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Patriots Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 16


New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Championship Sunday mood:

And to help you not blow a gasket this weekend right before most of us get a few extra days of R&R, here’s a pro tip I’ve learned over years of playing this silly game and sweating through Sundays and occasionally seeing “I’ll just have ONE beer” on Monday nights turn into ordering a pizza at 1am:

Don’t check your scores until AT LEAST kickoff for the mid-afternoon slate.

And shut off any kind of push notifications from your fantasy apps. ESPN, Yahoo, NFL, whatever. Obviously you have to leave your Patriots app notifications on at all times, but if you normally get push alerts for fantasy scores or whatever, shut that trash off.

Then, try something you may not have done for years: leave the iPad on your desk, and just enjoy the Pats wrapping up the season with a home game against a divisional opponent with a quarterback of the future that makes Phillip Rivers sound like a CITY SLICKER by comparison:

Other than that, this week’s advice is gonna be short and sweet, because at this point, you know well enough to dance with the one that brought you. Championship weekend is no time to get cute and plug in some WR3 that you just woke up convinced is going to go off this week.

And on that note, even with the departure of Josh Gordon this week due to reasons that are far more important than football, there’s really only a handful of Pats that you’re even considering playing to get your hands on the trophy that’ll make you re-name your boat, so let’s go wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am and get back to the holiday festivities already.

Anyway, as we do, let’s start with the running backs.

(FYI, for positional rankings, I’m going off Fantasy Pros, which aggregates a whole bunch of expert rankings. You probably knew that already, and if you didn’t, congrats, Pats Pulpit just made you smarter. You’re welcome.)

Running Backs

James White, RB

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 27th in running backs

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 19th in running backs

By now you’ve surely seen some variation of this stat that’ll make you want to rage-drink every time Sweet Feet comes off the field:

In wins, White is averaging 13 touches per game and 91.8 total yards, but in losses he’s averaging 7.4 touches per game and 45.2 yards. When he has 13 or more carries/targets the Patriots are 9-0, but when he has 12 or fewer, they’re 0-5.

Meanwhile, here’s how White’s last 4 starts have looked, fantasy-wise:





Last time earlier this year against the Bills, though? 8 rushes and 10 receptions on 13 targets for 94 total yards.

Sony Michel, RB

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 18th in running backs

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 20th in running backs

Speaking of a reduced workload lately, after popping off for a cool 20.5 points against the Jets, Sony’s last 3 games look like this:




On the other hand, according to ESPN, the Bills have allowed a league-high 10 rushing scores in the past 8 games, and Sony’s been getting a consistent 28-ish snaps a game since the Jets game. The efficiency may not be there, but hey, we can’t all be Phillip Lindsay.

Rex Burkhead, RB

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 52 in running backs

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 52 in running backs

Ever since returning from Injured Reserve in week 13, Rexy’s had either 17 or 16 snaps a game, and done precisely nothing with them, fantasy-wise. You made it this far without him, so if Belichick pulls a classic Belichick move and gives Burkhead 20 touches and 5 passes and he pops off for 120 yards and a score or something, then, well, most people had Derrick Henry benched for his 45-point game too, cause nobody in their right minds would’ve started him given that his production looked like my wallet the night after a cash bar party.

Wide Receivers

Julian Edelman, WR

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 14th in wide receivers

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 13th in wide receivers

Unless you went Zero-RB in the draft and somehow have 3 better wide receivers than Jules, this is an automatic start. The Bills seem to like to stick BAMF cornerback Tredavious White on the outside, so while Hogan or Patterson draws that tough sledding, Edelman should be his normal chain-moving YAC-racking self.

Not bad for 32 years old!

That’s it. Even with Gordon being gone, nobody else has the track record of being able to single-handedly pick up his slack, so don’t even think about it. You’re better than that. I hope.

Tight Ends

Rob Gronkowski, TE

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 5th in tight ends

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 6th in tight ends

Gronk is basically a coin flip to put up double-digits or a 2-point clunker every week now, and he’s still the 8th-highest scoring tight end in fantasy, and that’s with his 3-week vacation to return to full Gronkitude. Which, I mean, he hasn’t, but having Gronk at tight end right now is at least like going back home for the holidays and finding a beer on draft that’s not Bud Light or Blue Moon. Any other tight end is going to be 6 points if they score and a big old goose egg if they don’t, so trot Gronk out one last time and hope your good karma holds out.


Tom Brady, QB

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 16th in quarterbacks

Every time I hear someone talk about how Brady’s having a down year I think of this tweet from our own Ryan Spags, and I want to kiss it on the mouth every time:

And now’s as good a time as any to throw it out there that my personal Fox Mulder conspiracy theory of the year at least a decent bit of the BRADY’S WASHED talk is because he’s had a few games this year where TB12 didn’t rack up 20+ fantasy points. TEH HORROR!!

Unless you’re one of those psychopaths that drafted two quarterbacks early and somehow made the finals anyway, Brady is, just like real life, probably your best shot at glory. People can say stuff like “OH you’re still riding with Tom Brady, I bet you sleep in Tom Brady pajamas too, huh?” and our answer here at the Pulpit to that is “Do you not?”

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all, enjoy the games, and....oh, right, almost forgot - we got a fun project coming up next week where you can tell the craziest fantasy stories you’ve got, good or bad. We’ll see ya then.