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Play Em’ or Bench Em’: Week 16

Hello owners,
Well folks the end is here. It’s been a fun season and I hope you reached you goal of the championship. If not its okay, there is always next year! I just want to thank you all for the support you’ve given me throughout this whole process. Can’t wait until next year as out journey will continue. Thank you again and happy holidays. Before I/we get to emotional let’s talk some football!
***Obvious players like Tom Brady, Le’Veon Bell, Julio Jones and Travis Kelce and other players of that caliber will not be featured in these columns***

Play Em’


-Ben Roethlisberger at Houston Texans (Monday Night)

  • Yes, the Steelers will be without Antonio Brown for this game. Although it won’t matter all that much. Roethlisberger has been on fire in all the prime-time games he’s played in this season. Brown is hard to replace, but the Steelers have some good depth at the position and have arguably the best running back in the league that does a tremendous job catching the ball out of the backfield as well. Factor in that the Texans defense is decimated by injuries and have given up the second most amount of points to opposing quarterbacks. No Brown is just fine as this team will steamroll the Texans on Monday.

-Blake Bortles at San Francisco 49ers

  • Wow, where did this Blake Bortles come from!? He’s had 20+ points in four straight games and has yet another favorable match up this weekend. I know it might be tough starting Bortles based off his history, but this is a new year and a new quarterback. You just might want to keep riding his streak. Unlike last week where the Jaguars pulled the starters out of the game in the 4th quarter because it was a blow out, this week they’ll get the almighty Jimmy Garoppolo lead 49ers team who are on a 3-game win streak. This game could be higher scoring than most expect and that’ll give Bortles more opportunities to throw more touchdowns.

-Matthew Stafford at Cincinnati Bengals

  • The Bengals are another defense suffering a lot of injuries. Not only that, but now they have these rumors-not rumors of coach Marvin Lewis leaving the team after the year. I know that doesn’t affect the actual football game itself, but nonetheless it’s a distraction that isn’t needed. The last two games the Bengals have played the Bears and Vikings, so that makes the Lions their 3rd straight NFC North team. In those two games the Bengals have allowed 33 and 34 points. With the Lions still on the playoff bubble and the recent struggles from the Bengals, it bodes well for the Detroit Lions.

-Joe Flacco v. Indianapolis Colts (Saturday Night)

  • What? Joe Flacco as a play em’? Austin are you crazy, how do you go from the Jay Cutler love to Joe flippin’ Flacco? I’m slightly wacky, but that doesn’t mean Flacco isn’t a bad play here at all. During the last three games the Ravens have averaged 36.3 points per game. Joe Flacco has 19+ fantasy points in those three games alone. The Indianapolis Colts have arguably the worst secondary in the league along with probably the youngest. They’ve gotten torched in almost every single game this season and that shouldn’t change against a very hungry Ravens team trying to lock up a playoff berth. Call me what you will, but I like Flacco this week.

Running Back

-Alvin Kamara v. Atlanta Falcons

  • Concussion free heading into the game and you know that the rookie runner will look to get revenge on the team that knocked him out of his first NFL game with an injury. Kamara played only one drive during that first meeting on that Thursday night, but he was very effective and definitely a mismatch for the Falcons to deal with. Falcons have allowed the 5th most receptions to opposing running backs this season and tied for 5th in allowed receiving touchdowns to running backs. Seeing as Kamara does his best damage catching the ball out of the backfield, the Falcons could be in store for a long day!

-Jay Ajayi v. Oakland Raiders (Monday Night)

  • The Eagles are starting to rely more on the running game and that favors Jay Ajayi. He’s becoming the lead back in a very deep running back group. The Raiders defense has been nothing less than horrible this season. Ajayi hasn’t had a touchdown is 5 straight games, but this week I feel like he’ll get back into the red-zone. A chilly December night on Christmas night in Philadelphia will benefit the running backs in this game. I’m buying low on Ajayi this week and expecting a big game.

-Kenyan Drake at Kansas City Chiefs

  • Speaking of a former teammate of Jay Ajayi, Kenyan Drake is the next running back star of this league. No wonder why the Dolphins were able to easily trade away their former stud running back to the Eagles. Drake has been a man possessed making crazy ridiculous plays week after week. He has seven double digit PPR points out of his last eight games, adding 20+ to his last three. The Chiefs give up a lot of points to running backs this season and it should be no different when the Dolphins step into their stadium this Sunday.

