Week 16 DFS Value Plays
Week 15 was another head-scratching doozy when it came to DFS, as the higher salaried guys didn’t return value at all. However, if you played some key players, you probably still won some cash (thank you, Gabriel Davis and Devante Parker)! As we’re nearing the end of the regular season, there are only a handful of slates left to play, and your time to win big is running out. Let me help you win some festive cash this weekend!
(Salaries are from DraftsKings’ Classic 11-Game slate for December 26, 2021.)
Joe Burrow vs. Baltimore Ravens ($5,900)
In Week 15, Joe Burrow did not look great against the Denver Broncos defense. He was fairly accurate, completing 15 of 22 passes, but he only threw for 157 yards and one touchdown. However, this week, Burrow gets a matchup against a depleted Ravens defense, and I think he bounces back in a big way. In his first matchup against the Ravens this season, Burrow completed 23/38 passes for a whopping 416 yards and three touchdowns, and that was against a healthy secondary. Over the past two weeks, however, Baltimore has given up 19.41 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and in Week 15, they lost their only healthy starting corner in Tavon Young. The only thing that could hold Burrow back would be a run-heavy game script, but I think against divisional opponents, the Bengals are going to keep their foot on the gas the entire game.
Justin Fields @ Seattle Seahawks ($5,200)
Look, Justin Fields hasn’t put up stellar numbers, but I think that can largely be blamed on his coaching staff. During Monday’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, the Bears took a run-heavy approach, only letting Fields loose in the fourth quarter. However, he finished the game completing 26 of 39 passes for 285 yards and a touchdown while adding another 35 rushing yards. Since losing Jamal Adams to injury and a couple of other key players to COVID, the Seahawks have given up 16.75 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Chicago isn’t going to have the option to rely on their run game to win this game for them, so I think Fields has a nice return on his salary this week.
Darnell Mooney @ Seattle Seahawks ($5,400)
You didn’t think I could give you value quarterbacks without giving you a receiver to stack with them, did you? Darnell Mooney has been a little quiet down the stretch, but like with Fields, I blame that on a run-heavy approach. In Week 15, Mooney saw seven targets, catching five for 53 yards. The other two targets were overthrown balls in the end zone, and had one of those been hauled in, his fantasy day would have looked a lot different. Mooney is facing cornerback Ugo Amadi if D.J. Reed doesn’t get activated from the Reserve/COVID list in time for Sunday’s matchup, and it’s a juicy one. There’s not much to go on as far as Amadi’s rankings because, well, he’s a backup, but what I can say is that this is a HUGE speed mismatch. Per PlayerProfiler.com, Amadi runs a 4.51 40 time, a speed that is in the 53rd percentile range, while Mooney runs a 4.38 40 time, good for 95th percentile. Since losing many of their key secondary players, Seattle has given up 42.9 fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position. As long as the Bears’ coaches incorporate more of the passing game in early, Mooney should have a game similar to the middle part of the season.
Tyler Boyd vs. Baltimore Ravens ($5,100)
Similar to Mooney and Fields, I like Tyler Boyd this week as a stack play with Joe Burrow. Despite last week’s poor offensive showing by the Bengals, Boyd was a bright spot, hauling in five receptions on six targets for 96 yards and a touchdown. I touched on it a bit under Burrow’s piece, but the Baltimore Ravens’ secondary is just decimated. Over the past two weeks, the Ravens have given up 35.55 fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position. They also lost slot cornerback Tavon Young to a concussion in Week 15’s matchup against the Green Bay Packers, and his status is up in the air for this week’s game. However, even if Young does suit up against Boyd, I like this matchup because I think the Ravens scheme to keep Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins locked up, allowing Boyd to do damage underneath.
