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Week 16 fantasy football matchups preview

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Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans, 4:30 p.m. ET (Sat.), NFLN


Redskins

Josh Johnson: Sit
Adrian Peterson: Sit
Josh Doctson: Sit
Jamison Crowder: Sit
Vernon Davis: Sit
Jeremy Sprinkle: Sit
Redskins DST: Sit

Washington's offense has been mostly missing since Week 3. The team has failed to score 24 or more points in 11 straight games and has only accomplished the feat twice all season. It won't help things that they're on their fourth quarterback of the season and trying to run an aging back behind a makeshift offensive line. The wide receivers have been inconsistent at best and ineffectual at worst. Jordan Reed was held out of practice earlier in the week and could miss another game, leaving Washington with a pair of tight ends that have combined for 28 catches. Even Washington's defense hasn't offered much fight lately. Avoid this team at all costs.

Titans


Marcus Mariota: Stream
Derrick Henry: Start
Dion Lewis: Beware
Corey Davis: Flex
Tajae Sharpe: Deep sleeper
Taywan Taylor: Deep sleeper
Anthony Firkser: Sit
Titans DST: Stream

The inconsistency of the Tennessee offense has made it a tough nut to crack this season but a Week 16 matchup with a moribund Washington defense is reason to believe in this unit as a whole. After a pair of heroic weeks, Derrick Henry is going to be in plenty of lineups. The real question is whether the Titans will find a decent number of touches for Dion Lewis. Marcus Mariota's numbers barely get him in the top 25 among quarterbacks but is worth a look as a streamer this week. Corey Davis is Tennessee's only pass-catcher worth serious consideration. Give the Titans defense a spin against one of the NFL's worst offenses.

Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers, 8:20 p.m. ET (Sat.), NFLN


Ravens


Lamar Jackson: Beware
Gus Edwards: Flex
Kenneth Dixon: Flex
John Brown: Sit
Michael Crabtree: Sit
Ravens TEs: Good luck
Ravens DST: Beware

Lamar Jackson has been improving week after week but the Ravens aren't exactly an offensive juggernaut. That makes is really hard to start Jackson or any of Baltimore's pass-catchers. The good news is that the Chargers have been vulnerable to the run for the past several weeks, meaning some combination of Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon will have flex appeal this weekend. The Ravens defense has normally been a solid play but might be a tough start versus a Chargers offense that has been humming recently.

Chargers


Philip Rivers: Beware
Melvin Gordon: Start
Austin Ekeler: Flex
Keenan Allen: Start
Mike Williams: Flex
Tyrell Williams: Beware
Antonio Gates: Sit
Chargers DST: Stream

This game is likely to cause plenty of fantasy consternation. You have a handful of top level players going against one of the league's toughest defenses. It's also worth keeping an eye on the injury status of Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler as that will have a major impact on L.A.'s rotation. All three are expected to play but, of course, that's always subject to change. With the Ravens offense not manufacturing a lot of points and Lamar Jackson still getting his legs as a passer, streaming the Chargers defense isn't an awful idea.

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Bengals


Jeff Driskel: Sit
Joe Mixon: Start
John Ross: Sleeper
Alex Erickson: Sit
Cody Core: Sit
C.J. Uzomah: Sleeper Bengals DST: Sit

The Bengals keep losing fantasy-relevant pieces, which makes their remaining skill position players even more dicey options. At this point, the only Bengal you can have any reasonable expectation of producing is Joe Mixon. Unfortunately, he's facing a defense that has been hard on running backs over the past few weeks. There's very little in the Cincinnati passing game that will get people excited. The Bengals defense hasn't excited many people all year.

Browns


Baker Mayfield: Start
Nick Chubb: Start
Jarvis Landry: Flex
Rashard Higgins: Sit
Antonio Callaway: Sit
David Njoku: Start
Browns DST: Stream

The last time the Browns and Bengals tangled, Cleveland and its skill players had a field day. In the interim, then Bengals haven't gotten any better. That means you can confidently roll with Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb. The pass-catchers have been more of a mixed bag, though Jarvis Landry and David Njoku figure to see the majority of the targets in the passing game. With Cincinnati so short-handed on offense, streaming the Browns defense could pay dividends.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Buccaneers