-Christian McCaffery v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • The rookie out of Stanford has been a treat for the Panthers this year. He certainly has exceeded my expectations this year. We are in week 16 and he’s had double digit PPR points in every game minus two. McCaffery is a big part of the offense and he’ll get a juicy match up against a banged up Buccaneers defense. Running the ball or receiving it, McCaffery will get plenty of opportunities to add to his already impressive rookie season. First time he’s been listed here, so I hope he doesn’t disappoint.

Wide Receiver

-Marvin Jones at Cincinnati Bengals

  • Revenge game! You all know I love me some revenge games. These two team are heading in completely different directions as the Lions are on the cusp of a playoff berth and have been relevant the last couple years as where the Bengals have been declining and have major questions regarding their future. Marvin Jones has been a poor man’s Calvin Johnson for the Detroit Lions. I mean did you see his amazing catch against the Bears last week? Simply great. I almost put that highlight reel under his name and nothing else. That should be enough to warrant a start by itself.

-Doug Baldwin at Dallas Cowboys

  • Listen, I understand that Baldwin has been very disappointing this season and almost costly last week with only one reception for six yards. I don’t think that happens again. The Cowboys secondary has had trouble sustaining slot receivers this year and Doug Baldwin should be the next receiver to take advantage. The Seahawks are coming off their worst loss of the season and probably worst of the Pete Carroll era. The Seahawks have a slim chance at the post-season and that’ll start by getting a win in Dallas next week. All play-makers should be on deck as the ‘Hawks could come on firing in this game.

-Keenan Allen at New York Jets

  • The streak of 100 yards has ended, but nothing to fear as the Jets defense just allowed Michael Thomas get 9 receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown. The Jets secondary is young and might have trouble containing a wide receiver such as Keenan Allen. The Chargers are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Chiefs and they’ll look to get back to winning ways against the Jets. Allen still has 50+ receiving yards in five straight games and should reach that goal once again this week.

-Josh Gordon at Chicago Bears

  • The Browns are still win-less, but I have faith this will be the week they pull off their first victory. Gordon will have to have a big game to help the Browns achieve that goal. The Bears let Marvin Jones get 85 yards on 3 receptions last week and Gordon have an even bigger day in store for the Bears. Hue Jackson wants to feed his star receiver and this could be the break-out game owners have been waiting for.

Tight End

-Zach Ertz v. Oakland Raiders (Monday Night)

  • Last week the Eagles once again looked to their tight ends as Ertz and Trey Burton both found the end-zone. Nick Foles has played with Ertz once before his last go in Philadelphia so the chemistry is there. This week the Eagles will get a favorable match up against the worst secondary in the league of the Oakland Raiders. I know you’ll hear this a lot this week, but the last time Nick Foles played the Raiders in an Eagles uniform he threw 7 touchdowns. The Eagles need one more win to clinch home field in the NFC. St. Nick could deliver on Christmas night to his fans.

-Evan Engram at Arizona Cardinals

  • As one of the last remaining play-makes in the Giants arsenal, Engram is getting enough volume each week to stay in your line-ups. The Cardinals have also been weak to opposing tight ends this year. The Giants get Engram involved in so many ways, it’ll be hard to bench him with all the touches he gets. If I’m not mistaken he even ran the ball last week against the Eagles. A tight end that runs the ball people! Yeah, keep him in the lineup this week.

-Vernon Davis v. Denver Broncos

  • A miniature revenge game. Remember Vernon Davis played for the Broncos once upon a time. Yeah that was awkward, but it still happened. Now that Jordan Reed is finally on injured reserve Davis is officially the starting tight end and will get an uptick in targets. The Broncos are still one of the worst teams at containing tight ends this year and that should change against one of the better veteran tight ends in the league. As the Redskins are nearing the end of the season they are playing for respect and Davis is one of the few trustworthy pass catchers left.


-Baltimore Ravens v. Indianapolis Colts (Saturday)

  • The Ravens are the 2nd best fantasy defense in the league. What better way to end their already great season for owners than to completely dominate the Colts. The Colt’s offense has been lack-luster as of late and doesn’t pose many threats offensively. The Ravens will keep the Colts at a low point total and surely get a few turnovers as well. This is my top defense of the week and it would take a Christmas miracle for the Colts to pull off this upset.

-Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets

  • The Chargers got embarrassed last week against their division rival the Kansas City Chiefs. They’re still on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff race, but if they want any chance at a potential berth they’ll have to get back on track this weekend against the lowly Jets. The combination of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram might be too much for the Jets to handle up front. I wouldn’t be surprised if they finish in the top 3 at the position this week.

