Week 16: Start & Bench

12/18/2012 9:32 am by in Fantasy Football Articles, Fantasy Football Expert Analysis, Start Bench Advice


Congratulations if your team is still alive!!! For most fantasy leagues this is the championship game while there are still some leagues holding the semi’s this week. With two weeks to go in the season no NFL team has clinched home field advantage and a first round bye in the NFL playoffs so all your key players are likely to see a full workload this week. In the past Start & Bench has focused on matchups for low end starters at the various positions who have a chance for above average success. This week we’ll tighten up these suggestions. As usual bring all your questions to the forums for additional insights. Stick with your studs! Trust your gut! Win the game! You won’t find the “usual suspects” listed here.


  • Joe Flacco: With both teams in this contest struggling as the NFL playoffs near Joe Flacco may provide fantasy owners with less attractive options at the quarterback position an acceptable option for a championship game. Last week against a strong Bronco’s pass rush Flacco still delivered 254/2 despite losing Torrey Smith to a concussion during the game and Anquan Boldin being held without a catch. Flacco has seven touchdown passes over his last four games, five in his last two games. Flacco has averaged 254 passing yards with seven touchdowns in his last four home games. He should be good for his average in this one. 254/2.

  • Tony Romo: Tony Romo will continue his passing ways against the New Orleans Saints as the Cowboys are in the thick of the playoff race. Start him with confidence at home against a Saints team that is a top three matchup for quarterbacks. 314/3

  • Sam Bradford.: While it may seem strange to list Sam Bradford as a legitimate option for what may be your fantasy championship game the Bucs are the top option in fantasy for quarterbacks. The Bucs have allowed nine passing touchdowns in their last three games and 10 in their last four home games. 285/2 with upside.

  • Eli Manning: You may hear how the Ravens “held” Peyton Manning to 204 yards passing and one touchdown last week. Do not be fooled! Denver had a passing/rushing mix of 28/45 last week and dominated time of passession via the run game! While Eli Manning had a very poor game last week against the Falcons the Ravens have struggled for most of the year against the pass and this week should be no different. Given the state of the Giant’s run game Eli is a solid option for you this week. 256/2

  • Knowshon Moreno: Continue to start Knowshon Moreno as your RB2 against the Browns in Denver. He has rushed for 100+ yards in consecutive games and the Browns are a top ten matchup for running backs. 97/1 rushing 3/14 receiving

  • C.J.Spiller: C.J. Spiller produced last week against a very tough Seahawk run defense. He is a high end RB2 this week in a slightly easier matchup against the Dolphins. 93 yards rushing, 3/23 receiving

  • Stevan Ridley: Do not be hesitant to start Stevan Ridley against the Jaguars this week. The Jaguars allow the second most yards per game on the ground, 145 rushing ypg. Ridley is a strong RB2 this week and he as the Patriots look to bounce back. 89/1

  • Steven Jackson: Steven Jackson is likely to struggle on the ground against the Buccaneers but the Bucs allow an average of 43 receiving yards to running back and Jackson has produced 5/69 and 8/73 receiving numbers in two of his last three games. If you have Jackson you’ll be depending on his receiving production out the backfield but he should be safe to use as a low end RB1 this week. 64/1, 4/37 receiving.

  • Reggie Bush: With a knee injury to Daniel Thomas making him questionable this week Reggie Bush has a great matchup against the Bills at home this week. The Bills are a top five matchup in fantasy for running backs. While it is prudent to monitor Thomas’ availability this week Bush has RB2 potential if Thomas sits and is a great flex. 73 rushing yards, 2/12 receiving as a flex.

  • DeMarco Murray: Since returning from injury DeMarco Murray has scored in three straight games and has returned to must start status. 92/1

  • Darren McFadden: What he doesn’t get for you on the ground he should deliver through the air. With 25+ touches he should give you 100 total yards.

  • DeAngelo Williams: DeAngelo Williams has low end RB2 value as long as Jonathan Stewart is out. Williams has scored receiving touchdowns in consecutive games and the Raiders are a top five fantasy matchup for opposing running backs. 65 yards rushing, 25 receiving.

