Start ’em sit ’em tips for Week 16 of the NFL season

Written by orobulletin

Fantasy football sit-and-start advice should always be relative and league-dependent. Note that some players are targeted for DFS. Good luck with your Week 16 lineups!

Start: Daniel Jones

Start in DFS: Dalvin Cook ($28)

Jones has been a top-12 fantasy QB this season despite one of the league’s weaker receiving groups, thanks to his rushing. He should add more value than usual passing this week against a Vikings secondary allowing the second-most YPA (7.5) and passing yards (278.8 per game) this season. Opponents have also averaged the second-most pass attempts (37.2) when facing Minnesota this season.

Jones gets a game indoors in a week filled with extreme weather conditions, and it’s a matchup that appears quite favorable. His Passer Rating jumps from 25th to No. 5 (105.8) when facing zone this season, a coverage Minnesota has used at the third-highest rate in the league this year.

Dimes looks like a top-five QB this week.

Cook has been a fantasy disappointment this season, but he’s dominated usage in Minnesota’s backfield. He was coming off an incredibly tough six-game stretch (@Was, @Buf, Dal, NE, NYJ, @DET) against stingy run defenses before last week, when Cook finished as fantasy’s No. 2 RB. He now gets a Giants run defense allowing an NFL-high 5.4 YPC and 146.6 yards from scrimmage/game to RBs this year. Cook has averaged 108.4 YFS with six touchdowns at home this season.

In a week filled with low over/unders and matchups dealing with poor weather, Cook plays indoors on a Vikings offense with one of the highest totals on the slate.

Sit: All Falcons

Start: J.K. Dobbins

The Ravens are incredibly stingy against the run, and Desmond Ridder managed just 3.7 YPA during his first career start last week. Drake London can be used in fantasy leagues if needed, but there’s limited upside in such a tough matchup. The Falcons have the lowest implied team total this week — and the Saints/Browns game has an over/under of 32.5 points!

Dobbins leads the NFL in rushing yards over the last two weeks despite clearly still not being 100 percent healthy. More targets would be nice, and Justice Hill actually saw the same number of snaps last week, but Saturday’s game script will likely be much different and should help Dobbins. Baltimore has easily the highest run rate in the league with Lamar Jackson out.

Sit: Jamaal Williams & D’Onta Foreman

Start: DJ Moore

Williams leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns (14), but he has just one target and is without a catch since October. He played fewer snaps than both D’Andre Swift and Justin Jackson last week. Williams belongs on fantasy benches while playing on the road against a Carolina defense allowing just 4.9 yards per play over the last three weeks.

Foreman played 14 snaps last week and is also a bench candidate against what’s suddenly become the stingiest run defense in the NFL.

Moore, on the other hand, looks like a sneaky-strong fantasy start this week. He leads all receivers in air yardage share this season and has a whopping 68 percent slot rate since Sam Darnold took over, while the Lions have allowed the most fantasy points in the league this year.

Start: Devin Singletary

Sit: David Montgomery

Singletary reclaimed Buffalo’s lead-back role last week, seeing 17 opportunities (compared to eight for James Cook) while playing 60% of the snaps. This week the Bills are 8.5-point favorites against a shaky Chicago run defense. There could be wind gusts up to 35 mph, and opponents already have an NFL-high run rate when facing the Bears this season. Singletary should be busy this week.

While weather conditions could call for more running, Montgomery will be fighting for carries with both his quarterback and the returning Khalil Herbert. Buffalo was gashed by Raheem Mostert last week but has mostly been tough against opposing fantasy backs this season, but Herbert’s return is the real concern. Montgomery has been a top-25 RB all four games since Herbert went down (and top-12 in three of them), but his average weekly finish was the RB33 over the 10 games together earlier this season.

Montgomery is more of a FLEX/bench option this week if you have alternatives.

Fade in DFS: Alvin Kamara ($23)

Sit: Amari Cooper

Kamara has averaged 121.9 yards from scrimmage at home this season but just 59.4 on the road (with zero touchdowns and a 3.5 YPC mark). After entering 2022 with just two lost fumbles during his career, Kamara has lost more (four) this season than he’s scored touchdowns (three). It’s been a down year for Kamara further worsened by a lesser role, as he hasn’t seen a carry inside the five-yard line since Week 8 (just two all season) and somehow ran fewer routes than David Johnson last week.

Kamara gets a Browns defense allowing the most EPA/rush but in a matchup with extreme weather conditions and a historically low 32.5-point total. Taysom Hill has become a bigger part of New Orleans’ rushing offense recently when Kamara’s targets have also declined. It’s not an ideal setup during the fantasy playoffs.

