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NFL Predictions Week 16: Final Odds Projections and Fantasy Stars to Watch

Published by Bleacher Report on Sat, 20 Dec 2014

Week 16 of the NFL season has something for everyone.If you're into fantasy football, league championships are being decided. If you're into some casual wagering, the week features an extra day of action with two games taking place on Saturday. If you happen to simply be a big fan of the league in general, hang on to your hat, because 14 of the remaining 15 games have some sort of postseason implications.As we await this pivotal week on the gridiron to commence, we may as well incorporate all of those aforementioned categories in one concise article. Below, you'll find a table containing the week's remaining slate of games, their corresponding odds, picks against the spread and fantasy stars to watch in each.That will be followed by some in-depth analysis for a few players poised to go off in Week 16 for the fantasy enthusiasts out there.All game odds courtesy of Odds Shark and current as of December 19.Fantasy Stars to WatchQuarterback: Matthew Stafford, Detroit LionsExpect a big day from the Lions quarterback in Week 16 against a reeling Chicago Bears defense. Detroit needs a big win to remain atop the NFC North for at least another week, and it would love to earn that victory by trouncing one of its oldest rivals.Chicago has been awful against the pass this season, especially from a fantasy perspective. The Bears are allowing an average of 19.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, the second most in the league. Over the team's last three games, it has allowed a total of eight passing touchdowns and gave up at least 20 fantasy points to signal-callers in each.Meanwhile, Stafford has been playing well since the return of Calvin Johnson. Before facing a stingy Minnesota Vikings defense in Week 15, the quarterback has two consecutive 300-yard games that resulted in 21 and 24 fantasy points, respectively.One of those aforementioned 300-yard games was against Chicago, and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Pressasked wide receiver Golden Tate if he expected the Bears to try different coverage schemes this time around. The receiver responded:I don't see a team going 15 weeks into the season and changing who they are. They might have something special to do for Calvin here and there, but we're going to continue to call the same plays we've been calling, that have been working, and we're going to need guys like Reggie (Bush), myself, Joique (Bell), Theo (Riddick), Calvin, (Eric) Ebron, (Brandon Pettigrew) to step up and make plays and win the ballgame.Tate sure sounds pretty confident in his offense, and fantasy owners should feel the same way about Stafford. Consider this quarterback a No. 1 option this week.Running Back: C.J. Anderson, Denver BroncosThe Broncos have aMonday Night Footballshowdown with the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16, and that's some good news for Anderson's fantasy owners.The Bengals are coming off a nice showing against the Cleveland Browns, limiting opposing ball-carriers to just four fantasy points, but much of that can be attributed to the horrible first showing of rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel. That will change Monday with Peyton Manning at the helm.After all, before Cincinnati stifled Cleveland's running backs, it gave up at least 20 fantasy points to opposing backfields in seven of its previous 10 games. In fact, one simply needs to look back to Week 14 to see how badly this defense has been burned at times this season, as Le'Veon Bell and Co. torched the Bengals for a whopping 41 fantasy points.Anderson comes into this showdown after posting his first single-digit fantasy performance in his last six games. He rushed for 85 yards in Week 15 against the San Diego Chargers but couldn't find the end zone. Although, just one week prior, he reached paydirt three times against the stingy Buffalo Bills.The Bengals have given up 14 rushing touchdowns in as many games this year. With Anderson's nose for the end zone, expect that number to escalate following Monday's clash. Treat Denver's ball-carrier as a solid RB1 option.Wide Receiver: Odell Beckham Jr., New York GiantsLet's get this out there: Beckham is matchup proof. Remember when no one wanted to start him against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10 because he was slated to face off against Richard Sherman for a full 60 minutes' Well, the fantasy owners who kept this rookie in action were rewarded with seven receptions for 108 yards.This week, Beckham faces another challenge in the St. Louis Rams. This defense has been stellar of late and hasn't allowed a single touchdown since Week 12. That's pretty darn good. Although, opposing wide receiver corps have been able to generate some yardage against the team of late, racking up more than 100 yards in each of the last three weeks.Yes, while 100 yards doesn't seem like much, we're talking about the passing offenses of the Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals. Beckham will bring a talent level this St. Louis defense hasn't seen in that span. He's coming off two consecutive games of at least 11 receptions, 130 receiving yards and a touchdown.Beckham is New York's most potent weapon on offense, and quarterback Eli Manning knows it. Expect the signal-caller to force feed his rookie receiver early and often, allowing Beckham to rack up the yards due to sheer volume against a good defense.All fantasy statistics and rankings courtesy of ESPN.com standard scoring leagues and current as of December 19.
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