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Exploit the Bucs, Raiders and Packers Defenses for Week 16

George Kurtz Staff Writer December 22, 2017 10:53AM EDT
  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Even though Devin Funchess is likely to play Sunday, he will be a risky start as he hasn’t practiced for most of this week. If he’s out, then Damiere Byrd could once again be a spot start for you. Greg Olsen is back in our good graces after his big game last week.
  2. Oakland Raiders: I’d be worried about my Eagles players if the Vikings lose Saturday night, but that’s not going to happen. They all start for me here, although Jay Ajayi once again comes in as a low-end RB2, as the Eagles just don’t believe in going with one featured back.
  3. Green Bay Packers: With the temperature in Green Bay on Saturday night expected to be below 20 degrees, Case Keenum and the passing game could have issues. Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are both likely starts for me here.
  4. Cleveland Browns: I’m starting Jordan Howard, but he’s killed me most of this season. Kendall Wright is also a flex option as he has been a sneaky PPR play as of late.


    Keelan Cole has caught a touchdown pass in each of the past three games. Credit: AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton

  5. San Francisco 49ers: Yes, Blake Bortles is a possible option at QB if you have someone like Dak Prescott or Kirk Cousins, but he’s not an automatic start. If Marquise Lee misses the game, then it almost becomes a guessing game to determine who will be Bortles’ favorite WR; Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, or Jaydon Mickens. I prefer Chris Ivory over J. Yeldon if Leonard Fournette is out again.
  6. New York Jets: With Hunter Henry placed on IR, Antonio Gates could be a nice pickup for those that need a replacement.
  7. Buffalo Bills: Rex Burkhead (knee) will miss the game, which should lock in Dion Lewis as a must-start but don’t be surprised if James White also has a revival in this one. I also expect quite a few 15-yard penalties, as it’s the first time Rob Gronkowski will face Buffalo since his suspension for the hit on Tra’Davious White.
  8. New York Giants: Larry Fitzgerald is a must-start but that may be it unless Kerwynn Williams recovers from his quad injury.
  9. Houston Texans: Okay, we’ve all been burned by Ben Roethlisberger playing on the road several times this season, and we all know Antonio Brown won’t play in this game due the torn calf, but I’m still starting Big Ben. The Texans are that bad versus the pass. I’m also starting Martavis Bryant, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Jesse James.
  10. Indianapolis Colts: Joe Flacco could be a superflex play at QB this week. Jeremy Maclin will be on my bench even if he does recover from his knee injury. If you’re starting Flacco, you may want to look at pairing him with Mike Wallace.
  11. Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals have mailed in their last two games, but perhaps playing at home will pick up their play. The passing game starts for me but the RBs I’d prefer to sit if I have the choice.
  12. Atlanta Falcons: I wouldn’t get cute here, just the normal Saints start.
  13. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys won’t put the pressure on Russell Wilson that the Rams did, so don’t overthink it; start Wilson, Doug Baldwin, and Jimmy Graham. I also have a little love for Mike Davis although, whether you use him probably comes down to who else you have on your roster.  
  14. Arizona Cardinals: I’m not starting Eli Manning even with the big week he had last week. Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Orleans Darkwa are all possible starts with Engram being a must. Wayne Gallman could be a flex play in PPR leagues.
  15. Seattle Seahawks: Yes, Ezekiel Elliott is back. Yes, you’re starting him. He may be the only Cowboys player you feel confident about, though. The Hawks should come in quite angry after falling apart last week. They will harass Dak and the passing game. Dez Bryant is a WR3 this week.
  16. New Orleans Saints: I’ll sit Tevin Coleman even if he does recover from his concussion. Whether you use Matt Ryan comes down to what other QB you can start. In New Orleans, against a much-improved defense, he’s not a must-start anymore.
  17. Tennessee Titans: Jared Goff is someone I would start over Ryan and I’m not afraid of his WRs either. Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Sammy Watkins are all possible starts and that’s the order in which I have them ranked.
  18. Carolina Panthers: I’m not starting Doug Martin if the Bucs do. I would look at Peyton Barber as a flex play, though, if the Bucs give him the start. Cameron Brate is a TE1 for me with J. Howard being placed on IR. Jameis Winston is not a start here and neither is DeSean Jackson, even if he is active for the game.
  19. Chicago Bears: I’m still bullish on Josh Gordon but Corey Coleman is a low end WR3 at best. Duke Johnson and Isiah Crowell are likely starts.
  20. Miami Dolphins: I’m not starting Alex Smith, although he is playing well again, which is a big reason why Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill are once again must-starts.
  21. Pittsburgh Steelers: You probably have to start Lamar Miller, but the upside is just so limited, and I expect that HOU will have to abandon the running game pretty quickly in this one.
  22. Washington Redskins: If Paxton Lynch starts the game (unlikely), all bets are off but if it’s Brock Osweiler, then Demaryius Thomas and J. Anderson go for me here. Emmanuel Sanders sits, though, as he is not practicing and even if he does start the game, he may not be able to finish it.
  23. Philadelphia Eagles: Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota have regressed significantly this season. I’m starting Michael Crabtree, as I expect Oakland to be trailing but that’s it. Marshawn Lynch comes in as a flex play.
  24. Detroit Lions: A.J. Green could disappoint once again, as he will be lined up against Darius Slay. Joe Mixon is likely to return and although I prefer him over Giovani Bernard this week, I don’t expect big things here.
  25. Denver Broncos: Samaje Perine suffered a hamstring injury in practice Thursday so make sure you watch his status before inserting him into your lineup. I’ll pass on Kirk Cousins in this game, and Jamison Crowder is also dealing with a hamstring pull.
  26. Los Angeles Rams: There isn’t a must-start here outside of Delanie Walker. Rishard Matthews and DeMarco Murray are possible starts depending on what else you have on your roster.
  27. Kansas City Chiefs: Even with the return of Damien Williams, I’m not worried if I’m a Drake owner. Drake should be the clear starter with Williams in a backup role.
  28. Los Angeles Chargers: No one on the Jets excites me this week.
  29. New England Patriots: Charles Clay is once again a low-end TE1.
  30. Baltimore Ravens: This game could be ugly for Indy. Frank Gore and T.Y. Hilton are nothing more than a low-end RB2 and WR3 respectively. Jack Doyle starts, however.   
  31. Minnesota Vikings: Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are both out for this game, and Jordy Nelson is likely to be shadowed by Xavier Rhodes. Oh, the Vikings also have a very good run defense. Well, Randall Cobb should have an uptick in targets, but he will be very hard to rely on. Jamaal Williams may not find much running room either.
  32. Jacksonville Jaguars: I love Jimmy Garoppolo and believe he is the future franchise QB for SF, but not this week. Carlos Hyde is a low end RB2 at best.

As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.


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