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In The Trenches: Week 16 Matchups

It's Championship Week in fantasy football. Who should be in, or out, of your lineup?

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It's championship week in fantasy football. This is what it's all come down to. Make the right call in Week 16 of the NFL season and you'll be caroling through the might in celebration. Make the wrong call and you'll be spending time with the Grinch. Hopefully I can help to direct you in the right direction so there will be spiked egg nog flowing and not a trip to Whoville.



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Note: Points/rankings referred to below are from a PPR setup.


The last four times Drew Brees has faced Carolina his average game: 356 yards, 3.5 scores. Don't forget that he threw for 315 yards and four scores against them in Week 14.

The last two weeks Jason Campbell has averaged 332 passing yards and two scores. He faces a Jets defense that ranks 7th from the bottom in passing yards (255 a week) while permitting 25 passing scores.

Kirk Cousins threw for 381 yards last week along with three scores and he has gone for 300 yards in both of his career starts. The Cowboys are beat up on defense and flat out brutal on that side of the football. Check it – they allow an average of 297 passing yards a week along with 29 touchdown passes.

Jay Cutler looked pretty sharp last week. The last two times he's faced the Eagles he thrown for six scores an no interceptions, and we all know how pathetic the Eagles are against the pass this season.

Andy Dalton has five touchdowns in his last two starts without an interception. He faces a Vikings club that is p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c against the pass. They've allowed the second most points to QBs in fantasy and a league worst 31 touchdowns through the air.

Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 402 yards and four scores last week in the best game of his career. He also has thrown for seven scores and just one interception against the Jaguars over his last three matchups. The Jags currently rank as the third worst defense in football against the QB.

Joe Flacco's knee is OK. Over his last four games against the Patriots, including the playoffs, he's thrown for 10 scores, only tossed two interceptions, and has averaged 304 passing yards a contest.

The last eight weeks of the NFL season there isn't a QB in football, not Manning not Brees, not one who is averaging more points a game than Nick Foles.

Over his last nine games Mike Glennon has thrown only five interceptions while tossing 14 scores. The Rams will put heavy pressure on him this week and they currently rank as the 13th hardest defense for a QB to run up against in fantasy.

Chad Henne threw for two scores last season in a home start versus the Titans (11/25/12). Rather   amazingly Henne, who has 10 passing scores this season, has actually thrown for two scores in each of his last three games.  

Andrew Luck has thrown for six scores the past two weeks. He faces a Chiefs team that has allowed the quarterback to average just 1.57 scores a game this season.

Peyton Manning has played 14 games. Only once has he failed to throw for two scores and only once has he failed to thrown for 285 yards.

Carson Palmer has a QB Rating of 106 over his last seven games. The Seahawks represent a tough challenge though. (1) Seattle is the toughest defense in fantasy against the QB. (2) Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald and Rob Housler are all beat up.

The last five times that Ben Roethlisberger has taken the field he's thrown for 12 scores versus just one interception. The Packers rank 26th against the pass while allowing 26 TD passes with a mere nine picks.

Everyone, besides his family, hates Tony Romo. Everyone. Sorry to break it to you, but Romo has thrown for more yards than Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and RGIII. He's also tossed 29 scores versus nine interceptions. That's one more score than Matthew Stafford and Philip Rivers and his +20 TD/INT ratio is better than that of Rivers (+19) Wilson (+16) and Brady (+13). Romo faces the Redskins, the 10th worst defense against QBs.

Matt Ryan lit up the Niners in the NFC Championship game for 396 yards and three scores. He doesn't have Julio Jones anymore and has thrown for only four scores in his last four games and nine in eight games.

Alex Smith threw five touchdowns last season. This is no joke – Smith's five touchdown passes were in the air for a total of 13 yards. It was all the receiver (thank you Mr. Charles). Can't discount the fact that he's thrown for at least two scores in 5-straight contests or that he has thrown for 285 yards in three of the games though. He faces the Colts who rank 16th against the QB.

