Top Draftstreet Football Values For Week 16
Here we are, two weeks remaining in the season. While a lot of standard fantasy leagues are preparing for Super Bowl week, Draftstreet continues to provide fantasy football players with an amazing outlet to get their fix throughout the season.
As has been the case each week this season, Pro Football Focus will provide you with the top Draftstreet values for Week 16. There are a few hit-and-miss propositions in areas that we would consider safe bets. Fortunately, there appears to be a number of solid under-the-radar weekly matchups heading into the second-to-final weekend of the regular season.
For the purposes of these articles, I will utilize Draftstreet cap numbers and base them off total cap numbers of $100,000 per team.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins ($13,020)
I am not too entirely sure why Cousins is so cheap in Draftstreet leagues this week. He’s going up against a Dallas Cowboys defense that has yielded nearly 4,400 passing yards and 30 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks through 14 games. Monte Kiffin’s unit also ranks dead last in fantasy points against from the quarterback position at just under 23 per game. For his part, Cousins will be put on display by a Redskins franchise that will look to trade him for a top-round pick in the draft this upcoming May. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the second-year quarterback won’t put up 40-plus pass attempts in this game, especially if it is going to be the high-scoring affair that we all expect.
Cousins is the 15th-most expensive quarterback in Draftstreet leagues this week and is going up against a historically bad pass defense. It makes absolutely no sense to choose more expensive options such as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Russell Wilson over Cousins here. He represents top-five upside in Week 16.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs ($12,377)
Don’t look now, but Smith is the No. 2 fantasy quarterback over the past four weeks and has a strong chance to finish the season as a top-five fantasy performer at that position. Over the course of those last four games, the veteran has tallied nearly 1,100 passing yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. I couldn’t care less that Jamaal Charles has helped him out a great deal. That means little in the grand scheme of things, and could actually be a reason why he will continue to put up stellar fantasy numbers. While Kansas City will be taking on an Indianapolis Colts defense that is far from poor against fantasy quarterbacks (12th-most points allowed), the overall ability of Smith and Charles to connect on a consistent basis may be the difference here. After all, Kansas City’s running back is catching 73 percent of the passes thrown in his direction this season, even with the 10 drops that he possesses through 14 games.
Ride Smith to a daily championship, as he’s Draftstreet’s 19th-most expensive quarterback in Week 16. Even if the veteran puts up an average day, by his standards, he will finish in the top eight in fantasy points among quarterbacks. That’s real value right there.
Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco ($10,876)
Smith’s former backfield partner in San Francisco is also being undervalued a great deal in weekly leagues. Despite being a bottom-tier RB1 option throughout the year and putting up his seven 1,ooo-yard season (a model of consistency), Draftstreet has the veteran pegged as the 15th-most expensive running back this week. Any time Gore is less expensive than Chris Johnson, you simply need to take note. It’s also important to note here that San Francisco will be taking on an Atlanta Falcons defense that has given up 100-plus rushing yards in their last 12 games, including four outings where opposing offenses put up a minimum of 180 yards on the ground. Not quite Chicago Bears level of sadness, but still pretty shady. We also grade Atlanta’s defense out as the eighth worst in the NFL against the run. Expect top-seven production from Gore in this one.
Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals ($10,337)
There is only one person in the NFL that has been able to stop this rookie stud. He goes by the name Jay Gruden and runs the Bengals offense. If Cincinnati knew what was good for the success of its offense, Bernard would be getting many more touches. Listen, I am not going to pretend to know more than professional coaches, but the writing is on the wall here. Bernard ranks fourth among regular running backs in points per opportunity and seventh in points per snap. He is also averaging a ridiculous 5.5 yards per touch in 2013. Despite seeing the ball less than 14 times per game, Bernard is the 12th-best fantasy running back in PPR leagues thus far this season. Cincinnati seems to be taking note of his electric play-making ability. His snaps have increased from 31 back in Week 13 against the San Diego Chargers to 54 last week in a losing effort against the Steelers. Heck, Bernard grades out as our seventh-best running back on the season.
