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

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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.

RELATED: WEEK 16 POWER RANKINGS

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.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

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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10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

No. 5: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

No rookie draft pick excited the Redskins fan base like Derrius Guice since Robert Griffin III came to Washington back in 2012. That's a fact. 

Guice slipped during the draft to near the end of the second round, a position much too late for a player with his talent. Rumors emerged that he had character issues, but in the months since April's selection, they seem unfounded. In quick time, Guice has emerged as a Redskins fan favorite and has performed plenty of charitable acts.

So, moving past the erroneous off-field questions, it's time to manage expectations for what Guice can do on the field. 

DJ Swearinger recently said he expects Guice to make the Pro Bowl and rush for more than 1,000 yards. As a rookie. (Listen here)

That's not unheard of, last year rookie Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rush yards. In 2016, Ezekiel Elliott did the same thing. Rookie running backs can step in and produce right away in the NFL, unlike some positions that usually bring more of a learning curve. 

Can Guice do that?

The first and most important questions will be health and durability. Guice dealt with lingering knee injuries last year at LSU, and the Redskins will need him fully healthy. A 1,000-yard season is not unrealistic if Guice plays a full 16-game season. It would require rushing for about 65 yards-per-game. 

The bigger key is opportunities. 

How many carries will Guice log in 2018? Early on in the season, Guice might still be learning pass protection in the Redskins scheme, and Jay Gruden will not tolerate missed assignments that result in big hits on QB Alex Smith.

If Guice can lock in on blitz pickup, 200 carries seems reasonable. Remember that Chris Thompson will still be a featured part of the Redskins offense, and Rob Kelley will get chances too. 

Last season, Samaje Perine led all rushers with 175 carries. He didn't do much with the chances, averaging just 3.4 yards-per-carry. Kelley had 62 carries before injuries shut his season down after parts of seven games. 

Combine Perine and Kelley's carries, and then things start to get interesting. With 230 carries, at an average of 4 yards a pop, Guice starts to approach 1,000 yards.

One problem with extrapolating too much data from last season is the crazy amount of variables. Late in the year, with Perine largely ineffective and a very beat up offensive line, the Redskins simply couldn't produce on the ground. In their last five games of 2017, the Redskins never rushed for more than 100 yards. They averaged just 60 yards-per-game on the ground during that stretch, including a season low 31 rush yards against Arizona in December. 

The line can't be that beat up again, right?

Guice has to be able to deliver more than Perine, right?

If the answers to those questions are yes, then a 1,000-yard season seems possible for Guice in 2018. 

One misnomer from the Redskins 2017 campaign emerged that Washington simply did not run the ball well or enough. In fact, early in the year when the Redskins looked like a possible playoff team, they ran the ball quite well. In three of the first four games, Washington went over 100 yards on the ground, including 229 rush yards in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Guice might get to 1,000 yards in 2018. It's no sure thing, and there are plenty of variables, but it's possible. That hasn't happened in Washington since Alfred Morris, and would be a very welcome sight. 

The rookie runner has invigorated the Redskins faithful, and that's before he even steps on the field. If Guice can produce, the fans will go crazy.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

#REDSKINSTALK PODCAST

Don't forget to subscribe to the #RedskinsTalk podcast, hosted by JP Finlay.

Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

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Various sources

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 21, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

How the addition of Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart—Adonis Alexander was brought into the NFL about a week and a half ago and in five days he’ll be on the practice field in Richmond. How much will missing OTAs and minicamp hurt him in comparison to, say, his former Hokie teammate Greg Stroman? I think that the plan is for this to be a “redshirt” year for Alexander to learn. But that was supposed to be the plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chase Roullier last year and both ended up playing key snaps. 

Can the Redskins defensive line live up to its potential? Many NFL fans don’t appreciate the value of having a good defensive line. Redskins fans are not in that group because they have seen what you get when you try to build a defensive line with over-the-hill veteran free agents, low draft picks, and undrafted players. Fans will value the talent, youth, and depth on the 2018 D-line.  

10 Questions in 10 days: LB depth chart—This is another area where the Redskins have not invested much in recent seasons. At least this year they stepped up and re-signed starters Mason Foster and Zach Brown. They are the present. Are Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons the future? 

The pass rush must continue to be a strength for the Redskins—With the picture at the cornerback position is somewhat murky right now, the pass rush will be critical, especially in the early going. The outside linebackers lost a key reserve, putting the burden on Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan to continue to get pressure on Ryan Anderson to take a leap forward in his second season. 

Tweet of the week

Well, this tweet did sort of stir things up as did some of the things that Cousins said in an article by Dan Pompei on the Bleacher Report. The thing about Twitter is that there is no room for nuance. I was labeled a Kirk “hater” by some. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. On multiple occasions, I urged the team to sign him long term and highlighted the positive aspects of his play. 

But this thing about not having a “platform” to lead always struck me as a cop-out. Cousins talked about it during some press conferences while he was here. The length of your contract should not prevent you from embracing a leadership role. You’re getting paid to lead, just do it. Few in leadership positions in business or in the military know where they will be a year from now. They embrace the role while they have it and Cousins should have done the same. 

The fact that I don’t like this one aspect of Cousins doesn’t mean that I don’t like him overall. He’s a good quarterback and I think he will have success with the Vikings. I think that the price got to be too much for the Redskins and the decision to move on to Alex Smith was sound or at least the best they could do after it became apparent that he was not going to sign here. But it’s not all one or the other. It is possible to see the positive and negative of Cousins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline

Mike Sellers, whose seven receiving touchdowns in 2005 were the most by a Redskins running back since the merger, was born on this date in 1975.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 5
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 19
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 42

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 50 days. 

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