Start ’em, Sit ’em Week 16: Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen highlight start/sits this week

It is Championship week for many in fantasy football leagues, leaving little room for error in those Week 16 start ’em and sit ’em decisions. Therefore, let’s take a look at the week ahead using our Fantasy Football Consistency Score (CS) and Defensive Points Allowed Consistency Score (D-PAC). Using these metrics, we will highlight the best and worst Week 16 matchups to let you know whether you should consider the likes of Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen as start ’em or sit ’em options.

What is Consistency Score and the Defensive Points Allowed Consistency Score?

If you would like more detailed information on how the CS and D-PAC works, please refer to the Introduction to the Fantasy Football Consistency Score. However, the premise is mostly straightforward. The higher the CS, the more consistent a player is scoring high-level fantasy points. In the case of D-PAC, the higher the number, the more consistently that team allows high-level fantasy points to the position.

Quarterbacks to start/sit in fantasy football Week 16

Start ’em – Baker Mayfield

It might seem frightening to start a quarterback with the 25th ranked CS in Week 16, but Mayfield leads off this start ’em sit ’em column for a good reason. Mayfield boasts an average points per game of 24.6 over the past four weeks. That is nearly double his 12.55 points per game from the 11 weeks prior. With the Cleveland Browns still on the playoff bubble, we know Mayfield needs to perform well for his team to finally end their playoff drought.

Related | NFL Week 15 Recap: David Montgomery, New York Jets highlight NFL action

Even more tantalizing is his Week 16 matchup against the New York Jets. While yes, they just stymied Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams in Week 15. There is nothing to suggest that it is anything more than an exception to the rule. They still have the fourth highest D-PAC and third-highest average points allowed to quarterbacks on the season. Even with that impressive performance in Los Angeles, they still have an average of 23.46 points allowed average over the last five weeks.

Other QB Start Options

Jalen Hurts – Hurts has been on fire in his two starts and worth rolling the dice on again. In the two games he has started, he’s averaged 25.55 fantasy points. His Fantasy Point Differential (FPD) is a whopping 27%, making him the fifth-ranked QB in our metric. He is also averaging 84.5 yards per game on the ground. That rushing gives him a solid floor regardless of how he does passing the ball.

Besides, believe it or not, the Eagles could still make the playoffs.

Sit ’em – Josh Allen

With the fifth-highest CS and a positive nine percent FPD, most managers who rostered Josh Allen rode him into the playoffs without question. It’s going out on a limb for me even to entertain sitting him in my Week 16 start ’em sit ’em column. But for championship week, the Buffalo Bills travel to Foxborough for Monday Night Football. The New England Patriots might be officially out of the hunt, but that doesn’t mean Bill Belichick, or anyone else in that building, want to make it easy for their division rivals.

The last time these two teams faced off, Allen had his worst fantasy performance of the season. He passed for only 154 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception for 12.46 fantasy points. Despite the Patriots’ woes this season, they still average the third-fewest fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and have the fifth-lowest D-PAC. They have also allowed the third-fewest passing touchdowns while having hauled in the second-most interceptions in the NFL. This is still a playoff-caliber defense, just without an offense.

Other QB Sits

Russell Wilson – The last time Russell Wilson faced the Los Angeles Rams, they held him to single-digit fantasy points. Wilson managed just 248 yards passing, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. The Rams defense has been terrorizing passers all season. They boast the lowest average points allowed and the seventh-lowest D-PAC to the position. 

They also have allowed the lowest yards per attempt, tied for the fourth-lowest completion percentage, and tied for the second-most sacks on the year. But possibly the most dangerous thing about them? The fact that they are fighting for their playoff lives against a division-leading rival.

Which running backs should you start/sit in fantasy football Week 16?

Start ’em – J.D. McKissic

It’s not a sexy play, but McKissic, my under-the-radar pick for the Week 16 Start ’em Sit ’em. The Washington Football team currently leads the NFC East by one game. And technically, any of the four teams could still win the division. That means Washington has to stay feisty. 

On the season, McKissic has 92 targets, and last week out-touched Peyton Barber 22-4. Additionally, the Carolina Panthers just gave up 158 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in Week 15.

Sit ’em – Mike Davis/Christian McCaffrey

I don’t expect Christian McCaffrey to suit up in Week 16, but I included him in the start ’em sit ’em to cover my bases. Basically, I would stay away from the Carolina backfield as a whole. The Panthers have nothing to play for at this point, having been eliminated from the playoffs. So if McCaffrey did suit up, why would they risk re-injuring the face of their franchise? At best, he would be on a pitch-count with Mike Davis getting the bulk of that workload. 

Even if Davis got the full workload, though, he would be running into a Washington Football Team defensive front that has been a headache for running backs all season. They have allowed just11 rushing touchdowns this season. Therefore, it’s no surprise they have the second-lowest D-PAC and third-lowest average points allowed to running backs.

