DraftKings Plays - Week 16
The players in the cash games lineup are chosen primarily with strong salary value, significant projected touch volume, and favorable matchups that occur in games with a high Vegas over/under. While not every selection will meet each threshold, the quest for a high statistical floor will be a common theme.
This is another big week for pivots, as DeMarco Murray, Julio Jones, and T.Y. Hilton – to name just a few – may sit out or be limited. These situations will not be set in stone by the time you’re reading this, so be sure to tune into the PFF Fantasy War Room on Sunday morning for news, start/sit answers, and lineup updates.
Cash Games Lineup
QB: Drew Brees ($8,300) vs Atlanta Falcons (56)
Brees offers high volume (2nd in attempts), a matchup against a bottom-three defense in both pass rush and coverage, and a safe floor with a high ceiling (the week’s highest over/under). He’s the top fantasy passer over the last month and comes at a discount on the other top quarterbacks.
RB: C.J. Anderson ($6,900) at Cincinnati Bengals (47.5)
The early forecast calls for low-40s, rain, and a heavy dose of Denver’s bellcow running back against PFF’s 23rd-ranked run defense. Anderson, who’s just eighth-most expensive at his position, leads the league in rushing attempts, has seen 20 targets (5th-most for backs), and is the RB2 in PPR leagues since Week 10.
RB: Joique Bell ($6,000) at Chicago Bears (44.5)
Week 16 tolls for Joique, as we hop back and forth between Bells. There will be plenty of late-game clock-grinding against the already-hibernating Bears. Bell’s averaged 4.2-yards-per-carry, four targets, and has three scores in the last three weeks – during which time Chicago’s allowed 4.7-yards-per-carry and five rushing touchdowns.
WR: Jarvis Landry ($5,300) vs Minnesota Vikings (42.5)
Since Week 10, Landry is 13th in targets and fifth in receptions among wideouts. He’s 13th in PPR points, and although his 5.3 average depth of target (aDOT) suppresses yardage totals, his sixth-best catch rate (82%) is a PPR asset. Landry’s 77.3-slot-percentage will keep him away from shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes and locked-up with burnable Captain Munnerlyn.
WR: Marques Colston ($4,600) vs Atlanta Falcons (56)
Against Atlanta, Colston caught five of eight Week 1 targets, for 110-yards. In a precursor to a disappointing season, he dropped two passes and fumbled away the game. However, he’s the WR18 in PPR leagues since Brandin Cooks was lost, is the 32nd-most expensive wideout, and has an exploitable slot matchup in a likely shootout.
WR: Steve Smith at Houston Texans (41.5) or Donte Moncrief at Dallas Cowboys (55.5)
Both are $4,100 and I’d much rather use Moncrief, who would be a must-play if we hear news that T.Y. Hilton and/or Reggie Wayne are going to sit out. Smith is a reasonable alternative against a Houston secondary that’s allowed the third-most fantasy points to wideouts. But keep your ears to the tracks to see if the Donte Train is a-comin.
TE: Rob Gronkowski ($7,000) at New York Jets (47.5)
We’re not going to screw around with a cheap, dice-roll tight end. The Jets have repeatedly proven they are a cake matchup for tight ends, they play strong run defense that necessitates extra passing, and Gronk’s formational proximity to Tom Brady makes him a likely outlet when Rex Ryan dials-up interior pressure. And, he’s Gronk.
FLEX: Tre Mason ($4,600) vs New York Giants (43.5)
A strong play for both cash and GPP purposes, Mason gets a Giants team that allows the eighth-most fantasy points to his position and were getting absolutely ripped before recent matchups against sub-par running games. The Rams are sizable home favorites (-6.5), setting up a game script tailored to the 15th-most expensive back repeatedly pounding away.
DEF: Green Bay Packers ($3,200) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (48.5)
Ideally the Bucs would be on the road, but the Josh McCown Turnover Machine works anywhere. He’s averaged 1.5 interceptions in home starts, versus 1.2 on the road. By now we know the drill; Tampa can’t run or pass protect, will fall behind, and the turnovers rain down like a melting Creamsicle.
Total Salary: $50,000
More often than not, declaring a “Shane Vereen Game” has been a great way to look like a donkey. Still, this projects to be a Shane Vereen Game. Running with power against the Jets is the path of most resistance, and New England’s game plan morphs based on opponent like no other offense. A fast-paced, quick-hitting attack not only makes sense for the Patriots, but it’s uncharacteristically predictable.
In an admittedly small sample, Vereen has averaged 9.7 carries, 44.6 rushing yards, 2.7 receptions, 57.3 receiving yards, and a touchdown in each of his three games against the Jets. His dirt-cheap price tag ($3,800) offers not only the flexibility to stack a tournament lineup with expensive, high-ceiling (and variance) targets – but enables Vereen to meet value with even modest output.