Ryan Tannehill has thrown for eight touchdowns an only two interceptions in his last three wins. He faces a Bills team that is 12th  best against QBs though they have allowed an average of two scores a week to the QB so it's not a brutal matchup.



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Le'Veon Bell has averaged 94 yards from scrimmage this season. He's a top-20 runner this year despite missing time with injury, an over the past three games he's scored twice while catching a total of 17 passes. It's doubtful the Packers will be able to stop him.

Andre Brown has 11 rushing scores in his last 15 games. The Lions are a good run defense that has allowed nine rushing scores this season and just 99 yards a game on the ground.

Reggie Bush has faced the Giants three times and he's had two 100 yard efforts while scoring twice. Meanwhile, Joique Bell has scored twice in his last three games. The Giants have allowed a combined 10 scores to runners this season.

Jamaal Charles had five touchdowns last week. The last time he faced the Colts he went for 226 yards on the ground.

Matt Forte has run for 100 yards in 3-straight games.

Chris Ivory has 41 carries in December which has led to 203 yards on the ground, an average of five yards a carry. The Browns are the 8th best team against the run as they permit a mere 3.8 YPC this season.

Steven Jackson likes facing the Niners with 335 yards from scrimmage the last three meetings – even though the matchup doesn't look great on paper (7th fewest points allower to runners per week by the Niners). He's also continued to look better and better as the season has worn on.

Rashad Jennings is averaging 89.8 yards a game on the ground the past six while scoring six times for the Raiders. The Chargers are smack dab in the middle of the league in terms of points allowed to running backs ranking 16th.

Chris Johnson needs one score for 50 rushing in his career, and he ran for 228 yards and two scores against the Jags way back in 2009. Johnson faces a Jags club that has been much better against the run of late allowing less than 100 yards a game from Weeks 10-14. Unfortunately they were destroyed for 198 yards on the ground last week by the Bills.

Eddie Lacy leads the NFL with 977 rushing yards since October 1st. He's also scored on the ground in seven of his last nine games. The Steelers allow an average of 115.6 yards per game on the ground, the 13th worst mark in football while they've allowed 15 rushing scores.

The Cardinals are allowing a league best 83.2 yards a game on the ground this season. Doesn't seem to matter to Marshawn Lynch who has run for 219 yards and four scores the last two times he's faced the team from Arizona.

Ryan Mathews has played every game this season and is 80 yards from a career best mark (1,091 is his three year high). He's a top-20 runner who has 100 yards an a score each of his last two games. The Raiders allow an average of one rushing score a week.

Rather quietly Rashard Mendenhall has scored five times in his last five games. Meanwhile Andre Ellington went for 158 yards from scrimmage last week. They face Seattle, the 4th toughest D against running backs.

Knowshon Moreno needs 61 yards for his first 1,000 yard seasons. Montee Ball ran for 117 yards and then 77 in Weeks 13-14. Unfortunately he carried the ball just three times for (-1) yard in Week 15 though he caught five balls for 49 yards. The Broncos take on the Texans, a club that ranks 15th in fantasy points allowed to running backs.

Alfred Morris crushes the Cowboys. In three career meetings he's run for an average of 131 yards a game while scoring a total of five times.

DeMarco Murray is currently a top-10 running back. Back in Week 6 he had a rushing score versus the 'Skins though he only had seven carries for 29 yards. The past two weeks he's run for 146 and 134 yards.

With no E.J. Manuel and no Stevie Johnson, the Bills are going to have to run to be effective. C.J. Spiller has gone for an average of 83 yards a game in his last four against the Fish. Earlier this season Fred Jackson only ran for 36 yards on 11 carries, but he scored and caught an addition four balls for 49 yards. On the season the Dolphins are the 8th most burnable defense against runners.

Bobby Rainey has five scores in his last six games. He's got a very nice matchup as the Rams are the third worst defense against the running back this season including allowing 16 scores (14 on the ground).

