Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 16: Broncos vs. Texans

Good offense vs. bad defense. This ought to be fun.

Soft factors are largely silly, projecting a storyline that makes sense as though all players get "angry" or "motivated" or "stressed" by the same things, when in fact a lot of them don't care an iota as much about the things we think they do. That said, if ever a team were to play angry and roll over a team, it would be this strong Denver Broncos team, coming off of a bad loss, beating up on an overmatched and woeful Houston Texans team. Even if you don't consider soft factors, the argument makes sense; the Broncos have scored 535 points, and the Chicago Bears at 406 are the only other team to even top 400, while the Texans' 375 points allowed are fifth-worst in the game. Sunday, that matchup will take place at 1 p.m. ET in Houston, and oh-goodness-gracious are there a lot of fantasy players to consider.


Start in every league: Peyton Manning, Knowshon Moreno, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas, Matt Prater

Start if you're desperate: Montee Ball, Andre Caldwell

Bench: Defense/special teams

Yes, you're starting Manning, as well as the other studs like Moreno, Thomas, Decker, and the other Thomas. You weren't really considering otherwise. ... The easy thing to say about a Denver kicker is that he gets a boost in the home games, and while Prater has been better in Denver than in road games, that difference is marginal at best; he's worth starting everywhere.

Ball went from being a huge part of the Broncos' running game to three carries for minus-1 yard a week ago. Odds are good he'll be back to the good in Week 16, but it's hard to say that as confidently now. ... With Wes Welker out, Caldwell has a huge game in Week 15, but now that teams know to be prepared for his specific role, it seems unlikely that will repeat.

The Broncos' defense has some moderate potential against a rusty quarterback, but there's got to be a more worthwhile option out there to go with.


Start in every league: Andre Johnson

Start if you're desperate: Dennis Johnson

Bench: Matt Schaub, Ryan Griffin, Randy Bullock, Defense/special teams

Sure, Johnson had a disaster game in Week 15, with only 18 yards and one fantasy points. But he'd been as hot as any wide receiver (non-Josh Gordon division) since Week 8 otherwise, and there's no reason to think the low performance is his new reality. He'll be fine.

With Ben Tate out, Johnson gets the team's running-back start Sunday. He put up almost half of his season's 17 points in the team's Jacksonville game in Week 12. He'll likely need quantity to be productive, though as one of the team's few options, he'll probably get that. Still, it's hard to imagine relying on someone like Johnson in a fantasy finals.

Schaub gets his starting job back with Case Keenum injured; maybe playing the Bengals helps him produce, but overall how can you put any trust in him? ... With Garrett Graham joining Owen Daniels on the sidelines, the Texans will turn to Griffin at tight end for the second straight game. But there's a reason he was a third-string tight end on a two-win team. ... Bullock is still the same guy who went 1-for-4 in field-goal attempts in Week 9. ... Haha, you were wondering if you should start the Texans' defense against the Broncos. Silly.

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