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Fantasy Football Christmas Day Cheat Sheet: Rodgers and Brady play on Sunday

So much changes from week to week around the NFL, and we're here to make sure you're on top of it all heading into Week 16 of the 2022 season.

The weekly fantasy football cheat sheet provides a rundown of the best tips from all the fantasy football content that ESPN has posted over the past seven days. You'll find answers to the biggest start/sit questions of the week and other pertinent matchup advice from our team, including Field Yates, Mike Clay, Eric Karabell, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Matt Bowen, Seth Walder, Al Zeidenfeld, Eric Moody, Liz Loza, Daniel Dopp and ESPN Insiders Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano, plus all of NFL Nation. It's all the best advice in one handy article.

Here's what our experts are saying about Week 16 in the NFL:


Christmas Day advice

While most of the NFL schedule was shifted to Saturday, there are still a trio of games for fans to enjoy while enjoying some Yuletide cheer on Sunday the 25th (not to mention the usual Monday night action still to come). It's often risky to wait until the later games of the week to finalize your lineups, but if you do choose to go that route, here are some things to consider.

  • Christian Watson produced just 8.9 PPR points in Week 15, ending a streak of four games with at least one touchdown and 21 or more PPR points. The rookie, however, did lead the team with six targets in the Monday night win over the Rams, and the Packers schemed for the Watson inside the red zone. With a Week 16 matchup versus a Dolphins defense that majors in single-high coverages (Cover 1, Cover 3), Watson will have opportunities on vertical one-on-ones, and Green Bay will create interior coverage voids for the wide receiver to run the glance and dig routes, which are staple throws for Aaron Rodgers. I have Watson as an upside WR2 this week. -- Bowen

  • The Packers have a hard time stopping the run. In addition to its 31st-ranked run-stop win rate, Green Bay is also letting up 5.0 yards per carry to opposing running backs, fifth-highest in the league. Enter the Dolphins, who are average in terms of run blocking this season but also Raheem Mostert, fresh off a 136-yard rushing performance against the Bills. He and/or Jeff Wilson Jr. ought to be able to take advantage. -- Walder

  • Tom Brady has generally played to his matchups this season, so one with the Cardinals, whose 2.2 Adjusted Fantasy Points Added in 2022 ranks eighth most in the league, should make him a viable Week 16 starter. -- Cockcroft

  • I have Chris Godwin ranked as a lower-tier WR1 this week given his target volume, plus the matchup versus Arizona. In his past four games, Godwin has seen a total of 43 targets from Brady. And during that stretch, he has posted two games of 22 or more PPR points. In the Christmas night game against the pressure-heavy Cardinals defense, Godwin should emerge as a high-volume target on middle of the field and underneath throws. Get the ball out quick here, Tom. -- Bowen

  • Although both players ran a similar number of routes, Cade Otton (6.4%) played on more snaps than Cameron Brate against the Bengals last Sunday. The Buccaneers face the Cardinals in Week 16 and Arizona's defense has given up the most TE fantasy points. -- Moody

  • I think all kickers playing in the Midwest/Northeast should be monitored. I'd have an indoor option stashed just in case. Chase McLaughlin is coming off a monster game and was available in almost 95% of ESPN fantasy leagues as of Friday morning. -- Loza

  • The RB position is pretty thin at this point of the fantasy season, but if you need someone to replace Taylor, then go get Zack Moss. Moss out-touched Deon Jackson 24-14 last week and while I don't see dynamic running traits, there's a physical element to his game. He has the lateral foot quickness that allows him to slide through the traffic and draws a favorable matchup against the Chargers defense. This is a move to gain some run-game volume in your lineup. -- Bowen


Quick hits, starts and sits

  • The Eagles have shadowed a few times this season, but they did not when these teams met in Week 6. In that game, CeeDee Lamb posted a 5-68-0 receiving line on 10 targets. He aligned in the slot on 27 of 37 routes, which was a much higher rate than usual and a clear effort to avoid matchups with Darius Slay and James Bradberry on the perimeter. ... The Eagles have allowed the sixth-fewest WR fantasy points, as well as the fewest to the perimeter. ... However, Lamb figures to get a ton of slot run again and should be fine as the Eagles have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to the slot. -- Clay

  • Saints RB Alvin Kamara will finally have that breakthrough game against a pitiful Cleveland Browns run defense. Of course, if you had Kamara on your roster, odds are you're not still playing fantasy this year. But if you somehow survived and made the playoffs in spite of him, I think you get rewarded this week. The Saints really want to figure out more ways to get him the ball. This week offers that opportunity. -- Graziano

  • Avoid JuJu Smith-Schuster. Though the Seahawks have been awful at defending both running backs and tight ends this season, one area in which they've been top-notch defensively is against wide receivers. Their minus-5.1 Adjusted Fantasy Points Added is third-fewest in the league, and the team hasn't allowed a 20-point wide receiver since Week 7. Smith-Schuster has served as one of Patrick Mahomes' three primary targets -- along with Travis Kelce and the aforementioned McKinnon -- in recent weeks, but this is a game in which Mahomes might lean more on the others, accounting for the matchup. -- Cockcroft

