PFW's late-week fantasy tips for quarterbacks:
The Raiders' defense recorded a shutout last week vs. the Chiefs, but Cam Newton owners should not let that affect their decision on whether to play Newton this week. Newton has 13 TDs (10 passing, three rushing) and no turnovers in his past five games — he is playing the best football of his career and has the potential to carry fantasy teams this week at home against Oakland, which is allowing 33 points per game on the road this season.
The Bucs’ offense has enough talent at the skill positions to break out on any given Sunday, but Bucs QB Josh Freeman does not merit a start vs. the Rams this week. He’s taking a lot of heat this week after his putrid performance at New Orleans (no TDs, four interceptions, one fumble lost), but Freeman’s actually been struggling for the past month or so. St. Louis has almost as many interceptions (13) as TD passes allowed (14) and is ranked ninth vs. the pass. Freeman should be benched.
All indications are that Robert Griffin III (strained LCL) will give it a go Sunday against the Eagles. If he’s at all healthy, you’ll want to play him. Griffin had 200 yards passing with four TDs and 84 rushing yards in the previous meeting against them in Week 11.
The Giants are allowing the fifth-most passing yards per game. The question is, can Ravens QB Joe Flacco capitalize? From a fantasy-football perspective, the answer may be yes. Flacco has thrown multiple TD passes in back-to-back games, and if the Ravens are in comeback mode against New York, he won't be lacking for chances to throw. Flacco is best utilized in two-QB formats to guard against the risk of a disappointing performance in such a key week for fantasy owners.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t have an ideal matchup in Week 16. The Bengals have a strong pass rush, and they have allowed one passing TD or less in five of the last six games. Roethlisberger is startable on talent alone, but the Bengals' defense is to be respected.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton might be best left on the bench in Week 16. He’s been largely held in check in three career starts vs. Pittsburgh, and he threw for just 105 yards and a TD in the Week Seven meeting with the Steelers.
With just multiple TD passes in just 4-of-14 starts, and with the Lions’ pass catching corps hurting, Lions QB Matthew Stafford isn’t a slam-dunk play in Week 16 vs. Atlanta if you have outstanding QB depth.
The Browns’ pass defense had been playing well, and their pass rush helps the cause, but owners shouldn’t fret about starting Broncos QB Peyton Manning. Cleveland allowed rookie Kirk Cousins to throw for over 300 yards in his first career start, and Manning, playing at home, should have another strong performance. He has thrown at least one touchdown in every game this season.
QB Brady Quinn will start for the Chiefs Sunday against the Colts. There had been speculation that Ricky Stanzi would play with Quinn (ribs) a little beat up.