Week 16 fantasy football matchups, starts and sits

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Sadly, I couldn't escape the season without getting sick. Wednesday night I got hit hard, and I was out of commission until Friday morning, which is why many of these games weren't completed and why now that they are, the analysis is a bit thin in some places. I appreciate your patience and understanding for this week. Good luck in championships and thanks for following along all year.

As always, this is where I go game-by-game and player-by-player for every Week 16 contest. Those looking for quick-hitting start/sit/flex/stream analysis will find that listed for the main players for every team. Below that, I do my best to preview the game with additional insight, stats, and analysis to contextualize my recommendations.

This column wouldn't be possible without our incredible research teams, both @NFLResearch and the fine folks at Next Gen Stats. So thanks to all of you and all that you do.

*NOTE: Check back for more game previews later in the week. I was struck by the illness bug this week and fell behind on my writing, so the rest of the games will be added when I can actually get out of bed.

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens, 4:30 p.m. ET on NFL Network (Saturday)


Colts
 » Jacoby Brissett, QB: SIT
 » Frank Gore, RB: FLEX
 » Marlon Mack, RB: SIT
 » T.Y. Hilton, WR: SIT
 » Jack Doyle, TE: START
 » Colts D/ST: SIT

Jacoby Brissett is averaging 149 passing yards per game over the last four weeks with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. Yes, one of those games was the snow game in Buffalo, but we're not starting Brissett against one of the league's best defenses. The Ravens are allowing under four yards per carry over the last month, which doesn't bode well for Frank Gore's outlook. The veteran saw 13 touches last week despite missing part of the first half against the Broncos, so the volume will likely be there again. But if he can't threaten the end zone his upside will be in the RB3 range. T.Y. Hilton hasn't been startable in weeks and now must face a Ravens secondary that is still tough to score on without Jimmy Smith (no touchdowns allowed to wideouts in their last four games). Jack Doyle is worth a look at tight end, though. He has seven-plus catches in four of his last six non-snowpocalypse games, and no team has given up more receptions to tight ends over the last month than the Ravens (27).

Ravens
 » Joe Flacco, QB: STREAM
 » Alex Collins, RB: START
 » Jeremy Maclin, WR: SIT
 » Mike Wallace, WR: FLEX
 » Benjamin Watson, TE: SIT
 » Ravens D/ST: START

As Matt Franciscovich notes in his Week 16 streamers article, over the last three weeks Joe Flacco averages 275.3 pass yards per game and 7.3 pass yards per attempt compared to a dismal 170.5 and 5.3 mark in his first 11 games. He's averaged over 19 fantasy points per game in that span, while the Colts have allowed two top-five quarterback finishes in the last three weeks. That lone miss? The snowpocalypse game where Joe Webb was under center for the Bills. While Javorius Allen out-carried Alex Collins, all but two of his carries came with under four minutes left in the third quarter when the Ravens were chewing up clock with a sizable lead. Collins disappointed overall (53 total yards, snapped four-game touchdown streak) but should bounce back against the Colts. C.J. Anderson ripped them for 158 yards last week (how? I do not know) while LeSean McCoy carved them up in the snow the week before. Mike Wallace has 9.8-plus PPR points in five straight games and owns over 21 percent of the team targets in that span, with a massive lead in air yards over Jeremy Maclin as well. He's in a great spot at home to rip apart the Colts' injury-ravaged secondary. Benjamin Watson posted a 4-74-1 line last week, marking the first time he'd crossed 45 receiving yards in a game since Week 2. Only the Broncos and Browns have allowed more fantasy points to opposing defenses than the Colts, while the Ravens defense ranks first in takeaways (33), fourth in points per game allowed (18.3), and is tied for second with five defensive touchdowns.

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers, 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC (Saturday)


Vikings
 » Case Keenum, QB: START
 » Latavius Murray, RB: START
 » Jerick McKinnon, RB: FLEX
 » Stefon Diggs, WR: START
 » Adam Thielen, WR: START
 » Kyle Rudolph, TE: START
 » Vikings D/ST: START