Other RB Sits

Jonathan Taylor –  The rookie has turned it on as of late and crept into the top 10 of the CS rankings at eighth with a score of 5.84. But let’s not forget that he only has 37 targets on the season. If things go south against Pittsburgh, Nyheim Hines could easily out touch him. The Steelers defense has allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns, second-fewest rushing yards, and lowest average fantasy points allowed. This all adds up to them having the fourth-lowest D-PAC allowed.

Le’Veon Bell – With the news that Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out of the season, it’s tempting to assume Bell is a clear fantasy football start/sit decision. But even when Bell started in Week 13, he managed to post a total of just 55 yards. That translated to 6.5 fantasy points against a much friendlier Denver Broncos defense. The Atlanta Falcons are allowing fewer rushing yards, fewer rushing touchdowns, fewer fantasy points and have a lower D-PAC score than the Broncos. This feels like a trap game for Bell.

What receivers should you start ’em/sit ’em in fantasy football for Week 16?

Start ’em – Jalen Reagor

This is all provided Jalen Reagor plays in Week 16. But if he does, I am stamping my vote of confidence on the rookie receiver in Championship week.

There has been a Jalen to Jalen connection ever since Jalen Hurts took over quarterback duties. Jalen Reagor has been his top receiver the two games he’s started. Reagor only trails Dallas Goedert in targets over that time. With a matchup against the porous Dallas Cowboys secondary, a hefty amount of targets will turn into a healthy amount of fantasy points. The Cowboys just gave up 319 receiving yards to the San Francisco 49ers, who didn’t have their top receiver, George Kittle, or their number one quarterback available.

Other WR Starts

Rashard Higgins – With 26 targets in the four games he has started, Higgins has turned into a go-to target for Baker Mayfield. With the potential to break an 18-year playoff drought, the Browns have plenty to play for in Week 16. The New York Jets, who have the sixth-highest fantasy points allowed to the position, making Higgins a great flex option.

Sit ’em – Robby Anderson

For as much fun as it was to start Robby Anderson earlier in the year, it’s been just as frustrating starting him recently. In three out of the last five games played, Anderson has been in the single-digits in half PPR scoring. His negative one percent FPD ranks 76th among receivers, and his CS has slipped all the way to 14th after peaking at fifth in Week 8.

For Championship weekend, the Anderson and the Carolina Panthers take on the division-leading Washington Football Team. Washington boasts the third fewest-receiving yards allowed, average points allowed, D-PAC, and the seventh-fewest receiving touchdowns on the season.

Other WR Sits

Tyler Lockett – Lockett has been ice cold as of late, with four weeks in a row in the single digits and a CS outside of the top 12. He’s been a fantasy football start/sit conundrum for managers for over a month now. In Week 16, Lockett matches up against the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams held him in check for a mere 66 yards in their last meetup. They also have the lowest D-PAC and average fantasy points allowed against receivers.

Which tight ends should you trust or be cautious of in Week 16?

Start ’em – Dallas Goedert

Who knew Jalen Hurts was all it took to get Dallas Goedert on the right side of Week 16 start ’em sit ’em decisions? Since Hurts has taken over under center, Goedert has led the team in targets and is second in receiving yards. Goedert is Hurts’ security blanket.

In a fight for the “Best of the Worst” in the NFC East, the Eagles travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys. The Cowboys defense is middle of the pack against tight ends, but Goedert’s usage should assuage any doubt in him. The Cowboys are one of the friendliest fantasy defenses versus receivers, and Goedert is now essentially Hurts’ number one receiver.

Other TE Starts

Robert Tonyan – Robert Tonyan currently leads all tight ends in touchdowns with 10. A Green Bay tight end, go figure? In Week 15, he had a six-game low, three targets. But with the third-highest CS among tight ends at 4.00, he’s been too good to look elsewhere. The Titans are currently just outside the top 12 in fantasy points allowed to the position.

Sit ’em – Jonnu Smith

Jonnu Smith is the 11th highest scoring tight end in fantasy with the 10th highest CS (2.81) and sixth-highest FPD (+31%). This makes it hard to list him as a sit in a Week 16, Fantasy Football Championship week, Start ’em Sit ’em column. But at tight end, that isn’t good enough to be a “set it and forget it” roster piece. In the last four games played, Smith has only hit double-digit fantasy points in PPR scoring once. Which is the same number of times he has scored zero fantasy points in a game during that same time frame.

To make matters worse, the Green Bay Packers are one of the toughest defenses for fantasy tight ends. Their 9.89 average points allowed ranks 29th, while their 3.25 D-PAC is 30th. The Packers’ secondary has been stingy across the board and is a matchup to avoid playing pass catchers against. Especially when it comes to tight ends not named Travis Kelce or Darren Waller.

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