Is Alvin Kamara’s rough fantasy season set to continue in Week 16? (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Cooper typically performs at home, but he’s playing through a hip injury and has struggled mightily with Deshaun Watson. In a game that’s projected to see wind gusts up to 50 mph, Cooper’s over/under for receiving yards is a lowly 32.5 (Andy Dalton’s 135.5 passing yards prop is one of the lowest ever).

Start in DFS: DK Metcalf ($26), Jerick McKinnon ($22)

Metcalf isn’t a huge bargain, but he’s undervalued with a salary outside the top-five WRs despite Tyler Lockett being out. Metcalf has been 31% more likely to see a target with Lockett off the field during his career, plays in his pass-happiest offense ever and is facing a Kansas City defense with the fourth-highest pass rate against this season (opponents are averaging more than 36 pass attempts per game).

The Chiefs have also allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers and a whopping 30 passing touchdowns — five more than the team ceding the next most. Both teams are top-10 in Pace (neutral situations), so Metcalf looks like a strong DFS play this week.

McKinnon has remarkably been the top-scoring fantasy RB in back-to-back weeks while Isiah Pacheco has also averaged 16 opportunities over that span. But McKinnon has quietly been dominating red-zone snaps as well as the high-value touches in a Kansas City offense averaging the most yards per play, EPA/play and points per game this season.

McKinnon’s recent fantasy production is obviously unsustainable, but it feels less painful paying for recent stats when his salary remains so affordable (still not priced as a top-12 RB). “Jet” is getting the second-most yards per touch this season, has seen 17 targets from Patrick Mahomes over the last two weeks and will continue to benefit from a potent KC offense; it has easily the highest implied point total on the slate.

McKinnon gets a fading Seattle team that’s allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns and fantasy points to running backs, so he remains undervalued with Clyde Edwards-Helaire still out.

Fade in DFS: Joe Burrow ($35)

Sit: All Patriots but Rhamondre Stevenson

Burrow would be an easy top-five pick if starting an NFL franchise, but his YPA has dropped from 8.6 at home to 7.0 on the road during his career. The Patriots defense has allowed the fewest yards per play (4.5) at home this season and ranks top-three in pressure rate and sacks recorded (48). New England has given up a couple of big fantasy performances from rushing quarterbacks this year, but the Pats have shut down pocket passers.

Game script could also pose a problem, as Burrow may not need to throw much in a matchup featuring a struggling Mac Jones (or Bailey Zappe?) against a surging Bengals defense. Pay $2 more for Patrick Mahomes‘ salary instead.

The Bengals are tough against the run with a healthy DJ Reader, but Stevenson is a must-start if active right now. Otherwise, it’s unclear who’s even going to play quarterback for a New England offense that’s produced just one play for 50+ yards all season, so all other Patriots should be benched.

Start: All Texans

Start in DFS: Derrick Henry ($39)

Chris Moore is now battling both a foot injury and a likely returning Brandin Cooks for targets from a QB (Davis Mills) who’s thrown more interceptions than touchdowns on the road this season. Houston also employs a running back by committee and will be in a game featuring a ton of Tennessee runs, making all Texans easy to sit in fantasy leagues this week.

Henry struggled through a stretch of tough run defenses but has bounced back while getting 5.9 YPC over the last two games. He’s already set career-highs as a receiver this season and will see even more work in the passing game with Dontrell Hilliard on IR (although fewer targets may come with Malik Willis starting at QB down the stretch).

The Texans have ceded the most fantasy points to running backs and the second-most rushing touchdowns (19) this season. Henry has averaged 223 rushing yards with nine touchdowns over his last four games versus Houston, including a huge performance with Willis starting earlier this season. Houston has admittedly played better defense recently, and it should be noted Tennessee is dealing with a ton of injuries at offensive line. But Henry has put up far better fantasy production during Tennessee wins, and the Titans are five-point favorites this week. He’s a strong (albeit popular) DFS building block.

Washington Commanders @ San Francisco 49ers

Sit: Brian Robinson

Start in DFS: George Kittle ($14)

Robinson has a bright future, but he played just 36% of Washington’s snaps last week and could once again find himself in a negative game script as touchdown underdogs in San Francisco. The rookie has gotten 3.7 YPC on the road this season and faces a 49ers defense allowing an NFL-low 3.4 YPC and the fewest fantasy points to running backs. In fact, no RB has run for 60 yards against them this season, which is especially bad news for a back like Robinson, who has just 10 targets on the year. San Francisco has ceded only one touchdown to a running back since Week 7, and opponents have by far the lowest run rate (29%!) when playing in Levi’s Stadium this season.

Robinson — and Terry McLaurin — should be considered bench candidates this week against the league’s best defense.

