NFL Week 16 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
Marshawn Lynch faces Niners team that hasn't allowed rushing TD this season
Tim Tebow is likely to be effective through the air and on the ground vs. Bills
Steven Jackson is in for a difficult Week 16 against Steelers good run defense
If you have gotten to this point, you know what you're doing. You're one of the finalists in your fantasy league. Don't change a thing.
For instance, don't sit a guy like Marshawn Lynch, who you have started all season to great results -- particularly the past two months.
We suggested sitting him against the Bears defense on the road, and it backfired. It hearkens back to the notion that you dance with the one that brought you. And Lynch has led many fantasy teams to their Super Bowl, as he has gone for almost 1,300 combined yards and 12 TDs.
We feel inclined to remind you of this, because Lynch is facing the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL in the 49ers, a team that hasn't allowed a rushing score all season. They are easily the No. 1 team in fantasy against RBs. They held Rashard Mendenhall down well Monday night and they stuffed Lynch for just 33 yards in Week 1.
But after that slow start, Lynch has proved immune to the matchup. He warrants starting even against the 49ers in your Super Bowl.
We break this and many other pivotal decisions down in the Week 16 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em. With just a few teams left in the mix, we'll try to deal with more of the premium names (because everyone is a candidate to sit, or start, with the stakes so high now).
Mark Sanchez, Jets -- The Giants are not stopping anyone, and Sanchez quietly has had a starter-quality year. Consider him over some of your better options facing a tough matchup.
Tim Tebow, Broncos -- He actually started well for once last week and should be used heavily on the ground in Buffalo this weekend. The Bills are bottom-10 in fantasy against QBs, too.
Michael Vick, Eagles -- He showed he can be elite again against the Jets a week ago. You have to be a lot more confident in him in a must-win game at Dallas. It should be a barn-burning shootout.
Rex Grossman, Redskins -- It is hard to imagine you have gotten this far using a guy like Grossman, but if you are going away from your starter, Grossman at least has a very favorable matchup. The Vikings are banged up in the secondary and have unseated the Pats as the worst team in fantasy against QBs.
Eli Manning, Giants -- He has shown why he is good, but not great, in fantasy. He cannot prove consistent every week and the Giants stadium winds have hampered him in December for years. The Jets also happen to be the fifth-best team in fantasy against QBs.
Joe Flacco, Ravens -- He definitely hasn't been a reason you got to this point in fantasy. He has been a marginal guy all year and this matchup against the Browns could be one that features the run heavily. The Browns are the third-best team in fantasy against QBs, mostly because they give up so much on the ground.
John Skelton, Cardinals -- He has performed well against a tough 49ers defense and the Browns at home last week, but he goes on the road to wintry Cincinnati and the Bengals are the sixth-best team in fantasy against QBs.
Carson Palmer, Raiders -- If you are not sick of trying him by now, you should be. The Chiefs shut down Aaron Rodgers last week and can do a number on the error-prone Palmer in Kansas City.
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks -- You have to go against the odds in this one, but the Seahawks are at least at home and are built around the running game. Lynch has earned your trust.
DeAngelo Williams, Panthers -- The Panthers running game has been absent for most of the year, and Jonathan Stewart had split carries to the point of paralysis of both backs. But the Bucs are so bad, Williams is a solid play and Stewart a sleeper against the worst team in fantasy against WRs.
LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers -- He was awful against the Cowboys last week and was held to just 19 yards on 11 carries the last time the Bucs played the Panthers, but we figure the season-long trends are going to win out over the previous performances. The Panthers are the second-worst team in fantasy against RBs, and the Bucs have to do a better job running the ball, if they are going to save their coach's job. Blount is a decent play.
Ben Tate, Texans -- Everyone is starting Arian Foster against the Colts' awful run defense, but Tate is a good play, too, after Foster gets the Texans out in front and goes over 100 yards. Tate should be good for 60 yards and a score himself. Use him as a flex if you have another back in a bad matchup.
Michael Bush, Raiders -- The Packers could not win at Kansas City last week, but the Raiders can if they can pound the rock at a Chiefs defense that has allowed the seventh-most points to backs in fantasy. The Raiders are a team that starts with the back and Bush is a solid replacement for the still-injured Darren McFadden.
Steven Jackson, Rams -- He tends to be immune to bad matchups, but he won't get any help from the Rams' bad QB play. Worse, he has a matchup against a Steelers team coming off a loss and figures to load the box and hold Jackson to 40 yards, even if he goes over 20 carries. The Steelers gave up a score to Frank Gore last week, but they won't do that here. This is going to be a defensive struggle and Jackson will stay out of the end zone against the sixth-best team in fantasy vs. RBs.
Donald Brown, Colts -- He broke the long TD to ice the game last week, and he has outdistanced himself from the banged-up veteran Joseph Addai and fumble-prone rookie Delone Carter, but the Texans run defense is very, very good. Houston is the second-best team in fantasy against RBs. Trust Lynch, but not Brown. Definitely do not consider Addai or Carter either.
Pierre Thomas, Saints -- Pick a Saints RB not named Darren Sproles and sit them. Mark Ingram, Thomas and Chris Ivory are all bad plays against a Falcons team that is third-best in fantasy against RBs. Sproles can be a go, because he is more receiver than runner anyway.
Peyton Hillis, Browns -- Hillis finally showed life last week and had a big game against the Ravens last season, but he shouldn't be trusted against a Ravens team coming off a loss and still in the hunt for a bye week. The Ravens are fourth-best team in fantasy against RBs.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots -- The RB carousel in New England is rotating right now, particularly with a cushion in the division. Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead and even Shane Vereen could take carries away from BGE right now. No Pats RB is advisable against a Dolphins run defense that is still fifth-best in fantasy.
