Well, we’ve reached the end of the (non-silly) Daily Fantasy Football season! I’d like to thank all of you, my loyal readers, for your weekly support. There will be DFS next week, but Week 17 cash games get really silly as so many teams end up resting starters and/or giving heavy volume to guys you’ve never heard of, which is why Week 16 really is the functional end of the non-silly Daily Fantasy Football season. I hope 2018 was profitable for you, and I hope this article helped. Now let’s get to the picks!
Nick Foles, $6,000 and Taylor Heinicke, $6,000 – Foles won the Super Bowl last year and Heinicke has looked perfectly not-crappy in his pre-season appearances, so while I’m not going to sit here and argue that either of them is particularly good, I feel comfortable enough saying that both are perfectly tolerable as QBs and nowhere near the level of the true garbage (such as Nathan Peterman and Mark Sanchez). They’re both stone minimum and if you like the high priced guys at the other positions, this is how you do it.
Dak Prescott, $7,300 – Rudy’s top value of the slate and for good reason as Tampa Bay’s defense is legitimately bad on the season, and especially bad on the road. Dak’s consistency is not going to be there week to week as we’ve seen the last 4 weeks. He’s earned 27.36, 14.16, 26.4 and 7.24 the last 4 weeks and one of the duds was at home in that Saints poop fest. I will say that Tampa’s defense has improved recently, jumping all the way to 29th in weighted DVOA.
Andrew Luck, $8,200 – Remember that streak of 6 games where Andrew Luck didn’t get sacked? He then proceeded to get sacked 6 times in 3 games. Was it variance? Perhaps. Or it was because Ryan Kelly, their center, got hurt. He was the Center for the 6 games where Luck did not get sacked, and then Luck gets 6 sacks because Kelly was out of the lineup. He returned last week, and sure enough, Luck was not sacked. More on Kelly later (he will come up again). The Giants rank 22nd in DVOA and 23rd in pass DVOA and with Luck at home, this is a primo matchup.
Also viable: There really isn’t anyone else I’d trust in cash games. I guess Jameis Winston, $7,000, just because Todd Monken’s offense throws a ton and I’m willing to write off last week’s 5 FP performance by Winston as a product of the Ravens Georgia Tech-esque option-rush offense that kills the clock moreso than any other offensive scheme and any other offensive gameplan in all of football. They’re comparable to Virginia and Wisconsin’s college basketball programs for just pace-killing boredom.
GPP Recommendation – Jared Goff, $8,000 – This is an absurd price for Goff given the three straight stinkers he’s put up. But that absurd price means no one will own him, and lest we forget, before the most recent wave of three duds, he was as capable as any other non-Mahomes QB of dropping the high score of the slate. He’s also got an insanely juicy matchup this week against the beyond broken shell of a team that is the 2018 Arizona Cardinals. With Todd Gurley questionable, maybe the Rams sit Gurley and let Goff throw 45 times against this joke of a team so Goff can essentially fix himself and get some confidence back by crushing the Cardinals. And if that happens, you’ll want him as your GPP pick.
Nick Chubb, $7,900 – The Bengals are stupidly bad and broken right now. They are going to be without Green and Boyd, leaving their offense with gigantic holes all over the place. They will combine the lack of offense this week with their customary lack of defense, ranking 28th overall in DVOA and 26th vs the run and also 26th vs the pass. The Browns are going to run Chubb over and over and over again against this cream puff defensive line, who have an adjusted yards line against rank of 29th with a relative strength of stopping open field runs, where they rank 23rd. So we have a home favorite, with an implied total of 27.25, going up against a cream puff defensive line, who really can’t stop anything and in the last 4 Browns wins, Chubb has touch totals of 23, 31, 20 and 20. He’s an excellent play and very safe to get to 20 touches.
Saquon Barkley, $9,000 – Touch totals for Saquon Barkley game by game is as follows: 20, 25, 22, 16, 19, 22, 23, 22, 24, 29, 20, 27, 18, 18. He’s as rock solid a volume play as they come, who can also break long runs seemingly at will and a lot of that volume is in the passing game, making him game script proof. He has 9 rushing TDs and 4 receiving TDs. The matchup isn’t great, but the Giants will be feeding him in this game as he’s their only shot to win and unlike last week, it will be indoors. He’s always cash viable.
Also Viable: Dalvin Cook, $7,100, Christian McCaffrey, $9,300, Elijah McGuire, $5,700, Jamaal Williams, $5,800, Alvin Kamara, $8,100, Tevin Coleman, $6,400. Yeah, there’s an absurd number of cash viable RBs for Week 16.
GPP Recommendation – Marlon Mack, $7,000. Colts RBs average 4.9 yards per carry when Ryan Kelly is in the lineup, and 3.4 yards when he’s out. The funk the Colts were in was pretty much timed exactly to his being hurt. He returned last week, and Mack proceeded to drop 139 yards on 27 carries with 2 TDs. Running Backs may not matter, but offensive lineman certainly do. As long as Ryan Kelly is healthy, the Colts RBs will always be in play.
Amari Cooper, $7,000 – They only raised Cooper’s price by 400, which given what he’s done with the Cowboys gives us another chance to play Amari. The last 5 weeks, he’s had a 24% target share and 35% air yards share and again, the Tampa Bay defense is really bad and has been atrocious on the road this season. This isn’t lock him in, as there is none in WR this week, but he’s a very good play.