Jameis Winston: Beware
Peyton Barber: Sit
Mike Evans: Start
DeSean Jackson: Sit
Adam Humphries: Flex
Chris Godwin: Sit
Cameron Brate: Start
Buccaneers DST: Sit

Tampa's offense has been good for much of the year but it's hit a rough patch the last couple of weeks and has the unenviable task of facing the Cowboys in Dallas. That's enough to avoid starting Jameis Winston, though you might consider his top pass-catchers in Evans, Humphries, and Brate. DeSean Jackson is expected to return after missing three games with a hand injury. But his production has been far too inconsistent to trust this week. Dallas' stout run defense is all the reason you need to avoid Peyton Barber in Week 16. Tampa's flexible defense in general is all the reason you need to avoid it in Week 16.

Cowboys


Dak Prescott: Start
Ezekiel Elliott: Start
Amari Cooper: Start
Michael Gallup: Sleeper
Cole Beasley: Sleeper
Blake Jarwin: Stream
Cowboys DST: Start

After being shut out last week, this is a redemption game for the Cowboys offense. The Bucs have consistently been one of the league's worst defenses and doesn't figure to be up to the task of stopping Ezekiel Elliott or Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup has sleeper potential while Cole Beasley figures to have greater appeal in PPR leagues. There's no need to rehash the shallowness of the tight end pool but it's what makes Blake Jarwin a streaming option this week. Dallas' defense has been among the NFL's best and should get a starting nod in plenty of leagues.

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Vikings


Kirk Cousins: Beware
Dalvin Cook: Start
Adam Thielen: Start
Stefon Diggs: Start
Kyle Rudolph: Sit
Vikings DST: Start

This offense has been fairly concentrated all season, which makes it easy to identify the skill position players to start. Keep in mind that earlier this season, Diggs missed the game against Detroit while the Lions shut down Adam Thielen. But this seems like an odd time to sit them unless there are other slam dunks on your roster. You can sit Kyle Rudolph, who hasn't given you much since Week 3. Minnesota's fourth-ranked fantasy defense against a Lions offense that has scared few is a smart choice.

Lions


Matthew Stafford: Sleeper
Zach Zenner: Sleeper
LeGarrette Blount: Sit
Theo Riddick: Sit
Kenny Golladay: Beware
T.J. Jones: Sit
Levine Toilolo: Sit
Lions DST: Sit

It wasn't that long ago that the Lions had a number of startable options. Now it comes down to a questionable Kenny Golladay start and a Zach Zenner choice for the brave or desperate. Beyond that, it's hard to make a case for another Detroit player against the Vikings defense. It's been hard to make a case for the Detroit defense for most of the year.

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Bills


Josh Allen: Stream
LeSean McCoy: Flex
Robert Foster: Sleeper
Zay Jones: Deep sleeper
Charles Clay: Sit
Bills DST: Beware

Josh Allen has been a surprise fantasy playoff hero but his ability to help you to a championship believes in your confidence to put him in the lineup. The numbers say regression is coming but so far, he's stiff-armed it like so many would-be tacklers. Will his demise come against a below average Patriots defense? LeSean McCoy is back and could see enough touches to warrant a flex start. Robert Foster has become a name worth noting in recent weeks and is a risk-reward option for daily leagues. The Bills defense has been tough but a road matchup in Foxborough might not be worth the risk.

Patriots


Tom Brady: Beware
Sony Michel: Flex
James White: Sit
Rex Burkhead: Sit
Julian Edelman: Flex
Chris Hogan: Deep sleeper
Rob Gronkowski: Start
Patriots DST: Sit

It's very strange to be this late into the season and not have confidence in a lot of Patriots offensive players. Tom Brady hasn't been the player we're used to seeing this year and facing this Bills defense isn't a positive development. Belitricks have returned along with Rex Burkhead and James Develin, rendering Sony Michel and James White far less valuable for fantasy lineups. Josh Gordon's departure opens up more snaps for Chris Hogan but it's likely that the bulk of the targets still go in the direction of Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. The Bills offense isn't great ... but neither is the Patriots defense. That feels like a mediocre fantasy number waiting to happen.

