Week 16 Starts/Sleepers/Sits
By Joel Dehls
The fantasy championship is finally here! We had a great week 15, hitting on all our QB’s, RB’s, and went 2/3 for our WR’s. It’s been a blast writing for Dynasty Pros and I’m sure there will be more content coming from me in the offseason. One last time, let's get into it.
Start - Jalen Hurts @ Dallas Cowboys
Jalen Hurts has arrived. After benching Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles have already found their new franchise QB in Hurts. In his first game starting, Hurts showed his rushing ability, as he had over 100 rushing yards on the ground. In his second game starting, Hurts showed his passing ability, as he went toe to toe with Kyler Murray and threw for over 330 yards and 3 TD’s. Even while throwing 44 times, Hurts still had 11 rushing attempts for 63 yards and a rushing TD. This is his offense, his team, and Carson Wentz wont start another game for the Eagles.
Next on tap for Hurts is a plus matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. At first glance, the Cowboys appear to be tough against QBs, as they allow less than 20 points/game to the position, but when you dig a bit deeper, it's a great matchup. The Cowboys have had the luxury of playing Nick Mullens/CJ Beathard and Brandon Allen the last two weeks, which has inflated their standings against QB’s. The last time they played a dual threat QB like Hurts, was Lamar Jackson. In that game, Lamar had over 200 total yards and 3 total touchdowns. Start Hurts as top 7 QB this week.
Sleeper - Mitchell Trubisky @ Jacksonville Jaguars
I do feel a little nauseous as I make the case for Mitch Trubisky in championship week. Since taking over as the starter again, Mitch has shown that he should have never been benched for Foles. Since week 12, Mitch is a QB1 and has even outplayed Herbert (for fantasy) over this stretch. He has had the benefit of some great matchups playing against Detroit, Houston, and Minnesota the last 3 weeks, but he gets another great matchup this week against Jacksoville.
The Jaguars have been terrible against fantasy QBs, allowing the 2nd most points to the position. The Jaguars are fresh off an absolute beatdown by Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, as Lamar had nearly 280 total yards and 4 touchdowns. While Mitch is nowhere near Lamar in terms of rushing ability, he does have some sneaky rushing upside. In the last 2 games, Mitch has rushed for over 20 yards in both games, giving you a bit of a fantasy boost. Against a defense that has shown they cannot stop the run or the pass, Mitch can be considered a top 15 option at the QB position.
Sit - Ben Roethisberger vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Steelers are a bad football team right now. Whether you want to attribute that to injuries, drops, or just flat out bad play, you cannot tell me they will win a playoff game. A lot of that falls on the shoulders of Big Ben, who is coming off his worst game of the 2020 season, as the Steelers somehow lost to the Cincinnati Bengals. In his last 2 games, Ben has failed to throw for over 200 yards and has a lousy 3:3 TD:INT ratio. Next up for the Steelers is a matchup against a ferocious Colts defense.
The Colts are a top 10 defense against fantasy QBs, allowing less than 18 points/game to the position. While they have been susceptible in the last couple games against Deshaun Watosn and Derek Carr, Big Ben simply is not talented enough, nor is this offense as a whole, to beat the Colts defense. A few QB’s I’m starting over Ben are Jalen Hurts, Mitch Trubisky, Baker Mayfield, and Ryan Tannehill.
Start - Austin Ekeler vs. Denver Broncos
Since returning from injury, Ekeler has had 2 games over 18 fantasy points, and 2 games under 10 fantasy points. For managers who were fighting for the playoffs, this inconsistency might have hurt their team. While Ekeler’s inconsistency isn't ideal, he is getting the workload that shows he should still be considered a top 12 RB. In his 4 games since returning from injury, Ekeler has 13 or more carries and 9 or more targets in 3/4 games. He has also been super efficient running the ball, averaging more than 4.5 yards/carry in 3/4 games. Where Ekeler has lacked is in the touchdown department, as he has failed to find the end zone since week 3.
In the fantasy championship, Ekeler gets a juicy matchup against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos allow the 11th most fantasy points against opposing RBs. Against one of the worst rushing offenses in the league, the Buffalo Bills rushed for over 180 yards and 3 touchdowns as a team. Add on the receiving upside for Ekeler and he is in line for a top 10 finish.
Sleeper - Miles Sanders @ Dallas Cowboys
It feels a bit disrespectful to put Miles Sanders in the “sleeper” category, but he has been just as inconsistent as Ekeler over the last few weeks. It was baffling to see his usage since returning from injury, but since Hurts has taken over, his usage has skyrocketed, seeing over 80% of snaps the past two weeks. He has shown the Eagles why they used a 2nd round pick on him as he rushed for over 100 yards and 2 TD’s against a top 3 rushing defense in the Saints, then followed it up with 90 total yards on 19 touches last week against Arizona.
Next up for the Eagles is the Dallas Cowboys. I touched on this matchup a bit earlier with Jalen Hurts, but it's even better for Miles Sanders. The Cowboys allow the 6th most points to the RB position and are coming off a matchup where both Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson rushed for over 60 years each. Miles Sanders is more talented than both of those RB’s. Start Miles Sanders as a top 12 RB.
