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Saturday Football Matchups Analysis - Week 16


I hope everyone is enjoying a restful holiday season! Although Thursday Night Football has concluded for the 2019 NFL season, there are still a bevy of games to be played on Saturday in Week 16 that will determine the fates of fantasy owners who have made it thus far without being eliminated from the playoffs.

Fortunately, RotoBaller has you covered ahead of the Saturday triple-header to provide lineup advice that could make or break your championship run.

Let's dive in to some matchup analysis for the trio of Saturday football games in Week 16! You can read the Sunday game breakdowns as well by Chris O'Reilly and Pierre Camus.

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!

 

Houston Texans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Date and Start Time: Saturday, December 21 at 1:00 PM ET

Notable Injuries and Status:

Offensive and Defensive Rankings:

Texans Buccaneers
Passing Yards 11th 1st
Rushing Yards 7th 27th
Pass Defense 28th 30th
Rush Defense 19th 1st

 

Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots

Date and Start Time: Saturday, December 21 at 4:30 PM ET

Notable Injuries and Status:

Offensive and Defensive Rankings:

Bills Patriots
Passing Yards 28th 9th
Rushing Yards 5th 19th
Pass Defense 3rd 2nd
Rush Defense 10th 7th

 

Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco 49ers

Date and Start Time: Saturday, December 21 at 8:15 PM ET

Notable Injuries and Status:

Offensive and Defensive Rankings:

Rams 49ers
Passing Yards 6th 13th
Rushing Yards 24th 2nd
Pass Defense 9th 1st
Rush Defense 23rd 21st

 

Must Starts

Top Performers That Have To Be In Your Lineups

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

Watson will poke holes in the Buccaneers horrid passing defense like it is Swiss cheese. Start him with confidence as a top-three option at the quarterback spot.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR, HOU)

Similar to the man throwing him the football, Hopkins will undoubtedly prosper against a Tampa defense with no ability to shut down opposing wideouts and he should remain a fixture in fantasy lineups.

Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR)

Odds are good that Kupp will either finish Week 16 with his exceptionally high floor of receptions, a score, or both. While one of his dud games did come against San Francisco back in Week 6, no fantasy owners is considering sitting Kupp in (preemptively) their championship game.

George Kittle (TE, SF)

We know by this point how much of a fantasy stud Kittle is. In case you forgot, Kittle accounted for 67 percent of the 49ers' receiving yardage last week on a ridiculous 17 targets and should see heavy volume when the team faces off against an NFC West rival.

 

Solid Options/Sleepers

Which Players Will Have Solid Games and Which Could Surprise?

Solid Option: Jameis Winston (QB, TB)

Despite Tampa's receiving core being absolutely decimated by injuries, the matchup is too good to not put Winston as a strong start this week. The former Seminole has only thrown for less than 300 passing yards and a score once since the Buccaneers Week 7 bye and Houston is a high-powered offense ready to battle in a shootout game-script.

Solid Option: Devin Singletary (RB, BUF)

Fantasy owners are chasing the volume when they consider starting Singletary, as he has had snap rates of at least 70 percent over his last three games. He deserves RB2 consideration despite facing a stout New England front seven.

Solid Option: Todd Gurley (RB, LAR)

Gurley has been on fire as of late with head coach Sean McVay seeming to find more creative ways to use him on the field. The 2015 NFL Draft's tenth overall pick will get the lion's share of Los Angeles' carries and should add on to his three game touchdown streak.

Solid Option: Raheem Mostert (RB, SF)

The 49ers have treated Mostert as his if he has earned the starting running back gig for San Francisco, handing him the ball no less than ten times in his last three games. With some certainty about who will get the bulk of the team's rush attempts, Mostert is a valuable fantasy asset.

Solid Option: Breshad Perriman (WR, TB)

No Mike Evans, no Chris Godwin, no problem. Perriman has stepped up big time for a Buccaneers offense that desperately needs a playmaker, exploding to the tune of five receptions for 113 yards and three scores in a Week 15 tilt with the Detroit Lions.

Solid Option: Julian Edelman (WR, NE)

Fantasy owners will need to keep a close eye on whether Edelman actually plays this week or New England opts to rest him ahead of a playoff run. If he is active, Edelman will continue to be a PPR scoring machine with the absurd number of targets he is averaging this season.

Solid Option: Robert Woods (WR, LAR)

Woods' ability to produce will hinge on whether 49ers defensive back Richard Sherman has fully recovered from a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined in Week 15. If Sherman is stymied, fantasy owners can consider Woods a flex option with upside.