Green Bay Packers at New York Jets, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Packers


Aaron Rodgers: Beware
Jamaal Williams: Start
Davante Adams: Start
Marquez Valdes-Scantling: Sit
Equanimeous St. Brown: Sit
Jimmy Graham: Sit
Packers DST: Stream

Green Bay's offense has not been the juggernaut we're used to seeing. Aaron Rodgers has been a fringe QB1 at best and there have been questions all week whether he would play ... and how much he might play. Either way, Davante Adams should be in your lineup as he continues a season in which he has arguably made the leap to join the elite fantasy receivers. With Aaron Jones on injured reserve, Jamaal Williams will see a large volume of touches. Any of Green Bay's other pass-catchers are more risk than reward. The Packers defense is a streaming option at best.

Jets


Sam Darnold: Sleeper
Elijah McGuire: Flex
Robby Anderson: Flex
Jermaine Kearse: Deep sleeper
Chris Herndon: Start
Jets DST: Stream

Sam Darnold is coming off the best game of his young career against a good Houston Texans defense. This week's challenge doesn't figure to be quite as stiff against a struggling Packers secondary. Robby Anderson has been one of his favorite targets in recent weeks with Chris Herndon becoming a bigger part of the offense. The potential of the Packers offense to erupt at any moment makes the Jets defense a nervous start at best.

Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Texans


Deshaun Watson: Start
Lamar Miller: Beware
Alfred Blue: Sit
D'Onta Foreman: Deep sleeper
DeAndre Hopkins: Start
Demaryius Thomas: Sleeper
Ryan Griffin: Stream
Texans DST: Start

Forget what you saw last week against the Rams, this Eagles defense still has a slew of issues in the secondary. Those issues could be on full display this week against a red-hot Texans passing game. Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins should pick up where they left off last week with Demaryius Thomas and/or Ryan Griffin getting into the act -- though the latter two are much more gut shot plays. As good as the Texans defense has been, it's hard to go away from them against an average Eagles defense.

Eagles


Nick Foles: Sit
Josh Adams: Beware
Wendell Smallwood: Sit
Darren Sproles: Sit
Alshon Jeffery: Flex
Golden Tate: Sleeper
Nelson Agholor: Deep sleeper
Zach Ertz: Start
Eagles DST: Sit

Philly's offense has been fairly stagnant the last few weeks and this matchup doesn't figure to jump-start them. The best option is Alshon Jeffery, who has returned to our fantasy lives after with the insertion of Nick Foles to the starting lineup. Jeffery now gets his shot at a Houston secondary that has been vulnerable in recent weeks. That might extend to Golden Tate having some PPR value this week. Zach Ertz disappointed last week but he's still too good to keep out of the lineup this week.

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Falcons


Matt Ryan: Start
Tevin Coleman: Start
Julio Jones: Beware
Calvin Ridley: Flex
Mohamed Sanu: Sleeper
Austin Hooper: Stream
Falcons DST: Sit

The Falcons offense has rebounded from a mid-season slump and should be a solid play against a poor Panthers pass defense. Matt Ryan could be a championship winner for teams this week. Julio Jones is a game-time decision, so you'll need to keep tabs on him. If Jones doesn't go, it means more work for Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu at the receiver spots. Carolina has struggled with tight ends, which is good news for Austin Hooper as a streamer. Tevin Coleman should get a heavy workload with Ito Smith on injured reserve, although Carolina's run defense has been stout. You could stream the Falcons defense against the Panthers' backup quarterback but I'd consider other options first.

Panthers


Taylor Heinicke: Sit
Christian McCaffrey: Start
Devin Funchess: Beware
D.J. Moore: Beware
Curtis Samuel: Beware
Ian Thomas: Sit
Panthers DST: Sit

The loss of Cam Newton changes a lot of things in this offense. Maybe. Then again, with Cam's shoulder ailing the past few weeks, things hasn't been that great anyway. But with Heinicke in the starting job, it becomes nearly impossible to project what's to come for the pass-catchers. The only near-certainty is that Christian McCaffrey will be loaded up with even more touches than he's already seeing. That's good news against a defense that has had no answers for pass-catching running backs this year. Carolina's defense has been too shaky to seriously consider starting.

New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Giants


Eli Manning: Sit
Saquon Barkley: Start
Sterling Shepard: Beware
Russell Shepard: Sit
Evan Engram: Start
Giants DST: Beware

You haven't really been able to trust Eli Manning all season long. Facing an ascending Colts defense and not having Odell Beckham Jr. isn't going to make you more confident. This isn't a cake matchup for Saquon Barkley but Big Blue should lean on him after a poor Week 15 showing. Evan Engram is worth at least a stream due to the poor nature of the position. The Giants defense isn't an awful start but challenging the Colts in the dome seems like a questionable decision.

