DraftKings NFL: Week 16 Breakdown

DraftKings NFL: Week 16 Breakdown

This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.

Sunday's Week 16 Christmas Eve slate includes nine games and features Cowboys-Dolphins as the marquee matchup with the highest total. High salaries in that game make it difficult to stack. The Vikings will be the main source of chalk with Nick Mullens, Ty Chandler and Justin Jefferson expected to be the most popular at their respective positions. Keep that in mind for tournaments as you'll want leverage somewhere else if you choose to play them. This article highlights some of the top value for cash games and a few ideas for GPPs. Good Luck. 

Note: All prices listed come from DraftKings, but most of the logic can be applied to other sites across the DFS industry. Discussion is limited to players from the main slate of games kicking off at 1 p.m., 4:05 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. EST on Sunday. The strategy below is meant for large-field tournaments, where payouts typically are limited to ~20 percent of lineups, with the majority concentrated at the very top.

The Games

Over/UnderRoad TeamRoad 
Implied Total
Home TeamHome 
Implied Total
40Cleveland Browns21.25Houston Texans18.75
37.5Green Bay Packers21.25Carolina Panthers16.25
37Washington Commanders17New York Jets20
47Detroit Lions25Minnesota Vikings21.5
41.5Seattle Seahawks22Tennessee Titans19.5
45Indianapolis Colts21.25Atlanta Falcons23.75
41.5Jacksonville Jaguars19.25Tampa Bay Buccaneers22.25
43Arizona Cardinals19.5Chicago Bears23.5
50Dallas Cowboys24.5Miami Dolphins25.5

Point-Per-Dollar Value

These are the players with the best projections relative to their salaries — good plays both for cash games and large-field tournaments. While we don't want our GPP lineups to look like cash-game lineups top to bottom, there's nothing wrong with rostering some of the chalk.

Chandler has clearly emerged as the Vikings top running back after turning 26 touches into 157 yards and a touchdown last week against the Bengals. Coach Kevin O'Connell said Chandler will "absolutely" see a "featured" role in the offense. They don't really have much of a choice either with Alexander Mattison (ankle) expected to miss another game. Simply put, Chandler is priced too cheaply for that role in a home matchup against the Lions. Expect him to be the most popular RB as a result. He's a lock for cash games and a strong option for GPPs. 

Normally I'd highlight a WR here but not much stands out for value. McBride plays like a WR anyway. He's coming off 10 catches for 102 yards against a 49ers defense that normally shuts down TEs. It was his second 10-catch game since taking over as the starter in Week 8 and he's caught at least seven passes in four of the last five games. He projects better than the WRs in his salary range and he'll be the most popular TE in every format. For me, a near-lock in cash games and a great option in Justin Fields stacks for tournaments. 

Other Cash-Game Options

QB Justin Fields vs. ARI ($7,100)

QB Nick Mullens vs. DET ($5,300)

RB Rachaad White vs JAX ($7,400)

RB Jonathan Taylor at ATL ($7,200)

RB Bijan Robinson vs. IND ($6,300)

RB Breece Hall vs. WAS ($6,100)

RB Chuba Hubbard vs. GB ($5,700)

RB Ty Chandler vs. DET ($5,600)

RB Devin Singletary vs. CLE ($5,500)

WR Justin Jefferson vs. DET ($8,100)

WR Michael Pittman at ATL ($7,400)

WR DJ Moore vs. ARI ($6,900)

WR DeAndre Hopkins vs. SEA ($6,100)

WR Garrett Wilson vs. WAS ($5,800)

TE Trey McBride at CHI ($5,700)

D/ST New York Jets vs. WAS ($3,100)

D/ST Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. JAX ($2,600), if Trevor Lawrence is out

Passing-Game Stacks

Stacks are the centerpiece of most tournament lineups, seeking to take advantage of positive correlations between players. It rarely makes sense to use a quarterback without one or two of his pass catchers, even if the player in question scores a decent portion of his fantasy points with his legs. Ideally, a stack also includes a pass catcher from the other side of the game, hoping to take advantage of a back-and-forth shootout. (Implied team totals are listed in parentheses.)

