Week 16 fantasy football matchups for NFL 2021 season

The fantasy football season is down to the final two weeks in most leagues, meaning you are just two wins away being crowned a champion. It is an accomplishment to make it this far and I hope you enjoy it — but the job is also not finished yet! We still need to win these next two weeks and a great way of doing so is exploiting some matchups. This article, along with the Week 16 rankings, should help you get those lineups ready for the championship push!

Best QB matchups

Dak Prescott vs. Football Team: Prescott once again has a favorable matchup, but he has failed to take advantage of those as of late. Prescott has scored fewer than 12 fantasy points in three straight games and in four of the last five. This week he faces Washington, who has allowed the most fantasy PPG to QBs (21.85). But he faced them two weeks ago and scored just 9.94 points. Prescott should come in as a top-five fantasy QB, but due to his recent struggles, he is not. Still, he is a low-end QB1 due to his upside, plus the talent around him and the matchup.

Matthew Stafford at Vikings: The Vikings have allowed the third-most fantasy PPG to QBs this season (18.93). But it has been even worse since their Week 7 bye week – in that span they are allowing 20.78 fantasy PPG to QBs. Stafford not only has a great matchup, but he has been playing well himself. He has thrown multiple passing touchdowns in four straight games and topped 21 fantasy points in three of those. Stafford is a must-start QB this week.

Other favorable QB matchups: Ben Roethlisberger at Chiefs, Russell Wilson vs. Bears.

Best RB matchups

James Robinson at Jets: The Jets allow the most fantasy PPG to RBs (34.78), which includes 180 yards per game and 25 touchdowns, both the most in the NFL. Also, this game should be competitive, meaning a positive game script for Robinson. We saw a similar circumstance last week for the Jags RB, and he touched the ball 21 times and scored just under 18 fantasy points. Robinson has been up and down this season, but he has returned to being a must-start RB option this week.

David Montgomery at Seahawks: Seattle gives up the second-most fantasy PPG to RBs this season at 29.39 per game. The Seahawks struggle mightily against backs in the passing game – giving up a league-high 7.2 catches 66.4 yards per game. That bodes well for Montgomery, who has been used more in the passing game as of late. He has seen at least six targets and five catches in three straight games. Montgomery is a top-15 RB this week.  

Other favorable RB matchups: Melvin Gordon/Javonte Williams at Raiders, Cordarrelle Patterson vs. Lions, Rex Burkhead/David Johnson vs. Chargers.

Best WR matchups

Cooper Kupp/Van Jefferson/Odell Beckham Jr. at Vikings: The Vikings give up a league-high 41.68 fantasy PPG to WRs, which includes giving up nearly 191 yards per game and 16 touchdowns on the year to the position. Kupp is having a historic season and should easily be considered the top overall receiver again this week. Jefferson and Beckham are coming off down games, but it was a divisional game against an opponent that struggles more against running backs than receivers. The Vikings are the opposite of that and both of the secondary receiver options here come in as WR2s with more upside in this matchup.

CeeDee Lamb/Amari Cooper/Michael Gallup vs. Football Team: Washington gives up the third-most fantasy PPG to receivers (38.82) which includes 177 yards per game and 16 touchdowns this season to the position. The Cowboys receivers are all in play, just understand that with there being three, along with Dalton Schultz and the running backs who get used in the passing game, there is a chance that one or multiple disappoint. Lamb is a must-start and had seven catches for 61 yards on 10 targets against Washington in Week 14. Cooper should be started as well; he had five for 51 two weeks ago. Gallup is a boom-or-bust WR3 or flex option, who had five catches for 60 yards in the previous matchup at Washington.

Other favorable WR matchups: Amon-Ra St. Brown/Josh Reynolds at Falcons, DeVonta Smith vs. Giants, Jaylen Waddle/DeVante Parker at Saints.

Best TE matchups

Evan Engram at Eagles: This is purely about the matchup. The Eagles allow the most catches (6.6) and fantasy PPG (18.16) to tight ends, while giving up the third-most yards per game (66.6) and second-most touchdowns (11) to tight ends this season. Engram failed to take advantage of this matchup in Week 12, scoring just under seven fantasy points, but his teammate and fellow tight end Chris Myarick did score a touchdown. If you are in need of a streaming tight end take a shot on the matchup with Engram.

Zach Ertz vs. Colts: The Colts have allowed the third-most fantasy PPG to tight ends at 16.85 per game. Just last week Hunter Henry scored over 25 fantasy points after his two touchdowns. Ertz also saw 11 targets last week, the second-most on the Cardinals in the first game without DeAndre Hopkins. He caught six for 74 yards. He brings a safe floor and high upside given the volume and matchup. He is a must-start tight end this week.

