Fantasy Football Week 16: Star Players Looking at Down Week

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistDecember 21, 2012

Can Trent Richardson keep finding the end zone?
Can Trent Richardson keep finding the end zone?Jason Miller/Getty Images

With fantasy football championships hanging in the balance this week, don't count on these big-name players to help reel home the trophy.

Some stars should lock down a place in your starting lineup regardless of the matchup. Adrian Peterson faces a tough Houston Texans defense this Sunday, but come on, he's Adrian Peterson. You're starting him no matter what.

These guys, however, should sit firmly on your bench this week if you have a decent alternative. 


Ben Roethlisberger (vs. CIN)

After a three-game hiatus, Ben Roethlisberger returned with 624 passing yards and five touchdowns during the last two games.

Don't depend on him to continue that hot streak. The Cincinnati Bengals have allowed just 15 passing touchdowns this season. They also lead the league in sacks, and Roethlisberger is notorious for holding the ball too long in hopes of making the big play.

Roethlisberger is not one of the top-tier quarterbacks, so anyone with him in a 10- or 12-team league likely also owns another capable quarterback to employ in such situations.


Trent Richardson (@ DEN)

The rookie running back is tallying massive points for fantasy owners, but his dependence on reaching the end zone raises some concerns.

Trent Richardson has rushed for 897 yards, along with 11 touchdowns, but he has only earned 3.5 yards per carry. That average has dipped to 3.0 over the past five games.

The Denver Broncos allow 91.0 rushing yards per game, and are likely to jump out to an early lead that will force the Cleveland Browns to pass more.


Larry Fitzgerald (vs. CHI)

At this point, most fantasy players have given up on Larry Fitzgerald. Unless Kurt Warner comes out of retirement before Sunday, this is not the week to give Fitzgerald another chance.

Due to abysmal quarterback play from John Skelton and Ryan Lindley, Fitzgerald has caught a mere 10 passes in the last five games. Playing against a Chicago Bears defense with five more touchdowns than Skelton and Lindley combined won't alleviate his woes. 

It's hard to bench such an amazing talent, but Fitzgerald is not a usable option this week.


Vernon Davis (@ SEA)

Where did Vernon Davis go?

After establishing an early connection with Colin Kaepernick, Davis has since caught four passes for 29 yards through the last four games.

Even if Davis was grooving, this would not be a pleasant matchup to exploit. Under ESPN's scoring system, opposing tight ends have mustered 6.1 points per game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Jump ship on Davis and find another tight end who faces an easier adversary this week.


San Francisco 49ers Defense (@ SEA)

The San Francisco 49ers boast one of the NFL's top defensive units that has allowed the second fewest points this season. Their defense is usually a fantasy juggernaut, but I'd look to the waiver wire for another team to plug in this week.

Nothing against them, but the Seahawks are on fire. They've topped 50 points in the past two weeks and they are playing at home, where they are undefeated this year.

Russell Wilson and Co. are playing way too well to test with a championship on the line.