Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
It's championship week for most owners. We break down the fantasy implications.
If you've made it this far in the fantasy playoffs, congratulations. Week 16 wraps up the year for most leagues out there. One big weekend is all that sits between you and the fabled fantasy championship.
We saw the standard stars step up last weekend, but there were also a few huge performances from the lesser names. Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Dennis Pitta all went off, and those three are actually still available in a large amount of leagues.
With everything on the line, let's take a look at who you need to start in Week 16, and who you need to keep on the bench in your quest for greatness.
Tony Romo, quarterback - Romo is heating up down the stretch, and there's no sign of slowing down this week against the Saints. New Orleans surprisingly held Josh Freeman without a touchdown in Week 15, but let's not forget how awful that secondary was throughout the 14 weeks prior. Expect a huge day out of Romo, possibly winning some matchups single-handedly.
Reggie Bush, running back - Daniel Thomas is out, leaving Bush to handle the bulk of the backfield workload again. He broke 100 yards for the first time since Week 2 last Sunday, and he should have a good shot at eclipsing that mark against a Bills defense that was just torn apart by Marshawn Lynch. Don't pay much attention to Bush's poor stat line against Buffalo in that awful Week 11 Thursday night matchup. Thomas took away his upside. It won't be the same this time around.
Danny Amendola, wide receiver - When Amendola manages to stay on the field, he typically pays off for his owners. Last week he posted 58 yards and a touchdown in his return from a foot injury. Now he'll take on a Buccaneers secondary that absolutely hemorrhages points to opposing wideouts. Tampa Bay has given up a touchdown to a wide receiver in nine straight games. Amendola is bound to find the end zone on Sunday.
Greg Olsen, tight end - Cam Newton targeted Olsen as many times as Steve Smith this past week. Olsen production is up in recent weeks, and that trend should continue against Oakland. The Raiders have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing tight ends in 2012. Olsen saw a few looks in the red zone in Week 15, which bodes well for his value heading into Sunday. He's worth starting/picking up in those leagues where he remains on the free agent list.
Colts defense/special teams - Any defense playing the Chiefs is worth starting. Guess who the Colts get this week? Indianapolis is by no means a stout defense, but Kansas City failed to score a single point against Oakland in Week 15. Not one point. Yeah, the Colts D/ST looks like a solid option.
Jay Cutler, quarterback - Cutler threw two touchdowns and three picks in his last two games. He isn't providing much for his owners when it counts, and his next matchup won't change that fact. The Cardinals have only given up four passing touchdowns over the last five weeks. Matthew Stafford didn't find the end zone at all in Week 15. Don't bank on Cutler helping you win the championship here.
Jonathan Dwyer, running back - Sure, Dwyer remains the No. 1 back for the Steelers, and his biggest game of the year came against the Bengals back in Week 7. Look at his numbers in recent weeks, though. Pittsburgh isn't running the ball well, while Cincinnati is locking down opposing ground games right now. Two rushing touchdowns in the past seven games against the Bengals doesn't look promising. Unless you're completely out of options, avoid Dwyer.
Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver - Poor Larry. He made the sit list last week, and he's locked in here again as he gets set to take on the Bears. His four receptions against the Lions actually marked his highest total since Week 9. Unfortunately he gained just 22 yards, so there's not much to get excited about. He doesn't have a quarterback to get him the ball. How can you feel confident starting him against anyone?
Vernon Davis, tight end - Davis is out of the picture with Kaepernick under center. He has just four receptions over the last four weeks. He's also facing a Seahawks defense that has given up just three touchdowns to opposing tight ends. Another star lost in his offense, Davis isn't worth starting in any league right now.
Browns defense/special teams - Cleveland ranks 15th in the league in points per game allowed. A few weeks of impressive performances were completely erased after the Browns allowed 38 points to the RG3-less Redskins in Week 15. Peyton Manning and the Broncos should have a good chance of posting 30+ points again this Sunday. Avoid the Browns D/ST.