As usual, the goal of this article is simple. At the end of the week, we’re taking our composite staff rankings from our Season Pass section in Week 16 and comparing those rankings as it pertains to players we see as starting caliber options to the pricing across the two major DFS sites in hopes of discovering some value. This week, pricing was the closest to our ranks as it’s been all season, with the largest gaps being credited to injury replacements, so some of these are a bit tighter than usual.
Cam Newton – QB1
FanDuel: QB5 ($8,300) DraftKings: QB3 ($6,800)
Newton not only is our top quarterback on the board this week, but he is the consensus QB1 among all rankers. Over his six games since the Kelvin Benjamin trade, Newton has thrown 11 touchdown passes to just one interception while averaging a robust 64.7 rushing yards per game over that span with another two scores on the ground. Tampa Bay allows 30.3 points per game on the road this season, the most in the league and they get absolutely no pressure on the quarterback, something that Newton has struggled with over his career. Tampa Bay is last in the league in sack rate at 3.5 percent of opponent dropbacks and allows a league-high 278.6 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks on the season.
Matthew Stafford – QB6
DraftKings: QB11 ($6,200)
DraftKings has priced Stafford priced on the cusp of being a QB1 this week after posting four straight QB2 scoring performances. This is a good week for Stafford to get back up to QB1 status against a Bengals team that is just playing out the season at this point for a coach they already know is leaving once next week closes. The Bengals have lost back to back games by 24 or more points for the first time since 2008. Cincinnati has allowed 17.8 points per game to opposing quarterbacks since their Week 6 bye after allowing 10.8 per game prior and have allowed four straight QB1 weeks, including ones to DeShone Kizer and Mitchell Trubisky over that span.
Melvin Gordon – RB5
DraftKings: RB9 ($7,200)
After a stretch of RB2 scoring weeks, Gordon returned to RB1 status last week with 169 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. That return to lead fantasy back status was due to an increased use in the passing game as he caught six passes for 91 yards on eight targets after having just 85 yards receiving over his previous seven games while averaging just 3.7 targets per game over that span. That receiving work should roll over as Austin Ekeler suffered a broken hand and is questionable to play and even if he does, is sporting a full cast on his left hand. Ekeler was running 14.4 routes per game over that seven-game sample we previously mentioned for Gordon when his receiving work was depressed. Outside of the receiving boost, Gordon also is getting a ton of volume on the ground, averaging 20.2 carries per week over his past five games with a low of 19 in a game.
FanDuel: RB50 ($5,000) DraftKings: RB67 ($3,500) / FanDuel: RB68 ($4,500) DraftKings: RB82 ($3,000)
Not everyone has updated their ranks quite yet at the time of this post, but those who have updated have each back moved to RB3 status or higher.
With Samaje Perine missing practice Thursday and Friday, Bibbs is looking like he’ll be in for an increased workload after turning six touches into 53 total yards last week, with a perfectly called and executed screen pass that he took 36-yards to the house. While Bibbs is near the min and offers a cheap source of receptions, his matchup isn’t strong on the ground. Denver is sixth in rushing yardage allowed to backfields and fourth in yards per carry. Yhe Broncos have allowed 90 yards rushing on 36 carries over the past two weeks to oppoisng runnin g backs with Domata Peko returning to the lineup. At this stage of the season, we can’t rule out rookie Leshun Daniels working his way into the mix in the rushing game, but Bibbs has appeal on full-PPR sites at his cost over a site such as FanDuel.
Kerwynn Williams returned to a limited practice on Friday, but if he’s unable to play on Sunday, Penny is cheaper than Bibbs, has higher scoring odds and has a better matchup. Penny already has been receiving the rushing opportunities near the goal line, with three carries inside of the 10-yard line over the past three games to just one for Williams and the only Arizona rushing touchdown over that span. The Giants’ rushing defense has also not traveled well, allowing 25-130-2 to Oakland backs, 24-100-0 to Washington and 27-153-1 lines to San Francisco backs on the road since their Week 8 bye. Penny will concede receiving work to D.J. Foster regardless, but if Williams is inactive on Sunday, he is punt play with touchdown appeal.
Mike Evans – WR9
FanDuel: WR19 ($7,000) DraftKings: WR13 ($6,400)
Evans has yet to post a 100-yard receiving game on the season, but he did find the end zone last week for the first time since Week 7 last Monday. This week, he gets a favorable matchup in a game where the Buccaneers will be without DeSean Jackson, which could push more work in his direction. Opposing wide receivers have scored 59.4 percent (19-of-32) of the touchdowns scored by skill players against the Cowboys, the highest share in the league. 53.5 percent of the fantasy points scored against the Panthers has been posted by opposing wide receivers, the highest rate in the league. The Panthers have allowed five WR1 scoring weeks over their past four games and seven touchdowns to opposing wideouts over the four games since their Week 11 bye.
Doug Baldwin – WR12
DraftKings: WR19 ($6,300)
Baldwin has not gotten a lot of opportunity as of late with more than three receptions in just two of his past six games, but has made the most with that small amount of opportunity as he still has 70 yards or a touchdown in six of his past nine games. Always known to be a receiver to have large spike weeks on a moment’s notice, Baldwin is in a spot that can fuel one of those ceiling breakout games. No team has relied on passing touchdowns more than Seattle (88 percent of their offensive touchdowns) while passing touchdowns make up 79 percent of the offensive touchdowns scored against the Cowboys, the highest share in the league. Opposing wide receivers have 19 of those touchdowns, the most in the league. Baldwin also fits the archetype of receiver that has posted big games on the Cowboys this year as they’ve allowed 17 or more PPR points to Cooper Kupp, Jamison Crowder, Keenan Allen and Larry Fitzgerald this season, all whom primarily work out of the slot, where Baldwin runs 73 percent of his routes.
Jarvis Landry – WR14
FanDuel: WR24 ($7,000)
Even without a 100-yard receiving game on the season, Landry has been one the best week in and week out performers at the position. He’s the only player with at least five receptions in every game, but is not solely just a PPR asset this year, but one that is receiving high usage when Miami is near the end zone to make him viable on a site like FanDuel. Landry leads the league in touchdown receptions inside of the 10-yard line with eight on the year. This week, Landry draws a Chiefs secondary that has struggled to defend the slot, allowing double-digit points to opposing slot receivers in four of their five games since their Week 10 bye.
Cameron Brate – TE10
FanDuel: TE22 ($5,100) DraftKings: TE18 ($3,300)
With O.J. Howard placed on injured reserve, Brate will assume all the receiving work at the tight end position for the Buccaneers over the next two weeks. Over the past two seasons, only Jimmy Graham and Kyle Rudolph have scored more times than the 14 touchdowns Brate has at the position and even in part time work this season, Brate is tied for fourth for all tight ends with six touchdowns on the season. Carolina has trended downwards as a pass defense, allowing 278.7 passing yards per game with 13 touchdown passes over their past six games after allowing 201.6 yards per game with eight touchdowns over their first eight games. A play on chasing a touchdown, Carolina has allowed a tight end to score in each of the past two weeks and in three of their past five games while they will be without linebacker Thomas Davis.
Antonio Gates – TE16
FanDuel: TE32 ($4,500) DraftKings: TE33 ($2,500)
The 37-year old tight end is back on the fantasy radar to close the season after Hunter Henry was placed on injured reserve with a lacerated kidney. Gates in unlikely to inherent all of the 20.2 routes per game that Henry was getting, but at min price on both sites, he’s a punt play with scoring upside. The Jets have allowed the fourth-fewest receptions to opposing tight ends (3.8 per game), but have allowed the third-most touchdowns (eight) to the position.