There hasn’t been much buzz around Justin Forsett after he laid a Week 15 egg. Of course, the Ravens ran a season-low 56 snaps – including a six-play first quarter – in large part due to a defensive touchdown and the Jaguars recovering an onside kick. That won’t be the case this week against a Texans team that will struggle to maintain possessions with Case Keenum behind center. Running against an inevitably worn-out defense, which grades 25th against the run (-27.5), Forsett will bounce-back.
Houston has allowed 4.4 yards-per-carry against top-half run-blocking teams, and Baltimore ranks second-best (+57.9). With Lorenzo Taliaferro out of the picture, a now-healthier Forsett only has to worry about the meh-diocre Bernard Pierce stealing touches. His $6,700 price tag is nestled among more popular backs like Anderson, Bell, and Jeremy Hill – providing a relatively affordable opportunity to differentiate a tournament lineup.
Some juicy matchups for wideouts (playing on Saturday) include:
DeSean Jackson ($5,500) vs Bradley Fletcher – Jackson’s 81-yard touchdown wasn’t on Fletcher, but the crispy corner did allow 104-yards and two scores during their Week 3 meeting. He’s the 95th-ranked coverage cornerback (-8.4), and has played his worst football recently. In his return trip to Philadelphia, Jackson couldn’t ask for a more accommodating foil for a revenge game – one with a high projected total (50.5).
Jordan Matthews ($5,100) vs E.J. Biggers – Matthews has been quiet over the last two weeks as he’s dealt with a bum knee, the Seahawks defense, and Mark Sanchez’s meltdown. He’ll bounce-back in a great slot matchup against the 93rd-graded cornerback (-7.4). It’s a return engagement with a Washington defense that he torched for eight catches on eight targets, 59-yards, and two scores.
Anquan Boldin ($5,000) vs Marcus Gilchrist – Since Week 6, Boldin is averaging 9.4 targets, 6.3 catches, 82.3 yards, and 0.6 touchdowns in non-Seattle Seahawks matchups. That’s roughly 18 PPR points per game. Gilchrist is PFF’s 82nd-rated coverage safety (-6.9), and will tangle with Boldin in the slot. San Francisco’s backfield is a pit of despair, and with increased targets, Boldin has a higher-than-usual ceiling.
The fact that the Falcons are allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends is attributable to a run of craptastic opponents. Since Jimmy Graham gobbled up nine passes for 82 yards back in Week 1, Atlanta has faced just a handful of legitimate tight ends. Their only high quality defender is cornerback Desmond Trufant (+8.3; 9th-best coverage grade), and he’ll have his hands full on the outside.
Graham is not fully healthy – making him less appealing in cash games – but 78 pass routes run over the last two weeks represent his second-highest two-game total of the season. His 17 targets during that time are tied with Gronkowski for the third-most among tight ends. Graham’s been vultured for touchdowns of late, but it’s held down his price tag ($6,300) and created an exploitable situation.
Travis Kelce truthers are finally reaping the fruits of their oft-frustrating faith. He’s the fourth-highest scoring tight end over the last month, which unsurprisingly coincides with his pass routes breaking a pre-Week 12 high of 23. Kelce’s averaged 34.8 since then, and has seen 14 targets in the last two weeks – a two-game season-high. He’ll face a Steelers defense that’s eighth-easiest on tight ends, in a game with a reasonable projected total (46.5 points). Be sure to have some exposure to Zeus this week ($4,600).
Peyton Manning (13.02) – ‘Tis the season…..
Le’Veon Bell (28.90) – You put a Bell in your backfield, you win.
Jeremy Hill (31.20) – If you roster the week’s top two running backs, it’s pretty tough to screw things up.
DeAndre Hopkins (12.70) ::pours one out for FitzMagic, and one for the rest of Nuk’s fantasy season::
Roddy White (18.80) – He is what he is at this point – a solid cash game wideout. And he is again this week.
Marquess Wilson (10.60) – Nobody’s caught a more important 1-yard, garbage-time touchdown all season. Congrats, Drew.
Delanie Walker (13.30) – Five targets and 60 non-last-play-lateral yards was disappointing. Enjoyed some luck on this one.
Fred Jackson (12.80) – The California Roll of running backs, Fjax is rarely a disaster – but a cheap way to fill out a lineup featuring tastier expensive options.
Carolina Panthers (10.00) – Like clockwork, the Josh McCown Turnover Machine coughed up another three.
Total Points Scored – 151.32
Pat Thorman is a Lead Writer for PFF Fantasy and was named 2013 Newcomer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @Pat_Thorman