Here we are, fantasy football fans, end of the season. Week 16 marks the title game for most leagues and it's time to either go big or go home. Hopefully you made it this far and I am here to get you just a little further and take home that league title and bragging rights for the next eight months. The question now is: do you have the gumption to stand your ground and go to battle one last time this season for all the marbles?
The thing to remember about starters and sitters this week is that you still play the best players available. And, while matchups are something to consider, getting cute will buy you a loss faster than a win. There is no reason to play LaGarrette Blount over Marshawn Lynch just because the matchup dictates it. When Cam Newton goes off on the Bucs this weekend, Blount will disappear, and Lynch is going to be all the Seahawks have to lean on for offense against a tough 49ers defense.
Don't forget that Johnny Knox got injured last weekend, so you will want to make sure there isn't a single Bear in your lineup except maybe Robbie Gould.
Cam Newton:Cam I Am is in my top 3 for fantasy QBs this weekend, and for good reason. The Bucs allow the 6th-most fantasy points to QBs this season (21.6 PPG), and Newton is putting up roughly 28 PPG all on his own. This could be another one of those magical four-TD games for Newton and I am locked, cocked and ready to rock on the Cam I Am bandwagon!
Rex Grossman:For those in deeper leagues or who own Big Ben or Eli Manning, Grossman is a realistic fill-in QB for the title game this week. The Vikings are giving up 23.9 PPG to QBs this season, worst in the NFL. The knock on Grossman is that his WR corps is less than stellar, but the Vikings secondary is barely noticeable on the field.
Rashard Mendenhall:If*you read below, *you will notice that Mendenhall's QB is likely out this week, which means the Rams should get a healthy dose of the running game once Charlie Batch kills the passing game. I like Mendenhall as a top 7-8 play this week.
Ryan Mathews:Mathews has reached 100-plus yards in three of his last four games, and the Lions are giving up a healthy 135.8 YPG on the ground this season. Mathews has finally found his groove and the Chargers aren't playing the RBBC game with him and Mike Tolbert anymore, so he is a top-10 RB play in week 16.
Julio Jones:This game should be a shootout between the Falcons and Saints. The Saints give up 23.2 PPG to WRs this season and Jones is averaging 85.7 yards over the last three games. I'm looking for numbers close to those he put up against the Panthers a few weeks back (104 yards and 2 TDs), and I have no problem at all playing Jones as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2.
Jordy Nelson:The Packers were sleep walking last week and they took a lot of criticism for it, coupled with their first loss this season. Because of that I fully expect them to show everyone that they are still the team to beat this season. Nelson is really the only reliable WR the Packers have healthy at this point and he has the talent to hit 100-plus yards with a score against a weak Bears secondary.
Jermichael Finley:To call Finley a bust this season is an understatement for the ages. Not only has he not hit the 100-yard mark in a game this season, but half of his touchdowns (6) came in week 3. However, the Bad News Bears are a banged up team that I see the Packers getting off on as they try and make up for last week. Finley is a top-5 TE play this week.
Green Bay Packers defense:Quick, name 3 starters on the Bears offense. Don't worry, I'll wait! The Bears offensive depth chart resembles a practice squad depth chart more than anything, and once this game gets out of hand they will be forced to pass. If the Packers play up to their talent level, this could be one of their best defensive games of the whole season.
Ben Roethlisberger:From everything I hear, Big Ben is going to sit this game out. The Steelers have all but locked up the #5 seed in the AFC, so there is more risk than reward to him playing this weekend and the team would be better served to just rest him up for the playoffs. I'd sit him in all leagues even if he plays because I think his action will be limited if he does take the field.
Eli Manning:The New York state rivalry game comes in the championship week for fantasy owners, and that is not a good thing for the Giants' passing attack. The Jets allow the 5th-fewest fantasy points to QBs (15.4 PPG) and the Giants are making mental errors that aren't helping things go any easier. He should find a way to throw a TD or two this weekend, but I still don't expect QB1 numbers from him to finish out the fantasy season.
Kahlil Bell:Marion Barber has proved why he is a backup in the NFL, and now Chris Da Bears fan has a new Bell-cow to honk his horn about. The reality is that Bell will most likely get the start over Barber this weekend, but it is more due to the fact that Barber doesn't break tackles. Not to mention that this game should be over… oh I'd say… shortly after the coin toss, so the ground game isn't going to be in use for the Bears.
Kevin Smith:Smith has had one good game since hitting the NFL scene this season, and that was five weeks ago. The Chargers run defense gives up the 9th-fewest fantasy points to RBs this season at just 17.0 PPG, and Smith is averaging 14.6 PPG in fantasy leagues. What that means is Smith should finish somewhere in the flex range and I still wouldn't take the chance on him in the final week.
Darius Heyward-Bey:Because of his 8 receptions for 155 yards and a score last week, too many people are locking DHB into a WR1 slot this week. Look, the Chiefs did the impossible and ended the Packers' dream of a 16-0 season. The Chiefs are riding on an emotional high and their secondary is giving up the 8th-fewest points to WRs (18.2) this season. I see a bust this week from DHB.
Brandon Lloyd:The Rams QB is Kellen Clemens; enough said. Add to that the Steelers aggressive defense, and you have a WR1 earlier this season that I don't want within 20 yards of my lineup this weekend.
Jermaine Gresham:Did you know the Cardinals defense is actually ranked #8 against the TE in fantasy formats this season? Yes, they are giving up just 6.7 PPG and Gresham has proven that he is a boom-or-bust play each and every week. I would find someone else to play this week, possibly Anthony Fasano or Brent Celek.
Chicago Bears defense:I can only knock the Bears so much in an article before even I get tired of it. The Packers have one of the most efficient offenses we've seen in recent memory when they are on their game, and they are certainly motivated after last week's misfire. I personally don't think the Bears stand a chance to hold the Packers under 30 points this week and would consider playing the Packers as the #1 fantasy defense in week 16.