You don't want to rely on sleepers in Week 16 when a potential Fantasy title is on the line. Instead, it should be all about the studs who got you here.
But you might be forced to bench someone who has been struggling or has a tough matchup. And injuries could definitely play a part.
For example, Melvin Gordon (hip), Adrian Peterson (knee/groin) and Matt Forte (shoulder) are out, and Lamar Miller (ankle) and Jeremy Hill (knee) are banged up. And tight end is a mess with Tyler Eifert (back), Jordan Reed (shoulder) and Ladarius Green (concussion) out.
Luckily, we have plenty of options for you as replacements, and several of these guys are oozing with upside. These sleepers could help you win a Fantasy championship in Week 16.
For all your must-start options go here for the Week 16 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em.
Editor's Note: Projections are provided by CBS Sports and not Jamey Eisenberg.
This isn't an easy matchup for Mariota, but I'm going with his history against the Jaguars here. He scored 23 Fantasy points against Jacksonville in Week 8 and is averaging 27 points against Jacksonville in three career meetings. It's also an easier matchup than what Mariota has faced in the past two weeks against Denver and Kansas City, but only one quarterback in the past seven games has scored at least 20 Fantasy points against the Jaguars. He's not a must-start option this week, but he does have potential as a low-end No. 1 quarterback, especially if history repeats itself for him against Jacksonville.
You want the Saints offense to show up this week if you need Winston as a starter. Winston has gone five games in a row with fewer than 20 Fantasy points, including a dud of eight points against New Orleans in Week 14. But the Saints offense failed to show up that week, and this time we could see more of a shootout. Winston is worth starting as a low-end No. 1 quarterback in the rematch on the road. He had 20 Fantasy points at New Orleans last year, and three of the past four quarterbacks against the Saints have scored at least 22 points.
Kaepernick ended his two-game skid of fewer than 20 Fantasy points with 21 points at Atlanta in Week 15. He has now scored at least 21 Fantasy points in five of his past seven starts overall, and he has at least 19 points in 4-of-5 road games this season. Three of the past four opposing quarterbacks against the Rams have scored at least 26 Fantasy points, and Kaepernick should be considered a low-end starting option this week.
The concern for Barkley this week would be Jordan Howard running all over the Redskins, which could definitely happen. But quarterbacks have had plenty of success against Washington of late, which works well for Barkley here. The Redskins have allowed six of the past seven opposing quarterbacks to score at least 21 Fantasy points, and Barkley gets to face this defense on a short week after Washington played Carolina on Monday night. He has at least 18 Fantasy points in 2-of-3 home games this year, and he's an excellent streaming option in two-quarterback leagues this week.
It's obviously difficult to trust Bortles this week since he has a new coach in Doug Marrone and has scored 20 Fantasy points just once in his past five outings. But he had 35 Fantasy points at Tennessee in Week 8 and seven of the past nine quarterbacks against the Titans have scored at least 22 Fantasy points. He also had 322 passing yards and five touchdowns in Week 13 against Tennessee last year. We hope he makes it three good games in a row against the Titans, and Bortles could be a sneaky sleeper in two-quarterback leagues.
Farrow was bad last week in his first start for the injured Melvin Gordon (hip) with 15 carries for 39 yards and two catches for 14 yards with a fumble against Oakland. But he gets a mulligan this week at Cleveland with Gordon out again. The Browns are No. 2 in Fantasy points allowed to running backs, and they have allowed five touchdowns to running backs in the past four games, with three guys (Le'Veon Bell, Jeremy Hill and LeSean McCoy) going over 100 rushing yards. Farrow won't do that, but he's worth using as at least a flex option here.
It's somewhat of a guessing game how the Ravens will use Dixon and Terrance West, but Dixon has more upside and should be more involved this week. He has at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league in four games in a row, and he's scored in consecutive outings against the Patriots and Eagles. This game should play out like the New England matchup on the road at Pittsburgh with Baltimore likely chasing points, and Dixon had eight catches for 42 yards and a touchdown with 11 carries for 39 yards. I'd only use Dixon as a flex option this week, with his value slightly higher in PPR.
We don't like seeing Henry take away production from DeMarco Murray, but the rookie has been doing a nice job of late. His involvement is up with at least eight carries in three games in a row, and he's scored a touchdown in two of his past three outings. He also had 16 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 37 yards in Week 8 against the Jaguars, and maybe he can replicate that performance again this week if the Titans are playing with a big lead. Henry is worth using as a flex option in standard leagues in this matchup.
