncos could not get much of anything going in the snow vs. the Chiefs. This week Lindsay will be in a dome in Detroit vs. the fifth-worst unit in fantasy in terms of defending the running position.
Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers RB4 270.50 PPR Fantasy Points
If you’re an Aaron Jones, you’ve enjoyed the highest of highs, yet also endured a handful of dud performances as well. Speaking of dud performances, Minnesota allows the ninth-fewest points to opposing running backs this season. They also held the duo of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler to just 47 combined rushing yards a week ago. Jones’ day could be saved by the fact that the Vikings have surrendered 33+ receiving yards to a running back three times over their last three games, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable relying on that possibility in Championship Week if I could avoid it.
4. Wide Receiver
Breshad Perriman- Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR65 96.50 PPR Fantasy Points
Fresh off of his 113-yard, three-touchdown performance, Perriman is likely the universal waiver-wire must add of the week. The one-time draft bust has now scored four touchdowns over the past two games. His previous high in a season was 3 back in 2016, his rookie season in Baltimore. With Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both likely out for Week 16, Perriman will see his usage continue to rise. It had already shot up from playing just 53.4% of the team’s offensive snaps over the team’s first 12 games, to 86% over the last two. Over the last three weeks, Houston has surrendered the third-most passing yards in football. Perriman is their new No. 1 and after three TDs, you should buy in for Championship Week.
Tyler Boyd – Cincinnati Bengals WR24 178.20 PPR Fantasy Points
Boyd is in a good spot to help his fantasy managers in Championship Week. His matchup in South Beach should be an early Christmas gift. The Dolphins have been among the worst teams in the league against the slot when it comes to touchdowns, allowing a league-high 13 on the season. With A.J. Green and Auden Tate out, Boyd should plenty of opportunities.
Will Fuller – Houston Texans WR47 130.93 PPR Fantasy Points
The Bucs’ secondary is awful, and he has a chance to explode for Watson. This week should be more boom than bust for the speedster from Houston. No defense gives up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’ve also allowed a 100+ yard receiver in back-to-back weeks.
John Brown – Buffalo Bills WR15 207.22 PPR Fantasy Points
Brown gave you a very respectable stat line based on last week’s tough matchup in Pittsburgh, but can you trust him in New England and a matchup against CB Stephon Gilmore? Perimeter receivers have scored two touchdowns and averaged the fewest fantasy points against New England, so starting Brown is a very risky proposition.
Odell Beckham –Cleveland Browns WR27 169.80 PPR Fantasy Points
If you made it to the final week with Beckham Jr. on your roster, well, kudos to you. But my bet is that you made it despite OBJ and his inconsistent performances. It has come to this with Benham, who has put up fewer than six fantasy points in two of his last three games. On the season Beckham has averaged 12.13 PPR points a game. The Browns opponent this week the Baltimore Ravens have been a top defense since acquired Marcus Peters this season. Back in Week 4, prior to Peters arrival, the Ravens, held OBJ to a season low four points.
Brandin Cooks – Los Angeles Rams WR64 96.60 PPR Fantasy Points
Cooks had eight targets in last week’s loss to the Cowboys, and his 46 yards were the most he’s had since Week 7. Prior to that the last time we saw him was on the side of a milk carton. In all seriousness Cooks who has battled injuries this season has been mostly invisible. He hasn’t scored double digit fantasy points since week 4. He is in an offense that is struggling to support two WR’s let alone three, and his quarterback, Jared Goff, has struggled and is now dealing with an injured thumb on his throwing hand. Easy sit here.
Mike Williams – Los Angeles Chargers WR39 147.40 PPR Fantasy Points
Williams has been on quite a hot streak, scoring 14-plus fantasy points in three straight weeks. I’d continue to flex him this week, as he’ll face a Raiders defense that’s allowed 13 touchdowns catches and the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing perimeter receivers. Their defense has also allowed the second-highest yards-per-catch rate in 2019. Williams finally got into the end zone last week for the first time all season. Last season he had 10 receiving touchdowns. Williams can get on a hot streak and I am betting on that this week.
