Geek’s Vegas Lines – Week 16 Daily Fantasy Football Game Breakdowns & Player Picks – Fanduel & Draftkings Strategy

Week 16 is upon us and hopefully, many of you will be participating in your season-long championships this week. The beautiful thing about daily fantasy football is that every week might as well be the championships for us. Last week we saw the continued trend of stud RB’s paying off while stud WR’s disappoint. At some point that might flip but time is running out. For DFS Army VIP’s it was a good week for most. I was pushing Ty Montgomery, in our DFS Army slack forums, as a top play which worked out really well for those that jumped on board. It’s been interesting past few weeks in which chalky QB-WR stacks have been bombing left and right. This week’s slate seems to change some of that with some stud players in good spots.

DFS Army-FantasyDraft  NBA Swag Contest

I got together with the folks at FantasyDraft to put another swag contest together! I loves me some swag as you all already know and this being a holiday weekend I wanted to do a little something special. This is a 50 player NBA 50/50 contest set to run on Friday 12/23. It’s $5 to enter and pays out the top half of finishers. As the bonus, we threw in the following:

  • 1st Place – $25 Ticket to enter the 12/25 Pick and Roll Tournament
  • 2nd Place  – DFS Army Tee Shirt and FantasyDraft Nike Hat
  • 3rd Place – FantasyDraft Tee Shirt

This contest has just 50 spots and it should fill very quickly. Get in there and get yourself some swag!

FantasyDraft –  DFS Army NBA SWAG Contest – 50 Player 50/50 – $5 to Enter – 12/23


This is a short week with the main slate of games coming on Saturday due to the Christmas Holiday falling on football Sunday so we are going to jump right into the game breakdowns right after I share this exchange I had with one of our DFS Army VIP members in our slack forums. I’m sharing this one because I think the question was broad and probably pertains to many of you reading this column. That plus I already wrote this shit out and on a short week, I want to get to the game breakdowns fast.

The Member Asked: I have played on Fanduel for the last two years, but have been playing fantasy sports for 20 years. On Fanduel I play NBA and NFL. Since September (start of football season) I have invested $400. My account indicates that my record has 841 wins and 1,610 losses. I feel like I have played a lot of games. At the moment my account balance is $210. I’m having a decent amount of fun, but finding it too be very time-consuming and I don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Whenever I play in mid. to larger tournaments, I get crushed. I feel like I’ve spent enough time watching and playing. I just can’t hit!!! Any Suggestions???

Here was my response:

First thing for me – DFS is about entertainment. It’s the challenge of pitting myself and my sports knowledge against the herd. It’s not about the money per se. That said, we all want to be profitable. Your win-loss record indicates to me that you probably either only or mostly play in tournaments or GPP’s and my guess is that they are larger GPP’s. When you enter a tournament with 1000+ opponents it requires near perfection to get the win. As you scale up in tournament size it requires more and more perfection to hit that top prize level. As difficult as the odds are to get there, making is even more difficult are the 14-15% fees the sites slap on to those larger contests. You could have been playing well, cashing in 30+% of your GPP’s and still slowly whittling away at your bankroll over the course of a season. When you attack those types of contests, the only way you come out ahead over the long haul is by nailing some top 10 finishes or an actual win. My point is that it’s important to approach your bankroll allocation with eyes wide open. Fanduel offers leagues with 10-20 people. 100 person contests. The “mini” GPP’s have between 100-600 entrants. That’s the wheelhouse I want people living in. Those contests are winnable and just taking down one of those should do more than pay for your entire season. My example is a contest I’m sweating out tonight. On Fantasy Draft I entered the $4000 run and gun contest. It’s $25 to enter with 183 spots. I have a shot at a top 3 finish in that contest right now (I wound up in 6th place due to the shitty game from Cousins) with a lineup that is far from perfect. Rawls and Coleman are in it alongside Montgomery, Zeke, McCoy, Seattle and JJ Nelson. 1st place in that one is a respectable $600 followed by $350 and $250 for second and third. Just one win in a contest like that would comfortably pay for the entire season of a $100 per week player in DFS. The top prize may not be sexy like the massive contests but it’s winnable.

