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NFL Fantasy Football, Week 16: 5 must-starts for the fantasy playoffs

A few fantasy football options that should be in your lineups this week.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is running a $1.2M fantasy football league on Sunday. First place wins $100,000. Join now! Sorry Washington residents, you can't play.

Week 15 In Review

If you aren't familiar with my methods yet, I'll put myself on a "PASS" or "FAIL" scale which is based on flex options scoring above or below double digit fantasy points. Above 10 points would be a PASS, and obviously below 10 would be a FAIL. I do my best to find the not-so obvious options from week to week to help you dominate your league. With that said here we go once again, let's see how I did for you, folks.

Matthew Stafford, 28.0 - PASS
Michael Floyd, 12.0 Points -- PASS
Jeremy Hill, 13.1 Points -- PASS
Denard Robinson, 15.4 Points -- PASS
Charcandrick West, 16.5 Points -- PASS

Welp, that's five out of five, and life is good. Everybody we picked this week saved their fantasy owners from a "bust" performance and someone even out-performed expectations.

Firstly, the REAL "Matty Ice" -- Matt Stafford. As predicted, the guy was facing an absolutely awful pass defense in the New Orleans Saints and he validated my recommendation, posting 3 touchdowns in the first half of the game and pushing his total points well beyond 25 for the night -- thank god.

Not exactly what we had "hoped" for, but Michael Floyd put up a serviceable 12 points Sunday night. Then in one of the luckiest performances on the day, Jeremy Hill carried the ball 19 times for just 31 yards but saved his owners by punching two touchdowns into the endzone.

With TJ Yeldon a no-go, the Jaguars turned to Denard Robinson to carry the mail, and fortunately for fantasy owners he did. Then there is one of my favorite handcuffs in the league -- Charcandrick West. In the absence of Spencer Ware, Charcandrick found room to work as he posted north of 16 points for the game -- the kid can ball.

Week 16: '5 Must-Start Fantasy Sleepers'

I pride myself on making tough calls, and this week will be no exception once again. It's official Russell Wilson is devouring souls -- I love it.

5.Dez Bryant, WR DAL

Who isn't afraid to start Dez Bryant anymore? Lord knows I am. In your league's semi-final, title game or consolation matches, in Week 16 he is finally a must-start option -- thankfully when it counts.

After losing Tony Romo it has been a serious quarterback carousel of embarrassment in Dallas. Not one capable option arose after the first and second deaths of Tony Romo -- until now. It tis' the hour of Kellen Moore and it couldn't have come sooner. In Week 16, the Dallas Cowboys will be facing the Buffalo Bills, a defense that had all the preseason hype in the world but has since crashed back down to earth.

This is a defense that over the last seven weeks is averaging just 1.28 sacks per game and .71 interceptions -- this defense isn't elite, at all. In Week 15 against a tough Jets defense, Kellen Moore at least made a concerted effort to look for Dez. Between Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore, Dez was targeted 9 times on the day, and he was able to turn those opportunities into 4 catches, for 50 yards and a score.

No Dallas quarterback option is a great one, but as I've stated a million times -- volume is king. If Nelson Agholor, Cecil Shorts, and Brandon LaFell could do any sort of damage to them, then Dez should do infinitely worse. Unbelievably, the Bills rank 23rd against the pass, giving up 257.7 yards per game. Look for Dez Bryant to be an extreme focal point of this offense Sunday. With Moore at QB and issues everywhere else, Bryant shouldn't get a top tier workload in your fantasy football finals.

Dez Bryant is currently available in 4% of Yahoo leagues and 3.1% of leagues at ESPN. Obviously not a lack of exposure with Dez, but there is certainly a lack of confidence with owners in starting him. This is an uncharacteristically soft defense, and Dez deserves the start in all formats -- PPR for sure.

4. Amari Cooper, WR OAK

Here we go again, Amari Cooper is going to get a crack at this San Diego secondary and the cornerback he turned into a burn victim for a 2-68-1 line last time -- Jason Verrett.

San Diego's season is in the toilet, and all that's left to play for is pride (I guess). Last time these two teams faced in Week 7, Amari Cooper got the better of Verrett, but overall obliterated this entire defense posting a 5-133-1 line. Truth be told -- against Verrett, Amari Cooper only produced a 2-68-1 stat line on 3 targets -- so let's put down our pitch forks.

Last time was a road game, seven games into Amari's career. This time it's a home game, 16 weeks into Amari's first season, and Cooper is coming off perhaps the best game of his young career as he finished 6-120-2 against a decent Green Bay Packers secondary.

Over the past four weeks, Cooper hasn't seen less than 7 targets in any game. averaging 8.5 targets per game over this span. This is a subpar San Diego defense, ranking inside the bottom 10 in reception of 20+ yards allowed with 49 on the season. This doesn't bode well for the Chargers, as Cooper has only had 3 games out of his 14 where he didn't make a reception for over 20 yards. The Raiders are a explosive, vertical offense, and Amari Cooper is the young centerpiece that Derek Carr is leaning on. Expect Amari to be featured right off the bat on Sunday and never look back. He's a high upside WR2 in Week 16 and I wouldn't be surprised if he finished as a top 5 WR in your fantasy football finals match up.

Amari Cooper is currently available in just 3% of Yahoo leagues and 3% at ESPN. Again, no, Amari isn't under the radar, but don't let the San Diego defense hype scare you. Their recent production is a definite product of facing Alex Smith, Marcus Mariota and Brock Osweiler... don't be impressed.

