DraftKings NFL: Week 16 Saturday Breakdown

DraftKings NFL: Week 16 Saturday Breakdown

This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.

With Christmas on Sunday, we get the main slate bumped up a day. It's the inverse schedule of Week 15, with three games still remaining Sunday as well as the typical Thursday and Monday primetime games. That leaves us with 10 games. We'll discuss the weather in more detail shortly, but it is expected to have an outsized impact on offenses, which is reflected in current game totals.

The Games

TotalAway TeamAway TotalHome TeamHome Total


Weather is usually a relative afterthought, perhaps a mild concern in a game or two. This week, there's the potential for it to wreak havoc both on DFS and traditional fantasy formats. As we saw last week in Buffalo, the potential impact can be overblown and create a buying opportunity, so keep a close eye on things as lock approaches, even if the forecast looks terrible for the time being. Check out our weather page for the latest on gameday. There are a number of games likely to see offense suppressed this weekend.

  • New Orleans at Cleveland

The wind chill is projected to be between -10 and -9 degrees during the game with wind gusts in the mid-40 mph range.

  • Buffalo at Chicago

This could be a game where the weather clears out in time for the game. The National Weather Service's current winter storm warning in Chicago expires Saturday at 7 a.m. EST, so it's possible the field and conditions are fine by kickoff. The game total seems to be baking in weather risk, so we'll assume the weather holds offenses in check for purposes of this article.

  • Games in Baltimore, Carolina, New England, Kansas City and Tennessee project to be cold. That's nearly half the games on the main slate, so I'm not making major adjustments on those games for the time being.

Point-Per-Dollar Value

These are the players with the best projection relative to their price point. Using a combination of the best point-per-dollar plays is an ideal way to build cash lineups and is a strong way to build a core in tournaments contests.

It's not often we see a quarterback as a standout point-per-dollar play, but we also don't see competent starting quarterbacks priced at $4,800 either. The RotoWire projection has Minshew projected for 19.96 DK points, and other popular projection systems around the industry have him in a comparable range. Context is also important when considering Minshew. Josh Allen and Justin Fields are among the top quarterback options on the slate and may be affected by the weather. Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts are both out. Patrick Mahomes is the remaining quarterback who consistently puts up elite results that also has a positive projected game environment. Paying up for Mahomes is also a strong play, but the relative gap in projected points is small compared to other positions when considering a price difference of  $3,600.

Moore has disappointed most of the season, but he has a rapport with Sam Darnold. In three games with Darnold as signal caller, Moore posted 23.3, 0.6 and 18.3 DK points. Those results alone highlight the risk and reward associated with rostering Moore. Part of that risk comes from the Panthers' desire to run the ball, but if they hope to win and keep their slim playoff hopes alive, they'll have to get more aggressive through the air against Detroit. The Lions are likely to put up points against the Carolina defense and rank 22nd in pass defense DVOA for the season. They've also allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

Other Cash-Game Options

QB Patrick Mahomes ($8,400) vs. SEA
QB Joe Burrow ($7,000) at NE 
QB Geno Smith ($5,800) at KC

RB Christian McCaffrey ($8.800) vs. WAS
RB Derrick Henry ($8,600) vs. HOU
RB Dalvin Cook ($7,200) vs. NYG
RB Jerick McKinnon ($5,900) vs. SEA
RB J.K. Dobbins ($5,800) vs. ATL

WR DK Metcalf ($7,100) at KC
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5,800) vs. SEA
WR Marquise Goodwin ($4,300) at KC

TE Dallas Goedert ($4,500) at DAL 
TE Noah Fant ($3,400) at KC

DST Houston ($2,500) at TEN

Passing-Game Stacks

Stacks are a powerful way to give your lineup first-place equity due to correlation. Instead of attempting to predict nine things correctly, you can reduce that number significantly by stacking. Typically, the most popular stacks come from the team with the highest game totals or implied team totals, but finding a team with condensed target rates — even in a projected poor game environment — can accomplish the same goal and perhaps be more under the radar.

Seattle Seahawks (19.75) at Kansas City Chiefs (29.75)

This game isn't going to sneak by anyone, as it has the highest game total of the slate. Each side has its own intrigue. Kansas City requires little explanation, as it has the best passing quarterback in the league powering the offense and only relatively minor weather concerns. The common narrative is that we don't know which pass catcher Mahomes will latch onto in a given week, but Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4,300) has topped five targets just once since Week 6. With Mecole Hardman still sidelined, Travis Kelce ($8,000) and JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5,800) have the highest probability of posting an elite score, and Smith-Shuster's price doesn't reflect his chances of doing so.

On the other side of the matchup, targets should consolidate with Tyler Lockett sidelined. That leaves DK Metcalf ($7,100) as the obvious top option, with Marquise Goodwin ($4,300) and Noah Fant ($3,400) as good salary-saving options.

The downside of this game is that it is projected to be chalky, probably even more so if the Buffalo-Chicago game is as snow impacted as forecast.

  • Favorite Stack: QB Mahomes + WR Smith-Schuster + WR Goodwin + TE Kelce
  • Alternative Stack: QB Smith + WR Metcalf +WR Goodwin + TE Kelce  

Lions (23) at Panthers (20.5)

This game should get less attention and carries more risk compared to SEA at KC. It's easy to see how this game turns into a shootout, however. Sam Darnold ($5,100) has attempted no more than 24 passes in his three starts, but there are two paths to him shattering that number this week. First is that the Lions are a pass-funnel defense. In the last five weeks, they've allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs and the most fantasy points per to quarterbacks. Obviously, coaches aren't paying attention to fantasy points per game, but it's fairly clear the strength of the Detroit defense is stopping the run. That should dictate Carolina's strategy. Even if it doesn't, expect the Lions to score relatively a lot of points. They have the fourth-highest implied team total on the slate, and if they score early, it should push Carolina into a more aggressive offensive gameplan.