Case Keenum has thrown for 200-plus yards in seven straight games and 2-plus touchdowns in four straight. The Packers defense is a sieve for opposing quarterbacks, allowing nearly 270 yards and over three touchdowns per game to the position over the past month. Aside from a one-game blip against the Panthers, Latavius Murray has been rock solid over the last six weeks. If you remove that game he's averaged around 80 yards and a touchdown on the ground, which should be his floor projection against a Packers team that could be folding it in on the season. Jerick McKinnon is a bit of a riskier flex, but the Packers are extremely vulnerable to pass-catching running backs, and Christian McCaffrey just hit them for 6-73-1 through the air. The last time these teams faced McKinnon racked up 99 total yards and two touchdowns. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen remain one of the league's top wide receiving duos. Both were limited last week as the Vikings dominated the Bengals so thoroughly. The Packers should put up more of a fight than that, helping give these two more time to hit their ceiling. Kyle Rudolph has scored a touchdown in four straight games and is a fine play against his division rival. Brett Hundley has been a Jekyll and Hyde quarterback as a starter, sometimes flashing competence and but also occasionally morphing into a turnover tornado. Even on the road, I'd fire up the Vikings defense with confidence.

Packers
 » Brett Hundley, QB: SIT
 » Jamaal Williams, RB: SIT
 » Aaron Jones, RB: SIT
 » Jordy Nelson, WR: SIT
 » Davante Adams, WR: OUT (concussion)
 » Randall Cobb, WR: FLEX
 » Packers D/ST: SIT

With the Packers knocked out of playoff contention, Aaron Rodgers returned to injured reserve and the fantasy outlook of this group became much more dire. Bretty Hundley returns under center in time for a dreadful matchup with the dominant Vikings defense. Every team to face the Vikings has converted fewer than 40 percent of their third downs this year (they're the first team since 1991 to achieve that feat), while the defense overall has allowed just 12 touchdown passes on the year to go along with 213.1 passing yards per game. Jordy Nelson is a straight drop at this point, while Randall Cobb might be an interesting flex with Davante Adams (concussion) set to miss this game. Aaron Jones returned to a larger role last week and stole some work from Jamaal Williams. A committee approach on a bad offense facing an elite defense is not a situation to mine for fantasy production in the finals.

Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET on FOX


Lions
 » Matthew Stafford, QB: START
 » Ameer Abdullah, RB: SIT
 » Theo Riddick, RB: SIT
 » Golden Tate, WR: START
 » Marvin Jones, WR: START
 » Kenny Golladay, WR: SIT
 » Eric Ebron, TE: STREAM
 » Lions D/ST: STREAM

The Bengals have allowed four straight top-10 fantasy finishes and that includes matchups against Mitchell Trubisky and DeShone Kizer. Matthew Stafford is averaging 312 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception per game over his last eight starts and is a fine play on the road. The Lions backfield is simply not one to trust in fantasy. Theo Riddick gave us a couple flex performances with Ameer Abdullah on the shelf, but with his return to the lineup and Tion Green's "emergence," this group is once again a committee with minimal upside. Riddick managed just 61 yards on 33 touches last week, with Green and Abdullah stealing a combined 14 more touches. Golden Tate and Marvin Jones both remain starting-caliber players. Despite this team beginning to enter free-fall mode, they've allowed just 134.5 yards per game to opposing wideouts over the last month. However, when you realize that streak includes games with the Browns (pre-Josh Gordon) and Bears, and featured a 114-yard receiving performance from Jerick McKinnon, it contextualizes that total. Eric Ebron is a low-end streaming candidate this week. Of his 72 targets this year 18 (25 percent) have come in the last two weeks, and he's turned those into 15 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. The Bengals have allowed a receiving touchdown to a tight end in back-to-back games (both without Vontaze Burfict). Even if Burfict returns, Ebron is a strong streaming option. The Lions defense has five sacks and eight turnovers in its last two games and will be worth a roll of the dice, even on the road, against a Bengals team that appears to already be looking ahead to the offseason.

Bengals
 » Andy Dalton, QB: SIT
 » Joe Mixon, RB: FLEX
 » A.J. Green, WR: START
 » Tyler Kroft, TE: SIT
 » Bengals D/ST: SIT

Joe Mixon returned to practice this week and looks on track to clear concussion protocol after missing the last two weeks. He'll likely retake over featured duties is he gets the start, as the team had saddled him with 48 touches in the two games prior to his concussion. The Lions have been gashed on the ground in recent weeks, so he'll be a decent flex play. A.J Green had target totals of 16 and 12 in the two games prior to the disaster last week against the Vikings (four targets, two catches, 30 yards). I'd roll him back out against the Lions as the volume should return. Other than that I think we're pretty much done here.

Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs, 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS


Dolphins
 » Jay Cutler, QB: SIT
 » Damien Williams, RB: SIT (INJURED)
 » Kenyan Drake, RB: START
 » DeVante Parker, WR: SIT
 » Jarvis Landry, WR: FLEX
 » Kenny Stills, WR: SIT
 » Julius Thomas, TE: SIT
 » Dolphins D/ST: SIT

Friends don't let friends start Jay Cutler in the fantasy playoffs. As long as Damien Williams (shoulder) remains sidelined, Kenyan Drake will be in the RB1/2 discussion. He's the RB5 in standard scoring over the last four weeks (three of which he was the lead back), and he's crossed 110 scrimmage yards in three straight. If Williams returns this week, it'll likely be on a limited basis though, still making Drake playable as a flex option. DeVante Parker posted yardage (89) and target (12) highs last week against the Bills. I wouldn't chase that production in fantasy championships. Parker's "breakout" sunk the fantasy value of Kenny Stills, too, (one catch for eight yards on six targets), making both extremely risky here. About the only pass-catcher, we can reasonably trust is Jarvis Landry, as he's posted five-plus catches in every game this year and leads the team with eight touchdowns.

Chiefs
 » Alex Smith, QB: STREAM
 » Kareem Hunt, RB: START
 » Tyreek Hill, WR: FLEX
 » Travis Kelce, TE: START
 » Chiefs D/ST: STREAMER

Over his last three games Alex Smith is averaging 288 passing yards and two touchdowns per game, with just one interception in that span. The Dolphins secondary has been playing well of late, but at home Smith should offer a safe enough floor with decent upside in fantasy championships. Since Week 14, Kareem Hunt is averaging 172 scrimmage yards per game and has scored three touchdowns. He's back to being the back who could win you a week by himself from earlier this year. The Dolphins have allowed six total touchdowns to backs over the last four weeks. At this point, we know what Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are as fantasy assets, and both can be started with relative confidence. The Dolphins have only conceded 172 yards to opposing wideouts over the last two weeks, but they haven't contended with a receiver as fast as Hill in that span. The Chiefs are at home against a turnover-prone Jay Cutler fresh off a three-interception performance. They're a solid streamer.

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


Bills
 » Tyrod Taylor, QB: STREAM
 » LeSean McCoy, RB: START
 » Kelvin Benjamin, WR: SIT
 » Zay Jones, WR: SIT
 » Charles Clay, TE: SIT
 » Bills D/ST: SIT

Tyrod Taylor left the game against the Patriots earlier this year with an injury, but in his previous four starts against them, he averaged 226 passing yards, one touchdown, .75 interceptions, and 30 rushing yards per game. He'll be a decent streamer this week thanks to his rushing upside (averages about 30 yards per game in 2017 and has four touchdowns) and the fact that the Bills will likely need to rely on a pass-heavy game script to stay competitive here. Even with that script, don't look to trust any of the Bills pass-catchers with championships on the line. Same goes for the Bills defense on the road against Tom Brady. LeSean McCoy is the safest bet of the bunch here thanks to his massive volume and great performance this season in general. He's posted over 100 scrimmage yards in all four games against the Patriots as a Bill and has scored twice in those contests.

Patriots
 » Tom Brady, QB: START
 » Dion Lewis, RB: START
 » Brandin Cooks, WR: FLEX
 » Chris Hogan, WR: SIT
 » Danny Amendola, WR: SIT
 » Rob Gronkowski, TE: START
 » Patriots D/ST: SIT

Tom Brady has hit a bit of a statistical slump the last three weeks, averaging just 263 yards per game with two touchdowns and four interceptions (averaged 306.7 per game with 26 TDs and 3 INTs in first 11 games). Still, I'm not turning away from Brady at home this week. He may have to pass even more as well based on what happened in his backfield last week. With Rex Burkhead sidelined with a knee injury, Dion Lewis becomes an even better start. The Bills have allowed a running back to go for over 100 scrimmage yards in three straight weeks, and Lewis figures to get close to a featured back workload. Chris Hogan was inactive last week after struggling in his return from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for several weeks. He's too risky to trust in fantasy championships, even though this is a REVENGE game for him. Brandin Cooks returned to form with 60 yards and a touchdown last week, though he posted just two catches for 17 yards against the Bills when these two teams faced off in Week 13. I'd still give Cooks a shot in the flex as that was an outlier bad fantasy game from Brady (no touchdowns, one pick). Rob Gronkowski just set a career-high in receiving yardage (168) reminding you why he never leaves your lineup. I'd keep the Patriots defense on the bench in this one, though if you're playing in Week 17 (I hope not) then stash the Pats as they'll host the Bryce Petty-led Jets.

Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. ET on CBS


Browns
 » DeShone Kizer, QB: SIT
 » Isaiah Crowell, RB: FLEX
 » Duke Johnson, RB: FLEX
 » Corey Coleman, WR: SIT
 » Josh Gordon, WR: START
 » Browns TEs: SIT
 » Browns D/ST: SIT

Isaiah Crowell received double-digit carries in nine straight games before only handling five last week against the Ravens (though he took them for 72 yards). I'd expect the Browns to turn back to him as the early-down workhorse, giving him some flex appeal. Put Duke Johnson in that camp as well, as he's scored a touchdown in back-to-back weeks and also has 40-plus receiving yards in each of those games as well. Josh Gordon couldn't muster much production against the Ravens (five catches, 47 receiving yards), but his 11 targets and 44.63 percent of the targeted air yards (sixth-highest mark in Week 15) are encouraging. He should remain in starting lineups.

Bears
 » Mitchell Trubisky, QB: SIT
 » Jordan Howard, RB: START
 » Tarik Cohen, RB: SIT
 » Bears WRs: SIT
 » Bears D/ST: STREAM

Mitchell Trubisky has averaged 292 passing yards over his last two games, but he's also thrown two touchdowns versus three interceptions, though he did add a rushing touchdown in for good measure. The Browns offer up a nice matchup, but with every quarterback available there are likely better options. Jordan Howard has as high of a ceiling as any back in the league (he went for 155 total yards and two touchdowns two weeks ago), but fantasy managers trusting him in the playoffs will have to balance those expectations with the fact that three of his last four games have been pretty disappointing (19 total yards, 33 total yards, 63 total yards, zero touchdowns in each). The Browns own the worst turnover differential in the league and give up the most fantasy points per game (12.71) to opposing defenses. At home, the Bears are a sleeper defense to stream.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m. ET on FOX


Buccaneers
 » Jameis Winston, QB: STREAM
 » Doug Martin, RB: SIT
 » Peyton Barber, RB: FLEX
 » Mike Evans, WR: FLEX
 » DeSean Jackson, WR: SIT (OUT)
 » Cameron Brate, TE: STREAM
 » Buccaneers D/ST: SIT

Since returning from his shoulder injury Jameis Winston is averaging 285 passing yards and over two touchdowns per game, with just two interceptions in three games. He's been the QB8, QB18, and QB3 in that span and should be a decent streamer against a Carolina defense that has been surprisingly generous the past month. The last four quarterbacks to face them finished as the QB4, QB18, QB9, and QB8. Doug Martin was inactive last week for violating team rules and could be sidelined/benched again this week. His leash appears extremely short and he shouldn't be trusted in fantasy. Peyton Barber handled 16 touches for 68 yards last week and looks to be the best option from this backfield for fantasy purposes. He showed during the game against Green Bay what he can do with a featured back workload -- 27 touches, 143 yards. Mike Evans still hasn't crossed 100 yards this season but did score his first touchdown since Week 7 last week against Falcons. He'll be in flex consideration again. The team intimated they wanted to get DeSean Jackson more involved last week ... and it resulted in one catch for 11 yards. He's been ruled OUT this week. Those looking for a desperation play or a sleeper for DFS could give Chris Godwin a go. With O.J. Howard landing on injured reserve, Cameron Brate is back in the streaming conversation as one of Winston's favorite red zone targets.

Panthers
 » Cam Newton, QB: START
 » Christian McCaffrey, RB: FLEX
 » Jonathan Stewart, RB: FLEX
 » Devin Funchess, WR: START
 » Greg Olsen, TE: START
 » Panthers D/ST: START

Cam Newton has 17-plus points in five of his last six games and is facing an injury-ravaged Buccaneers defense at home. He's a top play this week. A running back has rushed for 97-plus yards in three of the last four games against the Buccaneers, which could bode well for Jonathan Stewart in the flex. Christian McCaffrey's has five touchdowns in his last six games and is averaging 80 total yards per game in that span. Devin Funchess missed practice this week but returned on Friday and is on track to play. He's the unquestioned No. 1 option here and a strong start in championship games. Greg Olsen returned to form in a big way last week, catching nine of 12 targets for 116 yards and a touchdown. With this performance on the books, we can once again trust Olsen in starting lineups. The Buccaneers offense is playing better of late, but Jameis Winston is still prone to committing turnovers in bunches. The Panthers will be a fine start at home with championships on the line.

