Setting Your Lineup for Week 16

If there’s one thing I’ve said over and over again throughout the years, it’s not to second-guess yourself. Especially if you’ve made it this far to your league’s championship game. Now, I know most leagues have their championship games this weekend, and that’s smart because of the possibility of irrelevant games next week and teams sitting their stars, but some leagues still have their big games next week and I’ll still be here for those folk. I am in a few championship games myself this week and I’m taking my own advice and not overthinking things. I’ll always feel better playing the guys who I feel are best and losing than playing the guys who “look good” from the waiver wire, who have the “good matchups,” and they don’t live up to expectations. Because I play to win, and I don’t look back, only forward.

Case in point: In one of my championship games my opponent has gone wild on the waiver wire this week, grabbing guys like Todman and Ertz to instantly insert into his lineup. Now, he’s gotten to this point with other players, but he obviously doesn’t trust them in this big moment. Who knows? His moves could work very well or they could backfire. All I know is that I wouldn’t want to be him if they don’t work. And despite all his flurry of activity, I haven’t been stressed at all this week (except watching Joe Flacco’s injury updates) because I am not changing a thing. It’s a difference of philosophy.

So, here’s to Setting Your Lineup for Week 16…

QBs –

 The Fantasy Ace Says…  FA Projections
 Colin Kaepernick  Kapernick faces an Atlanta defense that hasn’t been as bad as advertised. Can you trust him to deliver big points this week? I say yes. And he gets points with his legs too.  250 pass YDS, 50 rush YDS, 3 TOT TDs,28 fantasy points
 Nick Foles  Foles has been putting up QB1 numbers since Dallas but does he produce here? I say still play him but temper your expectations based on the poor run defense. Eagles will run crazy on CHI.  275 YDS, 2 TOT TDs,24 fantasy points
 Jay Cutler  On the other side of the same field, there’s Cutler, recently back from injury. Trust him against the PHI defense that let Cassel torch them? Do it at your own peril. Cutler is still turnover prone, and that makes him risky.  300 YDS, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 20 fantasy points
 Andy Dalton  I am all in on Dalton this week after the abysmal showing in PIT. He is inconsistent but if you need a flier this week, he’s your guy. He turns in good performances against teams he should beat. MIN is one of those teams. Start him.  400 YDS, 3 TDs, 32 fantasy points
 Philip Rivers  He has also been inconsistent, and his is on the negative side this week, having lost to OAK already this season. He presses here and that’s not good. Leave him on the bench if you have better options (like the above).  250 YDS, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 18 fantasy points
 Andrew Luck  The KC defense has been exposed lately, but it’s Luck, and he’s been all over the map. With Wayne gone, and Rogers a one-week wonder, you have to wonder about IND in the playoffs, and Luck’s inconsistency.  250 YDS, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 18 fantasy points

*Keep in mind that if you’re choosing between someone like Cutler and Ryan Fitzpatrick, you need to go with Cutler. A lot depends on who is left on your waiver wire and what the guy on your roster has done for you this season. I had Andrew Luck in a couple of leagues, but there is no way I’m trusting him in this matchup for the championship. Luckily (ha ha) I had Andy Dalton in one league and Ryan Tannehill in another, and both are better picks than Luck this week.

RBs –

 The Fantasy Ace Says…  FA Projections
 Chris Ivory  Never trust any NYJ players, especially this week, and Ivory is no different. He will get points but not enough. Playing from behind does that to you.  70 TOT YDS, No TDs, 7 fantasy points
 Montee Ball  Okay, so he burned me last week, but who would have predicted that debacle? DEN rights the ship, and Ball gets back to producing.  80 TOT YDS, 1 TD, 14 fantasy points
 Rashad Jennings  I’m all in on Jennings, and I can’t believe I just said it, but the numbers speak for themselves. And they can run against SD. Put him in your lineup.  100 TOT YDS, 1 TD, 16 fantasy points
 BenJarvus Green-Ellis  Not a great stat line for him last week, but MIN is no PIT. He gets it rolling again, with key touches near the goal line.  80 YDS, 1 TD, 14 fantasy points
 Shane Vereen  Vereen was taken out of the game last week by MIA, and the BAL defense is opportunistic as well. I see them taking a similar tack. Play him at your own risk.  80 TOT YDS, No TDs, 8 fantasy points
 Andre Brown  I know I haven’t been high on Brown even after his big performances, but I was right. And I’m right again this week. He’s not the guy to trust, even with Cruz out and the Giants maybe running it more. NYG are a mess, and Brown does good, but not great.  90 TOT YDS, No TDs, 9 fantasy points