  • Cecil Shorts: Cecil Shorts has scored in four of his last five games and has produced 100 receiving yards in three of his last five game. Keep Shorts in your lineup against the Patriots secondary this week! 6/93/1

  • Steve Johnson: Steve Johnson had his best game of the season last week against the toughest defense for fantasy receivers to face. This week he faces a Dolphin defense ranked 25th against the pass. 7/86

  • Danny Amendola: Keep Danny Amendola in your starting lineup, especially in ppr leagues with a matchup against the Bucs and their porous pass defense. In fact, if you need a WR3 both Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens are decent options for the same reasons. 6/86/1

  • Steve Smith: The Panther wide receiver continues his late season resurgence along with the re-emergence of his quarterback. The Raiders are a top ten matchup for wide receivers in fantasy. 6/91

  • Eric Decker: Joe Haden will likely cover Demaryius Thomas. Eric Decker could have a monster game. 8/93/1

  • Heath Miller: With a solid month of production behind him keep Heath Miller active in you championship game. 5/66 with upside.

  • Ben Watson: Ben Watson makes another surprising appearance on this list, especially when you consider this is the championship game for most fantasy leagues. The Broncos are flat out the best matchup for tight ends in fantasy football, surrendering an average of 5/62 ypg and 11 touchdowns over the season. If you are desperate the matchup is there as he could be used as a hot read against the Denver pass rush. 4/47/1

  • Jermichael Finley: Jermichael Finley had a strong game against a top ten defense against tight ends last week. This week he faces a top five favorable matchup in the Titans. 5/54/1

  • Greg Olsen: Greg Olsen has a top six matchup for tight ends against the Raiders. 5/56/1

  • Brandon Myers: It may be hard to trust Brandon Myers this week after his last few games but he has a top ten matchup against the Panthers. 5/47


  • Russell Wilson: Back in Week 7 the 49ers held Russell Wilson to 122 passing yards and 10 rushing yards on three carries but that was only seven games into Wilson’s NFL career in a game played in San Francisco. This time around the 49ers will face a much more confident and experienced mobile quarterback. Wilson has run an average of six times a game since week 10 averaging 47 yards a game. 211/1 37 yards rushing.

  • Andrew Luck: Andrew Luck has struggled for the past two games. The Chiefs have not allowed a passing touchdown over the past two games despite giving up 25 on the season. Expect the Colts to employ a balanced attack this week doing enough to win the game but perhaps not enough for Luck to be helpful in your championship game. 227/2.

  • Matthew Stafford: Matthew Stafford faces a top five unit against quarterbacks this week. The Falcons have given up only two passing touchdowns in the last five games. He will produce some yards and with Calvin he’ll likely have a TD pass but this is a tough matchup. 281/1

  • Beanie Wells: With a top three defense against running backs this week, don’t go chasing last week’s touchdowns. The Bears will load the front line and force the quarterback to beat them. 47 rushing yards, maybe a TD.

  • Ahmad Bradshaw/David Wilson: If both are active they are nothing more than a RB3 despite a favorable matchup against the Ravens. Even if Bradshaw is out David Wilson will share carried with Kreg Lumpkin. The Giants are just as likely to pass this week.

  • Donnie Avery: He has exceeded 37 receiving yards once in his last five games. That game was also the one he scored two of his three touchdowns on the season.

  • Kenny Britt: Even in a game where garbage time production might give a player some value Kenny Britt just isn’t getting it done. There isn’t much chemistry between he and Jake Locker. Sit him.

  • Danario Alexander: If you were lucky enough to survive last week’s donut, don’t tempt fate against the Jets secondary who has been very good against the pass.

  • Larry Fitgerald: Larry Fitgerald had four receptions and 22 receiving yards last week. He should remain on your bench against the Bears.

  • Dennis Pitta: The Giants are one of the top ten teams defending the tight end position. Do not expect a repeat of last week’s production, especially if Torrey Smith is out. 3/37

  • Kyle Rudolph: Kyle Rudolph is a boom/bust option this week. He has a top five matchup for tight ends against the Texans but after two games where he has disappeared it’s tough to trust him.

