Week 16 - Players to Start and Sit

Wednesday, Dec 20, 2023 at 3:46 pm ET

This is the Fantasy Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 16 of the 2023 NFL season. Analysis is aggregated from multiple sources including FN. Rankings are based upon PPR (point per reception) scoring. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.

Please Note: This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Tyreek Hill, Patrick Mahomes, or Christian McCaffrey. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.

Start 'em Baker Mayfield (TB, QB)
Scroll through social media, and opinions on Baker Mayfield appear to be all over the map, but after two straight weeks of 20+ points against better than average defenses, we're going to continue relying on the veteran QB. Mayfield had a perfect passer rating against the Packers last week while effectively spreading the ball around. Now he'll get a Jaguars secondary that has given up the 4th-most fantasy points to QBs.
4th Most Pts to QB
Start 'em Kyler Murray (ARI, QB)
Kyler Murray disappointed fantasy owners the last two weeks putting up an average of just 12 fantasy points against the Niners and Steelers. He should rebound a little bit this week against the Bears who have been pretty middle-of-the-road against QBs this season. With a decent forecast in Chicago this weekend, the dual-threat QB should be a low-end QB1 for the fantasy playoffs.
UPDATE: WR Marquise Brown has been downgraded to OUT which may impact Murray's fantasy projections for this week.
12th Most Pts to QB
Start 'em Bijan Robinson (ATL, RB)
How many fantasy matchups were lost when Bijan turned in an awful 0.4 points last week? If you were able to survive that, there's nowhere to go but up at this point. He has an excellent matchup as the Colts give up the 3rd-most fantasy points to the position. Arthur Smith could always derail this, but we're anticipating Atlanta playing behind so Robinson's role in the passing game should bring him into high-end RB2 territory.
3rd Most Pts to RB
Start 'em Aaron Jones (GB, RB)
The Packers eased Aaron Jones into action last week, and while he didn't light up the world, he did deliver 11 points. Green Bay will be visiting Carolina this week in what should be a great matchup for Jones. Not only did have the Panthers given up at least 80 yards and a score to RBs over five of their last six games, but they're giving up the 4th-most fantasy points to them over the season. Jones should be a solid RB2 for the fantasy playoffs.
4th Most Pts to RB
Start 'em Rashee Rice (KC, WR)
Over the last four games, Rashee Rice has averaged 20.3 fantasy points and has clearly become the top receiving option in the Kansas City offense not named Travis Kelce. He's coming off a season-best nine catches and the rookie has plenty of gas left in the tank. The last time Rice faced the Raiders, he put up 24.7 points back in Week 12. He's a borderline WR1.
14th Fewest Pts to WR
Start 'em Chris Godwin (TB, WR)
This one is all about momentum. Chris Godwin has seen 23 targets over the last two games and has been recently instrumental in the Bucs moving the ball downfield. His 10-155-0 stat line against the Packers last week resulted in 25 fantasy points. Now he gets a Jacksonville secondary that has been generous to receivers this year. Keep the momentum going and leave Godwin in at the WR2/3 spot.
9th Most Pts to WR
Start 'em Trey McBride (ARI, TE)
Trey McBride finds himself inside our Top 5 Tight Ends this week. He's put up back to back 20+ point games and it's obvious that he's a major focal point of this offense moving forward. He hasn't had less than five targets in a game since Week 3. Look for the good times to keep rolling against the Bears who have surrendered the 3rd-most fantasy points to the position this season.
3rd Most Pts to TE
Start 'em Philadelphia Eagles (PHI, DEF)
Nobody gives up more fantasy points to D/ST's than the Giants, and now it's Philly's turn to rack up some points. Look for the Eagles to bring pressure and rattle the NFL's worst offensive line.
Most pts to DEF
Start 'em Greg Zuerlein (NYJ, K)
After a stinker last week, look for Greg Zuerlein to rebound this week against a Washington team that has been super generous to kickers this year. 8+ points should be the expectation here.
2nd Most Pts to K
Sit 'em Jordan Love (GB, QB)
While the Carolina offense has sputtered this season, their defense has been surprisingly good. They haven't allowed a QB to bring home more than 16 points since Week 6 and that includes matchups with Dak Prescott, C.J. Stroud, Baker Mayfield, and Derek Carr. Jordan Love could still come out of this with a good game, but if you have another option, it may be best to consider it.
4th Fewest Pts to QB
Sit 'em Sam Howell (WAS, QB)
We're expecting Sam Howell to still start this game, but after two straight games of barely eclipsing 100 passing yards, we're starting to panic on him. Even if he was firing on all cylinders, a matchup with the Jets is going to be brutal. They've shut down Tua, Stroud, Mahomes, Herbert, and Allen. Howell is a long shot this weekend.
3rd Fewest Pts to QB
Sit 'em Javonte Williams (DEN, RB)
Detroit shut Javonte Williams down, but an argument could be made that his whopping 4 fantasy points last week was due to both the Lions defense as well as Williams' inability to find the endzone. It's not going to get any easier for Williams as he faces a stout New England run defense this week that has kept Saquon Barkley, Austin Ekeler, Najee Harris, and Bijan Robinson to 13 fantasy points COMBINED. Williams' volume is what keeps him in Flex discussions.
16th Fewest Pts to RB
Sit 'em Zack Moss (IND, RB)
Before coming out due to injury, Zack Moss racked up just 13 yards on the ground but also managed to do some damage through the air with a score. Moss has stated this week that he intends to play against the Falcons, but if (and it's a big IF at the time of this writing) Jonathan Taylor returns, the combo of a reduced role, tough matchup, and shoulder injury put Moss outside the comfort zone of startability.
UPDATE: Zack Moss has been downgraded to OUT for Week 16.
2nd Fewest Pts to RB
Sit 'em Josh Palmer (LAC, WR)
With Keenan Allen out, Josh Palmer went nuclear hauling in four catches for 113 yards and a score. Allen is not a lock to return this week, but a combination of a bad matchup and Easton Stick under center leaves a lot to be desired. The Bills rank inside the Top 10 in fewest fantasy points allowed to receivers this season. If Allen doesn't play, Palmer could be the Chargers top receiving option, but that doesn't make him more than a WR3/Flex option.
9th Fewest Pts to WR
Sit 'em Tyler Boyd (CIN, WR)
With Ja'Marr Chase expected to miss this game, it might be tempting to plug Tyler Boyd into the mix, but resist the urge. There's no rationale to thinking that Boyd would get the targets rather than those targets getting spread around or the Bengals leaning on the run game. Boyd has managed just four double-digit games all year with the most recent good day back in Week 10. Tee Higgins is the receiver that we'd want from Cincy this week.
15th Fewest Pts to WR
Sit 'em Logan Thomas (WAS, TE)
After a solid start to the season, Logan Thomas has fallen off both the Commanders and our fantasy radar. He hauled in just one of his three targets last week and will likely struggle to put up much against the Jets. Even in a shallow position, Logan Thomas should ride the pines in this one.
16th Fewest Pts to TE
Sit 'em Baltimore Ravens (BAL, DEF)
Normally the Ravens would be automatic starts, but you'd be best advised to stream someone else when they face the Niners this week. The offense powered by Purdy, CMC, Debbo, Kittle, and the rest are simply too much for the Baltimore defense to contain.
Feweset Pts to DEF
Sit 'em Jason Sanders (MIA, K)
Jason Sanders has consistently delivered almost eight fantasy points every game in one of the NFL's most prolific offenses. Don't count on it this week against the Cowboys though. Nobody has given up fewer fantasy points than Dallas.
Feweset Pts to K

