We have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day football here in Week 16, but I will be focusing on the main Sunday slate for this article. It’s come to the time of the season when we really have to pay attention to who is still playing for something and who might already be out of playoff contention. Some of the teams with no chance could feature players that haven’t played much at all this season. This presents us with a nice edge in DFS for Week 16.
Cash Game Targets
Russell Wilson @ Dallas Cowboys
This is one of the most meaningful games of the weekend, as both of these teams are in must-win spots. The NFC is a close race, and there is little chance the loser will make the playoffs. Wilson is the entire offense for the Seahawks, so he’s the best chance they have to win this game. The Cowboys have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in six of the last seven games, and they've allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per game this season. They’re also ranked 20th in DVOA against QBs overall. Wilson and the Seahawks struggled against the Rams last weekend, but this is a perfect bounce-back spot for him, and he's still had at least 24 fantasy points in four of the last five games. This late in the season, I try to pay up for players that are in meaningful games, so we should be targeting Wilson heavily.
Cam Newton vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Like Wilson, Newton is taking part in an important game. The NFC South has three teams that could still win the division this late in the season. As for the matchup, Tampa Bay ranks 29th in DVOA against the pass and is allowing the 13th-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. Newton has provided a solid floor with his rushing ability, as he has at least 50 yards rushing in five of the last six games, while piling up five rushing touchdowns this season. Because of the floor from the rushing yards, as well as the upside of his passing production, Newton is one of my favorite quarterbacks this weekend. He has at least 15 fantasy points in six straight games, and I like his chances to put up at least 15 fantasy points for the seventh straight time.
Alex Smith vs. Miami Dolphins
If you want to pivot off Wilson or Newton in GPPs, Smith is another quarterback that I like a lot this weekend. The Chiefs are one game up on the Chargers, so they control their own destiny. The Dolphins have been playing much better on defense, but I still think Smith is a strong tournament play here. Miami struggles against tight ends, meaning Kelce could have a monster game against them this weekend. The Dolphins have allowed at least one passing touchdown in all but one game this season, and they’re ranked 27th in DVOA against the pass. Smith has been hit or miss in general, but he’s been playing a lot better lately because the running game is doing well. I like his upside in this matchup, and if Kareem Hunt gets going again, look for Smith to excel too.
Tyrod Taylor @ New England Patriots
As a common trend in this article, I’m looking at Taylor in a must-win game for the Bills. Buffalo could still make the playoffs with a loss this weekend to the Pats, but they’d really be sitting pretty with a win. Taylor struggled in the first meeting against New England, but he looked good in his return last weekend against the Dolphins. And while it started to look like this New England defense had turned the corner, they’ve allowed five passing touchdowns over the last two games. Meanwhile, Taylor has a rushing touchdown in four of the last seven games, and they even had designed run plays for him last weekend against Miami. In this must-win spot, I think Taylor has the upside to win a GPP, but just know there’s also a lot of risk.
Cash Game Targets
Todd Gurley @ Tennessee Titans
Last weekend I wrote Gurley up as a GPP play, and I hope you all played him. I talked about how McVay had said he wanted to get Gurley more involved, which I didn’t think was possible before watching him dominate the Seahawks. Gurley has now been top 10 in fantasy points among running backs in seven of the last eight weeks, and without Le'Veon Bell on the main slate, Gurley is the running back to pay up for in cash games this weekend. He’s third in rushing yards and second in receiving yards among running backs, and he also leads all running backs with 17 total touchdowns this season. The Rams have also been the best run blocking team in the NFL. As you can tell, I love Gurley against the Titans this weekend.
Dion Lewis vs. Buffalo Bills
The Bills run defense has been awful lately, so I’m going to keep picking on them every week. With Burkhead likely out for the rest of the regular season, Lewis could possibly see a little more work out of the backfield. Buffalo ranks 28th in DVOA against the run and 18th in DVOA against pass-catching backs. The Bills are also allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. They’ve allowed at least 100 yards rushing in five of the last seven games, while surrendering 12 rushing touchdowns in that span. I like Lewis to get 12-15 carries in this matchup, and I think he has 15-20 fantasy point upside.
Devonta Freeman @ New Orleans Saints
This is the biggest game of the weekend, as the Falcons control their own destiny with a win in New Orleans this weekend. With Julio Jones getting shadowed by one of the best corners in football, Freeman could be looking at more work out of the backfield. Tevin Coleman is still in the concussion protocol, and if he were to miss this game, Freeman would become an even better play. The Saints are ranked fourth in DVOA against the pass this season, but they rank 26th in DVOA against the run. You have to attack this team on the ground, and Freeman is the type of back that can have a good game against them. He had 194 total yards last weekend against Tampa with Coleman out.
Christian McCaffrey vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I was a little worried McCaffrey would see a decrease in targets with Greg Olsen back, but he saw seven targets against the Packers last weekend. I like McCaffrey more on DraftKings in Week 16 because of his PPR ability, and it doesn't hurt that we just saw Devonta Freeman have a massive game against this defense. The Bucs are ranked 21st in DVOA against the run and 21st in DVOA against pass-catching running backs. Tampa is also allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season. With the Panthers in a fight for the division, I’d expect them to dominate the Bucs this weekend.