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Fantasy Football Week 16: Which sleepers can win you the championship?


Fantasy Football Week 16: Which sleepers can win you the championship?

If you are reading this, we can probably offer congratulations on remaining alive for the Super Bowl week of the fantasy football season.

Here's the thing: You are not done yet. One more win and you drink from the cup of glory. Lose this weekend and the pain lingers all winter. 

Week 16 rankings come out Wednesday, but here's a quick look at some potential sleeper or spot start options worth considering.

Do your best not to overthink all candidates.

Most likely the players who helped you reach this point are the best bets in Week 16. For those dealing with injuries or rough matchups, here are some names to consider.


Blake Bortles (at 49ers):
Super Bowl week and you might start this guy? Seemed impossible even a few weeks back but Bortles is cooking right now. Over his three starts, seven touchdown passes and zero interceptions while averaging 301 yards per game. Meanwhile, San Francisco has allowed at least two touchdown passes in eight of its last nine games. Now, here’s the rub: those last three games for Bortles were all at home where his numbers are significantly better across the board. Consider the Jaguars passer a low-end QB1. Consider Bortles for Week 16 if you normally start Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston and perhaps Matt Ryan.

Marshawn Lynch (at Eagles):
Overall during the fantasy season, running backs haven’t scored big points against Philadelphia. The second fewest, for the record. That version isn’t what’s been showing the past two games as the Rams and Giants averaged 29.5 points in PPR formats. Therefore Lynch owners might believe their guy is worth a start this week despite the statistical poor matchup. Fair enough, though tread lightly. New York thrived with 12 receptions, but only averaged 2.7 yards per rush. Lynch only has four catches on the season. Always a goal-line threat, but keep an eye out for news on projected usage now that Oakland is eliminated from postseason contention.

Theo Riddick (at Bengals):
Overall we’re looking at an RB3 option, but Riddick is dominating touches of late in Detroit’s backfield. PPR owners can certainly consider him – 14 receptions over last three games. He has at least 61 yards from scrimmage in each of those games and three touchdowns in that span. Yet the real intrigue here involves the Cincinnati defense, which allows the second most points to fantasy running backs on the season.


Joe Flacco/Mike Wallace (vs. Colts):
Don't look now, but the Ravens passing game is making moves. Flacco's top-3 yardage performances of the season have occurred in the last three weeks with five touchdown passes in that span. The home matchup against Indianapolis presents another soft landing spot. Flacco represents a decent fallback for those Aaron Rodgers owners dealing with their guy's return turn into a one-week scenario. As for the receiving part of this tandem, sure, he’s no longer MIKE WALLACE, but the deep threat is picking up the pace recently. Over the last three games, 116, 72 and 89 receiving yards with 14 receptions. Now Wallace faces an Indianapolis defense that ranks 27th in points allowed to fantasy receivers and surrendered 213 and 197 yards in recent games. Ideally, we’re talking about an upside WR3 option, but considering the flow and the opponent, Wallace should also receive looks in two-receiver formats.

Martavis Bryant (at Texans):
One of the season’s main fantasy busts is poised for a redemption story. Antonio Brown’s injury opens the door for more opportunities and against a Houston pass defense giving up gobs of production. The Texans rank 28th in points allowed to fantasy receivers with some truly horrific weeks during the season. JuJu Smith-Schuster likely becomes Ben Roethlisberger’s main target, but Bryant went for 4-59-1 in Week 15 against the Patriots. Owners in three-receiver leagues will be very tempted, as they should.

Kyle Rudolph (at Packers):
Owners that took the risk of Rudolph producing in Week 15 despite a “doubtful” tag earlier in the week were rewarded with a touchdown. That’s four consecutive games he found the end zone, five times in that span. There’s a chance for another one against Green Bay. Seventh overall against fantasy tight ends, the Packers have allowed a TD in three of their last four games and four overall. They had no answer for Greg Olsen last week and the Bucs had success in Week 13. Rudolph finished 5-47 against Green Bay back in Week 6.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?


Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.


Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.


I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.