Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 16: Patriots vs. Ravens

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots missed out on a chance to take over the top seed in the AFC a week ago. The Ravens are looking to ride their current hot streak right into the playoffs.

The New England Patriots are 10-4 on the season, but they've been two different teams. At home, they're 7-0; on the road, they are 3-4. Sunday, they go on the road to face a Baltimore Ravens team that has ridden a four-game winning streak that has taken them from AFC afterthoughts to in the pilot seat for the AFC's six seed. Baltimore hosts New England at 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday, and there will be a lot of fantasy production (or lack thereof) to monitor.


Start in every league: Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Stephen Gostkowski

Start if you're desperate: Danny Amendola

Bench: Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, Defense/special teams

After averaging only 11.5 fantasy points per game through Week 8, Brady has averaged 21.8 since, with only one game below 20 points. He's re-established himself as a top-flight QB1, and should be started in all leagues. ... A few weeks ago, Edelman looks like a New England afterthought, totaling only 15 fantasy points total from Week 5 to Week 11. In the last four weeks, though, he's been dominant, with 9.25 catches, 103.5 yards, a touchdown, and 16.5 fantasy points per game in that time. He's an easy WR1. ... Gostkowski has made at least two field goals in every game this season, and has scored 10 or more fantasy points nine times in 14 games.

With everyone else capable of catching a pass seemingly hurt in New England, Amendola's production has risen recently, to a season-high 131 yards in Week 15. He's still lagging behind Edelman overall, but his stock is rising.

Vereen's production bottomed out in Week 15, with only three catches and eight receiving yards, hamstringing his primary weapon. The Ravens are stellar against running backs, so this might not be the time to buy back in on Vereen, just as it is not the week to believe in Ridley, Blount, or Bolden. ... The Patriots' defense has gone from an above-average unit to a thoroughly mediocre one, with a high score of six fantasy points since Week 8.


Start in every league: Justin Tucker

Start if you're desperate: Torrey Smith

Bench: Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Marlon Brown, Jacoby Jones, Dennis Pitta, Defense/special teams

Week 15 was Tucker's fame moment, but he's fantasy's No. 1 kicker across the season and has made at least four field goals three times in his last four games.

Smith has only had a couple truly big games this season, and has only topped 80 yards once since Week 5. He's still 18th among wide receivers, but there's a singificant floor.

Flacco has only reached 20 points once all season; he's fallen below 10 five different times. Avoid him. ... Rice's season has improved of late, but he's still as far a cry as is possible from his old self. Between his struggles and those of his offensive line, it's hard to see how a fantasy owner can toss him out there. ... Brown and Jones are far too inconsistent. ... Pitta has 72 receiving yards across his two games; if he hadn't fallen into a fluke touchdown two weeks ago, no one would be buying in. ... The Ravens' defense has been decent on occasion, but facing a strong offense like New England's probably makes them a non-starter.

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