Amon-Ra St. Brown ($7,800) is coming off a relative down performance but has among the best roles in the league. DJ Moore has already been discussed but is the clear top pass catcher in Carolina. DJ Chark ($4,200) and Josh Reynolds ($3,800) are extremely boom-bust options, but Chark in particular is a decent way to get exposure to the game at a cheap price. In Carolina, I'd target Terrace Marshall ($3,600). He's had diminished production due to lack of volume, but he could be the key value of this slate based on the projection for increased volume discussed above. For those in very large fields, pairing Moore and Chuba Hubbard ($4,900) is a cheap way to bet on the Panthers chasing points and their offensive production flowing through the passing stack.

  • Favorite Stacks: QB Jared Goff + WR St. Brown + WR Marshall 
                                   QB Darnold + WR St. Brown + WR Moore

Other Stacks to Consider

QB Kirk Cousins + WR Jefferson + WR Thielen
QB Joe Burrow + WR Higgins + WR Meyers
QB Dak Prescott + WR Lamb + WR A.J. Brown

High-Priced Heroes

RB Derrick Henry ($8,600) vs. HOU

Henry will be the chalk of the week, but rightly so. The Texans have allowed the most fantasy points per game to running backs this season, including the most rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. That said, this is likeliest to be a situation where it's optimal to ride the chalk, while finding other places to get different. The obvious risk is that the Titans can't get anything going with Malik Willis under center, but he started the first meeting between these teams this season and Henry put up 38.8 DK points.

RB Christian McCaffrey ($8,800) vs. WSH

This is the week of the high-priced running backs. The matchup is mediocre at best for McCaffrey, and realistically probably below average. Even at his elevated price, it's impossible to ignore the projected volume headed McCaffrey's way, as he's seen 25 and 32 touches in each of San Francisco's two relatively competitive games in the absence of Elijah Mitchell. Of those touches, 14 have come on receptions, and on a PPR site that creates an extremely safe floor with the opportunity for a ceiling performance. 

Fading the Field

WR Justin Jefferson ($9,300) vs. NYG

Without Cooper Kupp on the field, Jefferson has a pretty clear case to being the best fantasy wide receiver. The Giants are also a fine matchup on paper based on the number of fantasy points they allow per game to wide receivers. It's important to note how those points are distributed, though, as only one wide receiver (Terry McLaurin in Week 13) has topped 20 PPR points against them. Given that Jefferson is also the highest-priced player on DK this week and we want to jam in top running backs, there's a strong case to build rosters a different way. For those that want to play Jefferson, I'd want to bet that he and Dalvin Cook account for all of the scoring in a strong offensive performance for Minnesota in an unconventional stack. 

The Smash Spot

RB Dalvin Cook ($7,200) vs. NYG

In contrast to Jefferson, Cook has had a disappointing season overall. Even so, he continues to get elite usage and he's priced as one of the cheapest workhorse backs. Meanwhile, the Giants have allowed Jamaal Williams and Miles Sanders to put up ceiling games within the last five games. In that same span, they gave up a combined 23.1 fantasy points to Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.  

The Bargain Bin

QB Daniel Jones ($5,600) at MIN
QB Jared Goff ($5,400) at CAR
QB Sam Darnold ($5,100) vs. DET

RB Jerick McKinnon ($5,900) vs. SEA
RB J.K. Dobbins ($5,800) vs. ATL 
RB Chuba Hubbard ($4,900) vs. DET

WR DJ Chark ($4,200) at CAR
WR Demarcus Robinson ($4,000) vs. ATL
WR Richie James ($3,900) at MIN
WR Terrace Marshall ($3,600) vs. DET
WR Noah Brown ($3,600) vs. PHI

TE Daniel Bellinger ($3,300) at MIN
TE Isaiah Likely ($2,600) vs. ATL

Injuries to Monitor

  • Chase Claypool ($4,500) is doubtful for Saturday's game. I have no interest in him, so in that sense his absence would hardly be noteworthy for our purposes. But, with Equanimeous St. Brown out, targets could really condense around Byron Pringle ($3,100), Cole Kmet ($4,400) and potentially Dante Pettis ($3,200). Those guys are cheap, which creates an easy way to game stack BUF-CHI if the weather clears.
  • Brandin Cooks ($4,900) is trending toward playing for the first time since Week 12, and his price is at its lowest point of the season. With Nico Collins still out, Cooks should get targets in a pass-funnel matchup against Tennessee.
  • Treylon Burks ($4,600) practiced in full throughout the week, and his return likely will ding the involvement of Chigoziem Okonkwo ($3,500) and Austin Hooper ($3,100).
  •  Kenneth Walker ($6,400) didn't practice all week but is expected to play. This feels like a situation where the rug gets pulled out from under us when inactives are released, so I'm watching closely.

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. Dan Marcus plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: marcusd91 DraftKings: dmarcus87.
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Dan Marcus
Dan started covering fantasy sports in 2015, joining Rotowire in 2018. In addition to Rotowire, Dan has written for Baseball HQ and Rotoballer.
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