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Quick Grades Week 16 (Fantasy Football Start or Sit Advice)

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Dec 23, 2020

Welcome back, and thanks for joining me as we go through this week’s quick grades!

We’re here in Week 16, which is typically fantasy championship week. If you’re perusing this article, it means you’ve made it. Well done! Fantasy championship week also means it’s our final Quick Grades article of the season. For anyone who took time to read the article or leave feedback at any point in the season, THANK YOU! Writing this article and developing these grades has been a true joy in a unique 2020 season. Happy holidays and best of luck as you contend for a title!

Once the season begins, the most difficult part of any fantasy manager’s week is start or sit decisions. These lineup choices can make or break a week, but unfortunately, not everyone has time to sit down and read lengthy fantasy advice articles. That’s where Quick Grades comes in. Each week of the football season, I’ll be providing a condensed and easily digestible chart of grades for over 250 fantasy-relevant players based on the following four criteria:

Fantasy Ability
Despite a tough matchup, Derrick Henry broke through on a long run last week

Expected Volume
Travis Kelce is always heavily targeted as one of Kansas City’s top pass-catching options

Tyreek Hill got loose for 200 yards against Cincinnati’s porous secondary

Surrounding Talent
Sam Darnold has one of the weakest receiving corps in the league

Each of those criteria will be graded on a scale of 1-25, with the cumulative total resulting in a final grade (A+ to F) and a recommendation based on that grade. The criteria are weighted differently based on position, so it’s not a direct 1-for-1 conversion. Surrounding talent refers to offensive line for RB, quarterback play for WR and TE, and skill-position talent for QB.

The players are sorted by grade in descending order with the highest grades at the top and the lowest at the bottom. The highest-graded players receive A+ (Must start), and the lowest receive F. However, there are varying degrees of the F grade, and some players with this grade are flex plays, desperation plays, Hail Mary plays, or should remain on your bench, depending on the grade and position.

I’ll also include DST grades, and just like the skill-position players, there will be four criteria used for grading on a scale from 1-25, and final grades will be from 1-100. The four criteria for a DST grade are: Matchup, Turnovers, Sacks, and Points Allowed.

The link to the original Quick Grades Google Document can still be found below. In addition to the player grades, I’ll provide:

  • Start of the Week: A player outside of the elite, weekly must-starts who could have a big week
  • Stream of the Week: The best player who will likely be available on your waiver wire
  • Deep-League Stream of the Week: The best player who is less than 5% rostered in Yahoo leagues
  • Fade of the Week: A notable player who could be in for a let-down performance

Link to Full Quick Grades Document

It’s easy to see that an ‘A+’ or ‘A’ grade makes a player a must-start, but it might not make sense at first glance why some players are rated ‘C’ or worse and still have ‘Start,’ ‘Strong Start,’ or ‘Flex’ attached to their names. Because of all the different variables that go into a player’s performance in any given week, only those players with the absolute highest potential, best matchup, and strongest talent get ‘A+’ or ‘A’ grades. Therefore, even solid plays will earn grades that may appear sub-optimal on the surface, but it’s all relative from position-to-position. The hard cutoff is 50 for every position, as grades lower than this will earn a ‘Desperation’ or ‘Hail Mary’ tag in every situation.

Now that I’ve covered the basics, let’s get to the grades. Best of luck in all your matchups this week, and if you have any questions, please hit me up on Twitter @ZaktheMonster.

Note: As always, remember to check back on FantasyPros ahead of kickoff to get the latest injury news. These grades assume full health at the time the article is published, and players who are not included are assumed to be ‘out.’

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Running Backs

Is it any surprise to see King Henry firmly atop the rankings? The only question we have for him this week is who is he going to stiff arm into oblivion? David Montgomery has been a revelation in recent weeks, while Aaron Jones gets a fantastic matchup against the Titans in an important divisional contest. The usual cast of characters rounds out the top 10, while players in the next tier of grades see some new faces in J.K. Dobbins and Salvon Ahmed.

Start of the Week: Leonard Fournette

Stream of the Week: Sony Michel

Deep-League Stream of the Week: LeSean McCoy 2% rostered

Fade of the Week: Benny Snell

Wide Receivers

Tyreek Hill faces the worst pass defense in the NFL for Week 16 – fantasy managers rejoice! After Hill, we see no surprise among the most highly-graded options. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp get excellent matchups with Seattle, while D.K. Metcalf will likely face shadow coverage from Jalen Ramsey on the other side of the field.

Start & Stream of the Week: Rashard Higgins

Deep-League Stream of the Week: Chad Hansen 3% rostered

Fade of the Week: Laviska Shenault


I won’t get into the top-10 QBs this week, because the names should be all too familiar. Instead, I’ll highlight just one – Jalen Hurts. After a dazzling debut punctuated by an upset win over the Saints, Hurts erupted against Arizona in a Week 15 shootout. He’s elevated to must-play status for Week 16, and he could very well win some folks a championship.

Start & Stream of the Week: Mitchell Trubisky

Deep-League Stream of the Week: Marcus Mariota 3% rostered

Fade of the Week: Matthew Stafford

Tight Ends

There’s nothing to see here. There are rarely shakeups among the tight-end grades, and that won’t change in fantasy’s final week. Start your studs, look for volume, and target great matchups.

Start of the Week: Hayden Hurst

Stream & Deep-League Stream of the Week: Jordan Akins 4% rostered

Fade of the Week: Jared Cook


This week, our highest-graded option at DST is Cleveland, which will face the now 1-14 New York Jets. Our remaining options feature familiar names, though Pittsburgh’s elite defense takes a hit in value, facing an efficient Colts’ offense.

Start & Stream of the Week: Los Angeles Chargers

Fade of the Week: San Francisco 49ers

Player Search, Find

Running Back

Wide Receiver


Tight End


  • Cleveland Browns A Must Start
  • Baltimore Ravens B+ Must Start
  • Philadelphia Eagles B Must Start
  • Los Angeles Chargers C+ Must Start
  • New Orleans Saints C+ Must Start
  • Arizona Cardinals C+ Strong Start
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers C+ Strong Start
  • Houston Texans C Strong Start
  • Chicago Bears C Strong Start
  • Miami Dolphins C Strong Start
  • Buffalo Bills C Strong Start
  • Pittsburgh Steelers D+ Start
  • Los Angeles Rams D+ Start
  • Denver Broncos D Start
  • New York Giants D Start
  • Washington Football Team D Start
  • Carolina Panthers F Desperation
  • Indianapolis Colts F Desperation
  • Kansas City Chiefs F Desperation
  • Seattle Seahawks F Desperation
  • Jacksonville Jaguars F Desperation
  • Cincinnati Bengals F Desperation
  • New England Patriots F Desperation
  • Dallas Cowboys F Desperation
  • San Francisco 49ers F Bench
  • Las Vegas Raiders F Bench
  • New York Jets F Bench
  • Minnesota Vikings F Bench
  • Green Bay Packers F Bench
  • Detroit Lions F Bench
  • Tennessee Titans F Bench
  • Atlanta Falcons F Bench

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Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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