DFS Army Membership

Obviously, the NFL season is coming to a close. I wanted to take this space to let you all know that our DFS Army team is year round 25/8 DFS coverage. Check out this blurb from our NBA Boomers Ballers VIP player picks sheet:


Keith had the balls to call out the fade on Jokic, the highest owned player on the slate. He called out a pivot to Faried who was incredibly low owned and wound up in the Nuts lineups. This is the type of thing you can’t get anywhere else. Outside of our top notch tools and projections we have DFS Pros, people that make a full time living playing Daily Fantasy Sports, kicking out advice, monitoring player statuses, calling out last minute pivots. Other sites have tried to copy us. A few even joined out team and tried to steal our model. The primary difference is that none of them have any DFS cred whatsoever. One of the first things I share here has been my record and rankings. You can check my profile on Rotogrinders and see all my big wins and finishes. I’ve got a 61% head to head win ratio going back 5 years running. I also don’t pretend to be an expert in every sport. Thats why, in the DFS Army, we have specific DFS Pros designated for NBA, MLB, PGA, NHL NASCAR and MMA. We may even get Soccer coverage if the sport becomes popular enough. Our Domination Station Optimization tool is about to launch support for NBA. That could happen in the next week or so. We already have the best NFL and NBA projections in the business which we share exclusively without VIP Members. If you want to keep your DFS degenerate habit going year round, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s the deal – DO NOT JOIN OUR GROUP IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO BUY LINEUPS! That’s not what we do here. If you want to collaborate with full-time DFS Pros, bounce ideas, get coaching and leverage your time by getting access to our research, projections and advice then give us a try. Our normal monthly membership dues are $20 per month. That gets you everything we do – VIP Slack Chat, Coaching, Projections for every sport, Optimization Tools, Pro Player Picks. Everything all in one monthly membership fee. Now through the end of the NFL season, you can use Promo Code: GEEK to lock in a 20% discount. Your dues will lock in at $16 per month and they will never go up. Other services charge $20 a month just for shitty projections. Optimizers that are similar to our Domination Station charge between $40 to $60 per month and they aren’t as good. I’ve kept the membership dues low because I want our group to be accessible to casual players as well as pros. We are leveling the playing field and the results have shown that its working. With multiple 6 figure winners posted on our Wall of Fame, multiple live finalists and countless GPP top finishes our group of under 1000 members has been dominating the DFS leaderboards.

Join our team by going to DFS ARMY MEMBERSHIPS and using promo code: GEEK for a 20% discount on your monthly dues.

Week 16 Vegas Lines Based Game Breakdowns

Once again we will need to keep a close eye on weather conditions this week.

Thursday 8:25 ET NY Giants -2.5 At Philadelphia 41.5

In the opening game of the slate, the Giants travel to Philidelphia as slight road favorites in a game that Vegas expects will be low scoring. Fade the Thursday game is in play here for sure. The Giants have been solid defensively this season. The Eagles defense started off solid but has been crumbling in recent weeks.

The Giants have been all about solid defense and OBJ for most of the season. That shouldn’t change here. Their run game is shit and their secondary WR’s haven’t looked particularly viable. Giants Defense could be playable in this spot as well.

I fully expect the Eagles to bring their A game in what amounts to their “Superbowl” against their hated division rivals. Eli Manning is basically a turnover machine and I could see the Eagles Defense doing some damage as a GPP only play. Wentz has been incredibly inefficient as a QB this season. Facing a tough Giants Defense makes him somewhat unstartable for me. Jordan Matthews has been seeing double-digit targets on a weekly basis but he plays a possession role that limits his upside. He could break out one of these weeks but this isn’t something I’d call a good spot. The best player for the Eagles in the second half has been Zach Ertz. He’s been remarkably consistent and has seen 10+ targets on average since week 9. The Giants are not great at stopping opposing TE’s which makes Ertz an elite play. Last week Ryan Matthews got a heavy workload and made it count. He’s a punt option on Draftkings this week in a rough spot.

Elite Plays: Zach Ertz, Odell Beckham Jr.

Tournament: Eagles Defense, Giants Defense, Jordan Matthews, Ryan Matthews

Washington -3.5 At Chicago 47

The Redskins will be looking to get right against a Chicago Bears team that has already packed it in for the season. Vegas is looking for a high scoring game with the Redskins slated to win.

Let’s start with the Bears. Assuming they come to play, Jordan Howard is in a solid spot against a Redskins D that was just torched to the tune of 137 yards by Jonathan Stewart last week. I’m assuming Redskins CB, Josh Norman will be assigned to Alshon Jeffrey which could potentially push targets to Cam Meredith in this one. Meredith saw 13 targets last week and I expect more of the same. He is a recommended salary saver on Draftkings this week.

