Our Week 16 Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em is an in-depth look at the weekly NFL matchups and how they will impact your lineup decisions for your fantasy football team. Our list of Week 16 wide receiver starts and sits features regular fantasy starters, as well as lesser-known players, who are likely to exceed expectations based on a favorable matchup, or fail to meet expectations due to the strength of their opponent.
With Rob Gronkowski unavailable, Tom Brady and the Patriots have turned to the next best thing to dictate the New England passing game; Julian Edelman. Edelman has been targeted early and often in the team’s last four contests and will get an elite matchup this weekend when the Jets travel up to Gillette Stadium. The Jets have suffered two blowout losses in their last three games and with Bryce Petty continuing to quarterback the Jets, it’ll be nearly impossible to expect this one to be close. Edelman will remain a focal point in the Patriots offense and has a great chance to find the end zone and post a big game.
Part of Arizona’s struggles this season can be traced back to Tyrann Mathieu’s ineffectiveness this season, as he continued to battle through injuries. The team officially placed the Honeybadger on season-ending I.R. and will look to get him right this off-season. Without Mathieu’s usual dominance, opposing receivers have done damage running routes out of the slot this season. Brandin Cooks is the most recent example of this, as he erupted for 35 fantasy points last week in a game where he absolutely torched the back-end of the Arizona defense. This week, it’ll be Doug Baldwin’s turn, as he runs the vast majority of his routes out of the slot. With Russell Wilson and the Seahawks trying to carry momentum into the post-season, they’ll have plenty of reasons to come out firing on the offensive side of the ball. I expect Baldwin to follow-up his touchdown grab from Week 15 with another big week. He’ll be a top-ten play for this week of the fantasy playoffs.
Jeremy Maclin has been a WR2 for much of his NFL career, as far as fantasy circles are concerned. However, this season has been a massive disappointment for the eighth-year receiver out of Missouri. A groin injury had a good chunk to do with Maclin’s disappearance this year, as he missed four games and has struggled to pick things up since his return. With Alex Smith never having a reputation as a quarterback capable of pushing the ball down the field, Maclin’s future value will be questionable at best. That said, Maclin’s value this week is a little bit more certain: it’ll be limited. A matchup with Aqib Talib and the swarming Denver secondary looms, as Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce have also carved out bigger roles in the passing game. Maclin will be off the fantasy radar for this week’s playoff matchups.
After sitting out four games due to a suspension surrounding PED’s, Alshon Jeffery posted a great game during his return last week against the Packers. Jeffery hauled in 6 receptions for 89 yards and a score and reminded fantasy owners of his skills as a pass-catcher, despite playing alongside Matt Barkley. However, this week Jeffery will draw an extremely difficult matchup when the Bears host the Redskins and Josh Norman. With cold weather expected again in the Chicago area for this week, Jeffery and the Bears offense won’t be a reliable source of production in the passing game.
While A.J. Green was hampered by a hamstring injury, Tyler Boyd filled in admirably in Green’s absence. The rookie wide receiver out of Pitt has flashed signs of being a potential fit down the road for the Bengals, as a starting wideout opposite Green. However, with Green back this week, Boyd will slide in behind Brandon LaFell as the team’s No. 3 receiver. With the Texans boasting a legitimate pass defense, it’ll be tough to project Boyd as anything more than a dart-throw in Saturday night’s showdown in Houston.