Fantasy Football Start or Sit - Week 16 2009

December 22, 2009

The Championship Fantasy week is here and it's going to be a crazy one. Two of the best receivers in the NFL are due for bad days, a back-up running back is a must start and the Colts swear they're going to keep their starters in the game. A lot of interesting NFL twists in Week 16, so let's get down to it.

Source: Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Friday, December 25

image San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans image

Start – The Chargers are going to rely heavily on Phillip Rivers, Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson to perform well against the Titans’ 31st ranked pass defense. LaDanian Tomlinson should also have a solid day, as he has once again become a receiving threat out of the backfield and red zone option. As always Chris Johnson is a must start, especially against the Chargers, who have been extremely vulnerable against the run lately.

Sit – Vince Young has looked great since reassuming his starting role but against a talented Chargers’ secondary that should be able to shut down Kenny Britt and Justin Gage, this isn’t the week to start him. The Titans game plan will be geared towards the run, meaning Young’s pass attempts should suffer. Darren Sproles continues to be an afterthought for the Chargers.

Sunday, December 27

image Buffalo Bills at Atlanta Falcons image

Start – Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White should see the bulk of Atlanta’s pass attempts and are valuable on a reception and yardage basis alone. Terrell Owens should have a nice day against the Falcons’ awful secondary and Fred Jackson will have an opportunity to perform well against the league’s 20th ranked rush defense.

Sit – Despite being given the green light to play this week, Michael Turner has not been healthy and/or effective in six games and is a tad on the risky side given the fact that his team is eliminated from playoff contention. The same thing can be said for Matt Ryan, who is still battling an injury and may get pulled if he starts feeling uncomfortable. Jason Snelling is too risky given Turner’s status. Marshawn Lynch and Lee Evans continue to underachieve and have shown nowhere near the consistency required to warrant a championship round start.

image Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals image

Start – Cedric Benson is primed for a banner day against the Chiefs’ 31st ranked rush defense, while Chad Ochocinco continues to be a consistent end zone and yardage threat for the Bengals. Jamaal Charles has been one of the hottest backs in the league of late and will get a chance to shine once again when the Chiefs passing game (playing the third ranked Bengals’ pass defense) will defer to the ground.

Sit – Matt Cassel is coming off of a big day against the Browns, but will face a much tougher match-up in Week 16. Expect him and his top targets Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers to be kept off the scoreboard by a motivated Bengals’ secondary. Laveranues Coles and Andre Caldwell have done nothing to prove their worth over the past three games and are must sits in this one.

image Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns image

Start – Jerome Harrison is hot right now and facing a weaker Raiders’ run defense. Both he and the elusive Josh Cribbs should find a way to put some points on the board via the ground. Michael Bush is in no way a sure thing, but against the Browns he is a nice option to start. He’s coming off of a big week and should see the bulk of the carries.

Sit – With Brady Quinn out of the line-up, Derek Anderson will have a turn to embarrass the Browns’ passing game. Don’t expect much here against a surprisingly talented Raiders’ pass defense that has one of the best shutdown corners in the league. Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden are still in the “running back by committee” trap and aren’t seeing enough touches to become fantasy relevant, while Zach Miller is still listed as questionable after suffering his second concussion of the season two weeks ago. Charlie Frye is a probable start despite mild injury concerns, but do you really want to put him in the fantasy line-up during the most important game of the year?

image Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers image

Start – Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and Jermichael Finley should all able to take advantage of the Seahawks 29th ranked pass defense that gives up big plays nearly every week. Ryan Grant has three touchdowns in his last two games and will have the chance to add to that total in this lopsided affair. T.J. Houshmandzadeh will become the team’s number one receiver due to a Burleson injury, a role he thrived in last week where he was thrown the ball nine times.