Join the Discussion

If asking a sit/start question, be sure to provide your scoring format and contribute to answering questions from other FN members as well.

Ed Chan CommentedDec 20, 2023 10:37 pm

Fortunate to be in the playoffs, so here we go. Rams play tomorrow so need to start overthinking tonight. Half PPR. I have Mahomes and Stafford, both playing against defenses ranked in the top 10 against the pass, according to Yahoo Fantasy. Started Mahomes all season until picking up Stafford last week as my backup QB. Now tempted to start Stafford given his recent success, and also because I have Cupp. Any chance this duo goes dynamic and gives me 45 plus points?

Ed Chan CommentedDec 20, 2023 10:39 pm

Or should I stick to who got me here in Mahomes. The Mahomes to Toney connection just doesn't sound as promising....(I don't have Toney).

Nerd CommentedDec 21, 2023 9:32 am

Good dilemma to have. I'd probably still play Mahomes though. He put up 21 points against the Raiders in Week 12 (was just 2 yards shy of 300 passing yards).

When I look at how other QBs fared against the Saints, 25 points is the ceiling (Dobbs back in Week 10).

To be fair, the ceiling for QBs against the Raiders is 23.6 (Josh Allen in Week 2), so I'm not sure why I'm introducing these stats...

I'd still start Mahomes. Good luck!

