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The A List at DFS Academy | NFL DFS Week 16

NFL DFS Week 16

The holiday season is already bringing gifts, as we get an extra day of football this weekend. Also, with Christmas on Sunday, the main slate has been moved to Saturday, reducing the amount of time we have to do our research and set our Cash lineups. 

Speaking of gifts, have you ever been casually happening about your house during the holidays and come across a gift hiding in plain sight? For example, I was looking for my earbud case last night and took a peak under the couch. Unexpectedly, I found an unfamiliar box. And not even tucked away in the back. Instead, this box was seemingly tossed under the end of the couch.

I turned to my partner and asked what this box was, thinking it could be an old empty box that just accidentally got kicked under the couch. You can imagine my surprise when she told me it was a gift for me. Now I have to spend the whole day working from home, resisting investigating it further!

But the point is, sometimes we just leave gifts lying around in plain sight, and it seems the DFS websites have done the same for this holiday weekend. We have Dalvin Cook below $7,500 on DraftKings and under $9,000 on FanDuel. Derrick Henry is just above $8,500 on DraftKings and under $10,000 on FanDuel. And there’s a slew of value receivers to enable us to pay big for these star running backs. Definitely feels like Christmas came early this year.

I hope everyone is getting some rest and relaxation during this holiday season. Best of luck in your fantasy playoffs if you’re still in them. As always, my DMs are open for feedback and questions, both on Twitter and Instagram.

Cash is in session.

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NFL DFS Week 16

NFL DFS Week 16

Teacher’s Pet NFL DFS Week 16

Dalvin Cook (DraftKings: $7,200 / FanDuel: $8,700)

Despite two consecutive weeks with a lost fumble, Dalvin Cook has continued to be a volume monster, recording at least 20 touches in three of his past four games. Yet, somehow his DraftKings price has remained under $7,500, despite the best matchup he has seen since Week 8. 

The Vikings matchup against the New York Giants, who have allowed at least 150 rush yards in each of their past four games. And, believe it or not, the Vikings are favored in this game, giving them the opportunity to run the clock out from ahead. 

Looking ahead a bit, Cook’s DraftKings price, combined with plenty of value at wide receiver, provides a rare opportunity to start both him and Derrick Henry. We’ll get to that later. 

NFL DFS Week 16

Honor Roll

Daniel Jones (DraftKings: $5,600 / FanDuel: $7,400)

Remember earlier in the year when we picked on the Detroit Lions every week? Well, we still do that from time to time, but recently they have been replaced by the Minnesota Vikings, who can seemingly slow down no one. Since Week 12, they are the 11th worst team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up at least 20 points per game. 

Daniel Jones has continued to be a serviceable fantasy quarterback this year. His dual-threat ability, along with the Vikings’ inability to stop opposing pass games, makes him an easy cash play.

Devin Singletary (DraftKings: $5,400 / FanDuel: $6,400)

I often tread lightly when it comes to weather talk. As any meteorologist will tell you (I mean, I assume they would), weather is hard to predict. Last week’s Buffalo game is a great example, where severe snow was expected, only for the most significant weather threat to be Bills fans throwing snowballs. 

But the wind is a different story. The Chicago area is expected to have 15-mile-per-hour winds with gusts up to 40 miles per hour. While I expect Buffalo to continue running their typical offense, I do expect a slight uptick in running, which will favor Devin Singletary. Further, Chicago has given up the 12th most points to running backs since Week 12. Singletary continues to consistently record at least 15 touches, which is enough for him to return on value. 

Amon-Ra St. Brown (DraftKings: $7,800 / FanDuel: $8,400)

As has been alluded to, I am most likely paying down at wide receiver this week, enabling me to squeeze both Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry into my lineup. But if you want to go another direction and spend up for an elite receiver, look no further than Amon-Ra St. Brown. His DraftKings price continues to stay below $8,000 on DraftKings, which just feels disrespectful at this point. 

And while most of the league is worried about the weather, it will be cold, but not that cold. Charlotte is also looking to avoid the worst of the wind, so I’m not concerned about the game environment. St. Brown has recorded double-digit targets in over half of his starts. Keep chasing that volume. 

Dallas Goedert (DraftKings: $4,500 / FanDuel: $6,200)

Finally! I’m so glad to see Dallas Goedert likely returning to play this week. Have I mentioned how much I dislike the tight end position? Players like Goedert make playing tight ends tolerable, especially when a potential Top 3 tight end is priced below $5,000 on DraftKings. Playing Goedert is key to my strategy of starting Cook and Henry at running back. Yes, you can fit Goedert in a lineup with those two running backs and Daniel Jones on DraftKings. All you have to do is target the value receivers discussed below. 

