Week 16 highlights another of the beauties of DFS.
While most leagues – more importantly, correctly run leagues – end their seasons in Week 16 with a one-week championship, DFS continues onwards. DFS braves the unpredictable nature of Week 17, goes all throughout the NFL playoffs, and extends fantasy football fandom to the very last play of the year.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Week 16 likely represents the last week with a full slate of talent to choose from, so let’s break down the many options and find those that are best for a winning week.
The following are not recommendations for you entire lineup, as I attempt to avoid the most expensive and obvious candidates. It should also be noted, as usual, that the DraftKings and FanDuel pricing and budget systems are different, and that the prices for each app are listed in the above order in parentheses.
Kyler Murray ($6,100/$7,700)
Last week was a really unfortunate week for Murray in terms of his fantasy production. He had a decent showing with 56 yards on the ground to go along with 219 in the air and a score. But what was a 17 point effort could very easily have been a 25 point effort had Kenyan Drake not put the finishing touch on four different drives. Is that going to happen again? No. Even one of those going Murray’s way would have put him over the 20 point barrier. Against the Seahawks vulnerable defense and with nothing to lose, I like Murray to exceed his middling price point this week and surpass the other QBs around him, such as Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins, and Aaron Rodgers.
Lamar Jackson ($8,000/$9,300)
Go big or go home! The Ravens are playing for a first round bye, which could mean that Week 16, if successful, will be Jackson’s last game of the regular season. The Browns are playing for… well, I have no idea. I expect Baltimore to easily blow by Cleveland, and though this may mean that Lamar’s day will be done after the third quarter, that’s been the case more often than not this season and he’s still putting up record-setting numbers. If Kyler Murray and co. were able to scorch the Browns last week, there’s no reason Jackson shouldn’t surpass that and once again be the highest-scoring quarterback in the league.
Austin Ekeler ($6,100/$6,800)
Melvin Gordon’s return has had its ups and downs, and last week was a new trough in the chart after two fumbles and, for the most part, ineffective play. Ekeler, on the other hand, has seen his production decrease as a result of Gordon’s presence, but he’s just as good through the air as he always has been. The Raiders are extremely vulnerable to pass-catching running backs, allowing touchdowns through the air to known threats like Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Duke Johnson and, who else, Austin Ekeler. With the work split likely heading back in the direction of Ekeler, he could return to early season form in this divisional clash.
Adrian Peterson ($5,000/$6,500)
When you’re chasing history, age no longer matters. Injury history no longer matters. All that is holding Adrian Peterson back, now, is the overall quality of his Redskins offense. However, Dwayne Haskins is starting to look more comfortable, and with Derrius Guice’s injury and Chris Thompson’s minimized role, the backfield has been all AP, all day for the past few weeks. He has plowed through the Panthers, Packers, and Eagles defenses in consecutive weeks, and has a forgiving matchup this time around against the Giants. Roll with the vet and watch history in the making.
Tyler Boyd ($5,800/$6,300)
The Miami Dolphins. A WR1. Doesn’t matter the team. Doesn’t matter the location. It’s the E=MC^2 of DFS.
Larry Fitzgerald ($4,200/$5,700)
With Christian Kirk questionable, this is another case of a vulnerable defense and a legend trying to build his legacy at the tail end of his career. He hasn’t had a very memorable season, but he still gets looks from his rookie signal-caller and will be taking on a depleted secondary. He’s incredibly cheap on DraftKings, and is very well-priced on FanDuel to create an affordable and effective stack with Murray.
Breshad Perriman ($6,000/$7,400)
Be wary of this one, but don’t let yourself miss out on the jam-packed Perriman train in at least a few of your lineups. Jameis Winston is going to have a good game in a shootout scenario, and he’s going to have to throw to someone. The absence of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin figures to hurt Perriman in some ways, such as drawing the secondary toward him, but help him in the more important way: targets. He exploded last week and Winston, whether or not he’s open, is likely to fire tons of passes his way.
Zach Ertz ($6,400/$6,900)
Carson Wentz has always loved going in the direction of the trusty Stanford grad, but these past few games really show Ertz’s insane fantasy value. When the Eagles are in desperation mode, they’re at their best. This is the most must-win scenario in every imaginable way, and I would be shocked if Ertz gets under 12 targets. They’re going to be throwing his way all. day. long. I’m not going with any other tight ends in fantasy football this week.
Kansas City Chiefs ($2,900/$4,300)
The Bears offense seem to be putting things together a little bit lately. Trubisky isn’t playing like the worst quarterback we’ve ever seen, and Allen Robinson has been putting up some pretty monstrous numbers. But the more surprising of these two teams is the Chiefs. Their offense is always one of the top threats. But this defense is playing like a true contender recently, and they’ve played well enough to give themselves a chance at a playoff bye. This is the best week for them to do it. Unlike some other teams that have gashed them for high scoring totals, the Bears don’t have a feature running back who has consistently carried the load this year. David Montgomery is the closest thing, and he’s been anything but consistent. Kansas City has so much more to play for than does Chicago, and people’s expectations of a closer game than it might actually be will deter them from picking the Chiefs defense in this one.