Welcome to The Gauntlet. We are going to break down each and every game to find our NFL DFS Week 16 top plays on what is considered the main slate on DraftKings and Fanduel. This consists of the games only on Sundays. If you are playing other slates, such as the primetime slates, be sure to check out our other DFS content for plays in those games. In this breakdown, we are going to dive deeply into each matchup which is why we are going to stick to just the main slate of games. The numbers in parenthesis are the Vegas implied totals for each team. All of the stats in this breakdown are from Football Outsiders, while all of the player grades are from Pro Football Focus. Let’s get to it…
Browns (15.75) at Bears (22.25) Total 38
This is a very straightforward game to break down. The Bears have made it known that they don’t want to be the first team to lose to the Browns. The Browns have actually been playing better and are hungry for their first win. If the Bears want to win this game, they will feed Jordan Howard over and over again. With the Browns having significant injuries on defense the last few weeks, they have become a run defense we look to attack now. Jordan Howard as a home favorite against a banged up run D makes a ton of sense.
On the other side, if the Browns want their first win, they will continue to heavily target Josh Gordon. The Bears are getting beat mainly on the deep ball this year, and over half of Josh Gordon’s targets have been considered deep. Gordon makes an awesome tourney play here as he can take any deep target to the house on any play. I would avoid Gordon in cash because there are guys safer than him at his price point. But in tourney’s not many guys have his upside.
Top Plays: Howard, Gordon
Falcons (23.5) at Saints (29) Total 52.5
This is the highest Vegas total of the week. Sometimes in these high total games, there are a ton of different guys that production can go to. This is actually one of the unique cases where both teams streamline their production between only a couple guys. On the Saints side the two guys I want to target are Kamara and Thomas. The Falcons struggle to defend RBs out of the backfield and that is exactly Kamara’s strength. This shapes up to be a Kamara game more so than an Ingram game. Michael Thomas has continuously torched the Falcons. Not only that, but he has been Brees’ main target all season long. He is one of the safest WRs every single week, and is finally starting to see end zone targets. He would’ve had three TDs last week if two of them didn’t get overturned. A Brees, Kamara and Thomas stack is in play here for sure.
On the Falcons side, I would limit the ceiling for Julio Jones as he will line up across from Lattimore. However, his floor should still be there. The Falcon I want to target for correlation if I am playing a Saints stack is Sanu. With Julio likely to see Lattimore, I expect Ryan to continuously target Sanu in this one.
Top Plays: Brees, Kamara, Thomas, Sanu
Broncos (18.5) at Redskins (22) Total 40.5
This game is a complete stay away for me unless Perine gets ruled out. If he is ruled out, fire up Kapri Bibbs as a free square as he would see just about every single RB snap and touch in this one.
Top Plays: Bibbs (if Perine is out)
Bucs (18.25) at Panthers (28.25) Total 46.5
With Funchess considered questionable, this is a great spot for McCaffrey. He should continue to see the lion’s share of the targets against a defense that has been giving up targets to RBs in bunches. If Funchess does sit, Greg Olsen will also be forced into more targets than normal. However, I don’t think Olsen is a top point per dollar play as his salary is a tad too high for my liking here.
On the Bucs side, Desean Jackson and OJ Howard are out. This streamlines targets to Evans and Brate even more. Before Winston got hurt this year, Brate was one of the most consistent TEs on the year, posting double-digit DK points each and every week. Now that Winston is back, Brate should return to this production. Add on the extra targets from no Howard or Jackson and you have an extreme value play in Brate at a super cheap price. He put up 10 DK points against the Panthers already once this season and now they will be without Thomas Davis due to a one-game suspension. Brate is one of my top TEs this week if he can play through his injuries. Chris Godwin will start for the injured Desean in this one, and he is the bare minimum salary. He makes a solid cash play.
Top Plays: McCaffrey, Brate
Dolphins (16.5) at Chiefs (26.5) Total 43
This is a great spot again for Kareem Hunt. However, I am going to prioritize Zeke and Kamara at this price range. That doesn’t make Hunt a bad play, he is just going to be the odd man out for me. Tyreek Hill makes for an awesome play here as the Dolphins have been getting torched to the deep outside portions of the field and that is exactly where all of Tyreke’s TDs have come from. I love Tyreek this week. Kelce is also in a great spot here, but if I had to choose between him and Hill, I would side with Hill, especially at a cheaper price.
On the Dolphins side, Drake should continue to have a great workload, especially in the passing game, but now he is priced where I think his ceiling is folded into his salary. I prefer to find the extra salary for Zeke, Kamara or Gordon. The Chiefs defense is a great play this week as the Dolphins are traveling to the cold abyss known as Arrowhead stadium. Jay Cutler is probably thinking about which beach he can be naked on, and not this freezing cold game.
