Fantasy: Championship Week – Start ’em, Sit ’em

By Andy Goddard (@godsy1985)

Its championship weekend in fantasy football, hopefully you’ve made it to the big game. Just one final set of selections could stand between you and the fantasy trophy for 2019. So let’s get into those all important picks!

QB – Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons) vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Image credit: Todd Kirkland – Getty Images

Matt Ryan has performed very well the past two weeks putting up 34 points against the Carolina Panthers and then 23 against a very good San Francisco 49ers defense. Without any real run game, the Falcons quarterback will have it all to do again but he is up against a very generous Jacksonville defense who have allowed a passer rating of 119.6 and an average of more than 22 fantasy points to opposing QB’s since week 12.

The Falcons have disappointed this season but Matt Ryan is still a very capable starter for championship weekend.

QB – Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys) at Philadelphia Eagles

Dak has been struggling with a shoulder injury but there is no chance he misses the biggest game of the season for the Cowboys. The winner of this game will essentially be the winner of the poor NFC East division. Both the Cowboys and Eagles came into the season expecting the division to be close, but not quite in this way.

Prescott put up 28 fantasy points against the Rams last week and in their first meeting against the Eagles, Prescott was 21-27 for 278 yard, one touchdown and an interception but the Eagles secondary is beatable. In this big game, I see the Cowboys taking the win and claiming the NFC East.

Notable Mentions: Jameis Winston (Bucs) vs Houston Texans, Ryan Tannehill (Titans) vs New Orleans Saints.

RB – Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals) @ Miami Dolphins

Image credit: David Kohl

Mixon deserves some credit for his performance in 2019. The Bengals may well have the worst record in the NFL but he has been very productive, especially of late. In 6 of the last 7 games Mixon has at least 16 PPR points in some tough matches against the Rams, Ravens and Patriots. In last weeks game against New England he finished with 25 carries for 136 yards and 3 receptions for 20 yards. The Dolphins have allowed six touchdowns to opposing teams running backs in the past 4 games and at least 27 fantasy points per game!

RB – DeAndre Washington (Oakland Raiders) @ LA Chargers

Josh Jacobs is out so Washington is your starter. In week 14, Jacobs was out injured allowing Washington to be the lead back. He had a stat line of 53 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown as well as six catches for 43 yards on seven targets. This production resulted in 21.6 fantasy points and he up against a Chargers defense who have allowed 15 touchdowns and nearly 26 fantasy points a game to running backs. He is a great starter option in the flex.

Notable Mentions – Miles Sanders (Eagles) vs Dallas Cowboys, Marlon Mack (Colts) vs Carolina Panthers.

WR – Terry McLaurin (Washington Redskins) vs NY Giants

Image credit: Mark Brown – Getty Images

McLaurin had a little bit of a slump in recent weeks, that was until he put up 32 fantasy points against the Eagles! In the past two weeks he has 9 catches on 12 targets for 187 yards and two touchdowns. It would appear that he is finally clicking with Dwayne Haskins (who was also his QB at Ohio State) and the Redskins look primed for great production from both in the coming years. 

The Giants allow the fifth most fantasy points to opposing receivers and they are tied for third in touchdowns allowed to receivers with 20. McLaurin missed the first match between the teams this season but look for him to make up for the missed time with a good stat line.

WR – Tyler Boyd (Cincinnati Bengals) @ Miami Dolphins

Its championship weekend and I’m picking two players to start from the team with the worst record in the NFL! Thats the beauty of fantasy football. To an extent, you can ignore the teams record and just look at match ups, and Boyd has a great one this week against the Miami Dolphins defense.

The Dolphins have allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, with 25. With A.J. Green and Auden Tate both out, Boyd will see plenty of opportunities which is always good news for fantasy owners.

Notable Mentions – Tyler Lockett (Seahawks) vs Arizona Cardinals, Breshad Perriman (Bucs) vs Houston Texans.