  • Buffalo WR Gabe Davis will get back on track. It seems like Davis is due after five straight games of fewer than six catches or 70 yards. The Bills have big plans for him and know he has been close to breaking out. And Chicago's depleted secondary can be bullied, as A.J. Brown showed last week with a 181-yard performance. -- Fowler

  • Speaking of running backs in that Detroit-Carolina game, just a quick reminder that the Lions still have not allowed a RB to score 10 fantasy points in a game since Week 7. In Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes we trust! (But also start DJ Moore in all formats this week against that Lions secondary!) -- Dopp


Backfield banter for Week 16

The Indianapolis Colts have placed RB Jonathan Taylor on IR, which means he'll be out of commission for the rest of the fantasy playoffs. Given his over-90% roster percentage, this is going to have a lot of impact here in Week 16. With that in mind, let's take a trip around NFL Nation to see what our intrepid team has to say about some of the other muddled backfield situations from around the league.

  • Miles Sanders didn't get a look (carry or target) in the first 23 minutes after being the second-most-productive fantasy running back in the three weeks prior. Is this a blip on the radar or something to take seriously during the fantasy postseason? It really depends on the opponent. The coaches identified matchups in the secondary they believed they could take advantage of against Chicago, and stuck with that plan despite some early struggles through the air. The blessing of having such a dynamic offense is the Eagles can choose how they want to attack based on the matchup. The curse is that it can result in a slow day for Sanders when they choose to go in the opposite direction. -- Tim McManus

  • Jerick McKinnon has been a per-touch machine of late. Fantasy owners can trust him, particularly if the Chiefs continue to play close games, because the Chiefs trust him. He is the best pass-protector and best receiver among their running backs, so the Chiefs look at him as a valuable player in clutch situations. Isiah Pacheco will still get plenty of work, but given Pacheco's fumbling and pass-protection problems, McKinnon will continue to be a significant part of their rotation. -- Adam Teicher

  • Can we pencil D'Andre Swift in for 15-20 opportunities (carries + targets) per game the rest of the way? Yes -- but only as long as he remains somewhat healthy. ... Teams are starting to game-plan against his backfield mate Jamaal Williams, and Swift is starting to heat up a little. So, no it wouldn't be a stretch for him to get 15-20 opportunities, but I wouldn't pencil it in either. In Detroit it has become somewhat of a running back-by-committee situation with Williams, Swift and Justin Jackson all getting reps depending on who has the hot hand, but Swift is by far the most dynamic option and has good hands, which separates him from the pack when he's feeling good physically. -- Eric Woodyard

  • In the Desmond Ridder era down the stretch, can we count on Cordarrelle Patterson and Tyler Allgeier? You can probably count on both, but for different reasons. Allgeier is going to get his work, as he has averaged 4.91 yards per carry or more in each of the past four games and since the start of November has just one game under 50 rushing yards. Patterson is a bit trickier. Caleb Huntley's ankle injury will open up more snaps for Patterson -- and his usage should vary more between back and receiver as the season concludes. What that looks like could be more game-to-game, so Allgeier is the more trustworthy back, but Patterson is the more explosive potential option. -- Michael Rothstein


Looking for the latest injury news leading up to kickoff? Check out all of the Week 16 inactives here.


Snap decisions?

What do you to do at quarterback this week if you were coasting all season long with "set it and forget it" Jalen Hurts (99.7% rostered) and now have to survive and advance without the injured superstar? Is there any viable alternative lurking for you? Let's see what our experts think about some of the Week 16 options under center.

  • It's always good when you can turn in-house for a potential replacement, and Gardner Minshew fits the bill. The circumstances are decidedly different now but, back in 2019, Minshew started 12 games for the Jaguars and averaged 16.7 fantasy points per game in those starts. He had 21 or more fantasy points in four of them and rushed for more than 350 yards for the season. Philly has an elite group of pass-catchers and offensive linemen around him, so this offense can still be successful. He's my QB12 for the week, as he is not nearly the runner Hurts is. -- Yates

  • We've got quite a few new names starting this week, and few will rely on the Colts' Nick Foles, Cardinals' Trace McSorley and Titans' Malik Willis. ... How Minshew performs at Dallas may affect whether the franchise pushes Hurts (shoulder) for Week 17. ... There's little chance the Cowboys bench Dak Prescott, even if he loses to rival Philly's backup, but fantasy managers know he has multiple interceptions in four of six games. That's become a problem. ... Commanders starter Taylor Heinicke faces a tough road game in San Francisco, and since he hasn't been producing big numbers anyway, there seems a decent chance Carson Wentz starts Week 17 versus Cleveland. -- Karabell

  • Finding your way into the good-weather games this week is a winning strategy, especially in a situation like this. The Giants have allowed multiple TD passes in three of their last four games and allow the sixth-most yards per completion in the league. This game presents an opportunity to get exposure to correlated high-volume, high-talent targets through Kirk Cousins as a solid QB stacking option (in DFS). -- Zeidenfeld

  • In Week 16, Jared Goff is the best available option (with the most upside) given his matchup against the Panthers defense. Goff has posted 20 or more fantasy points in two of his past four starts, with a total of eight passing touchdowns during that stretch. ... Detroit can use leveled concepts, play-action and shot plays to give Goff clean throwing platforms. He's a good bet to produce for managers in deeper leagues. -- Bowen