FanDuel Picks: Week 16 Edition
Welcome to the weekly “one stop shop” for all things DFS. I tout my favorite plays of the week after breaking down all of the games, looking at matchups, and considering all relevant weekly and season-long injuries/suspensions. As a guide, you can think of the “Top Plays” sections as cash game recommendations and the “Under The Radar” sections as GPP tournament recommendations. Confused on the difference? Check out a DFS Strategy article I wrote. However, I refuse to specifically title the sections in that way because I believe it boxes in the picks. Many players can and do fall under both categories in any given week. I delve more into that in the article linked above as well. When reading, keep that in mind. Now let’s get to it, starting with my top Bonanza candidates.
Domination Bonanza Candidate: New England Patriots blowing out the New York Jets
Back and Forth Bonanza Candidates: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts at Oakland Raiders, and Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Top QB Plays Of The Week
Drew Brees vs TB, $8,500
Drew Brees, who leads the league in passing yards and pass TDs, showed us last week that his Week 13-14 performances were the exception, not the rule. This week, he is back at home in the Superdome against a Buccaneers defense giving up the 13th most passing yards. Although they were able to hold Brees in check two weeks ago, I believe things will be different this time around in New Orleans.
Tom Brady vs NYJ, $9,000
Tom Brady is at home against a Jets defense giving up the 12th most passing yards and that is tied for the 4th most pass TDs allowed. The only worry in this one is whether he accumulates enough fantasy points before the game gets out of hand.
Cam Newton vs ATL, $7,900
Cam Newton came alive last week, tossing his first 300-yard game since Week 6. I think he carries some momentum over into this week, as he has another favorable matchup. Newton is at home this week against a Falcons defense giving up the 3rd most passing yards and that is tied for the 2nd most pass TDs. This game has Back and Forth Bonanza potential, as 81 points were scored between these two teams back in Week 4.
Philip Rivers vs CLE, $8,200
Likely playing another game without star RB Melvin Gordon, the Chargers offense will once again run through Philip Rivers. His opponent this week, the Browns, shockingly have averaged the fewest passing yards allowed over the past six weeks. However, that is in large part due to the fact that every team has been running all over them. Lacking a trustworthy running game, Rivers will do his damage through the air against a Browns defense that has given up the most pass TDs this season.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar QB Play
Blake Bortles vs TEN, $6,200
Blake Bortles averages the 11th most FanDuel points at the QB position this season, yet is priced as the 21st most expensive QB this week. Even better, he gets a home matchup with a Titans defense giving up the 4th most passing yards. The Jaguars essentially have no running game and the Titans legit can’t stop the pass. Bortles’ good fantasy performance this week will be the latest reminder of the difference between fantasy and reality when it comes to performances in the NFL. Bortles seems to have taken the “Good fantasy QB, bad real life QB” crown from Jay Cutler these days.
Top RB Plays Of The Week
Jordan Howard vs WAS, $7,200
Jordan Howard has the 3rd most rushing yards over the past six weeks behind only Le’Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott. The guy has been great. This week, he gets a home matchup with a Redskins defense that legit can’t stop the run. They’re giving up the 11th most rushing yards and are tied for the 3rd most rush TDs allowed.
LeSean McCoy vs MIA, $9,100
LeSean McCoy has been a beast all season, as he ranks 5th in the league in rushing yards. This week, he is at home against a Dolphins defense giving up the 3rd most rushing yards. Stay in the flames with McCoy.
Todd Gurley vs SF, $7,900
We all know by now the San Francisco 49ers have had a historically bad run defense this season. They are allowing the most rushing yards and most rush TDs. Next up is Todd Gurley who despite his disappointing season, will have no problem exploiting this defense. He is at home and will have no problem with volume in a game where game flow is likely to either be neutral or in the Rams’ favor.