Ed Chan CommentedDec 21, 2023 10:23 am

It's all about the stats, and luck. Thanks for the insight, Nerd!

jamisdiablo CommentedDec 21, 2023 12:14 pm

Mahomie's WRs leave a lot to be desired and with Pacheco coming back I fear the run even more... I have Rice and have to start him but my expectations are down for sure... this is why I'd risk Stafford and Cupp... even with Kyren getting a lot of work too, even more than Pacheco, I CURRENTLY trust Rams WRs more than KCs AND... Kyren will catch more balls than Pacheco also. I'm going Rams here for the double hit combo super special... much like I have with Purdy and Deebo. Good luck this week!!

Ed Chan CommentedDec 21, 2023 7:09 pm

Good points. I trust Rams WRs more than KC WRs too. And the Rams double hit combo super special sounds enticing. One more hour to overthink about it!

mrock CommentedDec 21, 2023 7:20 pm

Sorry Nerd. Going with Stafford and Kupp.

Ed Chan CommentedDec 22, 2023 5:54 pm

Well, starting Stafford wasn't a bad idea. He got me just over 20 points, which is about what I expected. If only Cupp didn't drop 2 endzone passes.....

jamisdiablo CommentedDec 21, 2023 9:18 am

Stafford and cupp

Ed Chan CommentedDec 21, 2023 10:24 am

I keep flopping back and forth, but Stafford and Cupp is very tempting....

HogSolo CommentedDec 21, 2023 9:28 am

Hi, PPR League...I'm carrying 4 QB's (there is a reason!)...Who to start??? Mayfield, Stafford, Lawrence, or Browning. My gut tells me Stafford but I don't like starting a QB on TNF, if they have a bad game the weekend is ruined! I'm leaning towards Mayfield.

Ed Chan CommentedDec 21, 2023 10:26 am

Mayfield or Stafford. Hard decision since both are playing well of late. I have Stafford and Mahomes and face the same dilemma. Trust your gut, I guess? Good luck!

jamisdiablo CommentedDec 21, 2023 12:16 pm

I try to avoid TNF players at ALL costs is my hot take... not enough rest overall... I'd roll the dice and go Mayfield FTW!!

mrock CommentedDec 21, 2023 7:19 pm

TNF doesn't matter to me. Kind of like saying no MNF players cuz I don't want to wait to know if I won. Just put the guy in who you think will score more. Stafford has two A-list receivers and a solid running back. He's played well and should have a good game. If he does well, your opponent has to dwell on it for a few days and that's fun too.

HogSolo CommentedDec 21, 2023 11:05 am


jamisdiablo CommentedDec 21, 2023 12:22 pm

Need some consensus if possible on my flex and DEF spots this week... lmk, thanks!
Full PPR: Starting Purdy, Deebo, Swift, Rice and McBride as my core 5... then for my 2 flexes it's between Sutton, McLaurin or Flowers for WR (leaning Sutton... he got me here after all but not loving the matchup) and bench RBs are: Chandler, Achane, SIngletary and JWilliams. Leaning Chandler/Sutton presently. Achanes usage scares me, as does Scary Terry. Single, WIlliams and Flowers are all eh this week... my opponent is favored by 10 but only bc he has McCaffrey. My defenses are Buffalo and Cleveland, CLE got me here and has a decent matchup against HOU and backup QB, but that Charger offense is anemic as we all know, so if KAllen doesn't go, start them insrtead? Thanks and good luck in your playoffs y'all!

Nerd CommentedDec 21, 2023 5:12 pm

Yep - I would go Sutton / Chandler. Completely agree.

Love the Cleveland D, but I'd play the Buffalo defense against Easton Stick and the Chargers (no Keenan Allen this week).

Good luck!

Ed Chan CommentedDec 21, 2023 7:12 pm

I think I agree with Sutton / Chandler as well, and also lean toward the Bills D too.

mrock CommentedDec 21, 2023 7:15 pm

Sutton, Chandler, and Buffalo. I can get behind that.

TimmyT CommentedDec 22, 2023 11:31 am

Hi. Need a flex opinion half pt ppr 12 man league. D Johnston, Waller, Hunter Henry or Noah Brown. Thx

Ed Chan CommentedDec 22, 2023 1:44 pm

If Brown is cleared to play, I'd roll the dice with him. If he can't play, it's a toss-up between Waller or Henry.

Nathan Foster CommentedDec 22, 2023 1:14 pm

Need TE help, Freiermuth, Schultz or Waller in Standard league?

Ed Chan CommentedDec 22, 2023 6:05 pm

Tough one. I'd probably go with Schultz b/c of volume. But Waller is close behind. I like Freiermuth but he always gets hurt.

mrock CommentedDec 23, 2023 4:08 pm


Ed Chan CommentedDec 22, 2023 6:01 pm

Not sure who to flex: Godwin, Brown, Cooks or Meyers? The starting WRs are Cupp and Pittman, who I assume will play for now. Don't have any backup RBs to flex, as they questionable or ruled out. Half PPR. Leaning toward Godwin b/c he seems to have the best matchup compared to the other three.

