DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 16
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The shape of the Week 16 main slate could swing dramatically based on the health of several star players. Cam Newton (shoulder) has already been shut down while Odell Beckham (quad), Todd Gurley (knee), and Aaron Rodgers (groin) are all somewhat iffy to suit up. Be sure to check all the most recent player news prior to pressing the submit button for the final time on Sunday morning.
Matt Ryan ($6,100): Among all quarterbacks on the main slate, Matt Ryan holds a slight edge for the most DraftKings points (24.1) on a per-game basis. Yet Ryan is nearly outside the top 10 based on salary at his position. While Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons are on the road this week, they face a Carolina Panthers pass defense that ranks as the seventh-worst by numberFire's scheduled-adjusted metrics. Over at Sharp Football Stats, Carolina is outside the top 20 in both passing success rate and explosive passing allowed as well. Projected to score the fourth-most DraftKings points regardless of position, Ryan comes in as the best point-per-dollar play for Week 16 and is suitable in all formats.
Dak Prescott ($5,700): After a three-game homestand in which Dak Prescott posted two of his biggest performances of the year, the Dallas Cowboys' third-year quarterback could only muster 206 scoreless passing yards despite throwing 39 times. And for only the third time in his career, Prescott was not credited with a rushing attempt. Thankfully, Prescott has a great opportunity to get back on track playing at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who own the sixth-worst pass defense by our metrics. While Tampa's defense has improved a bit during the second half of the season, Dallas is favored by 7.5 points and carry the fifth-highest implied team total. That will result in heavy ownership on Ezekiel Elliott -- more on him in a bit -- and make Prescott a low-owned and inexpensive option for tournaments.
Nick Foles ($4,700): The fun play at quarterback this week is Nick Foles. The Super Bowl MVP is coming off a game in which he completed 24 of 31 passes for 270 scoreless yards with one interception while on the road against the Los Angeles Rams. Carson Wentz (back) has already been ruled out, leaving Foles at the helm once again. This timem the Philadelphia Eagles will host the Houston Texans, who are extremely stout against the run but have crumbled in recent weeks when trying to guard against the pass. Since Week 12, Houston is 29th in passing success rate and 30th in explosive passing allowed while averaging -- wait for this -- 338 passing yards to opposing quarterbacks. Foles is far from predictable, but he's extremely cheap in an extremely favorable matchup.
Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000): As the week moves on, it's becoming clear that the top tier at running back clearly belongs to Ezekiel Elliott. Todd Gurley ($9,200) is more expensive and is dealing with a knee issue. Christian McCaffrey ($8,800) is a little bit cheaper, but the Panthers are shutting down Newton and have no reason to ride McCaffrey once he gets the 21 yards he needs to hit 1,000 yards, or the nine receptions he needs to beak Matt Forte's single-season record for receptions by a running back. Meanwhile, Dallas needs to keep winning games, and Tampa's improved pass defense will funnel plenty of work to Elliott, who's already averaging close to 23 carries in home games. Elliott has all the trappings of a must-start play as Tampa ranks near league-bottom in both rushing success rate and explosive run rate.
Nick Chubb ($7,300): Lost in Baker-mania has been the outstanding play of Nick Chubb. Since taking over as the lead back for the Cleveland Browns back in Week 7, Chubb is averaging nearly 86 rushing yards per game and has scored six times in eight contests. He's also been fine as a receiver -- which was a question mark based on his college profile -- securing 16 of 22 targets for 150 yards with two scores. For Week 16, the Browns are double-digit favorites at home facing a Cincinnati Bengals defense that Chubb scored on twice in Week 12 while totaling 128 yards on 31 touches. On PlayerProfiler, Chubb is fifth in yards created per carry and inside the top 15 in many impressive metrics, such as yards created, evaded tackles, breakaway run rate, and juke rate. Chubb is under-priced and will be a staple in cash games.
