I’ve spent most of my time this week trying to put together the best championship lineups in season long, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to avoid daily fantasy. Next week there could be some big names in big games taking weeks off. There could be players getting starts because teams want to see what they have for the future.
For the same reason season-long leagues usually hold their championships in Week 16, this will be the last week I consider playing cash games.
That said, I didn’t play any cash last week over three sites and profited. My biggest hit was $40 on a $2 Yahoo tournament, but it was enough to push me well into the black.
All of the tools I use to make roster decisions are in all of the posts I write here each week. If you read articles like this one, you can pretty much figure out who my quarterback-wide receiver stacks are and who I think will be the best, must-have values. Then, using our projected scores column and our rankings, you can fill out your lineup and make something almost identical to mine if you like.
Just don’t expect me to post a full lineup. I think that’s kind of wart on this fine industry.
Ok, let’s get to the rankings fine print, then the sleepers and values at Draft Kings for Week 16.
As always check late NFL news at a site like Rotoworld to make sure games are being played and players are in lineups.
Our rankings will be updated early Sunday morning and don’t always reflect final starting lineups. I went over the biggest matchups in our projected scores/Las Vegas column. When push comes to shove, I construct daily fantasy rosters based more on the research done for that column than these rankings.
We use composite odds and over/unders from Vegas Insider to generate the projected scores. I reference Defense-adjusted Value Over Average a lot, it is a Football Outsiders’ metric which can be a better predictor of future success than fantasy points allowed. All team rankings and yards allowed to receivers are referenced from Football Outsiders’ Defense Efficiency page. If I reference fantasy points allowed, I’m likely referring to the excellent charts produced by FFToday. These rankings also factor in the Expert Consensus Rankings at Fantasy Pros.
Projected scores/matchups/Las Vegas | Game day weather | Waiver wire
Daily fantasy: Draft Kings values | FanDuel values
Ben Roethlisberger, $6,800, PIT at BAL — There’s not a better value on the board this week in daily fantasy than Big Ben at sub-$7,000. For that reason, I believe there will be a lot of people on him this week in tournaments.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, $5,200, NYJ vs. NE — The Patriots defense is playing better than it was earlier in the year when Fitzpatrick had a good game against them. However, the Jets are going to have to keep up with the Patriots in the scoring department and he has two elite receivers to throw to.
Kirk Cousins, $5,500, WAS at PHI — I picked up Cousins to consider starting him over Aaron Rodgers this week in one of my championship games. I don’t think I can pull the trigger on it, but I do like Cousins’ matchup and recent performance that match. His salary here at Draft Kings is even more of a reason to start him.
Alex Smith, $5,100, KC vs. CLE — Smith is a game manager. We can’t expect much out of him, however this near basement-level price for QBs on DK gives you room to work at other positions. And with Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce and Charcandrick West as weapons against a bad defense, a few fluky Browns touchdowns could force a shootout.
Tyrod Taylor, $5,500, BUF vs. DAL — Taylor is going to throw for 250, rush for 50 and be responsible for a touchdown or two each week. His price feels criminally low.
Blake Bortles, $6,500, JAC at NO — Which quarterback is facing the Saints this week? The one with an elite receiver who’s had at least 100 yards or a touchdown in every week since Week 5, and an elite-tier tight end who is finally producing like he did in Denver.
Matthew Stafford, $6,100, DET vs. SF — Calvin Johnson’s stat line looked old last week, but I suspect he’ll bounce back against a poor 49ers defense. Golden Tate has really stepped up this season as well.
David Johnson, $5,800, ARI vs. GB — If Roethlisberger is value 1A this week, Johnson is 1A-and-a-half. A sub-$6,000 RB who should get 25-30 touches, is a goal-line threat and is a former wide receiver on a high-powered offense is a must-own in all formats.
James White, $4,700, NE at NYJ — The Patriots wide receiver corps is banged up, leading to more opportunities for the team’s latest pass-catching back. He could approach 8-10 catches this week.
