Championship week is upon us and what a year it has been. If you’ve made it this far, odds are you won’t be experimenting with your lineup. However, you still may have to make some “iffy” plays. Here’s a list of guys to contemplate all week. Good luck…
QB Philip Rivers, Chargers at Raiders – “The Machine” projection: 20.8
Philip Rivers, once a fantasy stud, now a liability, has experienced a rollercoaster of a season. In Week 6, Rivers threw for 503 yards and two touchdowns. Just four games later and he threw for just 178 yards, no touchdowns, and one interceptions. Rivers actually has a statistically favorable matchup in Week 16. He’ll go up against a Raiders’ defense that is allowing 266 passing yards per game. They’ve also allowed 22 touchdowns through the air. However, that same defense held Aaron Rodgers in check in Week 15. Rodgers was limited to just 204 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Because Rivers hasn’t performed well since Week 12, it wouldn’t be unjustified to leave him out of your championship lineup.
RB Devonta Freeman, Panthers at Falcons – “The Machine” projection: 16.3
Devonta Freeman owners went from being the smartest in history to the most disappointed. Overall, Freeman has had a spectacular season and no one would have predicted the success he’s enjoyed. However, Freeman hasn’t rushed for more than 100 yards since Week 7. In his last four games, Freeman has only found the end zone once. To make matters worse, Freeman will go up against the NFL’s only undefeated team, the Carolina Panthers. Their record, 14-0, speaks for itself. They’re allowing just 90.1 rushing yards per game and have surrendered only nine rushing touchdowns. The last time these two teams met, Freeman rushed 12 times for just 40 yards. Odds are you aren’t able to bench Freeman, just don’t expect much production.
WR Julio Jones, Panthers at Falcons – “The Machine” projection: 18.9
Julio Jones will get his shot at revenge against Josh Norman in Week 16 as the Panthers will travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons. Just two weeks ago, Norman held Jones to four catches and 33 receiving yards. Jones finished that game with just 88 total receiving yards. Matt Ryan’s recent struggles haven’t helped. He’s thrown an interception in an astounding five straight games. Point is, it’s hard to see Jones finding much success against the NFL’s best cornerback.
TE Gary Barnidge, Browns at Chiefs – “The Machine” projection: 14.9
Gary Barnidge has been one of the NFL’s best tight ends all season. He’s hauled in 68 passes for 903 yards and nine touchdowns. He’ll likely lead the Browns in receiving yards and touchdowns. Week 16, however, will put him up against the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have won eight straight and employ the best fantasy defense against tight ends. They’ve surrendered just three touchdowns and one game of more than 100 receiving yards to tight ends this season. With Johnny Manziel still learning the offense, it may be a tough day for Barnidge.