WRs –

 The Fantasy Ace Says…  FA Projections
 Alshon Jeffery  I’ll say it now on the record. Jeffery has a much better day than Marshall against PHI. He’s more physical and the Eagles give up more points to #2 WRs than a little.  110 YDS, 1 TD, 17 fantasy points
 Eric Decker  Along with the other DEN players, Decker also burned me last week, but this is a “get right” game for all involved. Decker comes ready and picks up the slack.  80 YDS, 2 TDs, 20 fantasy points
 Mike Wallace  Don’t look now, but Mike Wallace is back. He’s playing for me in two of my leagues this week, and I’m not worried in the least. He’s finally synced with Tannehill. Watch out.  120 YDS, 1 TD, 18 fantasy points
 Michael Crabtree  Just like with Kaepernick, I’m going with Crabtree this week. He’s finally warmed up, and the two are connecting. This is his week.  100 YDS, 1 TD, 16 fantasy points
 Julian Edelman  Many critics are high on Edelman and Amendola this week, saying that Brady “will get his,” but I doubt that. The weapons just aren’t reliable enough, even Edelman.  50 YDS, No TDs, 5 fantasy points
 Greg Jennings  Can Cassel do it again? CIN isn’t the PHI defense, and they’re angry after that PIT disaster. They get after Cassel and Jennings suffers.  40 YDS, No TDs, 4 fantasy points

TEs –

 The Fantasy Ace Says…  FA Projections
 Jimmy Graham  I just see Brees struggling again against this CAR defense, and Graham didn’t do well last week. I think he’s still hurting, and if he doesn’t score he doesn’t help you win that championship.  50 YDS, No TDs, 5 fantasy points
 Jason Witten  Romo in December is well-documented, but no one talks about Witten’s struggles in December, which are also very real. Even against WAS it isn’t a good matchup for him, and he will struggle.  60 YDS, No TDs, 6 fantasy points
 Charles Clay  He has become the security blanket underneath for Tannehill, and you know how I feel about him. Clay has a good rebound game this week against BUF.  70 YDS, 1 TD, 13 fantasy points
 Dennis Pitta  People focus on NE shutting down Graham, but they haven’t done as well against other TEs. Pitta is due for a big game as he has finally settled in to the offense.  60 YDS, 1 TD,12 fantasy points
 Tyler Eifert*  If Gresham is out, then Eifert is the man, so this one comes with a caveat. In the games where Eifert has opportunities, he shines. But only play him in the absence of Gresham.*  60 YDS*, 1 TD*, 12 fantasy points*
 Greg Olsen  He has been the most consistent TE all season, and yet he’s overlooked in this spot. Don’t overlook him this week. He’s playing for me in one championship game. Don’t leave him on your bench.  80 YDS, 1 TD, 14 fantasy points

Ks –

 The Fantasy Ace Says…  FA Projections
 Stephen Gostkowski  He struggled a little last week, but he’s due to rebound, and I see NE moving the ball but struggling to score TDs.  12 fantasy points
 Phil Dawson  SF routinely scores a lot of field goals because they play the “safe” game. I really like Dawson this week.  14 fantasy points
 Ryan Succop  I see KC scoring easily against that IND defense, which might spell mostly extra points for Succop.  7 fantasy points
 Nick Novak  Oakland gives up a lot of field goals, particularly of late. Novak is money.  14 fantasy points
 Graham Gano  I don’t see Carolina having trouble scoring TDs either this week, which isn’t a good combination for Gano.  8 fantasy points
 Dan Carpenter  Miami bends but doesn’t usually break. That makes Carpenter a good play this week against the Dolphins.  12 fantasy points

D/STs –

 The Fantasy Ace Says…  FA Projections
 Miami Dolphins  Thad Lewis is starting for the Bills, and I don’t see Spiller or Jackson doing well against that defense.  14 fantasy points
 Cleveland Browns  The Jets showed some signs of life, but CLE pulls the plug on them in this one.  12 fantasy points
 Cincinnati Bengals  Minnesota isn’t the easy out everyone thinks, but the CIN defense has different looks for them.  12 fantasy points
 Jacksonville Jaguars  They’re playing a TEN offense that is led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, and they’re not playing poorly of late.  10 fantasy points
 Detroit Lions  They’re playing the NYG football team, and Eli hasn’t woken up for any of the other “good” matchups he’s had this season.  10 fantasy points
 Indianapolis Colts  Avoid them this week as KC has been rolling on offense lately. Charles is unstoppable and won’t be contained, while Smith gets his points.  0 fantasy points

*Remember that defenses are largely unpredictable, unless you have the Seahawks’ or Panthers’ defenses. Unless the defense you have is playing against Denver, they have a chance to put up some points for you. So, avoid the Houston defense, but you were doing that anyway.

That being said, good luck in your championship matchup. If yours isn’t until next week I’ll give you advice then, and I’ll be around in the offseason to help you get ready for next year’s draft.

The Fantasy Ace

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