TE Notes: Aaron Hernandez has eight more receptions than any other tight end over the past three weeks. He gives owners a decided advantage in championship week. … Tony Gonzalez already has more receptions and yards than he’s had in any season with the Falcons. … Jason Witten needs six receptions to break Gonzalez’s tight end record of 102 set in 2004. Heath Miller needs eight receptions and 19 yards over his final two games to set career-highs in an All-Pro caliber season. … Greg Olsen’s 1.85 yards per route run is the second-highest total among tight ends. … Dennis Pitta is fantasy’s No. 1 tight end over the past five weeks, thanks in large part to last week’s monster 7/125/2 stat line. … Brandon Myers is just a borderline TE1 after being held under 20 yards in back-to-back games. Only Hernandez and Jimmy Graham have drawn more than Tony Scheffler’s 22 targets over the past three weeks. He’s Matthew Stafford’s second option in the passing game. … Brent Celek has a plus matchup against a Redskins defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to tight ends. … Facing the Broncos, Ben Watson is the only tight end with a better matchup this week. Week 16 Team Defense
Week 16 Kickers
Last updated at 5:35 p.m. ET on Friday, December 21, 2012
Nobody can say with certainty that Stevan Ridley has escaped the doghouse this week after putting the ball on the ground three times in the past two games. The Boston Herald is convinced, however, that coach Bill Belichick will "give Ridley the rock" this week. He's earned that trust with 1,105 yards and 10 touchdowns on 252 carries this season. The Patriots realize they're not making a Super Bowl run without Ridley's ability to move the chains and grind out tough yards.
Ridley is coming off the only game of the season without double-digit carries, but that's mostly because the Patriots fell behind by four touchdowns versus the 49ers. At that point, passing-down specialist Danny Woodhead was better suited to the offense. Look for a bounce-back game from Ridley against a Jaguars defense allowing the most fantasy points to opposing backs this season.
Week 16 Quarterbacks
QB Notes: Cam Newton’s offense is averaging 3.0 offensive touchdowns over the past seven games after averaging 1.7 in the first seven. Newton’s 7,502 passing yards are the second-most behind Peyton Manning’s 7,874 in a player’s first two seasons. … Aaron Rodgers is back on solid fantasy footing after passing for more scores last week than his three previous games combined. You’re not going to sit Rodgers in a plus matchup with your season on the line. Tony Romo leads all QBs in passing yards over the past five weeks, ranking third in fantasy points behind Newton and Tom Brady. … Robert Griffin III was moving fine in Wednesday’s full practice and will start Sunday barring a setback. Since ditching the Wide 9 scheme, the Eagles have allowed Josh Freeman and Andy Dalton to complete just 27-of-61 passes (44.3 percent) at 5.2 yards per attempt. RGIII’s matchup isn’t quite as attractive as it looked a month ago, but his fantasy ceiling is still as high as any QB’s. After Peyton Manning at No. 8, there’s not much separating Matthew Stafford from Sam Bradford, who is coming off the best fantasy game of his career. The Bucs defense has surrendered 30+ fantasy points to QBs five times this season, including the past two weeks versus Nick Foles and Drew Brees. … Even without a rushing score, Andrew Luck is a top-five fantasy QB over the past five weeks. Russell Wilson’s offense is averaging 3.7 offensive touchdowns in the past seven games after averaging 1.4 in the first seven. Wilson is fantasy’s No. 2 QB over the past three weeks, trailing only Cam Newton. … Carson Palmer has a tough matchup against a Panthers defense that is fifth in the NFL since Luke Kuechly moved to middle linebacker in October. With Terrelle Pryor threatening to steal a series or two, Palmer is a risky fantasy play in championship week.
