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Start 'Em: Lineup Picks for Fantasy's Championship Week


Nothing is a guarantee in fantasy football, but we can always take calculated risks. I generally try not to take too many risks come playoff time, and prefer to roll with my big guns that have gotten me this far, even if there's a tempting option to stream or start off my bench. But even championship-worthy teams can have fringe options at different positions, so starting an alternative with a good matchup could pay off. Here are some players that could still be available in your league, and have a good chance to come through for you on championship week. Good luck RotoBallers!


Start 'Em on Championship Sunday


Phil Dawson - vs. ATL (Home) - 72% owned

Last Week: 4 field goals, 4 extra points - 17.00 points

How is Phil Dawson not owned in 100% of fantasy leagues.  I know that's a stretch, but seriously, this guy has been amazing. Over the past 6 weeks he's scored at least 10 points, including 17 points last week and 16 points the week before. On paper, the matchup is great, as Dawson goes against a putrid Atlanta defense who has given up the most fantasy points to opposing kickers this year. Dawson also hasn't missed a single field goal since Week 4 against St. Louis. At the end of the day, kickers are just kickers, but on the other hand having an advantage with a kicker over your opponent can be a huge asset in fantasy leagues. If he's still available in your league, stop what you're doing now and pick him up. Then start him on Sunday, and feel great about it. The reliability and upside doesn't get much better for a kicker, and he's been an absolute stud that can help lead your fantasy team to glory.


Jay Cutler - vs. PHI (Away) - 54% owned

Last Week: 265 passing yards, 3 TD, 2 INT - 27.70 points

week-16-fantasy-championships-start-lineup-picksThere's almost no question that Chicago and Jay Cutler are going to put up points on Sunday against Philadelphia and their very burnable defense. The only things that could really prevent that from happening are injuries, or players being rested with the playoffs locked up. Nobody can say if those things will actually ever happen, but we can say that Cutler will put up points when he's in. Chicago QBs (both Cutler and McCown) has put up at least 23 points in 5 straight weeks. This is an offensive powerhouse that racks up points every week, and Sunday's game against an inconsistent Eagles defense should be no different. Start Cutler with confidence in your fantasy championship lineup.


Ryan Tannehill - vs. BUF (Home) - 33% owned

Last Week: 312 passing yards, 3 TDs,  0 INT - 30.38 points

rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-ryan-tannehillIn one of my leagues, I rolled with RGIII all season until he was benched in Week 15, and started Tennehill in his place for my semi-finals matchups. Now I'm in the championship game and will be starting him again, over Andy Dalton who has a great matchup against Minnesota. I feel pretty good about Tannehill's chances against Buffalo for a few reasons, but mostly because he's been on fire and he already torched Buffalo for 22.26 points in Week 7 when the offense wasn't even playing as well.  Tannehill has scored less than 15 points only once  all season (14.42 points), has put up 30+ points in the last two weeks, and have scored over 20 points in 5 of the last 6 weeks. I like his chances of putting up at least a solid week, with the upside for plenty more.


Other Riskier QB Options: Kirk Cousins - vs. DAL, Andy Dalton vs. MIN


Rueben Randle - vs. DET (Away) - 62% owned

Last Week: 0 points (Giants shutout vs. Seattle)

rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-rueben-randleWith the Victor Cruz injury, Randle will take his place as starting wide receiver for the Giants. Nicks may technically be the #1, but Randle will probably be Eli's #1 option over the next two weeks. The Giants are looking towards next year, and will probably try to get Randle looks for the rest of the season. He's been a solid fantasy asset as the #3 wide receiver this year, and now that he's #1 or 2 option I would expect his production to significantly increase. Detroit has also allowed the 4th most points to fantasy WRs this year, and they're playing indoors at Detroit, so the matchup looks good on paper as well. There's no telling with the Giants this year, but Eli should be able to get the Randle the ball enough for him to be a very solid start in fantasy's championship week.


Greg Jennings - vs. CIN (Away) - 67% owned

Last Week: 11 receptions, 13 targets, 163 receiving yards, 1 TD - 36.30 points (PPR leagues)

Rotoballer-Fantasy-Football-Advice-Analysis-Greg-JenningsJennings has been on fire since Matt Cassel has assumed the starting quarterback role for the Vikings. Over the past 3 weeks, he has at least 9 targets in each game.  Jennings has also racked up 36.30 points (last week), 10.30 points (Week 14), and 20.80 points (Week 13) in PPR leagues. Cincinnati has a tough defense, but is also missing both of their starting cornerbacks. Jennings should continue to be targeted heavily by Cassel in the offensive attack, and should be a steady WR3 option for fantasy owners in the championship week.


Other Riskier WR Options: Andre Caldwell vs. HOU


Jordan Todman - vs. TEN (Home) - 37% owned

Last Week: 25 rushes, 109 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 44 receiving yards - 20.80 points (PPR leagues)

jordan-todman-waiver-wire-running-backs-week-16Last week Todman showed the Jaguars and fantasy owners that he's here to stay. With Jacksonville looking towards the future, MJD scheduled for free agency and expected to miss Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, Todman will once again be a viable FLEX/RB2 play for fantasy owners in the championship week. In last week's game, Todman saw a big volume of touches and actually put up the most rushing yards by any Jaguars running back this year in a single game. With Cecil Shorts also out for the season, Todman will once again be a workhorse for the Jaguars and fantasy owners. Don't be afraid to start him this week against a Tennessee defense that has give up the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing running backs this year.

Sunday Update: MJD is surprisingly active and starting over Todman, making Todman a risky start. Start other options on your team in place of him as Todman will be a risky play today.


Cleveland - vs. NYJ (Away) - 42% owned

Last Week: 2 sacks, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 2 TDs - 19.00 points

The Jets have given up the 2nd most points to fantasy defenses this year, and championship week should be no different.  In the past 6 weeks, opposing defenses have racked up an absurd amount of points against the Jets (league scoring settings may vary): 17 points (last week), 20 points (Week 13), 19 points (Week 12) and 21 points (Week 11). At this point, it's essentially a long shot that Cleveland won't put up 10 or 15 points on Sunday. The floor here is very low, and the upside is very high against a struggling Jets offense. The matchup is so good, I'm considering starting Cleveland over Kansas City in my championship lineup.


Detroit - vs. NYG (Home) - 29% owned

Last Week: 1 sack, 0 INT - 4.00 points

The Giants have been a turnover machine for most of the season, and this week should be no different.  Detroit's pressure on Eli Manning should yield some sacks and turnovers, and let's not forget that the Giants were shut out last week with their offense continuing to struggle.  If you don't have a great defense lined up yet for your fantasy team, feel good about Detroit's chances in the championship week. At the very least, you know that they can't possibly hurt you in this juicy matchup.