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6 Comments so far

  1. alnation1 December 18th, 2012 2:47 pm

    You were 0-2 for me last week Tav (Britt over Brown and Graham over Hernandez), but luckily I started Brown anyway and won because of that(won by 5, Brown got me 9, Britt would have been goose egged!)!! Same issues this week in my Roto Bowl, non-PPR: 1- Trent or DMC, 2- Britt or Brown, 3- Graham or Hernandez??? Luckily I am stacked in this 14 team full dynasty league (22nd year), so these are good probs!

  2. Rick Sonn December 18th, 2012 8:11 pm

    Championship in 3 leagues! Thanks for all the help this season!
    Need ya one more time, please, Tav


    Need 3:
    Knowshon vs Clev
    Demarco vs NO
    Spiller @ Mia
    Lynch @Sea
    McFadden @Car

    Need 1:
    Dez vs NO
    Shorts vs NE
    Nicks @BAlt

    Car vs Oak or
    NE @Jax

    Thanks again and Happy Holidays!

  3. Tavaner December 19th, 2012 11:45 am

    Hey nation!

    Glad you were able to overcome my “advice’! Congrats!

    As for this week…
    RBs: Both look good for about 80 total yards and roughly the same amount of touches. After that it gets a bit sketchy.

    Since Kuechly has moved to the middle the Panthers have allowed an average of 97 rushing ypg but only 77 rushing ypg at home in their last four games with only two rushing touchdowns.

    The Broncos have averaged over 30+ ppg at home over their last four home games. Over their last six games no running back has scored a rushing touchdown. Richardson has six touchdowns in his last four games.

    McFadden may have the easier matchup. The Panthers are a top ten matchup for RBs and he’s the one I’d go with but it’s a coin flip with the way Richardson has scored.


    Britt’s targets have gone 5,8,9,3 in his last four games. He has the run game to keep the defense honest.

    Brown has gone 11,9,12 in his last three and scored in consecutive games.

    Both player’s teams are likely to have to pass the ball a lot. I’d go with Brown this week. I trust his QB more than I do Locker.


    As long as Gronk is out Hernandez is the guy. 43 targets in the last three games.

    Good Luck!

  4. Tavaner December 19th, 2012 11:57 am

    Hey Rick!

    Let’s bring home those championships!

    I’d play them as you list them at RB.

    It’s very close at WR. Have to go with Dez, broken finger and all. He has 14 red zone targets. That should be a shootout and the Saints are an easier matchup than the Redskins.

    Pats as your DST.

    Good Luck and Blessings of the Season!

  5. lateno December 20th, 2012 7:34 pm

    I have roddy white and Antonio brown I don’t know to start and also te between pitta and schefler.

  6. Tavaner December 21st, 2012 8:44 am

    Hey lateno!

    White has struggled in 3/4 outings but he’s the stud here and the Falcons have to keep on winning. He has six 100 yard outings on the year and the Lions are a better matchup than the Bengals.

    Brown went 7/96 against the Bengals in their first meeting but it’s seldom that a player has two strong outings against the same team. He’ll likely get double digit targets and should be good for 7/70.

    Start your stud, imo.

    TE is much tougher. I’d wait on hearing about Torrey Smith’s availability prior to Scheffler’s game on Saturday. In this one you could flip a coin.

    The Giants are a tough matchup (3 TDs on the year allowed to TE’s). Pitta has scored four TDs in his last four games, five out of six…being held scoreless twice by the Steelers. The Giants play the TE as tough as the Steelers do and Pitta produced only 1/5 and 1/19 against the Steelers and their pass rush. The Giants have allowed an average of 4/41 over their last four games.

    Pitta has a better chance of scoring but in his performance against teams that can defend the TE he’s had one productive game in five.

    Pitta gets a bump if Smith stays out with a concussion. He might be the hot read with the Giants pass rush or he might have to stay in to pass protect.

    Scheffler has gotten 17 targets in the last two weeks with Pettigrew hobbled with a high ankle sprain but he’s only produced 3/20/1 and 3/36 (away games) with all those targets. The Falcons have allowed an average of only 4/53 over their last four games with one TD (in five games).

    Calvin will be double teamed and maybe even triple teamed. In his last two home games Scheffler has averaged 4/56.

    Today I’d hold my breath, cross my fingers and pencil Pitta into my starting lineup.

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