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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 16

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Matt Moore vs. NE

Moore is coming off a solid 217-yard, two-touchdown performance in a win over the Bills. He was extremely efficient throwing the ball just 20 times for those numbers. Moore may have the best matchup of the weekend for a non-obvious fantasy starter as he faces the very weak Patriots secondary. The Patriots have given up the second-most fantasy points through the air this season and have allowed at least 250 yards passing in eight of their last 10 games. Moore certainly wouldn't be your ideal starter, but in a pinch he should be able to put up solid numbers.

Kyle Orton vs. OAK

Orton threw for nearly 300 yards in the upset win over the Packers. Now Orton faces the rival Raiders and again faces a very favorable matchup. The Raiders have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and have allowed multiple touchdown passes in six of their last seven games. Orton may be the best non-obvious fantasy starting quarterback of the week and is definitely worth a look this week for teams that need a one-week upgrade during most leagues championship week.

Willis McGahee vs. BUF

The Dolphins torched the Bills for 245 yards rushing last week and rank as the third-friendliest run defense for fantasy running backs. The Bills have surrendered rushing touchdowns in six of the last seven weeks, which is good news for McGahee. McGahee (hamstring) practiced Tuesday, which is a good sign in his best matchup of the season. If McGahee gets on the field, which is extremely likely, look for he and a certain quarterback to put up big numbers on the ground.

Jabar Gaffney vs. MIN

Gaffney has quietly been very good for the Redskins. Gaffney has caught 24 passes in his last four games and averaged more than 90 yards a game in that time. Gaffney has a great matchup this week against a Vikings secondary that ranks second in most fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. The Vikings have also given up at least one touchdown to wide receivers in every game since Week 5. If Gaffney is on your roster, then he should definitely be in your lineup this week.

Antonio Brown vs. STL

Brown has been a nice surprise for the Steelers passing game, catching 60 balls for nearly 1,000 yards. While Mike Wallace is the main man for the Steelers, Brown has been a nice second choice and should have a very good outing in an excellent matchup, especially after Monday's performance. The Rams have given up the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers, and after the Steelers offense struggled Monday, look for Pittsburgh to use this game to get ready for the playoffs, meaning Brown should have one of his better outings of the season.


Joe Flacco vs. CLE

Of any low-end starting quarterback this week, Flacco has by far the worst matchup. Flacco has been solid in his last two outings, throwing for two touchdowns in each game, but doesn't have the consistent big-game capabilities in his offense that fantasy owners need. This week, Flacco faces a Browns secondary that held him to just 158 yards in Week 13 and ranks fourth in fewest fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Flacco probably shouldn't be in your lineup if options such as Matt Moore, Kyle Orton or even Rex Grossman are available.

Marshawn Lynch vs. SF

Lynch has been a monster this season, scoring 11 touchdowns including five in his last three weeks. This week, however, Lynch should come back to earth against the best run defense in the NFL. The 49ers held Lynch to just 33 yards in their first outing and have not allowed a rushing touchdown to a running back all season and just one touchdown total to the position. Lynch has been a great pickup for owners, but in what could be the most important week of the season, Lynch should struggle.

Donald Brown vs. HOU

Brown may have finally had the breakout performance the Colts have been waiting three years for in the win over the Titans as he rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown. Brown has been a hot waiver-wire pickup this week, but the matchup is not favorable. The Texans have surrendered the second fewest points to fantasy running backs this season and held the Colts as a team to just 64 yards rushing from the running back position early this season. Brown might be a sleeper in next year's draft, but it is tough to see him helping your fantasy team two weeks in a row.

Hakeem Nicks vs. NYJ

While injuries have slowed Nicks all season, he still is in line for better numbers than last season with the exception of touchdown catches. That said, look for Nicks to struggle as he will be the latest visitor to Revis Island this week in his matchup with the Jets. The Jets have the third-best fantasy defense against wide receivers this season, and Revis continues to shut down No. 1 receivers. While Nicks is probably too good to keep out of your lineup, expect a below-average performance this week.

Chicago DEF vs. GB

In standard leagues, the Bears rank as the second-best fantasy defense in points scored per week, trailing only the 49ers. But this week they face a Packers team that had been on fire until last week's surprising loss to the Chiefs. In their first matchup, the Bears scored about half their normal total fantasy points against the Packers, and with the Packers returning home, where they have scored morer than 40 points in four of six games, look for a very tough outing for the Bears defense this week.