Colts


Andrew Luck: Start
Marlon Mack: Start
T.Y. Hilton: Beware
Chester Rogers: Sit
Ryan Grant: Sit
Eric Ebron: Start
Colts DST: Stream

This could be a rebound week for Luck, even against a Giants defense that has been tough on quarterbacks this year. That fear is multiplied for T.Y. Hilton versus a tough New York secondary. The good news for Eric Ebron is that the Giants have been fairly pliable against tight ends. Marlon Mack is a quality start against a bad Giants run defense. With the Giants short on playmakers and a bad offensive line, starting the Colts defense is a good idea.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Jaguars


Cody Kessler: Sit
Leonard Fournette: Beware
T.J. Yeldon: Sleeper
David Williams: Deep sleeper
Donte Moncrief: Sit
Dede Westbrook: Deep sleeper
Keelan Cole: Sit
Jaguars DST: Stream

So ... the Jaguars offense, amirite? For weeks, Leonard Fournette had been the only thing we could count on. That likely goes away this week with Fournette being limited in practice and admitting to not being in the best shape. That would open the door for David Williams to see more touches against a bad Dolphins run defense. If you think you're counting on anyone in the Jacksonville passing game this week, you are far braver than me. The Jags defense has let us down plenty this season and should be well down the list of units you select in Week 16.

Dolphins


Ryan Tannehill: Sit
Kalen Ballage: Sleeper
Kenyan Drake: Deep sleeper
Kenny Stills: Sleeper
DeVante Parker: Sit
Dolphins DST: Stream

Ryan Tannehill has been all kinds of mediocre this season and isn't worth risking in your championship week -- especially as he deals with shoulder and ankle injuries. That will have a negative impact on all of Miami's already underwhelming pass-catchers. With Frank Gore on the shelf, Kalen Ballage steps into a sizable role in the offense and has sleeper potential. That leaves Kenyan Drake in his same secondary role ... good luck with that. With the Jaguars offense as inept as its ever been, the Dolphins defense is a good streaming option this week.

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET, NFLN


Rams


Jared Goff: Beware
Todd Gurley: Beware
C.J. Anderson: Deep sleeper
Robert Woods: Start
Brandin Cooks: Flex
Josh Reynolds: Beware
Gerald Everett: Sit
Tyler Higbee: Sit
Rams DST: Start

In the most important week of the fantasy season, the Rams come with lots of uncertainty. Jared Goff faces a tough passing defense in the midst of a massive slump that will undoubtedly impact his receivers and tight ends. Todd Gurley is dealing with an injury that leaves him as a game-time decision and has the newly-signed C.J. Anderson poised to get a big workload. The upside is that the Rams defense is a solid play against the NFL's least productive offense.

Cardinals


Josh Rosen: Sit
David Johnson: Start
Larry Fitzgerald: Beware
Trent Sherfield: Sit
Ricky Seals-Jones: Sit
Cardinals DST: Sit

The Cardinals offense has been a fantasy black hole all season. David Johnson is worth starting because of a combination of volume and a Rams defense that will give up yards on the ground. Beyond that, it's hard to envision starting any other Cardinals fantasy options -- including the defense.

Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX


Bears


Mitchell Trubisky: Stream
Tarik Cohen: Start
Jordan Howard: Sleeper
Allen Robinson: Flex
Anthony Miller: Sleeper
Taylor Gabriel: Sit
Trey Burton: Stream
Bears DST: Start

The Bears offense has been so inconsistent and hard to figure this season. The Niners defense hasn't been as dreadful as its been in past seasons. That makes for sketchy projections of who to start this week. Tarik Cohen remains the most reliable Bears option but Jordan Howard has seen more work in recent weeks and could be a sleeper. In the passing game, a bad San Francisco secondary gives Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller a little hope. Trey Burton's touchdown catch last week puts him back on the radar but he is far from a confident start. Chicago's defense? A very confident start.