-Jacksonville Jaguars at San Francisco 49ers

  • This is a little wary because Jimmy Garoppolo is making some noise on the West Coast. Nonetheless, I’m going to give you some advice that a friend once gave me. You play your studs in the playoffs, there is a reason you drafted and/or traded for them. If you’ve stuck with the Jaguars after all this time, then you’re playing the #1 fantasy defense in the championship!

-Arizona Cardinals v. New York Giants

  • Eli Manning came out on fire for the Giants last week, but it was at home against a divisional rival he knows how to play against. Think that was Eli Manning’s last chance at a win this season. Upper management has already discussed how they want to see Davis Webb in a game and that could come in the final two weeks of the season. Regardless of who’s under center, traveling across country to a hostile environment doesn’t bode well for the Giants.

Bench Em’


-Jimmy Garoppolo v. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • I know, I know. Jimmy G has been the hottest topic over the last month because of how Tom Brady-esk he looks. However, this will be his first true test against a team actually playing winning football. The Jaguars defense is reaching historic numbers and it’s tough to start anyone against them. Garoppolo has been a solid streamer for owners the last three weeks, but I think this is where his fantasy train ends. I would advise you find another start this week.

-Kirk Cousins v. Denver Broncos

  • Oh the Redskins. How they were once a hot commodity earlier in the season. Now they’re looking to the future and how they can improve their team. It’s not entirely their fault as they had the injury bug all season long. With that said, Cousins doesn’t have many weapons to throw to anymore and could struggle against a hard nose defense that likes to pressure the quarterback and press the receivers at the line of scrimmage. Both these clubs are struggling right now and it’s hard to start anyone from either squad in this game.

-Eli Manning at Arizona Cardinals

  • Spoke on it a little bit earlier, Eli Manning might not even start and finish this game. Even if he did play the whole game it’s a tough place to play against a team still playing hard until the very end. Head coach Bruce Arians could retire after the season and his players are surely playing their hardest for the respected coach. The Giants offense probably played everything they had left in the tank last week against the Eagles. Don’t like many Giants player this week.

-Marcus Mariota v. Los Angeles Rams

  • The Titans are in free-fall mode. The Rams just dominated Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in Seattle. If the Rams can keep in check MVP candidate Russell Wilson, they’ll be able to handle a struggling Marcus Mariota that looks lost in his own offense. He has less than 10 points in two of the last four games. Mariota’s inconsistency is something you cannot trust on the biggest fantasy stage of the season. Keep him on your bench this week.

Running Back

-Peyton Barber at Carolina Panthers

  • Doug Martin was inactive last week giving Peyton Barber the start. Barber failed to capitalize on the opportunity as he had less than 10 points for the night. If Barber couldn’t have a good showing as the only back versus a decent defense, how can anyone confidently start him against a Panthers defense that’s been rough on running backs all season. Barber has been a trendy streamer lately, but not this week. Back to the waiver wire you go!

-Marshawn Lynch at Philadelphia Eagles (Monday Night)

  • The Eagles still hold the top run defense in the league. The Raiders are still not running the beast that is Beast Mode. Lynch has a low ceiling week in and week out, but this week that ceiling is even lower. There is some speculation that the Eagles may rest their starters at some point during this game, but let’s be real here for a moment. The Eagles still need to win this game to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They’ll bring the heat and get the win at home to make sure they get that number one seed. Lynch won’t see the ball enough to be a safe start this week.

-Samjie Perine v. Denver Broncos

  • The Redskins backfield has been a disaster ever since Chris Thompson went to injured reserve. Perine was the guy for a moment, but now he’s not being a reliable factor. Last Week practice squad promoted player Kapri Bibbs out produced him and game flow could dictate that again. Oh and before I forget, he also plays a top 5 run defense. Yeah, I’m looking elsewhere this week as should you.

-Jamaal Williams v. Minnesota Vikings (Saturday)

  • Rumors are the Packers might shut down Aaron Rodgers for this game. If that’s true then that means the Vikings have one thing to do in order to win. Stop the run and make Brett Hundley throw. Jamaal Williams has been hot and cold during his stint as the starter, but if he’s the main focal point of the offense once again against a defense such as the Vikings I’m going to pass.

