Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: NFL Week 16 lineup advice, best matchups, DFS picks

By | December 21, 2022

It’s either the semifinals or the opening round of the fantasy football playoffs for most, depending on the size of your league. Every team is in action, though the bulk of Week 16’s games are on Saturday. That means fantasy owners will have one fewer day than usual to make key start ’em, sit ’em decisions, but SN’s Vinnie Iyer has your back with his Week 16 fantasy lineup advice and DFS tips.

Unfortunately, the injury bug was naughty and took out Tyler Lockett (finger) and Jonathan Taylor (ankle) in Week 15 and has put the status of Jalen Hurts (right shoulder) very much in doubt for Week 16. A couple of backfields have undergone notable usage changes, and plenty of players have emerged as weekly reliables lately. Meanwhile, others have faded hard to be less trustworthy at the most important (and wonderful) time of the year.

Keeping all of that in mind, here are our Week 16 start/sit recommendations to help you survive and advance. If you have specific lineup questions, check out RotoBaller’s industry-leading “Who To Start?” tool below and compare up to four players across all positions.

MORE: Click here to become a RotoBaller VIP subscriber and receive exclusive access to their premium lineup tools, DFS cheat sheets, and Team Sync platform! Use discount code SPORTING.

WEEK 16 FANTASY PICKS: Sleepers | Busts

Fantasy Football Week 16 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks

QB must-starts

  1. Josh Allen, Bills (at CHI)
  2. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (vs SEA)
  3. Joe Burrow, Bengals (at NE)
  4. Jalen Hurts, Eagles (if he goes, at DAL)
  5. Justin Herbert, Chargers (vs. IND)
  6. Justin Fields, Bears (vs. BUF)
  7. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars (at NYJ)
  8. Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (vs. GB)

Stronger starts

Lamar Jackson, Ravens (if he returns, vs. ATL). Tyler Huntley has taken on two tough division assignments on the road. Either Huntley or a healthy Jackson can exploit the Falcons at home for a big all-around game.

Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. NYG). Cousins proved last week that he can come through in home games even against tough opponents, and he’ll keep delivering here even if he can’t match last week’s lofty totals.

Geno Smith, Seahawks (at KC). Smith will need to chuck often opposite Patrick Mahomes and is bound to get some negative game-script garbage points.

Tom Brady, Buccaneers (at ARI). Brady got a little hot against the Bengals at home last week and carries that over in a terrific matchup for his wide receivers.

Aaron Rodgers, Packers (at MIA). The Dolphins can be exploited in many areas downfield, and Rodgers will find them with his backs and receivers.

Daniel Jones, Giants (at MIN). Jones will find some running room and some favorable passing matchups to put up digits opposite Kirk Cousins.

Brock Purdy, 49ers (vs. WAS). Purdy has come through with multiple TDs in his first two starts, and he should be money for one more at home.

Ryan Tannehill, Titans (vs. HOU). Tannehill works best when playing off the dominant run, and he should have Treylon Burks (concussion) back to go to work on the Texans’ zone defense.

DFS Targets

FanDuel cash game pick

Geno Smith, Seahawks (at KC, $7,600). He should give you the high floor you are looking for with high volume.

DraftKings tournament pick

Brock Purdy, 49ers (vs. WAS, $5,500). He should need to throw more often in this spot and can deliver an easy 3X-4X return of value.

Streamer Specials

Kenny Pickett, Steelers (vs. LV). Mitchell Trubisky is a little less appealing because he doesn’t have the same running juice as the rookie, but this is a great matchup for all of Pittsburgh’s key weapons.

Gardner Minshew, Eagles (at DAL). Minshew Mania might be happening again in a favorable matchup against a reeling Cowboys pass defense. If Hurts misses the game, Minshew can be a back-half QB1 thanks to Philly’s great weapons and protection.

QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Fantasy Football Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Weaker starts

Dak Prescott, Cowboys (vs. PHI). He typically is OK at home, but he’s been volatile of late and the Eagles’ pass defense is tough.

Jared Goff, Lions (at CAR). This is a tough pass defense to navigate on the road, and the Lions should be able to run all over the Panthers.

Derek Carr, Raiders (at PIT). He looked fine against the Patriots, but we’re turning him down vs. T.J. Watt on the road.

Deshaun Watson, Browns (vs. NO). This feels like an ugly, low-scoring, defensive-minded game where both teams will stay grounded in blizzard-like conditions.

