Fantasy Football championship week is here, and the Saints and your Fantasy Football team will be looking to grab big wins. Jake Ciely (@allinkid) of *RotoExperts.com *is providing exclusive expert Fantasy coverage for NewOrleansSaints.com. Get ready for your Fantasy playoffs, as Jake gives you the expert deal on Saints players from Fantasy perspectives.
As the Fantasy Football season ends, the Saints return home for Week 16 and your championship hopes after grabbing a big win in Arizona. Drew Brees threw for 389 yards and four touchdowns, for the first time he's had four TDs on the road this season. The other three games where Brees had four touchdowns came at home, and it's a large part of why Brees averages 24.5 Fantasy points per game at home. Brees is averaging 353 passing yards and 2.7 touchdowns in those seven games and is a Top 3 play against a Buccaneers defense that has given up multiple touchdown passes in seven games and six games with 19-plus points to the quarterback position.
Not surprisingly, as Brees goes, so do the receivers. Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas both got back into the end zone against the Cardinals. Not only that, but Cooks had his best game of the season with 30.6 Fantasy points on NFL.com with a season-high 186 yards and his second two-touchdown games. Thomas' touchdown marked his eighth, and he now has seven double-digit games. Both receivers have a great chance to repeat their performances in Week 16. Cooks is a clear WR1, Thomas a WR2 with Top 10 potential and Willie Snead has weekly Top 35 upside. You can feel confident in starting each this for your title hopes.
The Buccaneers have also given up 10 games of 15 or more Fantasy points to opposing running backs. Mark Ingram ran great against a formidable Cardinals rush defense with 92 yards on 19 total touches. Ingram is inside the Top 15 for running backs against a much softer Bucs team. Don't forget Tim Hightower, as he can have deep league flex value given his nose for the end zone, as he scored twice last week against the Cardinals.
Check out the action as the Saints battled division opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Week 14.
Don't forget that the majority of NFL games are played Saturday this week. Do not lose your championship because you forgot to set a lineup!
Those who have made it this far with Philip Rivers as their only QB or one of their streaming quarterbacks can feel confident this week. Rivers has 29 touchdowns, and the Browns allow the second most FPPG to quarterbacks with 16 QB points given up in all but two games. Derek Carr and Dak Prescott both have good matchups as well and can help bring you home a title. The Raiders host the Colts, a team with the seventh most FPPG to quarterbacks allowed and just eight interceptions to the 23 touchdowns given up. As for the Cowboys, they play Monday night against the Lions. The Lions rank just behind the Colts in FPPG allowed and have 25 passing touchdowns and another two rushing given up to quarterbacks, which helps Prescott's dual-threat ability. Alex Smith may have been an intriguing spot start last week, but you likely have better options this week, as he faces the toughest pass defense in the Broncos.
If you happened to survive with Rams running back Todd Gurley, you must play him in Week 16. No team is worse against the run than the 49ers, which gives Gurley clear RB1 potential. Right behind those 49ers are the Browns. The backfield was a tad messy last week for the Chargers, but if Melvin Gordon returns, he would be a Top 10 running back. If Gordon can't play, Kenneth Farrow and Ronnie Hillman would have RB3 value with the potential for one of them to reach RB1 level. Jordan Howard has been a great find for those needing running back help this year, and he remains a RB1 with a great matchup against the Redskins weak run defense. The Cowboys rush defense is second only to the Ravens in fewest FPPG allowed. That makes Theo Riddick (if active) and the rest of the Lions backfield too risky for your championship hopes.
The Packers pass defense allows the most FPPG to receivers with double-digit points in all but one game. That gives Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen starting value with the potential to near Top 20 value. They are both strong WR3 plays this week. The Eagles secondary has struggled all year and allowed 40 Fantasy points to the Giants stable of receivers in the first matchup. Make sure you have Sterling Shepard in your WR3/flex spot this week, and starting Odell Beckham goes without saying. The Panthers are among the five most forgiving teams for receivers, which makes Taylor Gabriel a high-upside play worthy of starting in most leagues even if Julio Jones returns. As mentioned with the Broncos, they shut down every passing game (except for the Saints). Jeremy Maclin looked good in Week 15 but is too risky this week, as is Tyreek Hill who only had a big day thanks to one rush for 68 yards and a touchdown. Hill was held catchless against the Titans.
As seen last week from Charles Clay's big game, the Browns simply can't stop opposing tight ends. Hunter Henry scored for the Chargers in Week 15, but Antonio Gates is a strong play as well in this matchup. This is a rare situation where you can argue for both tight ends on the same team having TE1 value. The Bengals give up the third most FPPG to tight ends, and Ryan Griffin had a good game in C.J. Fiedorowicz's absence. The Texans like to use their tight end in the passing game, so if Fiedorowicz is back, plug him in, and if not, Griffin is a deep-league option. Jimmy Graham has cooled of late with three of his last four games coming with fewer than five Fantasy points. It's tough to look elsewhere for your tight end given his talent, but you may want to look, as the Cardinals also allow the fewest FPPG to tight ends with just one touchdown all year.
If there are available DSTs in your league, some of the stronger matchup-based options are the Bills hosting the Dolphins, Patriots home against the Jets and the Chargers in Cleveland. A lesser owned and riskier upside option would be the Packers hosting the Vikings, given the opportunity for sacks and turnovers.
Good luck with your championship hopes, and thanks for following all season!
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