As we head into the weekend, be sure to check out all the content rolling onto the Rotoworld Daily page. Here’s a list of articles looking at the FanDuel NFL Week 16 slate. I will be updating as new columns are added, so consider this section as the DFS Table of Contents.
FanDuel NFL Bargains by Renee Miller
QB/RB Grind Down by Stephen Young
NFL DFS Starting Points by Renee Miller
FanDuel NFL Stacks by Spencer Limbach
FanDuel NFL 6-Pack by Chris Prince
FantasyLabs NFL Pivots by Matthew Freedman
RotoGrinders NFL Primer by Stephen Keech (coming soon)
FanDuel NFL Fades by Renee Miller (coming soon)
WR/TE Grind Down by Josh Lewis (coming soon)
Rotoworld Rankings vs DFS Pricing by Rich Hribar (coming Saturday)
Now onto the FanDuel NFL Must Plays for week 16!
Just a reminder, this column includes only Sunday games, as that’s considered the main slate on FanDuel.
PLATINUM: Build your lineup around these guys
Cam Newton – QB – Carolina (FanDuel Price: $8,300)
Cam makes his second-straight appearance in this column, looking to replicate his 31 FP upside from last week. The matchup certainly plays to his favor. Tampa Bay ranks 31st in overall DVOA and 29th in DVOA against the pass. Carolina is still battling for a playoff spot, likely pulling no punches while helping their cause this weekend. You can look to pair Cam with one of his receivers (Funchess, McCaffrey, Byrd, Olsen) or simply roster him alone.
Todd Gurley – RB – St. Louis (FanDuel Price: $9,100)
The matchup doesn’t necessarily look good on paper, but Gurley has thrived in far worse draws over the past month. His 44 FP performance at Seattle last week serves as the primary exhibit. The Rams should continue to call his number while checking in as nearly seven point road favorites at Tennessee. Gurley has been solid in the passing game as well, and the Titans rank 31st in DVOA for receiving from the running back position.
GOLD: Next wave to consider in terms of priority
Mike Evans – WR – Tampa Bay (FanDuel Price: $7,000)
This Panthers-Buccaneers matchup could be a high-scoring shootout with plenty of fantasy goodness. Carolina has been flailing in the secondary as of late, giving up the following stat-lines to opposing top receivers: Robby Anderson 5-146-2, Michael Thomas 5-70-1, Adam Thielen 6-105-1, Davante Adams 5-57-1. Evans seemed to rekindle some chemistry with QB Jameis Winston last week, recording five receptions (eight targets) for 79 yards and a score (16.4 FP). The Bucs will rely heavily on their passing attack to keep pace with Carolina, and Evans should see plenty of chances to make some fantasy noise. You have to love the discounted salary as well, given that most legitimate WR1’s are $8000 and above.
Travis Kelce – TE – Kansas City (FanDuel Price: $7,000)
The one and only time I rostered Travis Kelce this season (12/10 vs Oakland) he dropped a sure touchdown, had one reversed via replay, and got another called back due to penalty. You have been warned. However, the matchup potential vs Miami is undeniable, as the Dolphins rank 27th against the pass and 28th in DVOA vs opposing tight ends. On top of that, the salary has drastically fallen for Kelce, creating a clear discount from top option Rob Gronkowski ($8400). I’m comfortable with rostering the Kansas City tight end as long as you aren’t stretching the rest of your lineup.
SILVER: Good options that narrowly rank ahead of similar players
Jarvis Landry – WR – Miami (FanDuel Price: $6,800)
On the other side of this Kansas City-Miami game, the Dolphins will likely fall into pass-heavy mode as 10 point road underdogs. That’s where Jarvis Landry comes in, as the prospect of garbage time really enhances his fantasy value. Landry has looked really good over the past two games, even with RB Kenyan Drake stealing the show on offense. Giving Landry a more favorable game-script against a Kansas City team that ranks 31st in DVOA vs WR1’s seems like an excellent time to deploy him on FanDuel.