Adrian Peterson (knee/groin) is out this week, which makes McKinnon a must-start option in PPR leagues, and he's a flex option in standard formats. McKinnon has at least five catches in three games in a row, with 20 catches over that span, and he's scored at least 12 Fantasy points in PPR per game during that stretch. The Packers have also allowed three running backs to catch at least three passes in their past four games, which will help McKinnon, and he's become a go-to option for Sam Bradford in the passing game. He has potential as a Top 20 running back this week in PPR.
This is a good week for Johnson to stay involved for the Browns, especially in the passing game, since the Chargers are among the league leaders in receptions to running backs with 87, and 12 running backs have at least three catches against San Diego this year. Johnson just had 94 total yards with five catches at Buffalo, and we hope he keeps getting those check-down passes from Robert Griffin III. Johnson isn't a must-start running back by any means given his lackluster stats this season, but he is worth using as a flex option in PPR leagues this week against San Diego at home.
Don't be concerned with last week's stat line when he had just five catches for 68 yards. He still had eight targets and will continue to be a go-to option for Rivers. Inman has at least five catches in five of his past six games, he's scored in three of his past four outings and has at least 65 receiving yards in three of his past four contests. Inman remains a solid No. 3 Fantasy receiver in all leagues with upside against the Browns this week.
There's a good track record of the non-No. 1 receiver scoring against the Redskins this year, which has happened in three of the past four games with Terrance Williams, J.J. Nelson and Ted Ginn. Meredith has 15 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown on 21 targets in his past two games and has done well playing in the slot for Barkley. It must be that Meredith likes all the Bears quarterbacks besides Jay Cutler since his best production this year has come with Barkley and Brian Hoyer.
The best thing that happened to Anderson was Bryce Petty (chest) being able to play this week. With Petty under center the past three games, Anderson has 14 catches for 240 yards and two touchdowns on 29 targets. The Jets will likely be chasing points this week at New England, and Petty will again lean on Anderson, who is a solid No. 3 Fantasy receiver in all leagues. We just have to hope the Patriots don't make a concerted effort to shut down Anderson, although that might not matter in garbage time of what should be a blowout win for New England.
The Ravens have struggled with slot receivers all season, and Ladarius Green (concussion) is out this week, which should help Rogers get more targets. Rogers just had five catches for 75 yards and a touchdown at Cincinnati on six targets, and he had six catches for 103 yards on 10 targets at Baltimore in Week 9. He's a potential No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week in all leagues, and the Steelers are always a threat to score plenty of points at home, especially with the Ravens missing standout cornerback Jimmy Smith (ankle).
It's hard to overlook what Ginn has done recently, and he's moved past Kelvin Benjamin as the No. 1 receiver for the Panthers. He's scored in four of his past five games, and he has three games with at least six targets and four catches over that span. It's not just the deep ball for Ginn, but that's what you're hoping for this week. He's a boom-or-bust play as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver. We just hope he's more boom than bust this week if you decide to start him.
Bennett only has one game with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in his past five outings, so he could be hard to trust, although his good performance was his last home game against Baltimore in Week 14 with four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. But the Jets have allowed some big games to tight ends of late with Dwayne Allen (four catches for 72 yards and three touchdowns) in Week 13 and Dion Sims (four catches for 31 yards and two touchdowns) in Week 15. We hope Bennett follows suit, and he's a low-end starting option this week.
Jordan Reed (shoulder) is not expected to play this week against the Bears, which makes Davis a great streaming option. This will be the fourth game Reed has missed this year, and Davis has done well in his place in the three previous outings with 13 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown on 16 targets. Chicago has allowed a tight end to score at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league four times in the past six games.
He's expected to play this week after being out in Week 15 with a concussion, and this is an amazing matchup for him, especially with the upgrade at quarterback from Brock Osweiler to Tom Savage. The Bengals are No. 3 in most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends, and they just lost linebacker Vontaze Burfict (concussion) for this matchup. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin should benefit greatly with Burfict being out, but Fiedorowicz has the higher ceiling as a streaming option.
Before Week 14, Clay had no touchdowns for the season and his best performance was seven Fantasy points in a standard league in Week 5 at the Rams, so it's tough to buy into him as a must-start option. But he has 10 catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 13 targets the past two weeks, and the Dolphins have allowed five touchdowns to tight ends in their past six games. He's worth a look if you've been streaming the position all year, and maybe the revenge game factor comes into play here. Clay has one game with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in three career meetings with his former team.
