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Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Week 16 lineup advice, best matchups, DFS picks

It’s going to be another long week for fantasy football owners — one that’s tough to plan for until games actually kick off. With COVID and injuries affecting more players than ever, the best ability is availability right now. As such, all of the lineup advice below is subject to change at a moment’s notice, but we’re still here, doing what we can to help with your Week 16 fantasy start ’em, sit ’em decisions in this must-win week. 

This week figures to be busy and stressful for a lot of reasons for most fantasy owners, so as a friendly reminder, there’s the regularly scheduled Thursday night game (49ers vs. Titans), two Saturday games (Packers vs. Browns and Colts vs. Cardinals), 12 regularly scheduled Sunday games, and the regularly scheduled Monday night game (Dolphins vs. Saints). Navigate accordingly, and good luck!

Fantasy Football Week 16 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks

QB must-starts

  1. Justin Herbert, Chargers (at HOU)
  2. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (vs. PIT)
  3. Matthew Stafford, Rams (at MIN)
  4. Lamar Jackson or Tyler Huntley, Ravens (at CIN)
  5. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (vs. CLE)
  6. Tom Brady, Buccaneers (at CAR)
  7. Josh Allen, Bills (at NE)
  8. Dak Prescott, Cowboys (vs WAS)
  9. Kyler Murray, Cardinals (at IND)
  10. Jalen Hurts, Eagles (vs. NYG)

Stronger starts

Joe Burrow, Bengals (vs. BAL). He lit the Ravens up the first time and the Ravens are even more depleted against the pass this time. He has played well in reality but is overdue for a big fantasy game. It comes here at home.

Russell Wilson, Seahawks (vs. CHI). The Bears are bad on the back end and will go back to struggling on the road after shockingly containing the Vikings at home.

Justin Fields, Bears (at SEA). The game script should be positive opposite Russell Wilson, and he has a chance to run well here and sneak in multiple combined TDs passing off the run.

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (at TEN). It’s hard to run on the Titans, so the Niners should rely more on their diverse passing game to move the ball with the wideouts having great matchups.

Cam Newton, Panthers (vs. TB). The Bucs struggled with Josh Allen’s relentless rushing a couple weeks ago, and their secondary still has enough holes for Cam to put a second consecutive week of decent garbage stats.

Jared Goff, Lions (at ATL). Goff (reserve/COVID) is feeling it with his new wideouts, so if he should be cleared to go on Sunday, he can put some good numbers in what could a sneaky shootout in a controlled environment.

DFS Bargain/Streamer Special

Matt Ryan, Falcons (vs. DET, $5,400 on DraftKings, $6,800 on FanDuel). Ryan is priced nicely for a home date against a Lions’ defense that overachieved at home vs. the Cardinals. Despite limiting results against the 49ers last week, Ryan looked pretty good and should feel comfortable enough to put up real digits here.

WEEK 16 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Fantasy Football Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Weaker starts

Taysom Hill, Saints (vs. MIA). Look, the running works when he’s running well, but the Dolphins’ defense has been tough on rushers from the position, containing Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson. Hill’s passing won’t be getting it done for fantasy.

Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. LAR). Cousins hasn’t inspired of late despite good matchups, so it’s hard to trust him against Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey at home.

Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (at NO). This game feels like it will be low scoring and become a grinding, physical battle of attrition.

Derek Carr, Raiders (vs. DEN). There’s no reason to take him for a spin anymore this season.

Ryan Tannehill, Titans (vs. SF). Outside of the occasional rushing TD, Tannehill’s been rendered useless by his limited weaponry.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (at KC). By the numbers this seems like an OK matchup, but then again, so did last week.

Carson Wentz, Colts (at ARI). He came up small as expected against the Patriots, and this is another run-heavy game plan.

