Well, here we are at Week 16 of the NFL season. This will be the last NFL DFS write-up of the regular season as the site will be getting a face lift next week. We’ll probably have something up for the playoff slates though. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter for Week 17 if you have any questions, etc. We’ve got a shortened slate this week due to Saturday games and multiple Monday games on Christmas day. I will just be outlining my Sunday main slate plays in this article.
Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
Wilson is still the best fantasy quarterback, despite a rough outing in Week 15. I switched from Wilson to Cam Newton on Sunday morning due to the weather issues in Seattle and that ended up being a great decision. We’ll give Wilson a pass and go right back to him against the Cowboys in Dallas. He remains the entire offense for this team and he should get enough possessions in this game to put up a big fantasy number. The only downside to Wilson is his price, as he’s the most expensive option on both sites. I actually think that will work in the tournament player’s favor, as he’ll likely be lower owned than he should be.
UPDATE: I’m slowly transitioning off of Wilson as we count down to lock. There are two reasons. The first is because I’m worried this game will have no meaning. There’s a chance that by the time these two teams kick off, they will both be eliminated from the playoffs. If that happens, then I think we see a sloppy game. Nothing puts a damper on getting hyped up for a game more than knowing that it means nothing. If they do end up eliminated prior, I think we see a lazy game and I don’t want to attach my fantasy results to that.
The second reason I’m shifting off of Russ is because of Cam Newton. I didn’t originally write up Cam, but I’m all but in love with him here on Sunday morning. His matchup is just so good, his rushing upside is massive, and I think we see another big game from him here. In my opionion, I think Newton has a similar fantasy outlook as Wilson in every sense. So why not save the extra money and roster Cam.
Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions
This wouldn’t typically be a matchup that I would target, but if we end up getting word that a large portion of starters on Cincinatti’s defense are out, I’ll have a lot of interest. We’ve seen this injury depleted defense get gashed the past two weeks. Without Vontaze Burfict, they’re just not the same squad. Throw in injuries to other guys like George Iloka, Vincent Rey, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Jordan Evans, on top of Adam Jones hitting the IR, and this is a very undermanned and subpar team that’s trotting on the field. Stafford should have a field day and while he’s been playing well, his fantasy outputs have been around average. This could be the game he tops 300 yards and throws for three scores.
Note: After writing the above blurb, some of these guys have resumed limited practice, so pay attention to who’s in and out. Burfict would be the main one I’m watching.
Drew Stanton – Arizona Cardinals
Stanton will take back over for Blaine Gabbert and falls into an excellent matchup at the minimum price on FanDuel and $4,500 on DK. In his two starts, he posted 15 DraftKings points in each, which is respectable at his price. It will allow you to do a lot of stuff with your money at other positions. On top of his price, he will face the Giants, who have allowed 30 passing touchdowns, which is most in the league on the season. Over the past two weeks, they’ve given up an average of 284.5 passing yards per game and 3.5 touchdowns per. The Cardinals will likely throw the ball a ton, which adds to the allure of rostering Stanton.
Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs
All it took for Hunt to get going again was for me to not roster him for two weeks. That, and the Chiefs finally realized they’re a pretty good team when he gets the football a lot. After touching the ball a total of 45 times the previous three games (before the last two), Hunt received 59 touches in his last two, and returned to his early season form, racking up 344 yards and three total touchdowns in those two. There’s no reason to believe that the Chiefs won’t follow the recipe of success, except that they stopped following it earlier in the year. The Dolphins have given up big numbers to running backs all season long, so Hunt has a definite path to another massive day. I’ve still got a bad taste in my mouth from playing him during his dry spell, but this may be too good to pass up.
Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons
If Tevin Coleman is ruled out of this one, fire up Freeman at a depressed cost. His salary on both sites is too low for a bell cow role with the talent that Freeman has. He should touch the ball 20+ times in this game without Coleman and has upside in both the rushing and passing game. The path of least resistance against the Saints this season has been through the running back and I think Freeman will be the primary option in the Falcons game plan. He has the upside of the other studs on the slate, but costs a lot less.
