Evan Silva

Matchups

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Matchups: Stick with Smith

Saturday, December 24, 2011



San Francisco @ Seattle

We won't pretend to know if Marshawn Lynch will become the first to score a rushing touchdown against the 49ers this season. What we do know is that far better runners than Lynch have been shut down by San Francisco all year. LeSean McCoy (18 rushing yards), Ray Rice (59 yards), Beanie Wells (33 yards), Rashard Mendenhall (64), and Steven Jackson (19) have been among them. Lynch himself was held to 33 scoreless yards on 13 carries by the Niners in Week 1, and his lack of passing-game usage prevents Lynch from compensating in fantasy scoring when he isn't flirting with 100 rushing yards and/or finding pay dirt. Lynch has had a nice contract year, but in all likelihood only another monster workload will buoy his Week 16 fantasy stats. He's not going to average many yards per carry, and I'm betting against Lynch getting into the end zone.

The final in the aforementioned Seahawks-49ers Week 1 game was 33-17 Niners, but 26 of San Francisco's points occurred on special teams. Neither of these teams has enough offense to create a shootout situation, and Vegas showed its awareness by setting a weakling 36.5-point over/under. Frank Gore is a respectable RB2 against Seattle's No. 11 run defense, but otherwise 49ers skill players are hit-or-miss options with low-looking upsides because of a likely low-scoring affair. Rosenthal and Wesseling rank Michael Crabtree 25th among fantasy receivers for Week 16. Vernon Davis is the No. 8 tight end, although I personally prefer him over Brandon Pettigrew.

Score Prediction: 49ers 16, Seahawks 14

Sunday Night Football

Chicago @ Green Bay

After re-watching Packers-Chiefs, I came away convinced that Green Bay's first loss was largely attributable to K.C.'s absolute best game of the season. CBs
Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers put clamps on James Jones and Greg Jennings in man coverage. The Packers suffered multiple in-game O-Line injuries and Tamba Hali had Aaron Rodgers on the run and/or seemingly was in his face every other play. I expect the Pack to be out for blood with a take-no-prisoners approach at home versus Chicago. While it's conceivable that Green Bay would rest some starters after a big early lead, keep in mind that Mike McCarthy's team has not yet clinched postseason home-field advantage. They can do so with a victory, or a 49ers loss to Seattle at 4:15ET. Still, McCarthy's game plan will undoubtedly target a Sunday night win. Lest we hear otherwise by Sunday morning, the best advice is to start Packers skill players as you normally would.

Fantasy expectations need to be checked for
Kahlil Bell, but his workload should not be a problem at Lambeau. Matt Forte (knee) and Marion Barber (calf) will both miss the game, leaving Bell to operate in every-down fashion with only undrafted rookie Armando Allen available for carries in reserve. Bell is a replacement-level talent, running his forty in the 4.7s. But he is a versatile back, trusted in pass protection and to play in all formations regardless of game flow, down, and distance. Even if the Bears don't keep Saturday night's game particularly close -- and I suspect they won't -- Bell could rack up receptions from Josh McCown in throw-happy comeback mode. Make room for Bell in your PPR league. In standard settings, he's still quite appealing with potential touch the football 30-plus times if Chicago does stay competitive. Workloads like that are incredibly rare.

Score Prediction: Packers 34, Bears 17

Monday Night Football

Atlanta @ New Orleans

This is a Monday game to wait for where possible. Falcons-Saints has an over/under of 52.5, the largest of Week 16. Since
Matt Ryan broke into the league in 2008, six of the seven Falcons-Saints games have produced 49 or more points. Roddy White, Julio Jones, Ryan, Tony Gonzalez, and even slumping Michael Turner have favorable outlooks in the fantasy championship. You want to start guys in high-scoring games, and this is the safest bet for one of the week.

In general, the same holds true for the Saints' passing game.
Drew Brees, Marques Colston, and Jimmy Graham are fantasy plays to feel very good about in a matchup like this. Lance Moore is worth a long look as a WR3. The backfield is stickier, but at least we know the roles of the players going in. With Mark Ingram (turf toe) still out, Pierre Thomas works the screen game and is the favorite for goal-line opportunities. Darren Sproles has consistently led the group in yards from scrimmage. Chris Ivory does his damage between the twenties, and as a "keep-the-lead" back sees an uptick in workload when the Saints are winning. I like Sproles as a flex option in PPR leagues. I like Thomas as a flex in standard formats. I don't like Ivory's chances of scoring, but he's a safe bet for 50-75 yards.

Score Prediction: Saints 37, Falcons 30



Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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