Week 16 Running Backs
RB Notes: Adrian Peterson has the same number of rushing yards (1,313) since Week 7 as Arian Foster has for the entire season. Peterson has had 75 more rushing yards than the Vikings have had passing yards in five games this season. Only O.J. Simpson in 1973 had more such games. C.J. Spiller leads all running backs with 11.3 yards after the catch this season. He totaled 130 yards on 25 touches in Week 11 versus the Dolphins. … No running back does a better job of avoiding negative plays than Marshawn Lynch, who rushed for 103 yards in the previous meeting with the 49ers. … Matt Forte has an excellent matchup against a Cardinals defense that has allowed 160+ rushing yards in six of the past nine games. The Bears are talking Kahlil Bell as a goal-line horse with Michael Bush out of the lineup. Jamaal Charles gets a mulligan for last week’s goose egg versus the Raiders. It was his first game under 100 yards from scrimmage in the past six weeks. … Knowshon Moreno is fourth in fantasy points over the past three weeks. … Frank Gore had a season-high 182 yards from scrimmage in his previous meeting with the Seahawks. … Trent Richardson is averaging just 2.9 YPC over the past three weeks but is fifth in fantasy points over that span thanks to a handful of touchdowns. Darren McFadden’s ankle is no longer a concern after taking a career-high 30 carries against the Chiefs last week. … Vick Ballard is a good bet for 20+ touches and 100+ yards against that same Kansas City defense. …. Reggie Bush is coming off his most carries and rushing yards since Week 2, and timeshare back Daniel Thomas is out for the season. … Chris Johnson would have been held under 30 yards versus the Jets if not for the 94-yard jailbreak touchdown. If you start him at Green Bay, it’s with the belief that he can break off another long run. Steven Jackson and BenJarvus Green-Ellis are two of the hottest backs in the league, but they both have forbidding matchups against stout front sevens. … Mikel Leshoure is averaging a touchdown per over his last seven games. … LeSean McCoy will get the start versus the Redskins, but coach Andy Reid will not give him a full workload. A true boom-or-bust runner, Bryce Brown has 17 of 87 carries for 10+ yards and 22 totes for zero or negative yards. With McCoy back in the lineup, Brown is a mere flex option versus the Redskins. We suspect Ahmad Bradshaw will successfully convince coach Tom Coughlin that his knee is healthy enough to play this week, but he’s not a good bet for 15+ touches against the Ravens. … Forcing five missed tackles and averaging 4.8 yards after contact per attempt against the league’s No. 1 run defense, Mark Ingram is coming off his best game of the season.
Week 16 Wide Receivers
WR Notes: After the Cardinals talked about using Patrick Peterson to shadow Calvin Johnson, they ended up using box-and-one and gunner coverage. Johnson responded with his NFL record-tying seventh consecutive 100-yard game. … The past eight games have been the most productive stretch of Andre Johnson’s career, averaging 8.4 catches and 120 yards per game. He needs seven receptions and 140 yards over the final two games to join Marvin Harrison as the only receivers with 100+ catches and 1,500+ yards in three seasons. Demaryius Thomas is a good bet to bounce back from a disappointing performance, but he does have a tough matchup versus Joe Haden. … Dez Bryant and Roddy White will be playing at less than 100 percent, but they’re both top-12 fantasy receivers on the season. Now isn’t the time to sit them in the fantasy playoffs. … Danny Amendola has at least nine targets in every game he’s finished this season. He’s facing the league’s worst passing defense this week. Victor Cruz’s 2.38 yards per route run is the most of any receiver lining up in the slot this season. …. Bill Belichick heaped the sort of praise on Cecil Shorts that he usually reserves for Fred Jackson. … Steve Smith is 12th in fantasy points over the past five weeks. … Mike Wallace is eighth in fantasy points over the past three weeks. … Pierre Garcon gets a bump with RGIII back under center. Michael Crabtree is coming off the best three-game stretch of his career, averaging 11.7 targets, eight catches and 100 yards. … Ever wonder why Stevie Johnson has an inordinate level of success against premier cover corners such as Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman? Pro Football Focus says it’s because the Bills allow him to freelance more than other teams do. … Torrey Smith has a great matchup versus the Giants, but his status is in question with a concussion. … Danario Alexander will see plenty of Antonio Cromartie with Malcom Floyd out for the season. … The Cardinals have gone five straight games without a passing touchdown and have just three over their last 10 games.Week 16 Tight Ends