Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 16
Depending on your league, you’re likely either in the first or second round of the fantasy football playoffs. That means each lineup choice has that much more behind it and everyone counts that much more in a do-or-die situation for all. With that, let’s dive in and look at the players to start and sit for this weekend.
Recapping last week
In one of the wildest weeks of fantasy football in recent memory, it was all over the place this past weekend. Jimmy Garoppolo finished inside the top-15 while Taysom Hill struggled with a performance outside the top-24 and Russell Wilson finished outside the top-30. D’Onta Foreman had a RB1 week inside the top-12 but Rhamondre Stevenson finished just inside the top-48 while James Robinson bounced back with a top-eight performance. Julio Jones left the game with another hamstring injury and Rashod Bateman fell flat with only one catch and D.K. Metcalf finished just inside the top-30. Mike Gesicki finished inside the top-18 while Brevin Jordan somehow had no catches and Kyle Pitts had a top-12 performance. With that, we’re on to week 16!
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 16 QB’s
Bengals vs. Ravens
ESPN Starting Percentage: 28.6%
Burrow has admittedly been inconsistent as of late with three games with less than 200 yards passing in his last five. However, those other two games were 300+ yards passing. He also only has more than one passing touchdown in four of his last five games as well. With that being said, Burrow has a terrific matchup this weekend. Not only did he manage to go for 416 yards and three touchdowns when he faced Baltimore earlier this season, but the Ravens have also been struggling on defense as of late. They have forced only one interception in their last seven games and have given up two or more passing touchdowns in each of their last three games. The Ravens have given up 18+ fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in four of their last seven games and in four of their last five. Burrow has his top three wide receivers healthy while the Ravens continue to be decimated by injury. Burrow is a borderline top-12 option this weekend.
Bears vs. Seahawks
ESPN Starting Percentage: 10.1%
Despite no 300+ passing yard performances and only two games with two or more touchdowns in his rookie season, Fields has been rather steady as of late as a fantasy football option. In the last four games that he played the entirety in, he has scored no fewer than 16.9 fantasy points and he has at least 35+ rushing yards in six of his last games overall. He now faces a Seahawks’ defense that has given up 21+ fantasy points and two or more passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in three of their last five games. Fields’ rushing ability has given him a nice floor and the Seahawks also haven’t been challenged much by scrambling quarterbacks this season. Seattle has, however, still given up 20+ rushing yards to four different quarterbacks this season. Fields will be a top-15 option this weekend.
Cowboys vs. Football Team
ESPN Starting Percentage: 75.%
Prescott has been struggling as of late. He hasn’t hit 240 passing yards in each of his last three games and has three touchdowns combined during that span with three interceptions as well. Even with a healthy Amari Cooper, Ceedee Lamb, and Michael Gallup, Prescott only managed 217 yards passing and one touchdown against the lowly Giants in week 15. He now faces a Washington squad who has only given up two passing touchdowns combined over their last three games. They also haven’t allowed for a 300+ yard passer in each of their last eight games as well. The Cowboys are still winning and it’s been because of their run game. We should expect to see more of that this weekend while Prescott continues to operate as more of a game manager for whatever reason.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 16 RB’s
Bills vs. Patriots
ESPN Starting Percentage: 30.2%
Singletary saw a season-high 22 carries in week 15 as he completely dominated the backfield for the Bills. Zack Moss was a healthy scratch once again and Singletary had 23-of-24 running back touches this past weekend. He is being treated like a workhorse in this offense as they continue to try and find their offensive identity. He now gets a rematch (with hopefully better conditions) against a Patriots squad that allowed him only 36 rushing yards in week 13. But the Patriots just got gashed for 170 yards and a touchdown to Jonathan Taylor this past weekend and also gave up 100+ rushing yards to both D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard in week 12. Singletary should continue as the bell-cow for this offense and have a chance for 20+ touches once again, giving him a solid RB2 floor in week 15.
Dolphins vs. Saints
ESPN Starting Percentage: 0.0%
Even with Myles Gaskin active, Johnson finished 127 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns on 23 touches in week 15. He would actually end up as the top-scoring running back this past weekend. Granted, it was against the Jets but it’s still impressive for Johnson after just joining the team not too long ago and being thrust into a major role for them. Gaskin still finished with 54 yards on 10 carries but it was clearly Johnson’s show and he has seemingly entrenched himself into this running back group going forward after Salvon Ahmed couldn’t manage to average three yards per carry (23 yards on eight carries) in week 15. The Saints are admittedly not the best matchup but they just gave up 67+ scrimmage yards to both Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones this past weekend. They’ve also given up 50+ scrimmage yards to seven different running backs in their last five games. Johnson will be a volume-based mid-tier RB3/FLEX with a lot of upside this weekend.
