2020 Season: Week 16's Most Pressing Questions

(Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall)

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through Twitter, not a creature was stirring, no one had a start/sitter. The lineups were set on the smartphones with care, in the hopes that the fantasy gods would answer their prayers. 

But elsewhere there was panic, fear, and despair, sights of fantasy managers drunk and screaming into the air! Their minds were all filled with visions of tilt and pure dread, for they knew that come Tuesday their championship hopes could be dead.

But then the phones ring, Twitter alerts all a flutter, was there a last bit of advice that some writer could muster? Yes there it was, the answer was clear, one last article from The Lateral was here! So pour another beer, whiskey, or wine, I have the answers to your questions, you are going to be fine.

Week 16's Most Pressing Questions: Special Christmas Edition

What Do I Do With My Lineup?

Who is a player at each position I can add and start this week?

At QB the answer is still probably QB Mitchell Trubisky (CHI). However, if QB Baker Mayfield (CLE) is still available in your league, I rank him ahead of Trubisky. Last week we saw how a positive game script can hurt Trubisky, and Minnesota should have no issues literally running all over the Jaguars in Week 16. Baker Mayfield had a similarly positive game script last week against the Giants and still managed to get to a QB12 finish. The Jets should be a team he can dominate.

Hopefully, you already picked up Rams RB Darrell Henderson with Cam Akers out this week, and if you did you can start him with confidence. If you missed out though, maybe RB Salvon Ahmed (MIA) will be available. It is a great matchup for the Miami RBs against the Raiders, and while the Dolphins have largely taken a bell-cow approach to this season, Ahmed's level of play should merit him enough work to be a FLEX consideration even with Gaskin healthy. Another Miami RB to consider is RB/WR Lynn Bowden (MIA), who saw a fair amount of work in a tough matchup against New England last week. Even with most of the Miami receivers returning this week, I expect Bowden to continue to be in WR3 territory. You can put him in your RB2 spot in lineups.

I also like Bowden as a WR, but I prefer WR Chad Hansen (HOU) and WR Keke Coutee (HOU). Passing on the Bengals defense has been easy enough this year, and you can start either of them this week. Both have been WR2s since Week 13.

At TE, nobody has a better matchup and is as widely available as TE Cole Kmet (CHI). A lot of people are scared after last week where everyone (including us) recommended Kmet and then he went out and saw only two targets. He also saw 100% of the snaps, so I still trust him this week unless you have a top option available or can add TE Austin Hooper (CLE). Hooper has the best matchup of any TE this week against the Jets and is a must-add for anyone playing this week.

Everyone wants to start the Texans DST this week, and while I get it, they are DST29 on the year. For context, in one league I am in, they have scored a cumulative eight points this season outside of their Week 12 matchup against Detroit. Instead, give me the Arizona Cardinals DST against the Niners and third-string QB C.J. Beathard.

Kicker is a total crapshoot. Jason Sanders is a big reason why I am not in a championship this year, and he is currently the best kicker not named Younghoe Koo. Tampa Bay plays the awful, coachless, Detroit Lions in a dome this Saturday. K Ryan Succop (TB) is a good play this week if you are still in need.

Start/Sit: Jalen Hurts vs Justin Herbert (the redux)

So we talked about this last week and while neither player was wrong, there were definitely varying degrees of correctness (only the most scientific #analysis here at The Lateral). Unfortunately, I played the wrong one and the 12 more points Hurts scored in my league would have been enough to push me into the finals. I still like Herbert a lot, and I would still play him over most QBs, but not Hurts. Hurts has a good matchup against Dallas and should be able to equal his three TDs through the air from last week against the Cardinals. Especially since only the Jets and Jags have allowed more passing TDs this year.

Can I start Chris Carson this week?

Can I cop out and say maybe? Carson has been a great RB this year, currently sitting at RB19 with 16.7 PPG. In PPG, he is RB9. Yet if you played him last week, he gave you less than 10 points despite 15 touches and three targets. Did we know this could happen? Sure. I even mentioned as much on our Boom/Bust Livestream when I almost named him my bust pick of the week. After all, Washington is a tough matchup. But you know who is even tougher? The Rams. They do not give up much to RBs, and when Carlos Hyde is out there and able to take opportunities away from you, that matters. There is a really good chance you will not have better options on your roster, but just looking across the field, I even prefer Darrell Henderson to Chris Carson this week.