Note: Coleman cleared the concussion protocol after I had written up Freeman above. He hasn’t been ruled in yet, but if he does play, my interest goes down in Freeman.
Dion Lewis – New England Patriots
All the cards are lining up perfectly for Lewis to have a massive day. Rex Burkhead isn’t going to play. The Bills are my favorite defense to target opposing running backs against. Lewis should see plenty of carries and may pick up an extra target or two in the passing game without Burkhead. The only downside is you never fully know with the Patriots, and Mike Gillislee, who is expected to be active, could troll everyone and steal all of Lewis’ fantasy goodness. I’ll be monitoring the situation up until lock on Sunday.
Update: James White will sit out this game, which will have a lot of people flocking to Lewis late Sunday morning. I had ended up shifting my running back shares of of him, but now I’m considering going back. As I mentioned earlier in the week, I am still very scared that Mike Gillislee ends up coming out and getting 15-20 carries and all of the goal line work. Lewis is priced so appropriately for what could be a massive workload, but the Patriots running back situation has been a conundrum for years. Roster Lewis at your own risk, but if he ends up seeing the heavier workload that he should in this matchup, LOOK OUT, he’ll have a massive game.
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey jumped out to a really fast start against the Packers last week, as they had no answer for him. It seemed like he caught every pass on the first drive and capped it off catching a touchdown. He ended up with his highest carry total (12) since Week 9, to go along with his most catches (6) since Week 7, and his most targets (7) since Week 10. We should see a healthy dose of him again this week, as the Buccaneers have given up the sixth most fantasy points to opposing running backs on the season. I will be targeting him more so on DraftKings, where he gets a full point per reception.
Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys
Elliott has served his suspension and will return in Week 16. I have a sneaky amount of interest in him this week against a defense that Todd Gurley just manhandled. The Cowboys have limped through the last six weeks with almost no identity on offense and a mix bag of results to show for it. I think they get back to what they know, and that’s handing the ball off to Elliott and letting him roll down the field. He has massive upside and he’s the perfect play opposite of Russell Wilson in hopes the Seahawks can’t stop Elliott and the Cowboys can’t stop Wilson.
Update: I have slowly shifted my interest from Elliott. I still think he is a good play and could have a typical smash game, but I just worry that there are a lot of factors working against him. He has the same playoff elimination concerns I mentioned above with Wilson. He also has two of his linemen possibly out, one of which is VERY important. On top of that, I think this defense will be a bit more healthy this week than what we saw last week against the Rams, which will have them in a better spot to limit the run.
Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints
Before the James White news, I had shifted both of my Lewis and Elliott shares to Kamara. This is just a high upside gut play for tournaments. Looking back at the Saints game against the Falcons a couple weeks back, it’s obvious that they wanted to immediately exploit their opponents weakness: running backs in the receiving game. Kamara came out and caught three balls in the first handful of plays on the first drive before getting knocked out with a concussion. I think we see the same game plan today and I think Kamara’s ownership will be the lowest it’s been in a while. This decision is going to be tough, but if I don’t end up going Hunt/Lewis, I think I’ll be on Kamara.
Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints
If I’m paying up at WR, I want Thomas. He’s seen plenty of targets, catches, and yards this year, but his inability to score touchdowns was the issue keeping him from being an elite fantasy option. Well, regression has roared it’s head and he’s found the end zone each of the past three weeks. Last week he could have had more if there weren’t a couple calls overturned. Brees is looking his way regularly and he’s one of the safest plays at any position. You know the volume will be there and this is a matchup he exploited two weeks ago with 30.7 DraftKings points.
Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams
Woods is an exceptional play on both sites. On FanDuel, his price is way too cheap and on DraftKings, I think he’ll be a bit overlooked, because it feels a bit uncomfortable paying his price for him. Regardless, he’ll be one of my highest owned players. He returned from injury last week and didn’t miss a beat, catching six balls on seven targets, for 45 yards and a touchdown. That was in roughly two and a half quarters as the Rams were well ahead and let the backups cruise to the victory. This Titans defense has been exploitable all year long and they will be no match for this Rams high flying offense.
Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is another play that has grown on me through the weekend. Ultimately, he’s just too cheap. The Bucs ball catchers are decimated with injury, leaving Evans to soak up a lot of targets. There have been quotes going around from Jameis Winston and the coach that they need to look Evans way more often with 50/50 balls, etc. I think we could see a 12-15 target game here and he makes the perfect game stack piece opposite of Cam. I’ll be pivoting to him off of the Seahawks pass catchers that I would have paired with Wilson.
Jarvis Landry – Miami Dolphins
Landry is as steady as they come at the WR position and his price continues to stay in a very affordable range. He only has one game all season with less than double-digit DraftKings points. The last two weeks he’s been exceptional with 19.9 and 24.6 DK points. This is simply a price play meets volume play for me. The Chiefs defense has been better lately, but Steven Nelson, their slot corner is ranked 96 out of 119 corners on Pro Football Focus. Landry has the fourth best matchup of the week among all receivers according to PFF.
Doug Baldwin/Paul Richardson – Seattle Seahawks
If I’m rostering Wilson, I’m going to consider stacking him with one of these two guys. There’s two thought processes here. Baldwin hasn’t been very good the last few weeks, but he’s the kind of guy that could blow up for a 10 catch, 150 yard two touchdown game at the drop of a hat. I expect this game to be a shootout, so if I can feasibly get up to Baldwin to stack with Wilson, I will.
Richardson is also very interesting to me, as he has seen more targets than Baldwin the last five weeks. He’s really cheap and provides you with big play ability. He could shake loose for a deep touchdown and put you well ahead of the field.
Dede Westbrook – Jacksonville Jaguars
I’m going right back to the well with Westbrook. Last week was just a fluky game for the Jags. Everyone scored a touchdown, except for the Jags’ starters. I think everything returns to normal this week and we see Westbrook lead this receiving corps in targets. He’s super cheap on FanDuel, so that’s where I will be most likely to roster him.
Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
If you fall into the camp of wanting to pay up at TE, I’d just go with Gronk. He’s been a big part of their game plan the last three games, seeing 32 targets and scoring 25+ DK points in each of those games. One of those three games was against this same Buffalo team, where he caught nine balls for 147 yards. I don’t see why they wouldn’t go back to that this week. He’s an excellent play by any regard.
Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions
Ebron is your off the board low owned tournament play. To steal the ESPN blurb on Ebron this week, “Over the past two weeks, Ebron ranks first among tight ends in receptions, fourth in receiving yards and second in fantasy points”. You should know by now that I do not miss a snap that the Lions play and early in the year, I had given up on Ebron and wanted the Lions to ship him out of town. From Weeks 3-8, he had a 47% catch rate. Since Week 8, he’s caught 80% of the balls thrown his way, so he seems to have broken out of his funk. I see Stafford continually trusting him more and he has some upside at his price.
Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Bucs
Brate might be the play at tight end this week with OJ Howard headed to the IR. DeSean Jackson is also looking doubtful, so there are some extra snaps and targets to go around. He was being outsnapped by Howard, so he should soak up a ton of those snaps and be on the field quite a bit. Brate’s floor is literally the floor, but his upside is multiple touchdowns. At his price on both sites, he makes an excellent salary saver, just hold your breath Sunday until he catches his first touchdown.
The Bears are the only defense I’m rolling with this week, as of Friday. They are priced up due to the matchup, but that’s fine with me. Deshone Kizer has turned the ball over at least twice in four of his last five games. He’s an ATM for opposing defenses. The Bears are a top five fantasy defense over the past three weeks. They’ve forced four turnovers over that span, allowed 14 points per game, and scored a touchdowns. The Browns given up the most fantasy points to opposing defenses on the year.
Phil Dawson – Arizona Cardinals
Dawson is THE kicker I’m locking in on FanDuel this week. He has 13 or more FanDuel points in three of his last four games. I think the Cardinals will be in range often in this game, so Dawson should have at least a few FG attempts. The Giants have allowed the fifth most points to kickers on the season.
That’s it for this week. Because of new information and a better gauge of ownership, I may add updates here through the weekend, so be sure to follow me on Twitter at @mrclutchdfs so you don’t miss any additional recommendations.
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