Start of the Week:
QB –Matt Ryan at New Orleans- #7 in Weekly Rankings
Drew Brees is really the best start this week as I have him at #1 but Matt Ryan is the less obvious elite choice this week. You’re going to want to fire up all fantasy players in this matchup between these two teams who rank 30th and 31st against fantasy players at all positions combined. This matchup could very well decide the division and both teams will not want to go down fighting without using their player(s), their QBs and pass catchers. Julio Jones has not practiced but all signs point to him being on the field. Roddy White looks healthy with TDs in back to back weeks and Harry Douglas and Devin Hester are fine compliments to the elite Julio/Roddy duo. This game will not be a blowout and points will be fired back and forth between the two teams. Look for Ryan to have a tremendous week 16 against a struggling secondary ranked 28th against opposing fantasy QBs.
D/ST – Seattle Seahawks at Arizona - #1 in Weekly Rankings
Ryan Lindley yum yum yum. This is a tasty fantasy matchup on board for the best real life defense in the NFL. The game hasn’t even started, yet but there is blood in the water and there will be a feeding frenzy on the inexperienced 3rd stringer. Everyone will be anxious to get a taste of Lindley and a game where A game with Seattle taking the lead and Lindley (career 0 TD/7 INT) having to throw to have a chance in this game is very likely to happen. Many sacks and turnovers will be had. A TD even seems likely and it’s hard to peg a defense to do that. This is a scary game for Lindley and for anyone who has to face the Seattle defense in fantasy.
QB – Alex Smith at Pittsburgh - #11 in Weekly Rankings
For you QB streamers this could be the game winning start. Alex Smith is never a sexy option in the fantasy world but in this matchup he provides significant upside against a swiss cheese Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers rank 27th against opposing fantasy QBs and have allowed a 20+ fantasy point performance in 6 out of their last 7 games to QBs. This stretch includes big games by borderline to low end options Michael Vick and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ike Taylor is a shell of his former self and William Gay just plain and simple isn’t a good NFL CB. Smith comes into this game as a hot QB having thrown 7 TDs in his last 4 games. He has a high floor this week and could capitalize on this prime matchup in a big way in your Super Bowl week.
D/ST –Carolina v. Cleveland- #9 in Weekly Rankings
The long awaited Johnny Football debut took place last week and boy was it ugly. There was a lot of non-NFL things happening on the Cleveland side of the ball. The Browns only ran 38 plays TOTAL. Manziel should be better but that doesn’t mean he’ll be good. He can’t do worse than 80 yards and 2 INT right? Carolina had five turnovers the last two weeks playing inspired defense at New Orleans and against Tampa Bay and suddenly they have a chance to win their sorry division. The Panthers have seen the mobile QB every day in practice so Manziel’s legs will not surprise them in any way. Look for Manziel to struggle once again and for Carolina to have a big day. They’re only the 25th ranked fantasy defense on the season so they very well could be available in your league.
QB – Eli Manning at St. Louis - #19 in Weekly Rankings
This is just a heads up to those fantasy owners who think that just because ODB is a beast (and he certainly is) that Eli Manning’s floor is high enough to be inserted into your lineup. St. Louis comes into this week having allowed 12 total points in the last three weeks. They may just be sporting the best defense in the NFL right now including the Legoin Of Boom in Seattle. The Giants have replacement players on the offensive line, something that just won’t cut it against Robert Quinn and Chris Long. Manning could have a disaster much like he did against San Francisco earlier in the year. I’d stay away and choose another streaming option.
D/ST – San Francisco D/ST vs. San Diego- #18 in Weekly Rankings
The San Francisco 49ers do not really have much to play for anymore. Jim Harbaugh is as good as gone. We can and should question where their heads will be for this game against a desperate San Diego Chargers team. However, the emotions of the game are not why they are here. DE Ray McDonald had been playing good football the last few weeks. He was released with the allegations of domestic abuse hanging over him this week. In addition, LB Chris Borland had been playing at Pro Bowl levels even being compared to Zach Thomas. He’s out for the season. Combine the emotions and the loss of two key players and what we have is a defense we should not think is capable of a big game, even at home.