Andy Dalton, Saints (at CLE). This feels like an ugly, low-scoring, defensive-minded game where both teams will stay grounded in blizzard-like conditions.

Matt Ryan, Colts (at LAC). This one might seem tempting because of game script, but just keep him on Ice again.

QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Fantasy Football Week 16 Start ‘Em: Running backs

RB must-starts

  1. Derrick Henry, Titans (vs. HOU)
  2. Christian McCaffrey, 49ers (vs. WAS)
  3. Austin Ekeler, Chargers (vs. IND)
  4. Dalvin Cook, Vikings (vs. NYG)
  5. Saquon Barkley, Giants (at MIN)
  6. Najee Harris, Steelers (vs. LV)
  7. Nick Chubb, Browns (vs. NO)
  8. Aaron Jones, Packers (at MIA)
  9. Alvin Kamara, Saints (at CLE)
  10. Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots (vs. CIN)
  11. Kenneth Walker III, Seahawks (at KC)
  12. James Conner, Cardinals (vs. TB)
  13. Josh Jacobs, Raiders (at PIT)
  14. Tony Pollard, Cowboys (vs. PHI)
  15. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (vs. PHI)
  16. Joe Mixon, Bengals (at NE)
  17. Miles Sanders, Eagles (at DAL)
  18. JK Dobbins, Ravens (vs. ATL)
  19. David Montgomery, Bears (vs. BUF)
  20. Travis Etienne, Jaguars (at NYJ)
  21. Zonovan Knight, Jets (vs. JAX)
  22. AJ Dillon, Packers (at MIA)
  23. Latavius Murray, Broncos (at LAR)
  24. Cam Akers, Rams (vs. DEN)

Stronger starts

Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon, Chiefs (vs. SEA). Keep riding this train in another plum all-around rushing and receiving matchup for their red-hot backfield, especially McKinnon.

Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. (if he returns), Dolphins (vs. GB). Miami got Mostert going with his speed while flying solo, and Wilson (hip) is expected back to help attack the Pack’s biggest weakness.

Devin Singletary and James Cook, Bills (at CHI). The Bills should be operating with a positive game script in a non-shootout, which should be fruitful for both backs.

D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, Lions (at CAR). The Panthers bled production to two backs last week with short scoring opportunities. These guys should be busy helping lift Jared Goff.

Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White, Buccaneers (at ARI). The Cardinals have suddenly sprung a big leak against the run, so both backs will be busy and effective boosted by a few catches each.

Zack Moss and Deon Jackson, Colts (at LAC). Remember how great Jonathan Taylor’s fantasy playoff slate looked? Now it’s time for these guys to “flex.”

DFS targets

FanDuel cash game picks

Nick Chubb, Browns (vs. NO, $7,900). Chubb should go off here against a wilting run defense for his best game in weeks.

Alvin Kamara, Saints (at CLE, $7,400). The Browns remain weak against the run, and he can also have his best game in weeks.

DraftKings tournament picks

Dalvin Cook, Vikings (vs. NYG, $7,200). He is red hot, and this is a smash spot.

Kenneth Walker III, Seahawks (at KC, $6,400). He’s a potential multi-TD pivot from Geno Smith.

WEEK 16 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel

Fantasy Football Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Running backs

Weaker starts

Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson, Commanders (at SF). These guys have a brutal matchup on the road.

Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons (at BAL). These guys have a brutal matchup on the road.

D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard, Panthers (vs. DET). These guys might seem to have a breezy matchup on paper, but the Lions’ run defense has improved enough to tame these fellow kitties.

Rex Burkhead and Royce Freeman, Texans (at TEN). These guys also have a brutal matchup on the road.

WEEK 16 DFS: Best values | Best stacks

Fantasy Football Week 16 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers

WR must-starts

  1. Justin Jefferson, Vikings (vs. CHI)
  2. Davante Adams, Raiders (vs. NE)
  3. Tyreek Hill, Dolphins (vs. GB)
  4. Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals (at NE)
  5. A.J. Brown, Eagles (at DAL)
  6. Stefon Diggs, Bills (at BUF)
  7. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (vs. PHI)
  8. Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins (vs. GB)
  9. DK Metcalf, Seahawks (at KC)
  10. DeVonta Smith, Eagles (at DAL)
  11. Garrett Wilson, Jets (vs. JAX)
  12. DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals (at DEN)
  13. Christian Kirk, Jaguars (at NYJ)
  14. Keenan Allen, Chargers (vs. IND)
  15. Mike Williams, Chargers (vs. IND)
  16. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions (at CAR)
  17. Tee Higgins, Bengals (at NE)
  18. Chris Godwin, Buccaneers (at ARI)
  19. Mike Evans, Buccaneers (at ARI)
  20. Jerry Jeudy, Broncos (at LAR)
  21. Chris Olave, Saints (at CLE)
  22. Christian Watson, Packers (at MIA)
  23. Terry McLaurin, Commanders (at SF)
  24. Gabe Davis, Bills (at CHI)

