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By Thomson200 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Welcome to the final championship round in Week 16 of the NFL season! We expect a ton of fantasy football action this week, RotoBallers, starting on Thursday night and then jumping right into more fun with twp games on Saturday evening. This is a special and must-win week after the semi finals, so let's get focused for the championship game! For those of you who are out of it and just want to finish off the 2014 season with a "W," we can help you, too.

Below, you will find our Week 16 NFL matchups & fantasy football start/sit analysis, which should help you prepare your lineups to win this week and in your playoff matchups. It’s essential to analyze the weekly NFL matchups to find lineup sleepers and potential waiver wire gems, while also avoiding those players who may turn out to be busts.

To read about the rest of this week’s NFL matchups, check out Start/Sit &  Matchups Analysis for Games 9-16 and our Week 16 Standard and PPR Rankings. And of course you can always stop by the RotoBaller chat rooms for any live advice you may need.


Titans @ Jaguars

Matchups We Love

Literally nobody.

Matchups We Hate

I want to say that everyone is hate-worthy in this game, but that would be silly.

Notable Players

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars, Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars, Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars and Cecil Shorts, WR Jaguars

The Titans pass defense is awful, and unfortunately so are Blake Bortles passing stats. Although this is as good of a week as ever for Bortles to show up, since as he's at home on a short week and playing a very, very bad passing defense, it's also an incredibly unnecessary risk to take in a week where all 32 teams are playing. Unless you're in a deep, deep two-QB league, Bortles is rightfully remaining untouched. That means that you can't really bother with anyone else in this offense either, unless you're really desperate, in which case the top players to target really seem like Shorts and Lee. But with the Jaguars having the fewest touchdowns in the league, it's far from a high ceiling for anyone.

Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars

Tennessee's run defense is even worse than their pass defense. But it doesn't change the fact that Gerhart isn't very good, and neither is his O-line; still, compared to the passing offense, he's actually a bit interesting. Gerhart has a surprisingly high RB3 potential, making him a sort of acceptable FLEX play, and with such a huge positive matchup at home on a short week, he has deep-league value. I'd still tell you to stay away if you have any better options.

Delanie Walker, TE, Titans

The Jaguars allow an average of 53 yards per game to opposing TEs, which is a couple of yards above league average. Walker seems like Charlie Whitehurst's favorite and most productive target. Compared to other Titans receivers like Nate Washington and Kendall Wright, it seems most likely that Walker will become the main dog in this game, while the other two are left playing for scraps. I'd forget about playing any Titans player not named Walker this week.

Titans Defense

Another interesting play that seems to be bathed in "trap game" drama, the Jaguars have at least one turnover in every game. It's just likely that there's another one here, but the Titans defense is so bad that there's also the chance they put up fewer than five points.


Eagles @ Redskins

Matchups We Love

Unlike the last matchup, it should be a little more surprising when I say there isn't any player I love here.

Matchups We Hate

Yet no one is "hands-off" in this matchup.

Notable Players

Mark Sanchez, QB, Eagles, Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles and Jordan Mathews, WR, Eagles

I want to believe that this will result in a great game for these three, since the Redskins pass defense is bad. They haven't allowed so much of yardage on a per game basis, but they're givin up the third-most yards per attempt. Washington has a pass defense DVOA of dead last in the league on Football Outsiders. PFF's grades have the Redskins pass defense as the worst in the league. It's a great matchup that's unfortunately offset by how bad Mark Sanchez can be. Maclin and Mathews have some risk to them, though despite last week's poor performance for Mathews, this time it seems more likely that both of them manage to find at least 60 yards through the air. I wouldn't shy away from either necessarily, but if you have a better option in a better situation, it might be worth taking a long look at it.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins, DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins and Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins

Another case of inconsistency mixed with great matchups. RG3 is hard to roll with in an offense where the coach doesn't seem to trust him, Jackson's still recovering from injury and Reed seems to be limited when he's not getting eight targets a game from Colt McCoy. They're better off left on the bench, but if you are forced to play any of them, know that each has the matchup to reach the second tier of their respective positions.

Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins and LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles

Despite the talent you're dealing with in these two names, both teams have been good at stopping opposing run games. They're both allowing fewer than four yards per carry, and are in the top half of the league for overall rushing yards allowed per game. But you didn't draft these two to keep them on your bench, and you most likely don't have any better options.


Chargers @ 49ers

Matchups We Love

Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers

With Allen looking like he might be out for Sunday, Gates becomes the majority shareholder of Rivers's attention. Star rookie linebacker Chris Borland, who's been playing in place of the injured Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman, is looking unlikely to play, so the fifth-string linebacker will be one of the guys tasked with covering Gates this week.

