It’s fantasy football championship week, and we might as well carry that cash collection spirit over to the DFS side of things. We’ve got a three-game slate on Saturday with three separate island games, and this is a spot to attack. With the earliest game on Saturday likely to have the most exposure overall, late swapping on otherwise dead lineups is a huge advantage. Be prepared to pull late swapping triggers towards the end of the early game. I see more value on Saturday than Sunday and will spend most of the focus on that slate. Let’s look at each game to prepare for Week 16 on DraftKings.
Be sure to check out the suite of amazing RotoViz tools when setting your lineups, including the NFL Stat Explorer — which forms the basis of a lot of research for this article — and the DFS Lineup Optimizer.
Texans at Bucs
Despite the total on this game dropping from 53 to 49.5, it is still the highest total game on the slate and the most attractive for passing games. Deshaun Watson ($7,000) and Jameis Winston ($6,900) each have merits as the top QB play on Saturday. Watson gets the painfully easy matchup with the Bucs and has the wide receivers to beat it. DeAndre Hopkins ($8,500) and Will Fuller ($5,900) are the beneficiaries of this matchup. I think you can make a rule that at least one of these two need to be in every single lineup on Saturday.
Backs are unattractive against Tampa and the Texan backs are wholly touchdown reliant. You can sprinkle both into a build, but there are much better spots. The tight end position is rough for Houston, with three players getting snaps and no defined volume, it is best to stick to Watson and the pair of wide receivers on that side.
On the other side, Winston will play with a patchwork group of wide receivers after losing his top three options to injury the last two weeks. WR is easily the best avenue of attack against the Texans and Breshad Perriman ($6,000) will be popular but should be used, while Justin Watson ($4,600) will be less popular, but I believe on par in terms of strength of play. It is sad Spencer Schnell is not in the player pool as he should be active and was an effective player in the preseason who could get work in this game and would be min priced.
While the slate dictates paying up for one of two players in the late game at tight end, there are two options on the Bucs that could see a volume spike — both Cameron Brate ($3,500) and O.J. Howard ($4,000) are in play in larger field tournaments. Rounding out the list of suspects for increased passing roles are running backs Dare Ogunbowale ($3,300) and Ronald Jones ($4,400). Ogunbowale has been their passing-down specialist, is the most likely for passing plays to be drawn up for and is the cheapest we can pay at running back on the slate. He won’t have ownership and is a great look in large-field tournaments. Jones will have more of a balanced role but is also in play. It is prudent to have your highest exposures to this game.
Bills at Patriots
This game will be a defense lover’s delight. The first matchup between these two teams was a 16-10 final, and I expect more of the same, and so does Vegas with the total sitting at 36.5. On the Bills side, Josh Allen ($5,300) is a large-field play only, as he would need to realize a rushing ceiling with touchdowns to truly hit.
John Brown will get the Gilmore treatment on the outside, so there are only two players on the Bills side that are interesting. Cole Beasley ($4,800) was targeted 13 times in the first matchup and will be the go-to option against the Pats scheme again. He is the best play from this game. Also in play for the Bills is Devin Singletary ($5,500), who is underpriced for his volume role and the team has shown they will target him if trailing in the loss against Baltimore.
On the Patriots side, the passing game is such an abject disaster, I don’t want a single WR or TE on that side. The only offensive player on the Pats to lock into your player pool is James White ($5,800) who brings both floor and ceiling with the state of the Pats offense. These two DSTs should easily be your highest exposures with a slight lean to the Bills side for me.
Rams at 49ers
This game falls in the middle of the earlier games, with a total currently sitting at 45. As we’ve seen in the last few weeks, both defenses are exploitable on the scoreboard, but this matchup is one that bottled up Jared Goff ($5,800) in the first matchup. While it’s difficult to expect the same level of domination, Goff is, at best, the fourth-best quarterback play of six on the slate. His primary stacks will remain Robert Woods ($6,200) and Tyler Higbee ($5,000). These are the current projectable volume pass catchers for the Rams and are standalone plays on their own merits.
Cooper Kupp ($6,600) does not appear to have a large role in positive game scripts for the time being but does in negative scripts. He has some merit as a standalone play as well but certainly trails the other two in strength of play. Todd Gurley ($6,300) will have a large workload regardless of script and is a fine play, but it is difficult to envision him not being the most owned back on the slate.
On the 49ers side, Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,500) is probably more floor than ceiling and should be viewed a tick above Goff. He has had spike games, and could see another if the Rams offense is able to establish a lead, or just a real scoring pace. The better value lies in the 49ers skill positions who have established something of concentrated volume late in the season. Raheem Mostert ($5,800) is the clear lead back and should be unaffected by game flow. George Kittle ($6,500) is worth every penny at the tight end position and should be at least tied with Higbee, if not your highest exposure TE.
Emmanuel Sanders ($5,500) and Deebo Samuel ($5,100) both bring slate-winning ceiling at the WR position, but I would caution it is unlikely both hit. The only way to squeeze both of these players in the same lineup is in a Garoppolo stack that also has Gurley.
There will certainly be some big chalk to consider on Sunday. DeAndre Washington ($4,000) and Zach Ertz ($6,400) should be examples of good chalk and spots to embrace. Joe Mixon ($6,600) and D.J. Moore ($6,900) would be fine plays without ownership, but these players at price with all factors considered are fades at high ownership.
A reminder that Lamar Jackson ($8,000), Christian McCaffrey ($10,100) and Michael Thomas ($9,300) are completely in play on a weekly basis regardless of matchup and mostly regardless of salary. This article is more designed to pinpoint some less obvious and less pricey plays. Let’s get to the positions.
Quarterback and Stacks
The best game to target this week is the Saints at Titans game, and both quarterbacks from that game are completely in play. Drew Brees ($6,900) has had a resurgence of late, and with a potential shootout pending, he brings the same ceiling he has hit in recent weeks. We already touched on Thomas as a stack but this is a week we could take a leap of faith and go to Alvin Kamara ($7,500) as well.