Stronger starts

Donovan Peoples-Jones, Browns (vs. NO). Weather could be a major factor in this game, but Deshaun Watson has eyes for DPJ instead of hangin’ with Cooper, so Peoples-Jones still has upside.

Zay Jones, Jaguars (at NYJ). Hey, you can’t sit Zay anymore despite a tough matchup and rainy conditions, as he’s ascended to WR2 status on the season.

D.J. Moore, Panthers (vs. DET). He should hit the end zone again working vs. this porous secondary for Sam Darnold.

Chris Moore, Texans (at TEN). He should operate as their healthy No. 1 again vs. weak cornerbacks.

Diontae Johnson and George Pickens, Steelers (vs. LV). Vegas’ secondary can’t handle either of these guys.

Treylon Burks, Titans (vs. HOU). If he returns from the concussion protocol, he should be busy vs. Houston’s zone defense.

Elijah Moore, Jets (vs. JAX). The Jaguars’ corners really aren’t playing well and can get beat in the slot.

Hunter Renfrow, Raiders (at PIT). Renfrow should see an expanded role, and the Steelers are vulnerable on shorter routes.

Romeo Doubs, Packers (at MIA). Doubs will score working off Christian Watson.

Jahan Dotson, Commanders (at SF). He’s really commanding the ball from Taylor Heinicke, and the rookie should put up garbage points on the 49ers.

Isaiah Hodgins, Giants (at MIN). Darius Slayton? Richie James? You can roll the dice with any of them if you’re desperate because the Vikings’ secondary can be so giving.

DFS targets

FanDuel cash game picks

DK Metcalf, Seahawks (at KC, $8,000). He should dominate targets with no Tyler Lockett (finger), and he can crush Kansas City’s young corners.

DeVonta Smith, Eagles (at DAL, $7,600). The Cowboys’ secondary has been getting destroyed recently, and he’s sneakily having a great season away from A.J. Brown.

Terry McLaurin, Commanders (at SF, $7,100). He can also be busy in some garbage time, as No. 1 wideouts have had some success here.

DraftKings tournament picks

Gabe Davis, Bills (at CHI, $5,000). He is overdue for a big blowup, and it can come here vs. Chicago’s secondary as long as it isn’t too windy.

Jahan Dotson, Commanders (at SF, $3,900). He is a good pivot from Terry McLaurin.

DeVonta Smith, Eagles ($6,600). He could have a Zay-like day.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers

Weaker starts

Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers (vs. WAS). Aiyuk will stay cold here, as the 49ers go elsewhere to move the ball again.

Amari Cooper, Browns (vs. NO). Deshaun Watson to Cooper simply hasn’t been happening.

Michael Pittman Jr., Colts (at LAC). This receiving corps has been the inconsistent pits with Matt Ryan, and the Chargers’ secondary is brutal.

Marquise Brown, Cardinals (vs. TB). Hollywood has now gone off-Broadway in a compressed passing game without Kyler the creator.

Drake London, Falcons (at BAL). You can’t love the Drake against the secondary on the same team as the original Drake.

Allen Lazard, Packers (at MIA). Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs have lasered him down the rankings.

Adam Thielen, Vikings (vs. NYG). Here’s feeling his scoring streak stops.

Tyler Boyd, Bengals (at NE). The Patriots are more vulnerable outside than in the slot.

DJ Chark, Lions (at CAR). Chark will be taken away outside.

Michael Gallup and Noah Brown, Cowboys (vs. PHI). Not against this secondary with their unpredictable targets.

Curtis Samuel, Commanders (at SF). Dotson has dashed him.

Jakobi Meyers, Patriots (vs. CIN). This is a totally “lateral” move. Sorry, we had to go there.

All Chiefs (at SEA). Tariq Woolen will make this a dominant Travis Kelce game.

