Here we go! It's title time for all of you in Fantasy land and to help you bring home the trophy, prestige, bragging rights and maybe a little bit of cash, here is the Week 16 Super Bowl edition of Starting Points.
Get 'em active ...
Philip Rivers (at Detroit) -- It has been a strange year for Rivers, but if you have survived his ups and downs, this is the week he helps you bring home the title. Rivers just played very well against the Baltimore Ravens, completing 17 of his 23 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown. He had three different completions that ended up inside the opponent's five yard line, so he just missed a monster day. With Malcom Floyd back in the lineup, Rivers has been playing very well of late with seven touchdowns and 0 interceptions in his last three games. During that span, Rivers is averaging 23.3 points per game and he has the shot at a legit 30 pointer when you need it the most, in Week 16 at the Detroit Lions. The Lions' secondary is in shambles and Rivers should have no trouble picking them apart for huge production. Detroit has given up at least 20 points to the opposing quarterback over their last five games and have given up an average of 26.8 points per game over that stretch. They have not been able to stop anyone from passing on them and are giving up 65 percent completions with 300 yards and two touchdowns per game through the air. Teams with multiple receiving threats have really given them fits and with Vincent Jackson, a healthy Floyd and tight end Antonio Gates, Rivers will have all he needs to shred the Lions in the perfect conditions for passing the football inside of Ford Field. Rivers is a must start this week and has a good shot at putting up the top points for the week at the quarterback spot so make sure he is in your lineups this week. (Projection Snapshot: 322 yards passing with three TDs)
Ride the pine ...
Carson Palmer (at Kansas City) -- The Chiefs have had a year to forget, but their pass defense of late is something that they can be extremely proud of. The Chiefs just beat the Green Bay Packers on the heels of suffocating pass defense as they are the only team all year that has held Aaron Rodgers without multiple passing touchdowns. In fact, over their last six games, no quarterback has even thrown for 240 yards against the Chiefs and they have allowed only seven passing touchdowns during that span. They have been susceptible to running quarterbacks though as Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez (who scored twice) and Rodgers all padded their numbers with rushing scores. So while they have allowed 53 points to quarterbacks the last two weeks (21 of them have come from rushing totals) and have let three quarterbacks top 20 yards during the last six, the chances for a pure pocket passer like Palmer to have a big game are not good. In fact, during this run, only Tom Brady has reached 20 points via passing totals alone against the Chiefs. Over the last six, quarterbacks are averaging 174 yards and 1.1 touchdowns passing per game against Kansas City while completing only 54 percent of their passes. Don't forget that they have played Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Rodgers to name a few during this run so when you consider that quarterbacks are averaging just 11.83 points per game on passing totals only, this becomes a scary matchup for Palmer. Palmer is known for relying on his receivers for most of his passing yardage and that is where the Chiefs excel, as no receiving group has gotten to 20 points against KC in seven straight. They are giving up just 83 yards and .57 scores per games to wide receivers, so Palmer could really struggle to find any production. I know Palmer has produced 18 plus points in five of his seven starts and 20 plus in two of his last three, but this is not the week to count on him against a possessed defense that has been brutal on pass attacks. (Projection Snapshot: 231 yards passing with one TD and two INTs)
Get 'em active ...