Dallas Cowboys (24.5) at Miami Dolphins (25.5)

COWBOYS

Dallas laid an egg in Buffalo last week and now find itself with something to prove at Miami. It's the highest-total game of the week and most likely to shoot out. The Cowboys push one of the fastest paces in the league and rank fourth in explosive play rate. Prior to getting shut down by the Bills, Dak Prescott ($7,900) had been great this season. So good that he was MVP favorite heading in. He's hardly going to be popular at all this week as the most expensive QB on the board, which means it's a great time to roster him if you think the Cowboys' offense bounces back. CeeDee Lamb ($9,200) has at least one touchdown in six consecutive games and has the type of ceiling that can really separate when you consider the lack of elite options at RB and QB. He and Jake Ferguson ($4,800) are the Cowboys pass catchers in whom I have interest. Ferguson has caught at least five passes in three consecutive games, drawing eight targets in each and is expected to be less than 10 percent owned. 

DOLPHINS

Miami plays at a relatively slow pace but ranks second in explosive-play rate and is expected to have Tyreek Hill ($9,600) back after he missed last week with a sprained ankle. Expect a heavy dose of Raheem Mostert ($7,300) and De'Von Achane ($7,100), at least early. The Dolphins like to run and the Cowboys defense was just gashed for 266 yards on the ground by James Cook and company last week. That's part of the reason I don't have a much interest in Tua Tagovailoa ($7,800). He hasn't shown a consistent enough ceiling to justify the salary, having topped 25 fantasy points just once since Week 3. Still, the fact that almost no one is going to roster him makes it intriguing and I'd support anyone who wanted to take a chance. Jaylen Waddle ($7,800) excelled in Hill's absence last week, catching eight passes for 142 yards and a score. He's really only had two decent games all season when Hill has been healthy, though, and I find it difficult to pay his salary now that it's climbed to a season high. I'd rather take a chance on Hill, especially because he's expected to be much lower owned than usual. If he's healthy enough to start, his ceiling is higher than any player on the slate. 

  • Favorite Cowboys Stack 1: QB Prescott + WR Lamb or WR Hill + TE Ferguson
  • Favorite Cowboys Stack 2: QB Prescott + RB Achane + WR Lamb + TE Ferguson
  • Favorite Dolphins Stack: QB Tagovailoa + WR Hill + TE Ferguson

Detroit Lions (25) at Minnesota Vikings (21.5)

LIONS

Lions games in domes are usually a good bet to produce points. Only Dolphins games have averaged more points this season. After a midseason hiccup, Jared Goff ($6,900) looked back to his best last week when he threw for five TDs against Denver. What makes him and the Lions most interesting is that they won't be popular, with the exception of Amon-Ra St. Brown ($8,200), who's expected to be moderately owned. Jahmyr Gibbs ($7,000) and David Montgomery ($6,900) are two of the better leverage options at RB. I prefer Gibbs as he's more explosive and coming off 100-plus yards and two TDs against the Broncos. Sam LaPorta ($6,400) has posted two ceiling games in his last three and almost no one is going to roster him as the most expensive TE.

VIKINGS

Nick Mullens ($5,300) is going to be one of the two most popular QBs on the slate after throwing for 303 yards and two TDs last week against the Bengals in his first start for Minnesota. It makes sense when you consider the bargain price tag and that the Lions rank near the bottom of the league defending the pass. A healthy-again Justin Jefferson ($8,100) will be popular as well. He caught seven of 10 targets for 84 yards last week and stands out because he's much cheaper than Hill or Lamb. He and Mullens is a relatively chalky pairing but you could easily gain leverage by adding Gibbs or LaPorta to the stack. Ty Chandler ($5,700) will be the chalk at RB after his massive game against the Bengals. He ran for 132 yards and a TD on 23 carries while catching three passes for 25 yards. The cheap salary and involvement in the passing game mean he can be paired with either QB. Jordan Addison ($6,000) proved he has ceiling potential without Kirk Cousins after catching six for 111 yards and two scores in Mullens' first start. He won't be overly popular and would be a leverage pivot off Jefferson. T.J. Hockenson ($5,800) makes sense for similar reasons and won't be nearly as popular as Trey McBride for the same salary. 

  • Favorite Lions Stack: QB Goff + RB Chandler + WR St. Brown +/- TE LaPorta or RB Gibbs
  • Favorite Vikings Stack 1: QB Mullens +/- RB Chandler + WR Jefferson + RB Gibbs or TE LaPorta
  • Favorite Vikings Stack 2: QB Mullens + RB Gibbs + WR Jefferson + TE Hockenson

Other Stacks to Consider

QB Justin Fields + WR DJ Moore + TE Trey McBride

QB Justin Fields + RB James Conner + WR DJ Moore + TE Cole Kmet

QB Kyler Murray + WR DJ Moore + TE Trey McBride

QB Baker Mayfield + WR Mike Evans/WR Chris Godwin + WR Calvin Ridley or TE Evan Engram

QB Gardner Minshew + RB Bijan Robinson or WR Drake London + WR Michael Pittman

QB Joe Flacco + RB Devin Singletary + WR Amari Cooper and/or TE David Njoku

High-Priced Heroes

I'm highlighting Hill because he's expected to be the least popular of the expensive WRs, something we haven't seen all season, and he's normally the opposite. Justin Jefferson ($8,100) projects as the better option because he's so much cheaper but that also means he'll be considerably more popular. The Cowboys play man coverage and no one is better against it than Hill. I'm willing to take a chance on one of the rare slates where he can actually be rostered for leverage. 