Matchups We Hate

Chargers Running Backs

Much of the strength of the 49ers run defense is in their defensive line. Although they will undoubtedly be worse off without Borland, the Chargers offensive line is so bad that there's a strong chance they fail to reach 80 total rushing yards on the day.

49ers Passing Offense

Colin Kaepernick is coming unraveled with each passing week. The entire 49ers receiving corps is suffering as a result. On top of that, the Chargers passing defense has been great for almost the entire season, thanks to the revitalization of Brandon Flowers. The Chargers allow the eight-fewest passing yards per game. I'd look elsewhere.

Notable Players

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers, Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers and Eddie Royal, WR, Chargers

Rivers has been trending downwards since the Miami game, and it has a lot to do with how bad the offensive line in San Diego is. Rivers is too much of a statue to be able to offset the problems he's facing, and the loss of Allen really kills his passing options. It makes sense that Floyd and Royal might see a boost in value with Allen's absence, but the 49ers passing defense has been on point all season, having allowed the third-fewest passing yards per game, despite playing with backup corners for the entire season and missing almost half of their entire defense (side note: look for DC Vic Fangio to be a HC candidate this offseason). Overall, the matchup isn't good, but Rivers is talented enough to find a crease to make it work. That doesn't mean he'll have more than QB2 value, though.

Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers

It seems more likely that Hyde will be starting than Frank Gore. The Chargers run defense isn't anything particularly impressive, but they're better than the league average. That doesn't mean much, so if Hyde does end up being the starter, he'll be a safe low-RB2 floor.


Vikings @ Dolphins

Matchups We Love

Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins

Xavier Rhodes, #1 corner for the Vikings, will be on Mike Wallace all game and likely shutting him out in what's becoming a breakout season for the second year CB. Meanwhile, Josh Robinson and Captain Munnerlyn are likely to see a lot of Jarvis Landry, and both have been absolutely horrible this season in coverage. Landry is in high-WR2 territory, and potentially a WR1.

Matchups We Hate

Charles Johnson, WR, Vikings and Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins

Both are here for the same reason: they're playing against great CBs. Brent Grimes will be on Johnson all game, while Wallace will be likely seeing Xavier Rhodes. Although Wallace still has some FLEX appeal thanks to his speed, he'll be living or dying based on that one deep part of his game more likely than not.

Notable Players

Matt Asiata, RB, Vikings

It looks like Asiata's going to stay at the forefront of the Vikings rushing attack, and fortunately for his owners, it comes at a time where the Dolphins have been struggling against the run. What was at one point ranked in the top five rushing defenses in every metric has fallen to 22nd in yards per game, allowed the sixth-most yards per carry, is now 20th in DVOA on Football Outsiders, and 16th on PFF. Asiata's role in the passing game and as the almost-featured runner makes him a high-floor play (likely in the low-RB2 range), especially when considering that the Dolphins average 40 yards allowed in the air to opposing running backs. If Asiata were a more talented player, I'd have him in the "love" column, but as it is, he's very volume dependent.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins and Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Vikings

Both players will have their top receiving options blanketed for a large portion of the game and will see a lot of pressure from the opposing front seven. Their ceilings aren't higher than QB2 range on paper.

Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins

The Vikings defense has taken the opposite turn of the Dolphins, having gotten better as the season has gone on. Miller faces a tougher defense than Asiata, and as has been the case for the last few weeks, he's completely lacked touches. Miller is still startable, because the Vikings don't create a significant threat to keep the score out of Miami's reach, and their defense doesn't look like one that can just shut him down, but his ceiling is capped because of Miami's reluctance to feed him. High-RB2 ceiling feels right with an RB3 floor.


Ravens @ Texans

Matchups We Love

Another game this week where the matchup doesn't obviously benefit anyone.

Matchups We Hate

Arian Foster, RB, Texans

Baltimore's run defense is allowing the third-fewest YPG and fifth-fewest YPC. Although Foster will likely see high volume thanks to the presence of either rookie Tom Savage or freshly signed free agent Case Keenum at QB, he'll also be seeing a stacked box for the very same reason.

Notable Players

Andre Johnson, WR, Texans and DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans

The Ravens corners are really bad. Unfortunately, the Ravens pass rush is really good. Also, the Texans are starting a QB they haven't started this season. Although that QB might be Case Keenum, who as readers will remember started for the Texans last year in place of Matt Schaub, Keenum hasn't been with the team since preseason and the system he played in last year doesn't exist anymore in Houston.  That's not exactly a recipe for passing success.

Steve Smith, WR, Ravens and Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens

Torrey Smith's reemergence killed Steve Smith's reemergence, but even with Torrey hampered last week, Steve saw almost nothing. I wouldn't want to start either player, considering Houston's starting CBs are pretty good.