TE – Hunter Henry (LA Chargers) vs Oakland Raiders

Image credit: Jack Roth – USA Today Sports

Henry is coming off an awful game in last weeks loss to the Vikings but he has a positive matchup this week against the Oakland Raiders. The last time these two teams met, Henry had a touchdown and 13 fantasy points. The Raiders defense has allowed the sixth most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Henry should see plenty of targets if you have survived long enough to stick with him!

TE – Dallas Goedert (Philadelphia Eagles) vs Dallas Cowboys

Goedert is a solid fantasy starter this week at the tight end position. The Dallas Cowboys defense was highly thought of before the season started but they haven’t really lived up to the hype. They have also been exploited by tight ends all season. Goedert and Ertz lead the Eagles in the passing game so look for the Eagles to attack the Cowboys weakness often.

Goedert has seen at least 6 targets in every game since week 11 and he should eclipse that against the Cowboys with injuries at the wide receiver position.

Notable Mentions: Jared Cook (Saints) @ Tennesse Titans.

QB – Tom Brady (New England Patriots) vs Buffalo Bills

Brady is struggling, make no excuses about that. This week he is facing a very good Buffalo defense that caused him all sorts of problems earlier in the season. I wouldn’t just list Brady as a sit but as a total bust this week!

RB – Carlos Hyde (Houston Texans) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Hyde performed well against the Titans last week but I wouldn’t trust him on Championship weekend. The Bucs defense have allowed just 3.1 yards per rush this season which ranks third in the league. It’s too risky in my opinion.

WR – John Brown (Buffalo Bills)  @ New England Patriots

Any receiver that is going up against Stephon Gilmore I would list as a sit. Gilmore is arguably the best corner in the league, stats don’t lie. Perimeter receivers have scored just two touchdowns all season against the Pats and have averaged the fewest fantasy points.

TE – Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys) vs Philadelphia Eagles

Witten had a solid performance last week against the Rams but the Eagles defense has been tough on opposing tight ends allowing just 4 touchdowns and the fifth fewest fantasy points this season. In the week 7 matchup between the two teams, Witten was held to just 33 yards. Don’t chase the points based on last week!

Waiver Targets – Week 16

By Dave Moore (@davieremixed)

Congratulations/Commiserations* . You’re in the final or some horrendous 3rd/4th/5th/6th place* playoff. It’s all on the line and we’re in choppy waters as some players may get shut down for the final weeks of the season. *delete as appropriate

Let’s get to it…

Quarterback – Ryan Fitzpatrick – Miami Dolphins

There is literally no option I like this week who is going to be available for you. If you’re unfortunate enough to be stuck with Tom Brady & Jared Goff then maybe throw a dart at Ryan Fitzpatrick in the Tank Bowl between Miami & Cincinnati this Sunday but the matchups for the QBs that aren’t Top 10 are just pretty unfavourable.

Running Back – Mike Boone – Minnesota Vikings

Dalvin Cook went out of the game against the Chargers with a fresh injury and could miss next week’s huge game at home to Green Bay. With Alexander Mattison also missing Sunday’s game this could open up opportunities for Boone who bagged two scores thanks to those aforementioned injuries.

If – like me – Cook has carried your team to the playoffs then maybe look at snapping Boone up incase Cook can’t go against Green Bay.

Wide Receiver – Terry McLaurin – Washington Redskins

Are we thinking OROY for McLaurin? He’s got to be in the consideration as he’s been a huge bright spot for a team that has had a terrible year.

This week’s matchup is against the Giants and after he went for 5/130/1 against the Eagles I am backing him to have another big week against the G-Men in what we should be calling Chase Young Bowl.

Tight End – Noah Fant – Denver Broncos

I think we can give Drew Lock & the Broncos a pass against a superb Chiefs team in treacherous conditions. I think most QBs would struggle to get any sort rhythm going, let alone against the team who is a lock to be playing the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game.

Despite that, Fant had 56 reception yards and I expect that to continue against the Lions who give up a touch under 8 fantasy points per game to Tight Ends.


The business end. Squeaky bum time. New Orleans heartbreak-time.