Okay now that you have the evidence, let’s look at where Draftstreet has the rookie leading up to Cincinnati’s Week 16 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. The North Carolina product is their 17th-most expensive running back, behind the likes of Chris Johnson, Alfred Morris and Ryan Mathews. He’s also going up against a Vikings defense that we grade out No. 26 against the run and has yielded the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this season. Don’t be dumb, pick up the play-making rookie here.
Dennis Johnson, RB, Houston Texans ($6,697)
Ben Tate is still questionable after suffering a hammy injury last week. Even if Tate is able to go, which isn’t guaranteed, Johnson should see a nice amount of touches this week. The rookie from Arkansas hasn’t really made much of an impact thus far this season, but is just a few weeks removed from putting up 87 total yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars. With Arian Foster on injured reserve and Tate a question mark, Johnson could be the steal of the week. He’s valued at under seven percent of your total cap and will be taking on a Denver Broncos defense that ranks in the bottom 10 of the NFL against fantasy running backs. In fact, opposing offenses are averaging 132 rushing yards per game against them over the last eight weeks.
Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals ($5,319)
I plan on going cheep at the wide receiver position this week. There are just too many solid matchups for running backs and tight ends in PPR formats. It makes sense to find value and look at matchups at this position in Week 16. It’s interesting to note that nearly all of Jones’ fantasy numbers have been put up over five games this season stretched out over the course of the last two months. His four-touchdown performance against the New York Jets back in late October is the primary reason why the CAL product ranks ahead of Michael Floyd, Mike Wallace and Kendall Wright in fantasy this season. With all that said, Jones has seen an uptick in performance over the past two weeks, going for 108 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions. He has also seen his snap count increase from 23 back in Week 13 to 51 last week. Maybe Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is finally starting to realize who the real playmakers on his offense are.
Jones is valued as a decent FLEX option in Draftstreet leagues this week, but will be lining up against a Minnesota Vikings defense that has given up the fourth-most fantasy points to receivers this season and grades out No. 29 overall against the pass. Expect solid WR2 numbers from the second-year pro.
Jermaine Kearse, WR, Seattle Seahawks ($2,470)
Kearse could be a nice little get for you as a FLEX option in Week 16. The under-the-radar wide receiver is averaging over 50 snaps per game over the past three weeks after putting up just an average of 27 per game over the course of Seattle’s first 11 outings. This seems to indicate that Pete Carroll and Co. like what they see from Kearse. And why not? He continues to play excellent football and has been a solid downfield threat for Russell Wilson. As someone who isn’t even on the radar of those who take part in weekly leagues, Kearse has solid top-tier FLEX upside this week, especially considering his ridiculously low price tag. It’s also important to note that Kearse will be lining up against Jerraud Powers, Arizona’s worst cover defensive back with a -6.6 grade.
Scott Chandler, TE, Buffalo Bills ($4,707)
Chandler has been a model of consistency for the Bills, putting up a minimum of 40 receiving yards in four of his last six outings. While he hasn’t had that one fantasy performance that makes our eyes bulge from their sockets, he’s been an important safety valve for rookie quarterback EJ Manuel. Chandler will have the pleasure of going up against a Miami Dolphins defense that has yielded the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Chandler may be only the 19th-ranked fantasy tight end through 14 weeks, but he is catching nearly 67 percent of the passes thrown in his direction this season and has dropped just four of the 72 passes thrown to him this year. At under five percent of your cap room, Chandler offers bottom-tier TE1 upside this week.
Luke Willson, WR, Seattle Seahawks ($2,107)
Inconsistent snap count totals makes Willson somewhat of a risky proposition. He put up just eight less snaps last week against the New York Giants than he did in the previous three games combined. While one game is too small of a sample size to look at, it does appear that Seattle is making a strong effort to make the rookie a more integral part of the passing game. Seattle will now take on an Arizona Cardinals defense that ranks dead last in the NFL against fantasy tight ends and will be without supre rookie Tyrann Mathieu.