Ty Montgomery vs MIN, $6,300
Ty Montgomery is now the Packers clear lead RB. He turned 18 total touches into 163 yards and 2 TDs last week on the road in Chicago. This week, he gets to play at home against a Vikings defense that has given up the 10th most rushing yards per game over the past six weeks. The matchup is much more favorable than some realize and playing with Aaron Rodgers always helps as well.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar RB Play
Dion Lewis vs NYJ, $5,100
This game is obviously going to be a blowout. The only question is which Patriots are going to have big games. There is a story to be told where Dion Lewis is one of those guys. I don’t see the Patriots giving LeGarrette Blount a lot of run when this game is going to be over by the end of the first quarter. Blount is too vital for the Patriots playoff run and there is no reason to risk him getting injured in this game, especially considering he is 4th in the league in rushing attempts this season. Meanwhile, the Patriots clearly integrated Lewis back into the offense slowly, and rightfully so. For one, they’re the Patriots so they didn’t need him right away and two, there was no point in risking further injury before he got back into game shape and had some experience under his belt. However, that changed last week. In Lewis’ fifth game back from injury, he led all Patriots RBs in touches and rush attempts against the Broncos. I believe that trend continues this week as the Patriots work to get Lewis more involved, knowing he is going to be a huge piece of their offense come playoff time. James White will still get his run but we know he hardly ever runs the football. Lewis does, and is a candidate to score multiple TDs this week.
Top WR Plays Of The Week
Julio Jones vs CAR, $8,500
Julio Jones still leads the league in receiving yards despite missing the last two games due to injury. A big reason why? Well, that would be his 300-yard performance against this Panthers defense back in Week 4. Jones should be fresh thanks to his time off and I don’t expect him to be eased back into the offense at all this week. The Falcons only lead the NFC South by one game, meaning they can’t afford to play it safe right now. Look for Jones to take advantage of a Panthers defense giving up the most passing yards and that is tied for the 8th most pass TDs, just like he did earlier in the season.
Amari Cooper vs IND, $7,200
Amari Cooper has had a great season. He currently ranks 7th in receiving yards despite going through a recent rough stretch. Cooper hasn’t had a blowup game since Week 8, making him a very interesting GPP play this week in a good matchup. While there are plenty of WR options available at cheaper salaries, it is important to note Cooper gets a Colts defense giving up the 6th most passing yards and that is tied for the 11th most pass TDs allowed. Plus, his Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave hinted to the media that Cooper is going to be more involved this week. After Cooper saw his fewest target total in a game all year a week ago, this could be a squeaky wheel gets the grease scenario. Both the Colts and Raiders score a lot of points but also give up a lot of points as well. This game has Back and Forth Bonanza potential and if it does end up being high scoring, my belief is Cooper has a good game.
Allen Robinson vs TEN, $5,600
Allen Robinson has seen 126 targets this season, which ranks as the 12th most in the league. Those targets haven’t been as consistent lately but I’m choosing to lean on the larger sample size of the entire year for this evaluation. Robinson is absolutely in play this week because the Titans pass defense is plain awful. They’ve given up the 4th most passing yards this year and the 3rd most per game over the last six weeks. Despite his disappointing season, Robinson has the talent and it should be on display this week as long as Bortles can get him the ball.
Michael Thomas vs TB, $6,900
Let us not forget that Michael Thomas is the Saints WR1. He has only seen 3 fewer targets than Brandin Cooks and he has played in one less game. In fact, after missing Week 14, Thomas returned last week and saw 10 targets, which was two more than Cooks saw despite the blowup game that Cooks had. This week, Thomas gets a Buccaneers defense giving up the 13th most passing yards.
Malcolm Mitchell vs NYJ, $6,100
Malcolm Mitchell’s one catch game last week was a total outlier. Why? Because he was playing against the Broncos, who are the best pass defense in the league. Mitchell’s dud a week ago was extremely easy to predict. However, things will be different in Week 16. Prior to last week, Mitchell had caught a TD or posted at least 82 receiving yards in four straight games. This week, he is at home and gets to face a Jets defense giving up the 12th most passing yards and that is tied for the 4th most pass TDs allowed.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar WR Plays
Ted Ginn vs ATL, $4,800
Over the last eight weeks, Ted Ginn has seen two more targets than Kelvin Benjamin. Ginn is the Panthers WR1 right now and gets a Falcons defense giving up the 3rd most passing yards and that is tied for the 2nd most pass TDs. Plus, this game has Back and Forth Bonanza potential, as 81 points were scored between these two teams back in Week 4.
