NFL DFS Week 16: Hot Sizzle Taeks
Much like ol' jolly Santa Claus, I'm coming into town and believe me when I say I'm checking my list twice! What am I checking for? For all the naughty and nice DFS values for Week 16 of course!
What did you think I was going to say? I mean it's not like I'm watching you sleep or anything. Nothing creepy about that at all. As always, this is a think piece encouraging others to choose bad players in order to blow up your DFS lineups into oblivion. Choose your landmines wisely, as picking a good player would help you win monies. That's bad! BAD! Of course, I do sometimes have my bad days where my picks actually pan out and win someone a GPP. That's not my intention I swear! Don't let these ruffians at DailyRoto dot com fool you! THE CAKE IS A LIE!
Disclaimer – Since there isn't any TNF games and a couple of Saturday games + the doubleheader on Monday, I'll be focusing on the Sunday main slate. Plus I do have to get the cookies and milk ready for Sunday night. Cough, they're laced with cyanide. That'll show that fat man what I think about getting socks for Christmas!
Anyways, onto the NFL DFS Week 16 picks!
Top Play – Cam Newton will be the popular top pick for many people as he faces a struggling Tampa defense that hasn't been able to stop anyone. While that's a fine option, their 6th highest run rate worries me about Newton's ceiling as they could end up simply clocking the game out against a nonexistent TB defensive front. The DR projections like Russell Wilson as always, but I'm not falling into that trap. I will yet once again choose Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Junior against a suddenly playoff relevant but still terrible Buffalo Bills. The last time I chose Brady against the Bills, he went ahead and put up a total clunker of a game, passing for 258 yards and zero TDs in a 23-2 win. It was only the second time this season Brady didn't get at least a touchdown pass, his 1st being the first game of the season against the Chiefs. I think it's safe to say Brady probably won't throw zero TD passes again, The Patriots are huge home favorites with the biggest team total and a chance to trample over the Bills' playoff hopes. In the 3 games prior to the clunker, Brady had thrown for 1,068 yards and 8 TDs combined against the Bills. That's one heck of a stat-line and a nice historical context on how much Brady has owned the Bills lately.
Now, the fantasy numbers may not back up a 'Brady as top play' pick outside of the Bills D giving up the 3rd most plays, but sometimes you just have to think about the ruthlessness of both Brady and Belichick against the AFC East. This is their chance to cook up some bison burgers and stamp home-field advantage throughout the playoffs for good. I want a piece of that action. Or just pick Cam like the rest of the sheep.
Value Play – With only a few weeks of regular season left, value plays start to dwindle as prices get tighter and teams start to finally give up hope of being good. This is the case at QB, as there are just simply not enough savvy mid-tier plays on DK and FD. With the likes of Bryce Petty, Drew Stanton, and Brock Osweiler being the bottom basement QBs, I'd rather just go with a consistent QB that's just below the top tier threshold. Jared Goff fits that bill perfectly, as he's at a good price point on both sites with a solid floor and a deceptively high ceiling. Goff may have a stud of a RB in Todd Gurley, but the Titans' run defense has actually been quite stellar for the season. It's a 10th ranked DVOA run unit, yielding only the 6th fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs with the 3rd lowest yards per carry given up (3.5). Goff will be asked to carry the offense with his arm, which should produce tasty morsels of fantasy points against a leaky 24th ranked pass defense. The Titans are also giving up the 6th most snaps to opposing offenses, which coupled with the Rams' preference to start the game off fast (1st in pace for 1st half) means Goff could put on an aerial show early and often. I'm liking Sean McVay more and more as the Coach of the Year, and a big victory over the Titans will only help boost his chances.
HOT TAEK – Do you know which team has had the highest passing rate over the past few weeks? You'll never guess! It's the New York Giants, led by Eli Manning of all people! Ever since the Giants fired Bob McAdoo and reinstated Manning as the starter, the Giants have been gobbling up snaps on offense, with 75 and 81 plays ran over the past 2 weeks. Manning will get a tough Cardinals front that prefers to force teams to pass through the air than run on the ground. That's music to the Giants' ears, as they basically have no run game at all. Running the no-huddle that Manning has been very fond of should help give Manning as many pass attempts as possible despite a 10th ranked DVOA Cardinals pass defense. Manning has always excelled in a high paced no-huddle offense against any defense as it lessens the burden on the OL against dominant pass rushers and lets Manning decipher the weak spots of opposing defenses quickly. That was the case against the Eagles' vaunted front being neutralized by a quick NYG offense, allowing 434 yards and 3 TDs to Eli's smug face. The same thing could happen against Arizona. Volume baby! 57 passes against the Eagles! Let's make it 60 attempts this week!
