Welcome back to the Daily Fantasy: Love it, Need it, Hate it, Lottery Picks article for Week 16 of the NFL season. We saw some injuries last week that are opening up opportunities for new players this week. Keep reading to find out who are the essential pieces in our Week 16 lineups.
Players in the “Love it” section are guys that we are excited to play in any format, regardless of the ownership that they may garner that week.
Antonio Brown ($4,900 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel)
There will be another Buccaneer in the section below, but it won’t stop us from pointing out one of our favorite players for this Sunday. With Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette out, and Mike Evans likely to miss this contest, Antonio Brown steps into the spotlight with likely a lot of targets coming his way. Brown is undoubtedly the top healthy receiver that Tampa has at this point, and the Bucs have one of the highest implied team totals on the week. His price is very cheap on DraftKings, and very affordable on FanDuel as well.
The Carolina Panthers have a stingy pass defense, as they rank 6th in pass defense DVOA. It is unlikely that we see an absolute ceiling performance from Tampa Bay without all of their weapons. However, they will come out firing, and they should be able to put up 28+ points. With how much Tampa loves to pass it, and the entire offense being condensed to basically Brown, Rob Gronkowski, and a particular running back (see below), Brown is an amazing target this week, and shouldn’t need too much to pay off his price tag.
This section will contain guys who we believe are necessary when you are constructing a lineup for cash games. They are still viable in tournaments, but they aren’t necessary. We still like them as plays, but these guys may come with higher ownership, which could provide merit to fading them and going another route.
Ronald Jones II ($5,100 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel)
The one player that stands out head and shoulders above the rest on both sites for cash games is Ronald Jones. Fournette is sidelined with a hamstring injury, and neither site has priced Jones to where he should be. The Buccaneers are coming off of their worst performance of the Tom Brady era, where they put up 0 points on Sunday night against New Orleans. They should come out guns blazing, looking to make up for their primetime stinker. Looking at game logs, you won’t get excited about Jones’ usage by looking at his game logs, but the usage will be there for him this week. With Fournette sidelined and new signing Le’Veon Bell not up to speed, Jones will get as much work as he can handle.
Jones has been explosive with the touches that he has seen this year. He ripped off a couple of explosive runs last week, averaging 7.9 yards per carry on 8 carries. He also excelled last year in games that Fournette missed, as he averaged 20.33 carries, 101.33 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown per game on the ground across three contests. He also saw an uptick in passing-game usage, as he saw 13 targets across those three games. With legitimate 20+ touch upside at such a cheap price, Jones makes a ton of sense in cash games. If his ownership gets out of hand, it could be worth going another direction in tournaments.
Players in the “Hate it” section are guys that we do not want to roster that week in DFS for a number of reasons. They may have a bad matchup, they may be projecting to have too much ownership, they may be too expensive, or it could be a combination of the three.
Najee Harris ($7,400 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel)
This one definitely may come back to bite us, but one player that we don’t really have interest in for this weekend is Najee Harris. It isn’t as if this matchup is scaring us away, as the Chiefs are merely 20th in run defense DVOA. This is mainly due to the current condition of the Steelers’ offense as a whole. They haven’t been efficient on the ground over the past few games, as Harris is averaging an abysmal 3.36 yards per carry over the past five games. There has also been a shift in mentality in the Pittsburgh passing game.
The team has focused on getting the ball out of Ben Roethlisberger’s hands quickly, as it has limited the number of dump-offs to Harris after the play goes awry. Harris has still seen 3-5 targets per game over the past few weeks, but he doesn’t really possess the upside of 7+ targets anymore. The Steelers’ have also struggled to sustain drives on offense, which limits Harris’ fantasy equity as a whole. With Harris’ price tag, there are simply too many question marks surrounding him for us to buy into him this week, despite the appealing matchup on paper.
The Lottery Picks section contains players who we think have the upside to be in tournament-winning lineups. As well as having the ceiling to win tournaments, these players also won’t come with too much ownership.
Mike Williams ($6,100 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel)
It’s a scary route to go, but that’s exactly why this section is called “Lottery Picks”. We’re going down the Mike Williams pathway again. His price is all the way back to a point where we’re willing to buy in, and we don’t think his ownership will get out of hand. He hasn’t reached the end zone in a while, but he had multiple chances last week. He saw three end zone targets on the first drive, but wasn’t able to catch one. The touchdown regression will come for Williams, and he gets an exploitable matchup this week.
The Texans’ have the worst graded coverage in the league, and the Chargers’ are throwing the ball at a fairly high rate. They rank top-10 in pace, and will most likely put up a bundle of points on Sunday. Williams has been a guy who struggles in difficult matchups and flourishes in advantageous ones so far this year. This game is the latter, and Williams is in a prime “buy-low” spot. With ownership hopefully staying in check, we like Mike Williams in tournaments this week.