4 FanDuel NFL Studs to Target in Week 16
Spending your available salary in any DFS lineup on a stud can make or break your lineup. These high-salaried players will take up the majority of your budget, so it’s critical to carefully consider which ones you’ll want for each slate. Whether it’s trying to capture a safe floor in a cash game or chasing a huge game to help you win a tournament, nailing the expensive players is one of the keys to making winning NFL lineups on FanDuel.
The theme for Week 16 seems to be bad weather in a lot of places, so we'll try to avoid that when looking at the best plays from each position.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
FanDuel Salary: $9,200
Projected Points: 23.3
It's safe to say that Patrick Mahomes has made do with the weapons he has available to him after there was concern he would fall off without Tyreek Hill. He's averaging about the same amount of fantasy points per game as he did in his record-setting 2018 season. He should be able to continue to be a top fantasy option this week.
Mahomes has exceeded 300 yards in eight of his last nine games and gone over 400 twice in that span. He's also added production with his legs, as he has at least 30 rushing yards or a running touchdown in five of his last seven games. The Kansas City Chiefs continue to play the way Mahomes' managers and analytical-minded people want them to play, as they have passed at the fifth-highest rate this year. If that continues this week, Mahomes has a massive ceiling.
The Chiefs are at home against the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle's defense continues to struggle, ranking 27th in schedule-adjusted pass defense by numberFire's metrics. Against quarterbacks, they are 27th in adjusted fantasy points per drop back allowed.
Kansas City has the highest implied team total on the Week 16 main slate. The weather shouldn't be too bad in this game, and Mahomes likely has the highest ceiling at QB this week considering Josh Allen is playing in what looks like one of the worst weather games of the week.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, San Francisco 49ers
FanDuel Salary: $9,400
Projected Points: 21.0
We are seeing what we all wanted from Christian McCaffrey when he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. He is being used in creative ways by one of the league's best offensive coaches, Kyle Shanahan. This has led to him being the number-one running back over the past three weeks.
McCaffrey has seen 21 targets in the past three games. It makes sense for the Niners to give new quarterback Brock Purdy easy completions to his running back, especially one who is so good in the passing game. McCaffrey has also done damage on the ground, rushing for more than 100 yards in each of the last two games. Since Elijah Mitchell went down in Week 12, McCaffrey has played nearly 80 percent of the snaps, and that number would likely be higher if two of the games weren't blowouts.
San Francisco is at home this week against the Washington Commanders. The Commanders are very solid in run defense, ranking second in adjusted fantasy points per carry to backs. However, they allowed Saquon Barkley to have a nice game against them through the air last week, which is where the 49ers should use McCaffrey this week. Washington is 27th in adjusted fantasy points per target to backs.
The 49ers' offense is clicking despite being down to their third-string signal-caller, and that should allow for McCaffrey to have another big game this week. He's a great option in all formats on this slate.
Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
FanDuel Salary: $9,300
Projected Points: 16.7
Justin Jefferson was telling anyone who would listen that he was the best wide receiver in the NFL before the season. Well, he's backed that up with his play on the field, ranking as the number-one fantasy receiver in the league. He's coming off back-to-back monster games and could have another one this week.
Jefferson has 23 catches and 346 yards across his past two games. His underlying usage is elite, as he ranks near the top of the league in target share and air yards share. He's been efficient with the volume he gets, averaging 2.72 yards per route run, which is one of the best numbers in the NFL. He also leads all receivers in red zone targets.
Jefferson said before the season he wanted to get 2,000 yards, and with 1,623 and three games remaining, it's not out of the question.
The Minnesota Vikings play at home this week against the New York Giants. The Giants aren't a shutdown defense against the pass, sporting the 21st-rated adjusted pass defense in the NFL. They've allowed a receiver to go for at least 100 yards in three of the last four games, and it would be no surprise to see Jefferson go over the century mark in this game.
This game will be indoors, so the weather situations that other games may encounter are no issue here. The Vikings' implied team total is the third-highest on the slate. All the boxes are checked for Jefferson.
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
FanDuel Salary: $8,600
Projected Points: 15.9
Despite Patrick Mahomes having great games of late, Travis Kelce had a few down games in a row. That was until last week -- when he had 10 catches for 105 yards. Like most weeks, the tight-end position is lacking elite options, and Kelce stands out as by far the best one.
Kelce continues to lap the field at the position, averaging slightly more than six more half-PPR points per week than any other tight end. He's been the Chiefs' most consistent target in the passing game, leading the team in target share and air yards share. His numbers are comparable to the number-one receivers on a lot of teams, and he leads the league in red zone targets, regardless of position.
The Chiefs are set up well to give Kelce the ball a lot. We know Mahomes is likely to have a good game this week, and it could happen through targeting Kelce a lot. The Seahawks are 31st in adjusted fantasy points per target allowed to tight ends and now have to face the best one in the league.
Kansas City is favored by 10.0 points in the game that has the highest total on slate. A Mahomes-Kelce stack makes a ton of sense if you can fit it into your lineups, but they also are great plays individually.
Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. 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.