Posted: Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Welcome to the 2017 Fantasy Super Bowl! This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 16 of the 2017 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 Drew Brees, 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 Nick Foles (PHI, QB)
Nick Foles picked right up where Carson Wentz left off tossing 237 yards and four scores last week. Ranked 12th this week, Foles is a borderline QB1 in a nice matchup on Monday night against an Oakland defense that gives up an average of 21 fantasy points each week.
Start 'em Case Keenum (MIN, QB)
Case Keenum was nearly perfect in last week's win against the Bengals completing 87% of his passes. He would have had a bigger fantasy day, but the game was far enough ahead that they pulled him in the 4th. Ranked 11th this week, Keenum will face a Packers secondary that gives up an average of 21.3 fantasy points (5th-most) and almost 24 points over the last four games.
Start 'em Dion Lewis (NE, RB)
It's tough to spin the Patriots RB roulette wheel in a championship game, but that's just what I'll be doing in the FFN Users League when I start Dion Lewis this week. With Rex Burkhead out this week, Lewis should get the starting nod. Kenyan Drake just tore up the Bills for 23 fantasy points (ppr) last week and Burkhead put up 25 points (ppr) in Week 13. Lewis is a high-end RB2 this week.
Start 'em Jerick McKinnon (MIN, RB)
In PPR formats, Jerick McKinnon should be a nice play against a Green Bay defense that just gave up 25.6 fantasy points (ppr) to Christian McCaffery last week and regularly surrenders double digit fantasy points to running backs each week. Both he and Latavius Murray make for nice RB2/Flex options this week.
Start 'em Larry Fitzgerald (ARI, WR)
With the fantasy Super Bowl on the line, going with a veteran can be an effective strategy, and there's few better than Larry Fitzgerald. His QB situation is terrible, but he's still an elite receiver who will see his fair share of targets. Combine that with the fact that the Giants give up the 2nd-most yards through the air and the 10th-most fantasy points to receivers, and Fitz belongs in all lineups.
Start 'em JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT, WR)
If you had Antonio Brown, there's a good chance that he helped get you to the playoffs. Unfortunately you won't be able to count on him for the championship. That doesn't mean that Big Ben won't be throwing - it'll just be to JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant. The matchup is B-E-A-UTIFUL. The Texans give up the 2nd-most fantasy points to the wide receiver position and the 5th-most yards through the air.
Start 'em Robert Woods (LAR, WR)
After missing three games, Robert Woods returned last week and stepped right back into his role as the teams #1 hauling in 6 of his 7 targets for 45 yards and a score. Woods is ranked 21st this week against the Titans who give up the 8th-most fantasy points and surrendered 22.4 points to Marquise Goodwin last week.
Start 'em Greg Olsen (CAR, TE)
We've had Greg Olsen on our sit list for the past two weeks, and he lived up to those low expectations...until last week. Olsen finally went off hauling in 9 of his 12 targets for 116 yards and a score. Tampa Bay has given up more yards through the air than anyone else, but they've largely kept tight ends in check. Then again, they haven't really faced many TEs in Olsen's tier though. Olsen should be a TE1 this week.
Start 'em Kyle Rudolph (MIN, TE)
Kyle Rudolph was eased back into his role last week playing just 20 snaps and seeing just two targets, but he made the most of them hauling in both and finding the endzone. He'll face a Green Bay defense that was brutal on tight ends until the last three weeks giving up 26.6 points to Greg Olsen and 17.9 points to Cameron Brate. Rudolph is ranked 9th this week making him a low-end TE1.
Start 'em Baltimore Ravens (BAL, DEF)
The #1 ranked fantasy defense this week is the Baltimore Ravens at home against an Indianapolis offense that has very little gas left in the tank. After tearing up the Browns last week to the tune of 20 fantasy points, the Ravens are in for another solid day against a Colts offense that gives up the 3rd-most fantasy points to defense/special teams.
Start 'em Matt Prater (DET, K)
The last three kickers to face Cincinnati have each put up double-digit fantasy points. That's good news for Matt Prater who comes into our rankings this week at #9 facing a Bengals defense that gives up almost 10 points each week (5th-most in the NFL).