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m. ET on FOX


Falcons
 » Matt Ryan, QB: SIT
 » Devonta Freeman, RB: START
 » Tevin Coleman, RB: FLEX
 » Julio Jones, WR: START
 » Mohamed Sanu, WR: LOW-END FLEX
 » Austin Hooper, TE: SIT
 » Falcons D/ST: SIT

Over his last four games Matt Ryan has averaged just 231 yards per game and has thrown three touchdowns and three interceptions. He's a risky start in championships. Tevin Coleman has cleared concussion protocol and will be a solid flex play with upside. It'll be interesting to see if they rush him back into a sizable role, as Devonta Freeman has been exceptional over the last two games, averaging 108 yards and a touchdown in each. Julio Jones has eight-plus targets in six of his last seven games and tagged the Saints for 98 yards when these teams met in Week 14. Mohamed Sanu's been much more volatile of late and is dealing with a knee injury right now. He did post a 6-83-1 line against the Saints two weeks ago, so owners will have to weight that when making start/sit decisions. I really hope you don't need me to tell you to sit the Falcons defense against the Saints.

Saints
 » Drew Brees, QB: LOW-END START
 » Mark Ingram, RB: START
 » Alvin Kamara, RB: START
 » Michael Thomas, WR: START
 » Ted Ginn, WR: SIT
 » Saints D/ST: SIT

Drew Brees has been a solid but unspectacular fantasy starter, averaging 15.7 fantasy points per game over the last month. If you're struggling for options, Brees is safe, but there are higher upside streamers available. By now we should know to have Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas locked into our starting lineups. Ted Ginn missed last week and is on track to return, but feels like a very risky play in fantasy championships. Matt Ryan hasn't been great recently but also doesn't present a great streaming target, as he's been sacked just four times in his last six games.

Denver Broncos at Washington Redskins, 1 p.m. ET on CBS


Broncos
 » Brock Osweiler, QB: SIT
 » C.J. Anderson, RB: FLEX
 » Demaryius Thomas, WR: START
 » Emmanuel Sanders, WR: SIT
 » Broncos D/ST: SIT

C.J. Anderson has touch totals of 19, 24, and 30 the last three weeks, and represents a decent volume-based flex play. He rushed for 158 yards last week and the Broncos will likely lean on him again to help protect Brock Osweiler. Emmanuel Sanders is trying to play through an ankle injury and shouldn't be trusted in championships, but his health could funnel even more targets to Demaryius Thomas. Thomas has target totals of 10, 12 and eight over the last three weeks and will be a solid flex play. Josh Norman doesn't really shadow opposing wideouts so Thomas should find opportunities against softer coverage.

Redskins
 » Kirk Cousins, QB: SIT
 » Samaje Perine, RB: SIT
 » Kapri Bibbs, RB: FLEX
 » Jamison Crowder, WR: SIT
 » Josh Doctson, WR: SIT
 » Vernon Davis, TE: SIT
 » Redskins D/ST: STREAM

Kirk Cousins has thrown for under 200 yards in each of the last two games and shouldn't be trusted in fantasy. Samaje Perine has posted under 69 total yards in three straight games and is battling a groin injury suffered late this week in practice. I'd sit him if you can. Kapri Bibbs scored a touchdown last week and could be in line for a bigger workload, against his former team no less (REVENGE). He's a high-upside flex play but certainly carries some risk. Jamison Crowder has posted fewer than 68 receiving yards in three straight games but has a touchdown in two of his last four. He draws a tough matchup against the Broncos secondary, though, so I'd look elsewhere if possible. Same goes for Josh Doctson. At home against Brock Osweiler is a fine place to stream the Redskins defense.

Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX


Rams
 » Jared Goff, QB: STREAM
 » Todd Gurley, RB: START
 » Sammy Watkins, WR: SIT
 » Cooper Kupp, WR: FLEX
 » Robert Woods, WR: START
 » Rams TEs: SIT
 » Rams D/ST: START

Two of the last three quarterbacks to face the Titans have thrown for 300-plus yards, and they were Tom Savage and Jimmy Garoppolo. Jared Goff and the high-flying Rams offense should be a fine starter. Todd Gurley brought you to this championship, no reason to turn away now. Sammy Watkins pulled a disappearing act once again with Robert Woods back in the lineup. This could be a spot for him to pop off, but that's a tough pill to swallow in the fantasy championship. Speaking of Woods, he led the team in targets, receptions, receiving yards and scored a touchdown in his first game back. He's a solid start. Cooper Kupp is a better bet to post a reasonable line, as he had five-plus catches in five straight games before last week. Granted, Woods was out for most of those, so tread cautiously with Kupp. The Rams defense is a solid play, even on the road, as the Titans offense has been far from potent this year.

Titans
 » Marcus Mariota, QB: SIT
 » DeMarco Murray, RB: SIT
 » Derrick Henry, RB: SIT
 » Corey Davis, WR: SIT
 » Rishard Matthews, WR: START
 » Delanie Walker, TE: START
 » Titans D/ST: SIT

If you want to start the Titans in championship week, by all means. I'd avoid Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry at all costs. Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker are the only two I'd remotely trust. They saw eight and 10 targets last week, and both found the end zone.

Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets, 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS


Chargers
 » Philip Rivers, QB: START
 » Melvin Gordon, RB: START
 » Keenan Allen, WR: START
 » Antonio Gates, TE: STREAM
 » Chargers D/ST: START

The Chargers are fighting for their playoff lives, and as such will likely lean on their studs, especially given recent injuries to Austin Ekeler and Hunter Henry. Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, and Keenan Allen are all strong plays, as is the defense against a Bryce Petty-led offensive attack. Don't be worried about Allen's back injury, as he's been practicing in full all week. Antonio Gates could be in the mix as a streamer with Henry now on IR, but I'd be concerned about trusting the veteran. He offers decent touchdown upside, though,

Jets
 » Bryce Petty, QB: SIT
 » Matt Forte, RB: SIT
 » Bilal Powell, RB: SIT
 » Robby Anderson, WR: SIT
 » Jermaine Kearse, WR: SIT
 » Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE: SIT
 » Jets D/ST: SIT

Do you really want to trust the Jets offensive players in your fantasy championship against the Chargers elite defense? Didn't think so.

Jacksonville Jaguars at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS


Jaguars
 » Blake Bortles, QB: START
 » Leonard Fournette, RB: FLEX
 » Keelan Cole: FLEX
 » Dede Westbrook, WR: FLEX
 » Jaydon Mickens, WR: SIT
 » Jaguars D/ST: START

Blake Bortles has been a top-10 quarterback in each of the last four weeks and is a high-end QB1 this week against a 49ers secondary susceptible to the pass. Leonard Fournette looks set to return after missing last week with a quad injury and will be a solid RB2/flex play. With Marqise Lee likely to be out, both Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook are decent upside plays. I wouldn't chase Jaydon Mickens' two touchdowns from last week. Cole and Westbrook have been receiving more consistent volume and air yards shares, which foretells more future fantasy points. And yeah, you're starting the Jaguars defense.

49ers
 » Jimmy Garoppolo, QB: SIT
 » Carlos Hyde, RB: FLEX
 » Marquise Goodwin, WR: SIT
 » Trent Taylor, WR: SIT
 » Garrett Celek, TE: SIT
 » 49ers D/ST: SIT

Jimmy Garoppolo looks like the real deal under center for the 49ers, but we can't trust him against the Jaguars this week. Carlos Hyde should receive the volume to at least produce in the flex, but expectations should be tempered (as usual when starting players against the Jaguars). Marquise Goodwin always has the ability to explode for a deep touchdown, but the Jaguars are one of the best teams at defending the deep ball. I'd sit him if possible.

Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX


Seahawks
 » Russell Wilson, QB: START
 » Mike Davis, RB: DEEP FLEX
 » Doug Baldwin, WR: START
 » Paul Richardson, WR: FLEX
 » Tyler Lockett, WR: SIT
 » Jimmy Graham, TE: START
 » Seahawks D/ST: SIT

Russell Wilson posted his lowest fantasy output since Week 5, but that was largely due to the game-wrecking Aaron Donald. The Cowboys don't have a presence like Donald on their d-line. Expect Wilson to rebound in what could be a high-scoring contest. The Seahawks seem to want Mike Davis to be their lead back, but they fell behind so quickly last week Davis was an afterthought in the offensive game plan. He'll be a deep flex option this week, though managers should by now know what it means to start a Seahawks back. Doug Baldwin and the entire Seattle wide receiving corps fell flat last week, but this should be a decent spot to bounce back. The Cowboys secondary has plenty of holes, which should benefit Paul Richardson as well. I'm hesitant to trust Tyler Lockett, whose role in the passing game has been far more up-and-down than Richardson. Jimmy Graham has posted a combined -0.1 fantasy points the last two weeks, but he'll be hard to turn away from as he was on an epic hot streak before ghosting us the last two weeks (nine touchdowns in eight games).