Julian Edelman, $7,000 – With Josh Gordon out, Edelman should be a lock to maintain his target share. Over the last 5 weeks, Edelman leads the team in target share, with 26%, and with Gordon getting his life together as the NFL thinks he should live it, you can lock in Edelman for 7-10 targets with upside for more. Whether or not he scores a TD is going to be whether or not Belichick wakes up on the right side of the bed, since James Develin and the troll TD exists.
Josh Reynolds, $5,500 – The Rams are struggling offensively right now, but i’d bet on them snapping out of their funk and scoring some points, with or without Todd Gurley. Given that Gurley hasn’t practiced all week and they have pretty much locked up everything they need to for the playoffs, i’m going to guess that he’s not going to be a big part of their game plan. Which means Goff and the passing game is where they are going to focus their efforts. Woods tops the Rams receivers with a 23% target share, Cooks and Reynolds are tied for 2nd with 18% and Gurley gets 15%, which if he misses the game, likely gets distributed more towards the TEs and Woods. The thing that makes Reynolds such a good play is that his 18% comes with a disproportionate number of red zone targets. In the last 4 games, of Reynolds 32 targets, 9 have been in the red zone. Compare that to Woods 41 targets, only 7 have been in the red zone.
Also Viable: DeAndre Hopkins, $8,900, Antonio Brown, $8,700 (If Juju Smith-Schuster is out), Michael Thomas, $8,300, Robby Anderson, $5,900, Adam Thielen, $7,600, Davante Adams, $8,500, Robert Woods, $7,500
GPP Recommendation – All Steelers WRs besides Brown and Juju (if Juju is out) – The Steelers will be playing in the Coors Field of Fantasy Football, and will likely have to thrown a ton. If JuJu is out, the Steelers may give Antonio Brown 20 targets. But the Saints may decide to just double or triple cover Brown at all times and make Ben throw the ball to other players. If Juju is out and the Saints take Brown out of the game, there are simply too many potential targets out there for one of the Steelers WRs not to be able to take advantage, as Jaylen Samuels and Vance McDonald are not going to account for 30 targets between the two of them. Just to clarify – it’s Eli Rogers, $5,200, James Washington, $4,600, and
Eric Ebron, $6,100 – Ebron in the last 5 weeks has a 17% target share. Further, as referenced earlier, the Colts got their center back, meaning they are going to be able to run all over the Giants, putting them in the red zone a lot and Ebron is pretty much guaranteed a red zone target a game. This price is a touch higher than I normally want to pay for a TE, especially a TE for the Colts with an effective running game going against the putrid Giants defense. But the upside is there and he’s definitely one of the top TE plays on the slate and if you land on him in cash, since I wouldn’t prioritize any TE this week.
Zach Ertz, $7,400 – Ertz is Rudy’s top value TE of the day. While I like him because he’s going to get targets, the targets he is getting under Foles have not been good targets and he’s struggled to turn the targets into production (.49 RACR). But given that it’s TE and he does get targets and the Eagles should throw a bunch in this one, he’s still a pretty good play as his upside is pretty high.
Cheap TEs – There are a bunch of viable cheap TEs this week, so i’ll just quickly give a reason why they are viable. David Njoku, $5,300 is back to 2nd on the team in target share the last 5 weeks on a home favorite. Austin Hooper, $5,300 is facing the poor Carolina defense (28th in DVOA against TEs). Gerald Everett, $4,700 super cheap and the Gurley targets likely are going here and Woods and with Everett’s 12% target share, he’s not an afterthought in the offense. CJ Uzomah, $5,000 is the only one left standing in Cincinnati and they are going to have to throw.
GPP Recommendation – Ian Thomas, $5400 – The 11 targets he got two weeks ago make him quite tempting. QBs making their first career start have been known to visit checkdown city all the time, and Thomas may benefit from that. The reason he’s just a GPP recommendation is that checkdown city for the Panthers could easily be 25 targets to McCaffery.
Dallas Cowboys, $3,700 – Cowboys defense is a top 10 defense this year and while the Bucs offense is solid, the Cowboys are at home and the Cowboys should be up, forcing the Bucs to throw, which as we’ve said over and over again is where you want to be at the end of the game when it will lead to sacks and ints, which are more valuable in fantasy football than not giving up points. Yet again, this is ridiculous. Defense in fantasy should be abolished.
Arizona Cardinals, $2,500 – I’m not suggesting the Cardinals are going to play well on Sunday. But defense in fantasy football is stupid, and it’s also extremely luck and variance based. All it takes is a random INT or sack here or there and the Cardinals will return value at their absurdly cheap price of $2,500. It helps that the Rams haven’t looked even remotely close to their earlier-season form these last few weeks.
Also Viable – Whatever defense fits your budget. I’m not even kidding. Just make the rest of your lineup and then find a defense that fits and doesn’t make you hurl (Steelers, Bills, Panthers, Giants, Bucs, Bengals are the ones that qualify for hurling. But any other defense works).
GPP Recommendation – Any defense playing a backup QB (or a starting QB who is as bad as the backups). The Miami Dolphins (playing Cody Kessler) and the Cleveland Browns (facing Jeff Driskell, plus the #revengenarrative since they’ll want to humiliate Hue Jackson) serve as two good examples.
Random Other GPP Thoughts
I will include this section every week as long as these two are healthy – if you’re a multi-entry GPP guy, always include multiple Patrick Mahomes ($9,500) and Tyreek Hill ($8,000) lineups, except that they’re playing in the Sunday Night game this week, so the only time you can play them is in the Sun-Mon slate. If you are doing GPPs in that slate, play these two in numerous GPP darts.
Best of luck to everyone on Sunday!