Week 16 is officially upon us in the NFL, meaning it is championship weekend for many fantasy owners. Provided with a loaded schedule of games in the regular season’s penultimate week, one Friday game and three Saturday games will be played before a full slate of matchups on Sunday.
We were successful with our picks once again last week. Teddy Bridgewater threw for 258 yards passing while rushing for a touchdown in the Panther’s nail-biting loss to the Packers. Additionally, Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage caught five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown in a loss to the Buccaneers.
Here to help you capture your league’s title in the most crucial weekend for “Start ’em and Sit ’em” decisions, let’s dive into this week’s picks. Happy Holidays, everybody.
Le’Veon Bell, Kansas City Chiefs
Expected to step in as the number one option in the Chiefs backfield following the loss of rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire for the duration of the regular season, start Bell this week against the Falcons. Stingy against the run this season, Atlanta has allowed just 104.7 rushing yards per game on average. However, the team has given up high production through the air to opposing rushers, with backs averaging 5.9 receptions per game for over 40 yards. Fresh off a 76-yard, one-touchdown performance against a strong New Orleans rush defense a week ago, look for the Falcons to have their hands full with speedster Tyreek Hill and star tight end Travis Kelce. This should open up the underneath part of Jeff Ulbrich‘s group for Bell to operate. Projected as RB18 heading into the week, he is a solid option for your RB2 slot in deeper leagues.
Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns
Enjoying a solid stretch of play amidst the Brown’s hot last six weeks of the season, Higgins has averaged eight targets, 5.3 receptions and 79.7 receiving yards over his last three games. In addition to this, the Colorado State alum also has two touchdowns during that stretch. With another intriguing matchup on deck against the lifeless New York Jets in Week 16, play him as a back-end WR3/high-end WR4 in your lineups. The Jets have been helpless against the pass all season, allowing opposing signal-callers to throw for over 279 yards per game. This has led the team to give up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing pass-catchers, with and average of 25.8 allowed per game. New York has had an above-average run defense all season long, so look for Mayfield and company to sling the ball around on Sunday setting the stage for another strong performance from Higgins.
Jordan Akins, Houston Texans
Fresh off a five-catch, 50-yard performance in the Texan’s loss to the Colts last week, stream Akins as a solid TE2 this week in a matchup with the Bengals. Expected to receive a higher target share after the suspension of star pass-catcher Will Fuller, the Texans tight end has seen over six targets in back-to-back games for the first time this season. Unable to slow down opposing tight ends all season long, Cincinnati has allowed a 24.1 percent target share to the position, leading to a whopping 867 yards given up against. Along with this, the team has allowed nine different tight ends to finish inside the top 16 for the week. Owned in just four percent of all Yahoo leagues and five percent of all ESPN leagues, he provides a solid floor for those owners in need of an option at the position this week.
Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Serving as the lead back for the Buccaneers in their win over the Falcons last Sunday, Fournette turned in one of his best performances of the season as the former first-round pick found the end zone twice on 14 carries. Locked into handle the majority of the team’s workload on the ground once again in Week 16 with starter Ronald Jones ruled out, play him as a high-end RB2/low-end RB1 in a matchup with the Lions. Poor against the run all season long, Detroit has given up 137.3 yards per game on average to opposing rushers. This has led to the most fantasy points and touchdowns to be given up by the team. With six different running backs finding the end zone multiple times against the group and 16 different rushers finishing inside the top 16 this season, the Tampa Bay running back needs to be locked into your lineup this week.
Tyler Eifert, Jacksonville Jaguars
After a season-high 51 receiving yards in the Jaguars blowout loss to the Ravens a week ago, stream Eifert as a solid TE2 this week. Beginning to receive an expanded role in Jacksonville’s offense as they begin to shuffle through quarterbacks as the season nears its end, the longtime Cincinnati Bengals tight end has seen over four targets in six of his last seven games. Expected to get an even higher volume of targets this week against the Bears, look for Eifert to have one of his best performances of the season. Throughout the year, sneakily bad against the position, Chicago has allowed the third-highest target share in the league to opposing tight ends at 23.1 percent, leading to the fifth-most fantasy points given up.