The biggest question this week has been about the availability of New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr., who was slapped with a one-game suspension following his actions in the Week 15 game against the Carolina Panthers. His appeal was heard Wednesday, and there are a mix of tweets, semi-reports and some official NFL report which say the ban will be lifted and Beckham will be available for this weekend’s game at Minnesota.
The news is a little better for those in Fantasy Football seasonal leagues, as most championships will be decided in Week 16 and Beckham’s inclusion in the lineup is huge for those formats. In DFS, Beckham is a little less attractive from a Fantasy perspective. The Vikings have a good defense, ranked seventh against the pass while allowing 229.5 yards per game. They have been dinged for 21 passing touchdowns through 14 games, but their 40 pass plays of 20 or more yards is the fourth-fewest in the league. ODB might not rack up the yardage in chunks like he did against previous weaker opponents. Of course, Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown faced an ugly matchup in Week 15 against the top-ranked Denver Broncos pass defense and he shredded them. So you can use the stats and trends to make your wisest lineup choices, but ultimately it is the players who still do amazing things when they’re least expected, and sometimes they lay an egg (Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson, I’m looking at you!) when they have a perceived easy or favorable matchup.
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Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville ($6,500 at NO): Bortles has thrown for 242 or more yards in 11 of his past 13 games, and it’s hard to envision that not happening under the dome in New Orleans. In fact, you can expect his fifth 300-yard passing day of the season. He has two or more touchdown passes in 10 of his past 13 games, and you can fully expect Bortles to toss at least two touchdowns in his Week 16 matchup. The Saints have allowed 39 passing touchdowns, most in the NFL, and they rank last in Fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville ($7,500 at NO): Robinson faces a great matchup against the New Orleans Saints, who rank 30th in the NFL. They’ve allowed 276.4 yards per game and an NFL-high 39 passing touchdowns. They’ve also allowed 55 pass plays of 20 or more yards, second-most in the NFL. Robinson has scored at least one touchdown in each of his past four games, posting a total of six scores during the span. Expect big things.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota ($5,200 vs. NYG – SNF): If you simply can’t commit to trusting the Jaguars’ offense, perhaps Bridgewater and the Vikings’ offense is a little more up your alley. The New York Giants rank last in the league against the pass, allowing 308.4 yards per game, 29.3 yards per game worse than everyone else. The G-Men have also yielded 28 passing touchdowns, and they rank 31st in points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Carolina’s Cam Newton ($7,500) posted five TDs against Big Blue last week. Bridgewater should be good for at least 275 yards and three touchdowns under the lights Sunday night.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Baltimore ($5,600 at BAL): Bryant had 10 receptions last week against a good Denver Broncos pass defense, and he has 17 grabs over the past two games. The Ravens rank 30th in Fantasy points allow to opposing wide receivers; they’ve allowed 28 passing touchdowns and have just four interceptions. Look for Bryant to shake free for at least two long receptions, flirting with the century mark while also visiting the end zone at least once. WR Antonio Brown ($9,300) should also be in line for a big day, but he comes with a substantially higher price tag.
Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville ($5,300 at NO): Perhaps you don’t want to spend the money on Robinson (above), or are looking to use a Jacksonville one-two punch. Hurns is a great mid-level DFS play, as he has eight touchdowns and 907 receiving yards this season. He disappeared a little against Atlanta last week, but they’re also a semi-respectable pass D, tied for fifth in passing touchdowns allowed. The Saints are terrible against the pass, and Hurns crushed the Indianapolis Colts for 14 catches, 221 yards and two touchdowns in two earlier meetings. New Orleans’ pass D is along the lines of Indy, and you should expect similar production.
Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville ($5,100 at NO): Yeah, by now you get the picture. The Saints’ pass defense is terrible. New Orleans ranks 32nd against opposing tight ends, and that makes Thomas a nice DFS play. In fact, both tight ends in this game might make a strong showing, with New Orleans Saints’ TE Benjamin Watson ($5,300) also poised for a big game.
Charcandrick West, RB, Kansas City ($5,700 vs. CLE): West rolled for 76 yards and a touchdown on 16 totes last week in Baltimore, and will face another favorable matchup with the Cleveland Browns strolling into town. Cleveland ranks 31st against the run, allowing 134.9 yards per game with 11 rushing touchdowns and 12 runs of 20 or more yards. West will likely have plenty of carries going nowhere, but he’ll also have a handful of long runs and he should find the end zone at least once.
BARGAIN BIN VALUES AND CONTRARIAN PLAYS
Buffalo Bills Defense/Special Teams ($3,200 vs. DAL): The Cowboys are expected to start QB Kellen Moore, and while the left-handed former star at Boise State looked effective at times last week, he also made several critical mistakes. You can expect the Bills’ pass rush to get to him and induce at least two or three turnovers while limiting the offense under 14 points.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota ($4,400 vs. NYG – SNF): Diggs came alive last week with three grabs, 55 yards and two touchdowns against the Chicago Bears. It was his first visit(s) to the end zone since Week 8 against, yep, the Chicago Bears. While three of his four scores have come against Chicago this season, you can expect Diggs to keep the scoring streak alive against a poor Giants pass D.
Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis ($4,000 at MIA): Gore faces a Miami Dolphins rush defense that ranks 29th in the league and allows an average of 132.1 yards per game. They have given up 10 rushing touchdowns while giving up 11 runs of 20 or more yards and an AFC-worst 102 first downs via the rush. Gore won’t have a giant day, but that’s not what you’re paying for. He should total 80-90 yards from scrimmage playing what might likely be his final game in his hometown, and a visit to the end zone would be a bonus.