Cowboys
 » Dak Prescott, QB: START
 » Ezekiel Elliott, RB: START
 » Dez Bryant, WR: START
 » Jason Witten, TE: SIT
 » Cowboys D/ST: SIT

Ezekiel Elliott is back, and as a result, this entire offense gets a boost. The Cowboys averaged 28.3 points per game with Elliott, but just 18.3 without him. The Seahawks defense has been crushed by injuries and is not the same group that earned the "Legion of Boom" moniker. That puts Dak Prescott, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten into the mix as starters. We're really not interested in other parts of this offense as they're far more volatile and not consistently involved for Dallas.

New York Giants at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX


Giants
 » Eli Manning, QB: SIT
 » Giants RBs: SIT
 » Sterling Shepard, WR: FLEX
 » Evan Engram, TE: START
 » Giants D/ST: SIT

Eli Manning surprised last week with an impressive 434 yards and three touchdowns but based on his season-long performance that very much feels like an outlier game. The Cardinals defense has been playing well of late, too so I'd avoid chasing Manning's production. The backfield is back to being a frustrating committee, though not many were trusting the likes of Wayne Gallman or Orleans Darkwa at this point anyway. Sterling Shepard was removed from the injury report last week and bounced-back with a dominant performance -- 16 targets, 11 catches, 139 yards and a touchdown. He could avoid some of Patrick Peterson when he roams into the slot, but even if he is matched up with Pat P his volume will make him a reasonable flex. Evan Engram has bucked the trend of rookie tight ends not producing in fantasy, and is a strong start as usual. He's posted four-plus catches and 54-plus yards in each of the last three weeks.

Cardinals
 » Drew Stanton, QB: SIT
 » Kerwynn Williams, RB: FLEX
 » Larry Fitzgerald, WR: START
 » Ricky Seals-Jones, TE: SIT
 » Cardinals D/ST: STREAM

Kerwynn Williams will be in the flex mix yet again now that Adrian Peterson has been placed on injured reserve. He's handled the bulk of the carries for the Cardinals the last three weeks and will face a Giants defense that's allowed 465 rushing yards and three scores over the last month. Larry Fitzgerald double-digit targets in four of his last six games with a low of seven in that span. He's a strong volume-based flex play each and every week, especially in PPR. The Giants offense flashed last week, but has offensive line issues and has been decimated by injuries. They're a fine streaming target, especially since the Cardinals are at home.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans, 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC/NFL Network (Monday)


Steelers
 » Ben Roethlisberger, QB: START
 » Le'Veon Bell, RB: START
 » Antonio Brown, RB: SIT (injury)
 » JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR: FLEX
 » Martavis Bryant, WR: FLEX
 » Steelers D/ST: SIT

Ben Roethlisberger has been on fire as a fantasy quarterback during the second half of the season. The Steelers quarterback is averaging a ridiculous 45.2 pass attempts per game since Week 11, including a 66-throw game in Week 14. During that span, Ben has averaged about 24 fantasy points per game. But what should you do with him sans his top receiver, and best receiver in the NFL, Antonio Brown? There's reason to feel confident that Roethlisberger can still get the job done without Brown. In the eight games since Houston's Week 7 bye, its defense has allowed six top-10 fantasy quarterback finishes to Jacoby Brissett, Blaine Gabbert, Marcus Mariota, and Blake Bortles, among others. We have seen Martavis Bryant and Juju Smith-Schuster step up this year when called upon (yes there are other wideouts on the Steelers' active roster), and don't forget about Le'Veon Bell (a no-brainer start in championship week) as a pass-catcher as he's second on the team in targets (98) this season behind Brown. When Brown went out last week, Bryant, Schuster, and Bell all received six targets. Schuster finished with 114 yards thanks to a big play at the end of the game, while Bryant was arguably the most reliable option, making some splash plays including a one-handed touchdown grab. Since losing Joe Hayden and Ryan Shazier, the Steelers D/ST has not been a productive fantasy option, so keep the unit benched even against Houston.

