For some of you, championship weekend begins this Saturday night. For others, it’s a win and in scenario heading into Christmas vacation. In either event, join us Sunday morning beginning at 10:30am ET for our 60-minute GameDay live chat. We’ll be talking Starts & Sits, injury updates, weather reports, point spreads and more.
FADE OF THE WEEK (Season: 6-9)
Last week: ARIZONA CARDINALS (+6.5) vs. Detroit Lions (win)
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (pick) vs. San Francisco 49ers: The Seahawks are 6-0 both straight-up and ATS at CenturyLink Field this season. Throw in the fact that it’s a primetime showdown against a hated rival and I’ll take the home team giving no points.
LVH SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS
Here’s the rundown for Week 16:
CINCINNATI BENGALS (+4) at Pittsburgh Steelers
CAROLINA PANTHERS (-8) vs. Oakland Raiders
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-6.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (+2.5) at New York Jets
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (pick) vs. San Francisco 49ers
CLICK HERE to check out all of the current Week 16 lines.
WEEK 16 FANDUEL SALARY CAP CHALLENGE
For those of you who have already been bounced from your season-long fantasy football leagues, why not take a shot at this week’s Salary Cap Challenge? We’ve got 222 spots open with $5k in prizes and $1k to first place. That can buy a lot of eggnog.
CLICK HERE to enter the Week 16 challenge.
START ‘EM UP
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Saints): It’s interesting to watch the media frenzy that surrounds Romo when he’s playing poorly, but when the guy is balling out, nobody can be bothered to take notice. Over his last five outings—four of which have resulted in Dallas victories—Romo is averaging 333.2 passing yards per game with ten touchdowns and just three interceptions. On the season, Romo has topped 300 passing yards in eight of 14 starts and we see another monster performance on the horizon for Week 16 against a Saints defense that ranks 31st in the NFL against the pass (287.0 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 23.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (second-most in NFL).
US PRESSWIRETony Romo has been on fire the last few weeks.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers (vs. Raiders): Left for dead on the waiver wire after dropping off the fantasy radar back in 2010, DeAngelo Williams has come back to life at preciously the right moment. The 29-year-old out of Memphis has amassed 324 total yards and two scores over his last three starts and has a very appealing matchup this Sunday against an Oakland Raiders defense that is giving up an average of 21.3 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (fifth-most in NFL). In addition, take note that the Silver & Black have already surrendered 14 rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs in 2012, which ranks behind Buffalo for second-most in the league.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Redskins): The Eagles come into Sunday’s divisional showdown on extra rest and looking to play the role of spoiler against a Washington Redskins team that has ripped off five straight victories. So how does this banged-up Philadelphia offense put points on the board? By throwing the football against the league’s 30th-ranked pass defense (285.3 yds/gm), that’s how. Take note that A) Maclin has been targeted 22 times (13 receptions, 177 yards, 1 TD) over his last two starts and B) The Redskins are currently surrendering an average of 27.4 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (second-most in NFL).
Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots (at Jaguars): His six-game rushing touchdown streak was snapped last Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers when Ridley found himself watching the game from the sidelines during the second half after a costly fumble. But the good news is that Week 16 offers up an opportunity for redemption in the form of a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that ranks dead last in the NFL against the run (148.1 yds/gm) while giving up more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the league this year (23.4 pts/gm).
Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos (vs. Browns): Decker and the Broncos return home after a two-week road trip that saw the wide receiver rack-up 16 receptions for 221 yards and a touchdown on 20 targets. Stick with the hot hand this Sunday as Decker and the Broncos take on a Cleveland Browns defense that ranks 25th in the NFL against the pass (247.4 yds/gm) while giving up an average of 24.9 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (sixth-most in NFL).
Ben Watson, TE, Cleveland Browns (at Broncos): Watson hasn’t done much worth talking about over the last few weeks, but for those of you in a pinch who are willing to roll the dice, this is your guy for Week 16. No team in the league is giving up more fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season than the Broncos (11.0 pts/gm), who have now surrendered 11 touchdowns (most in NFL) to the TE position in 2012. If Dennis Pitta could score two against this unit last week, we don’t see why Watson can’t find pay dirt at least once.
