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The Wednesday Watchman: NFL Week 16 Betting, DFS, Fantasy Information to Know

With fantasy playoffs in full swing and opportunities for taking down a DFS tournament dwindling, we need to approach these last few weeks with the keenest eye. Every matchup is a chance to earn yourself money, so let’s prepare well.

We cashed the following bets last week:

  • Falcons Team Total Points - second half over 9.5
  • HOU Texans Total Points Bands 21-30
  • Broncos (-3) Against the Spread (ATS)
  • Cowboys-Jaguars over 47.5
  • Giants-Commanders first half under 19.5 points

Hopefully, your best ball teams had Zay Jones and KJ Osborn. And if you have Jalen Hurts on said teams, I hope you have a healthy starting QB left. If not, don't give up just yet. Last week, I advanced an FFPC superflex best ball squad where all three of my QBs were out with injuries.

Stat to Know

This week, let’s explore offenses in the top half for passing EPA playing against defenses in the bottom half for passing yards per game allowed:

  • Giants - Vikings
  • Raiders - Steelers
  • Buccaneers - Cardinals
  • Seahawks - Chiefs
  • Chiefs - Seahawks
  • Vikings - Giants

Betting Information to Know

We see a couple of games featuring both teams on the list: the Giants-Vikings and Seahawks-Chiefs. These games automatically get the benefit of the doubt for going over their totals.

The Chiefs (-9.5) might have the MVP at QB, but they have not been blowing teams out lately. Close calls with the Texans and Broncos were preceded by a loss to the Bengals. Why are they nearly 10-point favorites against a scrappy and overachieving Seattle squad? Both teams are playing for something: Kansas City wants to overcome the Bills for the AFC No. 1 seed, and Seattle is fighting for a playoff spot. Over 49 and Seattle ATS are the plays.

The Giants (+3) have underwhelmed of late after a hot start, and the Vikings followed up a loss against the Lions with that historic comeback against the Colts. No lead is safe when Matt Ryan is under center. The Giants get Ryan next week, but for now, they need to worry about “daytime” Kirk Cousins. Cousins rivals Tom Brady for awful night game performances, but he shouldn’t be turning into a pumpkin for this week’s 1:00 pm EST game. I will take the Vikings -3 and the over 47.5.

The Raiders and Steelers (-3) face off in a battle of two of the most iconic franchises. Did you know the Steelers didn’t have to leave the Eastern Time Zone this season? They haven't had a single game occur West of Indianapolis. The travel advantage has not resulted in much to speak of with the team sitting at 6-8. The Raiders are coming off the emotional high of one of the craziest finishes the NFL has seen in a long time. Fading teams after emotional wins is a favorite strategy of mine, so I will take the Steelers ATS.

Tampa Bay (-6.5) travels to Arizona for a Christmas day clash. Old man Brady will be playing in a late game, which is usually a cause for fading him and his team. But working against that fade is the Kliff Kingsbury post-October fade. Coming into this season, Kingsbury's Cardinals were 9-20 in the second half of the season. This year, they have to deal with Kyler Murray’s season-ending injury too. With Brady’s legacy partially on the line, I would lean toward Buccaneers ATS.

DFS Information to Know

Seattle is a TE’s playground, ranking 29th in EPA vs the position. So “old faithful” Travis Kelce is in line for a monster game. Pair him with MVP front-runner Patrick Mahomes for a deadly duo.

Seattle has some punch on offense, though. With Kansas City’s 30th-ranked slot WR defense, this would be a great Tyler Lockett spot. However, due to his injury, Marquise Goodwin should step up since he sports a 58.1% slot snap rate since Week 8. His price and ownership will both be desirable. Geno Smith will shoulder the responsibility of keeping up with the Chiefs, so use him for a pay-down option.

The Giants' defense has some exploitable weaknesses. They rank 30th in rush EPA and 32nd in yards per rush, so Dalvin Cook should see plenty of opportunity. They also neglect to defend TEs, ranking 30th, so T.J. Hockenson is a major target.

Minnesota's defense isn't much better, specifically against WRs lined up out wide. Since Week 8, Isaiah Hodgins (86.5% wide) and Darius Slayton (64.2% wide) have been the Giants’ go-to WRs. They make nice "punt plays," with Daniel Jones serving as the conduit (with great rushing upside).

Mark this down as yet another Davante Adams week. The Steelers rank only 29th at defending non-slot WRs, which is where Adams has spent 78.5% of his snaps since Week 8. Mack Hollins could also be a contrarian play thanks to his 82.2% out-wide snap rate in the same timeframe.

Steelers to target would include slot WRs vs. the worst slot WR defense. Pat Freiermuth spends 27% of his snaps there and leads the team in yards receiving from slot alignment since Week 8. While Diontae Johnson only lines up in the slot 14.6% of the time, he still garners enough targets to consider.

Brady’s Buccaneers should take advantage of the 31st-ranked TE defense of the Cardinals. However, there is a near-even target share split between Cameron Brate and Cade Otton. The Cardinals are also ineffective against RBs, so Rachaad White (and/or Leonard Fournette if healthy) could be a quality play here. Keep the ball out of the tired old guy’s hands while attacking a glaring weakness of the opponent? A winning formula, Todd Bowles.

Can we trust any Cardinal? If there is one to try, it would be TE Trey McBride against Tampa Bay’s 28th-ranked TE defense. 

Waiver Wire Advice

Check out what my colleagues are saying about waiver pick-ups! If you need a QB, go get Gardner Minshew

Check in again next time for The Wednesday Watchman: Week 17.

(Data courtesy of SIS and TruMedia Networks)