Texans
 » T.J. Yates QB: SIT
 » Lamar Miller, RB: SIT
 » DeAndre Hopkins, WR: FLEX
 » Will Fuller, WR: SIT
 » Stephen Anderson, TE: SIT
 » Texans D/ST: SIT

If you'd like to leave the fate of your fantasy championship in the hands of T.J Yates or Lamar Miller, that's on you. Yates hasn't yet thrown for 200 yards in a game, although he played the Jaguars last week, so it was a tough matchup. Still, he's a third stringer on a team with nothing to play for. No thanks. Miller is averaging 3.3 yards per carry over the last month with just one rushing touchdown in that span. The only player in the Houston offense that you can rely on in fantasy is DeAndre Hopkins. He's averaging 13.25 targets over the last four games and while Yates brings the elite receiver's ceiling down, you can't turn your nose up at that kind of volume, no matter who's throwing the ball (except Brock Osweiler). The Texans defense is #bad and is not a fantasy asset at this time.

Oakland Raiders at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN (Monday)


Raiders
 » Derek Carr, QB: SIT
 » Marshawn Lynch, RB: FLEX
 » Michael Crabtree, WR: START
 » Amari Cooper, WR: SIT
 » Jared Cook, TE: STREAM
 » Raiders D/ST: SIT

The Raiders haven't put up more than 17 points on offense in their last two games, so the fantasy scoring among the team's players has been mediocre at best. Derek Carr has basically been nothing more than a floor play for weeks now, averaging 13.5 FPPG over his last seven contests. There's no ceiling here without Amari Cooper (ankle) on the field. The Raiders have been relying more on the run, as Marshawn Lynch has been a top-12 fantasy running back in standard scoring over the last month with three rushing touchdowns and over 380 yards in that span. He has a tough matchup this week though, against an Eagles run-stopping unit that has limited opposing backs to about 50 yards per game on the ground--the lowest mark in all of football. Michael Crabtree is the only reliable fantasy starter in the Oakland offense at this point. The last three games Crabtree has played in he's posted target totals of 11, 13 and 17, and he scored twice against Dallas last week. Jared Cook is completely unreliable as a fantasy tight end now. His yardage totals the last month: two, nine, 75, 17. Cook is a risk with a fantasy title on the line but what tight end isn't at this point?. The Raiders D/ST is the worst in all of fantasy football on the season and the unit can't be started in a road game against a potent Eagles offense.

Eagles
 » Nick Foles, QB: STREAM
 » Eagles RBs: See below
 » Alshon Jeffery WR: START
 » Nelson Agholor, WR: FLEX
 » Zach Ertz, TE: START
 » Eagles D/ST: START

Those who suggested that Nick Foles could be a decent fantasy streamer in his Week 15 debut for the Giants have been taking a well-deserved victory lap all week. Foles threw four touchdown passes and finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback for the week. He gets another favorable matchup against the Raiders this week and can be started again because of it. From a season-long perspective, the Raiders have the league's 23rd-ranked pass defense and rank 29th in turnovers. That gives Foles a bright outlook in a home matchup on Monday night. Don't forget that Foles had the best game of his career against Oakland back in 2013 when he tied an NFL record for most touchdown passes in a single game (seven). The offensive weapons that Foles has at his disposal help boost his fantasy floor. He threw touchdown passes to four different players last week: Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. The target hierarchy went as follows: Jeffery (10), Agholor (9), Ertz (9), Torrey Smith (3), Burton (2). Agholor paced the team in red zone looks with three. The problem with that kind of target dispersion is that no one player can post a ceiling, but they all provide some kind of floor. Burton and Smith are the odd men out and shouldn't be considered fantasy options. In terms of the backfield, Jay Ajayi has been the clear-cut primary back in the last two games, logging 27 carries for 127 yards (4.7 ypc). LeGarrette Blount can't be used as he's seemingly been usurped by Ajayi, with only 14 attempts in the last two contests. Corey Clement has 10 carries the last two games and is a low-volume change-of-pace player. The Eagles D/ST has been exposed in recent weeks, allowing 35 and 29 points to opposing teams their last two outings, but now they return home to face a West Coast team with nothing to play for. The unit should be just fine as a fantasy option despite its road struggles.

-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar or "Like" his page on Facebook for more NFL and fantasy analysis.

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