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Fantasy Preview: Week 16

Posted Dec 20, 2013

By Matt Lutovsky
Special to Stlouisrams.com

If you've made it to your league's championship, you undoubtedly have a good team (and either have or avoided Jamaal Charles last week). Also, there's a good chance you're at least mildly obsessive about your fantasy squad.

That's all well and good, but as we said at the beginning of the playoffs, there's no need to change what's working for you. Don't overanalyze your opponent's team -- all that matters for you is playing the guys who you think are going to score the most points. And don't overanalyze your own team. Drew Brees, Calvin Johnson, Matt Forte, Vernon Davis – there's no reason to bench these guys.

However, It's entirely possible that you do have a couple roster spots that require some scrutiny, and that's why we're here, providing key numbers to know about every game, plus a stud, sleeper, stumbler or injury concern to watch for with a brief explanation why. Note that the “studs” are guys who are either better than most owners realize or established stars who owners might be foolishly thinking about benching.

Buccaneers at Rams

Stat to know: The Buccaneers rank just 22nd in fantasy points per game (FPPG) allowed to D/STs, but they've allowed at least 17 fantasy points in two of the past three games. The Rams' D/ST is still a great start at home.

Sleeper: RB Bobby Rainey (Rams have allowed fifth-most fantasy points to RBs.)

Dolphins at Bills

Stat to know: Starting RBs have put up at least 15.3 fantasy points in each of the past five games against Buffalo. It's unclear who Miami's RB will be since they alternate almost every week. As a result, both Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller are in play as flexes.

Sleeper: WR Brian Hartline (Bills allowing fourth-most FPPG to WRs.)

Saints at Panthers

Stat to know: When these teams met in Week 14, no RB had more than 6.3 fantasy points. Barring a short touchdown, which is impossible to predict, fantasy owners shouldn't expect much from Pierre Thomas, DeAngelo Williams, Darren Sproles or Mike Tolbert.

Stud: TE Greg Olsen (8 catches and 12 targets in Week 14 against the Saints.)

Vikings at Bengals

Stat to know: The Vikings are one of three teams allowing over 10 FPPG to TEs. With Jermaine Gresham nursing a sore hip, Tyler Eifert looms as a major sleeper.

Injuries: RB Adrian Peterson, foot and Toby Gerhart, hamstring (Peterson says he'll play; Matt Asiata will start again if both Peterson and Gerhart are out.)

Broncos at Texans

Stat to know: Starting RBs have averaged 16.64 FPPG against Houston over the past five games. Knowshon Moreno is obviously a must-start, but Montee Ball is a boom-or-bust flex if you're swinging for the fences.

Injuries: WR Wes Welker, concussion and RB Ben Tate, ribs (Andre Caldwell should be involved again if Welker is out; Dennis Johnson will start for Tate.)

Titans at Jaguars

Stat to know: Jacksonville has been a favorable matchup for D/STs all year, but Tennessee has averaged just two FPPG over the past four weeks. The Titans aren't a good play.

Injury: RB Maurice Jones-Drew, hamstring (Jordan Todman will start if Jones-Drew can't go, giving him a good matchup against a Titans' defense allowing second-most FPPG to RBs.)

Colts at Chiefs

Stat to know: The Chiefs D/ST got back on track last week, but the Colts have only twice allowed double-digit fantasy points to a defense all season (Weeks 10 and 12). There's nothing wrong with using the Chiefs, but there are likely higher-upside options out there.

Stumbler: QB Andrew Luck (Only four QBs all season have scored more than 17.9 fantasy points against Kansas City.)

Cowboys at Redskins

Stat to know: Alfred Morris has only scored once in the past seven games, but he's still a must-start against a Dallas defense allowing the most FPPG to RBs (24.9).

Stud: TE Jason Witten (Redskins have allowed fourth-most fantasy points to TEs.)

Browns at Jets

Stat to know: Both the Browns and Jets rank in the top six in FPPG allowed to D/STs. Neither are great D/ST plays in their own right, but they haven't been bad, ranking 17th and 19th, respectively, in FPPG over the past four weeks. Consider both sleepers.

Stud: TE Jordan Cameron (Jets have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to TEs.)

Cardinals at Seahawks

Stat to Know: The Cardinals have allowed at least 29.7 fantasy points per game to QBs in two of their past three games, and when these teams played in Week 7, Russell Wilson had 26.3 points. Wilson hasn't played great in his past two contests, but there's reason to think he'll do well this week.

Stumbler: Cardinals D/ST (Seahawks allowing just 5.6 FPPG to D/STs.)

Giants at Lions

Stat to know: Only two teams have allowed more fantasy points to WRs than Detroit. With Victor Cruz (head, knee) out, both Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle are in play as WR3s.

Sleeper: Lions D/ST (Giants allowing most FPPG to D/STs.)

Patriots at Ravens

Stat to know: Despite a tough matchup last week against Miami, Tom Brady put up at least 24.6 fantasy points for the fourth-straight game. Don't be worried about him against Baltimore's 12th-ranked pass defense.

Stumbler: TE Dennis Pitta (Pats allowing just 6.8 FPPG to TEs.)

Raiders at Chargers

Stat to know: Philip Rivers has multiple TD passes in three of the past four games, and he got the Raiders for 22.4 points back in Week 5. Overall, the Raiders are allowing the third-most FPPG to QBs (23.7). Rivers is a decent start this week.

Sleeper: WR Rod Streater (Chargers allowing fifth-most FPPG to WRs.)

Steelers at Packers

Stat to know: Fantasy owners might get both Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) and Randall Cobb (leg) back this week, but it's going to be tough to trust them against a Steelers' defense that ranks 23rd in fantasy points allowed to QBs and WRs, respectively.

Sleeper: WR Emmanuel Sanders (Packers have allowed sixth-most fantasy points to WRs.)

Bears at Eagles

Stat to know: Over the past seven games, WR2s have averaged just 4.5 fantasy points against the Bears. Riley Cooper has averaged just 5.7 points over his past four games. He's a risky option this week, especially with the Eagles having nothing to play for if Dallas wins earlier in the day.

Stumbler: TE Martellus Bennett (Eagles tied for second-fewest FPPG allowed to TEs.)

Falcons at 49ers

Stat to know: The 49ers rank 25th or lower in FPPG allowed to QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs. It's tough to trust any Falcons this week.

Stud: RB Frank Gore (Falcons allowing eighth-most FPPG to RBs.)