FanDuel & DraftKings NFL DFS Week 16 Saturday Slate Breakdown

Dec 21, 2023
Week 16 Saturday 2-Game Slate Breakdown

On a short slate, it’s usually wise to favor GPPs and avoid or limit cash games. With so few players on the slate, there is more overlap between lineups than on the main slate, which leads to much more variance—exactly what we are trying to avoid when grinding cash games.

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For those used to playing full slates, consider these potential adjustments or listen to this DFS MVP theory segment on playing short slates:

  • Short slates are not all about value - With so few players in the pool, there will inevitably be a ton of overlap in lineups which naturally leads to a high variance slate. For this reason, it makes sense to focus on GPPs. (Putting your tournament lineups in small 50/50s or multipliers, however, can be a nice way to give your lineups a floor). Rather than building lineups with all of the best point-per-dollar plays, consider game flow scenarios and build lineups that follow a logical narrative relative to those scripts—strategies such as full onslaughts are very much in play.
  • Consider non-traditional lineup builds - On short slates, there are some lineup construction strategies to consider that would never make sense on a full slate. Some examples are playing more than one running back from the same game or same team in a lineup, rostering one or two players against your defense, and leaving salary on the table. It’s going to be tough to find contrarian stand-alone players—look for other ways to be unique.
  • There is leverage to be had at the “onesies” - Full slates will rarely have any quarterback, tight end, or defense in more than 15%–20% of lineups in large-field GPPs. On slates such as this one, players at those positions could approach 50% ownership in even the largest fields. This presents a rare opportunity to be contrarian at positions where ownership is usually quite flat.
  • Stick to a (relatively) small player pool - It’s tempting to try to cover all of your bases when the player pool is so small but that will only dilute your good reads. Narrow in on a small core with your favorite off-the-board plays and be way overweight on those players. Coupled with strong correlation plays, this is how to build a profitable portfolio on a short slate.
  • Don’t forget about late swaps - With no overlap between games, this slate may offer the biggest edge of the year when it comes to late swap. Teams that are contrarian early have an especially big edge with the ability to swap off of popular players in late games if they are doing poorly or stay on chalky players if their early contrarian plays hit. For more information on late swap theory, listen to this DFS MVP segment.

Saturday Showdown Slates: Bengals at Steelers | Bills at Chargers

Jump to Ownership Projections

Bengals (-2.5) @ Steelers; O/U 38.0

Game Notes

  • Mason Rudolph is expected to start for the Steelers while Ja'Marr Chase is expected to be out for the Bengals.
  • In Jake Browning's four starts, he is the QB4 by DK scoring. In those starts the Bengals' target per game leaders are: Ja'Marr Chase (6.5); Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins (5.0); Tanner Hudson (5.3); Joe Mixon (4.0), Chase Brown (2.0)
  • Chase Brown has at least nine touches in three straight games but has not played more than 30% of snaps in that span.
  • The Steelers allow the ninth-most schedule-adjusted points to running backs but rank 12th against quarterbacks. Pittsburgh will be without both starting safeties, however.
  • Over the past month, four Steelers are averaging at least 4.3 targets per game but none more than 6.8 per. Rudolph lowers the floor of a pass-catching with an already ambiguous target share.
  • Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris have a nearly identical share over the last month (53%–52%); Warren has 39 carries and 17 targets in that time compared to 55 and 6 for Harris.
  • Cincinnati ranks 13th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs but is in the bottom 10 against all other skill positions.

Ownership and Leverage

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