FANTASY PLAYS: Championship week here, same logic applies

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Week 16 is a magical time, something that all fantasy players strive for, yet so very few reach.

Of course, with daily fantasy sports, more players are in during championship week. The same advice and logic applies to all the matchups - be prepared for anything and everything.


Take Ty Montgomery, for example.

The Green Bay wide receiver-turned-running back ran 16 times for 162 yards and two touchdowns, adding two receptions for one yard through the air.

It's tough to remember a time when a wide receiver was named a team's starting running back midway through the season and then put on such a dominating performance. But do approach Montgomery with a tiny degree of caution heading into your championship game -the Bears on Sunday were ravaged with defensive injuries and had given up at least 100 rushing yards to opposing backs in the previous four games. Week 16 brings a date with the Vikings, who have been a tougher defensive unit throughout the season.


On Saturday night, Matt Moore led the Dolphins to a 34-13 victory over the Jets, throwing four touchdowns on just 18 pass attempts. Sunday, Matt Barkley threw for 362 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers.

If your fantasy team has made it this far, there's probably little need for a waiver wire quarterback, but daily fantasy players may want to take a closer look at the duo. Moore has a talented set of receivers in DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, and Kenny Stills, as well as a running back in Jay Ajayi who can keep defenses honest.

Barkley, meanwhile, should continue to benefit from the presence of Alshon Jeffery, who returned from a four-game suspension to catch six balls off nine targets for 89 yards and a touchdown.

There is plenty of risk to be had with Moore and Barkley, but fantasy players can justify nearly any move given this blanket statement: weird things happen in Weeks 16 and 17. At the very least, Moore and Barkley have some solid logic behind them, as well.


- The Jaguars fired Gus Bradley Sunday, but did not name an interim coach. It's likely to be offensive line coach Doug Marrone or defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker.

Marrone is a sharp offensive mind and isn't afraid to make bold moves (two examples - his Pinstripe Bowl game plan while coaching Syracuse and his infamous exit from the Buffalo Bills). If given a chance to show why he should be head coach next season, he could try some razzle dazzle with the team's ultra-talented wide receiving corps, pointing to a possible late-season surge for Allen Robinson, who has been brutally underutilized in 2016.

- Teams have easily padded fantasy stats against the 49ers defense this season, especially in the run game. So Week 16 against Los Angeles should make for an interesting game. The Rams have struggled all season offensively, but they do have plenty of talent - from Todd Gurley to Tavon Austin - and a new head coach in John Fassel.

In a fun twist, Gurley currently has 778 rushing yards on the season. If he can manage about 130 against the 49ers (A number not totally out of the question, despite Gurley failing to reach 100 rushing yards in a game all season), he'll likely be pushing hard in Week 17 to hit the 1,000-yard mark on the season.

- If Tom Savage starts for the Texans in Week 16, expect more good things from DeAndre Hopkins, who was targeted 17 times (catching eight passes for 87 yards) in Sunday's win over Jacksonville. Only two of those targets came from Brock Osweiler, who was benched in the second quarter.

- Justin Forsett's 10 carries for 37 yards don't exactly jump out of the box score, but when held against Devontae Booker's six carries for 17 yards, they tell a greater story - Forsett looks to be the main back in Denver now, after two weeks of leading the team in carries. His fantasy usefulness, however, will be somewhat limited, as the Broncos have fairly rough games ahead against the Chiefs and Raiders.

- One quick scheduling note: Week 16 features almost all of the games on Saturday (Christmas Eve), with two games on Sunday, one on Monday, and one on Thursday.


This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network,