Week 16, Fantasy Football Start ‘Em 2017: Who To Start This Week

[photo: Christian Petersen/Getty][/caption]This it. Championship week is now upon us. While most fantasy football participants are currently hanging their heads in shame after losing in the playoffs, there are still a select few worthy fantasy owners that are still competing for the ultimate prize: a league championship. Although this week signifies the end of another wild and thrilling fantasy football season, now is not the time to view this season with a sense of longing nostalgia. Until week 16 finally concludes on Monday night, fantasy owners will be either cringing with utter disappointment or jumping off their couches with glee as they bask in the euphoria of being crowned the champions of their respective fantasy leagues.

Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Oakland Raiders)

After looking masterful against the New York Giants last week, Nick Foles has quickly ascended as a viable option as a starting fantasy quarterback. Although Foles is by no means a gunslinger, his efficiency and familiarity when it comes to orchestrating the Philadelphia Eagles offense cannot be underestimated. While the Oakland Raiders defense has performed much better as of late (have held three of the last four quarterbacks they have faced to one touchdown or fewer), Foles has the requisite weapons and individual awareness to expose a Raiders secondary that has been below average at best throughout the majority of the season.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Houston Texans)

Despite his off the field antics earlier in the season, Martavis Bryant has recently emerged as a viable deep threat for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to target. Garnering five targets or more in three out of his last four games, Bryant is clearly receiving the requisite volume needed to be a viable big-play option in fantasy football.  With Antonio Brown being officially ruled out of this Christmas day affair due to injury and Ju Ju Smith-Schuster lining up as a slot receiver, Bryant could explode statistically against a Texans defense that has relinquished the seventh most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)

Assuming Theo Riddick can overcome a lingering wrist injury this week, the versatile running back should be considered a must-start in fantasy. Although Riddick has averaged an anemic 3.6 yards per rush attempt this season, he has been recently utilized in the red zone as a viable scoring threat (three rushing touchdowns in last three games). On top of that, Riddick is averaging 8.5 yards per reception this season, an area where the pass-catching rusher truly shines. Against the Bengals league-worst rushing defense, Riddick should be able to score in a multitude of ways and prove that his recent success is not a fluke.

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Normally, when a player comes off of the injured reserve, there is usually an understandable desire to ease him progressively back into a team’s respective offense. However, Greg Olsen is clearly the exception to this philosophy as he received three times as many targets (12) as Devin Funchess did (4) in the Panthers victory over the Green Bay Packers. Although this was most likely a display of Olsen’s ceiling and not his week to week production, he has proven to be Cam Newton’s trusted security blanket throughout his career and could go off again against a Buccaneers defense that has allowed the most passing yards per game.

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