Sit 'em Kirk Cousins (WAS, QB)
With a championship on the line, it's awfully tough to trust Kirk Cousins right now. He's averaged just 13.1 fantasy points and 210 yards over his last four games. A matchup with the Broncos isn't likely to change his fortunes. Denver gives up the 2nd-fewest yards through the air and the 10th-fewest fantasy points to the position. He's ranked 13th this week.
Sit 'em Matt Ryan (ATL, QB)
Ranked one spot below Kirk Cousins is Atlanta's Matt Ryan coming off a mediocre Monday night game where he tallied just 15 fantasy points against a weak Tampa Bay defense. A matchup with New Orleans should prove to be more difficult. The Saints give up the 11th-fewest fantasy points and kept Ryan to just 6.84 points two weeks ago.
Sit 'em Doug Martin (TB, RB)
Doug Martin was a last-minute scratch last Monday due to violating an unspecified team rule. Don't be surprised when you see Martin shipped out of Tampa Bay in the offseason and you shouldn't be surprised to see him on our sit list. He's lost significant work to Peyton Barber and neither guy should be started against Carolina's top-ranked run defense. In fact, nobody gives up fewer points to the running back position than the Panthers.
Sit 'em Giovani Bernard (CIN, RB)
Gio Bernard may have found the endzone last week, but it was in garbage time. He struggled against the Vikings averaging just 2.1 yards/carry. His matchup with the Lions this week is only slightly better. While Detroit gives up an average of 13 fantasy points to running backs each week, Bernard will have to share duties with Joe Mixon who is expected back. It's best to leave Bernard on the bench.
Sit 'em Marquise Goodwin (SF, WR)
With an impressive 25 targets over the last two games, Marquise Goodwin has been a godsend for fantasy owners putting up 100+ yards in both of those outings. Lower your expectations this week though as he lines up against the leagues most dominating secondary. Nobody has given up fewer fantasy points than Jacksonville this year (average 6.5 PPR) making Goodwin a tough start. Marquise - say hello to Jalen Ramsey.
Sit 'em Jordy Nelson (GB, WR)
Even with Aaron Rodgers under center and Davante Adams out for most of the second half, Jordy Nelson just couldn't return to fantasy glory. Yes, Rodgers underthrew him on what would have been a monster 75-yard touchdown, but Jordy managed just 3 catches for 28 yards. Now, he gets Brett Hundley back under center and we have a decent-enough sample size to know what to expect. He's also facing a brutal Vikings secondary. That's why you'll find Nelson ranked 48th this week - well outside starting territory.
Sit 'em Austin Hooper (ATL, TE)
Ranked 18th this week is Austin Hooper who hasn't seen more than three catches or 38 yards in the last six weeks. The Saints defense has been pretty solid as of late giving up the 9th-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. They haven't given up double digit points since Week 6 and only Rob Gronkowski has had a big day against them. Hooper is no Gronk.
Sit 'em Vernon Davis (WAS, TE)
With Jordan Reed out for the year, the targets
for Vernon Davis have been fantastic, but the production just hasn't been there. In his last three games without Reed in the mix, Davis has averaged just two catches for 19 yards each game - hardly the kinds of stats that you want to see in the fantasy Super Bowl. Vernon Davis is simply too risky to be in fantasy lineups right now.
Sit 'em Seattle Seahawks (SEA, DEF)
Look at this week's fantasy defense rankings
and you'll have to scroll to see the once almighty Seattle defense. They're ranked 19th this week against a Dallas team that will have Ezekiel Elliott just begging for the ball. After a disastrous showing against Los Angeles last week, the Seahawks are no longer an elite defense - fantasy or otherwise. Best to leave them on the bench.
Sit 'em Ryan Succop (TEN, K)
Ryan Succop has been fantastic for fantasy owners this year and will likely finish the year as a Top 10 kicker. He's got his work cut out for him this week though as he will face a Rams defense that has given up just 6.79 fantasy points on average (4th-fewest in the NFL).