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Week 15 Sit Start Advice

Posted: Thursday, December 15, 2016

This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 15 of the 2016 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.

Please Note: This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Aaron Rodgers, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Brown. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.

Start 'em Kirk Cousins (WAS, QB)
We recommended Cousins last week and he put up a respectable 16 fantasy points. He should have a similar or better game this week against Carolina who has given up the 3rd-most yards through the air this season. He's playing at home on Monday night with a healthy receiving corp at his disposal. He's ranked inside our Top 5 this week.
Start 'em Tyrod Taylor (BUF, QB)
Also ranked inside our Top 5 this week is Tyrod Taylor who gets an opportunity to beat up on the Browns just as Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, Tom Brady, and Marcus Mariota did when they topped 20+ fantasy points. With Sammy Watkins in top form again, look for Taylor to put some points on the board.
Start 'em Bilal Powell (NYJ, RB)
It was supposed to be a cake matchup for Matt Forte last week, but after he left the game with an injury, it was the Bilal Powell show...and what a show it was. We don't expect Forte to be a factor this week so the show should continue against a Miami defense that has allowed the 3rd-most yards on the ground this season.
Start 'em Latavius Murray (OAK, RB)
With seven straight games of double-digit fantasy production (ppr), Latavius Murray continues to reward fantasy owners with quality performances. San Diego does a pretty decent job keeping the rushing yards to a minimum, but Murray's usually good for a few catches and a decent chance at the endzone. Keep him in your lineup.
Start 'em Kenneth Farrow (SD, RB)
If you're in need of a flex play or are shooting for the moon, Kenneth Farrow could be your answer. We do not expect Melvin Gordon to play this week (although he's tentatively aiming for next week) and Farrow's matchup is so sweet against Oakland that his #23 ranking on FFN is indicative of his potential.
Start 'em Steve Smith (BAL, WR)
Looking for a flex play this week? Look no further than Steve Smith. The Eagles have allowed both the opposing WR1 and WR2 an average of 13.8 fantasy points (18.8 PPR) over the last three weeks. Smith has a history of propelling fantasy owners into their championship games and should deliver nicely on Sunday.
Start 'em Davante Adams (GB, WR)
The clear #2 in Green Bay is Davante Adams who should make a solid WR2 for you this week even though Chicago ranks 6th against the pass and has kept Odell Beckham Jr, Mike Evans, and Stefon Diggs in single digits. We don't expect Adams to repeat his performance from Week 7 where he put up a monster 25.2 fantasy points (38.2 PPR), but with Aaron Rodgers under center, Adams should still see double digit production.
Start 'em Antonio Gates (SD, TE)
Antonio Gates has not been lighting the fantasy world on fire as of late, but his fortunes should change this week against an Oakland team that gives up 264 yards through the air and has allowed double-digit fantasy production (ppr) four times this year including to Gates in Week 5.
Start 'em Delanie Walker (TEN, TE)
We all knew last week would be tough for the Titans' passing game which is why we didn't recommend folks starting Mariota or Walker, but a new week brings a new opponent. In this case, Kansas City which is a marginally better matchup for him. The Chiefs haven't allowed a TE to reach double-digits but Walker should come close.
Start 'em Houston Texans (HOU, DEF)
The Houston Texans have not been the defensive juggernaut that we all expected them to be this year. Injuries certainly haven't helped, but you'll find them ranked inside our Top 5 this week because the matchup against Jacksonville practically begs for fantasy points.
