Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Best fantasy football plays for Week 16

/ by Ethan Cadeaux
Presented By TAP Sports Bar

In fantasy football, every week is more important than the last. No week is more important than this one, though, because it's championship week in almost every league.

Put up or shut up. It's win or go home.

Here are the best plays for championship week.

Byes: None


Start ’em

  • Jalen Hurts, PHI (at DAL)
  • Tom Brady, TB (at DET)
  • Baker Mayfield, CLE (at NYJ)

Yeah, you probably didn't expect Jalen Hurts to be a league-winner in fantasy football, but that's exactly what the rookie quarterback has been since taking over for Carson Wentz. Last week, in just his second start, Hurts put up 37 fantasy points (!!) against Arizona. This week against Dallas, he has another prime opportunity to show out once again...Tom Brady has been up-and-down fantasy-wise over the past month or so, but he's a must-start against the Lions this week. Detroit is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and Brady seems to be clicking with his receivers at the perfect time...Baker Mayfield is playing the best football of his career right now, and things should be pretty easy this week against a one-win Jets team. Mayfield has turned in multiple strong first halves this season, meaning he should be able to tally a bunch of fantasy points before getting pulled, should the Browns begin to blow out the Jets.

Sit ’em

  • Philip Rivers, IND (at PIT)
  • Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs. IND)
  • Teddy Bridgewater, CAR (at WFT)

The first two quarterbacks on this list, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, are playing one another this weekend. So, if my prediction goes as planned, Colts-Steelers should be a low-scoring game. On a real note, though, Rivers is dealing with a toe injury that will keep him from being 100 percent this week, while Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense have been all out of sorts the past three weeks. Neither 2004 first-round quarterback is worth the gamble in the fantasy football championship, that's for sure...Teddy Bridgewater has been solid this season, but Washington's defense has been playing incredible football as of late. Last week, they held Russell Wilson to just 12 fantasy points. Teddy B is also not worth the risk this week.


Running backs

Start ’em

  • David Montgomery, CHI (at JAX)
  • Miles Sanders, PHI (at DAL)
  • Leonard Fournette, TB (at DET)

Over the past month, there has been no running back in fantasy football better than David Montgomery -- who has now risen to the No. 6 running back in fantasy this season. This week, the Bears' bellcow faces a Jacksonville team that has given up the third-most fantasy points to running backs this year. He's an absolute must-start and could finish as the No. 1 rusher this week...Ever since Jalen Hurts took over as the Eagles' quarterback, Miles Sanders has looked rejuvenated at the position. Dallas' defense has also given up the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs this season, giving Sanders a solid matchup for championship week...With Ronald Jones II out this week, Leonard Fournette will start for the Buccaneers and have the chance to feast against the Lions. Fournette should turn in an RB1-level performance, as Detroit has given up the most fantasy points to rushers this season of any team in the NFL.

Sit ’em

  • Mike Davis, CAR (at WFT)
  • Kenyan Drake, ARI (vs SF)
  • Melvin Gordon, DEN (at LAC)

Christian McCaffrey won't be back this week for Carolina, but Mike Davis should still remain on the bench regardless. Washington's defense has been excellent this season, and running backs have had a hard time putting up numbers against them this season especially. With Washington playing a potential playoff-clincher, don't expect them to ease up, either...It's hard to remove Kenyan Drake from your lineup, but this week against San Francisco is not a fun matchup. The 49ers have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to rushers this season, despite the many injuries they have had along their defensive front. Stay away from Drake if you can...Melvin Gordon is facing a Chargers defense this week for the second time this season, and his first outing against his former team was a forgettable one. Gordon isn't a terrible play this week, but there are a lot of better options than him.

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Wide receivers

Start ’em

  • Allen Robinson, CHI (at JAX)
  • Robert Woods, LAR (at SEA)
  • Mike Evans, TB (at DET)

The Bears travel to Jacksonville this weekend, meaning Allen Robinson will play against his former team. I'm a big proponent of revenge games, and Robinson has one this week against the Jaguars. It also helps that Jacksonville's secondary isn't great, and Robinson is productive against almost every team. Start him this week...Robert Woods has a solid outing in New York last week against the Jets, despite his team losing to that horrific team. Bobby Trees has another good matchup this week, facing a Seahawks defense that has allowed the most points to wideouts this season. Keep him in your lineup at all costs...Mike Evans' production has taken a hit this season in terms of yardage, but he has the chance to become the first pass-catcher in NFL history to record eight straight 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career. Evans is currently 221 yards short, meaning he'll need big games over the final two weeks to accomplish said feat. However, head coach Bruce Arians mentioned this week he wants Evans to reach that mark, which makes it seem the coach will have a gameplan tailored to his stud wideout this week against a bad Lions secondary.


Sit ’em

  • DK Metcalf, SEA (vs LAR)
  • DJ Moore, CAR (at WFT)
  • Jakobi Meyers, NE (at BUF)

DK Metcalf has had an incredible season, but Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey has had the wideout's number every time they've played thus far. In what is the de-facto NFC West championship this season, I'll take my odds on Ramsey coming out on top again, especially with Russell Wilson struggling right now...DJ Moore has been a reliable target for Teddy Bridgewater, but the Washington Football Team defense has been well above average against wideouts this season. Take last week into account, too, when both Metcalf and Tyler Lockett didn't muster much against this secondary. Moore isn't a bad play, but he's certainly a risky one...Jakobi Meyers has turned into a solid wideout for the Patriots this season, and he might even be their best pass-catcher. However, the Bills defense is stout, and Cam Newton has struggled to throw the football all season. Sit Meyers.

Tight ends

Start ’em

  • Logan Thomas, WFT (vs CAR)
  • Austin Hooper, CLE (at NYJ)

Logan Thomas is coming off a career-high in catches (13) and yards (101) against Seattle, and now faces a Panthers defense that has struggled this season defending tight ends. regardless of who is under center for Washington, expect Thomas to be involved in the offense early and often...Austin Hooper has had an up-and-down season, but he should be able to get on track against the Jets this week, the team that is allowing the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. 

Sit ’em

  • Zach Ertz, PHI (at DAL)
  • Jonnu Smith, TEN (at GB)

Zach Ertz is no longer the tight end No. 1 in Philadelphia, so it's time for fantasy owners to stop treating him like so. Ertz deserves a spot on the bench until he proves otherwise (which, of course, won't be until 2021, where he could very easily be in another uniform)...Jonnu Smith started out the season as one of the best tight ends in fantasy football, but oh how he has fallen over the past few months. Smith isn't a trustable start at all, especially this week against Green Bay, who have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points this season.

Defense/special teams

Start ’em

  • Ravens D/ST (vs NYG)
  • Bills D/ST (at NE)

Even if Daniel Jones does play for the Giants, there is no chance he will be 100 percent come Sunday. The Ravens defense has started to click, and Baltimore knows they need to win this week in order to make the postseason. I'd start the Ravens defense and never, never look back...Buffalo is playing like the hottest team in football right now, and the defense is finding itself at the right time. New England's offense has also been putrid for much of the year. Bills defense is an easy play this week.


Sit ’em

  • Packers D/ST (vs TEN)
  • Titans D/ST (at GB)

Very little defense will be played in this game. Expect a LOT of points. Like, A LOT.