Sit – Despite their struggles against the pass last week, the Packers have one of the best defenses in the NFL and will be facing an ice cold Matt Hasselbeck (two touchdowns and five interceptions in his last two games). Jim Mora recently said that his top receiver, Nate Burleson, will likely sit this game out due to injury. Julius Jones had just 12 carries last week and dealing with a bruised lung, while Justin Forsett hasn’t had more than nine carries in the past three weeks. John Carlson had a breakout game last Sunday, but has been ignored so often in the second half of the season that it seems more like an aberration than indicator.

imageHouston Texans at Miami Dolphins image

Start – A must win game for the Dolphins means their top weapon, Ricky Williams, will be front and center. He’s been a touchdown machine in the second half of the season and will face a Texans’ defense that has given out 100 yard rushing games like they’re going out of style. Matt Schaub is coming off back to back 300 yard performances and will face a Dolphins defense that surrenders more points to opposing quarterbacks than nearly any other team in the NFL. Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter should shine as well thanks to favorable match-ups. 

Sit – Despite his recent fantasy success, Chad Henne will face a tough matchup this week against the Texans’ secondary. The give up just over 200 yards per game and have shut down some pretty talented quarterbacks of late. Brian Hartline, Greg Camarillo and Davone Bess won’t be able to do much in a game that will be won on the ground. Ryan Moats and Chris Brown simply don’t have the carries to warrant a start.

image Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots image

Start – Wes Welker, Tom Brady and Randy Moss will have the pleasure of facing the Jaguars 27th ranked pass defense at home, in a must win game. Maurice Jones-Drew may not have his best day of the year against a hungry Patriots team, but he’s been a consistent threat all year and is coming off of a 100 yard day. David Garrard had a three touchdown day last week and will look to Mike Sims-Walker often in the second half when the Jags are likely playing from behind.

Sit – With the passing game likely to be the Patriots focal point, it seems as though Laurence Maroney may be due for an off week. He hasn’t been putting up monster numbers and relies on touchdowns to make the fantasy quota. Marcedes Lewis will face a tough match-up with faster linebackers and an aggressive secondary that makes short passes extremely difficult.

image Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints image

Start – Sean Payton says he has no intention of resting his starters this week so look for Drew Brees, Marques Colston and Robert Meachem to excel. Pierre Thomas had 92 yards against the Bucs earlier this year and should see a lot of red zone opportunities in the dome. Kellen Winslow has been putting up nice numbers of late and will be the go-to target for his struggling quarterback.

Sit – Jeremy Shockey and Reggie Bush are still battling injuries, so expect minimal action in a meaningless game. Devery Henderson has just two touchdowns all season and has seen his yardage decrease significantly over the last month. David Thomas is a possibility to fill in for Shockey, but with the unpredictable nature of a game with no playoff implications, it’s a mystery how much action he, or Shockey will see. Antonio Bryant has not broken 35 yards or reached the end zone in either of his last two games.

image Carolina Panthers at New York Giants image

Start – Ahmad Bradshaw is coming off of a two touchdown Monday Night performance and will get to face the horrible Panthers’ run defense this week. Not only did he outshine his backfield partner in crime, but Bradshaw also received more goal line attention as well. Eli Manning has two straight 300 yard games and will look to Kevin Boss, Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith to keep their playoff hopes alive in this must win game. Carolina’s Steve Smith has two straight big weeks and will see some deep passes thrown his way during catch up time. Jonathan Stewart will be the feature back in this game and face a Giants’ defense that has given up 18 touchdowns on the ground this season.

Sit – Mario Manningham is likely to be the odd man out here, given the fewer looks he’s been receiving these days. Brandon Jacobs is struggling right now and has been replaced in goal line situations. DeAngelo Williams appears to be out of the game while Matt Moore certainly isn’t the best quarterback option out there this week.

image Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers image

Start – Ben Roethlisberger gets the nod here after throwing 500 yards last week while Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward (active) and Heath Miller are all ready for a final playoff push. Ray Rice ran all over the Steelers in Week 12, so expect him to have another big day. Derrick Mason has three touchdowns in his last four games and Todd Heap is finally healthy and productive again.

