Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 16

Written by Eric Moody
December 18, 2019
6,469 views

Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 16

Start 'Em and Sit 'Em is the definitive weekly study of NFL Matchups and the effect they'll have on your fantasy football team. It will not focus on obvious players like Aaron Rodgers, Dalvin Cook, Davante Adams, or Travis Kelce. All player matchups are based on PPR formats. The column will leverage all of the stats, advanced metrics and other resources available at FantasyData. For your final starting lineup decisions, please review our weekly fantasy football rankings. You can also reach out to me on Twitter (@EricNMoody).

The 15th week of the 2019 NFL season was defined by a number of astonishing performances. Lamar Jackson finished as the QB1. He completed 15 of 23 passes for 212 yards and five touchdowns in the Ravens win over the Jets. Jackson also rushed for 86 yards on eight attempts. 

 Kenyan Drake finished as the RB1. He rushed for 137 yards and four touchdowns on 22 attempts. Drake also had one reception for nine yards. 

 Julio Jones caught 13 of 20 targets for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the Falcons' surprising win over the 49ers. He finished as the WR1. 

George Kittle finished as the TE1. He caught 13 of 17 targets. 

If you took action on the recommendations from last week's column here are some of the players you would have had in your starting lineup:

  • Jameis Winston
  • Ryan Tannehill
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Raheem Mostert
  • Adrian Peterson
  • Greg Ward
  • Anthony Miller
  • A.J. Brown

Are you aware of the old adage “start your studs”? If the answer is yes then it’s time to erase that phrase from your memory. It’s okay to take informed risks. These are risks in which the calculated potential payoff outweighs the calculated possible loss, given the knowledge someone has about the circumstances. You’re in the right place to accelerate that change. I will reference expected points (EP), fantasy points over expectation (FPOE), and breakaway runs. EP is based on the average fantasy point value of plays in similar down, distance, and field position instances. FPOE, on the other hand, takes a player’s actual fantasy points and subtracts out the expected points. EP measures volume while FPOE measures efficiency. Start Percentage shows the number of ESPN fantasy leagues a player is started in divided by the number of leagues he is eligible in. This helps indicate how the public views a player. Without further ado, here are my recommendations for Week 16 as we enter championship week. 

QUARTERBACKS

Start Kyler Murray (40.3% ST)

Murray completed 19 of 25 passes for 219 yards, one touchdown, and an interception for a 98.6 passer rating in the Cardinals win over the Browns. The rookie also had 56 rushing yards. Murray became just the third rookie quarterback behind Cam Newton (2011) and Robert Griffin III (2012) in NFL history according to Pro Football Reference to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 500 yards in a season. Murray and the Cardinals offense face the Seahawks in Week 16. Seattle's defense has allowed an average of 40.2 pass attempts, 25.2 completions, 270 passing yards, 1.4 passing touchdowns, 1.8 interceptions, and 17 fantasy points per game to top quarterback scorers over its last five. Murray is a solid QB1 for the championship weekend. 

Start Ryan Fitzpatrick (7.2% ST)

Fitzpatrick completed 23 of 41 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns in the Dolphins' loss to the Giants. He's averaged 260 passing yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game over Miami's last nine. Fitzpatrick faces a Bengals' defense in Week 16 that has allowed an average of 194 passing yards, 0.8 touchdowns, 0.6 interceptions, and 14.5 fantasy points per game to top quarterback scorers over its last five. Four of those games were against Tom Brady, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Devlin Hodges. Those four quarterbacks only averaged 12.5 fantasy points per game. Derek Carr threw for 292 yards, a touchdown, and an interception for 23 fantasy points against the Bengals back in Week 11. Fitzpatrick can be viewed as a high-end QB2 with upside in Week 16. 