Sleeper: Will Fuller (WR, HOU)

The prototypical boom or bust play in fantasy football, Fuller has a greater likelihood of fulfilling the boom side of the equation against a Buccaneers secondary that gives up the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

Sleeper: Emmanuel Sanders (WR, SF)

So long as he can avoid coverage from defensive back Jalen Ramsey, Sanders should bounce back from a paltry two reception, nine yard effort in the upset loss versus Atlanta last week. Although his upside isn't anything more than a WR2, consider him a flex option if you don't have better options available.

Sleeper: O.J. Howard (TE, TB)

The absence of capable pass catchers in Tampa's receiving core due to injuries has opened up the door for Howard to make an impact, but his usage to date hasn't exactly inspired much confidence in the third-year pro.

 

Consider Sitting

Players To Avoid Putting In Your Lineup If Possible

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

Allen has been a matchup play for fantasy owners who can exploit vulnerable defenses, but New England is the squad that can force him to throw for under 200 yards and plenty of turnovers (such as three interceptions back in Week 4).

Tom Brady (QB, NE)

I didn't expect the day when I would put Brady on the "Consider Sitting" list to come this season, but it's impossible to ignore the lack of productivity that has come from New England's signal-caller over the last few weeks. Buffalo is an especially hard draw to project Brady as anything more than a QB2 ahead of Saturday.

Jared Goff (QB, LAR)

The regression is noticeable in Goff, who simply hasn't looked sharp in making on point throws in tight windows. San Francisco is such a crew that will keep throwing lanes tight and pose trouble for Goff returning fantasy points for his owners.

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, SF)

While we have seen flashes from Garoppolo, the more likely game plan for the 49ers offense will be to hand the football off to their most capable rusher and churn out yardage on the ground. Garoppolo will be a game-script dependent option in Week 16.

Carlos Hyde/Duke Johnson (RBs, HOU)

What Tampa's defense lacks in ability to stop the pass it more than makes up for in stymieing opposing running backs. Neither Hyde or Johnson have any safe floor in this matchup and should be avoided at all costs.

Ronald Jones/Peyton Barber (RBs, TB)

The Buccaneers running back who will finish with the better fantasy day by the time the conclusion of Week 16 comes around is largely unclear, but neither inspire much hope as fantasy options even with head coach Bruce Arians saying he intends to involve his backs in the team's passing attack against Houston.

Frank Gore (RB, BUF)

The Bills backfield is Devin Singletary's to lose, making Gore largely an afterthought barring the team accumulating a hefty lead.

Patriots Running Backs (RBs, NE)

New England's offense no longer carries the label of being high-powered, removing the scoring upside from any of their running backs that was by and large the most attractive feature of that group in fantasy football.

Tevin Coleman/Matt Breida (RBs, SF)

Coleman and Breida have been receiving change of pace work since Raheem Mostert has proven to head coach Kyle Shanahan that he deserves to be the top dog in the 49ers backfield. Breida may carry more value than Coleman at this point, but that isn't saying much.

Phillip Dorsett / Mohamed Sanu / N'Keal Harry (WRs, NE)

The recent struggles of quarterback Tom Brady have left his receiving core out to dry when it comes to their fantasy production. The potential absence of Julian Edelman could lead to a resurgence, but which wideout will contribute enough to be a flex option is a dart throw.

Kenny Stills (WR, HOU)

Since being described as one of the hottest waiver pickups in the wake of Will Fuller getting injured, Stills has largely been a disappointment, especially recently with a combined 11 targets in his last four games.

John Brown/Cole Beasley (WRs, BUF)

Either Brown or Beasley could receive a healthy share of looks against a tough divisional rival Patriots secondary. The question of how productive said looks will be is a whole other matter and likely to lead to disappointment for those fantasy owners who start them.

Darren Fells (TE, HOU)

Although Tampa Bay is a juicy matchup for fantasy tight ends, the split in receiving usage between Jordan Akins and Fells has contributed to the latter largely falling off the face of the earth for fantasy purposes.

Cameron Brate (TE, TB)

Much like his tight end teammate O.J. Howard, Brate could be looked at to fill the void left by injuries to Tampa's pass catchers. Nonetheless, he will be a touchdown-dependent option that should be benched in favor of better options.

Gerald Everett / Tyler Higbee (TEs, LAR)

The 49ers Defense gives up the third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends and Everett's return from injury creates an unpredictable situation for determining which tight end will get the most looks. Either could be started in a pinch, but only as a TE2 play.

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