Sit - Le’Veon Bell vs. Atlanta Falcons
When the Chiefs signed Le’Veon Bell I was both excited and fearful for CEH. On one hand, Clyde was able to see first hand how to train, practice, and study film with one of the most versatile and unique RBs the NFL has ever seen. On the other hand, I knew Lev would take a large chunk of the RB room and make CEH a borderline RB2 each week. Now that CEH is out with injury, many fantasy managers are excited to start Lev in their fantasy matchups, but I think you should reconsider it. Last year, the excuse was Lev was running behind the worst offensive line in the NFL and arguably the worst offense in the NFL. Now, he is running with the best offense in the NFL and still does not look great. A few weeks ago, the Chiefs played the Broncos and CEH was active, but did not play a single snap. In that game, Le’Veon played on 52% of snaps, rushed for 40 yards and had 15 receiving yards. Overall, he didn't look great against a beatable Broncos rush defense. This week, he will be the starting RB, but I don't think he will finish as a top 24 RB.
The Atlanta Falcons have been surprisingly good against the run, as they allow the 7th fewest points to RB’s. Most recently, the Bucs failed to top 55 rushing yards, and Austin Ekeler failed to reach 80 rushing yards. With the Chiefs passing offense being so dominant, and the way they have underutilized CEH thus far, I fear that Lev will disappoint a ton of managers this week. A few RB’s I’m starting over Le’Veon are Jonathan Taylor, Chris Carson, Kenyan Drake, and Giovanni Benard.
Start - Jarvis Landry vs. New York Jets
Jarvis Landry was phenomenal last week against a tough Giants secondary. He saw 8 targets, reeling in 7 receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown. Outside of a couple monsoon games, Jarvis Landry has been a consistent WR2 for your fantasy team. He has 4 straight games of 8 or more targets, including at least 6 receptions and 50 yards in each of those games. He also has a touchdown in 3/4 of those games.
It’s always a great day when you get to play the New York Jets secondary. The Jets allow the 6th most points to the WR position and I don't expect them to contain anyone on the Browns offense, including Jarvis Landry. Jarvis is expected to be covered by Javelin Guidry, an undrafted free agent from Utah. I expect the vetern slot receiver to have his way.
Sleeper - CeeDee Lamb vs. Dallas Cowboys
The future for CeeDee Lamb is as bright as any WR in the NFL, as long as they retain Dak Prescott. With Dak out of the lineup, the rookie WR hasn't had nearly the same production as he had in the first month. The Cowboys offense as a whole has taken a massive step back, as expected with Andy Dalton. Lamb is coming off his best game in over 2 months as he had 5 receptions for 85 yards and a kick return TD against the 49ers. I expect his production to continue against a poorest Philly secondary.
The Eagles secondary has been atrocious all year long. With Lamb playing 93% of his snaps from the slot, Nickell Robey-Coleman is expected to be the corner opposing him. Robey-Coleman has had a tough year, as he is the 87th highest graded corner according to PFF. Start Lamb as a top 24 WR this week.
Sit - Hollywood Brown vs. New York Giants
Hollywood Brown has come alive over the past month of the season. He has 4 straight games of 6 or more targets and has 2 games with 80 or more yards in that span too. With Lamar playing better, Hollywood has been a huge beneficiary. I’m not the biggest fan of Hollywood, as I think he’s more of a deep threat, than a true #1 WR. This week against the Giants, I’d be looking to sit Hollywood.
There is a lot to feel good about if you’re a Giants fan, but the best signing arguably of the entire 2020 offseason has to be James Bradberry. Bradberry is the 6th ranked CB according to PFF and has put himself in the conversation for top 5 CB in the NFL. This week, he is expected to shadow Hollywood, which would make him unstartable in just about every format. A few WR’s I’d start over Hollywood are CeeDee Lamb, Diontae Johnson, Brandon Cooks, and DJ Moore.
Start - Logan Thomas vs. Carolina Panthers
Even with a revolving door at QB this year, Logan Thomas has been as reliable as they come for the TE position. He is currently TE5 on the year and is coming off a game where he saw 16 targets, 13 receptions and 101 yards. Pretty dominant when you consider Dwayne Haskins was the starting QB. This week, Alex Smith is expected to be the starting QB, which means Logan Thomas should continue to be a top 10 TE at the very worst.
The Panthers are middle of the pack when it comes to defending TE’s, as they allow 10.4 points/game to the position. I’d expect Thomas to be the leading receiver against the Panthers as Terry McLaurin is expected to be out.
Sleeper - Robert Tonyan vs. Tennessee Titans
Robert Tonyan must have taken it personal when I said you can cut him after his 4.8 point performance in week 10. From week 11 on, Tonyan is TE3, only behind Kelce and Darren Waller. He has a touchdown in 5 straight games and gets a great matchup against the Tennessee Titans this week.
The Titans allow the 12th most points to the TE position at 10.7/game. The Titans and Packers matchup is also the highest over/under of the eek at 55.5. This is a game where I want all the pieces I can whether that is at QB, WR, RB, or TE. Start Tonyan as a top 10 TE.
Sit - Hayden Hurst @ Kansas City Chiefs
In the beginning of the year, Hayden Hurst seemed like he was going to be a reliable TE for your fantasy team. Since the bye week, Hurst’s involvement in the passing game is alarming. He only has one game over 65% of snaps and is barely being targeted. In the last 3 games, he is averaging only 4 targets/game. He is a TD dependent TE and there are many other better options out there.
The matchup against the Chiefs is a plus, but I’m not taking the chance in my fantasy championship. A few players I’m looking to start over Hurst are Logan Thomas, Robert Tonyan, Jonnu Smith, and Austin Hooper.
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