Brandon Marshall, Dolphins -- He has been a marginal fantasy starter, despite his top name. The Pats are the worst team in fantasy against WRs, so Marshall should be in for a big day. Brian Hartline and Davone Bess also can be sleeper options in deeper formats.
Santonio Holmes, Jets -- It is hard to get a more favorable matchup than the Giants' suspect secondary. They have been getting ripped by everyone. Holmes is a must-start in all leagues.
Plaxico Burress, Jets -- Ah, the poetic justice here: The Giants passed on bringing back their one-time Super Bowl hero and now Burress can pay them back with red-zone scores that might knock his former team out of the postseason hunt. The Jets are the best team in the NFL in red-zone scoring and Burress is a big part of that.
Santana Moss, Redskins -- Another great matchup is on tap for Moss. The Vikings are they third-worst team in fantasy against WRs. Jabar Gaffney is a nice option, too.
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs -- He showed some progress last week because Kyle Orton can get the ball down field. Bowe is a great play against the Raiders, who are fourth-worst in fantasy against WRs. In fact, go with Steve Breaston, too, if you need a sleeper.
Brandon Lloyd, Rams -- The Steelers are coming off a loss and are No. 1 in fantasy against WRs. It is a bad week to run Lloyd out there, particularly with the uncertainty at QB.
Mario Manningham, Giants -- He has looked healthier, but the Jets are the No. 3 team in fantasy against WRs.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders -- He is coming off a good game and is thinking about trying to reach 1,000 yards in Year 3, but the Chiefs are the fourth-best team in fantasy against WRs. Don't trust him.
Michael Crabtree, 49ers -- He is coming off facing the No. 1 team against WRs and now has to face the sixth-best team in fantasy vs. WRs.
Pierre Garcon, Colts -- He hasn't quite had the same mojo going with Dan Orlovsky as he did Curtis Painter. Reggie Wayne got the numbers last week and the Colts are facing a tough Texans defense coming off a loss.
Jermichael Finley, Packers -- Advising starting him last week really didn't work out last week, but the Bears are fifth-worst in fantasy against TEs. Stick with Finley.
Dustin Keller, Jets -- If you need a fringe option, Keller is a good one against the Giants' suspect secondary. The Giants are seventh-worst in fantasy against TEs.
Brent Celek, Eagles -- His full-season numbers are modest, but he is hot of late and facing a bottom-10 team in fantasy against TEs.
Greg Olsen, Panthers -- Jeremy Shockey has taken some TDs from him of late, but Olsen is still a top 12 option, particularly since the Bucs are in the bottom half of fantasy against TEs.
Heath Miller, Steelers -- He is coming off a productive week, but Big Ben should be out and the Rams are the No. 1 team in fantasy against TEs.
Ben Watson, Browns -- Seneca Wallace did nothing to help revive this veteran and the Ravens are No. 2 in fantasy against TEs.
Dallas Clark, Colts -- He hasn't made a fantasy impact after his return from injury and the Texans are third-best in fantasy against TEs.
Anthony Fasano, Dolphins -- He is coming off a week where he scored, but the Pats are the fourth-best team in fantasy against TEs.
D/ST Broncos -- After facing the Pats, they go on the road against a much more favorable opponent in the Bills, who are a lot worse against opposing D/STs now than they were in the early going.
D/ST Redskins -- That was an impressive effort against the once-hot Giants and now they face the third-worst team in fantasy against D/STs in the Vikings.
D/ST Titans -- They return home with the slimmest of playoff hopes. They should be able to stack the run and slow the Jags offense.
D/ST Packers -- Josh McCown won't turn the ball over like Caleb Hanie did, but he won't be able to play perfectly like he needs to. The Bears have allowed the fifth-most points in fantasy to D/STs.
D/ST Panthers -- If you are looking for a real dark horse, go with the Panthers. The Bucs are in the bottom top 10 against opposing defenses, they are on the road and have looked ready to mail the season in weeks ago.
D/ST Bears -- Facing the Packers and starting an unknown quarterback is bad news. Avoid the Bears, particularly with the Packers coming off a loss and having been abused by the Seahawks last week.
D/ST Eagles -- The Cowboys offense is in a lot better shape now than it was in the Eagles' past meeting.
D/ST Cowboys -- Remember the shootout against the Giants? This could be worse against a resurgent Eagles defense.
D/ST Giants-- They haven't stopped anyone in months. Even if the Jets are second most forgiving team against D/STs in fantasy, they are going to play this one close to the vest and avoid turnovers.
D/ST Miami -- The Pats are the No. 1 team in fantasy against opposing D/STs for very obvious reasons. The Dolphins defense hasn't been great in recent weeks either.
Neil Rackers, Texans
Mike Nugent, Bengals
Matt Prater, Broncos
Rob Bironas, Titans
Lawrence Tynes, 49ers
Steven Hauschka, Seahawks
Alex Henery, Eagles
Billy Cundiff, Ravens
If you're out of your fantasy playoffs and still have the itch, you can play a one-week fantasy matchup at 365fantasysports.com. Sign up and try it out for free. Use promo code: Emack.
Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com, including the Start 'Em, Sit 'Em, the Weekend Fantasy Watch List and his Sunday night staple: Fantasy Football Fast Forward. If you need a further clarification on lineups this week hit him up on Twitter. You can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice @EricMackFantasy.
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