Ryan Mathews (at Detroit) -- I have been a big fan of Mathews all year long and he has been on fire of late with an extremely impressive four game stretch that featured three straight 100 yard rushing games. He capped the streak off with 90 tough yards and two touchdowns rushing against the Ravens that was added to 19 yards receiving to produce his fourth straight game of 100 plus total yards. In fact, Mathews has now topped 100 total yards in 10 of the 14 games this year (he has only played in 13) and that has him tied for the league lead with Maurice Jones-Drew and LeSean McCoy, which is pretty solid company to keep. Mathews has seen 20 plus carries in three of the last four games and is the clear featured back with Mike Tolbert only mixing in occasionally and swiping a touchdown here or there. I love that Mathews saw two goal line carries against the Ravens last week and punched both in for touchdowns, which has to inspire confidence in his coaches. Frankly, it should because after Week 15, Mathews has actually converted on four of his five goal line chances this year, which is a league best 80 percent goal line touchdown rate among the backs with at least five chances. His teammate, Tolbert meanwhile has four goal line scores on 16 chances. Give the ball to Mathews Norvall! This week, Mathews gets a Detroit Lions team that has allowed 100 total yards or a touchdown to opposing running backs in 13 straight games and over 140 total yards or a touchdown in 12 straight. In the last two weeks alone, Michael Bush and Toby Gerhart have combined for 248 total yards and a touchdown against the Lions, who have allowed over five yards per carry in the last two weeks. With the Lions rightfully terrified of the Chargers' aerial assault, look for Mathews to continue his excellent play of late and break off some big runs en route to another game of 100 plus total yards and a score. (Projection Snapshot: 97 yards rushing, 21 yards receiving and a TD)
Cedric Benson (vs. Arizona) -- Benson has taken advantage of his favorable matchups all year long and he will do so again in Week 16 against the Arizona Cardinals. Yes, the Cardinals have been playing better of late but Peyton Hillis just ran for 99 yards and a score against them in Week 15 and the opposing starter has produced at least 13 points in back to back games. The game will be played in cold Cincinnati which should also favor Benson and the power running game of the Bengals this Sunday against the warm weather birds from the desert. In his five favorable matchups this year, Benson has produced double digits in every game, scored four touchdowns and is averaging 14.2 points per game. He does not really have the upside of the elite Fantasy backs, but Benson is always a great bet for 20 plus carries (3 of the last 4) and should be able to rumble for at least 80 yards and a touchdown against the Cards who have allowed scores in back to back games and who have given up 14 rushing touchdowns on the year, sixth most. (Projection Snapshot: 81 yards rushing and TD)
Bonus Super Bowl Sleepers: DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart (at Tampa Bay) -- Williams and, to a lesser extent, Stewart are worthy second running backs this week and if you have the luxury of considering them flex options, then you are in really good shape. Williams (who is my definite top choice of the two) enters week 16 red hot, with a rushing touchdown in back to back games and has a score in three of his last four. He has produced double digit points in four of the last five games and is averaging over 11 points per game during that span. The lone single digit game actually came in D-Will's last meeting against the Tampa Bay Bucs, but he should change that this time around. As for his running buddy Jonathan Stewart: J-STEW scored 15 in his last meeting with the Bucs, but has been relatively quiet with just eight total points over the last two weeks. Both should have the opportunity to do well in Week 16 against a Bucs run defense that gives up 23.57 points per game, second most in the league. The Bucs have allowed over 100 yards rushing to running backs in seven of the last eight games and have given up 100 yards rushing to running backs or a running back touchdown in 10 straight games! No team's runners have been below 16 points against the Bucs since Week 6 and there have been four games of 30 plus points since then. Williams has been the lead rusher and I would give him the edge of Stewart because he has been able to consistently break long runs lately thanks to the read option principles in Carolina that have been frustrating opposing defenses. I do think both have a great shot at double digits against the reeling Bucs and that's why they are both worth using in Week 16. (Projection Snapshot: Williams -- 70 yards rushing, 16 yards receiving and a TD; Stewart -- 54 yards rushing, 29 yards receiving and a TD)
Others to start: Reggie Bush (at New England), Beanie Wells (at Cincinatti), Rashard Mendenhall (vs. St. Louis), Chris Johnson if his ankle is good to go (vs. Jacksonville), Denver starter: Willis McGahee or Lance Ball (at Buffalo), C.J. Spiller (vs. Denver), Roy Helu if he is healthy (vs. Minnesota), Shonn Greene (vs. New York Giants), Darren Sproles (vs. Atlanta), Michael Bush (at Kansas City), Ahmad Bradshaw (at N.Y. Jets), LeGarrette Blount (vs. Carolina), Steven Jackson (at Pittsburgh) and yes I will take my chances with Marshawn Lynch vs. San Francisco as a second running back or flex option. He has been too good to sit and has produced against tough defenses like Baltimore and Chicago before.
Ride the pine ...