Start 'em Kai Forbath (MIN, K)
A matchup with Indy is generally a high scoring affair. Nick Novak scored 16 fantasy points last week against them and the Colts have allowed an average of 9 fantasy points each week to opposing kickers.
Sit 'em Ben Roethlisberger (PIT, QB)
There's a good chance that you drafted Ben Roethlisberger as your QB1, and you'll have to play him unless you have another option. We would expect Big Ben to struggle on the road this week just as he struggled against Buffalo last week and Cleveland in Week 11. Ranked 14th this week means that he's a borderline QB1 but more likely a high-end QB2.
Sit 'em Matthew Stafford (DET, QB)
Ranked 16th this week is a hurt Matthew Stafford who will be playing with a glove on his throwing hand against a tough New York Giants defense that kept Dak Prescott to under 10 fantasy points last week. In fact, the G Men have kept opposing QBs to an average of just 13 fantasy points this season making Stafford a tough start for the fantasy playoffs.
Sit 'em Ryan Mathews (PHI, RB)
With Darren Sproles in concussion protocol and Wendell Smallwood on season-ending IR, there will be plenty of touches available for Ryan Mathews this week, but that doesn't mean that you should rush him into your lineups against the Ravens who give up the fewest yards on the ground. Ranked 28th, Mathews is a flex play at best.
Sit 'em Theo Riddick (DET, RB)
Theo Riddick has been a solid fantasy play (especially in PPR) this year, but a last minute, surprise scratch last week combined with the fact that he missed practice again on Wednesday means that he's too risky to start in the fantasy playoffs. Zeke Elliott and Le'Veon Bell hit double digits against the Giants the past two weeks, but Riddick isn't the same caliber as those guys. Keep him on the bench.
Sit 'em Kelvin Benjamin (CAR, WR)
Kelvin Benjamin hasn't topped 100 yards since Week 2. That was also the last time he hit double digit fantasy production (std). This week he'll be shadowed by former teammate Josh Norman. Ranked 32nd this week among WRs, Benjamin is tough to trust as more than a WR3 or a flex play. His production over the last three months makes it hard to trust him in the playoffs.
Sit 'em Allen Robinson (JAC, WR)
We listed Allen Robinson as a sit last week and that was the right call as he was targeted just 3 times and hauled in just 1 of those for 17 yards. Robinson faced Houston back in Week 10 and put up a monster day (16.7 std/25.7 PPR). Over the last three weeks, T.Y. Hilton, Jordy Nelson, and Dontrelle Inman put up 17 fantasy points (25 PPR) meaning that there's a chance, but are you willing to risk your championship berth?
Sit 'em Gary Barnidge (CLE, TE)
Nobody was sure what we'd get when RGIII returned under center, and we got a lump of coal in our stocking. Every player not named Crowell put up terrible numbers. Barnidge will have an uphill climb facing the Bills this week who have kept TE's to under 4 fantasy points the last four weeks.
Sit 'em Coby Fleener (NO, TE)
There is clearly something wrong in New Orleans lately. The last two weeks have been deadly for fantasy owners, and the matchup this week is not any easier. Fleener is ranked 18th on FFN facing a Cardinals defense that has given up an average of just 2.45 fantasy points to TEs this year.
Sit 'em Denver Broncos (DEN, DEF)
One of the best fantasy (and real-life) defenses this year has been the Denver Broncos, so you may be surprised to see them ranked 19th this week on FFN. They are a fantastic defense, but a matchup with Tom Brady and the Patriots is enough to bring any team back down to Earth.
Sit 'em Caleb Sturgis (PHI, K)
The Ravens defense has been pretty solid this year and that extends to kickers as well. The best a kicker has been able to do was Dan Bailey in Week 11 who tallied 9 fantasy points. Over the course of the season, kickers have averaged just 3.6 fantasy points. Leave Sturgis on the bench.