Bilal Powell, $3,900, NYJ vs. NE — Powell has become more involved in the offense toward the end of the season. He’s scored each of the last three weeks and is a threat in the passing game. He’s a far better choice than Chris Ivory, who many fantasy owners will gravitate toward.
Ryan Mathews, $3,800, PHI vs. WAS — If last year you told me Mathews would be $3,800 at any point and he was healthy he would be in every single one of my lineups. He’s a playmaker when healthy and should easily outproduce this price with extreme upside if the Eagles use him the right way.
Frank Gore, $4,000, IND at MIA — I was surprised by how solid Gore’s fantasy points are in PPR leagues this season. He doesn’t have two touchdown upside — he did score twice against the Titans in September — but at $4,000, he provides some serious value and a pivot off White and Powell, who should be higher owned.
DeAngelo Williams, $6,500, PIT at BAL — Pittsburgh’s do-it-all back is always busy, whether it’s Williams or LeVeon Bell. I suspect we’ll see more of the same this week against the Ravens.
Charles Sims, $3,300, TB vs. CHI — Has at least 70 yards from scrimmage in each of the last three games and has at least three catches in four of the last five. If he got in the end zone with any kind of frequency (he’s only scored once since Week 4) he’d be way more expensive than $3,300.
Rashad Jennings, $3,500, NYG at MIN — The Giants have treated Jennings like a feature back each of the last two weeks and he’s responded. Two weeks ago against the Dolphins he went 22-81 with two catches. Then against the Panthers he rushed for 107 and a touchdown on 16 carries. He’s a sneaky play at a near basement-level salary.
Javorius Allen, $4,200, BAL vs. PIT — Allen has been a massive disappointment for back-to-back weeks, but in his defense it was against the Seahawks and Chiefs. Even if he hadn’t fumbled it would have been a tough road to fantasy relevance. The Steelers are a bit easier matchup, but more importantly, pace should work in Buck’s favor. This is projected to be the fourth-fastest paced game of the week.
Jeremy Langford, $3,400, CHI at TB — Matt Forte is still the lead back, but this is that wonderful time of the year when teams look at what they’ll have for the future. It’s merely speculation for tournaments, but maybe Langford gets a few more snaps and his fresh legs can bust out for a long touchdown or two. That happens, and you own him at just $3,400, you have yourself the fixins’ of a tournament-winner.
Rueben Randle, $3,500, NYG at MIN — Eli Manning is going to throw the ball 40 times. He just is. He has to throw to someone. Randle is the most talented of the receivers left on the roster. He’s low-risk because of the price, but if he gets Odell Beckham Jr.-level targets and can convert most of them, there is potential for ultra-high reward.
DeSean Jackson, $5,000, WAS at PHI — Jackson was available in the same league in which I picked up Cousins. There was no question Jackson was going directly into my starting lineup this week against the Eagles’ “defensive” secondary.
Anquan Boldin, $3,700, SF at DET — After a pair of disappointing weeks, Boldin racks up eight catches, 74 yards and his third touchdown catch of the season against the Bengals. He’s pulled us back in. He should be forced into some extra work this week against the Lions and is the 49ers’ top candidate to get into the end zone this week.
Martavis Bryant, $5,600, PIT at BAL — Everybody talks about Bryant’s freakish speed/size combo and his big-play ability, but he’s had at least three catches in every game this season and at least five in four of the last five weeks. He’s had 69 or more yards in four of the last five weeks, including two of his three 100-yard games. The only thing he hasn’t been doing as frequently lately is getting in the end zone. He’s a strong play in tournaments or cash games in this offense, at this price.
Antonio Brown, $9,300, PIT at BAL — We use a formula, a couple spreadsheets and a handful of other factors to determine our DFS values. So when it spits out Brown despite being the most expensive player on Draft Kings, it means he’s a must-play in every format. Of course, everyone knows how often he is, so he’ll be highly owned in tournaments. In this case, I’d make an argument that you should look elsewhere to differentiate your lineup and keep Brown in there.