Robby Anderson – New York Jets WR40 146.30 PPR Fantasy Points
Anderson has averaged 18.35 fantasy points over his last four games, this coming on the heels of scoring fewer than nine points in each of his five games prior. I’d expect to see much more of the early-season Robby Anderson vs. the Steelers this week. Pittsburgh allows the 10th-fewest fantasy points to receivers this season and just one receiving touchdown to this position since Week 11.
5. Tight End
Tyler Higbee – Los Angeles Rams TE10 118.60 PPR Fantasy Points
Higbee has become a virtual must start across the fantasy football landscape. He has 33 targets over the last three weeks. With Jared Goff struggling in the vertical pass attack, Higbee has become his top option. That trend should continue against the Niners this week. How hot has Higbee been? Prior to Week 13, Higbee was TE35 averaging 5.32 PPR fantasy points per game. In weeks 13-15 he is TE1 averaging 21.8 PPR fantasy points. Don’t look at the numbers of the tight end defense he’s facing. The Niners are not the same with the possibly Jaquiski Tartt missing another game, in addition to Richard Sherman and Dee Ford.
Jacob Hollister – Seattle Seahawks TE30 76.00 PPR Fantasy Points
Hollister has struggled the past couple of weeks, but there is no better slump buster in the league for a TE than the Arizona Cardinals. He’s in position to put up a great stat line in fantasy championship week. No team in the NFL has allowed more yards, touchdowns or fantasy points to tight ends; including Ricky Seals-Jones’ 15.9-point out-of-nowhere effort just one week ago. Back in Week 4 Will Dissly did the damage against the Cardinals with 7 catches on 8 targets for 57 yards and a TD. Now Hollister’s his turn in an offense that is down a passing option in Josh Gordon.
Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers TE9 125.50 PPR Fantasy Points
Henry flat out busted last week’s loss to the Vikings, but I’d keep the faith and ride him in a positive matchup against the Raiders. The last time the Chargers faced their AFC West rival, Henry scored a touchdown and 13 fantasy points. In all, their defense has allowed the sixth-most points to enemy tight ends.
Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings TE12 110.10 PPR Fantasy Points
Rudolph has a good match-up on paper, but it’s tough to trust him with Adam Thielen back in the starting lineup. In games where the veteran wide receiver has been active, Rudolph has averaged right around six fantasy points. Not good. What’s more, Rudolph has failed to score a touchdown in each of his last six games against the Packers.
Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys TE8 130.10 PPR Fantasy Points
Witten is coming off a solid performance in a blowout win over the Rams, but I wouldn’t advise chasing the points against the Eagles. Their defense has been tough on tight ends, allowing just four touchdowns and the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the position. Witten was held to just 33 yards against them in their matchup back in Week 7.
Jimmy Graham – Green Bay Packers TE21 89.20 PPR Fantasy Points
Another week, and another week you need to sit Jimmy Graham. He’s failed to put up more than 7.9 fantasy points in a game since Week 7, and that includes three performances with fewer than three points in his last four games. The Vikings have also allowed just one touchdown and 1.85 fantasy points a touch to tight ends, so Graham is a rather easy sit here.
Noah Fant – Denver Broncos TE15 106.60 PPR Fantasy Points
Fant is feeling it downfield with fellow rookie Lock, and they make for a nice alternative tournament stack. The Lions can’t cover anything in the deep middle, either.
Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts TE16 106.50 PPR Fantasy Points
Doyle’s Week 16 opponent, the Carolina Panthers cover the TE position well even though they struggle against running backs and wide receivers. I guess there is no real reason to target the TE when your running backs and wide receivers are shredding the defense.
Jason Sanders – Miami Dolphins K16 98.1 Fantasy Points
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Since Week 12, Sanders leads all kickers with an average of 15.4 fantasy points per game. That type of production is better than fantasy studs such as Nick Chubb and Leonard Fournette. Cincinnati has allowed an average of 10.25 fantasy points to opposing kickers over their last four games, including three games of 11+ points.
