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Fantasy Football Week 16 Start/Sit Advice

  • The Draft Network
  • December 23, 2021
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If you’re still in your fantasy playoffs, then a massive congrats are in order. You’ve somehow survived one of the wackiest fantasy seasons in recent memory, and not just because of the recent COVID-19 outbreaks. Before we dive into some starts and sits for Week 16, I thought I’d throw in a little bit of fun. As it stands, here is a team of the highest-scoring players at each position (PPR). 

  • QB: Josh Allen
  • RB: Jonathan Taylor
  • RB: Austin Ekeler
  • WR: Cooper Kupp
  • WR: Tyreek Hill
  • TE: Mark Andrews
  • FLEX: Justin Jefferson 
  • K: Nick Folk
  • D/ST: Patriots

Have any more fantasy questions? Hit me up on Twitter @ZachCohenFB, and follow @TDNFantasy for more fantasy advice in the playoffs (and throughout the offseason).

QUARTERBACKS

Start: Justin Fields at SEA

Disclaimer: Fields hurt his ankle against the Vikings on Monday night, so keep an eye on his availability. Despite his injury, the Bears are reportedly optimistic about his playing chances for Week 16–and you should be, too. Fields has averaged a bit over 17 points in his last two starts and has eclipsed 16 points in four of his last five starts. In fact, Fields has rushed at least seven times in each of his previous five full games. So you can bet on Fields to make a large enough impact on the ground. Chicago faces a Seattle defense that’s pretty stingy to quarterbacks. Here’s the kicker: They’ve yet to face a quarterback like Fields. The only two quarterbacks they faced a full game of who have also averaged more than 20 rushing yards per game are Taylor Heinicke and Jameis Winston. For the record, Fields averages 35 rushing yards per game—fifth-most in the league. If Fields plays, he’s a low-end QB1 with upside for a top-five finish.

Other Players to Consider: Joe Burrow v. BAL, Russell Wilson v. CHI

Sit: Kirk Cousins v. LAR

Captain Kirk hasn’t been flying so high lately. A week after scoring just 14.5 points, he scraped together 10.5 points against Chicago… who have allowed the fourth-most points to quarterbacks all season. We don’t like that, Kirk. This week, the Vikings host the Rams, and they should be much tougher than the Bears. Only four quarterbacks have thrown for more than 300 yards against Los Angeles this season: Kyler Murray, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and *squints* Davis Mills. On top of that, only three quarterbacks have thrown two touchdowns and no picks versus the Rams: Murray, Rodgers, and Jimmy Garoppolo. Clearly, there’s very little room for Cousins to succeed against Jalen Ramsey and Co. I’d look elsewhere for a starting quarterback if you have Cousins. 

Other Players to Consider: Jimmy Garoppolo at TEN, Tua Tagovailoa at NO

RUNNING BACKS

Start: Ronald Jones at CAR

Now that Leonard Fournette will miss the rest of the regular season, Jones immediately becomes a solid RB2. Why, you ask? Well, let me share what I wrote in my waiver column earlier in the week: “When Fournette left Sunday night’s stunning loss, Jones split time with Ke’Shawn Vaughn (yuck). Despite seeing a similar number of carries and snaps, Jones outgained Vaughn on the ground by 44 yards. Jones could even see a few extra targets now that Chris Godwin and potentially Mike Evans will miss time. If you have a spot to spare, you could do worse than banking on Jones’ upside.” Still not sold? Look how well Jones did as the main back a season ago:

https://twitter.com/dwainmcfarland/status/1473344378160693257?s=21 

Other Players to Consider: Clyde Edwards-Helaire v. PIT, D’Onta Foreman v. SF, Devontae Booker at PHI

Sit: Darrell Henderson at MIN

We tried to warn you that Sony Michel was here to stay. In Henderson’s first game back from the Reserve/COVID-19 list, Michel was the Rams’ clear RB1.

  • Michel: 48 snaps, 21 routes run, 18 carries, 2 targets, 13.5 points
  • Henderson: 18 snaps, 9 routes run, 6 carries, 2 targets, 4.7 points

It doesn’t seem like Sean McVay was easing Henderson back in, either. McVay admitted he’ll be splitting the reps between the two backs, though Michel has performed admirably in Henderson’s absence. You simply can’t trust Henderson until he earns the starting role back, if at all. As for Michel, he's a risky RB2.

Other Players to Consider: Eagles RBs v. NYG, Dolphins RBs at NO

WIDE RECEIVERS

Start: Amon-Ra St. Brown at ATL

“Don’t look now, but St. Brown is a top-seven fantasy wide receiver in the last three weeks. He’s also seen 35 targets in that span, which is also among the top seven wideouts in that time. There’s no getting around it: St. Brown is the best waiver addition for Week 16. I don’t think I need to explain it, either. Something tells me he’ll be owned in way more than 26.5% of leagues by Thursday.” That’s what I said in my waivers column, and I stand by it, especially with a juicy Week 16 matchup for St. Brown and the Lions. The Falcons have allowed the third-most points to wide receivers in fantasy. I’d start St. Brown over all four receivers I mention in my Sit section. 

Other Players to Consider: Jaylen Waddle at NO, Antonio Brown at CAR, Russell Gage v. DET

Sit: Terry McLaurin at DAL

It’s been a disappointing season for McLaurin. He started the season fine, but has since proven to be too unreliable on a weekly basis. Albeit, it’s not entirely his fault. Washington’s quarterback situation is—as the kids say—not good. Even a healthy Taylor Heinicke can’t maximize McLaurin’s potential. Although McLaurin did miss some game action in Week 14, he has still failed to reach double-digit points in any of his last four games. On the surface, Dallas could be a bounce-back game for the young wideout. Alas, McLaurin put up a donut against the Cowboys two weeks ago before leaving the game with a concussion. You’re better off slotting a steadier option in your lineup instead of hoping McLaurin pops off for the first time in over a month.

Other Players to Consider: DeVonta Smith v. NYG, Michael Pittman at ARI, Jarvis Landry at GB

TIGHT ENDS

Start: Kyle Pitts v. DET

After a mediocre stretch of games, the rookie tight end should be back in fantasy lineups—and not just because he earned a Pro Bowl nod. Pitts hit the 11-point mark in each of his last two contests while averaging six-to-seven targets since Week 7. Look, we should all have our reservations about the Falcons’ offense, but the truth is there may not be any better options than Pitts. We know what he’s capable of (re: Weeks 5-7) and he’s the overall TE6 in the last three weeks. If you get 10 points out of him, you should chalk that up to a win. It’s time to put Pitts back in your starting lineups.

https://twitter.com/zachcohenfb/status/1473830716630781956?s=21

Other Players to Consider: Noah Fant at LV, Foster Moreau v. DEN

Sit: Jared Cook at HOU

I could write down a handful of names here. I chose Cook because it seems like every week I get at least one person asking whether he/she should start Cook. And the answer is almost always a resounding no. Cook’s picture accompanies “touchdown-dependent” in a dictionary. He hit double-digits five times this season, and yet he was scoreless two of those times. His highest point total across those two games? 10.8. Is that the upside you want for your starter? Because you can’t bank on Cook scoring each week. Heck, he’s only done it four times this season! If Cook scores this week, then congrats—I’m happy for you. You’ll have better luck flipping a coin 10 times and landing heads half of them. For what it’s worth, only three tight ends have reached 10+ points against Houston in the last eight weeks. That includes just one scorer (Gerald Everett, Week 14). Please, for the last time, keep Cook on your bench. 

Other Players to Consider: Gerald Everett v. CHI, Tyler Conklin v. LAR

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