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11 fantasy football matchups I’m counting on

Who are the players I’m resting my fantasy season on

NFL: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

So it’s championship week and I have a little #humblebrag to make. I’ve played in 24 leagues this year, across various platforms and formats and now we’ve reached the pinnacle of the fantasy season, I’m in the running for 11 championships. Not a bad return when you consider the car crash that this year has been in terms of injuries to big name players. With the final round of fantasy matches due this weekend, I’ve pored over my teams and made one final search of the waiver wires to make that one final perfect line up to bring me home all the marbles. Beyond the obvious top players you have to start this week, here are the guys I’m banking on in week 16.

Blake Bortles QB (Jaguars @ 49ers)

Thanks to the tease that was Aaron Rodgers’ brief return in week 15, I’m having to bank on Bortles in three finals this week, but I’m feeling confident. Bortles is second in fantasy points by QBs over the last month (22.31) and faces the 49ers who have the 26th ranked pass defense. Per my ROPE QB Index, Bortles is the highest rated quarterback over the last four weeks and I’m keeping the faith he can keep it rolling as the Jaguars pursue a playoff bye.

TY Hilton WR (Colts @ Ravens)

This probably doesn’t seem too much of an out there pick but Hilton is the 29th rated receiver in both total fantasy points for receivers and average fantasy points per game this season. I’m banking on his big play ability against a Ravens pass defense that has been really good (3rd in receiver points allowed) but did give up 60 points to the Steelers’ receivers in week 14. I’m clutching at straws I know as Antonio Brown is otherworldly, but needs must this week.

Sean Lee LB (Cowboys vs Seahawks)

I’m in four IDP (individual defensive player) dynasty leagues and made three out of those four finals and Sean Lee is one of the keys to that. A tackling machine who is the heart of the Cowboys’ defense, I’m counting on Lee to produce around his season average of 16 points per game to lift my teams to victory.

Keelan Cole WR (Jaguars @ 49ers)

The player I’m most nervous about but the best available on waivers this week. With Marqise Lee out for Week 16, I’m hoping for some sort of repeat of his 186 yard and a touchdown performance against the Texans. With Blake Bortles throwing him the ball, what could go wrong?

Jared Goff QB (Rams @ Titans)

Goff is a borderline QB1 this season, but when you have Todd Gurley running all over everyone, you don’t need to be slinging the ball all over the yard. With Robert Woods back, Sammy Watkins, Cooper Kupp and Gurley as passing option, Goff has the passing options to take on a league average Titans pass defense and thrive.

Alex Collins RB (Ravens vs Colts)

I’ve been riding the Alex Collins train for a number of weeks now and that’s no different heading into championship week. He might be playing hurt but with the Ravens needing to win out to make the postseason, Collins is going to get his share against a bottom 10 run defense in points allowed to running backs.

Matt Prater K (Lions @ Bengals)

In a week where playoff hopes are on the line in ‘real’ football, I’m backing Matt Prater to deliver in a big spot. He is money in game-winning situations and has the leg to nail 50 yard field goals with ease. Against a Bengals team who are now mailing in the end of their season, I need Prater to come up big as he’s in six of my eleven championship teams.

Jerick McKinnon RB (Vikings @ Packers)

A tough call as McKinnon is in a shared backfield with Latavius Murray, but given the opponent and conditions the Vikings are facing in week 16, I’m counting on a heavy dose of the run game so the defense can tee off on Brett Hundley. McKinnon is in place to get the volume, though Murray carries the touchdown upside as the bigger back on the goal line. I’m backing volume to win me three championships this week.

Kenyan Drake RB (Dolphins @ Chiefs)

Drake has been a clear RB1 since the Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi to the Eagles but I’m relying on him in five of my leagues. He faces a Chiefs defense ranked 31st against the run in fantasy terms and is the key to my fantasy hopes in Week 16.

Larry Fitzgerald WR (Cardinals vs Giants)

In a game where there is literally nothing at stake, I’m banking on Fitz to continue his drive to overtake Terrell Owens for second all-time in receiving yards. Drew Stanton is back under center for the Cardinals and he has a Fitz obsession that I’m counting on against the worst pass defense in the NFL in 2017.

Chicago Bears D/ST (vs Browns)

Anyone who streams defenses should take a look at the Bears in week 16. They play the Browns who have the worst fantasy offense in the NFL and are DESPERATE to avoid defeat with the Steelers ahead of them in Week 17. The Bears defense is league average, but given the Browns offense is the worst in the NFL, I’d say that makes for a strong streaming opportunity.