Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 16


Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week?  Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start – Jon Kitna – Dallas Cowboys – at Arizona

He has a pair of 300+ yard passing games in his last four.  Since Tony Romo went down with an injury, he has four 300+ yard passing games, including a 379 yard outing.  Would anyone have predicted that?  In recent weeks, with Dez Bryant out, Kitna and Jason Witten have really started clicking.  Witten, who has always had the knock of not being able to find the end zone, has four touchdowns in his last three games (as well as 32 receptions for 350 yards in his last four).
The Cardinals are the tenth worst passing defense in the league by yards (228.1 passing yards/game).  While they have been playing better, they haven’t exactly been playing teams who are lighting it up offensively (Rams, Broncos & Panthers the past three weeks).  Look for Kitna and company to put up some strong numbers this week.
Other quarterbacks to start:

  • Josh Freeman – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Seattle
  • Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens – at Cleveland

Sit – Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New Orleans
Fantasy owners who have been depending on Matty Ice get a tough draw with their fantasy title on the line.  Forget about the fact that he hasn’t thrown for more than 227 yards in his last four games, but he gets a Saints defense that is allowing just 195.0 passing yards per game.  To make matters worse, they have allowed the fewest passing touchdowns in the league (10).  With titles hanging in the balance, it is just impossible to put your faith in him.
Other quarterbacks to sit:

  • Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears – vs. New York Jets
  • Tim Tebow – Denver Broncos – vs. Houston

Running Backs
Start – BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – at Buffalo

There were times this season where Green-Ellis was far from a lock to play.   You really had no clue exactly who was going to get the carries in New England with various names in the mix.  Then, there was the thought that Danny Woodhead would carry the workload.  However, at this point, things are not so cloudy.  Yes, he is coming off a day where he had just six carries for 38 yards, but he still managed to find the end zone.  In fact, he has 12 rushing TDs on the year, just one behind the league leader (Arian Foster).  The Bills are the worst rushing defense in the league by yards (158.6 rushing yards per game), so look for the Patriots to ride Green-Ellis in Buffalo
Start – Ryan Torain – Washington Redskins – at Jacksonville
It’s been a crazy ride in Washington when it comes to their running game, but it looks like a healthy Torain has reemerged as the lead back.  Since returning from injury he has 283 total yards against Tampa Bay and Dallas.  While he has just one touchdown (a receiving TD against Dallas), Jacksonville has allowed 15 rushing TD on the year.  Look for Torain to remain a main focus on offense, both on the ground and through the air (five receptions in Week 15 as a safety valve for Rex Grossman).
Other running backs to start:

  • LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Seattle
  • Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. San Diego

Sit – LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets – at Chicago
It would be ideal if the Jets could lean on LT to help carry them to the playoffs.  It would also be ideal if fantasy owners can rely on him to help take them home (as he did in the first few weeks).  However, he’s rushed for less than 50 yards in his last five games and less than 60 yards in his last nine.  Throw in the fact that his last touchdown came in Week 6 and do you want to have anything to do with him, especially with him getting a Bears defense allowing just 89.8 rushing yards per game?
Sit – Christopher Ivory – New Orleans Saints – at Atlanta
After missing Week 15 due to injury, it is immediately tough to trust him (though it appears like he’s likely to play).  With the Saints playing on Monday night, unless we get a clear-cut answer, if he were to be a late scratch you would be left scrambling for answers.  That’s not to mention that the Saints also have Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and Julius Jones in the mix for carries, which could further limit his potential value.  This is unfortunately a situation you may want to avoid.
Other running backs to sit:

  • Brandon Jackson/James Starks – Green Bay Packers – vs. New York Giants
  • Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Dallas

Two Wide Receiver Formats
Start – Kenny Britt – Tennessee Titans – at Kansas City
It took him just one game back before he reestablished himself among the best receivers in the game.  After a slow game in Week 14, he exploded for six receptions and 128 yards against the Texans in Week 15.  Now, all he needs to do is return to the end zone and fantasy owners will be drooling.  Prior to the injury he had scored in five straight games and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him return there this week.
Another wide receiver to start:

  • Stevie Johnson – Buffalo Bills – vs. New England

Sit – Miles Austin – Dallas Cowboys – at Arizona
With Dez Bryant out Austin was supposed to reestablish himself as the top receiver in Dallas.  Unfortunately, that just hasn’t happened.  He’s had just one game of more than 47 yards since Week 9 and just two since Week 6.  Yes, he had a two touchdown game, but keep in mind that it came on a day he had two receptions for seven yards.  With how bad he’s been, there is no way to trust him at this juncture.
Another wide receiver to sit:

