DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 16

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The purpose of this article is not only to help you understand some of the more popular plays on the slate, but also to highlight some overlooked ones that pop in our projection models and might go otherwise overlooked on Sunday. There's usually even more clarity provided to the context of the slate on Saturday night and Sunday morning. But, overall, many of the main decision points become clear by Thursday afternoon and Friday evening, giving you ample time Saturday to build your lineups with useful information.

With injury news settling down a bit compared to last week, we have some more normalized pricing for Sunday's main slate which features 11 games and some really nice match ups that look to decide playoff spots. This time of year, we not only want to take into consideration volume and match up, but also realize that some of these teams may not have a lot to play for, and their effort might reflect that. With only two weeks left of large slate NFL DFS left (sad face emoji), let's see what plays we can use this week to capitalize on what we have left:


Lamar Jackson ($8,000): Usually near the top of the DraftKings salary ranges, you'll see the pricing be pretty efficient. This price, however, still is not. Normally in cash games, we're looking for 3x value out of players, which would mean that we'd need 24 DraftKings points from Lamar to hit value this week. The number of times Lamar hasn't hit that number in 15 weeks this season: three. If you're giving me 80% odds on any bet, I'm making that bet. What further elevates Jackson as a standout play despite the "high" price tag is that the Cleveland Browns' defense was atrocious last week and ranks fifth-worst by our schedule-adjusted metrics. Lamar this season has been as good of a running back as he has been a quarterback, and after Kenyan Drake put up magical numbers against this Cleveland defense last week, I'm looking forward to Lamar's 30 burger this week.

Kyler Murray ($6,100): Kyler was a hot pick last week at only $5,600 in a great spot against the Browns. His disappointing performance didn't come from his lack of efficiency, but more from the aforementioned Drake stealing the show and scoring four of the five touchdowns the Arizona Cardinals tallied in that game. This is a much different spot against the Seattle Seahawks on the road. It's not as bad of a matchup as you may think, however, as in the last two contests at home, the Seahawks' defense has given up 34 points to Tampa Bay and 30 to Minnesota. Arizona's biggest weakness is their offensive line, but Seattle ranks 31st in Football Outsiders adjusted sack rate. Kyler should have ample time to throw, but even if he doesn't, he can get it done with his legs against a defense that's likely to be missing or starting hobbled stud starters in Jadeveon Clowney (core muscle injury) and Bobby Wagner (hamstring). And with a 50.5-point total, this game has shootout written all over it.

Will Grier ($4,300): It's Week 16. YOLO, right? In all seriousness, though, there is absolutely no data on Will Grier playing professional football with the exception of his abysmal performance in the preseason. But this play is based on two things: he's dirt cheap, and he plays on a talented offense. Playing Grier this week is less betting on Grier's talent and more betting on the talent of Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Greg Olsen. If the rookie plays even remotely decently, he can easily hit a cash value of 13 points. And he's not exactly facing the '85 Bears. The Indianapolis Colts' D has struggled mightily in the past three weeks, giving up point totals of 31 to the Titans, 38 to the Bucs, and 34 to the Saints. In fact, over the last four weeks, they've allowed the most DraftKings points to opposing quarterbacks at 29.9. If you're looking to save salary, this will make a great GPP play or even a YOLO cash play.

Running Back

Chris Carson ($8,500): Carson made the column last week in a smash spot and delivered with a 30-DraftKings-point performance on the road against the Panthers. One could argue that this is an even better spot for Carson, who also gets to face another run-sieve defense in the Cardinals. And, oh, by the way, he's at home for this one, and favored by 8.5 points, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. No one can make the argument that Carson's rushing work load isn't there. He's averaging more than 20 rushing attempts per game in the last three weeks, and he has an elevated snap share after Rashaad Penny went down with an ACL injury. Carson's targets and receptions leave you wanting, but this Cardinals defense is allowing more than 100 yards per game to backs in the past four contests. We can fire up Carson with confidence this week.

Joe Mixon ($6,600): For the same reason Saquon Barkley was a popular play last week, Mixon will be a popular play this week -- and for a discounted price. He gets the dream matchup against the Miami Dolphins, who are allowing the third-most points to the running back position over the past four weeks and were just gashed by Barkley for 33 DraftKings points. Mixon has been on fire the last month, averaging 19.3 DraftKings points per game in that time, which includes rushing -- on average -- for more than 100 yards per game in the last four. He's a threat out of the backfield in the receiving game, as well, clearing three receptions in each of his past three games. Cincy is implied for more than three touchdowns, meaning Mixon has an excellent shot at a multi-score day.