WEEK 16 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Fantasy Football Week 16 Start ‘Em: Running backs

RB must-starts

  1. Jonathan Taylor, Colts (vs. ARI)
  2. James Robinson, Jaguars (at NYJ)
  3. Austin Ekeler, Chargers (at HOU)
  4. Dalvin Cook, Vikings (vs. LAR)
  5. Alvin Kamara, Saints (vs. MIA)
  6. Nick Chubb, Browns (at GB)
  7. David Montgomery, Bears (at SEA)
  8. Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons (vs. DET)
  9. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs (vs. PIT)
  10. Najee Harris, Steelers (at KC)
  11. Aaron Jones, Packers (vs. CLE)
  12. Antonio Gibson, Washington (at DAL)
  13. Javonte Williams, Broncos (at LV)
  14. Melvin Gordon, Broncos (at LV)
  15. James Conner, Cardinals (vs. IND)
  16. Joe Mixon, Bengals (if he plays, vs. BAL)
  17. Saquon Barkley, Giants (at PHI)
  18. Josh Jacobs, Raiders (vs. DEN)
  19. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (vs. WAS)

Stronger starts

Rashaad Penny, Seahawks (vs. CHI). He should get nice volume and come through again in positive game script for a second solid matchup in three weeks.

D’Onta Foreman, Titans (vs. SF). Foreman is living up to his last name as the leader of the committee and is putting up nice combined yardage while always being a threat to score.

Michael Carter, Jets (vs. JAX). The Jets were tentative using Carter enough against the Dolphins, but that changes in his second game back at home in a great spot.

Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel, Rams (at MIN). The Vikings’ run defense has become awful, and after last week’s Michel-dominant game plan, he fits as a safe RB2 and Henderson could sneak in as a low-end flex.

Rhamondre Stevenson or Damien Harris, Patriots (vs. BUF). Don’t expect a carbon copy of the first meeting where both went off, as the Bills should make adjustments. Whoever heads up the backfield, either Harris (hamstring) or Stevenson if Harris misses another game, would be the only one to play.

Miles Sanders, Eagles (vs. NYG). Sanders is also in an expanding committee, but he’s still the easy lead and can make big runs on the Giants.

Darrel Williams, Chiefs (vs. PIT). The trickle down of a run-fueled blowout means he gets some second-half touches and key targets out of the backfield.

DFS bargains

Ronald Jones, Buccaneers (at CAR, $5,100 on DraftKings, $5,400 on FanDuel). RoJo will is set to finish the fantasy football season with Leonard Fournette hamstrung. The handcuff will become instant strong starter as the Bucs figure to be run heavy to smash the Panthers, who Jones has a good history against.

Craig Reynolds, Lions (at ATL, $4,500 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel). With two weeks of evidence, there’s both trust in and real production from Reynolds here replacing D’Andre Swift (shoulder). Even with Jamaal Williams off the reserve/COVID list, Detroit will roll with the hot hand in the youth movement in a terrific matchup.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Running backs

Weaker starts

AJ Dillon, Packers (at CLE). Green Bay would be smart to pass more than run in this matchup, and that favors Aaron Jones complementing Aaron Rodgers.

Jeff Wilson Jr., 49ers (at TEN). He rocked the Falcons in a great spot with big volume, but the Titans tighten the screws against the run.

Chuba Hubbard, Panthers (vs. TB). Hubbard is dealing with both Cam Newton and Ameer Abdullah cutting into his key work, and the matchup stinks.

Devin Singletary, Bills (at NE). Don’t chase that nice Panthers boxscore, as Buffalo will need to make this mostly about Josh Allen to win.

Devonta Freeman, Ravens (at CIN). Latavius Murray has become suddenly problematic again.

Myles Gaskin and Duke Johnson, Dolphins (at NO). Johnson might have taken over the backfield, or it might go back to Gaskin. Who knows? One certain thing is the matchup also stinks.

Chase Edmonds, Cardinals (vs. IND). He didn’t do much in the first game back beyond drag James Conner’s value down against the Lions. The Colts do an all-around number on running backs.

Tony Pollard, Cowboys (vs. WAS). He won’t get enough work behind Ezekiel Elliott in this pass-friendlier matchup to play.