  • Hines Ward – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Carolina

Three Wide Receiver Formats
Start – Deion Branch – New England Patriots – at Buffalo

I don’t buy that the Patriots may take their foot off the gas in Week 16.  They still have to play in Week 17, plus will have a bye in the first week of the playoffs.  That seems like an awfully long time to go without pushing hard to expect them to suddenly turn things back on.  They need to stay sharp, and that just doesn’t mean slowing down.  Could the starters sit the fourth quarter?  It’s possible, but three quarters should be more than enough time for Branch to post solid numbers.
Another wide receiver to start:

  • Mario Manningham – New York Giants – at Green Bay

Sit – Michael Crabtree – San Francisco 49ers – at St. Louis
We wanted to believe that he would emerge as a go to fantasy wide receiver, but it just never happened in 2010.  Only twice did he have over four receptions in a game and only once more than 61 yards.  There’s no way to have any faith in him at this point in the year.
Another wide receiver to sit:

  • Danny Amendola – St. Louis Rams – vs. San Francisco

What are your thoughts on these decisions?  Who would you start?  Who would you sit?
Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 16 Rankings:

Make sure to pre-order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here.


  1. Hey. I’m in the championship round this week and have a 3 RB/3 WR format. My running back’s are slim due to injuries to frank gore and ryan grant so I have 5 choices and must pick 3 to start. The choices are Cedric Benson, Jonathan Stewart, Ronnie Brown, Pierre Thomas, and then either Maurice Morris, Brandon Jackson, Rashad Jennings, or Westbrook. I know it’s bad, but I need to pick 3 of these guys. Which 3 would you start??? Thanks a bunch.

  2. I think I already know the answer to my question based on your rankings this week, but I will ask anyways….
    Start 1 RB, 2 WR and 3 FLEX:
    Ray Rice
    Michael Turner
    DeSean Jackson
    Larry Fitzgerald
    Miles Austin
    Deion Branch
    Mike Williams (SEA)
    Derrick Mason
    BONUS: Aaron Rodgers has a 4:15 game. If there is no definite word if Rodgers will play by 1 o’clock, should I start Rex Grossman or Mark Sanchez? Or should I roll the dice on Rodgers?

    • Here’s how I’d go:
      RB – McFadden
      WR – Jackson
      WR – Fitzgerald
      F – Rice
      F – Mendenhall
      F – Turner
      As for Rodgers, at this point it looks like he will play, so I’d roll the dice. Sanchez is just as big of a risk. Grossman would be an option, but Rodgers has such a higher upside.

  3. Mr. Rotoprof –
    Which RB should I start in a PPR please?
    – T.Choice v AZ D (w/ Barber playing)
    – M.Bush v Indy D
    – B.Jacobs v GB D
    Also, is Mike Williams (SEA) a better choice than A.Boldin this week?

    • Let’s start with the WR, I would absolutely go with Boldin this week. He just has a higher upside.
      As for the RB, I’d go with either Jacobs or Choice. Choice has certainly earned playing time in recent weeks, but with Barber & Jones expected to play, there are only so many carries to go around. With that in mind, I’d go with Jacobs.

  4. Have a good one for you I need to know who to start at my receiver position this week for the superbowl. I allready have Wallace in my flex spot who put up decent number’s against Carolina but my other three receiver’s I need some help with. For my receiever postion’s I have Desean Jackson vs. Minn, Branch vs. Buff, and Colston vs. Atl. As of now I have Jackson and Colston starting with Branch on the bench what do you think?

    • I would go with V-Jax, White & Branch
      I think V-Jax & White are locks, pretty much no matter who else you have, so there really is no explanation necessary. As for Branch, he clearly has the best QB throwing him the ball, which is something not to underestimate. Additionally, you have to like the matchup, giving him the edge.

  5. Another question for my TE spot’s I have Celek for the eagles and Hernandez for NE, as of right now I have Hernandez starting any suggestions…and my last is for my RB right now I have Mcfadden starting with Blount and A.Peterson on the bench….? open for suggestions or comments

  6. For the TE, I’d play Celek. It’s hard to trust Hernandez with the presence of Gronkowski.
    For the RB spot, it’s really a toss up between Blount & AP. However, with AP questionable and having a night game, going Blount to be safe is probably the way to go.

