In Week 16, fantasy owners have to set their best possible lineups. The fantasy championship literally depends on it. At this point, drop any dead weight on your bench and grab anyone that you might either consider playing or you don’t want to play against.
Depending on your league settings, if you drop a player on Saturday, your opponent may not be able to pick them up, so keep that in mind as well. If you know you aren’t going to play someone and see someone on the waiver wire, grab them. It can’t hurt.
START These QBs
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns at New York Jets
Mayfield has been one of the best fantasy quarterbacks over the past four weeks. The Browns face the Jets in Week 16, who can’t afford to win another game. The Browns certainly do want to win another game and Mayfield has been on a roll lately. He has 10 touchdown passes and one interception in the past four weeks. He ran one into the end zone himself as well. The problem with Mayfield is that he will be down four wide receivers (Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-JOnes, KhaDarel Hodge) because of COVID-19 protocols. Mayfield is still in a decent matchup but the opportunity for big passing numbers may not be there.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Many fantasy owners are debating starting Hurts this week in their fantasy championship games. It’s risky, for sure, as he’s only started two games. He won against the Saints, although his numbers weren’t amazing. He lost against the Cardinals, but he had 338 passing yards, three touchdown passes, 63 rushing yards, and another score. The Eagles face the Cowboys, who allow the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Hurts just may win you a fantasy championship.
SIT These QBs
Cam Newton, New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills (Mon.)
In the past two games, Newton has zero touchdowns. In the past four games, he has one game with three touchdowns and three games with no touchdowns and three interceptions. He has three games with fewer than 120 passing yards in that span as well. Earlier in the season, his rushing numbers and touchdowns have saved his fantasy value. While it is still possible, it seems unlikely. When Newton faced the Bills earlier this season, he didn’t throw a touchdown but he was able to run one in. He cannot be trusted this week.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts
Big Ben was a QB1 for most of the fantasy season, but over the past two weeks he’s probably cost fantasy owners their matchup. He’s posted fewer than 200 yards in the past two weeks with three touchdowns and three interceptions. In Week 16, the Steelers face the Colts, who allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Given the way Roethlisberger has been playing, it’s hard to see him going “big” this week.
START These TEs
Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team vs. Carolina Panthers
Thomas has been one of Washington’s top receivers in the past few weeks and that should continue in Week 16. It seems Dwayne Haskins, despite his off-field antics, will be the quarterback against the Panthers. Any quarterback for Washington will look to Thomas to dump off the ball. Thomas had 15 targets in Week 15 and caught 13 of them for 101 yards. The Panthers allow the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
Noah Fant, Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
After missing two weeks because of an illness, Fant returned in Week 15 and had 11 targets. He caught eight of them for 68 yards and a touchdown. The yards were the most for Fant since Week 1. The touchdown was the first since Week 2. Fant was clearly a top target for Drew Lock and that should continue into Week 16 when the Broncos face the Chargers, who allowed 150 yards and a touchdown to Darren Waller last week.
SIT These TEs
Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts
Ebron gave fantasy owners a goose egg because he got injured in Week 15. It may have cost his fantasy owners the game and they don’t even have to make a start/sit decision regarding him this week. However, if you are still in the playoffs, it’s going to be hard to trust Ebron. Despite the back injury, it seems that he will be able to play in Week 16. The Steelers face the Colts, who allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Ebron hasn’t scored since Week 11.
Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers
Smith did have a knee injury but had returned in Week 14. He only had two receptions for 20 yards in Week 14. His targets increased to five in Week 15. He caught all of them for 52 yards. However, in a game where Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdowns, none went to Smith. Smith hasn’t found the end zone since Week 11 and faces the Packers, who allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
START This Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers (Sat.)
The Cardinals face the 49ers in Week 16 and starting C.J. Beathard at quarterback. They are without Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel. While it is possible George Kittle returns, it isn’t enough to help the 49ers against a Cardinals defense that is a solid unit as it is. The Cardinals should be able to shut down this struggling offense and put up plenty of fantasy points. (Honorable mention goes to the Houston Texans facing the Bengals without Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon).
SIT This Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Steelers face the Colts in Week 16. The Colts have been tough on opposing DSTs as they can attack on the ground and through the air. The Steelers were one of the best DSTs in fantasy football, but over the past few weeks the Steelers have struggled. They’ve lost three games in a row, including one to the 3-9-1 Bengals. Don’t trust this DST for the fantasy championship.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.