Need some quick tips to assemble your fantasy lineup for Week 16? It’s championship weekend for most fantasy leagues. We’ve combed the far reaches of the Internet and culled only the choicest fantasy tips and advice. Below you’ll find easily digestible nuggets from multiple fantasy experts, addressing some of the critical situations fantasy owners will face from week to week.
Dig in. And dominate.
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: Allen probably hurt some owners' chances a week ago when he was forced to leave the game with a hip injury. While he has practiced on a limited basis, he’s listed as questionable for the Chargers' game Saturday night. It’s not a great matchup, but if the Chargers are going to move the ball, it’s most likely going to come through the air since the Ravens are stout against the run. Update: All signs point to Allen taking the field this weekend.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants: A quad injury is likely going to sideline Beckham for the third straight week. Look for another option.
Matt Breida, RB, 49ers: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Breida was limited in practice Thursday. Breida’s ankle has been an issue pretty much every week, but has played at times. This appears to be the case again. He’s coming off a game with 96 yards from scrimmage, but Breida may not find much room to run against the stingy Bears' defense this weekend. Update: Breida will play against Chicago.
James Conner, RB, Steelers: Conner did not practice Thursday as he continues to recover from an ankle injury. It’s not looking good for Conner owners, but you did get by last week ... so good luck in Week 16. Jaylen Samuels will get the start for Pittsburgh. Update: Conner is officially out for Week 16.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers: Gordon isn’t listed on L.A.'s final injury report, but he does face a tall order against the Ravens. But never mind all that; if Gordon is a go, you play Gordon. Enough said.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: The bad news is that Hilton hasn’t practiced this week. The good news is this is exactly how last week played out and it ended with Hilton playing and collecting five receptions for 85 yards. Hilton owners have probably gotten used to this routine and barring any setbacks, he should be a go Sunday. Update: Hilton is listed as questionable but got in some practice time Friday; should play this weekend.
Lamar Miller, RB, Texans: Miller barely played before an ankle injury took him out of the game in Week 15. He was limited in Thursday’s practice, but is looking probable for Sunday’s tilt vs. the Eagles. Miller should be highly motivated as he is just 83 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season. Update: Miller is listed as questionable. Continue to monitor.
Jared Goff, QB, Rams: Depending on who you ask or read this week, Goff could be helpful for owners looking to win it all. Or he is not worth starting given he has tallied just 19 points combined over the past three games. As a Goff owner who is competing for a fantasy league title, I am not sure he can be trusted with so much on the line. On one hand, Los Angeles faces Arizona, which should be a relatively easy win for the Rams. Additionally, Rams Coach Sean McVay may try to get Goff on track by making sure he gets some positive results before the playoffs begin. The Cardinals are porous against the run, but hold their own in pass defense. I haven’t decided whether I will start Goff, but I did pick up another QB in case I’m not feeling it. For other Goff owners, the choice isn’t as easy as it was four weeks ago.
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams: Gurley would normally be listed in the area above that focuses on injuries, but because he is so vital to his owners, we felt he was worth a bit more of a look given it is championship weekend. While Gurley is optimistic he will play this weekend, he has yet to take the field and do any running this week at practice. Los Angeles faces a porous run defense in Arizona, so while the matchup looks great on paper, because of that balky knee, Gurley’s status is iffy. The general consensus seems to be that Gurley will play, but his fantasy owners would love to see a better report coming out of Friday’s practice. No doubt Gurley is a No. 1 RB, but what if the Rams get off to a big lead, then rest Gurley? What if he’s a game-time decision in a late afternoon game on Sunday? Hopefully, Gurley can go through at least a limited practice Friday. L.A. still needs to win games to secure a bye in the postseason, and given the Rams' play the past couple weeks, a solid offensive performance is likely a big goal for Week 16. Update: Well, I warned of the possibility and now it’s a reality. Gurley will be a game-time decision in a late afternoon matchup Sunday, meaning his owners will have a critical choice to make.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns: Full disclosure: The QB I mentioned picking up in the league in which I own Jared Goff? Yes, it’s Mayfield. Cleveland’s rookie play-caller has had a nice season, though he may not be guiding anyone’s fantasy team this weekend. But should he be for owners who don’t like their respective QB matchup, or have lost ... gulp ... confidence in Goff? Mayfield has had serviceable results the past few weeks, but in Week 12 against the Bengals, he tossed four touchdowns. This weekend, Mayfield and the Browns host those same Bengals, a team that has allowed nine QBs to score at least 22 points. All I’m saying is that if you find yourself in a quandary when it comes to your starting QB in the title game, Mayfield may not be the worst option to fill in and guide you to victory.
Lottery Tickets That Could Pay Off
Kalen Ballage, RB, Dolphins: With Frank Gore out for the rest of the season, the natural thought is that Kenyan Drake will see a heavier workload. However, Ballage did see 12 carries following Gore’s injury, turning them into 123 yards and a touchdown. For owners in need of an RB2/flex, Ballage could be an appealing spot start. Virtually unowned a week ago, Ballage is available in 75 percent of ESPN leagues.
Elijah McGuire, RB, Jets: There’s been chatter about McGuire being a fantasy contributor for some time, but it wasn’t until two weeks ago that he finally provided double-digit production. The New York tailback did so again last weekend, mostly because he found the end zone for a second consecutive week. The Jets host a beaten-down Packers squad that’s been generous to opposing running backs. For owners in need, McGuire is more of a sure thing than the above-mentioned Ballage. McGuire is available in 38 percent of ESPN leagues.
***This post is updated each Friday afternoon with additional information on injuries and other player-related news.