But anyways, this is supposed to be about Goedert. So first off, it’s Dallas Goedert. I feel confident he has the fantasy clout not to require an explanation. But in case you need one, Philadelphia is playing the Dallas Cowboys in a game with the third-highest over/under line on the slate. Additionally, the Eagles are underdogs and will need to throw to stay in the game. 

Further, Garner Minshew is the likely starter at quarterback on Saturday. While he will run some, he likely won’t see the run volume of Jalen Hurts, which means more pass opportunities for the likes of Goedert. And the Eagles have plenty to play for, so they will want to keep this game competitive. So show some holiday cheer this weekend and welcome Goedert back into your lineup.

Before you set your Week 16 NFL DFS lineups, be sure to check out Austin and Ryan’s weekly rankings!

Check the Chalkboard

Derrick Henry (DraftKings: $8,600 / FanDuel: $9,800)

King Henry is coming to get his crown. Let’s be honest; Derrick Henry is my favorite player to start this week (sorry, Dalvin, you have some competition for the teacher’s pet). But given the matchup and Ryan Tannehill likely out with injury, it feels pretty clear that the field will be targeting Henry heavily. And given the wide receiver value elsewhere, it would not shock me to see Henry 50% rostered in double-ups.

The matchup is simply too good to pass on, as the Houston Texans have given up the fifth most points to running backs since Week 12. And do you remember what happened last time Tennessee played the Texans? Henry rushed for 219 yards and two touchdowns, bringing home nearly 40 DraftKings points. 

Now, Henry gets a home game with a backup quarterback and cold weather. So bundle up and enjoy observing the feast the King is about to have on Saturday.

Participation Grade

Daniel Bellinger (DraftKings: $3,300 / FanDuel: $4,700)

One of my favorite prop bets to target is Daniel Bellinger’s receptions line. It often floats around 2.5 receptions, and he frequently hits the over. Last week was an exception, but it was not due to a lack of targets, as he recorded one catch on four targets against the Washington Football Team. When active, Bellinger is consistently recording three to five targets. 

This week, the Giants take on the Minnesota Vikings, who, as mentioned earlier, cannot stop opposing pass games. I love this punt play in a game where the Giants are likely playing from behind and passing the ball.

NFL DFS Week 16

Back of the Classroom Studs NFL DFS Week 16

Geno Smith (DraftKings: $5,800 / FanDuel: $7,600)

Look, if Davis Mills can throw two touchdowns on the Kansas City Chiefs, so can Geno Smith. The Seattle Seahawks are playing for their playoff chances, and they are not going down without a fight. Sure, the weather is going to be cold. And ya, playing at Kansas City is rough for visiting teams. 

But you know what else is rough? The Kansas City defense. Look, they’re still my Superbowl favorites, but their defense scares me. And not in a good way. Since Week 12, they are giving up the fourth most points to opposing quarterbacks. Teams can move the ball on them, and with the Seahawks likely playing from behind, Geno will need to pass the ball to keep it interesting. 

Jerick McKinnon (DraftKings: $5,900 / FanDuel: $7,300)

When one running back committee member fails, try the other. Right? That’s the strategy here? But seriously, Jerick McKinnon has been incredible the past two weeks, primarily because of his pass-catching work. He has combined for 15 catches in two weeks, lifting him to the RB1 in that span of time. 

Now he goes against the Seahawks, who have given up the most points to opposing running backs since Week 12. It’s honestly possible for both him and Isiah Pacheco to triple their value, so I support taking the cheaper option in Pacheco. Still, I will likely favor McKinnon for the pass-catching volume. 

D.J. Moore (DraftKings: $5,500 / FanDuel: $7,100)

Now begins the part where I list off the value receivers that will allow you to fit Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook in your DraftKings lineups, starting with D.J. Moore. It is admittedly harder to accomplish this on FanDuel. 

But D.J. Moore has seen more volume in recent weeks as Sam Darnold has returned as the starting quarterback. Carolina faces the Detroit Lions, who still give up the fourth most points to opposing receivers. And in particular, teams need to pass on them because they’ve become one of the toughest run defenses in the league. 

