Fantasy Football Week 16 Mailbag: Dave Richard tackles your questions about Todd Gurley, Cam Newton and more

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Week 16 is the most exciting time in Fantasy Football leagues — it's when people compete for championships, bragging rights, trophies and maybe even a little more.

But this year, everyone's in full-blown PANIC MODE! because of a bunch of injuries — and there's none bigger than the knee problem Todd Gurley is dealing with.

So we decided to answer some tweets asking about the hottest topics Fantasy owners are grappling with for this week's games. Even if you didn't ask these questions, you should be able to get something out of these answers.

And of course we're starting with all things Gurley.

It was revealed Friday that Gurley will be a game-time decision. Coach Sean McVay said he'll go through a workout before the game and the Rams will make a call from there. If he's active, there should be no hesitation to start him against one of the worst run defenses in football. If he's out, go with Lindsay.

I think now's a good point to mention that anyone who has Gurley should add C.J. Anderson to their rosters. Might even want to add John Kelly, too. Granted, it would be incredibly strange to see Anderson suddenly become the Rams' best running back after joining the team on Tuesday, but he is a much more polished pass protector than Kelly. He obviously carries more experience than Kelly, who has two carries for 4 yards. You might not feel so hot starting either runner in place of Gurley, but you'll at least have the option if you so choose. Guys like Elijah McGuire and Jamaal Williams, and maybe even Kalen Ballage, are all better than any Rams runner not named Gurley.

P.S. It would be the ultimate gut-punch to this incredibly frustrating finish to the Fantasy season to not have Gurley available. Hopefully he'll be ready to go.

I've been impressed with the way Darnold has been playing recently and unimpressed with the Packers pass defense. Darnold seems more comfortable in and out of the pocket and has made some nice throws on broken plays. In a matchup we figure the Packers offense should be productive in, Darnold's going to have to make plays. It's risky, but so is starting Jackson in his toughest matchup to-date on the road at the Chargers and Allen versus an angry Patriots defense.

My read on Andy Reid is that he'll cling to Damien Williams as his main running back so long as he doesn't stink. Spencer Ware might have had a role this week, but with a doubtful designation for Week 16, it looks like he won't be available. We already know Williams has earned Reid's trust in goal-to-go situations over the past two weeks. I would suspect Williams will be good for at least 15 touches with several catches and a good shot to score in a high-scoring game. So he's in.

I started the week liking Jamaal Williams more than McGuire on the basis that he wouldn't share the ball too much. But I'm not so sure that he'll see a ton of touches even if he plays over 70 percent of the snaps. Aaron Rodgers isn't playing on Sunday and potentially risking his health to hand off to Williams. He's looking to rack up some numbers. I know he hasn't been his usual productive self lately, but I envision Rodgers taking the reins of this offense and leaving Williams under 15 carries. Packers running backs have hit the 15-carry mark in just five games this year — Jones with three, Williams with two, and both were in Weeks 1 and 2. Williams makes me a bit nervous.

Meanwhile, McGuire has hit the 20-touch and 70-percent snap marks in consecutive weeks. He's not a very talented back, but he's the one the Jets trust the most. Green Bay's run defense has been noticeably bad and lost defensive lineman Kenny Clark to a season-ending injury. He was the line's best run defender. McGuire should roll through the Packers for double-digit Fantasy points.

The knee-jerk reaction is to go with Brees since he's at home and is typically more dangerous there. But I think Luck has more upside, though both could fall victim to a running back hurting their touchdown totals.

The difference for me is the matchup — a beat-up Giants secondary and weak pass rush will roll into Indianapolis with two games left in their season while the Steelers' strong pass rush and feisty pass defense heads to the Superdome with playoff aspirations. New Orleans' O-line is also beat up and could keep Brees from having time to throw deep. I'd expect the Saints to be a little more run-reliant than the Colts, though that's not a guarantee for success against Pittsburgh's sixth-ranked run defense. I feel better about Luck.

I'm fine with starting Golladay this week, even in a tough matchup, and even with his quarterback under siege. The Lions have nothing to lose in their last home game of the season and could try force-feeding Golladay. But Baldwin is Russell Wilson's reliable slot receiver in a projected shoot-out with the Chiefs. After being a giant liability last week against the Chargers, those Kansas City corners and safeties will have big bull's-eyes on their backs. Playing at Seattle definitely will not help. Pencil in Baldwin for a touchdown, something he's done four times in his last four games.

There isn't a good plug-and-play replacement among the Patriots' receivers following Gordon's removal from the team. Patterson is a good deep threat receiver and may get one or two targets from Brady downfield, but I wouldn't trust him to Fantasy lineups. He's maxed out at three receptions in a game all season with three receptions over 20 yards. Want to use him in DFS tourneys? Go for it.

I feel better about Roethlisberger, though that's contingent on JuJu Smith-Schuster playing. Mayfield torched the Bengals for a massive game back in Week 12, but I think it'll be easier for the Browns to run it up with Nick Chubb against a toothless Cincy defense. It won't help Mayfield's cause that the Bengals won't reciprocate with a bunch of touchdowns of their own. Roethlisberger has a tough matchup but has much more upside in what should be a higher-scoring matchup.

So I was all set to answer Nelson to this question, just as I did on Friday afternoon's edition of Fantasy Football Today, but I've had a change of mind. No doubt, Nelson is safer. He's hit the 10-point mark in PPR formats in three straight games thanks to a so-good-it's-surprising 85 percent catch rate. But he hasn't scored and isn't a threat to make big plays; he's just cobbling together numbers.

Foster is riskier but has come through with 17 PPR points or more in three of his last four. His catch rate? Not bad for a deep-ball guy — 75 percent. The Patriots figure to force the Bills to throw a bunch, opening up chances for Foster to come through with a long pass from Josh Allen or a catch-and-run thanks to his fleet feet. That upside is tough to ignore, particularly over Nelson's slowish game.

This isn't even close in non-PPR — it's Foster all the way — and in PPR I'll take a chance with Foster to keep up his hot streak.

I'll take Howard. He's got the easiest matchup of the three, he's been getting fed the ball (16-plus carries in four of his last five) and he's probably going to have a shot at scoring against a Niners squad that's allowed three short-yardage touchdowns in their last four games. Breida is a constant injury risk and will have a hard time making gains against the Bears' taut front; Ballage is a wild-card against a Jaguars run defense that is equally wild-cardy given their horrible game at Tennessee a couple of weeks ago and their staunch efforts in their other three most recent jaunts.

So who should you sit and start? And what shocking running back could win you Week 16? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking RB finishes in the top 15 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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