As we stand at the precipice of Week 16, the echoes of the fantasy football season resound like a symphony of triumphs and challenges. It's a moment for reflection, a chance to gaze holistically upon the trends that have shaped our journey. One overarching theme emerges— the evolving landscape of rushing yards in the NFL. A stark contrast from years past, only Christian McCaffrey has surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season, begging the question: is the running game fading into the annals of NFL history?

The nostalgia of 2006, a year dominated by running backs like LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson, paints a vivid contrast. Back then, a staggering 23 players eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark, a testament to the league's reliance on ground prowess. Fast forward to the present, and the dynamics have shifted dramatically. With only two games left from a fantasy football perspective, the landscape is transforming before our eyes. The winds of change whisper about a potential paradigm shift in next year's fantasy drafts, where wide receivers might claim the lion's share of first and second-round picks.

Yet, as the season winds down, the focus shifts not to the hypotheticals of the future but to the palpable tension of the present. The fantasy playoffs are in full swing, and the quest for championship glory demands our undivided attention. In the spirit of this fervent pursuit, let us delve into the Week 16 Starts and Sits—a roadmap to navigate the final frontier and emerge victorious in the battle for fantasy supremacy.


QB Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos (NE)

Since we are in playoff territory, we need guys in the lineup who are both trustworthy while simultaneously possessing a solid floor. Russell Wilson is that guy. He hasn’t exactly had a great season, as he’s failed to throw for 300 yards since Week 3 and he has only thrown for over 2 TDs just three times on the year. Yet, somehow, he’s had fewer than 13 points just once this season. In his last seven games, Wilson has scored between 14-18 fantasy points. That’s about as good a floor as one can ask for. Wilson should be the guy in your lineup if you’re looking for a steady hand to help guide your team through the maze that is the fantasy playoffs.

RB Ezekiel Elliott, New England Patriots (@Den)

The winds of fortune have shifted, and Ezekiel Elliott stands as a potential league winner or, at the very least, a ticket to the championship game. With Rhamondre Stevenson sidelined Elliott has donned the mantle of RB1 for the Patriots, showcasing his versatility with 145 rushing yards, 16 catches for 133 yards, and a touchdown over the last three games. Matched against the Broncos' defense, which has yielded a league-high 2,057 rushing yards at 5.2 yards per carry, Elliott is poised to be a top-ten play in Week 16. Ensure he graces your lineup and potentially propels you to fantasy glory.

WR Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Jax)

For Week 16, Chris Godwin is in a similar boat to Russell Wilson. His season hasn't been great by any means but he's shown consistency, as he's had at least 5 catches for 50-plus yards in eight games. He's been even more valuable in PPR leagues where he’s had 7 or more fantasy points in 13 games on the year. As a result, Godwin is the definition of a solid floor WR. He’s also hitting his stride at the perfect time. In his last two games, he has a combined 15 catches for 208 yards. Add to it the fact that he's had at least 7 targets in ten of his games, and you have a solid option at the position. One other item to note, the Jags are allowing the 7th most points to WRs on the year. Godwin is a lineup lock for the playoffs.

TE Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens (@SF)

The tight end position, often a source of fantasy frustration, presents an intriguing option in Isaiah Likely. Elevated due to injuries, Likely has transitioned into a role akin to a wide receiver, posting WR1 numbers in the absence of Mark Andrews. With 10 catches for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns in the last two games, Likely has become a fantasy force. Despite a challenging matchup against the 49ers, who have allowed the 2nd fewest points to tight ends, the recent performance of Trey McBride against them offers a glimmer of hope. If you find yourself in need of a tight end for the playoffs, Isaiah Likely could be the key to unlocking championship potential.

Defense - Chicago Bears (Ari)

The Bears' defense has come a long way this season. Through the first four games, they were competing for the worst unit in the league, totaling a negative 4 points. Now they compete to finish as a top ten unit in fantasy, as they have 15 fantasy points in three straight contests! Additionally, they have combined for 12 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, 12 sacks, and a TD in their last four games. Those are top-tier numbers. In Week 16, they are matched up against a Cardinals team that has thrown for the 3rd fewest yards in the league on the year. The Bears are a surefire top-10 play for the week. 

