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RotoGrinder NFL Primer Week 16

Friday, December 22, 2017


We’re down to the final two weeks of the regular season and Week 16 just so happens to line up perfectly with the holidays, giving us a full slate of NFL football on Christmas Eve with another two games on tap for both Saturday and Monday. We also have some exciting NBA action on Christmas Day to carry us over until kickoff, so this should be one of the busiest holiday periods for the sports world in recent memory.

 

 

The Week 16 Primer is going to be significantly different from previous versions, and Week 17 will also be a very different product – at this point in the year, playoff scenarios become integral when considering playing time/opportunity and we generally tend to see some weird things happen at the tail end of the regular season. Given that the slates are broken up a bit more than usual this weekend, I’m going to break down my favorite targets at each position for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Let’s get into it!

 

 

 

Saturday-Only Slate


The Saturday slate kicks off with IND/BAL and concludes with GB/MIN. We’ve already had some major injury news break regarding these contests earlier in the week – Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Donte Moncrief and Brandon Williams have already been ruled out as of this writing, while Jeremy Maclin is considered doubtful. To keep up with injury news through lineup lock on all slates, make sure to tune into the RotoGrinders DFS Alerts App – we’ll push all pertinent news straight to your phone.

 

Quarterback

  1. Case Keenum ($7,900 on FanDuel, $6,700 on DraftKings) – He’s the top QB play on the Saturday slate. Green Bay’s secondary is still really banged up and currently ranks 26th in pass DVOA in addition to ranking 29th in pass yards per attempt on the year, so there is little reason to expect an explosive Vikings aerial attack to slow down.
  2. Joe Flacco ($7,400 on FanDuel, $5,600 on DraftKings) – If you’re looking for a GPP pivot off Keenum, Flacco is your best bet. I can’t get behind playing Jacoby Brissett against Baltimore and will not be rostering QBs against the Vikings until further notice.
 

Running Back

  1. Alex Collins ($8,300 on FanDuel, $5,600 on DraftKings) – Not only is he still dominating carries in the Baltimore backfield, but he’s come on as a receiving option in the latter half of the season and will face off with a Colts defense that is not going to have LB Jon Bostic. Collins should finish with 18-25 touches.
  2. Latavius Murray ($7,100 on FanDuel, $5,400 on DraftKings) or Jerick McKinnon ($6,700 on FanDuel, $5,500 on DraftKings) – I’d prefer Murray on FanDuel and McKinnon on DraftKings given the PPR scoring.
 

Wide Receivers

  1. Adam Thielen ($8,100 on both FanDuel and DraftKings) – Thielen ripped GB for a 9-96 line earlier in the year and is in the best spot among the Vikings pass-catchers this weekend.
  2. Randall Cobb ($6,100 on both FanDuel and DraftKings) – Jordy Nelson hasn’t finished with more than 35 yards receiving in a game since the last time these teams met on October 15th. Cobb is cheaper and will not see as much of the tough Vikings boundary CBs.
 

Tight Ends

  1. Kyle Rudolph ($6,700 on FanDuel, $5,100 on DraftKings) – Minnesota is by far my favorite pass offense on this slate, so I’ll be pairing up Thielen/Rudolph with Keenum frequently.
  2. Benjamin Watson ($5,100 on FanDuel, $3,700 on DraftKings) – With Maclin out, Watson could pick up an extra target or two and I’m not all that interested in rostering Jack Doyle against Baltimore.
 
 
 

Sunday Slate


Here’s the Main Slate action for Week 16. I’ll touch on my top three targets at each position and will mention some viable stacking combinations along the way.

 

Quarterbacks

  1. Cam Newton ($8,300 on FanDuel, $6,800 on DraftKings) – Newton struggled in this matchup earlier in the year, but Tampa remains a pass-funnel defense and I’m expecting a blowup from Newton at home. Tampa ranks dead last in the NFL in sacks which is great news for not only Newton, but for Funchess and Olsen as well. Cam has rushed for 50+ yards in seven of his last nine games, keeping his floor high even when the passing numbers dwindle some.
  2. Alex Smith ($7,800 on FanDuel, $6,600 on DraftKings) – I’m still surprised that I’m willing to pay these prices on Smith. The big play ability of guys like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce has catapulted Smith into the top tier of QBs and he remains there this weekend against a soft Miami defense.
  3. Drew Brees ($8,400 on FanDuel, $6,500 on DraftKings) – It’s hard to gauge how much attention Brees will get this week, but I don’t expect him to be all that popular and if this game turns into a back and forth affair, we could see Brees hit his ceiling for the first time in a while.
 

Running Backs

  1. Ezekiel Elliott ($8,300 on FanDuel, $8,000 on DraftKings) – He’s back! I still think a good chunk of the public will look elsewhere upon seeing the Seahawks on the schedule, but this defense isn’t what it was earlier in the year, and anyone who paid attention to the LA/SEA game last week saw that clearly. Elliott should be right back to his workhorse ways.
  2. Dion Lewis ($6,700 on FanDuel, $6,000 on DraftKings) – With Burkhead out, I do expect Mike Gillislee to step back into the picture, but am fully expecting Lewis to lead the backfield. Burkhead didn’t leave behind rushing work alone, as he was seeing regular work as a receiver, which Gillislee won’t eat into at all. Lewis is actually a fine stacking partner with Tom Brady to get exposure to both the pass and ground game.
  3. C.J. Anderson ($6,200 on FanDuel, $5,500 on DraftKings) – I slightly prefer Anderson on FanDuel, but with the work he’s been getting he’s playable across all sites. Had he tacked on a touchdown last weekend, he’d likely be one of the most talked about plays at RB with Jamaal Charles falling out of the picture last week.
 

