The Raiders and their fans will headed into Thursday Night Football wondering if Week 16’s Christmas Eve showdown with their longtime divisional rivals will be the last NFL game in Oakland.
The rest of the NFL, on the other hand, looks to the weekend with more playoff seeds to be potentially decided.
Whether the play of the individuals or their respective teams have been naughty or nice this season, here are the top Week 16 fantasy starts.
The New York Giants defense has been terrible against the quarterback position, allowing and average of 20.3 fantasy points per game to the position – second-most in the league.
Minnesota Vikings signal caller Teddy Bridgewater has been the model of inconsistency, averaging 13.88 fantasy points per game with a season low of 5.66 coming in a Week 12 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons.
His season high, however, came a week ago, as he posted 32.94 against the Chicago Bears. With All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson still battling health issues, Bridgewater will be forced to carry the bulk of the Vikings’ playoffs hopes, and at a salary of $6,600 he is an excellent value start.
Aside from one poor start in each month of the season, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been an elite fantasy quarterback. He has already had a weak start this December, and will face a Baltimore Ravens defense allowing almost 18 fantasy points per game to the position – 10th most. Start him, if you can afford him.
The New England Patriots added running back Joey Iosefa a week ago and former pro bowler Steven Jackson this week. With the latest addition there is no clear workhorse, but James White will certainly get his touches. Scoring more than 17 fantasy points in three of his last five games, White is worth consideration at a modest $6,600 salary. New Orleans Saints’ Tim Hightower is also worth a look.
With top scoring running backs Devonta Freeman and Todd Gurley each facing tough competition, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Doug Martin looks to have the most favorable of the high-salary running backs. However, he hasn’t scored a touchdown in over two months. Week 16 gives fantasy owners the opportunity to take a pair of value backs and load the receiving corps.
Your double-stuffed wide receiver position should definitely be led by Steelers’ Antonio Brown. He is the only player at the position averaging over 20 fantasy points per game and is facing an incapable Ravens defense allowing a league-worst 26.9 average points to the position.
The Jacksonville Jaguars living, albeit fading, playoff hopes are thanks in large part to an emerging aerial attack. The first half of the season featured Allen Hurns as the go-to guy, while Allen Robinson has owned the second half. Six touchdowns in the past four games make Robinson a must-start against a wretched Saints defense.
With “The Honey Badger” ruled out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, stopping the tight end has become a question for the Cards. Green Bay Packers and Richard Rodgers will put secondary to an immediate test this week. At a salary of $5,300 Rodgers is witty value start.
It is a safe bet that Newton, Olsen and the Panthers offense will move the ball against a less-than-stellar Falcons defense. Carolina kicker Graham Gano, the third-highest fantasy scorer, is a great start.
The Denver Broncos have been led all season by their number one defense. In their Week 16 matchup with a scuffling Cincinnati Bengals offense, now led by backup quarterback AJ McCarron, the Broncos defensive unit is primed for another monster day.