Jeremy Maclin, $6,000, KC vs. CLE — Maclin is one of my keepers in season-long. He’s been way better than you’d expect based on Alex Smith’s numbers this season. He’s cooled off a bit the last two weeks after back to back 9-catch games during which he racked up a combined 255 yards and three TDs. However, his “cool” weeks, were a combined 13 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. The Browns have the fifth-worst pass defense based on DVOA.
Dorial Green-Beckham, $4,000, TEN vs. HOU — Green-Beckham is emerging as a potential NFL star, but more importantly this week he has a quarterback who doesn’t mind throwing the ball all over the place no matter how many interceptions he racks up.
Dwayne Harris, $3,000, NYG at MIN — What we said about Randle applies to Harris, if he’s healthy. He’s riskier, sure, but he costs $500 less and will be much lesser owned.
Markus Wheaton, $4,100, PIT at BAL — Wheaton is the cheap option if you want in on the Steelers’ high-octane offense. He doesn’t have the ceiling of either of the other receivers, but he has a 9-catch, 200-yard game this season and has scored a touchdown in three of the last four games. He also has at least 50 yards in each of the last four weeks.
Jermaine Kearse, $3,200, SEA vs. STL — Doug Baldwin has benefited considerably more from Jimmy Graham’s injury, but Kearse has been rock solid each of the last two weeks, with seven catches each week and a combined 184 yards. Four weeks ago he scored two touchdowns. Everyone — including the Rams defense — should be on Baldwin this week. Kearse is a very inexpensive other option should have a floor that easily pays off his salary and a ceiling that could push you over the top in a tournament.
Will Tye, $3,500, NYG at MIN — It feels good to see a handful of your season-long championship players on these lists. Tye might stand to benefit most from Odell Beckham Jr.’s suspension. I suspect he’ll get at least six targets and get in the end zone at least once this week.
Heath Miller, $3,400, PIT at BAL — Despite the Broncos being notoriously bad against tight ends, Miller disappeared last week after a 10-catch, 66-yard game the week before. I can’t recommend him in cash games, but since November, Miller has two 10-catch games, a 100-yard game and at least forty yards in four of six games. Meanwhile, he hasn’t gotten into the end one since Sept. 20. That’s a whole lot of usage for a big target without finding the end zone.
Eric Ebron, $2,900, DET vs. SF — Sometimes matchups work despite how bad a player is. Ebron had four catches for 79 yards last week, which certainly paid off his salary. Two weeks ago he got in the endzone on one of his two catches and finished with nine yards. Again, salary met. This week against the 49ers (8th-worst in DVOA against the TE) — he needs just nine points once again to pay off his salary.
Zach Ertz, $3,100, PHI vs. WAS — Got into the end zone in two of the last three weeks and in the game where he didn’t he accumulated 98 yards on five catches. But last week against the Cardinals is the real clincher — 8-78-1. When the Eagles pass game is clicking, Zach Ertz is involved.
Zach Miller, $4,000, CHI at TB — Has at least five targets in five of the last six weeks, with a 100-yard, two-touchdown game, an 85-yard game and a six-catch, 57 yard game.
Travis Kelce, $4,300, KC vs. CLE — On another offense, Kelce would be a superstar and likely priced way higher than he is right now. That said, he went 6-73 last week and had at least five catches in eight of the first 10 weeks of the season.
Houston Texans, $2,800, HOU at TEN
Seattle Seahawks, $4,300, SEA vs. STL
Denver Broncos, $3,400, DEN vs. CIN
Kansas City Chiefs, $4,200, KC vs. CLE
Carolina Panthers, $3,700, CAR at ATL
Minnesota Vikings, $2,500, MIN vs. NYG
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $2,500, TB vs. CHI