Another week is nearly in the books, but it’s never too soon to look ahead to Week 16. Thursday Night Football is no more, but we’re at that time of year where we’ll have another two-game slate on Saturday. The Early Look will highlight salaries that jump out on the 12-game main slate.
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Ben Roethlisberger, PIT at NO, $6,700 — It wasn’t a pretty win over the Patriots, but it keeps the Steelers battling for playoff position atop the AFC. Big Ben’s home/road splits have been overblown this season, scoring an average of 23.7 DKFP on the road compared to 24.4 at home. The Saints have a solid defense, but the numbers are the numbers, and they still have allowed the most DKFP to QB this season. Roethlisberger should be in a safe spot to target here.
Deshaun Watson, HOU at PHI, $6,600 — Watson’s got an opportunity to take advantage of this run down Philly defense, particularly in the secondary. The Eagles are coming off an improbable road win over the Rams, and suddenly have everything to play for again. That could mean a high-scoring game, and I’d expect Houston to get the majority of its production through the air with injuries in its backfield.
Dak Prescott, DAL vs. TB, $5,700 — The Cowboys laid an egg on the road last week, but a lot of their production during this recent hot streak has been at home. Prescott’s been a much better player at home this season, averaging 21.8 DKFP in seven games. Given the ceiling we’ve seen on Prescott in this new-look offense, he’s still too cheap against a defense that ranked 24th in DKFP allowed to QB.
Other options — Josh Allen ($5,800), Sam Darnold ($4,900), Nick Foles ($4,700)
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. TB, $9,000 — Like last week, this is going to be a slate to load up on stud RB plays. Zeke produced as well as he could in Week 15 considering his team was shut out, scoring 18.8 DKFP. The outing showed us just how safe Elliott’s floor actually is — 128 yards on 25 touches despite Dallas failing to score. Now he returns home to face a terrible Tampa Bay defense that’s allowed the third-most DKFP to RB.
Christian McCaffrey, CAR vs. ATL, $8,800 — We all know the deal by now with the Falcons defending against RBs, ranking dead last in DKFP allowed, thanks to funneling receptions toward the position. We saw it first hand back in Week 2 when CMC scored 30.9 DKFP, catching 14-of-15 targets for 102 yards. He carried just eight times for 37 yards, which we can expect him to improve upon in this game. This is as good a spot as you could ask for, and his salary is down $500 since he was last on the main slate.
Saquon Barkley, NYG at IND, $7,900 — Not your typical value play here, but this salary slash on Barkley is way too much of an overreaction to his 9.6 DKFP in a game in which the entire Giants’ team looked awful in. Barkley was still targeted 10 times in that game, so we know his opportunities are there no mater what. In his four previous outings, Barkley rushed for at least 100 yards and had six total touchdowns. Indy ranks below average against RBs and just let Zeke have a decent game without even reaching the end zone. I’ll take the $1,500 discount here and try and jam three studs into my lineups at RB.
Other options — Nick Chubb ($7,300), Joe Mixon, ($7,100), Dalvin Cook ($6,900), Tarik Cohen ($6,400), David Johnson ($6,200), Jordan Howard ($4,300)
Julio Jones, ATL at CAR, $8,700 — The Panthers rank just 30th against WRs this season and outside of getting shutdown by Baltimore, Julio’s been shredding his matchups lately. Aside from that outlier, Jones hasn’t scored less than 20 DKFP since back in Week 5. Keep in mind that this is a defense that Julio’s embarrassed for 12-300-1 in the past.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU at PHI, $8,600 — Hopkins broke out of what was a slump by his standards, averaging just about 15 DKFP during the past four weeks. He was crucial in pulling out a late road win against the Jets, posting a 10-170-2 line for 42 DKFP. While the Eagles looked great against the Rams, they’re still barely fielding a secondary. Hopkins has a chance to dominate this matchup for another huge game
Robert Foster, BUF at NE, $4,900 — Allen’s fantasy rise in Buffalo has drawn a lot of attention to his rushing abilities, but he’s also been establishing some production at WR — which was unheard of at the start of the season. Foster’s now scored more than 16 DKFP in four of his past five games, including a career-best 23.8 last week. Look for him to carry some of this momentum into a matchup against a Patriots defense that ranks 23rd in DKFP allowed to WR.
Other options — Robby Anderson ($4,500), Dante Pettis ($4,300)
Eric Ebron, IND vs. NYG, $5,700 — Ebron was a bust in Week 15, but those that ate the chalk didn’t get burned too badly with very little production across the board at TE. It was Ebron’s second bust in the past six weeks, but the other four games he’s scored between 16 and 28 DKFP. The Giants rank average against the TE position, and we should see Ebron get back to his normal target share. In the first three games since the Colts suffered all their injuries at TE, Ebron averaged over 10 targets per game. Expect more of that compared to the three targets he saw last week.
Austin Hooper, ATL at CAR, $3,700 — Hooper was practically invisible last week, failing to catch his lone target. It sets up a terrific bounce-back spot for him against a Carolina defense that allows the second-most DKFP in the NFL. Hooper’s been a slightly better player on the road this season, averaging 11.1 DKFP away from home.
Other options — C.J. Uzomah ($3,300)
Colts D/ST vs. NYG, $3,300 — I think there are more appealing options to pay down for a defense this week, but at the top of the board I’d go with the Colts. They shut out Dallas in Indy last week, and now host a Giants offense that was shut out 17-0 at home by Tennessee. There’s a lot of obvious upside in this spot for the Colts.
Dolphins D/ST vs. JAX, $2,700 — Miami’s defense could be underrated heading into this week. The Dolphins allowed 41 points in Minnesota, but still found a way to put six DKFP on the board. Averaging nine DKFP at home, this is a great spot to target them against a Jacksonville offense that’s be incapable in recent weeks.
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