I never thought we'd have slate where White is the most expensive running back but he deserves to be based on how good and consistent he's been. White has 23-plus touches, 100-plus scrimmage yards and a touchdown in three consecutive games and he's now gone nine consecutive games with at least 15 fantasy points. Tampa Bay is home favorites against a Jacksonville team likely without Trevor Lawrence. Assuming that's the case, the game-script sets up for White to have another 20-plus touches and plenty of opportunity in the red zone. 

Honorable Mentions: WR Justin Jefferson ($8,200); WR Amon-Ra St. Brown ($8,100)

Fading the Field

It's difficult for me to include Lamb because he's such an elite talent who can put up a ceiling score in any matchup, but my decision to fade him Sunday is threefold. First, the Dolphins present a stiff test in that they have two stand-out cornerbacks in Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard, meaning maybe Lamb's ceiling isn't quite as high as usual. Second, he's expensive and pairing him with a priced-up Dak Prescott requires concessions. And third, there are other expensive WRs I'd rather get exposure too. It's a good spot for Justin Jefferson and Amon-Ra St. Brown, and I've mentioned that Tyreek Hill offers a leverage opportunity. Twenty points from Lamb isn't going to hurt you and it isn't going to win a tournament either. 

The Smash Spot

(Players in favorable spots to significantly outperform their salary.)

The home matchup against Arizona is about as good as it gets for Fields. The Cardinals don't have a sack in the last three games as they really struggle to get pressure on the QB. We just saw Brock Purdy have all day to throw against this defense and he torched them like many have this season. Fields should be able to do whatever he wants in this spot and that includes running the ball, which is the reason that he has the highest ceiling of any QB on the slate. Without the likes of Allen, Hurts and Mahomes, Fields could provide separation at the position if he goes off for 30-plus.

Honorable Mentions: WR DJ Moore ($6,900); WR Amari Cooper ($6,400)

The Bargain Bin

QB Baker Mayfield vs. JAX ($6,000)

QB Geno Smith at TEN ($5,800)

QB Joe Flacco at HOU ($5,500)

QB Nick Mullens vs. DET ($5,300)

QB Taylor Heinicke vs. IND ($4,800)

RB James Conner at CHI ($5,900)

RB Chuba Hubbard vs. GB ($5,700)

RB Ty Chandler vs. DET ($5,600)

RB Devin Singletary vs. CLE ($5,500)

WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba at TEN ($4,500)

WR Dontayvion Wicks at CAR ($4,300)

WR Parker Washington at TB ($3,800)

WR Michael Wilson at CHI ($3,700)

WR Jameson Williams at MIN ($3,700)

WR Jonathan Mingo vs. GB ($3,600)

WR Rondale Moore at CHI ($3,500)

TE Cole Kmet vs. ARI ($4,400)

TE Tucker Kraft at CAR ($3,700)

TE Chigoziem Okonkwo vs. SEA ($3,100)

Injuries to Monitor

Lawrence is questionable to play as he works his way through concussion protocol. If he plays, it's a great spot for him and his pass-catchers against Tampa Bay's pass-funnel defense. If C.J. Beathard starts, I'll have interest in the Buccaneers D/ST ($2,600).

Reed hasn't practiced all week due to a toe injury and considered questionable. Christian Watson (hamstring) is doubtful while Luke Musgrave (abdomen) has been ruled out. If Reed ends up missing, Romeo Doubs ($5,300) and Dontayvion Wicks ($4,300) would be the top two WRs for the Packers. Wicks would look like of the better cheap values at WR after catching six passes for 97 yards last week.

Weather

  • As of Friday afternoon, there's nothing of real concern. The outdoor games should stay dry and without much wind. 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Belongia
Ryan is the top-ranked DFS soccer player on RG, reigning King of the Pitch Champion at DraftKings and 2021 finalist for FSWA's Soccer Writer of the Year.
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