Devonta Freeman ($6,000): If you're looking for a pivot off of Mixon in cash games and GPPs, Freeman will likely be lower owned due to his similar price point and less exciting recent performances. But Freeman is receiving the lion's share of work in the Atlanta backfield, and he gets a wonderful spot against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are close to dead last (30th) versus the run, per our numbers. The Jags have allowed the most points per game to opposing running backs over the past four weeks (38.5). Freeman offers a nice receiving floor as a pass-catching back, and he is playing at home as a favorite for a team that is implied for almost four touchdowns. Freeman's access to his ceiling is as strong this week as it ever has been all season, and the floor is nice, too.

Wide Receivers

Terry McLaurin ($6,200): McLaurin initially suffered from the Dwayne Haskins Effect when Haskins was shoved into starting duty.The past two weeks, though, Haskins has started to perform more competently, and he found his old college buddy for two scores in the last two games. The New York Giants get absolutely throttled by number-one wide receivers. Over the past four weeks, they've allowed the following point totals to number-one receivers: Allen Robinson (28.1 DK points), Davante Adams (24.4), Zach Ertz (not kidding, the Eagles have no wide receivers, 30.0), and DeVante Parker (23.2). Look for F1 to eat this week.

Tyler Boyd ($5,800): We get a discount on Boyd this week on account of his lackluster performance last time out against a stout New England Patriots defense, a game in which he scored 6 DraftKings points. It's the time to buy low. Boyd gets to face off against the decimated Dolphins' secondary, one that has given up the most DK points to opposing receivers over the last four weeks. This game has sneaky shootout potential as both defenses are #bad, and the total reflects it at a reasonable 45.5. Since the return of Andy Dalton in week 13, Boyd has seen 10, 6, and 7 targets in each of the last three games. He can expect similar -- if not elevated -- volume, and he's at a great price.

Greg Ward ($4,200): There's not much in the way of value plays at wide receiver this week, but if you are looking for one who is slated to get a decent amount of volume in a game that has shootout potential, Ward is definitely a guy we should be targeting. Ward is a converted college quarterback who most recently lit the AAF on fire before coming to the NFL. Here's the hype video if you're interested. Last week, as the Eagles were starved for help at wide receiver, Ward emerged as a top target for Carson Wentz and racked up seven catches on nine targets for 61 yards and a touchdown. Considering the current lack of receiver personnel on this Philly team, Ward should have a major role in the offense in a game that figures to be highly competitive.

Tight Ends

Austin Hooper ($4,400): Hooper's price is way too cheap on DraftKings this week. It's fair to say that he has put up a couple of duds since coming back from injury. But before he got hurt, Hooper was operating at an elite level with a more-than-capable quarterback who loved to throw to him. If you can buy into the narrative that he needed to get his bearings on the field, Hooper makes for an excellent play this week against a Jags defense that is bottom 10 in points allowed to the tight end position over the last four weeks. He's seen six targets in each of the last two games, and we can fully expect the target distribution to be a little more even this week as compared to last week, when Julio Jones saw 20 (!?) targets. If Hooper returns to being an elite red zone threat, he can easily smash value at this price.

Jacob Hollister ($4,200): As we review the #FlowChart this week, we see that Mr. Hollister faces the Cardinals' defense. The Cardinals defense is horrible against tight ends. Nobody will laugh if you fire Hollister up here.

Michael Gesicki ($3,600): If you're looking to load up on the players against the weak defenses featured in the Miami and Cincinnati game, Gesicki is an excellent option at a near-punt price who has seen excellent volume in the past few weeks. He's averaging close to seven targets per game over the last four and flashed a decent ceiling against Philly in Week 13 when he scored 19 DraftKings points. He's been lined up in the slot nearly 30% of the time this season and has the athletic metrics of a SPARQ freak. It's a plus matchup for a guy with excellent athleticism and a great price.


Pittsburgh D/ST ($3,900): The Steelers have made the article a lot this year because of their dominance on the defensive line. Whenever they get a good matchup against a not good offensive line, it's giddy up for the Steelers. That's the case this week as the Jets' offensive line ranks 30th in Football Outsiders adjusted sack rate, while the Steelers' defensive line ranks second. While it is a #revengegame for Le'Veon Bell, the Steelers own the league's best run D, per our metrics. With the run game stifled, Pittsburgh should be able to tee off against Sam Darnold and force him into some ill-advised throws that turn into turnovers.

Philadelphia D/ST ($2,500): This is a punt play that is predicated on the assumption that Dak Prescott is much worse off than they are letting on in Dallas. The Eagles have had a stout run defense all year and should be able to contain Ezekiel Elliott on the ground. Philly's biggest hole, however, remains their awful secondary. But if a banged-up and ineffective Dak shows up at the helm for the Cowboys, having a bad secondary won't matter if he can't get the ball to the likes of Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. There are other decent D/ST options out there, but if you need to punt and save cash, Philly is in play.

Justin Manuel is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice Justin Manuel also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username JMIZZLE08. 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.