49ers


Nick Mullens: Sit
Matt Breida: Flex
Jeff Wilson: Sit
Marquise Wilson: Beware
Dante Pettis: Sleeper
George Kittle: Start
49ers DST: Sit

The Bears defense is a force to be reckoned with and it's probably not the wisest decision to challenge it with Nick Mullens this week. Matt Breida is an option simply because of the volume he's likely to get this weekend. Dante Pettis has become a nice option in the San Francisco passing game lately and should still see a number of targets while George Kittle is about the closest thing to a must-start as there is at the tight end position. Even against an uneven Bears offense, you probably shouldn't start the Niners defense.

Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS


Steelers


Ben Roethlisberger: Start
Jaylen Samuels: Flex
Antonio Brown: Start
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Beware
James Washington: Deep sleeper
Vance McDonald: Stream
Steelers DST: Sit

The expectation is that this will be a high-scoring game on a fast track. That's good news for Big Ben and whichever of his pass-catchers will be available (keep tabs on JuJu Smith-Schuster's status). The Saints run defense could make things hard on Jaylen Samuels but his ability in the passing game could salvage some value. The Pittsburgh defense isn't a great choice against the Saints on their home field.

Saints


Drew Brees: Start
Alvin Kamara: Start
Mark Ingram: Flex
Michael Thomas: Start
Tre'Quan Smith: Deep sleeper
Benjamin Watson: Beware
Saints DST: Beware

Where has the Saints offense gone? We haven't seen anything great from them since Thanksgiving. Hopefully a return home to the Superdome is what Brees and company need to get back on track. Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are lineup locks while Mark Ingram is at best a flex play this week. The rest of the New Orleans pass-catchers are tough to trust this week. The Saints defense has been solid for a long stretch now. This isn't the best matchup but it's worth keeping the faith.

Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC


Chiefs


Patrick Mahomes: Start
Damien Williams: Start
Tyreek Hill: Start
Chris Conley: Sit
Travis Kelce: Start
Chiefs DST: Beware

The Kansas City offense has been fantasy gold this year and is too hard to abandon in the ultimate fantasy week. With Spencer Ware looking doubtful for this week, Damien Williams is in line for another huge workload. The main cogs in the passing game are all systems go this week against an average Seattle secondary. The Chiefs defense has been a rollercoaster. Take the chance if you dare.

Seahawks


Russell Wilson: Start
Chris Carson: Start
Mike Davis: Sleeper
Tyler Lockett: Start
Doug Baldwin: Beware
David Moore: Sleeper
Nick Vannett: Sleeper
Seahawks DST: Sit

The Seattle offense has been a boon for fantasy managers ever since the start of November and facing the Chiefs in Championship Week feels like a excellent holiday gift. Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett should continue to mesh well against a pliable secondary. Doug Baldwin might not go this week, which could open more targets for David Moore and Nick Vannett. Chris Carson should find plenty of room to work against the Kansas City run defense. The only concern would be starting the Seattle defense against this juggernaut offense.

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders, 8:15 p.m. ET (Mon.), ESPN


Broncos


Case Keenum: Sit
Phillip Lindsay: Start
Royce Freeman: Sleeper
Courtland Sutton: Beware
DaeSean Hamilton: Sleeper
Tim Patrick: Sleeper
Matt LaCosse: Sleeper
Broncos DST: Stream

Phillip Lindsay has been the only sure thing in this offense since the loss of Emmanuel Sanders and should rumble against the Raiders. If you're taking a chance on the Broncos passing game, Tim Patrick has been a nice option lately with DaeSean Hamilton working not too far behind. Everyone else is a dart throw this week, although streaming Matt LaCosse isn't a terrible idea. Denver's defense isn't quite the same but could produce some sacks against the Raiders offensive line.

Raiders


Derek Carr: Sit
Doug Martin: Flex
Jalen Richard: Sleeper
Jordy Nelson: Beware
Seth Roberts: Sit
Jared Cook: Start
Raiders DST: Sit

After putting together a few weeks of credible football, things came crashing down for the Raiders last week against a bad Cincinnati defense. Now we're back to really only trusting Jared Cook to produce this week. That's not a great feeling. If you want to start any other Raiders, you're welcome to do so ... but you can certainly try to find better options.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who is ho-ho-hopeful that 2019 can be pretty awesome. Send him your end-of-year thoughts via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook, and Instagram.

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