Time is running out to make money in NFL fantasy football, so use these week 16 Picks to Click to get your piece of the pie!
Top Pick: Aaron Rodgers (GB), $16,250 @ (TB)
Rodgers is coming off of a very uncharacteristically bad game, but facing the Buccaneers defense is a far cry from facing the Bills defense. As if the Bucs haven’t had enough struggles this year, Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranks them 26th in pass coverage and Football Outsiders (FO) ranks them 26th in pass defense, they’re now down their best player, Gerald McCoy. McCoy is an elite defensive lineman that PFF ranks as the best pass rush defensive tackle in the league, and to be frank, it’s not even close between he and second. The lack of an elite pass rusher chasing him will make the league’s best quarterback a likely monstrous fantasy performer. Rodgers leads quarterbacks in PFF QB rating and Yds/Att while ranking seventh in passing yards and third in touchdown passes. His winging the ball around hasn’t resulted in many turnovers either, with him having thrown just five interceptions. According to Vegas Insider the Packers are currently a 10 point favorite in a game with a 48.5 point betting total, and Rodgers will spearhead the blowout.
Value Pick: Tony Romo (DAL), $13,750 vs (IND)
Much of the focus of the media is on whether or not DeMarco Murray will be ready to suit up and play on Sunday, and rightfully so. Murray is the league’s leading rusher and he’s powered the Cowboys offense this season. However, even if he does play, it’s a near certainty that a larger share of the burden of leading the offense to points will lie on Romo’s shoulders this week, and that’s good news for DFS gamers that wisely use him. Romo has quietly posted the second highest PFF QB rating this season throwing for 28 touchdown passes (tied for seventh most) and just eight interceptions while trailing only Rodgers in Yds/Att. Less has been more for Romo this year, so to speak, but it’s time for more to be more for him this week in a game where the Cowboys are a three point favorite and a 55.5 betting total.
Top Pick: C.J. Anderson (DEN), $13,150 @ (CIN)
Le”Veon Bell should be the top scorer at the position this week, but he’s also the most expensive DFS option. He’s not the most expensive running back, he’s the most expensive player. Anderson’s upside isn’t as immense as Bell’s, but he’s more than $5,000 cheaper and he’s plenty capable of going nuts himself. Anderson has received double digit touches in six straight games and eclipsed 20 points in four of those contests. He’s a well rounded back that has multiple receptions in all but one of those six contests, and he’s a regular in the end zone with six scores this year. The UCLA products volume of touches has been tantalizing as he’s received 20 or more carries in four straight games and more than 25 in three of them. He’ll get the rock a lot again this week facing a Bengals defense that PFF ranks 23rd and FO ranks 30th against the run.
Value Pick: Jonathan Stewart (CAR), $9,100 vs (CLE)
DeAngelo Williams has been a limited practice participant, but he is expected to play this weekend. That said, considering he’s less than 100% and Stewart is playing at a high level, I’d expect the former Duck to be leaned on heavily again. Among backs that have logged 25% or more of their team’s snaps he’s tied for 10th in YCo/Att with some Murray guy, Jerick McKinnon and Joique Bell. That’s pretty damn good company. His 36 missed tackles forced are the ninth most among backs, making him one of only two backs (the aforementioned Anderson, coincidentally) in the top 10 in missed tackles forced. If Stewart logs around 20 carries again this week, as I expect him to, he’ll pile up yardage in bunches against a terrible Browns run defense ranked 21st by PFF and dead last by FO.
Top Pick: Calvin Johnson (DET), $13,800 @ (CHI)
A ho hum four receptions for 53 yard effort from Megatron in his last game played has resulted in a discounted price, and one DFS gamers need to jump all over. The prior two weeks were crazy good for Johnson as he totaled 19 receptions for 304 yards receiving and three touchdowns. One of those two games was a staggering 11 reception outburst for 146 yards receiving and a pair of scores against a Bears defense he’ll be seeing again this week. PFF ranks the Bears 30th in pass coverage and FO ranks the Bears 29th defending the pass and 25th stopping number one wide receivers. Despite missing three weeks of action, Johnson ranks tied for 22nd in targets with a whopping 103 in 11 games (9.36 targets per game). When an elite player gets a silly number of targets and is facing a soft defense, you can’t pass it up.
Value Pick: Nick Toon (NO), $5,700 vs (ATL)
With a number of pricier options touted, I had to pick someone cheap to throw into the mix and Toon checks off all the boxes of what I’m looking for. He’s playing in a game with a big betting total of 56 for a Saints team favored by six points. Toon plays with a top flight quarterback in Drew Brees and is facing a bad Falcons defense that PFF ranks 31st in pass coverage and FO ranks 31st in pass defense. An added bonus is that the Falcons are solid against number one wide receivers ranking 11th according to FO, but poor against secondary receivers ranking 29th against number two receivers and 26th against “other” wide outs. The final box he checks off is being on the field. On Monday night he played on 38 of 69 snaps per PFF, but more importantly, the 30 routes run were just two fewer than the team leading 32 run by both Maques Colston and Jimmy Graham. Toon is a big target at 6-foot-2 inches and 215 pounds and makes for an enticing red zone target. He hasn’t found the end zone in either of his last two games played, but he has caught all eight of his targets, four in each game, and totaled 88 yards receiving. That’s solid production for his low cost, and a touchdown added to his receptions and receiving yardage output of the last couple of weeks would result in him providing plenty of return on the minimal investment.
Top Pick: Rob Gronkowski (NE), $14,050 @ (NYJ)
There is only one elite tight end worth spending top dollar on, and that is the best one in the game. Gronk leads the position in receiving yards and YPRR, ranks second in targets, third in receptions, and second in touchdown grabs. No one is worse defending tight ends, at least according to FO, than the Jets. With a total of 47.5 and the Patriots favored by 10.5 points, there is plenty of scoring to be done by Gronk.
Value Pick: Jason Witten (DAL), $7,950 vs (IND)
If you’re veering from Gronk, you better be saving some cabbage, and the cheap tight ends this week look trashy by and large. That leaves Witten as a fairly good speculative play based on the expectation that Romo will throw it more this week. Dez Bryant is the unquestioned top pass catcher for the Cowboys, but he has a tough assignment squaring off with Vontae Davis. That’s not to say Romo won’t still choose to air it out to Bryant early and often, but it does mean he might do so just a smidge less often, and that leaves the second most targeted Cowboy, Witten, in line for more work. It’s also worth noting that the Colts rank 26th defending tight ends, so if you’re looking for a swerve play at tight end, Witten should be your guy.