With only two weeks left in the regular season, Week 16 offers an exciting 12-game main slate. Seventeen NFL teams are fighting for either a playoff birth or for home field advantage, and daily managers can gain a slight edge by focusing on teams that are still in the hunt. The teams that have eliminated and are playing in the main slate are: Bengals, Bills, Jets, Jaguars, Packers, Falcons, Buccaneers, Giants, Lions, 49ers and Cardinals. Only one game, the Packers at the Jets, features two already-eliminated teams –crazy things sometimes happen when both teams are already eliminated, making this a game cash-game players should avoid and GPP players may want to target.
As always, I’ll start my lineups with my favorite stacks of the week. The concept behind stacking a QB with his WR is simple: both players benefit from each completion, doubling the benefit of that play for your fantasy lineup. As Adam Levitan pointed out this offseason, 79 percent of the lineups that won DraftKings’ Fantasy Football Millionaire contests used a QB stack in their lineup. With the significance of stacking in mind, this article aims to highlight the best stacking options for Sunday’s main slate.
5. Nick Foles ($4,700)/Alshon Jeffery ($5,300), PHI vs. HOUMake no mistake, I am not a Nick Foles truther. There is no chance I’d start him in a season-long championship matchup in Week 16. But this article is for DFS, where we care more about the ratio of cost to output than we do just the pure final box score. And for DFS, Foles looks significantly underpriced. Tom Brady ($5,900) costs $600 more than Case Keenum ($5,300), and Keenum costs $600 more than Foles. Simply put – the difference between Brady and Keenum should be a whole lot more than the difference between Keenum and Foles.
Foles has started three games this season, with mixed results. He was disastrous in Week 1 against a then-healthy Falcons team (they lost multiple pro-bowl defenders in that game, but that was a good squad when they had all of their starters). But in his two previous starts, he averaged 302 yards per game with a completion rate of 74 percent. And of course, we all remember his playoff run in 2017, during which he averaged 323.7 yards and two TDs with a 72 percent completion rate. He is liable to throw up some bad games, but Foles can also provide a ton of Fantasy production.
As for Jeffery, the Texans have allowed an opposing WR to score at least 19 DKFP in each of their last four games. Jeffery appears to be Foles’ preferred target, as Jeffery has led the Eagles in either yards, targets, or both in three of their last four games together.
4. Drew Brees ($6,500)/Michael Thomas ($8,100), NO vs. PITThis is strictly a GPP recommendation, as neither Brees nor Thomas has played particularly well over the past three weeks. This is a high-risk situation. But while Brees is no longer on track to set the all-time record for passer rating, he’s still on track to finish sixth all-time. Similarly, Thomas is no longer on track to set the all-time mark for catch percentage, but depending on how many targets it takes to qualify, he’s still on track to finish in the top 10. These aren’t just good players, these are great players having two of the best seasons ever at their respective positions. And even the best players can’t put together 16 perfect games in a row. Their recent struggles will probably turn many DFS managers away, increasing the advantage gained if they return to their earlier awesomeness.
This is a good spot for this Saints stack. Though the Steelers average out as a roughly average opponent for the passing game, they’ve allowed some big performances lately. Over their last four games, they’ve given up 39.8 DKFP to Keenan Allen ($7,100) and 21.6 DKFP to Emmanuel Sanders, as well as 24 DKFP to Phillip Rivers and 22.8 DKFP to Derek Carr ($4,900). An additional bonus is that Thomas has his lowest salary since Week 11.
3. Nick Mullens ($4,700)/Dante Pettis ($4,300), SF vs. CHISeveral of the most attractive players on this slate are the bell cow RBs, many of whom have really good matchups Sunday. Want to pay up for both Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000) and Christian McCaffrey ($8,800)? You’re going to need to free up salary somewhere, and this 49ers stack may be just the place. Elliott costs the same as both Mullens and Pettis combined.
The Bears’ defense is scary, but they’re not impenetrable. They’ve allowed five QBs to throw for at least 260 yards, and seven have thrown for multiple TDs. Mullens has started five games since Pierre Garcon (knee) was placed on IR. In those games, Pettis trails only TE George Kittle ($6,000) in targets, receptions and yards, and it is Pettis who leads the team in red-zone targets and TDs. There is obviously risk involved, but there is a lot of potential value here.
4. Kirk Cousins ($6,000)/Adam Thielen ($7,800), MIN at DETThe Lions are struggling. They’ve allowed four of their last six opposing QBs to top 19 DKFP, and one of the two who missed that mark was Josh Rosen ($4,500). Cousins has also underperformed, barely reaching 200 yards passing in each of the last three games, but he’s also maintained his perfect record of throwing at least one TD in every game as a Viking.
The Lions’ scariest defender is CB Darius Slay, but he’s likely to spend most of the game shadowing Stephon Diggs ($7,400). That’s because Slay doesn’t usually travel into the slot, and while both Diggs and Thielen are capable of running slot routes, the Vikings tend to use Thielen there more with Diggs on the outside. It’s been a while since Thielen’s streak of 100-yard games ended, but the Lions have given up four 100-yard games to WRs over the last six weeks.
1. Dak Prescott ($5,700)/Amari Cooper ($7,500), DAL vs. TBThe Prescott-Cooper stack crashed hard in Week 15, but I don’t think daily managers can learn that much from a 23-0 shellacking. While the Buccaneers and other future opponents are sure to take some lessons from what the Colts did to have so much success against the Cowboys, it’s pretty rare for a likely playoff team to get completely dismantled multiple weeks in a row. Furthermore, the Colts defense is good and improving, and while the Bucs’ defense is also trending up, calling them “good” is taking things a little too far. Bad games happen, and sometime the best DFS strategy is to just act like it didn’t. If anything, I’m glad that the bad Week 15 helped keep this pair’s salary down ahead of a favorable matchup.
And this is still a favorable matchup. The Bucs faced the Ravens’ run-only offense in Week 15, but they allowed at least one WR to top 14.6 DKFP in every single one of their first 13 games. They gave up at least 17 DKFP to 11 of the 14 starting QBs they faced, and Nick Mullens and Alex Smith are the only two who didn’t reach 15 DKFP. The Bucs still have a bottom-four defensive DVOA, and they’ve allowed the second-most passing TDs this season.
Cooper may be coming off a down week, but he still led the Cowboys in air yards and trailed only Elliott ($9,000) – who is also a good DFS play Sunday – in targets. In the three games before Week 15, Cooper averaged an almost comically high 36.1 DKFP per game. Prescott’s totals during that stretch weren’t quite so silly, but they were still an excellent 331 yards and two TDs for 24.3 DKFP.
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