Sit- Rashard Mendenhall struggled the last time he played the Ravens and is battling a hip injury. Mike Wallace had two touchdown catches last week, but the Ravens are less susceptible to the big plays that make him valuable – so don’t expect any 40 yard touchdowns. Joe Flacco and Willis McGahee are always tempting options, but against a hungry Steelers team desperate for a win, it just seems like the wrong week to give them the nod.

image St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals image

Start – With playoff seeding still at stake, expect Kurt Warner, a healthy Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin to put up nice numbers against a weaker Rams secondary. Beanie Wells had 110 yards last week and will keep his fantasy streak going against the league’s 27th ranked rush defense. Steven Jackson will be St. Louis’ only answer, as the scrappy back will get to run against a Cardinals’ rush defense that has given up big yardage of late.

Sit – Steve Breaston’s production has continued to drop down while Tim Hightower is now becoming a situational back. Kyle Boller isn’t an option at quarterback and Donnie Avery hasn’t had 50 yards in a game since Week 11.

image Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers image

Start – Alex Smith and Vernon Davis will get to play against the NFL’s worst pass defense this week, making Michael Crabtree an intriguing sleeper pick. Frank Gore has two straight 100 yard games and is traditionally better at home, so give him a start. Maurice Morris will get the start for the Lions and have the opportunity for 25 carries. That alone makes him worth a nod.

Sit – Despite Josh Morgan’s seven receptions last week he doesn’t have the explosive abilities as the team’s number one draft pick and may be overshadowed. Calvin Johnson has less than 10 total fantasy points when Daunte Culpepper starts, which he appears to be set for in Week 16 with Matthew Stafford hurting.

image New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts image

Start – All indications point to the Colts playing their starters so expect Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark and Joseph Adai to be in the starting rotation. Thomas Jones will once again shoulder the load for the Jets.

Sit – Reggie Wayne is a surprise sit thanks to his match-up with Darrelle Revis. He simply doesn’t allow big plays – period. Pierre Garcon left last week’s game hurt and will likely see minimal action. Austin Collie could fill in admirably, but hasn’t shown the consistency to get the nod in such a crucial week against a talented defense. Mark Sanchez, Dustin Keller, Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards don’t appear on the same page and will continue to struggle.

image Denver Broncos at Philadelphia Eagles image

Start – At home Donavan McNabb is a must start. Along with DeSean Jackson, and Brent Celek he should have a big day. Brandon Marshall has been one of the top receivers in the NFL since Thanksgiving and with Correll Buckhalter possibly out, Knoshown Moreno is expected to see the bulk of the carries.

Sit – With the potential return of Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy is a must sit. Jeremy Maclin is out with an injury and Jason Avant hasn’t produced enough to be a dark horse selection.

image Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins image

Start – The Redskins have essentially thrown in the towel, which means Tony Romo, Miles Austin and Jason Witten will be able to exploit a team that just gave up 40 plus points to the Giants. Marion Barber will also be used as a goal line threat and should see the end zone once or twice.

Sit – Roy Williams is the last guy you want in the line-up when you need a consistent performer and Felix Jones will become more of a situational back this week. Do not start anybody on the Redskins offense. When the coach prefers to let the punter throw the ball with time expiring you know things are bad.

Monday, December 28

image Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears image

Start – Brett Favre had his best day of the year the last time he played the Bears and now that Percy Harvin has emerged as a consistent threat with Visanthe Shiancoe and Sidney Rice, Favre has yet another reliable option. Adrian Peterson will have a shot to redeem last week’s poor rushing performance against a Bears team that has been awful against the run lately.

Sit – The Chicago Bears are averaging less than 13 points per game in their last four contests and will be facing a tough Vikings defense. Matt Forte hasn’t been a scoring threat all season, Jay Cutler has been the bust of the season and no Bears receivers have been consistent threats all season. Even Greg Olsen has been failing to produce.

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