Including the playoffs Ray Rice has run for 100 yards in three of six games against the Patriots.

Zac Stacy needs to be in your lineup even in a tough matchup. Over his last seven games he's scored six times with an average of 91.4 yards a game on the ground. The Bucs allow 109.6 yards a game on the ground but they are very stingy with the touchdowns having allowed only four rushing scores all year.

The Panthers are a tough run defense, but the last time Pierre Thomas ran against them in Carolina he went for 110 yards. Still, he mustered just four carries for 14 yards against them in the Superdome in Week 14, and over his last three games the numbers on the ground have been brutal – 19 carries for 35 yards.

Shane Vereen crushed his owners last week but he still has 36 receptions over his last five games.

DeAngelo Williams will continue to lead the Panthers backfield in touches with Jonathan Stewart injured. In his last eight games versus the Saints Williams has run for 114 yards a game while scoring seven times. He was held to 52 yards on 13 carries in Week 14 by the Saints. Meanwhile, Mike Tolbert has four scores in his last three against the Saints. The Saints rank 21st against the run and have allowed 10 scores on the ground.

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Keenan Allen has scored four times in his last two games. The first time he faced Oakland this season all he did was catch six passes for 115 yards an a score.

Danny Amendola had his third 100 yard game of the season last week. He faces a Ravens team that has allowed wideouts the 20th most receptions in football and the 16th most yards.

Earl Bennett is a long shot play in Championship Week. Not only has he scored in 2-straight games but Bennett has three touchdowns the last two times he's faced the Eagles.

Anquan Boldin is 42 yards short of 1,000 for the year. He's hit that total in 5-straight games and has been over 90 in three of the last four. The Falcons have allowed 16 scores to wideouts and the 7th most points a week, great news for Boldin and Michael Crabtree.

Dwayne Bowe fell back to earth last week with three receptions for 24 yards. Even if we add in his best 5-game run of the season here is his average effort the past six weeks: 4.3 receptions, 54.2 yards and 0.5 scores. Does that excite you?

Dez Bryant has 21 scores in his last 22 games. He also has three TDs in his last four outings against the Redskins.

Nate Burleson has scored the last two times he has faced the Giants and he's scored in three of the last four meetings.

Marques Colston has a whopping six touchdowns against Carolina in his last four games. He had nine grabs for 125 yards and two scores back in Week 14 and that helped him to a two game average of nine receptions, 109 yards and 1.5 scores the past two weeks.

Erick Decker and Demaryius Thomas both have 21 scores since the start of last season, the most in the AFC. The last time Decker faced the Texans he caught eight balls for 136 yards. Two times in the last four games Thomas has failed to reach 50 yards, he has four of fewer receptions in two of his last four games, and three times in his last five games he's been held out of the end zone.

Julian Edelman, shockingly, has 89 receptions this season. That total placed his 5th in the NFL.

Larry Fitzgerald (concussion) may or may not play. He has five scores in his last five games. Teammate Michael Floyd has a first down or touchdown on his last 24 receptions.

Pierre Garcon leads the NFC with 96 receptions. He has caught at least five balls in all 14 games this season.

Josh Gordon has a Browns' team record with 1,467 receiving yards. He's scored in 5-straight games as well. He faces a Jets team that has allowed 16 scores to wideouts in 14 games.

A.J. Green has gone for at least 18 fantasy points the past three weeks and five of the past six. He averages 18.7 points a game this season. Meanwhile teammate Marvin Jones played 72 percent of snaps in Week 14, a season best. Jones also has nine scores on the year including one in each of his last two games. They face the Vikings who have allowed the second most points to wideouts per game this season.

Vincent Jackson has scored in back-to-back week and three times in his last five games. He’s also failed to reach 80 yards the past four games an in three of those outings he's hauled in three or fewer balls. The Rams are slightly worse than average coming in as the 12th most burnable defense for WRs. Regardles, it's hard to bench VJax.

