If you didn’t have Todd Gurley in daily fantasy football last week, you probably didn’t take down a GPP. If you used some of my NFL DFS picks, however, hopefully you at least had a chance at cashing.
They didn’t all deliver, of course. Tom Brady was less vengeful than I anticipated, while Antonio Brown was one of my favorite studs of the week and he exited early with a calf injury. Those two ended up being death blows for me personally, but I still had some solid picks.
Christian McCaffrey topped 20 fantasy points and was a beast in the face of an easy matchup against a swiss cheese Green Bay defense, while Robbie Gould (24 fantasy points!) was a total gem for the otherwise boring kicker spot. Brandin Cooks was also solid, as he got a short score and managed 14 fantasy points.
While it’s fun to look at the guys that were hits, week 16 is just around the corner. Let’s see what kind of lineup I come away with at FanDuel:
QB: Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($7.1k)
In real life, I probably wouldn’t back Jameis Winston this week. In daily fantasy football, he might be my favorite passer, dollar for dollar.
Despite torching the Falcons last week and dropping 7 touchdowns over his last three outings, Winston comes in as a value pick. I get that he’s on the road against a talented Panthers defense, but Carolina has regressed against the pass lately and will also be without versatile linebacker, Thomas Davis (suspension).
Carolina has been giving up a lot of DFS points lately, ranking just 28th against fantasy passers over the last four weeks. Aaron Rodgers was part of that last week, but Carolina’s dip has included big outings by Case Keenum and Josh McCown, as well. Even Jay Cutler (15 fantasy points) was better than expected in this same matchup back on November 13th.
It’s only deteriorated since, so with a hot Winston coming to town, I like the Tampa passing game a bit as a potentially overlooked option this week in GPPs.
RB: Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints ($8.5k)
I’m pretty locked into Kamara this week. Mark Ingram had the bigger outing in week 15, but I like Kamara to pop off in a huge home tilt against the Atlanta Falcons.
Kamara can rack up points across the board, but the Falcons specifically have trouble with pass-catching backs. Kamara has done a lot of his DFS damage as a receiver this year and that’s going to be bad news for ATL, who rank dead last in receptions and targets to running backs.
Kamara got knocked out of his first meeting with the Falcons two weeks ago, but was on his way to a nice day with 3 grabs for 25 yards in the first half. I expect a big performance at home as the Saints continue to push for the NFC South crown.
RB: Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys ($8.3k)
I wonder if using Zeke will be contrarian this week. There are several stud rushers to consider, while it could be tough to trust Elliott in his first game back. Of course, he was a total monster prior to serving his 6-game ban and this week he’ll be needed if Dallas wants to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
The Seahawks got destroyed by Todd Gurley last week (4 scores!), so the upside is clearly there. I’m not sure Zeke does that kind of damage, but he left on good terms with 93+ rushing yards and at least one score in each of his last three games. Rust could be a factor, but I love the upside here and will be crossing my fingers his ownership is low.
WR: Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($7k)
Evans has been such a massive disappointment this year, but he finally got going (16 fantasy points) last week and I’m not sure I can ignore the potential momentum to close out a frustrating season. He’s ridiculously talented and obviously cheap this week, while he gets a tasty matchup.
The Bucs have nothing to play for, but can continue to attempt to play spoiler when they take on Carolina. It just so happens that the Panthers have serious difficulty against fantasy receivers, too, as they rank dead last against the position over the last four weeks.
WR: Damiere Byrd – Carolina Panthers ($4.9k)
I’m not sure lightning will strike twice (Byrd scored two times last week), but Carolina has a great matchup this week against a suspect Buccaneers secondary and Russell Shepard left week 15 with an injury. If Byrd is handed a bigger role this week after excelling a week ago, he might be one of the top value picks of this entire slate.
I’m also interested in Chargers rookie receiver, Mike Williams. With Keenan Allen (back) banged up and New York being beatable through the air, it’s not crazy to think his first huge game could arrive in week 16.
WR: Josh Gordon – Cleveland Browns ($7.1k)
I love it when I can get a stud wide receiver at a solid price, but that’s especially true this week, when there aren’t many stud receivers on the main slate. That makes Gordon one of my favorite options, while he’s had a massive role (11, 6 and 11 targets) in his three games since returning from a 4-year absence.
He’s looked great and just needs a little more consistency out of the quarterback position in Cleveland. He might get it this week, as the Browns face a Bears defense that is sulking a bit after a pretty solid 2017, overall. That’s at least been the case against fantasy wide receivers, as the Bears rank just 21st against the position over the last four weeks.
Chicago might not get absolutely torched here, but Gordon is a solid price and still boasts killer upside. I feel drawn to him this week.
TE: Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs ($7k)
Kelce has been a rock solid NFL DFS asset for much of the year and KC should lean on him again this week as they try to cement their AFC West title. I like his chances against the Dolphins, who have slid out of the playoff picture and own a bad defense when it comes to covering tight ends.
Miami ranks 27th against tight ends in 2017 and that standing hasn’t improved that much over the last four weeks (26th). The Dolphins have allowed 8 scores to the tight end position, while tight ends have racked up 247 receiving yards (6th most) against Miami over the last four weeks.
After a fairly quiet two-week run (17 total fantasy points), I like Kelce to bust out with a big outing in week 16.
K: Greg Zuerlein – Los Angeles Rams ($5.4k) I normally don’t pay up for kicker, but this week arguably the league’s top kicker and the worst fantasy defense versus kickers face off. I’ll bite on the numbers here, as the Titans have allowed 12+ fantasy points to kickers over the last four weeks and 10+ on the year. Both are good for dead last in the NFL. Then there is just the fact that Legatron is a beast. He’s topped 10+ fantasy points 10 times this year and has dipped below 8 just three times. His offense gets him in position to dominate on a routine basis, while he has the leg to make long kicks even if his offense is struggling. It’s also worth noting Tennessee has allowed the most 50+ yarders (7), so if you’re looking for a little more upside with your fantasy kicker, you might find with with Zuerlein this week.
Update (8:14 pm CT, 12/20/2017): I did like Legatron a lot, but he’s now been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a back issue. Stephen Gostkowski ($5.2k) is a terrific fallback option (11+ fantasy points 8 times in 2017), while he put up 13 fantasy points earlier versus this week’s opponent (Buffalo). He’s a fine pivot, while punting at kicker remains an option, as well.
DEF: Kansas City Chiefs ($4.5k)
The Jaguars have risen to an absurd $5.6k on FanDuel and I don’t see many other defenses worth paying up for, so I’ll just drop to an improving KC unit. The Chiefs had been bad for a long stretch, but they’ve picked up their play over the last two weeks (10 and 14 fantasy points).
Kansas City continues to fight to hold onto the AFC West and they’ll be doing so this week at home against a dying Dolphins team. Jay Cutler at Arrowhead sounds like a recipe for disaster, so I’m all for the Chiefs at a discounted price tag. The Washington Redskins ($4.7k) are also a solid value as they face a weak Denver Broncos offense.