Week 16: Fantasy Playoffs – The Semi-Finals

Welcome to the semi-finals! With only two weeks to go, chances are you are still in contention for the championship if you are reading this. If not, a tip of the hat to those few, but proud and dedicated consolation bracketeers. If you, like myself, were unfortunate enough get knocked out behind a complete dud performance from one of the projected studs from last week (see Cruz, Charles, Freeman, etc…), more sympathy to you. Here come the recommendations for week 16.

Start ‘Em

  • Cam Newton (vs Oak): This one is a no-brainer. Oakland continues to struggle tremendously against the pass, and Newton has been on fire lately, with 13 TD’s (three from the ground) and zero interceptions in his last five games.
  • Tony Romo (vs NO): I wouldn’t be scared off by the hurting that the Saints put on Josh Freeman and Tampa last weekend. The Saints are much better in the Superdome, and when you combine the facts that this game is in Dallas and the Saints are still one of the worst teams in the league against the pass, Romo is a solid play.


  • Reggie Bush (vs Buf): Its a pretty safe bet that whatever team’s runningback that  who ever is playing the Bills is going to get the nod in this section. The Bills have allowed 22 rushing touchdowns, and allow an average of over 130 ground yards per game. Don’t forget Reggie Bush is no slouch..
  • DeAngelo Williams (vs Oak): Jonathan Stewart’s unfortunate injury was a godsend for DeAngelo Williams owners, and he gotten 256 total yards and two TD’s in the past two weeks. Against a porous Oakland defense, continue to ride him while he’s hot.

Wide Receiver

  • Eric Decker (vs Cle): With Joe Haden in the face of Demaryius Thomas all game, Manning should continue his recent trend of throwing tons of balls to Eric Decker, who has gotten 20 targets in the past two weeks.
  • Reggie Wayne (@ KC): Don’t be offput by his dud against the Texans. With a much better matchup against a struggling KC defense this week, the Colts, and Reggie Wayne should bounce back nicely.
  • Danny Amendola (vs TB): The Bucs are still horrendous against the pass, and Bradford loves throwing to Amendola. In deeper leagues, Brandon Gibson is a very solid play as well, having 12 catches for 176 yards, and one TD in the past two weeks.

Tight End

  • Greg Olsen (vs Oak): As stated, the Panthers have been hot lately, and the reason why Olsen is such a good play is that, unlike guys like Brandon Myers or Kyle Rudolph, he rarely puts up gooseeggs. With a great matchup against the Raiders, Olsen has a great shot to put up 10+ points, but will still get you something even if he doesn’t blow up.

Team Defense

  • Chicago (@ Ari): The fact the Cardinals put up 30+ points last week does not mean their offense is good, or even decent. It is still horrible, in fact. This one could get ugly for Ryan Lindley and co.

Sit ‘Em


  • Joe Flacco (vs NYG): Flacco has been good, and frequently great at home, but horrendous on the road for the majority of the season. Having said that, he has been shaky lately, and if you have other options, it is hard to gamble on his inconsistency this late in the fantasy playoffs.
  • Philip Rivers (@ NYJ): Rivers is coming off an absolute horrid performance (121 yards, 1 TD, 2 fumbles, >10 points). This week, he has an equally bad matchup against the second ranked Jets pass defense, and remains a bad start.


  • Marshawn Lynch (vs SF): I think this could be a really good game. The Seahawks are a very tough team, especially at home, but the 49′ers defense is still incredibly intimidating to play a starting runningback against, even if it’s Marshawn.
  • Bryce Brown (vs Was): The Skins are pushing for the playoffs, and have one of the league’s top rushing defenses. Unfortunately the waiver wire savior of the past several weeks does not look to be in line for a big game this week.

Wide Receiver

  • Danario Alexander (@ NYJ): For the same reasons I don’t like Rivers. He runs the risk of putting up another goose egg, especially with Cromartie on him.
  • Josh Gordon (@ Den): Despite having put together a more than solid rookie season, he now faces the daunting task of opposing Champ Bailey at Mile High Stadium. Wouldn’t expect a whole lot out of him this week.

Tight End

  • Vernon Davis (@ Sea): Davis has had less than 50 yards combined in his last four games, and didn’t manage to record a single catch in the ‘Niners first meeting with Seattle. He is not a safe start this week by any means.

Team Defense

  • Arizona (vs Chi): Wouldn’t buy into their dismantling of Matthew Stafford 100%. They are still a horrible team, and are no longer fresh off of an embarrassing 58-0 loss. The realization has set back in that they are in a downward spiral with an awful quarterback. Look elsewhere this week.


About John Warmkessel

Operator & head writer for 1UP Fantasy Sports. Contact me at the email provided, or via the contact form on the home page of the website. Follow on twitter @1UPfantasy for up to date player advice, gameday Q & A, and more.
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