Week 16 of the 2011 NFL season is upon us, which means anybody still left standing in their fantasy playoffs is likely playing for all the marbles this weekend. Fantasy championship glory and other potential rewards await teams playing this week, which means strong performances are key. Having a playmaker wide receiver come up with a robust 28 yards in a big playoff game is not going to help you. And yes I am still angry about DeSean Jackson's performance this weekend.
This week's championship games will be operating on a different schedule than normal because of Christmas. With Christmas on a Sunday, the NFL has moved most of their Week 16 contests to Saturday. The Texans and Colts will square off on Thursday, followed by 13 games on Saturday, a Sunday Night Football contest on Christmas night and a Monday Night Football contest to wrap up the week.
This week things are starting to get a bit more interesting as teams get closer and closer to locking in playoff and draft positioning. The most pertinent question marks surround members of the Green Bay Packers. The Packers and Bears square off Sunday evening. If the 49ers lose Saturday in Seattle, the Packers clinch the number one seed. With an undefeated record no longer up for grabs, if the Packers have clinched the number one seed they might be more inclined to rest their starters. Players like Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Grant, Jordy Nelson, and others will likely play, but they could be benched after only a quarter or two of play.
This is usually a bigger issue in Week 17, but given the Packers dominance this season, they are in a unique position. The 49ers are slight favorites against the Seahawks, but Seattle plays well at home and could take this one. If you have Aaron Rodgers and a backup playing Thursday or Saturday, you have to decide if it is worth the start. I think you start Aaron Rodgers no matter what this week, but it is something to at least consider.
It should be an exciting holiday weekend of football. Over the coming days we'll break down some possible sleepers for the week ahead, as well as other generally big performances. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday we'll follow that up with a breakdown of all the pertinent fantasy performers.