Peyton Hillis (at Baltimore) -- Hillis had his best game since early in the season with 99 yards and a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15. Sadly, that will be the last good game you can expect from Hillis in 2011 as he has to deal with the Ravens in Week 16 and the Steelers in Week 17. The Ravens were just embarrassed on the road against the Chargers as they gave up three rushing touchdowns and over 160 yards of total offense to Mathews and Tolbert. Frankly this Ravens team has not been the same on the road as it is at home, because we have seen Marshawn Lynch, Mathews, Jones-Drew and Rashard Mendenhall all have double digit games against them while Hillis and even Cadillac Williams have topped seven points. At home, it has been another story altogether for this Ravens defense and you can bet they will be pissed off after the debacle in San Diego. At home, only Beanie Wells has rushed for more than 50 yards against the Ravens in 2011, which is very impressive considering who Baltimore has faced. In the other home games, the Ravens have been lock down: Mendenhall (45 yards rushing), Shonn Greene (23 yards rushing), Arian Foster (49 yards rushing), Benson (41 yards rushing), Frank Gore (39 yards rushing) and Donald Brown (28 yards rushing). Only Wells and Benson have scored on the Ravens in Baltimore and I am not going to risk that kind of dud production from Hillis (who had just 45 yards rushing in his last meeting with Baltimore) against an angry Ravens team in Week 16. (Projection Snapshot: 49 yards rushing, 18 yards receiving)
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs. Miami) -- I know BenJarvus has a touchdown in three of his last four games and I also know that the Dolphins have allowed four running back scores in their last two games, but I am not taking the chance on the Law Firm in Week 16. Green-Ellis has only 21 carries in his last three games and has not reached the 20 yard rushing mark in any of those games. In fact, he has produced less than 20 yards rushing in four of his last six games and five of his last eight. During those eight games, Green-Ellis has topped 50 yards only twice and has gotten to 60 yards rushing just once. So even though he is scoring touchdowns, Green-Ellis is not even averaging nine points per game over his last four games which is pretty darn unimpressive. Add in the fact that only two running backs have even topped 50 yards against the Dolphins since Week 7 and you can see that without multiple scores another game of single digit points is very likely from BenJarvus. Now Green-Ellis has scored in three straight against the Dolphins and he can be used as a flex option, I'd say why take the risk of a one to four point game if his scoring streak comes to an end? I think there are many higher upside options for you in Week 16 because most of the running back matchups are pretty darn favorable (see the list above), so I am not taking a chance on the Firm come the Fantasy Super Bowl. (Projection Snapshot: 19 yards rushing and one TD)
Get 'em active ...
Dwayne Bowe (vs. Oakland) -- Kyle Orton is in the mix for the Chiefs and even though Bowe did not have a monster game in his first start, he will have his best game in two months when you need it most in Week 16. Bowe and Orton will take on an Raiders' secondary that just gave up over 200 yards and two touchdowns to Calvin Johnson and they have been a team that has struggled with opposing top targets all year long. The Raiders have allowed 15 touchdowns to the opponent's top receivers this year, most in the NFL. The Chiefs did not have to throw at all against Oakland in their first meeting, but Bowe still paced the team with six catches for 76 yards. I expect Bowe to get plenty of work this week and he will take advantage of it against a secondary that has allowed the opposing top target to score in seven straight games. Yep, the player who has led his team in targets against the Raiders has recorded a touchdown in seven straight games. Bowe has now gone nine games without a score, so something has to give and I think Bowe makes his long anticipated return to pay dirt in a great matchup, making him a solid top 20 receiver this week and the perfect third receiver for your teams. (Projection Snapshot: 79 yards receiving, one touchdown)
Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney (vs. Minnesota) -- Rex Grossman disappointed on Sunday against the New York Giants, but his receivers continued their strong play with their second straight solid games. Gaffney led the team for the second straight week with six catches for 85 yards and Moss notched a touchdown for the second time in as many games which is pretty impressive considering that the Skins only threw 24 passes on the day. Over the last two weeks, Gaffney and Moss are both averaging over 11 points per game and they should have one more strong game in them against a Minnesota Vikings pass defense that is the worst in the league right now. The Vikings have given up a league high 19 wide receiver touchdowns this year and 11 of them have come during the last six games alone. Over the last nine games, the Vikings are giving up an average of 27.1 points per game, second only to the New England Patriots during that span. Over the last four games, they are giving up 28 points per game to receivers and that includes a game against the Broncos and a game against the Falcons without Julio Jones. Grossman is a solid sleeper this week, but when you just play his receivers you don't have to worry about those annoying interceptions. Look for Gaffney and Moss to both have solid games again in Week 16, making them good starting options for the third straight week. (Projection Snapshot: Moss -- 74 yards receiving and one TD; Gaffney -- 85 yards receiving and one TD)
Others to start: Julio Jones (at New Orleans), Lance Moore (vs. Atlanta), Steve Smith (vs. Tampa Bay), Demaryius Thomas (at Buffalo), Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Laurent Robinson (vs. Philadelphia – can they all score for the third straight week?), Jeremy Maclin (at Dallas), Malcom Floyd (at Detroit), Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress (vs. New York Giants), Nate Washington (vs. Jacksonville), Antonio Brown (vs. St. Louis); Sleepers: Nate Burleson (vs. San Diego), Titus Young (vs. San Diego), Davone Bess (at New England)
|For more from Nathan check out his website at thefantasyconsultant.com|
Ride the pine ...