All Ravens (vs. ATL). You know the drill without Shoddy Bates

All Rams (vs. DEN). Off Skowronek! Off Jefferson! Off Atwell! Off Trammell!

Fantasy Football Week 16 Start ‘Em: Tight ends

TE must-starts

  1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs (vs. SEA)
  2. Mark Andrews, Ravens (vs. ATL)
  3. George Kittle, 49ers (vs. WAS)
  4. T.J. Hockenson, Vikings (vs. NYG)
  5. Taysom Hill, Saints (vs. CLE)
  6. Darren Waller, Raiders (at PIT)

Stronger starts

Pat Freiermuth, Steelers (vs. LV). He should rebound from the zero and his foot injury now that Kenny Pickett (concussion) is back.

Evan Engram, Jaguars (at NYJ). E Squared equals a decent fantasy floor again with a potential for another spike.

Hayden Hurst, Bengals (at NE). Should he return from a calf injury, he’s a sneaky play against an underwhelming Patriots TE defense.

Noah Fant, Seahawks (at KC). Fant should be busier without Tyler Lockett (finger), and the Chiefs can’t cover him well.

Dawson Knox, Bills (at CHI). Knox is hot, and this Bears’ matchup has him primed for another short score.

Chigoziem Okonkwo, Titans (at HOU). Get Chiggy with it against this zone defense at home.

Juwan Johnson, Saints (at CLE). All he does he score TDs.

Cade Otton, Buccaneers (at ARI). He has the best cheat code matchup other than Travis Kelce.

Trey McBride, Cardinals (vs. TB). The rookie is getting more involved with the new QBs, and they need an inside guy to help in the short passing game.

DFS targets

FanDuel cash game pick and DraftKings tournament pick

Travis Kelce, Chiefs (at SEA, $8,600, $8,000). You gotta go here for the biggest return possible either way.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends

Weaker starts

Dalton Schultz, Cowboys (vs. PHI). He’s hard to trust because of Peyton Hendershot and/or Jake Ferguson.

David Njoku, Browns (vs. NO). The Saints remain stingy vs. the position.

Gerald Everett, Chargers (vs. IND). His usage isn’t as key anymore with the wide receivers healthy.

Greg Dulcich, Broncos (at LAR). Forget thinking he’ll do much anymore with the Eric Tomlinson factor.

Hunter Henry, Patriots (vs. CIN). Not with the sudden Jonnu Smith factor.

Cole Kmet, Bears (vs. BUF). He has a tough coverage matchup.

Tyler Higbee, Rams (vs. DEN). Don’t get Higgy with it because he won’t score this week.

Tyler Conklin, Jets (vs. JAX). Not with the sudden C.J. Uzomah factor.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Start ‘Em: Defenses

Defense must-starts

  1. 49ers (vs. WAS)
  2. Broncos (at LAR)
  3. Ravens (vs. ATL)
  4. Titans (vs. HOU) 
  5. Buccaneers (at ARI)
  6. Eagles (at DAL)
  7. Bills (at CHI)

Stronger starts

Chargers (vs. IND). The Colts allow the most fantasy points to D/STs, and Matt Ryan will be in trouble often.

Rams (vs. DEN). This is still an easy cheat code late in the season.

Browns (vs. NO). Watch for some big plays vs. Andy Dalton.

Bengals (at NE). Watch for some big plays vs. Mac Jones.

Steelers (vs. LV). They can put plenty of dents in Carr.

Lions (at CAR). This Sam Darnold spot looks very good for an improving group.

Jaguars (at NYJ). It’s Zach Wilson in the rain.

DFS targets

FanDuel cash game pick and DraftKings tournament pick

Ravens (vs. ATL, $4,900, $3,200). They should smash against a rookie QB.

Fantasy Football Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Defenses

Weaker starts

Chiefs (vs. SEA). There’s too much to like in the Seahawks’ offense here.

Cowboys (vs. PHI). Not against this offense, regardless of QB.

Jets (vs. JAX). Not against a red-hot Trevor Lawrence.

Patriots (vs. CIN). Not against Joey B.

Commanders (at SF). Not against Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey.

Saints (at CLE). The Browns can ground and pound them.

Vikings (vs. IND). After last week, you can’t go here even at home

Get more of Vinnie Iyer’s in-depth fantasy football advice for Week 16 by subscribing to the Locked On Fantasy Football podcast.