Week 16 Fantasy Tips from the Playbook War Room: NFC Matchups

Fantasy Tips, Inside the Game, Playbook War Room

NFC Matchups


Start: Cam Newton, QB Carolina

  • Cam has looked more at ease the past few weeks. The Panthers have been running the ball more effectively which has taken the pressure off of Cam. He has not bee throwing as much which has brought his numbers down to a more pedestrian level, but he still is starting worthy.
  • The Bucs simply have no answer to stopping Cam. Their secondary is without their top player, which should help Steve Smith  (Cam’s clear favorite target) get clean releases off the line. Their DL has looked good in flashes, but does not possess enough of a consistent pass rush to really hinder and athlete like Cam. Their Bucs inability to stop the run, combined with Cam’s running ability should force them to keep a Safety closer to the line of scrimmage which will help Cam generate some good passing yards along with his yards on the ground.


Sit: Percy Harvin, WR/RB Minnesota

Percy Harvin (AP)

  • The return of Adrian Peterson has really turned Harvin back into a WR. Harvin only had one carry last week. To continue to improve as a WR, Harvin needs to continue to work on his route running. His 7 targets last week generated only 3 catches for 8 yards, which is concerning. He was not getting open as much as he should have been down the field.
  • The Redskins pass rush could be an issue for Christian Ponder when he throws. With how he performed last week in a blowout, we imagine that the Vikings will use their RBs to try and control the game on the ground. Harvin could get a few short passes, but the Redskins D looked disciplined last week in controlling the short and intermediate passing attack of the Giants.


Start: Philip Rivers, QB San Diego

  • Rivers struggled so much at the earlier part of this season that it is very possible some owners picked up another QB to start over him. If that is your case, start Rivers this week with confidence. The Chargers OL has finally gained some consistency with their protection which has allowed Rivers to settle himself in the pocket.
  • The Lions pass rush poses a bit of a threat, but the Chargers did a good job of holding the Ravens’ at bay. The Chargers did not hesitate to keep an extra TE or RB in to protect, even if it meant less options for Rivers. The Lions secondary is not physical enough to slow down the big Chargers WRs.


Felix Jones (AP)

Sit: Felix Jones, RB Dallas

  • Jones’ hamstring is a real problem for the guys at Playbook. Felix is as hit best when he can utilize his elusiveness to his advantage. He is a difficult player to tackle because he moves so well laterally. With out two healthy legs we have to believe that Jones is going to be hampered enough to warrant sitting him.


Sit: Marshawn Lynch, RB Seattle

  • Both teams possess very stout rush defenses, the 49ers simply have the better one. Lynch has been a great player for a lot of owners of late, we just think his success really comes to a halt here. With the 49ers having yet to give up a rushing TD this season, we cannot even feel confident about hoping Lynch can get a cheap touchdown throughout the game.
  • The 49ers have been simply too physical up front for teams to consistently generate a push. Lynch is a north south runner who does well when he can get downhill, but that should be very difficult to do this week.


Start: Jordy Nelson, WR Green Bay

  • Even after a dud week last week, Jordy should be in a good spot for a bounce back week. The Bears are known as a Cover 2 team, but play a lot more Cover 3 than people think. Last time against the Packers, the Bears had to play a lot of Cover 3 to match the amount of pass catchers that were on the field at one time. Nelson is at his best against soft third coverage because he has the ability to get down the field while also using his route running ability on comeback routes.
  • The Bears are so banged up on offense that the Packers might be in line for added possessions. A lot of 3 and outs means the Packers offense will get the ball back quick, which should help them get back in a rhythm.


Julio Jones (AP)

Start: Julio Jones, WR Atlanta

  • Matt Ryan and the Atlanta passing attack has finally looked the way everyone had hoped at the beginning of the season. Julio has been used all over the field. His physical attributes allow him to be a threat to score even on short crossing routes, while his speed and route running has helped him get more involved within the intermediate passing game.
  • The Saints have been torched more times than one over the middle of the field. If they choose to try and put pressure on Matt Ryan, to disrupt his rhythm, you had better believe Jones will be running over the vacant middle of the field. The Saints secondary has been suspect on their tackling at times this year, so you can believe that Jones is in a good position to generate some yards after the catch as well.
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