Top Plays: Hunt, Hill, Kelce, Chiefs D
Rams (26.75) at Titans (20.25) Total 47
This is not an ideal matchup for Gurley, but he has been matchup proof this year due to his involvement in the passing game. The Titans have been very solid against the run. If I am getting Rams exposure this week, it is going to be through the air with Goff and Woods. But I wouldn’t make them a priority.
On the other side, the Rams D has been playing great all season. This Titans offense has been extremely bad this year and I think this is a spot we can consider the Rams D.
Top Plays: None
Chargers (24.5) at Jets (18) Total 42.5
This is the ultimate Keenan Allen spot. With no Hunter Henry, the targets should focus even more on Allen. He’s been Rivers’ go-to guy this season and possesses a ceiling as high as anybody. Gates is also in play here in cash games at his minimum salary, but I don’t think I would jump all in on him in tourneys as his upside is likely to be limited. He won’t see the workload Henry saw, but the red zone targets will be there. Melvin Gordon is also in a great spot here. If they get a lead, they should look to just chew clock with Gordon. If the game is close, Gordon is involved in the passing game enough to pay off his salary. He is always a 2 TD threat on every Sunday also.
The Chargers D is my favorite defense of the week, so I will have 0 Jets.
Top Plays: Gordon, Allen, Gates (cash), Chargers D
Lions (23.5) at Bengals (20.5) Total 44
The Lions are going to be without two of their starting offensive linemen, so I would be careful on loading up on Stafford. However, we can get exposure to Stafford through his main receiver Marvin Jones. The Bengals get absolutely torched to the deep right portion of the field, and this is exactly where Marvin Jones operates when he hits his ceiling. He has 10 catches for over 300 yards and 5 TDs to this area of the field. He is one of my favorite receivers this week and could break the slate in this revenge game for him.
On the Bengals side, Joe Mixon coming back muddies the RB situation. I wouldn’t trust Marvin Lewis to give him a full workload. Instead, I am firing up AJ Green at an underpriced salary. He gets a tough matchup with Slay, but should still be able to produce in a big way as the Lions haven’t “shut down” anyone this year.
Top Plays: Marvin Jones, AJ Green
Bills (17.5) at Patriots (29) Total 46.5
With Burkhead out, James White is likely to step into his role. However, White is questionable. If White were to miss, I would go all in on Dion Lewis. But I expect White to play and be very involved. My other favorite play is Gronk. Gronk torches Buffalo every single time they play, and he is about 16 catches and 200 yards short of his monetary bonus for the season. I expect him to be playing motivated and Brady to feed him as usual.
On the Bills side, I can’t pay the high salary for McCoy in this matchup. I prefer to just play NE D.
Top Plays: Gronk, NE D, Lewis (if white sits)
Jags (23) at 49ers (19) Total 42
If Fournette were healthy I would load up on him in this spot. However, I can’t trust him here when he is priced near Zeke. Especially considering the fact that Bortles has been playing really well recently. They haven’t been forced to rely on Fournette as they did early in the season. With Lee ruled out, Keelan Cole and Westbrook become very interesting.
On the 49ers side, Jimmy G has been so good this year, but I refuse to play anybody facing the Jags defense. They are beyond elite. Nothing changes here.
Top Plays: Jags D
Giants (18.25) at Cardinals (21.75) Total 40
Drew Stanton is my cash game QB this week. He is the bare minimum for QB and has thrown the ball 30 and 47 times in his two starts this year. He should be feeding Fitz over and over again in this one against the team that gave up the most fantasy points to QB this season. They have no running game, so Stanton should likely throw near 40 times in this one.
On the other side, I don’t expect Peterson to chase Shepard in the slot. Shepard should still be a great play in this matchup for that reason. Evan Engram is also interesting but I don’t want to play two Giants in the same lineup.
Top Plays: Stanton, Fitz, Shepard
Seahawks (21.5) at Cowboys (26) Total 47.5
This is the game I personally am going to load up on. This is a great spot to attack two streamlined offenses. Zeke is my #1 RB this week as he should see a very heavy workload and looks to be in better shape than he was earlier in the season. I am going to pair him with Dak in tournaments to capture all of the Dallas points. This Seattle defense has been giving up an insane amount of points since Kam and Sherman went down, and that shouldn’t change here.
On the Seahawks side, Russ is always in play. I am going to get my exposure to Russ through Richardson though. The Cowboys struggle to defend the deep passes, and that is where Richardson thrives. Baldwin should see a ton of targets as well and is always in play, but I am going to side with Richardson for the salary savings. Graham is too TD reliant for me to pay his price.
Top Plays: Daz, Zeke, Russ, Baldwin, Richardson
Thank you for reading The Gauntlet : NFL DFS Week 16 Top Plays and goodluck!