Tevin Coleman ($4,800): The top running back value on the main slate by our projections is Tevin Coleman, who was only playing on approximately half the snaps over the last three games. However, rookie Ito Smith (knee) is now on injured reverse, giving Coleman a chance to add another highlight or two -- like last week's 65-yard run -- to what has been an otherwise disappointing contract year. Carolina's run defense is above average, but the Coleman is severally mispriced based on expected workload. Another popular play in this price tier will be Marlon Mack ($5,500), if you can find the additional $700 to roster him.
Julio Jones ($8,700): I've already mentioned that Carolina is bad against the pass -- seventh-worst by our metrics -- and could struggle to move the ball on offense without Cam Newton. Well, now they have to deal with Julio Jones again. Jones -- who has played Carolina very well on the road in the past -- leads the league by a margin of 151 receiving yards and nearly 360 air yards. Atlanta also has little to play for but shouldn't lack motivation as every head coach in the NFC South outside of New Orleans could be on the way out. Julio's projection is so far ahead of the second wide receiver on the main slate that Jones is also the best point-per-dollar play and a premier tournament option at the position.
Alshon Jeffery ($5,300): If you are thinking about playing Nick Foles at home against the struggling Texans pass defense, you should naturally be into Alshon Jeffrey as well. Last week on the road against the Rams, the duo successfully hooked up on all 8 targets for 160 yards, including a deep 50-yard completion. While they weren't looking so sharp at the end of 2017 regular season, Foles and Jeffery were an impressive 12 of 18 for 219 yards and three touchdowns during the playoffs. As for Houston, they've seen seven different wide receivers record more than 60 yards against them over the last four weeks.
Robby Anderson ($4,500): It's very likely that Robby Anderson will be the highest-owned wide receiver on the Week 16 main slate. Since rookie quarterback Sam Darnold has returned from a multi-week foot injury, Anderson has recorded back-to-back games in which he's found the end zone while seeing seven or more targets and has exceeded 75 receiving yards. During this time, Anderson is fourth in air yards to wide receivers and among the leaders in Weighted Opportunity Rating (WOPR), according to airyards.com. Additionally, the Green Bay Packers pass defense ranks as the eighth-worst by our metrics and is dead last in success rate.
Evan Engram ($4,600): The multi-game absence of Odell Beckham has not resulted in more Sterling Shepard, but the reemergence of Evan Engram. After having one of the most productive rookie tight end seasons of all-time, Engram has battled multiple injuries and is playing with a washed Eli Manning. However, in the two games without OBJ, Engram leads the New York Giants with 17 targets, 11 receptions, 152 yards -- 110 of which came after the catch. The opposing Indianapolis Colts have strong numbers against tight ends over the course of the season, but have conceded 22 targets and more than 200 yards over the last two weeks to the position.
Chris Herndon ($3,100): One of the better values at tight end this week is Chris Herndon. The New York Jets are playing at home and Sam Darnold is coming his best game of the season. Since Week 12, Herndon is 10th in air yards among tight ends with a healthy 9.7 average depth of target (aDOT). Green Bay has only allowed two touchdowns to tight ends all year, however, one of them came last week to Trey Burton. In that contest, the tight ends of the Chicago Bears accounted for 9 targets, 75 yards, plus that aforementioned touchdown.
Cleveland D/ST ($3,000): The defensive unit for Cleveland hasn't scored double-digit DK points in seven consecutive games. Yet over their last five games, the Browns have only allowed one opponent to score more than 20 points against them. On the season, Cleveland is around league average in sacks, but ranks second to only the Bears (35) with 30 takeaways. Meanwhile, the Bengals are trotting out what looks like a preseason offense with Jeff Driskel at quarterback.
New England D/ST ($2,500): Priced at only $500 above the salary floor, the New England Patriots are heading back home coming off two difficult losses on the road. In four games since returning from injury, Josh Allen is only averaging 200 passing yards per game and has only completed 50 percent of his passes. Fueled heavily by unsustainable rushing production, Allen has taken six sacks while throwing four touchdowns and four interceptions. Allen is getting done in the fantasy box score, but he's a bad rookie passer on the road in Foxborough facing the Patriots, who have the fourth-most interceptions in the league. Advantage Bill Belichick.
Eric McClung is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.