Comments

notgrad
December 16, 2016
Hey, quick question: would you start Farrow or Alshon Jeffery in Standard scoring? I'm in a close matchup, so I'm leaning Farrow for what I think is a more reliable floor.
Nerd
December 16, 2016
I think Jeffery will do just fine, but believe it or not, I'd actually go Farrow. Sounds crazy, I know.
notgrad
December 16, 2016
yeah, just another wild year in fantasy football haha. thanks for the advice!
aeichen86
December 17, 2016
should i start brees, palmer, or flacco at QB?
NYFantasyGuru
December 17, 2016
Hey there, I hate to be the guy asking this long question. 3 wide receiver set who do you start;
Tate, Landry, Tyrell Williams, Gabriel, Watkins, Alshon Jeffrey. Thank you and keep up the great work, I've started following you as of late, love this site
Nerd
December 18, 2016
aeichen86 - he's been shaky the last two weeks but I'd still play Brees.
Nerd
December 18, 2016
Guru - I like Williams, Watson, and Jeffery.
Flutieflakes
December 18, 2016
Hey!
This year has been a roller coaster but I'm in semi champ this week. NFL.com standard. WRs Emmanuel sanders, D Jackson, Sanu, Malcom Mitchell, D Inman. At RB I have D Martin, L Bell, Farrow, J McKinnon. Sorry such a long post but I'm I need the nerd today! You guys are seriously the best! Oh yeah and I have eifert available for flex. 2 WRs 2 Rbs11 TE and a flex(already started Jimmy Graham on Thursday. Ty
Nerd
December 18, 2016
I like Sanders and DJax at WR and Bell/Farrow. Tough choices...
Flutieflakes
December 18, 2016
So tough...w Julio out I love Sanu but they could give it to Coleman and freeman 25 a piece for all we know. I do Have M Ryan, Bryant for kicker and thank god scooped up dolphins 1 hr before game last nigh.
Flutieflakes
December 18, 2016
So tough...w Julio out I love Sanu but they could give it to Coleman and freeman 25 a piece for all we know. I do Have M Ryan, Bryant for kicker and thank god scooped up dolphins 1 hr before game last nigh.
Flutieflakes
December 18, 2016
Thank you very much for that core start recommendation.
Nerd
December 18, 2016
Agreed. I think ATL will run quite a bit, but Sanu and Gabriel will still get their targets. Hoping for upside big plays out of DJax.
Flutieflakes
December 18, 2016
Been leaning toward Djax all week for that reason. So knowing I had the dolphins with the dolphins last night (21 points) and the hopes djax jumps through the roof, would you do Sanu or McKinnon? Guy I'm going against has KcuzQB,Djohnson JHowardRBs,Fitz and CrowderWRs, Rudolph TE and WR Dadams flexed. He eliminated me from the semi last year and beat meet week 13 this year.FYI...I know where he lives LOL
Nerd
December 18, 2016
I'd play Sanu over McKinnon. Good luck!
Flutieflakes
December 18, 2016
Thanks!!
Kd21
December 18, 2016
Need advice on WR postion. I have Watkins, Crowder, Rishard Mathews, J.J. Nelson, and Crabtree. I have Crabtree on the bench, but I keep going back and forth. Help please!
Kd21
December 18, 2016
Sorry forgot to mention in above post that I am in a standard league
Nerd
December 18, 2016
Crabtree could be a Top 10 play. Nelson would be at the bottom of that list for me.
Kd21
December 18, 2016
Thank you. Those were the two I am struggling over. I was leaning towards Nelson because of the release of Floyd, and he has done well with minimal targets. I wil make the switch. Thanks!!!
Flutieflakes
December 18, 2016
1 more request, Standard league Crabtree, Gabriel,Watkins, Theilan. Need 2ty
Nerd
December 18, 2016
I like Crabtree and Watkins.
jankesheiln
December 20, 2016
I am in a 10 Team League with RB1/RB2/FLEX & I am in some what of a tight spot. Who would you guys start in Week 16 between the following:
1. Demarco Murray
2. Jay Ajayi
3. Jeremy Hill
4. Todd Gurley


RB1: Demarco Murray (No Brainer)
RB2:
FLEX:

(IDK how i ended up with all these backs but ive hated it because i always go back and forth on who to start, I never thought that my #1 pick being consistantly bad (T. Gurley) would actually help me.
Nerd
December 22, 2016
I like Murray and Gurley (he'll do well this week) as our RB1 & 2. I like Ajayi in the flex. Good luck!
Flutieflakes
December 24, 2016
Happy week 16! I made it to the championship dawg! Ty for having me plugin djax that Mon night! So here it goes I have Emanuel sander, Inman, djax,Mitchell,and Sanu to choose for my 2 wideouts.
D Martin and Lbell with Montgomery flexed. Brate TE Chiefs Def Bryant kicker. Standard NFL.com.
I need help at the 2 wr slots again badly.
Nerd
December 24, 2016
I'm actually thinking Sanders and Inman @ CLE. Hopefully that works. Good luck!

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