Can Sims be a matchup buster once again? So far, he's the only tight end to score against Arizona this season, which happened in Week 14 and was a surprise. He would need another surprise performance this week as well since Buffalo has allowed only three touchdowns to tight ends all year. But Sims is coming off a great game in Week 15 at the Jets, and he's scored a touchdown in three of his past four games. He's starting to get more involved with four catches in two of his past four outings, and he's worth a look as a streaming option in deeper leagues.
DFS Advice for Week 16
Here's my FanDuel lineup for Week 16
- QB: Tom Brady ($9,000) vs. NYJ
- RB: Todd Gurley ($7,900) vs. SF
- RB: Jordan Howard ($7,200) vs. WAS
- WR: T.Y. Hilton ($7,600) at OAK
- WR: DeSean Jackson ($6,300) at CHI
- WR: Malcolm Mitchell ($6,100) vs. NYJ
- TE: Antonio Gates ($5,400) at CLE
- K: Sebastian Janikowski ($5,000) vs. IND
- DST: Patriots ($5,000) vs. NYJ
Here's my DraftKings lineup for Week 16
- QB: Russell Wilson ($6,300) vs. ARI
- RB: Todd Gurley ($6,500) vs. SF
- RB: Jordan Howard ($6,300) vs. WAS
- WR: T.Y. Hilton ($7,800) at OAK
- WR: Malcolm Mitchell ($5,200) vs. NYJ
- WR: Cameron Meredith ($4,700) vs. WAS
- TE: Hunter Henry ($3,500) at CLE
- FLEX: Doug Baldwin ($6,000) vs. ARI
- DST: Packers ($3,300) vs. MIN
I have no problem spending the money on Brady this week, and he is a great stack with Mitchell against the Jets. Get them in any lineup you possibly can, especially FanDuel. Gurley and Howard should go off in their respective matchups with the 49ers and Bears, and I love Hilton this week against the Raiders. Jackson should stay hot at Chicago, and Gates could score multiple touchdowns against the Browns. I'm excited about this lineup in Week 16.
On DraftKings, I stuck with some of the same players with Gurley, Howard, Hilton and Mitchell, but I also used a Seattle stack of Wilson and Baldwin. Meredith is one of my favorite sleepers this week, and I switched up the tight ends with Henry instead of Gates. This team should also produce plenty of points this week.
Yes, Ezekiel Elliott is a safe play this week. The Cowboys have clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but they still plan to play all their guys against the Lions. So Elliott remains a No. 1 Fantasy running back, Dez Bryant is a No. 1 Fantasy receiver and Dak Prescott is a low-end starting quarterback. In Week 17, however, you should plan to see a lot of Tony Romo and Darren McFadden, but we'll address that next week.
I like Cam Newton this week, and you can read about him in the Week 16 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em by clicking on the link above. But I'd stick with Aaron Rodgers this week at home, even against the Vikings. Andrew Luck just carved up the Vikings defense in Minnesota, and Rodgers has a higher ceiling than Newton this week. It's close, but I'll give Rodgers the edge.
I like both this week, but the floor is higher for Montgomery, with the ceiling likely similar for both. Montgomery should once again get plenty of touches, and he could easily run through this Vikings defense, which has struggled with running backs of late. The Buccaneers did a good job against Cooks in Week 14 in Tampa Bay, but he will play better this week at home. It's tough to bench either one, but I like Montgomery's situation better given his total touches.
It's always risky to rely on players coming off a layoff due to an injury, and A.J. Green has missed the past three games with an injured hamstring. But I still consider him the better play this week over Malcolm Mitchell, who I like this week against the Jets. Green is 46 yards shy of his sixth-year in a row with at least 1,000 yards, and he should get there this week. We hope he gets even more, and if he plays his best then he should go off against the Texans. You don't want to leave Green on your bench if he plays as expected in Week 16.
I have the same decision to make in one league, which is PPR, and I'm going with Thomas Rawls over Spencer Ware. The Cardinals have struggled with running backs on the road, and Rawls is due for a rebound game this week at home after a disappointing Week 15 performance against the Rams. Ware should also play well, especially with the Broncos missing two key defenders in T.J. Ward (concussion) and Brandon Marshall (hamstring). I just think Rawls has more upside this week.