Kai Forbath – Dallas Cowboys K39 22.0 Fantasy Points
Forbath racked up 18 fantasy points in his Dallas debut a week ago. While the chances of him going for nearly 20 points in back-to-back weeks are unlikely, the likelihood of him being a viable fantasy option is high. Philly has allowed nine-plus fantasy points to the kicker position in three of their last five games, and an average of 10.2 fantasy points over their last three games.
Chase McLaughlin – Indianapolis Colts K27 73.0 Fantasy Points
McLaughlin had no chance to succeed this past Monday due to Indianapolis’s inept ability to move the ball on offense. However, they should do a better job of that against Carolina and the league’s seventh-worst ranked defense. Plus, going against a rookie QB making his first start could mean getting the ball on a short field on multiple occasions. The Panthers have also surrendered 11+ fantasy points to opposing kickers in four of their last five games.
Sam Ficken – New York Jets K28 72.0 Fantasy Points
Ficken had a nice little run from Week 9 through Week 14, scoring the fifth-most points by a player at his position over that span. However, all of that went to the wayside when he compiled a grand total of one fantasy point in Week 15. This week may not be much better, as Pittsburgh has held all but one kicker to seven fantasy points or fewer since Week 1.
Nick Folk – New England K33 42.0 Fantasy Points
Folk put up 12 fantasy points a week ago. Yet, he had not scored in double-digits in any game prior this season. The Bills allow the fewest fantasy points to kickers in football this season, with an average of just four points per game. In fact, no kicker has reached double-digit fantasy points against Buffalo in 2019.
Greg Zuerlein – Los Angeles Rams K10 112.0 Fantasy Points
The one-time top player at the position has seen his fantasy star dwindle in recent weeks. Since Week 7, Zuerlein has scored more than seven fantasy points just once. He also happens to be carrying a questionable tag at the moment due to a strained quad. However, that shouldn’t matter for your fantasy team, as he’s likely best left out of your lineup for Week 16 anyway. San Francisco has surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points to kickers this season, allowing just five players to eclipse six fantasy points against them.
Pittsburgh had a bit of a hiccup last week, yet even in a bad performance by their standards, they put up a respectable six fantasy points. Even with that game on their resume, they’ve still scored 11+ points in 10 of their last 12 games. The Jets allow the second-most fantasy points to opposing D/STs this season with 11.08 points per game.
Baltimore Ravens DEF
Since acquiring Marcus Peters, the Ravens have averaged an outstanding 13.3 fantasy points, ranking as the highest-scoring defense in fantasy over that span. This week they’ll get a Cleveland Browns team who’s near entirety of skill players seemingly want out of town, a coach who doesn’t care about his future with the team, and an offense that allows the 10th-most fantasy points to defenses. Sign me up.
You have to commend the Falcons for the way they’ve played over recent weeks. Over their last two games, Atlanta has averaged 12.5 fantasy points, while averaging 15.25 points over four of their past six games. The Jags allow the ninth-most points to opposing D/STs, and have mustered up more than 13 offensive points just twice of their last six games.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints defense looked the part against a beat-up Indianapolis offense a week ago, however, they still scored just five fantasy points. They’ve now scored just five points or fewer in three of their last four games. Fittingly enough, since Ryan Tannehill has been inserted as the Titans starter, opposing defenses have averaged exactly five fantasy points against Tennessee.
Speaking of the Titans, their defense has impressed of late, averaging nearly 10 points per game over their last seven games, and 11.66 points over their last three. However, you’d be best served to steer clear from them in Week 16. Since Week 10, opposing defenses have combined to score a total of zero fantasy points against the Saints.
You may still think of defense when you hear the Bears, however, in terms of fantasy they don’t even warrant being owned at this point. Chicago’s D/ST has scored eight fantasy points or fewer in 10 consecutive games. The Chiefs have held all but two opposing defenses to seven fantasy points or fewer this season.