Nerd CommentedDec 23, 2023 9:56 am

Leaning towards Godwin as well

mrock CommentedDec 23, 2023 4:08 pm


yuh CommentedDec 23, 2023 8:53 am

I'd keep leaning towards Godwin too.

utilityrep CommentedDec 23, 2023 9:54 am

i need HELP !
I need a receiver out of Nick Collins, Jacobi Meyers, Curtis Samuel, and Josh Downs

Nerd CommentedDec 23, 2023 9:58 am

For me, it's Nico Collins. Good luck!

Ed Chan CommentedDec 23, 2023 1:06 pm

Collins for me too

mrock CommentedDec 23, 2023 4:09 pm

Collins. Looks like he's going to play.

utilityrep CommentedDec 23, 2023 10:28 am

sorry for not providing as receivers get a point per catch. Keenan looks like starting Q B for Houston. and Collins is ? to play.

mrock CommentedDec 23, 2023 4:10 pm

Case Keenum should be the QB. Collins is still the best option.

Hinzie22 CommentedDec 23, 2023 10:40 am

Please pick 2 (.5 ppr):
Deontae Johnson
Jaylen Warren
Calvin Ridley
Garrett Wilson

mrock CommentedDec 23, 2023 4:10 pm

Diontae Johnson and Calvin Ridley

Mighty Mac CommentedDec 23, 2023 10:48 am

WR help in PPR league. Starting Diontae Johnson but nervous with Mason Rudolph. I would pick up JSN, Noah Brown, Josh Palmer or a couple others

Nerd CommentedDec 23, 2023 11:38 am

This may come back to bite me, but I don't know that you should be too worried about Mason Rudolph and Diontae Johnson. Josh Palmer has Easton Stick throwing the ball, and while I think Palmer is definitely talented, I think DJ is simply more talented. Of that list, only JSN has his starting QB and he's 3rd on the depth chart behind Metcalf and Lockett. All of these players are pretty close to each other in projections, so for me, it's the potential, and DJ likely has the edge there in my humble opinion. Good luck!

mrock CommentedDec 23, 2023 4:10 pm

Diontae Johnson

Nerd CommentedDec 23, 2023 6:58 pm

Was right about Mason Rudolph but it looks like he didn't need DJ - George Pickens had his best game of the year. Of course he did...

c30341 CommentedDec 23, 2023 12:32 pm

Beckham, D, Johnson, Brandon Cook, Palmer, Boyd? Need 1.........also could start a TE in that slot instead of WR....Would you play Likely or Ferguson over that group of WR????? Thanks for the suggestion,

mrock CommentedDec 23, 2023 4:11 pm

Johnson and Ferguson

Roger Phillip Longo CommentedDec 23, 2023 12:40 pm

Im in a Standard league Who would you start week 16 Russell Wilson or Nick Mullens

mrock CommentedDec 23, 2023 4:11 pm


Ken J CommentedDec 23, 2023 12:47 pm

Saquon, Swift or Achane? .5ppr

Ed Chan CommentedDec 23, 2023 1:07 pm

Saquon because of volume touches.

mrock CommentedDec 23, 2023 4:11 pm


T-Jugg CommentedDec 23, 2023 2:49 pm

Standard (non-PPR) scoring, need three RBs from these choices:
K. Walker

Nerd CommentedDec 23, 2023 4:06 pm

Etienne, Walker, Montgomery. Good luck!

mrock CommentedDec 23, 2023 4:11 pm

what he said

T-Jugg CommentedDec 23, 2023 8:35 pm


Daniel Wright CommentedDec 23, 2023 4:38 pm

Need help:

Javonte or D'onta
LaPorta or Kittle
Thielen or JSN

alex bogojevich CommentedDec 24, 2023 7:36 am

Purdy or Fields
Miami D or Bears D

Nathan Foster CommentedDec 24, 2023 9:20 am

Need to play 2, J. Taylor , D Swift or Gibbs?

Nathan Foster CommentedDec 24, 2023 10:19 am

Forgot about Singletary also

Hetty Rothenberg CommentedDec 24, 2023 11:10 am

I’m concerned Love vs Carolina. Should I sit him and start Mullens, Tannehill, or Heinicke? Standard scoring.

Ed Chan CommentedDec 24, 2023 12:54 pm

Good question. Heinicke or Mullins might be an option to start. Maybe Mullins is better because he has Jefferson and Addison to throw to.

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