While Moore allows us to spend up at running back on DraftKings, he is too expensive to do the same on FanDuel. There, I would consider a pivot to Marquise Goodwin, who is cheap enough to make this lineup work, and should see plenty of volume with Tyler Lockett out of the lineup. 

Drake London (DraftKings: $4,800 / FanDuel: $6,400)

Desmond Ridder season is off to a slow start unless your name is Drake London. The first-round rookie brought in 11 targets in Ridder’s first start, marking only his third game with double-digit targets this season. And while seven catches for 70 yards and no touchdowns isn’t the most exciting receiving line, I believe it is a sign of more to come as Ridder gets more comfortable in this offense. The Falcons’ offense will continue growing through a growth phase with a new quarterback, but London can hit his value on targets alone, allowing you to pay up elsewhere. 

Darius Slayton (DraftKings: $5,200 / FanDuel: $6,300)

I always feel a little nervous when I have three players from the same team in this column. But sometimes, the stars align for the perfect matchup. I’ve mentioned numerous times that the Vikings are a pass-funnel defense, so that I won’t belabor that point further. 

Darius Slayton has continued to lead the Giants’ receiving room in snaps and targets, positioning himself as the clear number one. And while I would be surprised if he hit a 30-point ceiling, a six-catch day for 60 yards and a touchdown is well within his range of outcomes, particularly in this favorable matchup. And if you’re worried about having three Giants in your cash lineups, you can pivot to Marquise Goodwin as another solid value play.

Houston Texans (DraftKings: $2,500 / FanDuel: $3,600)

With this strategy of spending big at running back, I’m looking to spend as little as possible on defense. Yes, I expect Derrick Henry to go off on the Texans. But outside of Henry, who else is there to worry about? Ryan Tannehill likely is out for the season, so with Malik Willis under center, the Titans are likely to lean even more on the run game. That will slow the game down, limiting opportunities for the Titans to run up the score. 

Further, Willis is still a green quarterback, increasing the odds of a Texans interception or fumble recovery. Nevertheless, this defense has given the best of the best trouble over the past two weeks, and now they get a favorable matchup where they could squeak out their second win of the season.

New England Patriots (DraftKings: $2,700 / FanDuel: $4,500)

Despite playing one of the most prolific offenses in the league, I’m encouraged by the New England Patriots’ defense. Not necessarily from a football perspective, but from a fantasy perspective, they’ve been consistent. 

Even when they’ve been blown out, they are still managing a safe floor with a combination of turnovers, sacks, and touchdowns. Remember when they gave up 33 points to Minnesota? They still recorded two DraftKings points in that matchup. And that’s their worst fantasy performance of the season. So I’ll take that safe punt play.

Report Card

Scoring System

  • A: Scored over three times their price
  • B: Scored over two times their price
  • C: Matched their price
  • F: Scored lower than their price


Player Price Points Grade
Tee Higgins* $6,900 16.3 B
Justin Herbert $7,200 13.72 C
Rhamondre Stevenson $7,000 27.8 A
Miles Sanders $6,500 2.9 F
Keenan Allen $6,800 16.6 B
Isiah Pacheco $5,900 9.7 C
Elijah Moore $3,600 9.4 B
Drake London $4,700 13 B
Dak Prescott* $6,200 22.24 A
Latavius Murray $5,100 24.2 A
Dalton Schultz $4,400 3.5 F
Greg Dulcich $3,600 2.1 F
Atlanta Falcons $2,500 4 C
Denver Broncos $2,700 10 A
Overall $73,100 175.46 B
Season Long $1,150,100 2970.66 B

*Replacement player once Mike White was ruled out


Player Price Points Grade
Tee Higgins* $7,500 13.8 C
Justin Herbert $8,300 10.72 C
Rhamondre Stevenson $8,500 23.8 B
Miles Sanders $7,800 2.9 F
Keenan Allen $8,000 12.6 C
Isiah Pacheco $7,600 8.2 C
Elijah Moore $5,600 9.4 C
Drake London $6,300 13 B
Dak Prescott* $7,500 22.24 B
Latavius Murray $6,500 20.7 A
Dalton Schultz $6,500 3.5 F
Greg Dulcich $5,600 2.1 F
Atlanta Falcons $3,300 4 C
Denver Broncos $3,700 10 B
Overall $92,700 156.96 C
Season Long $1,384,200 2585.16 C

*Replacement player once Mike White was ruled out

Looking for more Week 15 NFL DFS plays with the best possible matchups? Our Weekly Matchup Report gives you that info every Wednesday.