Top Play – RBs galore. That's what Week 16 really is. There's a plethora of elite RBs to choose from, so which one should you avoid? Boy, that's a tough question that I will obviously answer with the incorrect response. LeSean McCoy? Sucks. Melvin Gordon? His name is Melvin! You ever heard of a cool Melvin? Todd Gurley? Tough match-up but the usage is ridiculously high. Kamara/Ingram? As if I can guess which one will go off. (It's Ingram since he's on my yearly team that's in the SB) Kareem Hunt? Hmm....yeah, I'll go with him, facing a Miami defense whose strengths has now flipped from the beginning of the season. What had started out as a stingy run defense but porous pass defense has now turned quite the opposite over the past month. The Dolphins are now giving up the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing RBs while giving up the 4th fewest to opposing WRs. That's a complete 180 from their DVOA rankings (27th pass, 15th run), and it's a major reason why Hunt could very well be the highest scoring player on the slate. We all know how much KC loves to spam their RBs, so let's not explain why Hunt is a good play. Enjoy your DFS meal with some Hunt's tomatoes!
Value Play – Bleh. This is definitely not the week to go garbage dump diving at RB. Pay up for one of the aforementioned stud RBs and go cheap elsewhere. Unless risking your biscuits on James White, Wayne Gallman, and Mike Davis really tickles your fancy. If I had to really roster a sub 4-5k RB, ideally I'd go with someone who should get at least 15+ touches no matter the game script. That leaves very few guaranteed options at a lower price point, but there are options nonetheless. Joe Mixon should return back from his concussion against a beatable Lions run defense, while Samaje Perine has continued to see solid usage even in bad match-ups. The Bengals have given up on their season, which could mean a prolonged run for Mixon to show a glimmer of hope for the Bengals' offensive hope next season. The Redskins aren't as despondent as the Bengals, but they're clearly not going to change anything up anytime soon. That should give Perine a 15+ touch floor even against a generally stingy Broncos run defense. The Lions give up the 4th most points to opposing RBs, so I'd go with Mixon over everyone provided he doesn't run into a wall pre-game.
HOT TAEK – As I noted in the QB Top Play portion, the Panthers have the 6th highest run rate and prefer to keep the ball on the ground early. That could pave the way for a 2 TD Stewart game as he pisses off all the Newton owners. Tampa's DL has been hobbled by injuries over the season, including an extremely important run defender in Gerald McCoy. His presence was sorely missed against the Falcons last week, as Freeman ran buck wild all over the Bucs to the tune of 126 yards and a touchdown. Freeman also added a 5/68 receiving stat-line to boot. Now, we all know Stewart isn't going to come close to that receiving stat-line, but he very well could get something like 16 carries for 80 yards and 2 TDs as the Panthers drive methodically down the field. A 21st DVOA run defense that's giving up the 7th most fantasy points and 6th highest yards per carry to opposing RBs? Possibly without some of their best run defenders in Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy? Yeah, somebody's gonna eat and it just might be the fattest RB on the roster. No, I don't mean Newton though he could hit 100 yards himself if he really wanted to.
Top Play – With Hunter Henry's injury putting him on I.R. For the season, Keenan Allen suddenly seems like a lock to put up monstrous numbers, even if Henry wasn't really preventing Allen from breaking out. Allen will get a fantastic match-up against the Jets' weakest cornerback in Buster Skrine, lining up 51% of his routes in the slot against Skrine (76% of snaps in slot and a paltry 53 PFF grade). Allen had a back injury last week that quelled his fantasy performance and and made thousands of DFS players furious. Does that mean his ownership will be lower this week? Doubtful, as his price has now gone down a little bit as well which keeps Allen as a top tier target without overpaying. The Jets just gave up a hefty 9/93/1 stat-line to Michael Thomas (and really, it should have been 2 TDs at least) and it's conceivable Allen can surpass those numbers considering he had gotten 100+ receiving yards in 4 straight games before Week 15. All aboard the Keenan train!
Value Play – With DeSean Jackson possibly being doubtful to play against the Panthers, Chris Godwin should be an excellent option for you vultures looking to save up enough salary to pay for some tomatoes. Damiere Byrd will be another tantalizing option for those Ham Cam stacks considering Funchess' ongoing shoulder injury and lack of consistent play. Both are decent bottom floor options, but there's a guy I keep adding to my lineups despite my best efforts at exploding my brand-spankin' new computer. It's Keelan Cole and I think I just burped up my lunch. Yes, it's a Jaguars WR that will be relying on the decaying arm of Blake Bortles, but there are good reasons why Cole actually is kind of, sort of, really maybe an all right value play. For once, he's clearly got the attention of the Blakester, hauling in 13 of his 15 total targets over the last 3 games for an eye-popping 13/334/3 stat-line. Cole gets a weak 49ers secondary that's been abused by opposing slot receivers all season thanks in part to K'Waun Williams' atrocious play (43.3 grade). The 49ers have still been one of the worst rated pass defenses over the season, ranking at nearly dead last overall and 30th against the slot. I know it's a tall task believing in Bortles, but considering Marquis Lee seems likely to miss the game and Hurns is 50/50 at this point, that could mean an even increased role for Cole. Shrug.
