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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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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

It may be the 18th of March but today could be like Christmas for five Redskins players.

The Redskins decided to use today, four days after the start of the league year, for some contract triggers. In this case, the triggers are all 2018 salary guarantees (some teams will pay out roster bonuses on trigger dates, but the Redskins rarely use that type of structure).

Here are the players whose have guarantees that kick in today 4 p.m. All data is via Over the Cap.


CB Josh Norman, base salary of $13.5 million becomes fully guaranteed—This was a window for the Redskins to move on from Norman if they were not happy with his performance after two seasons. He is 31 and he had no interceptions last season, leaving some to wonder if the Redskins might think about releasing him. But it never was a consideration.

TE Jordan Reed, $8 million of his $8.25 million salary becomes fully guaranteed—No, I’m not sure why they are leaving that $250,000 out there non-guaranteed. Fans thought that the Redskins might move on from Reed due to his injury issues. But, as with Norman, it never was a consideration.

S D.J. Swearinger, $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—This is a mere technicality, Swearinger wasn’t going anywhere after helping to solidify the safety position.


RB Chris Thompson, $1.996 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—His rehab is going well and after last year Thompson’s two-year, $7 million contract extension signed last September looks like a good deal for the team.

DE Terrell McClain, $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on.

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.


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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 18, 39 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at next year’s free agents

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens.

Note: I’m not including Brandon Scherff here because the team has a fifth-year option on him that they surely will activate before the May 2 deadline.

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard).

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility.

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon.

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup.

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight.

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019.

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.

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Regarding the reported visit of defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins with the Redskins:


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 29
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 131
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 175

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