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Fantasy: Lynch, defense set to take you to glory
The marquee Week 16 matchup between the Seahawks and 49ers features the best two defenses in the NFC. The Niners rank first in the conference, allowing 303.9 yards per game and they are third in the league against the run and fifth against the pass.
Many Fantasy owners of Marshawn Lynch have made it this far with him, in what is widely known as Fantasy Super Bowl week in many leagues, and they should not be frightened by what they see on paper. Fantasy superstars put up quality numbers against all types of opposition, and deliver when you need it most. And Lynch is unquestionably a Fantasy superstar.
Lynch’s owners should know that when the 49ers show up, Lynch does not back down at all. Savvy Fantasy players will note that Lynch was the first player to score a rushing touchdown against San Francisco last season. He rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries in the first meeting between the teams this season as well. In Fantasy Super Bowl weeks, many players tend to overthink things and burn themselves in the process. If you benched Lynch last year in Week 16 based on a tough matchup, you regretted it. The proof is there now that you simply lock him in at your No. 1 running back slot and move on to potentially tougher decisions in the rest of your lineup.
Russell Wilson is coming off a monumental game against the Bills, and propelled lots of Fantasy players into their league Super Bowls last week. Wilson was the perfect replacement for those who lost Robert Griffin III to a knee injury, totaling 39.40 points in NFL.com standard leagues. The 49ers obviously represent a much tougher matchup, and deciding whether to use Wilson or not this week all depends on your alternatives. While you would likely prefer the likes of Tony Romo or Andrew Luck to Wilson this week, he has progressed to the point where he certainly can’t hurt your Fantasy team. You should definitely use Wilson over more unreliable types such as Sam Bradford or Matt Schaub.
Sidney Rice (knee) is listed as questionable, and while he has been quite productive when healthy, it’s best to go with a more healthy alternative if you have one. It’s best to play it safe in Fantasy Super Bowls when you can. Golden Tate would obviously become more of a prime target if Rice cannot play, and would merit more serious consideration as a Fantasy WR3 in that scenario. Tate has proved this year that he can come through when challenged. He certainly will not back down to a tough matchup and may relish the opportunity to play a bigger role in a very important game.
Colin Kaepernick threw four TD passes against the Patriots, and some Fantasy players may have second thoughts about starting the Seahawks defense this week as a result. But Seattle’s defense is the second-best unit in Fantasy this year on NFL.com and is elite in most formats. You don’t bench your Fantasy standouts based on matchups, and the Seahawks are an equivalent of a superstar skill position player from a defensive Fantasy perspective. Making a sound defensive decision is not just about looking at the matchups. You cannot start a 26th-ranked Colts defense over the Seahawks based on a matchup with the Chiefs. Sure, the Colts could have their best defensive game of the season this week, but they are much more likely to let you down than the Seahawks.
As you venture into Fantasy Super Bowl week, you have a good shot at winning it all if Cam Newton is your quarterback. He has been terrific in recent weeks and faces the defensively challenged Raiders. Robert Griffin III is returning from a knee injury and should be locked into lineups. Tony Romo also has a lot of statistical upside against New Orleans.
At running back, Alfred Morris has been highly dependable and should be started in all formats. Knowshon Moreno has recently re-emerged from obscurity and is a very strong start against Cleveland. Reggie Bush should break off some big plays against Buffalo, and look for Stevan Ridley to score at least once against Jacksonville.
Randall Cobb has become a go-to guy for Aaron Rodgers and is a top start among wide receivers. Steve Smith should benefit from Newton’s success against Oakland, and Pierre Garcon should shine as RG3 returns. Danny Amendola and Miles Austin have some very friendly matchups (Tampa Bay and New Orleans, respectively).
Heath Miller is a very reliable tight end right now, when most players at the position seem to be very erratic or often invisible. Jermichael Finley is back in the offensive flow and can give you decent production. If you don’t have the Seattle defense, the Jets are a great choice against the struggling and depleted Chargers, and New England should not be threatened very much by Jacksonville.
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