Start Gardner Minshew (5.3% ST)

Minshew completed 17 of 29 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns in the Jaguars win over the Raiders. He also rushed for 27 yards on five attempts. Minshew has averaged 234 passing yards, 238.3 air yards, and 19.3 fantasy points per game this season. This was his tenth start and the win brought him to a 5-5 record as the Jaguars starting quarterback. Minshew faces a Falcons defense that has allowed an average of 31 pass attempts, 20 completions, 226.2 passing yards, one touchdown, 1.6 interceptions, and 18.5 fantasy points per game to top quarterback scorers over its last five. He should have wide receiver D.J. Chark back in the fold against Atlanta. Minshew can be viewed as a high-end QB2 with QB1 upside. 

Start Kirk Cousins (21.7% ST)

Kirk Cousins.jpgCousins completed 19 of 25 passes for 207 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in the Vikings win over the Chargers. He wasn't asked to do much as a passer given the production from Minnesota's running game. Cousins only had five pass attempts in the second half. and was one for two on pass attempts greater than 20 yards. He has completed 70 percent of his passes for 3,481 yards, 25 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Cousins' has averaged 19.9 fantasy points per game and will have Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen at his disposal at home against the Packers in Week 16. Green Bay's defense has allowed an average of 36 pass attempts, 21.4 completions, 261 passing yards, 1.2 touchdowns, 1.4 interceptions, and 16 fantasy points per game. Cousins can be viewed as a low-end QB1 this week.   

Sit Aaron Rodgers (60.6% ST)

Rodgers completed 16 of 33 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown in the Packers' win over the Bears. He has a less than ideal matchup against the Vikings on the road in Week 16. Rodgers has only finished as a QB1 five times this season. He can be viewed as more of a QB2 against a Vikings defense that has allowed the 10th fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season. 

RUNNING BACKS

Start Marlon Mack (44.6% ST)

Mack rushed 11 times for 19 yards in the Colts loss to the Saints and was not targeted as a receiver out of the backfield. He's been a disappointment since returning from his hand injury last week. Mack has accumulated 57 yards and a touchdown on 24 rushing attempts. He has positive fantasy points over expectation this season with a favorable matchup against the Panthers defense for championship week. Mack faces a Carolina defense that has allowed an average of 16 touches, 97 total yards, one touchdown, and 20 PPR fantasy points per game to top running back scorers over its last five. The Panthers defense has allowed the third-most rushing yards this season. Mack can be viewed as an RB2. 

Start Adrian Peterson (19.5% ST)

Peterson rushed 16 times for 66 yards and a touchdown in the Redskins loss to the Eagles. He also had three receptions for 25 yards. With Derrius Guice on injured reserve, he will continue to dominate the touches in the Washington backfield. Peterson can be viewed as a volume-based RB2 against the Giants in Week 16. New York's defense has allowed an average of 15.2 touches, 77.8 total yards, 0.4 touchdowns, and 14.8 PPR fantasy points per game to top running back scorers over its last five. 

Start Raheem Mostert (35.7% ST)

Mostert rushed 14 times for 54 yards and one touchdown in the 49ers' loss to the Falcons. He led San Francisco's backfield with 16 opportunities. Matt Breida finished with six while Tevin Coleman finished with five. Mostert also leads the 49ers backfield in fantasy points over expectation. He's averaging 3.4 fantasy points per game more than expected this season. Mostert faces a Rams defense that has allowed an average of 18 touches, 99 total yards, one touchdown, and 18.7 PPR fantasy points per game to top running back scorers over its last five. The 49ers backfield combined for 42 opportunities against the Rams back in Week 6. Mostert can be viewed as a high-end RB2. 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Start Adam Thielen (47.4% ST)

Adam Thielen.jpgThielen caught all three of his targets for 27 yards in the Vikings win over the Chargers. He played 51 percent of the offensive snaps in his first action since Week 9 while recovering from a hamstring injury. Thielen's snaps played and targets are expected to trend up against the Packers this week. Green Bay's defense has allowed an average of 8.4 targets, 5.4 receptions, 77 receiving yards, 0.8 touchdowns, and 18 PPR fantasy points per game to top wide receiver scorers over its last five. Thielen can be viewed as a WR2. 

