Yahoo NFL Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 16
Each week, this piece will go position-by-position on the main Yahoo daily fantasy football slate, looking at high-priced and value options who are viable in cash or GPP lineups. As injuries, matchups, and usage come into a clearer view late in the season, roster construction becomes much more critical to differentiating your lineup from the field.
Let's dive into the position-by-position analysis for Week 16.
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($26) - Raise your hand if you predicted before the season that 37-year-old Fitzpatrick would be one of the more reliable dual-threat quarterbacks we have this year. You know, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Ryan Fitzpatrick. One and the same. Not only has Fitzpatrick averaged the fifth-most dropbacks since Week 10, he also ranks fifth among all quarterbacks in rushing yards per game with more than 28.
As much as I would love to roster Jackson ($40), Russell Wilson ($37), and Dak Prescott ($34), their prices have become quite restrictive this week, so pivoting to a consistent producer like Fitzy in a strong matchup allows more roster flexibility. In fact, he is priced less than Kyle Allen and Teddy Bridgewater this week -- two quarterbacks who might not see the field. The Cincinnati Bengals now have the 29th-ranked defense by our passing net expected points (NEP) per play metric, and the Miami Dolphins have the second-highest pass/run play ratio at almost two dropbacks for every rush attempt. With reliable pass-catchers like Patrick Laird, Michael Gesicki, and DeVante Parker at every level, I have no issue continuing to ride with Fitzpatrick.
Chris Carson ($35) - What is there not to like about this spot for Carson? There is still minimal competition in the backfield for touches -- Carson has more than 70% of the rush attempts and 80% of the snaps for the Seattle Seahawks the past two weeks. Their opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, rank fourth in seconds per play, giving their opponents extra possessions where the Arizona defense as a unit ranks 30th in the league, according to numberFire's metrics.
The Seahawks are heavy 9.5 point favorites at home, presumably leading to a positive game script for Carson. Our projections believe Carson will lead the slate in carries and rushing yards on Sunday, and if he can continue his seasonal average of three red zone rushes per game, there should be plenty of scoring opportunities for Carson and the Seahawks.
Mark Ingram ($25) - With an implied total of almost 30 points on the road, it will be essential to get some kind of exposure to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. If the price tags on Jackson and Mark Andrews ($22) are prohibitive, Ingram makes for a smart pivot in a game where the Ravens are favored by 10 points, and there may be plenty of kill-the-clock time against the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens should have no problem extinguishing the Browns, which should lead to plenty of second-half rush attempts for Ingram.
On the season, the Browns are the 29th-ranked rushing defense, something both Jackson and Ingram can take advantage of. And even if the game stays close, the Ravens have begun experimenting with Ingram more in the red zone passing game. He has four red zone targets over his last five contests (leading to four touchdowns) -- he had zero in all weeks prior.
Keenan Allen ($27) - We haven't heard much from Allen lately as he hasn't crossed 100 receiving yards in his last 11 games and only has 2 touchdowns in that span. Some of that can be attributed to the downward spiral Philip Rivers is on, but more of it can be placed on the shoulders of the Los Angeles Chargers featuring Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Despite the lack of flashy numbers, Allen still is top 12 in targets, receiving yards, and air yards on the year.
Allen also averages 8.4 targets per game since Week 8, a top 15 number among all receivers. Those targets should come early and often on Sunday as the Chargers face an Oakland Raiders' pass defense ranked 31st in the league. Oakland allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
Tyler Lockett ($26) - Yahoo managers can basically live in this mid-range for wide receivers this week with the value that has opened up at running back and quarterback. The same facts that applied to Chris Carson also apply here to Lockett, although it would not necessarily be advisable to roster both -- they do not correlate well when considering potential game scripts.
The Arizona Cardinals, however, are worse against the pass than the run, ranking 30th against opposing passing games, including allowing the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Lockett -- should an air raid be necessary -- would be the likely recipient of Russell Wilson's uber-accurate throws. Since Week 8, he leads his team in targets per game, air yards, per game, receptions per game, and average depth of target (aDOT) per game if you exclude Josh Gordon.
Darren Waller ($18) - The matchup here isn't great for Waller, as the Chargers have allowed the fifth-fewest receptions and seventh-fewest receiving yards to the tight end position this year. But what does stand out for Waller is the price when considering the consistent seasonal usage.
This is the cheapest Waller has been since October 20, and while it is a tough matchup on paper, the usage continues to be elite for the tight end. Since Week 10, Waller the Baller ranks fourth among all tight ends in target share, third in receiving yards, and first in market share of air yards (35.1%). His targets are much more of the downfield type compared to the flat or underneath throws other tight ends not named Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz might get, leading to Waller ranking sixth at the position in receiving yards after the catch. The stud tight ends are all $5-$10 more expensive than Waller this week, making him a tremendous value in a game where the Oakland Raiders are seven-point underdogs.