If your Fantasy Playoffs hadn’t started lasted week then they do this weekend. Here are your Starts/Sits for a selection of the late window games.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders

RB Leonard Fournette

In a game between two teams who are now just looking to next season it is difficult to look past anything other than a huge Leonard Fournette game against a Raiders team that, when it comes to Fantasy, is a burst water mains.

They allow an average of nearly 20 points per game to running backs  and despite Fournette only having 3 TDs to his name this year I am backing him to have a monster game this week.

RB – Josh Jacobs

This is prefaced on the idea that I am expecting very little from Oakland this weekend after they’ve been blown out the last two weeks.

If it looks like going that way again I expect Gruden to pull his stars from the game again and that’s before we even take into account that Jacobs is banged up and could even see a limited snap count for a meaningless end of season game. This is not a statistical sit ‘em but if it comes to garbage time offense I don’t expect to see Jacobs on the field.

Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers 

D/ST – SF 49ers

Yes, they gave up 46 points against the Saints. Yes, Matt Ryan is a great QB.

However, who’s he going to throw to other than Austin Hooper? I expect Jones is going to be double covered and he’s not gone above 100 receiving yards since Week 8. Ridley has been shut down for the year and I’d be amazed if the 49ers gave up anything close to 46 points in their own stadium.

This is an absolute lock of a start if you have them.

RB – Devonta Freeman

In the game where he recorded his first rushing score of the year, Freeman also picked up a knee injury in the blowout win over the Panthers.

I expect him to play come Sunday but much like Josh Jacobs for the Raiders, I expect a limited snap count if he’s good to go.

Add in that the 49ers D and the Falcons O Line is absolute garbage and it’s a pretty potent mix for Freeman having another poor week.

Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys

TE – Tyler Higbee

Two straight 100+ yard games for Higbee have made him a viable playoff option if – like me – you’ve got a Questionable Mark Andrews/Noah Fant issue.

The Rams have all of a sudden become a viable playoff contender after their embarrassment at the hands of the Ravens and they face off against a Cowboys team who are…underachieving? Not very good? Still leading their division?!

The Cowboys allow an average of just over 7 points per game to Tight Ends but when they’ve faced some viable top ten TEs they’ve struggled. They gave up two scores to Kyle Rudolph in Week 10 and I’d argue their D hasn’t got much better since.

Some Fantasy matchups could come down to that extra catch from your Tight End and I’d back Higbee ahead of most other TEs this week.

K – Kai Forbath

Brett Maher is gone after a series of whiffed kicks and in comes a Kai the Guy whose kicking this season is 1/1 on FGs and 1/2 on XPs. Rusty? I’d say.

This is another that is not stat-based as there isn’t enough to go on with Forbath but if you still had Maher in your team, a) what were you thinking and b) sign anyone else to replace him. You can’t trust Forbath – or even the Cowboys in general – to come good this week when a Fantasy Playoff Final appearance hangs in the balance.

Buffalo Bills @ Pittsburgh Steelers

RB – Devin Singletary

A pretty stellar game against the stifling Ravens D for Singletary last week gives a good indication that he could repeat against the Steelers this week in what should be another Defense-heavy game as both these teams look to take a step towards the playoffs.

He’s topped 100 scrimmage yards each of the last three weeks and given how stingy the Steelers secondary is I expect him to have plenty of touches this Sunday night/Monday morning, he had 17 carries and was 6/8 on targets against the Ravens.

WR – James Washington

In a dead rubber Fantasy matchup last week I started Washington, just to test the water about if he’d be able to repeat his brilliant Week 13 performance in a favourable matchup against the Cardinals. Plot spoiler: He didn’t. Post credits scene: I started him ahead of Emmanuel Sanders.

If he’s not going to break off big points against the Cards then don’t expect him to do anything against the Bills who, much like the Steelers secondary, are stingy, stifling and downright superb.

This Sit ‘Em can apply to any Pittsburgh pass-catcher, frankly. 

Best of luck to you all this weekend, if anyone wants to tell me that Ryan Tannehill will get found out against the Texans and Saquon Barkley is going to finally turn a big performance in then I’m all ears!