  7. I am in the Finals for the first time, and I need help. I’m starting to doubt myself at the worst possible time. I need help with my lineup. It is as follows in a non-PPR league:
    V. Jax
    Ray Rice
    J. Charles
    Owen Daniels
    Hillis (Flex)
    Garrett Hartley
    Bears Defense
    Michael Jenkins
    Zach Miller
    Earl Bennett
    Matt Ryan
    Rob Bironas
    Need help desperately, because my opponent has the best matchups in the world.

        • I’m really high on Britt this week, so I wouldn’t do it, but it does depend on your scoring format. If you are in a format that is extremely favorable to QB I could see it (i.e. giving points per completion). Otherwise, I’d definitely go Britt.

          • The QB format is 1pt for every 25yds, 4pts for passing touchdown, 6pts for rushing touchdown, -1pt for interception. Webb had a horrible game last week against the bears in terrible conditions and still got 13pts. I figure with decent playing conditions, and an easier Eagles DEF, he should get at least 13, which is pretty good for a receiver. What about replacing Hillis with Webb at flex?

  8. Championship Game Questions.
    At QB: Garrard vs. Wash or Bradford vs. SF? I’m thinking Garrard.
    2 RB from the following: Mike Tolbert, Rashad Jennings, Brandon Jacobs, Tashard Choice, and Donald Brown.
    3 WR From the Following: Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Llyod, Desean Jackson, and Mike Williams (TB).

    • Here’s what I would do:
      QB – Garard (it’s a nice matchup for sure)
      RB – Assuming MJD is out, I would go Tolbert & Jennings
      WR – This clearly is the strength of your team. I’d go Nicks, D-Jax & Williams

  9. Hi again,
    I am really concerned about this week. I went into the playoffs as a 6 seed and am now in the ‘ship against the 1 seed. Let me know your opinions. The position I am most concerned with is the TE spot… should I start Boss over Hernandez??? Thanks!!!
    QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
    QB Chad Henne
    RB Darren Mcfadden
    RB Matt Forte
    RB/WR Cedric Benson
    WR Reggie Wayne
    WR Pierre Garcon
    WR Brandon Lloyd
    TE Kevin Boss
    D/ST Chargers
    K David Buehler
    RB Ryan Matthews
    TE Antonio Gates
    WR Braylon Edwards
    WR Austin Collie
    QB Alex Smith
    RB Anthony Dixon
    TE Aaron Hernandez

    • I would go with exactly what you have, with Gates out of action. With Hernandez you really don’t know exactly what you are going to get. It is just as easy to imagine Gronkowski being the go to tight end, as opposed to Hernandez, leaving you extremely disappointed. At least with Boss you pretty much know he’s going to be a main point in the offense and hopefully he can find the end zone.

      • Thanks for all your help rotoprofessor, I appreciate all of your help these past few weeks. Hope you had a merry Christmas and wishing you and yours a happy and healthy new year. Wish me luck for tomorrow and look I forward to next year!!

  10. its looking like MJD is going to be a no-go.who would you start in his place: Thomas jones,marshawn lynch or tashard choice? its my championship game,Help!

  11. For the Championship game which 2 RB’s should I start Tolbert, Jennings, or Ronnie Brown.
    And which 3 WR’s should I start D. Jackson, Maclin, Britt, L. Moore or Bess.

  12. PPR League
    This is what I have:
    QB P. Manning
    WR1 D. Jackson
    WR2 W. Welker
    WR3 ?
    RB1 A. Foster
    RB2 R. Jennings
    TE J. Witten
    W/R/T ?
    Need to fill 2 spots. On my bench are: B. Gibson, D. Woodhead, M. Sims-Walker, T. Jones, J. Tamme, C. Cooley
    Also, should I go BAL DST against CLE or ATL DST against SEA?

    • Here’s how I’d do it:
      QB – Manning
      WR – D-Jax, Welker & Woodhead (since Sims-Walker appears to be out)
      RB – Foster & Jennings
      TE – Witten
      FLEX – Cooley (I know, it’s surprising)
      D – Baltimore

  13. good morning, Quick question. Who would you start? Aaron Rodgers Vs Matt Ryan? Hillis Vs Blount or Torain?? Mike Williams(TB) Vs Danny Woodhead? Thank you so much for all your help this year. Today is the ‘Big Dance’.

  14. So i just read what i just wrote…… that was a horrible way to ask that question…ahahahaha Srry. So i have D.Jacksn at one WR spot, i just lost T.O. so i need another WR. Which brings in M.Williams or Woodhead. I was planning on starting Steven Jackson and Hillis but sounds like Hillis might be hurting with his ankle. So Blount or Torain. And i have a open flex spot. I dnt know if that helps any better but thx again


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