Washington has yielded the fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season but has also been far easier to pass against than run. Moreover, Kittle has a 21% target rate over the last two games with Joe Montana Brock Purdy starting, and that figures to remain with Deebo Samuel sidelined. Given Kittle’s upside at an extremely weak tight end position, he’s intriguing at $14 in an incredibly favorable matchup.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys

Start: Gardner Minshew

Sit: Michael Gallup

It’s not the easiest matchup, but Minshew will benefit from one of the league’s best offensive lines, group of receivers (that includes the return of Dallas Goedert) and play caller. Minshew posted a 104.7 Passer Rating and got 7.4 YPA with a 4:1 TD:INT ratio over two starts last year, including a top-10 fantasy QB finish during a week he played on the road against the Jets. He’s averaged more fantasy points when starting throughout his career than Justin Herbert has this season (and now gets to throw to AJ Brown).

Minshew is the clear best option if you’re looking to punt salary in DFS this week and should be considered a top-10 QB in the fantasy playoffs.

Gardner Minshew #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles

Gardner Minshew is set up for success in Week 16. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Miles Sanders deserves a boost with the QB change (more GL carries/targets), while DeVonta Smith is in a possible eruption spot facing a Dallas secondary struggling mightily against WR2s.

Gallup is the third or fourth receiving option on a run-heavy Dallas offense and is facing an Eagles secondary allowing the fewest fantasy points to outside WRs this season.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Sit: Derek Carr

Start: Najee Harris

Pittsburgh’s defense is much tougher with a healthy T.J. Watt, and Carr historically struggles in cold weather. Temperatures are projected to feel like -2 degrees at kickoff Saturday night, and the Steelers have allowed multiple TD passes in a game just once since Week 8. This matchup sets up for a nice bounce-back game for Davante Adams, but it’s rough for Carr (and Josh Jacobs).

Harris has looked healthier recently and finished as a top-15 RB last week despite losing goal-line touchdowns to Jaylen Warren and Mitch Trubisky. Las Vegas’ defense ranks last in DVOA and has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs this season.

Green Bay Packers @ Miami Dolphins

Start: Aaron Rodgers, Raheem Mostert

Rodgers has won the last two MVP awards but hasn’t finished inside the top-10 fantasy QBs in any week this season. But that changes this week against a pass-funnel Dolphins defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Opponents also have the second-highest pass rate (68%) when playing in Miami, and Rodgers finally has a healthy Christian Watson, Allen Lazard and Romeo Doubs together. In a matchup with the highest total (50 points) in a weekend slate filled with poor weather, Rodgers has his best fantasy performance of the year.

Mostert has recorded a season-high in snap share in back-to-back weeks and is looking at a nice workload again Sunday with Jeff Wilson still dealing with a hip injury. Facing a Green Bay run defense that ranks last in DVOA and allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to running backs, Mostert is a must-start regardless — and becomes a top-10 RB this week if Wilson sits.

Denver Broncos @ Los Angeles Rams

Sit: Everyone but Latavius Murray & Cam Akers

This matchup has a lowly 36.5-point over/under — and doesn’t have weather as an excuse while playing indoors. The Rams have gotten the second-fewest yards per play at home this season (and are now playing mostly backups), while the possible return of Courtland Sutton spreads out an unproductive Denver passing tree. Murray and Akers lack huge upside but can be safely started this week given their usage, but all others can be avoided in this matchup (although Greg Dulcich is sure to see double-digit targets one week after he flopped when so many used him in DFS against Arizona).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Arizona Cardinals

Start: Tom Brady

Sit: Marquise Brown

Brady is on pace to throw 30 more passes this season than any QB in NFL history, and he gets an Arizona pass defense that ranks last in DVOA. Tampa Bay gets to play indoors against a third-string QB and sports one of the week’s highest implied team totals. Brady has gotten minimal help from his running backs all season and should be in your starting lineup this week.

Hollywood hasn’t reached 50 yards or 8.0 fantasy points (0.5 PPR) since returning despite seeing eight targets in all three games. Brown was a mid-week addition to the injury report with a groin injury and is catching passes from third-string QB Trace McSorley while competing for targets with DeAndre Hopkins. No thanks.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Indianapolis Colts

Sit: Josh Palmer

Start: Zack Moss

Palmer’s five targets and 65% snap share last game were both his lowest since Week 4, as he’s now a smaller part of LA’s offense with Mike Williams and Keenan Allen finally healthy together (as well as Gerald Everett and Donald Parham). The Colts have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to wideouts this season, so Palmer is a shaky fantasy start Monday night.

Moss saw heavier usage than Deon Jackson after Jonathan Taylor went down early last week, including playing every snap in overtime after Jackson lost a late fourth-quarter fumble. Moss isn’t a special back, but he led the league in red-zone touches last week and is looking at another heavy workload with Nick Foles making his first start of the year Monday night. He also gets to face a run-funnel Chargers defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs.

Los Angeles has allowed a 100-yard rusher in four of the past five games. Moss is a sneaky RB2 in the fantasy semifinals, while Jackson can be used as a FLEX in PPR leagues.

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