HOT TAEK – I'm going ALL IN on Gosh Jordon! THAT'S RIGHT! IT'S TIME FOR HIS COMEBACK! Josh Gordon used to be one of the best fantasy options like 10 years ago before his whole druggie thing happened. Since his return to the lineup 3 weeks ago, Gordon has inhaled 28 targets for a modest 12/201/1 stat-line. Sure, the catch rate isn't ideal for someone receiving that many targets, but Kizer isn't exactly lighting defenses up these days. The Bears are a low output team that loves to grind the clock to a halt, have a 14th ranked pass defense and a top tier CB in Prince Amukamara. None of that matters to a beast like Gordon! Plus Gordon isn't going to line up against Amukamara every snap as the Browns move Gordon around quite often, even at slot with 27% of his route ran there. That's a big body to cover for anybody, but the Bears have been a little weak against crossing patterns and defending big bodied WRs. That sure sounds like Gordon, as the only route Kizer can throw with confidence is a drag or a crosser. Hue Jackson is still prattling on about how he's actually a good coach and will make Kizer look good, and the best way to do that is to FEED GORDON!!! I am going to predict Gordon's 1st 100 yard game of the season with THREE touchdown catches! It will be the Browns' second win of the season and it will save Hue Jackson his job. People will cheer, dogs will cry, and Gordon will win someone a GPP. I have nothing else to say.
Top Play – There are two clear-cut plays to choose from. It's either Travis Kelce against a Miami defense that still has no idea how to cover TEs or the PARTY BUS!!! If you don't know who the Party Bus is, then you should be ashamed of yourself. It's Sir Gronkosaurus, coming off an absolutely brilliant game against the Steelers where he eviscerated the Steelers defense and got the Pats right back into the game. He totaled 168 yards on 9 catches and a 2 pointer, and it probably should have been much, much more had the Steelers stopped holding him on every single snap. Gronk lit up the Bills last game, going for 9/147 and 'tripping' over himself on a TreDavious White interception. Silly Gronk. That was Gronk's 3rd time eclipsing the 100 yard mark against the Bills in the past two seasons not including this one. The Party Bus clearly loves the cold weather of both Buffalo and New England and the taste of bison burgers. He should be able to get a 4th 100+ yard day without any problems. It's up to you to decide whether or not to pay up to party with the Gronkosaurus.
Value Play – You know what to do here. Punt the position or get a top tier stud. If Olsen was cheaper then he'd probably make the value play here. Unfortunately, no one cares about us. Henry's out for the season which makes Antonio Gates a delectable cheap option, but Gates can barely walk these days so I wouldn't go overboard with his ownership. Cameron Brate will be another popular choice due to the same situation, with O.J. Howard getting placed on injured reserve. The Panthers are quite tough against opposing TEs though, giving up the 6th fewest points and boasting the 4th best TE coverage unit. May I suggest an ideal pivot off those popular options? Look at Eric Ebron and his match-up, facing the 3rd worst TE coverage unit and a depleted Bengals LB corps. Ebron has seen a rise in his fantasy value over the past few weeks, going for 10/94 and 5/33/1 in that span. His target numbers have been consistent all season, but in the midst of a potential playoff run, the Lions seem content at unleashing Ebron finally. Sure, it's a risky GPP play at a slightly bloated value price, but the match-up is simply too good to pass up at low ownership. Punt with Gates or pay up!
HOT TAEK – It's gonna be an ugly pick here, fellas. It's entirely dependent on a sick player suiting up against one of the worst, if not the absolute worst TE coverage units in the NFL. Jermaine Gresham doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, nor does he look like much of an athletically explosive TE that could annihilate a pathetic Giants TE defense. Still, if he does come back from his sniffles or whatever he picked up, he's in line for a very good fantasy day. We all know how bad the Giants are against TEs, giving up the most fantasy points to the position. However, if the Giants keep playing at the fastest pace and pass-heaviest rate over the past few weeks, then the Cardinals are looking at a buttload of snaps. Even with Drew Stanton at the helm, he can at the very least throw 2-yard patterns to a wide open Gresham while watching Gresham apathetically slumbers his way upfield for an additional inch gain. I'm just going by the numbers here. Not like I'm picking Niles Paul or something. Burn it all down.
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