Welcome to week 16 of the NFL season and championship week for many fantasy football leagues.
Week 15 was another crazy week both for the NFL and for fantasy teams. Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers and fantasy owners of Ben Roethlisberger and Jesse James were stung by the correct interpretation of a bad rule. It was also another bad week for injury as Antonio Brown, Marqise Lee, Rex Burkhead, and Davante Adams all left with an injury and all are expected to miss this week. These all add up to problems for many fantasy leagues as those players are on a lot of championship rosters.
With no Thursday Night Football this week, we will be focusing on the two games slated for Saturday. We will analyze the Saturday matchups and look at who to start and who to sit for these games.
Fantasy Focus Week 16: NFL Saturday Football Championship Edition
Indianapolis Colts (3-11) vs. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
Fun fact of the day, this is the first season since 1997 that the Indianapolis Colts do not have a player selected to the Pro Bowl.
Frank Gore – Running back
Frank Gore remains a solid contributor for fantasy teams. While he doesn’t have high ceiling potential, he offers a very safe floor. He’s averaging 52 rushing yards-per-game and another 14 yards receiving; numbers which keep him start-able in both standard and PPR formats.
Gore is facing a Ravens defense that’s allowing the 13th most fantasy points to the running back position. Gore should remain in the RB3/Flex consideration for this game. However, with the Colts having nothing to play for, they may reduce Gore’s workload and grant more touches to rookie Marlon Mack.
T.Y. Hilton – Wide Receiver
T.Y. Hilton enters week 16 with 852 receiving yards. At first, that seems like a decent season, though it’s a lower yardage total that owners are used to seeing from him. However, 505 yards of that total came in just three games. Outside of those three games, Hilton has only had 50 or more yards twice.
Hilton remains the Colts top big-play threat, but it’s difficult to rely on that for fantasy teams in playoff games. Hilton remains a WR3/Flex play for standard and PPR formats.
Jack Doyle – Tight End
Jack Doyle has been one of the more consistent targets in the Colts passing game. He enters this matchup with 611 yards and three touchdowns on the season. Baltimore gives up the 11th most fantasy points to the tight end position. Doyle is a fringe TE1 play for this week.
Joe Flacco – Quarterback
Joe Flacco has had the most productive three-game stretch of 2017 recently. In those games, he’s thrown for a total of 826 yards with five passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and only one interception. With the Ravens still looking for a way into the playoffs, expect Flacco to be ready and willing to throw against a Colts defense that’s allowing the 10th most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Flacco is a streaming option and a solid start in two-quarterback leagues.
Alex Collins – Running Back
Raven’s sophomore running back Alex Collins has been a fairly dependable RB2 for much of the fantasy season. Heading into week 16, he was third among qualified running backs with 5.1 rushing yards-per-carry. Collins disappointed owners last week against a surprisingly decent Cleveland Browns run defense. Expect bigger things against a Colts defense that allowed 197 rushing yards last week and 156 the week before.
Collins should be in fringe RB1 territory this week and should be started in both formats. He is also a decent DFS option this week.
Danny Woodhead – Running Back
Danny Woodhead saw a season-high in targets last week with seven and receptions with six. He turned them into thirty-one yards. Woodhead has yet to find the end-zone on this injury-shortened season. Going against a soft defense, this could be one of those games where Woodhead has a fine game and reminds owners why they should still roster the diminutive scat back.
Woodhead is a low floor, low ceiling flex play for PPR formats and a riskier in standard scoring formats.
Mike Wallace – Wide Receiver
Mike Wallace has averaged just over 76 yards receiving per contest over the last five weeks.
The Colts are allowing the seventh most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Wallace is a WR3 with upside in all formats this week.
Marlon Mack hasn’t had enough volume to start him for fantasy championship contests. While the rookie rusher has some big-play potential, the volume has not been consistent enough to warrant him being on rosters.
Javorius Allen had a better game last week than starter, Alex Collins. However, the bulk of that production occurred in the fourth quarter with the game all but tucked in for the week. His targets have dropped significantly since the return of Woodhead. While this game could get out of hand quickly, Allen is safer left on benches.
Jacoby Brissett hasn’t thrown for more than 200 yards in the last four games. The Ravens, though missing Jimmy Smith, are still delivering a solid pass defense. Brissett isn’t a safe start in either format, even in two-quarterback leagues.
Minnesota Vikings (11-3) at Green Bay Packers (7-7)
Case Keenum – Quarterback
Case Keenum has delivered as a fantasy quarterback this season. He has transformed from streaming-option to every-week-starter and has remained in the QB1 conversation almost regardless of matchup. In six of the last seven games, he has multiple touchdowns, over 225 passing yards, and 15 touchdowns. Keenum is an all-systems-go QB1 this week in a plus matchup.
Latavius Murray – Running Back
Latavius Murray has reprised his role as a 1-2 down back and the preferred goal-line option. Since Dalvin Cook‘s season ended with an injury, Murray has over 600 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Green Bay allows the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs. Murray will be a RB2 for a good matchup.
Jerick McKinnon – Running Back
Jerick McKinnon enters this week as a safe-floor RB3 with upside in a positive matchup.
Adam Thielen – Wide Receiver
Adam Thielen enters week 16 as the ECR receiver 4. Improving on last season’s solid production, Thielen has delivered in almost every game this season. He only has two games this season with less than five receptions. Fire him up as a must-start WR1 this week.
Stefon Diggs – Wide Receiver
Stefon Diggs enters week 16 with 724 yards receiving and six touchdowns. The Green Bay Packers secondary is giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to the wide receiver position. Diggs is a WR3 with upside this week.
Kyle Rudolph – Tight End
Kyle Rudolph had a roller coaster of a designation last week. He went from being declared out on several platforms, then upgraded to doubtful, upgraded again to questionable and finally was listed as active for last week’s game. He only played 20 snaps, but still managed to score his eighth touchdown of the season. Rudolph is still on the injury report and should be monitored throughout the week. If he suits up, he remains in the TE1 conversation, even against a Packers defense that’s tough against tight ends.
Jamaal Williams – Running Back
Jamaal Williams should see more touches this week than last. However, it’s not an easy matchup and Aaron Jones may eat into his snap count to some degree. Expect an uptick in check downs from Brett Hundley as well that may bolster his fantasy outlook. Williams will be an RB3 for this week.
Brett Hundley should be sat for the fantasy super bowl. Despite offering a safer floor due to his legs, his inconsistent play mixed with an elite Vikings defense is a recipe for fantasy disaster.
Jordy Nelson has failed to impress from the moment Aaron Rodgers went out with an injury. Even with Rodgers back under-center last week, Nelson was almost a non-factor. With Xavier Rhodes most likely covering him, and Hundley throwing the passes, Nelson is not a recommended play.