Ravens vs. Bengals
ESPN Starting Percentage: 56.0%
Strictly speaking in regards to volume, Freeman is dominating the Ravens’ backfield. He has 44 total touches in his last three games combined while Latavius Murray only has 13 in that span. Prior to this past weekend, Freeman had four straight games with 60+ scrimmage yards. But he now faces a Bengals’ defense that has only given up one total touchdown to opposing running backs in their last five games combined. They’ve also only given up 60+ scrimmage yards to three different running backs during that time as well. Whether it be Tyler Huntley or Lamar Jackson under center, Freeman will always have the risk of ceding rushing attempts to his quarterback. Combine that with his tough matchup and Freeman can’t be considered more than a mid-tier RB3/FLEX.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 16 WR’s
Falcons vs. Lions
ESPN Starting Percentage: 27.5%
Gage has been turning it on as of late with 62+ receiving yards in each of his last four games and averaging nine targets a game during that span. He has two games with 90+ receiving yards and two touchdowns during that time. His 30.2% target share over his last three games is sixth amongst all wide receivers. Gage and the Falcons now face a Lions squad that has given up three touchdowns to opposing wide receivers over their last three games. They’ve also allowed for three receivers to go for 94+ yards over their last four games. In a matchup that could feature little defense, we could see a lot of points being scored and benefitting Gage as the Falcons continue to scale back Cordarrelle Patterson’s workload. Gage is a low-end WR2 in week 15.
Bears vs. Seahawks
ESPN Starting Percentage: 38.6%
Mooney has been a favorite target of Fields as of late with 7+ targets in four of his last five games. Mooney’s 24.9% target share this season also paces the Bears with no other player having a 20%+ share in the offense. He has 60+ receiving yards in three of his last five games including back-to-back 120+ yard games in weeks 11 and 12. He now faces a Seahawks’ defense that just got decimated by Cooper Kupp for 130+ yards and two touchdowns. They also gave up 101 yards to Brandin Cooks in week 14 as well. Mooney will continue leading the passing offense for the Bears and now has a plus matchup. He’ll be a low-end WR2 in week 15 as well.
Chargers vs. Texans
ESPN Starting Percentage: 54.9%
Williams has been the textbook definition of hot-and-cold this season. After starting the season with 82+ yards in four-of-five games and six touchdowns during that span, he has two games of 82+ yards and only one touchdown in his last nine. Keenan Allen has resumed his normal WR1 duties as he has out-targeted Williams in each of their last seven games when they both played. Williams now faces a Texans’ defense that has only given up two touchdowns to opposing wide receivers over their last four games. They’ve only given up 50+ receiving yards to three different receivers during that time as well. Williams is struggling to produce even low-end WR2 numbers consistently. He is best viewed as a boom-or-bust WR3/FLEX this weekend.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 16 TE’s
Cardinals vs. Colts
ESPN Starting Percentage: 33.0%
With DeAndre Hopkins out for the rest of the regular season, Ertz saw a season-high 11 targets in week 15 as he finished with 74 yards on six receptions. That target count was good for second-best on the team behind Christian Kirk’s 12. Ertz has seven targets in three of his last four games and has entrenched himself as one of the top passing options for Kyler Murray in Hopkins’ absence. He now faces a Colts’ defense that has been hemorrhaging fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. They’ve given up 67+ receiving yards to a tight end in four of their last five games including 123 yards to Rob Gronkowski in Week 13. Hunter Henry also just went for 77 yards and two touchdowns in Week 15 against them as well. Ertz is easily a top-eight option this weekend.
Bears vs. Seahawks
ESPN Starting Percentage: 10.8%
Like Mooney, Kmet has stepped up as a main target for the Bears as of late. He has at least seven targets and 41+ receiving yards in three of his last four games. His 19.4% target share over the last three weeks is seventh-best amongst all tight ends. He also hasn’t scored a touchdown this season even with eight red-zone and three end-zone targets on the season. So he’s due for some positive regression at some point. Enter the Seahawks who have given up five touchdowns over their last five games to opposing tight ends. They’ve also given up huge games to George Kittle (nine receptions, 181 yards, and two touchdowns) and Zach Ertz (eight receptions, 88 yards and two touchdowns) during that span as well. Kmet has established some solid fantasy football upside with 10+ half-PPR fantasy points in three of his last six games as well. He’ll be a borderline top-12 option in week 15.
Dolphins vs. Saints
ESPN Starting Percentage: 47.3%
It seems Gesicki’s upside has been sapped over the majority of the second half. After three games of 85+ yards and two touchdowns over his first seven, he has had only two games of 50+ yards and zero touchdowns over his last seven. Plus, with Jaylen Waddle expected back in week 16, Gesicki’s target share is bound to go even lower as he gets outshined by DeVante Parker, Waddle and now Duke Johnson it seems. He faces a Saints’ defense that has given up only one game of 7+ half-PPR fantasy points to an opposing tight end this season. They’ve also only given up three touchdowns all season and only three games of 50+ receiving yards. Gesicki may be down to the number three option behind Waddle and Parker again in a very tough matchup. Gesicki will be a low-end TE1 at best in week 16.
Doug Moore is a fantasy football writer for Gridiron Experts. He has previously written for sites such as ESPN, SBNation, FFToday & Inside The Pylon. He also was the co-host for the highly-rated fantasy football podcast Overtime Ireland for several years. You can find him on Twitter at @DMooreNFL