MORE WEEK 16 DFS: Best stacks | Lineup Builder

Fantasy Football Week 16 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers

WR must-starts

  1. Cooper Kupp, Rams (at MIN)
  2. Davante Adams, Packers (vs. CLE)
  3. Deebo Samuel, 49ers (at TEN)
  4. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs (if cleared, vs. PIT)
  5. Justin Jefferson, Vikings (vs. LAR)
  6. Stefon Diggs, Bills (at NE)
  7. Keenan Allen, Chargers (at HOU)
  8. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (vs. WAS)
  9. Diontae Johnson, Steelers (at KC)
  10. Tee Higgins, Bengals (vs. BAL)
  11. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (vs. CHI)
  12. Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals (vs. BAL)
  13. Mike Evans, Buccaneers (if he plays, at CAR)
  14. Hunter Renfrow, Raiders (vs. DEN)
  15. Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins (if he returns, at NO)
  16. Amari Cooper, Cowboys (vs. WAS)
  17. Brandin Cooks, Texans (vs. LAC)
  18. Adam Thielen, Vikings (if he returns, vs. LAR)
  19. Mike Williams, Chargers (at HOU)
  20. Terry McLaurin, Washington (at DAL)
  21. D.J. Moore, Panthers (vs. TB)
  22. Marquise Brown, Ravens (at CIN)
  23. Antonio Brown, Buccaneers (if he returns, at CAR)

Stronger starts

DK Metcalf, Seahawks (vs. CHI). Is this the game where the 2020 version of this one-time stud emerges? Perhaps. The Bears’ secondary is ripe for the roasting on the road.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions (at ATL). He’s the dynamic rookie Lions star we’ve been waiting or all season.

Michael Pittman Jr., Colts (at ARI). He got too fiery against the Patriots and should stay in there to produce at the home of his father’s original NFL team.

Christian Kirk, Cardinals (vs. IND). He’s operating as their hot No. 1 minus ‘Nuk, and that continues as he gets a lot of intermediate targets.

DeVante Parker, Dolphins (at NO). He can get it done complementing Jaylen Waddle.

Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers (at TEN). He should be more help in the passing game behind Deebo Samuel than George Kittle.

DeVonta Smith, Eagles (vs. NYG). This pass defense used to be daunting but not against Jalen Hurts with Smith being moved around.

Michael Gallup, Cowboys (vs. WAS). He has been more active and productive than the other two wideouts of late, but this seems like a get-well game for all three.

Odell Beckham Jr., Rams (at MIN). This could be a game where all three wideouts go off again playing off the run.

DFS bargains

Russell Gage, Falcons (vs. DET, $5,900 on DraftKings, $6,700 on FanDuel). Here’s half of a solid stack for cash games or tournaments against a poor secondary. Gage is red hot and should put up the Christian Kirk numbers from last week.

Van Jefferson, Rams (at MIN, $5,500 on DraftKings, $6,300 on FanDuel). Jefferson is priced down rather well on DK, and he’s still somewhat affordable on FD given the matchup is strong against a reeling and slow Vikings secondary.

Josh Reynolds, Lions (at ATL, $4,600 on DraftKings, $5,400 on FanDuel). That makes two red-hot Reynolds on the Lions as recommendations. He’s the choice here because St. Brown has been priced up, and the rookie might see a good chunk of A.J. Terrell.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers

Weaker starts

Gabriel Davis, Bills (at NE). This is a tough spot for the Bills’ wide receivers all around, and Josh Allen should be trusting Stefon Diggs the most.

A.J. Green, Cardinals (vs. IND). Kirk is the biggest beneficiary of no DeAndre Hopkins. Green will be contained.

Chase Claypool, Steelers (at KC). This just isn’t happening in Year 2, and the Chiefs protect against the big play.

Darnell Mooney, Bears (at SEA). He’s cooled off big time while getting more No. 1 attention as Chicago’s obvious top target.

Tyler Boyd, Bengals (vs. BAL). This should be more of a Ja’Marr Chase/Tee Higgins game for Joe Burrow.

Allen Lazard, Packers (at CLE). Even with Marquez Valdes-Scantling (reserve/COVID) likely out, this pass defense and secondary is tough enough to avoid trying secondary WRs against.

All Broncos (at LV). Do they really remember they have receivers other than Tim Patrick?

All Browns (at GB). The Packers’ secondary is darn good overall even being still without Jaire Alexander.