Wide Receivers

  1. Dede Westbrook ($5,900 on FanDuel, $6,100 on DraftKings) – Westbrook is one of the top dollar per point targets on FanDuel. Yes, I know he was a major disappointment last week while watching Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens run wild, but I’m fully expecting a bounce-back with Marquis Lee on the shelf, and it’s possible that Allen Hurns is forced to sit for another week. Hurns’ presence would be worse news for Cole/Mickens than it would be for Westbrook.
  2. Keenan Allen ($8,300 on FanDuel, $7,700 on DraftKings) – Speaking of bounce back candidates, Allen had his first slow game in a while against the Chiefs but steps back into a favorable spot against the Jets secondary. New York has been torched by No. 1 wideouts over the last month and Allen is an integral part of LA’s offense both between the 20s and in close.
  3. Michael Thomas ($8,200 on FanDuel, $7,600 on DraftKings) – Thomas is the clear top stacking option with Brees and had his best game of the season when these teams met a few weeks ago.
 

Tight Ends

  1. Rob Gronkowski ($8,400 on FanDuel, $7,400 on DraftKings) – Gronk is the top overall TE play on the board. Kelce isn’t far behind, but I’d give the edge to New England’s offense. I’ll have plenty of Brady/Lewis/Gronk stacks hoping for an outburst.
  2. Cameron Brate ($5,100 on FanDuel, $3,300 on DraftKings) – With O.J. Howard and DeSean Jackson out of the picture, Brate is laughably cheap across the industry. Brate’s status is worth monitoring up till lock as he’s had some limited practice performances late this week.
  3. Eric Ebron ($5,200 on FanDuel, $3,700 on DraftKings) – In case Brate isn’t able to suit up, I’d pivot to Ebron where I’m in need of a cheap TE.
 
 
 

Monday-only Slate


This slate actually hasn’t been created on either major site as of this writing, but I have a hard time imagining that they won’t do so as Saturday/Sunday contests fill up. We have two games on tap between PIT/HOU and OAK/PHI, and the injury to Antonio Brown should lead to massive ownership on Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

 

Quarterbacks

  1. Ben Roethlisberger ($8,300 on FanDuel, $6,700 on DraftKings) – It’s actually possible that the Eagles sit Nick Foles if the Packers are able to beat the Vikings on Saturday, so I didn’t want to list a QB that may not even be active as my top play at the position. Roethlisberger is a fine target himself, but I do worry that Brown’s absence will have a larger than expected impact. Still, he’s a fine stacking partner with any combination of Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant, JuJu Smith-Schuster or Jesse James.
  2. Nick Foles ($7,300 on FanDuel, $6,300 on DraftKings) or Nate Sudfeld ($6,000 on FanDuel, $4,000 on DraftKings) – If Foles plays I’ll have more exposure to him than any other Monday QB, but will also be intrigued by Sudfeld at minimum price if he gets the start. We’ll need to monitor this one through the Packers/Vikings game.
 

Running Backs

  1. Le’Veon Bell ($9,300 on FanDuel, $9,900 on DraftKings) – Do I really need to say anything? Don’t get cute here.
  2. Jay Ajayi ($6,300 on FanDuel, $5,100 on DraftKings) – He’s the clear top dog in Philly’s backfield and while Blount and Clement will still get some work, Ajayi should finish with 15+ touches here and that’s valuable on a two-game slate.
 

Wide Receivers

  1. Michael Crabtree ($7,200 on FanDuel, $6,300 on DraftKings) – With everyone likely flocking to the PIT receivers first and foremost, I’ll try to pivot to Crabtree, who I’d expect to see a slightly higher target share than either Bryant or Smith-Schuster.
  2. JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7,000 on FanDuel, $6,400 on DraftKings) – If I can only choose on PIT receiver, Smith-Schuster is my guy. Houston ranks as the worst passing defense on a per-attempt basis.
  3. Eli Rogers ($4,500 on FanDuel, $3,800 on DraftKings) – If you’re looking for a cheap pivot off the two popular PIT receivers, give Rogers a look.
 

Tight Ends

  1. Zach Ertz ($7,300 on FanDuel, $6,000 on DraftKings) – Far and away the top overall play at TE on this slate.
  2. Jesse James ($5,400 on FanDuel, $3,400 on DraftKings) – James should be yet another potential beneficiary of Antonio Brown’s absence. There are so many targets to go around here.


Stephen "SBK" Keech is a head-to-head specialist who has shot up to being ranked in the Top 100 for Overall, MLB, NBA, and NHL. SBK’s a lead contributor on RotoGrinders, and can be found on Twitter @StephByronKeech.
Email :Stephen Keech



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