Anquan Boldin (vs. Cleveland) -- Boldin is taking a back seat to Torrey Smith in Baltimore and his production is suffering big time. Now it could be that the lack of production from Boldin has forced Joe Flacco to turn to the explosive rookie, but either way Boldin has been miserable for months. It has now been seven straight games without double figures for Boldin who has not even reached six points in three straight. During this seven game swoon, Boldin has just one touchdown, is averaging just 5.5 points per game, has been held to less than 65 yards receiving in six straight games and has been limited to two or fewer receptions four times. He has totaled just 23 catches for 348 yards and one score in those seven games, which averages out to just over three catches and less than 50 yards per game. Meanwhile, Smith has four double digit games over the last seven weeks and leads the team with 28 receptions, 444 yards and four scores. He had just two catches for 32 yards in his last meeting with the Browns and expecting much more than that is asking for a lot apparently. After all, the Browns give up a league low 13.86 points per game to wide receivers and they have allowed only seven receiver scores all year, second fewest. Boldin has been boldly brutal the last seven weeks, so this is not the week to take the gamble that he finally comes through. (Projection Snapshot: 47 yards receiving)
Get 'em active ...
Aaron Hernandez (vs. Miami) -- I have been saying for a few weeks that the big game was coming for Hernandez and boy did it ever in Week 15. He saw a team high 11 targets and caught nine of them for a season high 129 yards and a touchdown. Hernandez now has seen at least 7 targets in six straight games and has five catches in four straight. In fact you would have to go back to October to find a game in which Hernandez did not make four catches for the Patriots. He is heating up late, which is great for you and if he can hang onto his touchdowns (a La Roddy White) he will have another monster effort for your teams. Over the last four games, Hernandez boasts an impressive 75 percent consistency rate and he should get that to 80 percent against a Dolphins team that he torched for 103 yards and a score on seven catches in Week 1. The Fins have been playing excellent defense against tight ends for the last few weeks, but I still will take my chances with this New England passing attack. (Projection Snapshot: 68 yards receiving and one TD)
Dustin Keller (vs. New York Giants) -- I also like Keller against the New York Giants this week as a highlighted starter at the tight end position. The Giants have given up a 100 percent consistency rate (throwing out Washington last week because they no longer use a tight end following the injuries to Chris Cooley and Fred Davis) to opposing tight ends in six straight games. During that span, the Giants are allowing a very healthy 15.1 points per game, so look for Keller (who had 73 yards last week) to be a sneaky starter for your teams. (Projection Snapshot: 46 yards receiving and one TD)
Good luck this week!
| Target Conversion Rate or Catch Rate (TCR): The percentage of a player's targets (passes thrown to them) that are converted into receptions. Over 60 percent is excellent, 66 percent is elite and under 52.5 percent is worrisome. |
Yards per Target (YPT): A player's receiving yards divided by his targets. In other words, the numbers of yards a team gains on average every time they attempt a pass to a certain player. Over 10 is exceptional, over 8 is solid and 6 or lower is horrendous.
Red Zone Opportunities: A player's total number of pass+rush+targets inside the opponent's 20 yard line
Red Zone TD Rate: The percentage of a player's Red Zone opportunities that result in a TD
Goal Line Opportunities: A player's total number of pass+rush+targets inside the opponent's 5 yard line
Goal Line TD Rate: The percentage of a player's Goal Line opportunities that result in a TD
Consistency Rate: The percentage of quality starts a player gives you out of 16 games. For QBs that is a game with 300+ yards passing OR multiple TDs. For RBs/WRs: A game with 100+ yards rush/rec or a game with a TD. For TEs: A game with 60+ yards receiving or a TD. For a Kicker: A game with multiple FGs.
Big Game Rate: The percentage of dominant starts a player gives you out of 16 games (games missed with injury count as a bad game since they do not help your Fantasy teams). For a QB that is a game with 300+ yards and 2+ TDs or 200+ yards and 3+ TDs. For a RB/WR that is a game with 100+ combined rush/rec yards and a TD or a game with multiple TDs. For a TE that is a game of 60+ yards and a TD, 100+ yards or a game with multiple TDs.