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QB Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (@Chicago)

As we traverse the playoffs, trust becomes a currency of paramount value. Kyler Murray, despite his dynamic playmaking abilities, struggles to command that trust. In his five games back from injury, Murray has thrown just 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, averaging a modest 215 passing yards. The reliance on his rushing prowess, especially coming off a knee injury, makes him a risky proposition, particularly against the surging Chicago Bears defense. In the chilly confines of the Windy City, expectations for Murray should be tempered, making him a questionable play for fantasy managers in crucial matchups.

RB Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (Buf)

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler was most likely a top-5 pick at the start of the year but is now considered one of the biggest busts. The whole season hasn’t been bad, but he now seems to have a very, very low floor. This past week Ekeler had just 9 rushing yards, which is pretty bad seeing as the team he went up against had already allowed over 1,700 rushing yards on the year. Ekeler has had fewer than 50 yards rushing in seven of his 11 games and also has struggled as a receiver. A major part of his game for fantasy owners is his catching ability, which has not been good. Over the last seven games, he is averaging just 28 receiving yards. That’s not what you like to see from your top guy. It might be hard to do but Ekeler needs to ride the pine this week against a solid Buffalo Bills defense.

WR Adam Thielen, Carolina Panthers (GB)

Adam Thielen's journey through the fantasy landscape has been a tale of two halves—a roaring rampage early in the season and a subdued melody in recent weeks. Between Weeks 2-6, Thielen accumulated 497 yards and 4 touchdowns, capturing the essence of a top-tier wide receiver. However, the post-bye period has seen a stark decline, with only 289 yards and zero touchdowns in his last seven games. Target numbers, once a beacon of fantasy hope, have dwindled, averaging under 6 targets per game in the last four outings. Thielen's recent struggles make him a risky proposition for playoff lineups, and careful consideration should be given before placing him in the spotlight.

TE Logan Thomas, Washington Commanders (@NYJ)

The tight end position, known as a fantasy wasteland after the top tier, has been so bad on the year that even after multiple subpar games Logan Thomas is still considered a top 20 option. He shouldn’t be near any lineups for the playoffs. Through his first seven games, he was a more-than-solid play, going for over 40 yards or registering a TD in five of those. Since Week 8 it hasn’t been the same. The bottom seems to have fallen out for Thomas, as in his last three games he has a combined 3 catches for 22 yards. With Sam Howell being benched last week, the Commanders offense is all out of whack. Stay away from them at all costs.

Defense Los Angeles Rams (NO)

The Los Angeles Rams, a stalwart in the NFL, have paradoxically struggled to make a significant fantasy impact, ranking as the 30th defense in fantasy this season. Despite their defensive prowess, the Rams have failed to translate it into consistent fantasy success. Coming off a game against the Washington Commanders, where they managed just one sack against the league's most-sacked quarterback, the Rams face the New Orleans Saints in Week 16. While projections might suggest an enticing opportunity, the reality is that the Rams have recorded over 2 sacks just three times this season. Fantasy managers should exercise caution and avoid falling into the trap of starting the Rams solely based on projections.

As we embark on the final chapters of the fantasy football saga, the Week 16 Starts and Sits serve as a compass, guiding managers through the peaks and valleys of decision-making. Russell Wilson, Ezekiel Elliott, Chris Godwin, Isaiah Likely, and the Chicago Bears defense stand as potential heroes in this narrative, offering a path to glory for those bold enough to embrace their potential.

In contrast, the cautionary tales of Kyler Murray, Austin Ekeler, Adam Thielen, Logan Thomas, and the Los Angeles Rams defense serve as reminders of the pitfalls that can lurk in the shadows of championship aspirations. As fantasy managers make critical decisions in the crucible of Week 16, may the choices be inspired, the outcomes triumphant, and the journey toward glory continue unabated. The fantasy football odyssey endures, and for those still standing, the pursuit of greatness marches on. Best of luck in Week 16, where fantasy destinies are shaped and championships are forged!