Fantasy Football Ethics

If my game is meaningless, should I make roster moves?

So the first thing to cover is what I call the golden rule of fantasy football: If the rules allow it, it is permitted. If your league wanted to ban you from making roster moves, they needed to make it a rule. Second, if you are in a keeper or dynasty league, roster moves are always allowed. You are not just worried about this year, but next year and the year after that. I am in a keeper league where I am in meaningless consolation games. Despite only being allowed to have two keepers, I added Will Fuller V, A.J. Dillon, Dak Prescott, and Courtland Sutton this week. Sure, only A.J. Dillon is currently active for Week 16, but the point is the same. 

Still, that all being said, I do prefer to avoid adding players in truly meaningless games from a sportsmanship perspective. If I can set a legal lineup in a consolation bracket game for a redraft league, then I will not make a waiver move. But I do not judge anyone who tries to win in a given week.

My priest says roster churn is wrong but is it?

Your priest is probably right, but all is fair in love, war, and fantasy football. This is another situation where the golden rule of fantasy football can apply. For those who are not familiar, roster churn is where a fantasy manager adds and then drops a player to ensure that other fantasy managers cannot add that player off of waivers in time to be used in a given week. For example, on Saturday last week you add RB Tony Pollard, and then drop him on Sunday so nobody can play him, and you pick up RB Salvon Ahmed. Whether you were going to play either player is irrelevant; what is important is now your opponent cannot play either of them.

Like with making roster moves in a meaningless game, I do not personally roster churn, though I will definitely add players so that an opponent cannot use them in a matchup. Hell, I kept Latavius Murray in a league this year just to prevent the Alvin Kamara manager from having the handcuff. But I typically do not churn. Still, I do not judge you if you churn, especially with a championship on the line. Your league needs to be proactive and have a rule preventing it if they think it is a problem.

Is stashing healthy players on IR acceptable?

In this instance, the fantasy manager has healthy players on their IR that are no longer designated out or on IR. However, rather than drop someone to move the player into their lineup, they keep their lineup as is and do not have to drop anyone. 

Again, like with the other two issues, this is a situation where the golden rule can be applied. If your league has no rule against it, then you are allowed to do it, and that is really the point of this whole section. Roster churn, IR stash, use dual designations to your advantage, etc. If Taysom Hill is a TE that is going to be a starting QB and carries a dual designation, you should play him at TE. Even the following week where you could still play him at TE as long as you did not change your lineup. If the rules allow it, then it is allowed.

Christmas Questions!

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

Die Hard is a summer blockbuster. We just want it to be a Christmas movie because Christmas movies are largely mediocre at best. While Christmas is the backdrop for the movie, if you replaced the Christmas Party at Nakatomi Plaza with any office party, nothing about the movie would change. It is not like the movie resolves with the McClanes reuniting to go home and open presents with their child, or that Gruber is attacking because it is Christmas, etc. Any of those things would make it a Christmas movie. 

Need further proof? The Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode "Yippie Kayak" is a Christmas episode. It came out right before Christmas and is resolved with Jake Peralta apologizing to Charles Boyle for not getting him a gift. If Die Hard had done the same things, it would be a Christmas movie, but since it did not, it is not. If you want Die Hard: Christmas, watch the Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode. Otherwise go watch Jingle All the Way, an actual Christmas movie.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Die Hard is a Christmas movie according to the director. Do with that what you will. Carry on.]

What is the best Christmas food?

While some may want the answer to be ham, a candy cane, perhaps some figgy pudding, or egg nog, the correct answer is Chinese food. My fellow Jewish readers already know this but the rest of you gentiles may still be ignorant. Ditch the big homecooked meal. You did that a month ago for Thanksgiving. Relax, come join the tribe, and order some moo shu pork and watch Eddie Murphy kill it as Mushu in Mulan. Double the Mushu, double the fun.

What is the best Christmas song?

Feliz Navidad as performed by El Vez. Great name, even better cover. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas ya filthy animals.

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