All Jaguars and Jets (at NYJ, vs. JAX). You can’t go here because you have no idea how and what will happen with two bad offenses.

All Titans (vs. SF). There’s really nothing to see here, and A.J. Brown (chest) is iffy to return.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Start ‘Em: Tight ends

TE must-starts

  1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs (vs. PIT)
  2. George Kittle, 49ers (at TEN)
  3. Mark Andrews, Ravens (at CIN)
  4. Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers (at CAR)
  5. Dawson Knox, Bills (at NE)
  6. Kyle Pitts, Falcons (vs. DET)

Stronger starts

Zach Ertz, Cardinals (vs. IND). The Colts allow plenty to the position, and he’ll get schemed open to complement Christian Kirk best.

Dallas Goedert, Eagles (vs. NYG). The Giants have been more giving of late, and Goedert will find paydirt.

Hunter Henry, Patriots (vs. BUF). The matchup is tricky, but he’ll pop into the end zone once.

Noah Fant, Broncos (at LV). He rocks this matchup getting more love from Drew Lock.

Cole Kmet, Bears (at SEA). He got revved up on Monday night and can take advantage of this favorable spot.

Jared Cook, Chargers (at HOU). He’s a good bet to score on a bad tight end defense.

DFS bargain

James O’Shaughnessy, Jaguars (at. NYJ, $5,000 on DraftKings, $5,300 on FanDuel). We’re trying this matchup again hoping for a little luck of the Irish against a green team that can’t cover this position at all, and he’s emerged as the top target. It would be nice to get a TD, too.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends

Weaker starts

Dalton Schultz, Cowboys (at WAS). This goes back to being a wide receiver game for the Cowboys based on the matchup.

MIke Gesicki, Dolphins (at NO). He’s not doing much and could warm up suddenly, but the Saints cover tight ends well.

Tyler Higbee, Rams and Tyler Conklin, Vikings (at MIN. vs. LAR). Stop making Tyler happen.

All Browns (at GB). The Packers are pretty rough on this position, too.

Evan Engram, Giants (at PHI). The matchup says yes. The player says no.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Start ‘Em: Defenses

Defense must-starts

  1. Cowboys (vs. WAS)
  2. Eagles (vs. NYG)
  3. Chargers (at HOU)
  4. Buccaneers (at CAR)
  5. Packers (vs. CLE)
  6. Chiefs (vs. PIT)
  7. Patriots (vs. BUF)
  8. 49ers (at TEN)

Stronger starts

Seahawks (vs. CHI). They tend to be more active and disruptive at home, and Justin Fields will also make mistakes.

Broncos (at LV). They get revenge here against Derek Carr with a pro-Denver crowd.

Bills (at NE). They will play better this time and not just wilt against the run, getting after Mac Jones.

Dolphins (at NO). Look for them to play well against a limited offense.

Bengals (vs. BAL). They can be effective on the pass rush and get some turnovers, too.

Colts (at ARI). There’s something a little off with the Cardinals, and the Colts are making plays.

DFS bargain

Jets (vs. JAX, $2,700 on DraftKings, $4,100 on FanDuel). We’ve tried this New York team a few times with limited results when cheap, but at home in the element against the limited Jaguars’ passing game makes the more appealing as a value than the Jaguars themselves. Robert Saleh’s defense will have a few surprises for Trevor Lawrence.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Defenses

Weaker starts

Saints (vs. MIA). The Dolphins are playing very well overall and should love this road spot to stay efficient.

Rams (at MIN). The Vikings are rather careful with the ball despite what you might think with Kirk Cousins.

Browns (at GB). You can’t go here vs. Aaron Rodgers on the road.

Cardinals (vs. IND). The Colts protect the ball in general because of Jonathan Taylor-heaviness.

Titans (vs. SF). Not the best idea even with the prime-time emotional home bump.

Jaguars (at NYJ). You might be tempted, but no.

Falcons and Lions (vs. DET, at ATL). You might be tempted, but double no.

Get more of Vinnie Iyer’s in-depth fantasy football advice for Week 16 by subscribing to the Locked On Fantasy Football podcast.



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