Marqise Lee vs TEN, $5,900
Everyone loves Allen Robinson this week, myself included. However, Marqise Lee is sure to fly under the radar this week despite having more receiving yards on the season than Robinson. Plus, over the last five weeks, Lee has seen 34 targets whereas Robinson has only seen 32. With Julius Thomas on Injured Reserve and Allen Hurns banged up right now, I like Lee to have a solid game. The Jaguars are at home against a Titans pass defense that is just downright putrid. They’ve given up the 4th most passing yards this year and the 3rd most per game over the last six weeks.
Cameron Meredith vs WAS, $5,500
Cameron Meredith has seen 21 targets over the last two weeks and now gets a home matchup against a Redskins defense giving up the 7th most passing yards and the 2nd most per game over the last six weeks. With Josh Norman likely covering Alshon Jeffery for the majority of this game, I like Meredith to make some big plays.
Top TE Plays Of The Week
Greg Olsen vs ATL, $6,800
Greg Olsen has seen the 4th most targets at the TE position over the last six weeks. Unfortunately, those targets haven’t turned into any TDs. He did though, have 6 catches for 85 yards last week. Now, he gets a home matchup with a Falcons defense giving up the 3rd most passing yards and that is tied for the 2nd most pass TDs. This could be the week he finally catches another TD pass. Plus, this game has Back and Forth Bonanza potential, as 81 points were scored between these two teams back in Week 4.
Cameron Brate vs NO, $5,600
Cameron Brate has seen the 5th most targets at the TE position and has scored the 3rd most PPR points at the position over the last six weeks. Now, he gets a matchup with a Saints defense giving up the 2nd most passing yards.
Kyle Rudolph vs GB, $6,000
Kyle Rudolph has seen the 3rd most targets at the TE position and has scored the 4th most PPR points at the position over the last six weeks. Now, he gets a matchup with a Packers defense giving up the 9th most passing yards and that is tied for the 4th most pass TDs allowed.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar TE Plays
Antonio Gates $5,400 and Hunter Henry $5,400 vs CLE
Cleveland can’t cover the TE position, like at all. They just allowed 7 catches on only 7 targets, 72 yards, and a TD to Charles Clay of all players last week. Pick your poison between these two teammates. If choosing between the two, I prefer Antonio Gates.
Top Kicker Plays Of The Week
Stephen Gostkowski vs NYJ, $4,800
This game is going to be a blowout meaning Stephen Gostkowski should see plenty of opportunities in this one.
Graham Gano vs ATL, $4,700
Graham Gano should see multiple field goal opportunities this week at home in a potential Back and Forth Bonanza. I expect the Panthers offense to find success against a suspect Falcons defense.
Josh Lambo vs CLE, $4,500
One word: Cleveland. I expect Josh Lambo to see plenty of opportunities against the Browns 31st ranked defense.
Top Defense Plays Of The Week
San Diego Chargers vs CLE, $4,900
The Chargers get to face Robert Griffin III, who has looked awful over the past two weeks. The Browns have only managed to score a total of 23 points in those two games. The Chargers likely won’t give up a lot of points and there is potential for multiple sacks and turnovers here as well.
New England Patriots vs NYJ, $5,000
The Patriots get to face Bryce Petty at home this week. That’s a recipe for success. The only thing holding me back from ranking them ahead of the Chargers is the potential for the Jets to score points in garbage time. The Patriots have the 4th most sacks over the last six weeks and Petty turned the ball over three times last week.
Green Bay Packers vs MIN, $4,600
The wheels have fallen off in Minnesota. Sam Bradford turned the ball over twice last week and more turnovers could be coming in Week 16. The Packers have the 3rd most interceptions over the past six weeks.