3. Kamar Aiken, WR BAL

This is the third wideout on this list, but they pay dividends -- heavily. If you've done any watching of the Baltimore Ravens -- which I assume you haven't (who has this year?) -- you'd know that even though the Ravens are down significant pieces, Kamar Aiken is way more than a "stand in" talent.

In Week 16, the Ravens will be taking on the red hot Pittsburgh Steeler, a team that is sure to absolutely torch them. Luckily for fantasy football owners a the outcome of a game doesn't always ruin the production of our weapons. Over the last 6 weeks, Aiken has seen 61 targets, good for an average of 10.1 per game -- yes, you're reading this correctly.

As the clear number one option in this offense, he is sure to get the volume you're looking for and to date he has been surprisingly efficient with the opportunities. Although the Steelers put up points like I do in Madden football for the X-Box One, the defense tells a different story. Their defense is currently ranked 31st in the league against the pass, allowing 279.1 Yards/G, while tied for the 5th most in touchdowns allowed with 28 -- this is a JV defense playing in the big leagues.

It's truly the perfect storm as Kamar is not only talented enough to score points on his own, but he is sure to get his cracks in garbage time as well. I generally wouldn't bank on garbage time but I believe heavily enough in Kamar's skills that I think he will find a way to post a solid game regardless of what point it is at. Don't believe me? Two weeks ago he dropped a 5-90 against the Seahawks, and last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, he exploded for 8-128-1. Again, we don't care how our guys score, we just care that they do and right now Aiken is primed to put up digits -- especially against bottom of the league defenses.

Kamar Aiken is currently available in 43% of Yahoo leagues and 40.9% of leagues at ESPN. The guy is playing too well to bench right now -- unless you have better options, that is. This is a guy getting insane volume, who has been productive with it, and is squaring off with arguably the worst defense in the NFL.... start him.

2. Kirk Cousins, QB WAS

I know, I know.... nobody wants the realization that their fantasy football dreams are hinged on the shoulders of the alabaster-skinned Kirk Cousins. Unfortunately this is where we are, let's bask in our depression.

Over the past four weeks, Kirk has dropped fantasy games of: 24.1, 15.3, 22.3, and most recently 43.8.

On the year, Cousins has 510 passing attempts -- good for an average of 36.4 per game -- or QB1 volume by most experts rankings. Unless your league has a -3 for interceptions or absolutely punishes quarterbacks for imperfections, I wouldn't hesitate to start Cousins for fear of turnovers.

In fact, in Kirk's past six games he has only turned the ball over two times, and currently has a TD:INT ratio of 22:11 for the year. In Week 16 he will be facing one of the league's worst pass defenses in the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2015 the Eagles are ranked 24th against the pass, hemorrhaging 259.1 Yards/G. Equally unimpressive is their propensity to allow the passing TD -- through 14 games they have given up 30 and there appears to be no end in sight. This is a defense that has taken the ball away just 13 times this year and is about to face a quarterback that is averaging a completion percentage of 74.9 over the past six weeks -- that's an absolutely astounding percentage.

Despite the 62.3% completion percentage the Eagles are currently allowing, their make-shift secondary will have an impossible time covering DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon on the outside. I realize Cousin's isn't the sexy name, but at his price tag and availability he may be the right one.

Kirk Cousins is currently available in 64% Yahoo leagues and 64.6% of leagues at ESPN. Kirk is throwing the ball right now arguably the best he ever has, and in your fantasy football championship game gets a plus matchup. Don't bench him just because his first name isn't cool.

1. Golden Tate, WR DET

For weeks now Golden Tate has been making NFL defenses look like practice squads with his dominance in the red zone. Call it luck, call it situation, but don't overlook the truth about what is really going on here.

In Week 16, Golden Tate is probably licking his chops at the prospects of trashing this San Francisco 49er's secondary. Over the past two weeks Tate has lead the Lions in touchdown receptions (4), giving him 6 on the season and putting him just one behind Calvin Johnson (7) on the year.

The most missed fact about Tate is that in a Calvin Johnson inactive game or a "decoy" role he becomes a MUST-START WR1. His volume on the year has been that of a high end WR2 even with Calvin on the same field (8.8 per/G). In Week 16 though he get's a wildly juicy matchup against a Niners team that is giving up a 7th-worst 261.7 yards/G. The Niners also hold the 5th lowest takeaway percentage averaging just 0.64 INT's per/G.

This is a secondary that just two weeks ago allowed Brian Hartline to drop a 8-107 stat line on them -- in other words they have thrown in the metaphoric towel. That's not to say Brian Hartline is even close to Golden Tate's skill level either, over the past four weeks Tate has hauled in 30 receptions on 34 targets (88.5%) 7.5 catches per/G. He has turned into a PPR god as of late (duh, he had 99 receptions in 2014) and Matt Stafford is clearly favoring Tate in the short game. So as long as Calvin Johnson continues to show his age like he has been, expect Tate to feast like Friar Tuck.

Golden Tate is currently available in 16% of ESPN leagues and 11% leagues at Yahoo. There is no question that this offense is funneled through Tate right now and you'd be absolutely nuts to bench him for any reason -- he is arguably a top 15 WR heading into your fantasy football title games.

Good luck this week everyone.

As always you can find me on twitter @AnOutragedJew if you have sit/start questions or want steamy dating advice.