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By vermillion (Titans 09 385) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsFair warning: it's a rough week for deep league PPR plays. Considering it’s the championship round, now is not the time to start fiddling with your lineup, so my assumption is you’re here out of desperation or injury replacements. There aren’t exactly many safe players floating around the waiver wire heading into the championship round, though, but all the guys I list this week should still aid those with unfortunate last-minute holes in their lineup. I’m talking to you, Julio Jones and DeMarco Murray owners.

As always, all players listed are for deep PPR leagues with at least 12 teams who are owned in fewer than 60% of Fleaflicker leagues, and ratings utilize the scale below. Good luck in the finals, RotoBallers!

Floor/Ceiling Scale: Low: 0-5 points, Medium: 6-12 points, High: 13-19 points, Very High: 20+ points

 

Week 16 Sneaky Starts & PPR Sleepers

Latavius Murray (RB, OAK)

52% Owned in Fleaflicker Leagues

Let’s start with the most obvious guy, a running back with starting value who continues to fly somewhat under the radar. Over the last two weeks, Murray has been given the bulk of the workload out of the backfield, compiling 35 carries over that span. With matchups against San Francisco and Kansas City, the yardage hasn't exactly been there, but that said, in a league where running backs are scarce, it’s hard to ignore the volume of touches he’s receiving. Murray’s matchup isn't great by any means, as the Raiders host a Bills team that ranks ninth against the run. Keep in mind that Murray didn't really receive any significant work until Week 11, so we're working with a small sample size in terms of production, anyway. Murray has shown that he can rip off an explosive play or two, as evidenced by his 112-yard day on just four carries against the Chiefs in Week 12 before exiting with a concussion. If you're looking for a running back who's guaranteed to get the work this week, Murray is your guy.

 Floor: Low, Ceiling: High (It’s a tough matchup but hey, a starting running back in the NFL has to count for something.)

 

Charles Johnson (WR, MIN)

15% Owned in Fleaflicker Leagues

Not much has changed since Johnson first appeared on this list some weeks ago. In fact, he’s actually improved his yardage. The bigger number to keep in mind, though, is Johnson's minimum seven targets in four of his last five games. He has quickly become Minnesota’s number one receiver on a team that is desperate for offensive weapons. Much like Latavius Murray, Johnson’s matchup isn't stellar, but again, you’re looking for volume here. Where there’s targets, there’s catches, and where there’s catches, there’s the potential for PPR value. I like Johnson as a sneaky WR3/FLEX option in a PPR format this week, even against a Miami defense that ranks in the top 10 in defending the pass.

Floor: Low, Ceiling: High (Again, tough matchup, but volume is the key to Johnson’s success.)

 

Stedman Bailey (WR, STL)

12% Owned in Fleaflicker Leagues

Similarly to Charles Johnson, Stedman Bailey has quietly become the leading receiver on the Rams. The more recognized name in St. Louis is Kenny Britt, who exploded against the Broncos a few weeks back. Since that one game, however, Bailey has actually outpaced Britt in yards in all but one of the last four games. Despite sharing a similar number of targets over that span, (Bailey’s 25 to Britt’s 21), Bailey has done more with those opportunities than has Britt. Unlike the aforementioned Johnson, Bailey actually has a pretty good matchup this week against a Giants team that ranks 26th in passing yards allowed per game. Given Bailey’s workload, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he racks up the yards against a soft New York secondary.

Floor: Low, Ceiling: Very High (Much better matchup than the previous two players, which increases his ceiling.)

 

Nate Washington (WR, TEN)

10% Owned in Fleaflicker Leagues

I told you it was desperation time, didn't I? Nate Washington had a whopping 10 targets against the New York Jets in Week 15, leading to a 102-yard day. Washington seems to be the forgotten man in Tennessee, despite being a somewhat relevant fantasy name throughout his ten-year career. With Justin Hunter done for the year and Kendall Wright nursing a hand injury, Washington automatically becomes relevant once again, even with Charlie Whitehurst throwing him the ball this Thursday night. With a matchup against a Jacksonville Jaguars team ranked 21st in passing yards allowed per game, Washington is certainly worth a look in a deeper PPR league. The thought of relying on Charlie Whitehurst to get your guy the ball is a little terrifying, but any number one receiver holds value in a PPR format. The matchup and situation are aligned perfectly for Washington to at least be worth a look in your league.

Floor: Medium, Ceiling: High (I doubt he’s held without a catch, but don't necessarily expect monster numbers.)

 

Joseph Randle 11% Owned and Lance Dunbar 27% Owned (RBs, DAL)*

We've reached the injury portion of our Week 16 PPR preview, starting with a pair of running backs who may be filling in for an injured DeMarco Murray. Murray will spend the week recovering from hand surgery, leaving Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar to split the load when the Cowboys host the Colts on Sunday. Currently, the expectation is that Randle would get the start if Murray were unable to go, with Dunbar handling the passing downs. Randle would automatically become an RB2 should he start, given the way the Cowboys have utilized the running back position this year. Obviously neither of these guys possesses Murray’s level of talent, but even you or I could run behind that offensive line in Dallas. I've listed both together, because the injury to Murray is fairly well known by now, so there’s a decent chance someone has already snagged one or the other. The Cowboys haven't really given either of these players substantial workload, so there isn't much to go on in terms of statistics other than Randle’s 7.0 yards per carry on 34 attempts. That’s a ridiculously small sample size when you consider the fact that Murray has topped 30 touches in a single game more than once this season. The main point here is that until the Cowboys come out and explicitly state who will be the starting running back in Week 16, both of these guys should be owned.

Floor: Medium, Ceiling: Very High (This is all moot if Murray is healthy enough to start. That said, the Cowboys know how to run effectively, so whoever starts could easily have a big day.)

 

Harry Douglas (WR, ATL)

19% Owned in Fleaflicker Leagues

I leave you with another injury-related recommendation, a guy whom I mentioned last week in the event that Julio Jones was out against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sure enough, Julio did miss that game, and his status for Week 16’s contest against the New Orleans Saints is still up in the air. In case you were wondering how that worked out for one Harry Douglas last week, how’s 10 catches on 14 targets for 131 yards sound? The Saints are every bit as bad against the pass as the Steelers, ranking 26th to Pittsburgh’s 25th, so the matchup is equally as tasty. There isn't much else to be said about Douglas, who continues to prove that he is easily the most reliable non-traditional handcuff in fantasy, such that once Roddy White or Julio Jones goes down, Douglas is right there to pick up the slack. Should Jones miss another game this week-- he’s still not practicing and the early reports don’t sound promising-- Douglas would be my number one pickup-and-play of the week.

Floor: Medium, Ceiling: Very High (Between the matchup and the volume of work with Julio Jones out, the balance between safety and upside doesn't get much better than Harry Douglas.)

 


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.