Fantasy Football: Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16
If you own Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, you may be a little frustrated by his up-and-down production this season.
One of the most talented players at the position, Finley has three games this season with only one reception (or less). When the Packers scored 46 points, their second-highest total of the season, against the Raiders two weeks ago, Finley had no receptions.
But if we look back to the beginning of the season, Finley's best game came in Week 3 when he caught seven passes, three of them for touchdowns, against the Bears.
Finley, the team's third-round pick in 2008, is one of only five players to have three receiving touchdowns in a game this season. The other four are all wide receivers: Miles Austin, Plaxico Burress, Vincent Jackson and Torrey Smith.
If you own Finley, you are fortunate to get a rematch against the Bears in championship week.
Here are some players to consider starting in Week 16:
QB - Rex Grossman, Redskins (vs MIN): Grossman is inconsistent, but his matchup this week puts him in my top 12 quarterbacks for the week. The Vikings have allowed the most passing touchdowns (31) and third-most passing yards (260.4 per game) and have the fewest interceptions (six) this season. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than Minnesota and they have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in four straight games and in eight of their past nine games.
RB - Reggie Bush, Dolphins (at NE): Not only did Bush rush for a career-high 203 yards last week, but he has three straight games with 100-plus yards. In fact, no running back has more rushing yards than Bush (406) during that span. In addition, Bush has scored all six of his rushing touchdowns in the past seven weeks.
RB - LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers (at CAR): Blount has a favorable matchup against the Panthers this week, but he had a favorable matchup against them a few weeks ago as well. In that game, Blount rushed for only 19 yards on 11 carries. In his past five games, Blount has three double-digit fantasy performances and two games with two points or less.
WR - Jabar Gaffney, Redskins (vs MIN): Counting his goose egg (no receptions) against the Jets, Gaffney has 24 receptions for 364 yards and two touchdowns in his past five games. As noted above, the Vikings pass defense is atrocious. Minnesota has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season and I expect both Santana Moss and Gaffney to have solid games.
WR - Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (at BUF): Despite the Broncos ineffective pass offense, Thomas has posted three straight games with double-digit fantasy points. In fact, no receiver in football has more yards (338) over the past three games and only two others (Calvin Johnson and Hakeem Nicks) have 300-plus during that span.
WR - Santonio Holmes, Jets (vs NYG): Although he has yet to have a 100-yard game this season, Holmes has scored a touchdown in four consecutive games. And he has a favorable matchup against the Giants this week as he points out. Holmes said (via Conor Orr of the Newark Star-Ledger, “They’ve given up big plays, they are poor tackling guys. We know plays can be made over their head, we’ve just got to be willing to take advantage of them and make them count.”
TE - Brent Celek, Eagles (at DAL): Last week, Celek had five receptions for a career-high 156 yards and a touchdown (or 21 fantasy points in leagues that use standard scoring). In his past nine games, Celek has seven games with at least five fantasy points. Celek's second-best game of the season came in his first matchup against the Cowboys when he had seven receptions for 94 yards and a score.
Here are some players to consider sitting in Week 16:
QB - Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (vs STL): There is no questioning Roethlisberger's toughness. And who am I to question Mike Tomlin, who has a Super Bowl ring already? But I don't think Big Ben should have kept playing last week after the game's outcome had already been decided and I don't think he should play this week. If he does, however, his mobility will be severely limited and the Rams run defense is horrendous. In other words, it wouldn't surprise me if the Steelers establish an early lead running the ball and then rest Roethlisberger if he starts the game.
RB - Ryan Grant, Packers (vs CHI): In his past two games, Grant has just shy of 200 yards from scrimmage. Grant has 151 rushing yards and two touchdowns plus four receptions for 48 receiving yards. While Grant has had nice back-to-back performances, James Starks and Brandon Saine are expected to return this week and the Bears are much tougher against the run than the Raiders and Chiefs.
RB - BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots (vs MIA): Granted, he scored a touchdown last week and has a total of four touchdowns in his past four games. That said, The Law Firm has three straight games with less than 20 rushing yards. The Dolphins have allowed the third-fewest rushing yards (91.6 per game) and the second-fewest rushing touchdowns (six) this season.
WR - Mike Williams, Buccaneers (at CAR): After both Williams and I finished with zero receptions last week, it is safe to keep both of us on your fantasy bench this week. In his past two games, Williams has only three receptions for 35 yards. While he is talented, the Buccaneers overall pass offense can not (and should not) be trusted.
WR - Torrey Smith, Browns (vs CLE): With Anquan Boldin out for the rest of the regular season, Smith becomes the team's clear No. 1 receiver. In other words, Browns cornerback Joe Haden will likely be shadowing Smith all game. In his first matchup against the Browns, who allow the second-fewest fantasy points to receivers, Smith had one reception for 32 yards. That said, Smith has back-to-back games with touchdowns and double-digit fantasy points and is just outside my top 30 receivers at No. 31 this week.
WR - Brandon Lloyd, Rams (at PIT): Although Lloyd has five receptions in back-to-back games, he has a total of only 158 receiving yards and no touchdowns in his past three games. This week, Lloyd faces the Steelers, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.
TE - Greg Olsen, Panthers (vs TB): In his first matchup against the Bucs, Olsen had one reception for 21 yards. While Olsen got off to a good start in the first half of the season, Olsen has two or less fantasy points in four of his past five games. In fact, Olsen does not even have the 156 yards that Celek had last week over his past five games combined.
Whether or not you start or sit any of the players above obviously depends on the composition of your roster. To help owners make start-or-sit decisions, we provide weekly rankings including flex rankings for leagues that use standard scoring and ones that use point-per-reception (PPR) scoring.
Good luck in Week 16!