DFS Optimal Values, Locks and Fades: Week 16
In this article, we walk through the process of constructing an optimal lineup that will dominate your cash games on the main slate of Week 16. We start with the optimal lineups for FanDuel and DraftKings determined by the Lineup Generator. Then, we identify the players that are irreplaceable and should be locked into your lineup. For the remaining players, we discuss the main alternatives that you can swap in to make a winning team that best fits your own style.
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FanDuel Week 16 Optimal Plays
Austin Ekeler is averaging the third-most fantasy points per game on both DraftKings and FanDuel but will likely miss this week after being placed on the COVID list. Justin Jackson ($5,400) looks like the next man up and should at the very least assume Ekeler's valuable pass-catching role that was good for five targets per game. Last week Jackson saw his highest snap share of the season (54%) and rushed for 86 yards. This week he gets a Texans defense that has allowed the most rushing yards per game this season. Another back that should step into a big replacement role is Ronald Jones ($5,400). The Panthers rank 23rd in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to running backs and over the last three weeks, they have been run on at the sixth-highest rate. Over that same time, they are also allowing four red zone trips per game while the Buccaneers are second in the NFL in red zone scoring percentage.
Over the last six weeks, Justin Jefferson ($8,400) is averaging 11 targets per game. He has received the sixth-highest share of targets this season and leads the league in air yards. However, if you are concerned about a potential matchup with Jalen Ramsey, Diontae Johnson ($7,400) has been arbitrage Jefferson this season. He's averaging ten targets per game and gets a Chiefs defense allowing the fifth-most passing yards per game.
Prior to last week, Tee Higgins ($6,500) had received at least seven targets and went over 100 receiving yards in three straight games. He should bounce back against the Ravens who rank 27th in aFPA to wide receivers and are allowing the second-most passing yards per game. Another option is Marquise Brown ($6,400) who has received at least seven targets in seven straight games. It isn't ideal that Lamar Jackson is likely out but the Bengals are being passed on at the third-highest rate and are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
Rob Gronkowski ($6,700) has received 17% of the targets and 22% of the air yards this season. He now becomes the de facto top option in the passing game after the injuries to Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. The Buccaneers lead the league in passing rate, passing yards and passing touchdowns per game.
UPDATE: Dallas Goedert ($5,900) is now the recommended play at tight end.
DraftKings Week 16 Optimal Plays
Justin Herbert ($7,200) has scored the second-most fantasy points on both DraftKings and FanDuel this season. This week he gets a Texans defense allowing the fourth-most points per game, although they've mostly been beaten up by opposing running games. To save salary it could make sense to move to our top value play at quarterback, Justin Fields ($5,200). Fields has scored at least 16 fantasy points and rushed for at least 20 yards in four of his last five games. He's struggled against heavy pass-rushing teams but Seattle has the second-lowest sack rate this season.
UPDATE: Nick Foles is starting for the Bears but Herbert is still our top value play at Quarterback.
Without Urban Meyer holding him back, James Robinson ($5,900) played 84% of the snaps and received 21 touches last week. This week he gets the best possible matchup for running backs against a Jets defense that ranks 32nd in aFPA. Over the last three weeks, they've allowed 190 rushing yards and two rushing two touchdowns per game. David Montgomery ($5,700) has topped 80 yards from scrimmage and has at least five receptions in three straight games. This week he gets a run funnel defense in the Seahawks who rank top 10 against opposing quarterbacks and receivers but have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs.
Our top value play at running back is Alexander Mattison ($5,500) after Dalvin Cook was placed on the COVID list. Mattison has received at least 25 touches in every game he's played at 60% of the snaps. It's a tough matchup though as the Rams are being run on the seventh-lowest rate and are allowing the third-lowest yards per carry. Another option in this price range is the aforementioned Ronald Jones ($5,100).
It's hard to know exactly how healthy Antonio Brown ($4,900) will be returning from an ankle injury but Chris Godwin's absence probably moves him into a full-time role. Before getting injured in week seven, Brown was averaging 19 fantasy points per game despite only playing 50% of the snaps.
If Tyreek Hill misses the game, Mecole Hardman ($3,500) and Byron Pringle ($3,300) become interesting sleepers. The Chiefs are passing at the fifth-highest rate and are averaging the second-most passing yards per game. Even though Pringle has played more snaps lately, I'd lean Hardman assuming he's the direct backup to Hill's role.
UPDATE: With Mike Williams out, Josh Palmer becomes a viable sleeper option ($3,300).
In his price range, Cole Kmet ($3,300) is essentially a lock. He has at least five targets in five straight games and gets a Seahawks defense allowing the second-most points to tight ends.
UPDATE: Dallas Goedert ($5,100) is now the recommended play at tight end.