Ravens Defense

A tricky play, on the road with a very weak group of CBs-- can the Ravens defense do enough to put up seven or more points? They're up against a team that's going to have a weakness at QB, so it's a risk, but it's a high-upside risk.


Lions @ Bears

Matchups We Love

Mathew Stafford, QB, Lions and Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions

Last week, Johnson was matched up all day with Xavier Rhodes, and he got shut down. Now, Johnson faces the duo of Tim Jennings and Kyle Fuller, neither of which have played at a level where they can deal with Calvin. He'll be an easy WR1 candidate. The same goes for Stafford.

Matchups We Hate

Matt Forte, RB, Bears

Forte's going to get the volume, and as is the case, efficiency is the question. With the Bears offense dying a slow death, Forte is still it's most trusted player and the one most expected to hit a nine-point floor, but that doesn't change the fact that the Lions have the best run defense in the NFL across every possible metric.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears

Last time these two teams played, I had Jeffery in the hate column. The Lions pass defense was playing too well and it was hard to imagine a situation where they'd let Jeffery get loose. Jeffery did end up getting loose, though, and since then the Lions passing defense has gotten slightly worse. With the loss of Brandon Marshall to IR, Jeffery now has no competition for targets and will be seeing a large volume, but unfortunately that also means he'll be drawing more coverage. Outliers always exist but I'm sticking to the thought that Jeffery is more risky than not. Plus, news has just come out that Jimmy Clauson will be starting over Cutler.

Notable Players

Golden Tate, WR, Lions

Tate's value plummeted with the return of Megatron, and that's not likely to change. Although this is a neutral matchup for Tate, it's tough to see him getting the necessary volume, so he becomes very big-play dependent.

Joique Bell, RB, Lions

Bell's clearly taken over the lead role here, and fortunately for him, the Bears run defense is average. Bell has RB2 appeal.

Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears

Bennett has the best matchup of the group, and with Clauson starting, he might be targeted a lot more often as a checkdown option. He had a good time against the Lions last time, so seeing him as a low TE1 isn't crazy.


Browns @ Panthers

Matchups We Love

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers

The Browns run defense is their weakest point, and one of the Panthers strengths is the talent at RB. If DeAngelo Williams remains out, Stewart has high-RB2 appeal and potentially a RB1 week.

Matchups We Hate

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers

Benjamin will see Haden all day this game. I'd pass.

Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers

Olsen will see Tashaun Gipson and Karlos Dansby during this matchup. It's much harder to pass on playing him than it is on Benjamin, so for most of you out there, you won't have a better option, but if you do, it's worth taking.

Notable Players

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns and Terrance West, RB, Browns

Crowell is nursing an injury and West just isn't very good right now. Although the Panthers defense is an incredibly juicy matchup for any player, the entire Browns team has issues, keeping them from being the beloved option they should be.

Josh Gordon, WR, Browns, Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns and Johnny Manziel, QB, Browns

The only thing keeping Gordon from being a surefire WR1 this week is that his starting QB is Johnny Manziel. The Bengals had one of the best passing defenses in the league, so seeing a horrible performance from the Browns passing offense wasn't surprising. This time, they're up against one of the worst passing defenses in the league. It's the exact opposite but it's still hard to tell how well Manziel will play. Gordon still has FLEX appeal, but there's also a chance he puts up fewer than 40 yards. Cameron faces the same dilemma, and is hard to trust him as even a TE2.

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers

His top two options are going to be facing stout defense throughout this game. That doesn't mean he can't put up a decent performance, but QB1 numbers are likely out of the question. A high-QB2 seems like his ceiling.


Falcons @ Saints

Matchups We Love

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons, Julio Jones, WR, Falcons or Harry Douglas, WR, Falcons and Roddy White, WR, Falcons

Whoever ends up starting gets the nod. This game is likely to involve a shootout situation, as two of the league's worst defenses go head to head. No one knows whether Julio will suit up or not, but if he doesn't and Harry Douglas gets to start on the outside, I believe in him. Roddy will also get plenty of work, since the Saints lack any corner on the other side of Keenan Lewis. All of this points to a great game for Ryan.

The Entire Saints Offense

Jimmy Graham should be able to turn around his streak of bad luck in this game, since the Falcons defense is bad all over and will have trouble stopping anyone. Marques Colston and Kenny Stills feel like sure locks to see 80 yards apiece. Mark Ingram should also see a lot of work. There's just nothing the Falcons are good at stopping, and everyone on the team has the talent and opportunity to take advantage of it.

Matchups We Hate

Falcons Defense and Saints Defense

Two of the season's worst defenses against two big offenses.

Notable Players

Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons

As bad as the Saints run defense is, gameflow should dictate that the Falcons throw more than they run this game. Jackson still has FLEX appeal in a game that might see over 50 points combined, but he's still a low-upside play.