December 19, 2013

Fantasy Football Report: Week 16

By - Tim Swift

With many fantasy playoffs now in full swing, here's what you need to know heading into Week 16 of play.

1. The only thing slowing down DeMarco Murray is his own coaching staff.

Photo by: Ronald Martinez
On Sunday, in the midst of the Cowboys blowing another big lead in December, the team inexplicably ignored one of the hottest running backs in the NFL right now. DeMarco Murray only had 7 carries in the second half, despite averaging over 7 yards per touch in the game. Over the last five contests, Murray is averaging 6.1 yards per carry and has scored 5 TDs, yet he didn't have over 20 touches in any of the games. This week, Dallas takes on a Washington run defense that has allowed the most rushing touchdowns in the league. If the Cowboys wise up and feed Murray the ball, he should produce in a big way.

2. Quarterback issues open fantasy playoffs.

For months you have been able to rely on the likes of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford to rack up a solid amount of points. However, in Week 15, they had some fairly uneven performances. In fact, the best QB games came for guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Alex Smith, Matt Cassel and Kirk Cousins. Both Manning and Rivers should get back to their high-scoring ways with games against Houston and Oakland. Kirk Cousins could be the key to many a fantasy playoff matchup, going up against one of the worst pass defenses in recent memory in Dallas. The second-year man out of Michigan State was sitting on the bench just a few short weeks ago, but may help win some fantasy championships moving forward.

3. Julian Edelman is putting up big numbers.

Even with all of the injuries at the wide receiver position in New England, one constant over the last month has been the play of Julian Edelman. Since Week 12, the former college quarterback has hauled in 37 receptions for 414 yards and 4 touchdowns, averaging over 12 targets a game in the process. Edelman has been a beast in PPR leagues, ranking fifth in the NFL with 89 catches. Despite struggles down in the red zone, this offense is set up for Edelman to get a ton of targets, making him a must-start over the final two weeks of the season.

4. It's Thursday, and Jamaal Charles just scored again.

Charles turned in one of the best fantasy performances ever on Sunday, lighting up Oakland's hapless defense to the tune of 207 total yards and 5 TDs. Most of his damage came through the air, with 4 touchdown catches and 187 yards. Charles' versatility is what makes him the best fantasy back in the NFL, because he's capable of putting up huge numbers both on the ground as well as in the passing game. The 26-year-old has gotten hot at the right time, scoring 10 of his league-leading 18 TDs over the last month, making him the No. 1 running back in most formats.

5. Defenses to look at for Week 16.

Seattle's D has been top 3 all season long, so there's no reason not to start them against Arizona and Carson Palmer, who is tied for third in the league with 17 interceptions. An improving unit in Detroit should definitely get a look against a Giant offense that just saw a 5-pick game out of Eli Manning. The Rams host Tampa Bay, and seeing as how they battered and bruised Drew Brees while holding the Saints to just 16 points, they should be able to slow down Mike Glennon and Bobby Rainey. Two riskier defenses you could consider using are the Titans and Broncos. Both have been middle-of-the-pack this year, but have pretty favorable matchups against Jacksonville and Houston, respectively.

The Underrated 15 For Week 16:

- Quarterbacks

1. Alex Smith
2. Kirk Cousins
3. Ryan Fitzpatrick

- Running Backs

1. Frank Gore
2. Zac Stacy
3. Ryan Mathews

- Wide Receivers

1. Julian Edelman
2. Kendall Wright
3. T.Y Hilton

- Tight Ends

1. Tim Wright
2. Heath Miller
3. Greg Olsen

- Defense/Special Teams

1. Detroit
2. Miami
3. Denver

*Catch me on Fantasy Football Live every Sunday morning from 8:00 till 9:00 on Sports Radio 560 WNSR Nashville, as well as 95.9 FM, or online @

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