NFL

Daily Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Primer: Week 16

Due to three games being played on Saturday, the Sunday main slate is smaller than usual this week. On this particular slate, the smaller list of games has made it more difficult to find good values at the wide receiver position. As a result, this may be a good week to load up on the higher-priced receivers and save money at other positions.

In this preview, I'll break down the wide receivers into three categories based on FanDuel's prices: players to build around, value plays, and players to avoid.

Players to build around are more expensive, but their ceilings are high enough that you should consider prioritizing them in your lineup. Value plays are cheaper options who usually come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the expensive stars. Players to avoid are guys you might normally consider at their price tag but have tough matchups and are unlikely to live up to their usual expectations.

All references to betting totals and spreads are from FanDuel Sportsbook.

Receivers to Build Around

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints ($9,000) -- In seven of his last eight games, Michael Thomas has produced a top-10 score among wide receivers -- no other receiver has more than five top-10 scores all season. This week Thomas gets a Tennessee Titans defense without Malcolm Butler and possibly without Adoree' Jackson, who has been limited in practice due to a foot injury.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons ($8,000) -- Assuming Julio Jones is active (he's been limited in practice due to a shoulder injury) he should see another heavy workload due to Calvin Ridley's absence. Jones saw 20 targets last week against the San Francisco 49ers. This week Jones will draw coverage from A.J. Bouye, but that isn't the tough matchup it used to be. According to Sports Info Solutions, Bouye has allowed 11.2 yards per target over his last five games.

Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys ($7,700) -- Amari Cooper is next in line to benefit from the Philadelphia Eagles struggling secondary. Based on data from Sports Info Solutions, here's a look at the performance of Eagles cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby, dating back to Week 10:

Eagles CB in Coverage Comp Pct Yds/Tgt TD Fantasy Pts Allowed
Ronald Darby 57.1% 12.6 3 61.2
Jalen Mills 58.3% 10.7 3 50.7


Cooper and Michael Gallup ($6,500) line up on both sides of the field at various points in the game, so they should each benefit from matchups with both Darby and Mills. The Eagles have allowed at least 20 fantasy points to a receiver in three straight games (Terry McLaurin, Darius Slayton, and DeVante Parker) and there's a good chance Cooper or Gallup keeps that streak alive.

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks ($7,600) -- Tyler Lockett has finished among the top 50 receivers just once in his last five games, so there is some risk in using him right now. However, as the Seattle Seahawks primary slot receiver he draws a great matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. According to Sports Info Solutions, Arizona is allowing 29.1 fantasy points per game to receivers lined up in the slot, the worst rate in the league.

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans ($7,200) -- Since Ryan Tannehill took over as the Titans starting quarterback in Week 7, only 12 receivers have posted more fantasy points than A.J. Brown. The New Orleans Saints secondary has been inconsistent this year, yielding 25 or more fantasy points to four receivers this year, including two in the last three weeks (D.J. Moore and Emmanuel Sanders). This game has shootout potential -- the implied total is 50.5 points -- so pairing Brown with Michael Thomas could be a winning strategy.

Value Plays

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,300) -- Since Andy Dalton returned in Week 13, Tyler Boyd leads the team with a 23 percent target share. And while the Cincinnati Bengals offense has struggled, the Miami Dolphins defense should give them a boost. Miami has allowed at least 20 fantasy points to a receiver in four straight games.

Marcus Johnson, Indianapolis Colts ($5,900) -- With T.Y. Hilton likely to draw coverage from James Bradberry when he's on the field, Marcus Johnson should benefit from a matchup with Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson. According to Sports Info Solutions, Jackson is allowing 12.3 yards per target since Week 8, the second-worst mark in the league in that span. Despite Hilton's return from injury last week, Johnson still saw four targets, and may see a bigger workload on Sunday given the favorable matchup.

Steven Sims Jr., Washington Redskins ($5,700) -- In two games filling in for the injured Trey Quinn as the Washington Redskins slot receiver, Steven Sims leads the team with 18 targets. That high usage rate is likely to continue this week due to the New York Giants inability to defend the slot. According to Sports Info Solutions, New York is allowing an NFL-worst 9.84 yards per target to players lined up in the slot.

Christian Blake, Atlanta Falcons ($4,600) -- This would be a tournament dart throw, but Christian Blake's price is so cheap he's worth consideration. Despite seeing just one target last week against the 49ers, Blake played 85 percent of Atlanta Falcons snaps on offense while starting in place of Calvin Ridley. Julio Jones commanded a 51 percent target share last week, which obviously suppressed everyone else's workload. That's an unsustainable pace for Jones, so Blake should emerge as an option again on Sunday. In one other previous start this season, Blake caught six passes on nine targets -- so he clearly has some level of trust from Matt Ryan and could turn in a solid game against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars.

Receivers to Avoid

D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers ($6,600) -- D.J. Moore has scored double-digit fantasy points in seven straight games, but he'll have to work with rookie quarterback Will Grier for the first time on Sunday. Grier was the Panthers' third-round pick this year, but he struggled in the preseason, making it difficult to count on Moore's production on Sunday. Given the change at quarterback, following the firing of head coach Ron Rivera, it's also hard to gauge the Panthers' overall level of interest. These final two games could be rough for Carolina.

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens ($5,700) -- As the home run threat in the Baltimore Ravens offense, Marquise Brown is always a tempting option in tournaments. However, he'll draw coverage from Denzel Ward on Sunday. Since returning from injury in Week 8, Ward has allowed just 41.1 fantasy points (5.1 per game), according to Sports Info Solutions.


Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.