Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers: Week 16
Doesn’t it seem like the 2010 NFL season just got underway?
Amazingly (and sadly), the second-to-last week of the season started Thursday night and will continue Saturday as the Cowboys travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals on Christmas night.
More importantly, it’s likely championship week in your fantasy football league.
Who should you be keeping an eye on?
Rex Grossman, QB, Washington Redskins
Nothing has gone right in Washington this season, but Rex Grossman’s 322-yard, four-TD performance against the Dallas Cowboys last week made the decision to bench Donovan McNabb look fairly smart.
However, we know Grossman’s history, and we know that Dallas isn’t exactly elite in stopping the pass.
Still, though, with a matchup with the 27th-ranked pass defense in the league coming up (Jacksonville), Grossman has a chance to put up some pretty decent fantasy numbers for the second straight week.
If you’ve got a QB2 slot, this isn’t a bad option.
Brandon Jackson, RB, Green Bay Packers
Jackson has been a dud for most of the season, but he performed admirably with Aaron Rodgers out of the lineup against New England last week, carrying 22 times for 99 yards.
He still hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown since week nine, however, and it’s uncertain how many reps he’ll get assuming Rodgers is back in the lineup this week against Chicago.
Personally, I wouldn’t place a whole lot of hope into Jackson, but if you’re scrambling for a helpful hand as a flex play this week, then you may be inclined to give him another chance.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Gerhart carried 16 times for 77 yards in the place of Adrian Peterson against Chicago on Monday night, and figures to get enough looks to still make an impact even if Peterson does return.
The Eagles can be run on a little bit, and with Joe Webb likely your Minnesota starting quarterback, both Gerhart and Peterson should figure prominently in this game.
You could do worse in terms of a flex option.
Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego Chargers
Jackson caught five passes for 112 yards and three touchdowns against the 49ers last Thursday night.
In my opinion, Jackson is a must-start this week against the miserable Bengals, and can definitely serve as a WR1.
The Chargers’ playoff hopes are on the ropes, and they’ll be going to their bread-and-butter early and often.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Miami Dolphins
Chad Henne was looking Marshall’s way against the Bills, as the receiver finished with 11 catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.
We’ve been waiting for these kinds of efforts out of Marshall all season long, so hopefully he can keep it going against Detroit this week.
I’m still reluctant to trust him 100 percent due to Henne’s presence, but the talent is there.
Use at your own risk.
Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots
Hernandez has three touchdowns in the last three weeks combined, but it’s risky.
We know the perils that lie with trusting one of the Patriots’ rookie TEs, because the other is likely to go off at any time.
Hernandez is the flavor of the now, though, so try and ride the hot hand.
Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams
Bradford has struggled in the last three games, having thrown five interceptions and zero touchdowns.
San Francisco can be thrown on (as we saw against the Chargers last week), so there’s certainly some room for a bounce-back performance.
A struggling rookie QB in a must-win game? I’m not risking playing Bradford this week.
Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys
The yardage totals have been decent, but Tashard Choice is the guy getting the carries near the goal-line.
On the plus side, Jones has been consistently between 10-15 fantasy points per week (standard scoring) since Jason Garrett took over, so it’s not like he’s being phased out.
He has a great matchup with Arizona this week, but just be prepared to see Choice getting into the end zone.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
Try as he might, Mathews just can’t seem to break through.
Mike Tolbert is the guy getting the slight majority of the carries for the Chargers, while Mathews is consistently around 50 yards rushing.
The matchup with Cincy is favorable, but it’s more favorable for Tolbert.
Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Crabtree’s fantasy value was demolished by the return of Alex Smith, but Troy Smith is once again starting for the 49ers this week.
Josh Morgan and Vernon Davis have been hogging all of the targets and catches recently, leaving very little for Crabtree, a former first-round pick.
Things could change with Troy throwing passes, but I wouldn’t bank on it during the fantasy playoffs.
Donald Driver, WR, Green Bay Packers
This could change if Aaron Rodgers is back, but James Jones has surpassed Driver in terms of presence in the Packers’ offense in recent weeks.
However, Driver has still scored just one touchdown since week five, so it’s not like he was tearing it up with Rodgers all season long.
He could see his numbers rise a bit this week, but he isn’t trustworthy.
Tony Moeaki, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
Moeaki has enjoyed a very solid rookie year, but he’s been less involved of late.
A healthy Matt Cassel likely means more looks towards Dwayne Bowe, so you would be well-advised to look for fantasy tight end production elsewhere.