Check out the numbers for Alshon Jeffery: 67 receptions for 1,161 yards and seven scores. Oh yeah, that's only over the last 11 games. Take note. Cutler only targeted Jeffery five times in Week 14.

Greg Jennings caught 11 balls for 163 yards last week and he clearly has a “thing” going with Matt Cassel. Over the last three games he's averaged 7.6 grabs and 98 yards, while scoring twice. He faces a Bengals defense in Week 16 that is tough – they are 11th against the wideout. Meanwhile, Cordarrelle Patterson has scored 3-straight weeks though he does average less than four receptions and just 60 yards a game during that time.

Andre Johnson needs one receptions for 100, a total he has reached four other times. His average of six receptions a game is an all-time record (minimum 100 games). He'll be working with veteran Matt Schaub in Week 16, and that's a minor concern after the duo failed to do much in the way of anything explosive in the first half of the season.

With Victor Cruz likely done for the year two yards short of 1,000, Hakeem Nicks will be turned to as will Rueben Randle for the Giants. Nicks needs 206 yards the final two weeks for his third 1,000 yard season in four years. Randle has scored six times in his last 10 games. The Lions have struggled mightily this season stopping wideouts as they've allowed the 4th most fantasy points to the position.

Over the last five weeks Ace Sanders has recorded 59.6 points, the 32nd most in the game which is actually a tenth of a point better than A.J. Green if you can believe it. Still, he has only one score in that time and hasn't reached 70 yards in any of the outings.

Rod Streater has scored in two of three games against the Chargers. He's 154 yards from becoming the first Raider with 1,000 receiving yards since Randy Moss in 2005. Meanwhile, teammate Andre Holmes has hauled in 14 balls for 257 yards an a score over his past three games. The Chargers put up zero fight against wideouts coming in as the second most burnable defense in football.

Torrey Smith has three scores in three career games versus the Pats (playoffs included). Smith has scored three times in his last six games this season.

Mike Wallace is 33 yards from a third 1,000 yard season while Brian Hartline is 75 yards short of a second straight 1,000 yard effort. The Bills are the 5th worst defense against WRs having allowed 18 touchdowns and an average of 179 yards a week.

Roddy White has 22 receptions for 414 yards and two scores the last three times he's faced the Niners (including the playoffs).

Kendall Wright is five receptions from 90. In five of his last six games he's caught at least six passes. The Jags rank 18th against WRs this season.

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Vernon Davis has scored 10 times in his last 11 games including at least one score in each of his last five games.

Buoyed by a game against the Cardinals, Zach Ertz has scored three times his last three games. The Bears have allowed only four scores this season to ends.

Joseph Fauria has 12 receptions this season. Seven of those catches have gone for scores. The Giants have allowed eight tight end scores.
Jimmy Graham has scored four times in his last four games even though he's averaged just 42 yards a game the past three weeks. He's had success against the Panthers scoring five time in his last four games against them.  

Marcedes Lewis has scored in 3-straight games. The Titans have allowed seven scores in 14 games this season.

Zach Miller is the lucky winner this week in that he gets to face the pathetically atrocious Cardinals defense against the tight end that is by about 13.7 miles worse than any other defense in football. Miller has also scored in each of his last two matchups with Arizona.

Greg Olsen has caught at least five balls in 5-straight games. The Saints have allowed only six scores to the tight end this season but they do allow an average of 4.6 receptions a week to the position.

Dennis Pitta has scored in 3-straight games against the Patriots. The Pats have allowed only six scores to ends this season but they do allow the 7th most points a game.

Andrew Quarless has scores in 2-straight games. For more on him see NFL Waiver-Wire Additions For Wk.16.

Delaine Walker isn't facing the Cardinals this week but he is facing a Jaguars team that is the second worst defense in football against tight ends. Walker has caught at least five passes in three of his last four games while scoring three times in that time.

Jason Witten has four scores in his last four games. He's scored in his last two outings against the Redskins as well.


Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT & Friday's at 9 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answers everyone's questions.



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