Chicago Bears, D/ST (at Cardinals): This team hasn’t inspired a whole lot of confidence over the last few weeks of the season, but you don’t need a crystal ball to see that the defense will produce Sunday at Arizona. The Cardinals currently rank dead last in the NFL in total offense (264.2 yds/gm), 30th in scoring (16.0 pts/gm) and are giving up more fantasy points to opposing D/STs than any other team in the league this year (14.1 pts/gm). This one’s a no brainer.
SIT ‘EM DOWN
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears (at Cardinals): The Bears have dropped four of their last five games with Cutler posting dreadful numbers in the process. The Chicago quarterback is completing less than 60% of his attempts on the season (59.7%) and is averaging just 204.0 passing yards per game over his last four starts, with five touchdowns and four interceptions. No sense in rolling the dice and hoping for a resurgence when Chicago heads to Arizona this Sunday to challenge a Cardinals defense that is giving up an average of just 14.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (t-second-fewest in NFL).
Cutler and the Bears have been taking on a lot of water as of late.
Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns (at Broncos): T-Rich has been an absolute workhorse for the Browns as a rookie, but opposing defenses are well aware of this fact as well. The former Alabama standout is averaging just 64.0 rushing yards per game through 15 weeks and won’t be much of a factor if he can’t find the end zone, which will be tough against the league’s second-ranked run defense in the Denver Broncos (91.0 yds/gm) on Sunday. Take note that only the Houston Texans (3) have surrendered fewer rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs this season than the Broncos (4).
Sidney Rice, WR, Seattle Seahawks (vs. 49ers): He’s playing at less than 100% (foot) and after scoring five touchdowns in five games, Rice has found the end zone only once over his last four starts. Seattle is cooking with gas at the moment, but Sunday night’s divisional clash with the 49ers should be a relatively low-scoring affair (current total: 39.5) with minimal big-play strikes. As a result, we’ll pass on Rice, especially when you consider the fact that no team is surrendering fewer fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season than the Niners (17.2 pts/gm).
Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers (at Seahawks): The eight-year veteran rushed for 131 yards on 16 carries the last time these two teams got together, but we’re predicting a different plot line for the rematch. Gore hasn’t posted a 100-yard rushing effort in any of his last seven starts, while the Seahawks have allowed just six rushing touchdowns over their last 11 outings. Take note that Seattle currently ranks tenth in the league in run defense (106.3 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of only 14.8 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (fifth-fewest in NFL).
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Bears): You know that rule about not sitting your studs during the fantasy postseason? Yeah, that doesn’t apply here. Not because of Fitzgerald, but because of the putrid situation at the quarterback position that is stinking up the Arizona depth chart. Fitz has been held out of the end zone in five straight starts and hasn’t posted a 100-yard effort since September 23. Yet, through all of it, he’s kept a cool head. Not many guys are capable of doing that.
Martellus Bennett, TE, New York Giants (at Ravens): He’s found the end zone twice in his last three starts, but Bennett runs into a Ravens defense this Sunday that has done a respectable job against the tight end position this season. Baltimore is currently surrendering an average of just 6.6 fantasy points per game to opposing TEs (t-third-fewest in NFL) while giving up a grand total of just two scores to the position in 15 weeks. That’s tops in the NFL.
Baltimore Ravens, D/ST (vs. Giants): We like this unit in their individual matchup vs. TE Martellus Bennett, but on the whole, we’d pass on starting the Baltimore D/ST this weekend. The Giants have been hit or miss as of late but now find themselves looking up at both the Cowboys and Redskins in the NFC East. We think Eli Manning and co. put together a solid effort on Sunday against a Ravens team that has already clinched a postseason berth despite a current three-game losing streak. It’s all about motivation.
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh