Week 16 optimal DraftKings lineup: Trust Julio's return
After hitting in Week 14, our tournament DraftKings lineup missed the boat in Week 15. But such is life when you are making tournament lineups — they are the definition of “boom or bust.”
We’ve bought another ticket and have lined up for Week 16. Below you’ll find my optimal DraftKings tournament lineup for Saturday’s main slate.
QB: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons ($7,200)
It’s hard to tell exactly where Matt Ryan will end up in terms of ownership this week — but I think that could work in his favor. He’s priced at $7,200 with a road game against the Panthers. Just $200 more is Drew Brees at home against the Buccaneers, so I expect a lot of people to be drawn to that matchup. Derek Carr’s Raiders and Andrew Luck’s Colts face each other — and both quarterbacks are within $400 of Ryan — while Philip Rivers takes on the lifeless Browns, and he’s $300 cheaper than Ryan. There are a ton of options within a tight window this week, and that might actually keep a fair number of people off of Ryan.
But we do have Ryan projected to be our highest-scoring quarterback of the week. He’s expected to have Julio Jones back at his disposal, and he’s facing a Panthers squad that has given up over 300 passing yards in three of its past four games. Oh, and Ryan had his way with Carolina back in Week 4, throwing for over 500 yards and four touchdowns.
RB1: DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans ($7,000)
Murray is a great deal cheaper than David Johnson and LeSean McCoy, but he possess a similar ceiling. Murray frustratingly had two touchdowns vultured last week, but he still finished with 19.1 DraftKings points. He has failed to score on the ground in three of his past four games, a streak that seems destined to break soon. He’s still carrying the rock about 20 times per game; he’s just been on the wrong side of fickle touchdown rates. The Jaguars have given up five rushing touchdowns in their previous four games, including at least one in each contest.
RB2: Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders ($6,200)
We’re going with the double-Murray running back lineup this week. Our first two picks in this lineup are playing on the road, but matchup and price have warranted those decisions. For our second back, we’re going with the “traditional” safe play of picking a home favorite. Murray fits the bill.
Murray draws the Indianapolis Colts, who have been a top-10 matchup for fantasy running backs all year long. Murray was stuffed at the goal line last week, but he scored at least once in each of his three previous games. Murray’s 12 touchdowns rank tied for fourth among all running backs on the year. I fully expect Murray to score at least one touchdown in this contest, and the 100-yard bonus is within reach too.
WR1: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons ($8,100)
Jones should be an obvious play this week, but people are going to be too scared to play him after he has missed two straight games with a toe injury. According to Fantasy Aces GPP ownership data from this week — collected by our friends at twoqbs.com — Jones’ ownership rate is only about five percent. Even if that doubles and Jones comes in at 10 percent, I’d call that a win.
This pick not only provides us with an opportunity to collect a top-shelf talent like Jones with expected low ownership, but it allows us to stack him with Ryan in a primo matchup. Jones dismantled the Panthers in Week 4 by catching 12 passes for 300 yards and a score. He won’t put up those numbers again, but the 100-yard bonus and a touchdown or two are certainly in play. There is obvious risk associated with Jones, but a tournament lineup with no risk is not a tournament lineup.
WR2: Cameron Meredith, Chicago Bears ($4,700)
Meredith has had an up-and-down season, but he’s currently riding one of the highs. He has clearly established a connection with Matt Barkley, and over the past two weeks, Meredith ranks fourth in targets (21), second in receptions (15) and eighth in yards (176). That kind of volume is hard to find for a player priced at just $4,700. But Meredith burned people earlier this year as a chalk play, and they are still wary of him as a result. So even though he has been lighting it up recently and has a fantastic individual matchup against Bashaud Breeland — our 106th-graded corner out of 121 — Meredith should have light ownership.
WR3: Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,600)
Like Meredith, Robinson has a plus individual matchup this week against LeShaun Sims and Antwon Blake. As Jeff Ratcliffe noted in that article: “Sims is a rookie fifth-rounder who gave up eight catches for 108 yards and a score to the Bears in Week 12, and Blake was the only corner to allow over 1,000 yards in his coverage last season. Robinson is volatile because of Blake Bortles, but he certainly offers upside this week.”
Robinson is obviously a terrifying player to roll with this year, and I’m only including him in tournament lineups. He did, however, see a season-high 15 targets in Week 8 against the Titans, and — not that it means much now — he put up lines of 10-153-3 and 5-113-0 in two games against Tennessee last year, and in his rookie year (2014), he had a season-high eight receptions against the Titans. So in Robinson’s short history against Tennessee, he has seen success. I’ve been off of him since late September, but I’m coming back one last time.
TE: Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers ($5,200)
I started this lineup by choosing my quarterback (Ryan) and then stacking him with a wideout (Jones). The third player I inserted was Olsen to “bring it back” and complete the Atlanta-Carolina game stack. Olsen is the week’s top tight end play, and he’s almost assuredly going to be one of the chalkiest picks of the week. But considering the Falcons have given up an average of nearly 15 DraftKings points per game to tight ends, and Olsen has averaged 14 PPG, it’s safe to say Olsen’s floor provides nearly 3x return on investment from his salary. He crushed the Falcons with six catches on 13 targets for 76 yards and a score (21.6 points) in Week 4.
Flex: Dion Lewis, New England Patriots ($4,100)
The flex position was the last one I filled out for this roster, and I had $4,200 left over. That actually provided me with quite a bit of leeway, but I ultimately landed on Lewis, who has been one of my favorite cheap running backs since the beginning of the week. Lewis carried the ball a season-high 18 times last week. He’d be lucky to get 10 carries in Week 16, but it was an obvious indication that New England thinks Lewis is back to full health.
I like Lewis in the full-point PPR format of DraftKings this week, because I see New England utilizing him a lot out of the backfield. When the Jets and Patriots squared off in Lewis’ second game back from injury (Week 12), he set season-highs in targets, receptions, receiving yards and yards per reception.
D/ST: Oakland Raiders ($2,800)
The Raiders will be a low-owned defense (nobody wants to play a defense with a projected total game score of 50-plus points) with an extremely high ceiling. That makes for a great tournament play. Oakland has collected multiple sacks in six of their past seven games, and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has been under pressure on a league-high 43.8 percent of his dropbacks.