Dion Lewis – RB – New England (FanDuel Price: $6,700)
Rex Burkhead is doubtful this weekend. Mike Gillislee has been activated, but we aren’t sure how much work he’ll see after not playing for nearly two months. As a result, Dion Lewis should see plenty of opportunities against a Buffalo team that ranks 28th in DVOA against the run. New England checks in as 12 point home favorites, looking to lean heavily on the running game if they build an early lead. Lewis has always been a quality receiver out of the backfield, and that role should expand with Burkhead likely sidelined.
BRONZE: Not 100% necessities, but they mix well into a quality lineup
Keelan Cole – WR – Jacksonville (FanDuel Price: $5,300)
It’s hard to believe that Cole is still this cheap. After all, he has racked up 13 receptions, 334 yards, and three touchdowns combined over the past three weeks. Last Sunday vs Houston was easily his most impressive performance of the season, recording a sweet 7-186-1 line for 28.1 fantasy points. It’s not a coincidence that fellow receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns missed that game, leaving Cole with more targets. Lee is doubtful and Hurns is highly questionable for Sunday’s matchup at San Francisco, so expect Cole to see more work against a 49ers team that ranks 31st in DVOA vs the pass. I’d roster Cole even if Hurns ends up playing, as the salary/upside/matchup combination is difficult to pass up.
Eric Ebron – TE – Detroit (FanDuel Price: $5,200)
I’m playing with an alternate lineup path that involves going cheap at tight end, then upgrading Dion Lewis to Fournette or Hunt at running back. Eric Ebron makes the first part of that strategy possible. I fully understand how shaky of a DFS proposition Ebron actually is. However, there are plenty of things playing in his favor this weekend: 1) He has confidence while combining for 18 targets, 15 receptions, 127 yards, and a touchdown over the past two weeks. 2) The matchup is really nice, as Cincinnati ranks 30th in DVOA against opposing tight ends. 3) You really can’t beat the salary for a guy who seems to be trending up.
PARTICIPATION RIBBONS: Fell just short of a featured spot
Michael Thomas – WR – New Orleans (FanDuel Price: $8,200)
I like Michael Thomas this week, but he’s not an absolute must spend at this salary. If you have the cap space to make him fit, then by all means make it happen. Thomas has been surging over the past few weeks, posting one of his best games against the same Falcons team he’ll see on Sunday (10-117-1). The significant opportunity cost at wide receiver makes Thomas more of a nice play than a necessity.
Kareem Hunt – RB – Kansas City (FanDuel Price: $8,300)
Hunt has resumed his early-season ways over the past two weeks, racking up 21 and 36 fantasy points respectively. There’s room for more of the same while Kansas City steps in as double-digit favorites against Miami.
Chicago Bears Defense (FanDuel Price: $4,800)
I’m leaning towards Chicago’s defense for my FanDuel lineups, as they have a nice home matchup against the turnover-prone Cleveland offense. The Chargers (at Jets) and Cardinals (vs Giants) are two other defenses I’m strongly considering for Sunday’s slate.
Greg Olsen – TE – Carolina (FanDuel Price: $6,600)
The tight end position is surprisingly deep on Sunday. If you have reservations about Travis Kelce, or don’t quite have the salary to make him happen, then Greg Olsen is a confident fallback option. The pairing of Cam Newton and Olsen shows promise, especially after the Carolina tight end displayed some nifty catches en route to 22 FP (9-116-1) last week. The Buccaneers rank 20th in DVOA vs the tight end position.
The Kicker Conundrum
I’m looking towards a couple of the usual suspects here. Harrison Butker ($4900) should see plenty of opportunities to keep his heater of 31 FP over the past two weeks alive … Meanwhile, Robbie Gould ($4800) has been money in the bank ever since Jimmy Garoppolo has taken over as San Francisco’s quarterback. This is a tough matchup vs Jacksonville, but Gould should still be called upon a reasonable amount.