The end of the road for most fantasy teams is this week's championship game. Listening to the right advice can make or break your team and I'd like to try to help you across the finish line by providing you with a few great plays for Week 16. As always, quite a few guys that may have been helping you throughout the season are probably headed to IR or underperforming at this point in the season. So who do we turn to? Let's find out..
The drop-off for QB ownership is a steep one. Right around Andy Dalton, QBs are either quite a bit better or quite a bit worse. Actually, let's include Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez in that.. we can call it the 'QB Triangle'. If one of these guys is your starter (in 1, or 2 QB leagues), you've got serious problems to address. Although I think that Johnny Manziel (37% owned) will have a good performance eventually, he looked sufficiently bad for me to avoid him for the remainder of the season at least. Alex Smith (37% owned) on the other hand, had a great game with 297 yards and 2 TDs against the Raiders. Smith has been a consistent member of the drinkfive waiver wire list and should continue to do well against the Steelers pass defense which is still susceptible to big plays on the outside. Smith has more points this season than Kaepernick or Dalton and almost as many as Newton and Romo. If you need help at the position, don't sleep on him.
Much like the 'QB' triangle, we have a similar collection of players that should not be owned in Cordarelle Patterson, Denard Robinson and We Welker all hovering around the 50% mark. But can we find some real talent at the position if we dig a little deeper? Well, once more, Charles Johnson (32% owned) had a good game and put up 5 receptions for 72 yards against the great Lions pass defense. Remember that he's a rookie, but with this year's draft class.. why not another standout receiver? Clearly the Vikes' #1 guy at this point, look for a similar performance but with a great chance of a TD against a slipping Dolphins pass defense this week. Harry Douglas (27% owned) is an interesting pickup if he's still available in your league, because he had a great game and Julio Jones may be out again this week. Although Coach Mike Smith says he expects him to suit up - he is not to be trusted. I keep hearing Cecil Shorts (41% owned) and Stedman Bailey (14% owned) but I don't believe it and you shouldn't either. Both guys are too unpredictable this year and on teams that are equally difficult to predict.
Now that we're comparing what players exist around that 50% mark at each position, let's look at RBs. Got any guesses? Due to dual-eligibility, Denard Robinson is here again of course, but not including Robinson we have Doug Martin, Ben Tate and Terrance West. What a great collection of running backs that is! The decline in ownership is much less steep but we can definitely pull some talent out of the pool here. Carlos Hyde (35% owned) was running very well last week before hurting his back on a play. Looks like he'll play ahead of Gore at this point, though. He is worth a pickup in every league, even if you're not going to start him.. just so your opponent can't start him against you. With Gore likely out with a concussion, Hyde will monopolize the carries if he plays. Kerwynn Williams (18% owned) was an unlikely candidate to perform well last week due to a committee backfield and good Rams' rushing defense, but he still went off for 75 yards on 15 carries and caught 2 passes for 11 yards. Grice looks to be a non-factor and Stepfan Taylor will split the carries but Williams is the better bet for a TD. Bad news? Seattle. And they've been playing well. I like Williams but would stay away from this situation unless you're desperate.
Yeah I know, you just can't wait.. ok, I'll tell you. The 50%'ers at TE this season are Jordan Cameron, Kyle Rudolph and Charles Clay. Wow, a couple of those guys were definitely taken pretty high up in drafts this preseason. Moving on, Mychal Rivera (26% owned) is still not owned in many leagues this year and presents a good option about 1/2 of the time. Better in PPR leagues because of the volume he gets, Rivera is still a good bit better than the TEs owned less than him. Jermaine Gresham (9% owned) just scored a TD last week and has been getting consistent targets all year. Also, he plays against Denver who has given up quite a few points to opposing TEs. Unfortunately, he was inactive for last week's game against the Browns even though he was warming up on the field. Apparently some kind of toe injury, reports say that Gresham should be starting again against the Broncos in Week 16. I actually like him a lot here if you think he'll be a go.
Defense / Special Teams:
Here I like Carolina (vs. CLE), Miami (vs. MIN), Green Bay (@TB) and Jacksonville (vs. TEN)