Antonio Brown @ Carolina Panthers ($4,900)
In another week’s edition of “Eat the Chalk,” we have Antonio Brown. In Week 15, we saw Chris Godwin leave after suffering an ACL tear, Mike Evans leave due to a hamstring injury, and Leonard Fournette leave the game with a hamstring injury. Breshad Perriman is also out for Week 16’s matchup due to COVID, so Brown is a smash play for me. Yes, the Carolina Panthers have done well at defending the pass this season, ranking 6th overall, but they’ve slipped a little in recent weeks, coming in at 19th overall in the last four. In the five games he played this season, Brown averaged 19.1 PPR points per game, and that’s with two other alpha wide receivers and Rob Gronkowski in the mix. You can’t overlook the sheer volume that Brown is going to see in Week 16, and I love him at this salary.
Byron Pringle vs. Pittsburgh Steelers ($3,300)
In case you’ve been living under a rock the past two weeks, COVID is wreaking havoc on our fantasy rosters. The two latest big-time players are Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. While some reports have alluded to Kelce being vaccinated and having a chance to return against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16, we’re less certain about Hill. This would open opportunities for Byron Pringle, as well as fellow wide receivers Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson. I don’t necessarily like the matchup on its face against cornerback Joe Haden, but if Haden has a weakness, it’s in allowing 2.1 yards of receiver separation distance per target. Pringle has a sizeable speed advantage on Haden, running a 4.46 to Haden’s 4.62, so this matchup is exploitable. The volume should be there, and at $3,300, Pringle should annihilate value.
Ronald Jones @ Carolina Panthers ($5,100)
After Leonard Fournette’s hamstring injury in Week 15, head coach Bruce Arians crowned Ronald Jones the lead back in Tampa Bay. What the Carolina Panthers have in their secondary, the lack against the run, giving up 23.83 fantasy points per game and ranking 23rd over the past four weeks. After Fournette’s injury against the New Orleans Saints, Jones rushed eight times for 63 yards; he also caught two passes for an additional eight yards. I expect Antonio Brown to get the volume, I don’t expect the Bucs to force the ball into the hands of the other wide receivers on the roster. Instead, I think Tampa Bay utilizes a balanced run/pass scheme, with Ronald Jones being the primary beneficiary. Look for him to crush value at his salary.
Justin Jackson vs. Los Angeles Chargers ($4,200)
With Austin Ekeler taking limited snaps in Week 15, Justin Jackson racked up 86 yards on 13 attempts with one reception for 13 yards. It was thought that Ekeler would be a full go for Week 16, but, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before, he was placed on the reserve COVID list early this week. That leaves Jackson in a primo matchup against the Houston Texans and their putrid run defense. Over the past four weeks, the Texans have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs at 28.93 per game. If Ekeler remains on the COVID list, Jackson is a plug-and-play RB1, and he needs to be in every one of your daily lineups.
Cole Kmet @ Seattle Seahawks ($3,300)
The Seattle Seahawks’ defensive woes don’t end with guarding wide receivers; they’re also pretty terrible against the tight end. Over the past four weeks, the Seahawks have allowed 16.48 fantasy points per game, ranking 27th in the league. On the flip side, Cole Kmet has come on in his second year with the Chicago Bears. He’s been targeted five times or more in four games straight, and he was the Bears’ leading receiver in Week 15. In that matchup, Kmet was targeted nine times and caught six of them for 71 yards. With this kind of target share in a matchup this good, Kmet should smash value.
Kyle Rudolph vs. Philadelphia Eagles ($2,700)
If it seems like you just read about Kyle Rudolph being a value, you did; he was included in my Week 14 value plays. That week against the Chargers, he caught two passes for 66 yards, finishing with 8.6 PPR points. Sure, it’s not crazy, but it’s meeting or exceeding value, and that’s all you can ask from a value tight end play. This week, Rudolph faces off against the Philadelphia Eagles, who rank the worst on the season against the position, giving up 18.16 fantasy points per game. The receiving options on the Giants are few and far between, and there is some uncertainty at quarterback, but I think that benefits Rudolph and the underneath game. If you’re looking for a cheap flyer, take a shot at Rudolph…the tight end, not the reindeer.
There you have it! Let me know what you think and if a player cashes for you this week by following me on Twitter @Britt_Flinn. Good luck!