Start Christian Kirk (29.6% ST)

Kirk caught four of five targets for 33 yards in the Cardinals win over the Browns. He also had a rushing attempt for 28-yards. The Cardinals offense was very productive in this game with Kenyan Drake being very dominant in the red zone. Arizona faces the Seahawks on the road this week. Seattle's defense has allowed an average of 8.2 targets, six receptions, 84.2 receiving yards, 0.4 touchdowns, and 17.6 PPR fantasy points per game to top wide receiver scorers over its last five. Kirk can be viewed as an upside WR3. 

Start Tyler Boyd (37.3% ST)

Boyd caught three of seven targets for 26 yards in the Bengals loss to the Patriots in Week 15. He was shut down by New England cornerback Stephon Gilmore while being heavily targeted in the passing game. Two of Andy Dalton's four interceptions were both on passes intended for Boyd. Gilmore returned one of them for 64 yards and a touchdown. Boyd has averaged nine targets per game which ranks 12th among wide receivers. He's a WR2 against the Dolphins this week. Miami's defense has allowed an average of 13 targets, 8.8 receptions, 130 receiving yards, 1.2 touchdowns, and 29 PPR fantasy points per game to top wide receiver scorers over its last five.  

Start Terry McLaurin (26.8% ST)

McLaurin caught all five of his targets for 130 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles last week. He's average 13 PPR fantasy points, 98 air yards, and 6.4 targets per game over his last five. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins' quality of play is trending up at the perfect time for those with McLaurin on their rosters. The Redskins face the Giants in Week 16. McLaurin has averaged nearly 22 fantasy points per game to NFC East teams. He faces a New York defense that has allowed an average of 8.4 targets, five receptions, 76.4 receiving yards, 1.2 touchdowns, and 19.8 PPR fantasy points per game to top wide receiver scorers over its last five. McLaurin can be viewed as an upside WR2. 

Sit Odell Beckham (74.5% ST)

Beckham caught eight of 13 targets for 66 yards in the Browns' loss to the Cardinals. He continues to play at less than 100 percent due to a painful sports hernia injury. Beckham only has two WR1 finishes on his resume this season and is averaging a disappointing 12.3 PPR fantasy points per game. He's essentially a boom or bust WR3 entering Week 16. 

TIGHT END

Start Jacob Hollister (20.8% ST)

Hollister caught all three of his targets for 23 yards in the Seahawks win over the Panthers. He accumulated 12 receptions and three touchdowns from Week 9 to 10. Hollister has only averaged 5.2 targets, 3.8 receptions, and 31 receiving yards per game since then. The good news is that he is back on the TE1 radar with a matchup against the Cardinals in Week 16. Arizona's defense has allowed an average of five targets, 3.8 receptions, 40 receiving yards, 1.2 touchdowns, and 15 PPR fantasy points per game to top tight end scorers over its last five. 

Start Mike Gesicki (14% ST)

Gesicki caught four of eight targets for 46 yards in the Dolphins loss to the Giants. He has the seventh-most targets (6.6) on a per-game basis among tight ends since Week 11. Gesicki is the Dolphins No. 2 option in the passing game behind DeVante Parker. Miami faces the Bengals at home this week. Gesicki can be viewed as an upside TE2. 

Bringing It All Together

Making lineup decisions in fantasy football whether it's redraft, dynasty, or DFS is mind-numbing. It's important not to second guess yourself or make ungrounded last-minute changes. One good best practice is to set your lineup the night before your matchup begins. Breaking news should be the only thing that prompts you to make changes.

If you have additional questions please refer to our fantasy football rankings or better yet reach out to me on Twitter for an immediate response (@EricNMoody). 

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Eric Moody

Eric Moody is a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers Association). His writing has been featured at FantasyPros, Gridiron Experts, RotoViz, and TwoQBs. He has a lifelong passion for the game and even played at the collegiate level as an offensive lineman. Eric also participated in Dan Hatman's Scouting Academy in order to learn the process of player evaluation at an NFL level. When Eric provides advice, he uses game film, analytics, and statistics to help you understand his perspective. He enjoys time with his family, Netflix, music, bass guitar, and coffee