Fantasy Friday: Week 16

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Here’s this week’s look at good and bad fantasy matchups.

Note: I try to pick less obvious players. I’m not going to tell you to play Peyton Manning or LaDainian Tomlinson or Randy Moss. No kiddin’, Sherlock.

Warning: I’m not immune to accidentally suggesting a player that might be injured and out for the week — or even the season. As much as I follow the game, mistakes can happen. If it does happen, just give me a polite jab and I’ll correct myself.

Thumbs Up

The following players should have favorable matchups this week. Their chances of success are greater due to tendencies by the opponent’s defense.


Buccaneers QB, TB vs. San Diego
Pay attention to the injury report this week. Reports say Jeff Garcia could play. Either he or Brian Griese should have a good week against one of the worst pass defenses.

Chad Pennington, Mia vs. Kansas City
Since the Chiefs can’t stop anybody, they try to outscore you. Pennington should have a good week.

Other favorable matchups: Brett Favre vs. Sea, Aaron Rodgers vs. Chicago, Marc Bulger vs. San Francisco.

Running Backs

Pierre Thomas, NO vs. Detroit
Thomas has emerged as a tough back and will see more playing time minus Reggie Bush. This week, he gets the league’s worst run defense.

Steve Slaton, Hou vs. Oakland
The Raiders are abysmal against the run and the rookie should have a solid game.

Other favorable matchups: Ronnie Brown vs. Kansas City, Cedric Benson vs. Cleveland, Matt Forte vs. Green Bay.

Wide Receivers

Antonio Bryant, TB vs. San Diego
Bryant has been on a tear lately, averaging 6 catches for 123 yards in the past three games and has scored 4 touchdowns. He also has a very favorable matchup this week.

Packers WRs, GB vs. Chicago
Despite the cold weather — which hindered them last year — the Packers should have success moving the ball through the air against the Bears’ woeful pass defense.

Other favorable matchups: Jets WRs vs. Sea, Calvin Johnson vs. New Orleans, Donnie Avery vs. San Francisco

Tight Ends

John Carlson, Sea vs. NY Jets
The Jets are tough against the run, but fourth-worst against the pass. Carlson should have opportunities this week.

Vernon Davis, SF vs. St. Louis
The 49ers have been playing well lately and the Rams don’t have a very good pass defense.

Other favorable matchups: Dustin Keller vs. Sea, Anthony Fasano vs. Kansas City, Donald Lee vs. Chicago.


Matt Bryant, TB vs. San Diego
Bryant is the league’s leading kicker and should see plenty of work this week.

Jason Elam, Atl vs. Minnesota
In a tough, playoff-like game, we could see more field goals than touchdowns.

Other favorable matchups: Josh Brown vs. San Francisco, Ryan Longwell vs. Atlanta, Joe Nedney vs. St. Louis.


Tennessee Titans, Ten vs. Pittsburgh
It should be a low-scoring game and the Titans will get after the Steelers and cause some turnovers.

Philadelphia Eagles, Phi vs. Washington
The Eagles have been good all season at creating turnovers and getting sacks and that should continue against a struggling Redskins team.

Other favorable matchups: Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati, Dallas Cowboys vs. Baltimore, Baltimore Ravens vs. Dallas.

Thumbs Down

The following players should have unfavorable matchups this week. Their chances of success are worse due to tendencies by the opponent’s defense.


Tony Romo, Dal vs. Baltimore
I realize Romo may be your best quarterback, but surely during the weeks he was injured, you acquired a reliable backup. This week looks mighty tough for him.

Jason Campbell, Was vs. Philadelphia
You should have stopped playing Campbell for a while now, but after losing to Cincinnati this past week and now facing division rival Philadelphia, who is hungry for the postseason, forget about it.

Other unfavorable matchups: Philip Rivers vs. Tampa Bay, Ben Roethlisberger vs. Tennessee, Donovan McNabb vs. Washington.

Running Backs

Michael Turner, Atl vs. Minnesota
Even with one half of the Williams Wall missing, the Vikings are solid against the run. Turner could have a rough day.

Titans RBs, Ten vs. Pittsburgh
The Steelers are No. 2 in run defense and that means less running room for LenDale White and Chris Johnson.

Other unfavorable matchups: Tashard Choice vs. Baltimore, DeAngelo Williams vs. NY Giants, Ryan Grant vs. Chicago.

Wide Receivers

Vincent Jackson, SD vs. Tampa Bay
Jackson has been having a great deal of success the past few weeks, but the fun stops here against a tough Bucs pass defense.

Cardinals WRs, Ari vs. New England
The Cardinals laid an egg last week at home after they secured the division title a week earlier. This week, they travel to the cold weather against a 9-5 team desperate to make the postseason.

Other unfavorable matchups: Terrell Owens vs. Baltimore, Hines Ward vs. Tennessee, Eagles WRs vs. Washington.

Tight Ends

Heath Miller, Pit vs. Tennessee
The Titans are fifth in the league in pass defense, so this one could be a ground game.

Todd Heap, Bal vs. Dallas
The Cowboys are 7th against the pass and this game could be a low-scoring one.

Other unfavorable matchups: Chris Cooley vs. Philadelphia, Owen Daniels vs. Oakland, Greg Olsen vs. Green Bay.


Neil Rackers, Ari vs. New England
Avoid warm-weather kickers in cold-weather situations at all costs.

John Kasay, Car vs. NY Giants
I expect a low-scoring defensive battle in this matchup for the NFC’s No. 1 seed.

Other unfavorable matchups: Matt Stover vs. Dallas, Matt Prater vs. Buffalo, Rob Bironas vs. Pittsburgh.


New Orleans Saints, NO vs. Detroit
The Saints may be a tempting play because Detroit is so bad, but their defense has big problems of its own.

Atlanta Falcons, Atl vs. Minnesota
Atlanta’s defense hasn’t exactly put up big numbers this year from a fantasy standpoint and they have a tough road game here.

Other unfavorable matchups: Seattle Seahawks vs. NY Jets, Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta, New England Patriots vs. Arizona.

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