Here’s a breakdown of the two-game DFS slate for Week 16, which kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Cash Game Strategy
- Marcus Mariota, Titans: $5,500 DraftKings (vs. Redskins)
- Josh Johnson, Redskins: $7,000 FanDuel (at Titans)
There’s not much to like here: Lamar Jackson has a position-low floor against the Chargers’ eighth-ranked scoring defense after facing the five worst defenses in the league over his first five starts. Meanwhile, Philip Rivers is up against Baltimore’s second-ranked unit, Johnson has made six starts since being drafted in 2008 and Mariota threw for 88 yards last week.
From a roster construction standpoint, going with one of the cheaper quarterbacks makes sense, as both Mariota and Johnson are easily the highest-projected players in their salary range. Rivers has rushed for a grand total of four yards since the start of 2017, and his lack of rushing upside evens the playing field for his more mobile counterparts.
- Melvin Gordon, Chargers: $8,200 DraftKings; $8,600 FanDuel (vs. Ravens)
- Derrick Henry, Titans: $7,300 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel (vs. Redskins)
- Dion Lewis, Titans: $5,800 FanDuel (at Redskins)
Gordon was removed from the injury report after sitting out the past two games with a knee injury, and even against a stingy Ravens defense that ranks second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, Gordon is easily the highest-projected flex-eligible player on the slate.
Henry has gone straight bonkers over the past two weeks, carrying 50 times for 438 yards and six touchdowns. He gets another ideal matchup as a 10-point favorite against a leaky Washington run defense that ranks 29th in DVOA. Even with Henry going off, Lewis has still managed to log double-digit touches in each of the past two games. Because Lewis is used in the passing game, he’s preferable to someone like Gus Edwards, who is yet to catch a pass since Jackson took over as the starting quarterback.
- Keenan Allen, Chargers: $7,700 DraftKings; $8,400 FanDuel (vs. Ravens)
- Corey Davis, Titans: $6,300 DraftKings; $6,500 FanDuel
- Jamison Crowder, Redskins: $4,600 DraftKings; $5,600 FanDuel (at Titans)
- Taywan Taylor, Titans: $5,100 FanDuel (vs. Redskins)
Allen (hip) isn’t 100%, but is still the highest-projected wide receiver on the slate by a comfortable margin. Crowder is one of the last pass-catchers standing for the Redskins. Davis tends to be negatively impacted by his team being in positive game script, but he’s one of the 12 wide receivers in the league with an air-yard share of 35% or better and owns second-highest projection at his position for this slate. Taylor has flashed over the past three games, averaging 60.0 yards per game over that span and has the position’s top Projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel in our NFL Pro Models.
- Jeremy Sprinkle, Redskins: $2,500 DraftKings; $4,900 FanDuel (at Titans)
With both Jordan Reed (toe) and Vernon Davis (concussion) out, Sprinkle will start at tight end and has a chance to build on last week’s 3-19-1 line. The Titans have generally defended tight ends well, ranking fifth in DVOA, but it makes sense to punt with Sprinkle at minimum price on what has to be one of the ugliest tight end slates in recent memory.
- Titans: $3,400 DraftKings; $5,500 FanDuel (vs. Redskins)
The Chargers are viable here, too, but the Titans are the highest projected option at the position. The Titans have allowed just nine points over their past two games, including last week’s shutout of the Giants.
- Johnson will likely end up the lowest owned of the four quarterbacks on this slate, but our Models have him with the top projected ceiling at his position. Johnson has rushed 16 times for 94 yards and a touchdown over his past two games.
- Adrian Peterson has the fourth-highest projected ceiling on the slate and is a contrarian pivot off Henry.
- Kenneth Dixon is averaging 10.0 catches per game over the past three weeks and would benefit if the Ravens find themselves in more negative game script than usual in their toughest matchup to date. Dixon has seen his snap rate go from 21% to 34% to 52% over the past three games.
- Justin Jackson could end up with usage similar to Austin Ekeler (out-stinger) and also gives you leverage on Gordon.
- Baltimore could end up passing a few more times than they’ve needed to over the past few weeks, which puts John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead in good spots given their depressed price tags. Our Models have Brown pegged for top-three Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel, while Crabtree is top-three on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Snead is top-six on both sites and leads the team with 23 targets in the five games Jackson has started.
- Mike Williams will likely be in more a lot more lineups than Tyrell Williams due to recency bias, but Tyrell is projected within a point of Mike and will likely get less of Baltimore’s defensive attention than Mike after Mike went off last week.
- Antonio Gates has the best matchup among Chargers pass-catchers, as Baltimore ranks top-seven in DVOA against all positions except tight end.
- Though Luke Stocker led all Titans tight ends with a 55% snap rate last week, MyCole Pruitt (57%) and Anthony Firkser (21%) each ran 12 pass routes to Stocker’s six.
- Sharp money is on the Chargers and the under, making the Ravens an interesting contrarian play.
Let’s get this shmoney!
For more in-depth NFL analysis information, check out The Action Network.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs.
Chris Raybon is a Senior Editor at the Action Network and a co-host of “I’ll Take That Bet” on ESPN+. He has watched every snap of every NFL game since 2010 — even the kneel downs. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRaybon and read about how he quit his accounting job and got paid to watch sports.
Pictured above: Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports