Jake Ciely (@allinkid) will give you the expert take on New Orleans Saints players from fantasy perspectives, while letting you know which performers will help you take home a championship.
Week 16 brings fantasy titles and the New Orleans Saints' last home game of 2015, as the Jaguars come to town.
The Saints head into Week 16 with one of the best matchups in the league. Few teams are as forgiving as the Jaguars are to multiple positions. In a seven-game stretch from Weeks 6 through 13, the Jaguars allowed at least 21 fantasy points to every quarterback with Philip Rivers and Marcus Mariota topping 30 and 40 points on NFL.com, respectively. Drew Brees put up his third straight 20-plus point game last week, has 935 yards and eight TDs in that stretch and will make it four games in a row with 20 or more points this week assuming he is able to play with his foot injury.
The Jaguars will attempt to keep up with Brees and the Saints' offense, which makes Blake Bortles a nice QB1 and someone you can trust to win your league. Teddy Bridgewater (Vikings) is having a hot finish to the year just like last season. If you rode Eli Manning (Giants) to the championship but don't like his matchup against Bridgewater's Vikings, you can make the swap, as the G-Men allow the second most FPPG to quarterbacks and the most passing yards overall. Kirk Cousins (Redskins) continues to impress, but know that this week is riskier than most despite the favorable matchup with the Eagles. Cousins' numbers on the road aren't as pretty as they are at home. Alex Smith (Chiefs) is once again a safe play. He has one of the highest floors at quarterback and the matchup at home with the Browns is very favorable. Even at home, you likely want to avoid Matt Ryan (Falcons) where you can. He's been up-and-down this year and the Panthers' defense is none too forgiving.
Tim Hightower has been a solid replacement at running back, as even though his Week 15 touches were low (16) he still managed 85 yards, which included work in the passing game. The Jaguars have allowed 13 touchdowns to running backs (10 rushing) and have only held one team's lead running back to single digits in PPR scoring. Hightower is a must-start RB2 for your championship game.
With the amount of backfields in question or sharing touches, Frank Gore (Colts) is a reliable play with a solid floor against the Dolphins this week. Keep him in the lineup if you want to guarantee points. Ameer Abdullah continues to do a lot with not much in touches for the Lions and is a high-upside play against the weak 49ers rush defense. Latavius Murray (Raiders) is a workhorse, which is hard to find at this time of the season and he should be in every single lineup against a Chargers defense allowing 21.49 FPPG to running backs. Javorius Allen (Ravens) is an extremely risky play given the matchup with the Steelers and shared touches with Terrance West. The Patriots just signed Steven Jackson, but don't risk him in your most important game. The Pats ran the ball just five times the first time against the Jets.
Saints receiver Brandin Cooks bounced back with a huge game against the Lions, notching 10 catches, 124 yards and a score. He's now the 11th best receiver on the year, is just seven yards from 1,000 and is in the WR1 conversation for Week 16. Willie Snead continued his breakout campaign with another 10 catches and 76 yards against Detroit. He's just outside WR3 territory on the year (WR37) even with missed time. Snead is a must-start option. Deeper leaguers can take a flier on Marques Colston. He's been touchdown reliant, but Brees has looked his way in the red zone quite often of late. And of course, Ben Watson remains a must-start TE1. He has two touchdowns in the last three games with scores of 9.8, 7.0 and 10.9, and the Jaguars allow the fifth most FPPG to tight ends.
You know to start Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant of the Steelers, but did you know Markus Wheaton has a nice three-game stretch of performances, and with the Ravens matchup, he enters in the WR3 conversation. Kamar Aiken (Ravens) continues to provide WR3 or better value in PPR leagues. As with Alex Smith at quarterback, he has one of the safer floors for any receiver in his range. DeSean Jackson (Redskins) always brings the big-play ability, but his teammate, Pierre Garcon, can be a nice fill-in for teams of need against the Eagles. Jeremy Maclin (Chiefs) seems to be overlooked despite being a Top 20 receiver on the year. He is a must-start for any owner against the Browns. Donte Moncrief (Colts) and Stefon Diggs (Vikings) are interesting boom/bust plays for those needing to go risky, as their matchups are among the best – Dolphins and Giants, respectively. Cam Newton has been on fire for the Panthers, but Ted Ginn Jr. becomes riskier than normal against the Falcons this week. The same goes for Seahawks receivers not named Doug Baldwin, as they face the Rams.
There are many well-known tight ends with great matchups that have to be in your lineup if you own them. That list includes Julius Thomas (Jaguars), Antonio Gates (Chargers), Greg Olsen (Panthers) and the aforementioned Ben Watson. As seen so far, the Vikings should have a nice day on offense against the Giants, giving Kyle Rudolph the upside for a tight end needy Fantasy team. Gary Barnidge (Browns) is a riskier play than when he had Josh McCown at quarterback, and with the Chiefs being the toughest team against tight ends, you should consider other quality options… emphasis on quality.
Those looking for plug and play DST options have a few choices this week. The Titans allow the most FPPG to opposing defenses and Zach Mettenberger steps in at quarterback, making the Texans a quality choice. The Cowboys offense continues to struggle without Tony Romo, and they allow the third most FPPG to DSTs. That gives the Bills unit a high ceiling in Week 16. The Lions have been playing much better defensively in the second half and have been able to limit the run. Consider them a decent play as they host the 49ers. It would be wise to avoid the Cardinals and Packers defenses even though they've been good for most of the year. Facing each other points to more of a shootout than a defensive battle.
For more in-depth Fantasy Football Super Bowl week coverage, visit Jake Ciely and the team over at RotoExperts.com. You can also find Jake on the Fantasy Sports Network (FNTSY), which you can stream on AppleTV, Xbox One and Xbox 360.