Other favorable TE matchups: Brevin Jordan vs. Chargers, Noah Fant at Raiders, C.J. Uzomah vs. Ravens, Cole Kmet at Seahawks.

Toughest QB matchups

Josh Allen at Patriots: The Patriots allow the fewest fantasy PPG to QBs at just 10.92 fantasy PPG and have not allowed a QB to top 14 fantasy points since Week 7. Allen scored 11.7 fantasy points against them in Week 13 in a game that was largely impacted due to bad weather. Still, despite the matchup, Allen remains a must-start option in fantasy, particularly because what he gives you with his legs. He threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns while scoring over 32 fantasy points last December in New England.

Mac Jones vs. Bills: This matchup features the two toughest defenses for opposing QBs as the Bills give up the second-fewest fantasy PPG to the position (12.17). We cannot judge Jones based on the last matchup as he threw only three times due to bad weather. But he has topped 17 fantasy points in three of his last four non-Buffalo games. The Bills secondary is not as intimidating as it once was with Tre'Davious White out, but still, this is a bad matchup. This is a week to get away from Jones in all but two-QB formats.

Other tough QB matchups: Derek Carr vs. Broncos, Carson Wentz at Cardinals, Tom Brady at Panthers.

Toughest RB matchups

Myles Gaskin/Duke Johnson at Saints: The Saints allow the second-fewest fantasy PPG (18.86) to RBs, which includes just 72 rushing yards per game. The Dolphins backfield is murky right now as Johnson led them in snaps and touches while having a huge fantasy day last week. It could have been that Gaskin was on the COVID-19 list all week and either wasn’t 100 percent of just didn’t get any reps at practice that week. But, Johnson played so well that he might not just go away. The unknown paired with the matchup makes both purely flex options, with Gaskin as the preferred option.

Ronald Jones at Panthers: Carolina allows just 19.59 fantasy PPG to RBs this season, the third-fewest in the NFL. Jones will now play the lead back in this role with Leonard Fournette sidelined with a hamstring injury. Jones might not put up the same numbers as Fournette, but it worth pointing out that he was averaging early 18 touches per game and over 18 fantasy PPG before getting hurt. Jones is more explosive than Fournette and will be getting volume on one of the best offenses in football. He is a RB2 with more upside who you should start despite the matchup.

Other tough RB matchups: James Conner/Chase Edmonds vs. Colts, Antonio Gibson at Cowboys, Alvin Kamara/Mark Ingram vs. Dolphins.

Toughest WR matchups

Kendrick Bourne/Jakobi Meyers vs. Bills: The Bills allow the fewest fantasy PPG to receivers at 26.09 per game. We can’t judge the Patriots receivers based on their last game as Mac Jones only threw three passes — one of which went to a tight end and one a running back. The Patriots receivers have all been up and down, and given the fact that the Patriots ran all over the Bills the last time they played, you should expect to see them run the ball a bunch this time around again. Bourne is the preferred option of their receivers, but even he is more of a deeper flex option.

Stefon Diggs at Patriots: The Patriots allow just 27.82 fantasy PPG to receivers this season, the second-fewest in the NFL. Still, Diggs sees enough weekly volume and has a safe enough floor and high enough ceiling where he is matchup proof. He can still be started as a WR1 in this tough matchup, but he is more risky now that Gabriel Davis joins Cole Beasley on the COVID-19 list. This is becoming a game where you use Diggs, Dawson Knox and fade the rest of the Bills pass catchers. A banged up Emmanuel Sanders should be avoided in this matchup. 

Other tough WR matchups: Giants WRs at Eagles, Brandin Cooks vs. Chargers, Jerry Jeudy/Courtland Sutton at Raiders, Mike Evans/Antonio Brown at Panthers.

Toughest TE matchups

Dawson Knox at Patriots: The Pats allow the fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season (7.36). They have held firm against the position, but Knox has shown to be one of the few reliable tight end options out there. Due to that, he can still be started despite the tough matchup. He had opportunities to score in their first matchup, but struggled due to bad weather.

Hunter Henry vs. Bills: The Bills give up just 8.19 fantasy PPG to tight ends this season, the third- fewest in the NFL. They’ve only allowed three touchdowns all year to the position. But Henry leads all tight ends with nine touchdowns this season. He has a low floor if he doesn’t score one, but when you are talking about outside the high-end tight ends, Henry has one of the better chances of scoring. He remains in play despite the hard matchup.

Other tough TE matchups: Mo Alie-Cox/Jack Doyle at Cardinals, Foster Moreau vs. Broncos, Gerald Everett vs CHI

Notable Receivers with the Best WR/CB Matchups (per PFF):

Notable Receivers with the Toughest WR/CB Matchup (per PFF)

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