Wide Receiver

-TY Hilton at Baltimore Ravens (Saturday)

  • The Colts best play-maker has been a disappointment this season. He has ten games less than 10 points this season and this weekend could be his eleventh. The Ravens have been tough on #1 receivers this year and it’ll be no different this weekend. Ravens may have lost Jimmy Smith for the season, but they’re still fighting strong without him. Hilton cannot be trusted in this game and should stay on your bench.

-Robby Anderson v. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Casey Hayward got burnt a couple times last week against Tyreek Hill, but that’ll get his mind focused for the coming week. Bryce Petty looked better than expected against a very good Saints team. The difference about this Chargers team and that Saints team is that the Saints are pretty much guaranteed a playoff spot and were sleeping on the Jets, the Chargers are still fighting for a playoff berth and need this win. They’ll get back to winning this week and it’ll start by shutting down the play-makers.

-Tyreek Hill v. Miami Dolphins

  • The Chiefs speedy receiver has been boom or bust this season. This week he’ll get a match up against Xavien Howard who’s been spectacular in coverage over the last few weeks against receivers similar to Hill’s talents. The Chiefs showed up last week in a divisional game, but they’ve still only won 3 of their last 9 games. Think the Chiefs will win the game, but not as convincing as people would think. Hill is going to be a bust this week and you don’t want to play him in the championship game.

-Jordy Nelson v. Minnesota Vikings (Saturday)

  • No Aaron Rodgers again means bad things for Jordy Nelson owners. Even in Rodgers return last week Nelson had 28 yards for the day. Owners with Nelson have been vastly disappointed in their receiver this year and the sorrows will continue this week as he’ll be another anchor on the bench weighing you down and remind you of what could’ve been. Better luck next year buddy.

Tight End

-Austin Serfian-Jenkins v. Los Angeles Chargers

  • ASJ hasn’t found the end-zone in 7 straight games and that was really his point production as a fantasy player. With a young quarterback at the helm of the Jets right now it’s hard to trust him or any Jets players for the final game of the fantasy season. Scan the waiver for a better option this week.

-Jared Cook at Philadelphia Eagles (Monday Night)

  • I can’t even look at this guy right now. He’s had plenty of chances to be the guy over the last few games and he’s just blown it. No Amari Cooper, one game without Michael Crabtree and he fails to get double digit points. Feel bad for all the players that had to start this guy and lost. Jared Cook you deservedly need to be on the list. Have fun rotting on the bench this week.

-Cameron Brate at Carolina Panthers

  • The Buccs tight end has 6 games fewer than 10 points out of the last 7. With OJ Howard slowly emerging as a reliable option for the team, Brate’s been cast off to the side for the time being. Add in that the Packers defense has been a tough unit on tight ends all season and it just favors the break out player from a year ago. Cameron Brate has been solid play for some owners this year, but this week he could have another disappointing game to end the fantasy season.


-Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

  • The Patriots are coming off a victory in Pittsburgh last weekend to clinch the AFC West division title once again. The Buffalo Bills are still in the playoff race and desperately need this win to stay afloat in the wildcard race. However, the Patriots still need to work out some kinks on their team on both sides of the ball before playoffs. The Bills could be the little brother to the Patriots once again as Tom Brady continues his dominance against the Bills. Oh and it’s played in New England. Yikes!

-Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs

  • The Dolphins defense hasn’t been half bad in recent weeks, even had a stellar game against Tom Brady on Monday night couple weeks ago. This week though might be a tougher challenge. The Chiefs are actually starting to click on offense once again under offense coordinator Matt Nagy. They’re getting their play-makers the ball early and often. If their offensive success continues the Dolphins could be left in the dust in a blowout.

-Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints

  • Assuming Alvin Kamara stays healthy after the first drive of this game he’ll be a big factor in this game. The Falcons were able to contain the Saints offense after he got knocked out with a concussion, but now that he’s back the Falcons could once again find issues holding him. The Falcons had trouble holding down the fort against the Buccaneers last week. This game could very well be for the NFC division when it’s all said and done, so I’m expecting fireworks as well as a high scoring game.
That concludes this week’s edition of Play Em’ or Bench Em’. As always, good luck in your match up(s) and I hope you win. If you ever need more help with your lineup(s) don’t hesitate to ask myself or anyone from the SFT crew. We’ll always respond to you on all of our social media pages. Also don’t forget to like and share us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, as well as connecting with us on LinkedIn. Until next year, have a happy holiday and we’ll see you again next time!
Austin Thomas

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