First off I want to thank all of you who have viewed these weekly installments. Your views and support have been greatly appreciated and I can’t wait to get back to this next season.
Now down to business. It’s championship week. Every move you make in your starting lineup can prove to be the difference between winning the Shiva Bowl, or finishing the year as the first loser. Whether you’re one of those Odell Beckham owners looking for a replacement, or need a new FLEX this week, we have the answers here.
There are a lot of FLEX options out there on the market. A few running backs emerged last week in larger roles and look to carry that momentum into this week. It was a big week for wide receivers as well, but only a pair made the cut on this week’s list.
With Odell Beckham suspended for this week’s game after the “melee at Metlife”, Eli Manning finds himself on the ‘Fallers’ list. Who else is there with him?
Take a look at the last installment of ‘Risers and Fallers’ of the 2015 season. We wish you good luck in your championship matchup!
RB, Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina Panthers
With Jonathan Stewart out in week 15, the Panthers called the rookie’s number as he went for 93 yards on 16 touches. The 5th round pick out of Auburn fits the bill in the Panthers backfield, bringing a physical running style.
Even if Stewart is active in week 16, I doubt the Panthers will provide him with a big workload avoiding a more severe injury risk as they’re set to make a playoff run. Artis-Payne benefitted with 16 touches this past week and he should see double-digit carries again this week. He warrants consideration in a FLEX slot.
RB, Mike Gillislee, Buffalo Bills
When LeSean McCoy exited week 15’s game against Washington, it wasn’t Karlos Williams to take the money and run, but instead it was Mike Gillislee. The 2nd year running back out of Florida displayed his big play ability on an 81 yard TD run. He was only given four carries as Buffalo threw the ball mostly as they were trying to play “catch-up”, but he made the most of his opportunities.
With McCoy doubtful in week 16, Karlos Williams is the obvious choice to take over as the starting running back. However, Gillislee is worth a look. With Buffalo out of playoff contention, they will look at their younger players to make an impact. It’s not worth risking another injury to a player like Williams who has had his fair share of injuries this year. Gillislee will get a decent amount of touches, can he continue to display his big play ability?
RB, Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks
It’s been a roller coaster ride for Christine Michael over the past year or so. After being traded to Dallas from the Seahawks, he has found his way back to Seattle. It’s his last shot to prove he belongs in the NFL, he’s going to make the most of it. It wasn’t DuJuan Harris, Bryce Brown or Fred Jackson to emerge out of Seattle’s backfield last week, but instead it was Michael who went for 84 yards on 16 carries.
The Seahawks backfield remains a broken down stable with the absences of Lynch and Rawls, but that will just provide another opportunity for Michael to take a majority of the carries. Starting Michael in your championship is a risky move, but a risky move that could payoff.
WR, Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles
He’s been one of the most inconsistent receivers this season, but I’m buying Jordan Matthews from here on out. He had a tremendous game against a stout Arizona secondary, going off for 159 yards and a TD on 8 catches.
Sam Bradford gets better and better every week, which is a reflection of Matthews’ production in week 15. The two may finally have established a rapport. The Eagles will lean on the passing game in a must-win game against Washington this week which bodes well for Matthews. The ‘Skins have a porous secondary which Matthews will exploit. I love him in championship week.
WR, Rueben Randle, New York Giants
With Beckham out, this is a classic case of “next man up”. Rueben Randle is a steady fantasy performer from week-to-week, but his stock rises as he’s the new #1 for the G-men, for one week at least. Randle is a great redzone threat and has caught a TD pass in 3 of his last 4 games – he’s almost guaranteed a TD this week in a pass heavy Giants offense.
The way Eli Manning plays, he tends to latch on to one WR for the majority of the game, which he has done almost every week with Beckham, and understandably so. That bodes well for Randle who I expect to have an upwards of 12-13 points this week. He’ll see close to double-digit targets and should produce on them against a bettered Minnesota defense.
QB, Eli Manning, New York Giants
You never know what you’re going to get from Eli Manning, but one thing is for certain, he won’t have his prized wideout in week 16 with Odell Beckham suspended (pending appeal).
The Giants will likely rely on the passing game this week, but Manning is just too inconsistent to start in championship week without ODB. Beckham has accounted for so much of Manning’s production this year. There’s no way I’m trusting him this week with so much on the line.
QB, Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
We saw another case of a porous Aaron Rodgers this past week. He barely eclipsed 200 passing yards while throwing for just one TD with an interception as well. He didn’t look like the sharp Rodgers we’re all accustomed to. He missed a lot of open WRs and just doesn’t look like the former MVP.
It’s hard to bench a guy like Rodgers in your championship matchup, but that’s just something you may have to do. He hasn’t eclipsed 300 passing yards since week 10 and hasn’t thrown more than 2 TDs since even before that. This isn’t the same player we saw last year. Biting the bullet and putting him on your bench as he takes on a tough Arizona defense may be what you have to do.
RB, Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens
It looks like the buzz surrounding the Ravens rookie Javorius Allen has died down. Following a monster week 13 where he caught 12 passes and scored 2 TDs against Miami, he has followed that up with consecutive games with less than 20 rushing yards.
Baltimore’s offense is a mess right now, Allen hasn’t been a factor the past two weeks. He actually went negative this past week while losing carries to Terrance West in the process. It was fun while it lasted for Allen.
WR, Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars
After a scoring in seven consecutive weeks earlier in the season, Allen Hurns has settled down a bit as of late. He has eclipsed 50 yards only once in the past four weeks and has only one TD in that span as well. Blake Bortles has favored Allen Robinson down the final stretch which has hurt Hurns’ production.
I think Hurns is still a solid FLEX play at this point, but his production has been very hit or miss as of late. He brings 10 point upside to your starting lineup, but he has a steep floor as well.
WR, A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
First off I want to say, don’t bench A.J. Green at any cost; he’s an elite fantasy player who more than likely played a pivotal role in getting you into your fantasy league championship. However, after his porous week 15 performance I can’t help but put him on the ‘Fallers’ portion this week.
With the change at QB, Green suffered with just one catch this past week. I don’t want to say it will continue to have a negative impact as the two hooked up for a long TD the previous week, but there just isn’t much consistency between the QB-WR tandem. Green has his work cut out for him against Denver’s Chris Harris this week on MNF. Your matchup very well could come down to this matchup.