Thomason: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em For Week 16

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Joe Mixon have favorable matchups this week.

Jack Thomason
December 18, 2019 - 3:16 pm

(670 The Score) "Sit ‘Em, Start ‘Em" is a breakdown of some of the best and worst fantasy football matchups to help you navigate setting your lineups for the week.

My goal with this article is to provide you with a player to start who may not be the most obvious of starts and to share a player to sit whom you normally wouldn't consider shying away from regardless of matchup. 

Let's get to it for Week 16.

Quarterback

START – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins (vs. Bengals) Fitzpatrick continues to produce, with three of his last four games going for more than 20 fantasy points. This week, he’ll face a Bengals defense that ranks 22nd in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to quarterbacks and 27th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric for pass defense. The Dolphins are one-point home favorites with an implied team total of 24.25 points, which is significant for a team that’s been in contention most of the year for the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

SIT – Aaron Rodgers, Packers (at Vikings) Green Bay travels to Minnesota for a monster Monday Night Football game. The Packers currently hold the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff picture, but the Vikings can create a shakeup with a victory. Minnesota is ranked eighth in pass DVOA and 16th in aFPA to opposing quarterbacks. Meanwhile, the Packers' team total sits at just 20.5 points and they're four-point underdogs. Quietly, Rodgers hasn't topped 243 passing yards in his last six outings. He has thrown for less than 200 yards three times in that span and tossed one or fewer touchdowns in five of those six games. Outside of his explosion against the Giants in Week 13, Rodgers has been irrelevant down the stretch.

Running back

START – Joe Mixon, Bengals (at Dolphins) Since Cincinnati's bye in Week 9, Mixon has had four games with at least 23 touches and more than 100 total yards, including three in which he has totaled more than 150 yards. The Bengals have an implied team total of 23.25 points -- one of their highest of the season -- and even though they’re a one-point underdogs, Mixon makes for a phenomenal start going up against the Dolphins' porous run defense. Miami ranks 25th in aFPA to opposing backs and 29th in run DVOA. Fire up Mixon and don’t look back.

SIT – Le’Veon Bell, Jets (vs. Steelers) The Jets are three-point home underdogs against the Steelers with an implied team total of 17.25 points. It has been a rough season for Bell, as he’s scored only four touchdowns and has rushed for just 676 yards. Last week marked Bell's highest rushing total of the season (87 yards) and was just the second time he has topped 70 yards. Now he’ll face Pittsburgh’s run defense, which ranks second in DVOA and third in aFPA. Unless Bell gets heavily involved in the passing game, this is likely another week of tough sledding.

Receiver

START – Breshad Perriman, Buccaneers (vs. Texans) This is an easy one. Perriman is just about the last man standing with Jameis Winston, who has an NFL-best 4,753 passing yards. Perriman is fresh off a 113-yard, three-touchdown performance, and Chris Godwin was carted off with a hamstring injury last week. Now the Buccaneers take on a Texans secondary that ranks 24th in aFPA and 26th in pass DVOA. Ride the hot hand here as Perriman has topped 70 yards in three straight games and has scored in two straight as well.

SIT – John Brown, Bills (at Patriots) Brown is likely to see a lot of Patriots star cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and that spells trouble for the dependable fantasy receiver. Gilmore has more touchdowns defensively than he has allowed all season and is one of the front-runners for the Defensive Player of the Year award. Brown reeled in five balls for 65 yards in the Week 4 matchup between these teams, but the Bills' implied team total sits at a paltry 15.5 points, the lowest total of Week 16. This game is also in New England, so I’m staying away from Brown with a fantasy title on the line.

Tight end

START – Tyler Higbee, Rams (at 49ers) Higbee has tallied at least eight targets, seven receptions and 107 yards in each of his past three games. If you're worried about the 49ers being a top-six team in aFPA to tight ends, go back and re-read those stats! You have to start Higbee, as consistency and production at the tight end position is next to impossible to find. Often at this late point in the season, it’s the player you never expected to produce who steps up big. You need to believe in that and not get caught up in the "this is the week the struggles end" thought process. If you needed any other motivation to play Higbee, the 49ers have allowed four touchdowns to tight ends in their last three games. 

SIT – Jack Doyle, Colts (vs. Panthers) Carolina is one of the most difficult matchups for tight ends, and Doyle has barely been relevant since Eric Ebron went on injured reserve. He had one good game and failed to top 28 yards in the other three. Doyle had just two receptions in each of the last two weeks, and the Panthers rank third in aFPA to the position. The Colts will likely have a run-heavy approach to attack the Panthers' biggest weakness and unless Doyle gets lucky and slips into the end zone, he’s not helping anyone win a championship.

Other starts: Ryan Tannehill (vs. Saints), Marlon Mack (vs. Panthers), Anthony Miller (vs. Chiefs) and Jacob Hollister (at Cardinals).

Other sits: Carson Wentz (vs. Cowboys), Carlos Hyde (at Buccaneers), Courtland Sutton (vs. Lions) and Jason Witten (at Eagles).

Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert. Follow him on Twitter @jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.​