Week 16: Sleepers of the Week
If one of your normal starters is injured or facing a tough match-up, here are some players you might consider starting in their place. While these players may not be every week starters, they are good bets to perform well this week. Most of the players that will be listed are on fantasy rosters, but not normally starters.
Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers in week 16. Bradford is coming off his best fantasy game of the season in which he threw for 377 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The young quarterback was forced to throw the ball 55 times after falling behind early in the game, and while he will not have to put the ball in the air as much this week, he does face a Buccaneers secondary that ranks last in the league -- giving up more than 310 yards per game through the air. The Bucs have been unable to stop passing attacks all season long, and the Rams will come out throwing, as it will be difficult to run on the Bucs' number one ranked rush defense. Bradford should be able to continue to get back on the same wavelength as Danny Amendola, who scored his first touchdown since week four in last week's loss to the Vikings. Fantasy owners can look to Bradford as a strong play this week and can expect 250 yards and at least one touchdown from the former Oklahoma quarterback.
Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Washington Redskins at home in week 16. Foles has been up and down since taking over as the Eagles starting quarterback, but should be able to have a good game against the Redskins' 30th ranked secondary. The rookie quarterback had put up back to back good fantasy games before throwing for just 182 yards, one touchdown, and one interception against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 15. I am not advocating starting Foles in most leagues, but if you are in a 2 QB league and need a desperation play at quarterback, you could do worse than the Eagles quarterback. Fantasy owners can start Nick Foles this week and can expect at least 220 passing yards and one touchdown.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
Vick Ballard and the Indianaplis Colts travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in week 16. Ballard has stepped his game up tremendously over the past two games, totaling more than 100 yards in each game. Even more encouraging for Ballard's fantasy owners is that the Colts coaching staff has praised him and rewarded him with 38 touches over the last two games. Ballard will should touch the ball at least 18-20 more times this week, and against the Chiefs 27th ranked rush defense, should put up good numbers. The Chiefs have allowed more than 135 yards per game on the ground, and this week should be no different. Ballard was started in just over 40 percent of fantasy league last week, but that number should be much higher this week. Fantasy owners should start Vick Ballard as a RB 2 of Flex play and can expect at least 90 yards and a touchdown from the Colts running back.
Jackie Battle and the San Diego Chargers travel to New York to take on the Jets in week 16. Battle should get the majority of the carries for the Chargers this week following a season ending injury to Ryan Mathews in week 15. Regular backup Ronnie Brown has been dealing with a hamstring injury and should sit out again this week, leaving only Battle and Curtis Brinkley to man the Chargers backfield this week. Brinkley received more carries than Battle following Mathews' injury last week, but that can be attributed to the Chargers being behind and Brinkley being a better pass catcher. Battle has a good matchup this week against the Jets, who currently rank 29th in the league against the run -- giving up an average of 139 yards per game on the ground. Fantasy owners can claim Jackie Battle off the waiver wire this week and can expect 75 total yards and a touchdown.
Brandon Gibson and the St. Louis Rams travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers in week 16. Gibson is coming off back to back good games in which he has caught 12 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown. The young wide receiver has a shot to put up another good game this week against the Bucs last ranked pass defense. The Rams will look to attack the Tampa Bay secondary early and often, making Gibson a sneaky play as a WR 3 in fantasy championship games. Gibson is currently owned in just 33 percent of fantasy leagues, but should fill in nicely for fantasy owners who are in a jam at the wide receiver position. Fantasy owners can start Brandon Gibson and can expect 75 yards and a touchdown.