Super Bowl week in many leagues highlights the 16th week of fantasy football.
The good news this year for fantasy players is that the races are so close that no teams are resting starters this week. The problem this week for many Super Bowl hopefuls is, again, injuries. Julius Thomas helped many of his teams claim the top seed, or at least gain a playoff spot. He has been fighting to return from an ankle injury, though, and I know at least one owner who paid for his limited role last week. This week could be tough going again, and the Broncos likely will be in run mode in Cincinnati. I would be hesitant to play Thomas, however you must already have a good option in hand. The waiver wire is empty. I know from my team, because I changed my tight ends as often as my underwear this season. Julius may not come through with that three touchdown game, but, then again, he might. Either way, if he catches one touchdown in what looks like a red zone role for now, he'll be better than most options on waivers. Heath Miller are out there in many leagues, but he could be a risk.
Another fantasy stud who has lifted both his fantasy teams and his real team is DeMarco Murray. He had hand surgery, and Jerry Jones doesn't care. He has said Murray hasn't been ruled out for their Week 16 game. If you have Murray, you should get Joseph Randle. We'll see if Murray plays at all, but even if he does, how effective will he be with a bandaged hand? There was a report on ESPN Wednesday morning about Eddie Lacy playing with a hand injury like this at Alabama, and he went for over 100 yds, but that was college. This is the NFL, where everyone is strong and nasty. If you own Murray, watch the injury reports all morning, and have Randle ready. The options for running backs, and again I speak from personal experience, are awful on the waiver wire.
See the best moments captured from Sunday's AFC West-sealing victory in sunny San Diego.
There are a number of players you have to think long about playing with cash on the line. Philip Rivers is chief among them. Facing the 49ers, and with a battered skill position group, I would find another option. Matt Forte has been up and down, but a date with Detroit should have you thinking about your options. I can't believe I'm writing this, but Peyton Manning could be in the middle of another run-heavy game plan. This would mean numbers close to what he's had the last two weeks. Watch the health of Ryan Clady in particular. If he's out, it might be helpful fantasy-wise this way — the Broncos may spread out the Bengals' defense like they did the Chargers and throw a little more. That said, an effective pass rush will have the Broncos trying to grind out this one. I don't know how you sit one of fantasy football's MVPs, though, in a Super Bowl week.
If you're looking for Christmas cash in Draft Kings' leagues, then look at the Packers and Patriots squads. Both Brady and Rodgers should be good buys this week, Jordy Nelson could be a good pairing with Rodgers. Greg Olsen may be a bargain tight end and they face the Browns at home. Jonathan Stewart could be another Panther to buy with the home game against Cleveland. The Steelers host the Chiefs and their sinking run defense. I would put money in LeVeon Bell. If you need a value quarterback, try ... wait for it ... RGIII. He faces an Eagles defense that was beaten badly by Tony Romo last week, and he may look like a bit of his old self.
Flip through photos of the Broncos' 58 touchdowns this season, from Julius Thomas' opening-week hat trick to Peyton Manning's No. 509 to Virgil Green's first NFL touchdown.