The Redskins will be looking to rebound off a poor Monday Night effort that saw Cousins go without a touchdown pass in what seemed on paper to be an excellent spot. The Bears have actually been somewhat solid defensively this season ranked in the top 10 at limiting opposing QB’s and RB’s fantasy scoring. I’m ignoring all of that this week. The line says high scoring and I think we can roll with it. Defenses on losing teams tend to crumble late in the season anyway. Looking at the Redskins, Fat Rob Kelly is in an excellent spot. I was encouraged last week to see him get in some passing game work as well. Rob will become an even better play if the weather conditions limit the passing offenses. Looking deeper at the pass catchers, Jordan Reed still hasn’t shown that he is over his injury. He’s been active and done nothing the past two weeks. That can change at any time but I’ll believe it when I see it. One important note in this offense is that it appears both Garcon and D-Jax are the primary targets for Cousins with Crowder as the third option. As long as Reed is on the shelf I expect D-Jax and Garcon to continue to see a ton of targets.

Elite Plays: Rob Kelly, Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Cameron Meredith

Tournament Plays: Jordan Howard, Jae Crowder, Kirk Cousins

At Buffalo -3.5 Miami 42

Matt Moore and the Dolphins head north to take on the Bills as slight road underdogs. Vegas is looking for a low scoring game. Neither of these two defenses inspire fear in the hearts of their opposition and I expect a hard fought game.

Last week Matt Moore did well filling in for Tannehill on Saturday night vs the Jets. People may be thinking that he’s pretty good. That may be true but it’s also possible that he looked good because the Jets really suck. This is a sneaky spot to target the Bills defense, particularly for a low ownership GPP play. Miami is in line for a potential playoff berth. The Bills will work their asses off to prevent their hated division rival from getting that spot. Buffalo has been vulnerable to opposing RB’s this season. Jay Ajayi hasn’t had a big game in a while but I suppose he has a chance in this spot.

The Bills are playing for pride at home against a division rival. I expect them to bring their best game. Thier offense revolves around Lesean Mccoy. I like the idea of stacking Mccoy with Buffalo D in some tournaments this week. Sammy Watkins has been getting more and more snaps each week but he’s yet to put up a big number. He is inconsistent in the best of times makes for a GPP flier at best.

Elite Plays: Lesean Mccoy

Tournament: Jay Ajayi, Buffalo Defense

At New Orleans -3 Tampa Bay 52.5

Chalk alert! It’s Deja Vu all over again as the Saints get a rematch with the Bucs just two weeks after these two teams collectively sunk DFS chalk chompers (I’m looking at you Choppodong) with an 11-16 stinker. Vegas wasn’t phased by that loss and slapped a generous 52.5 point total on this game. Neither one of these teams have defenses that concern me.

Looking at Tampa it’s a three-pronged attack. Evans at WR is the only game in town. Cameron Brate is a solid TE coming off a quality game at Dallas. Doug Martin is a game flow dependent RB that cedes plays and targets to Charles Simms when the Bucs fall behind. Looking at Evans, his ungodly target numbers from earlier this season have leveled off quite a bit. Evans is scary good when he gets 12+ targets per game from Winston. When he only gets 8 targets he’s basically meh.

Last week Drew Brees broke out of his mini-slump in the most unlikely of settings. Facing the top rated Cardinals pass defense, Brees and company proceeded to torch them to the tune of 4 TD’s and almost 400 passing yards. Those were GPP winning numbers for anyone that had the balls to stack Brees with Cooks last week. Michael Thomas remains the Saints most consistent receiver. It seems like he gets a TD just about every week. Snead continues to see targets but has the least TD equity of any of the Saints pass catchers. At RB, Ingram continues to function as the lead back for the Saints working in a 60/40 split with Tim Hightower.

Looking at this game the Vegas assumption is a high scoring affair. Some people may be spooked after having been toasted by this exact matchup two weeks back. The thing is past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. This game could easily become a shootout situation where both teams exchange scores. We will need to get some exposure to it in tournaments for sure. I like the idea of stacking both sides by using come combo of Brees-Cooks-Thomas-Evans or Brate in a single lineup.  Beware of Doug Martin here. If the Saints get out to an early lead the Bucs will go into catch-up mode and shelf him for Simms.

Elite Plays: Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Mike Evans, Cameron Brate

Tournament: Brandin Cooks, Jameis Winston, Mark Ingram

Atlanta -3.5 At Carolina 52.5

Chalk Alert! This game has shootout written all over it. Cam Newton and the Panthers, fresh off an upset win over the Redskins, take on the Falcons as slight home dogs in a game with a sky high Vegas total. Both of these teams are at the bottom of the league defensively as far as giving up fantasy points to the opposition.

Looking at the Falcons, the big question is if Julio will be back. I’m not a fan of using players in their first game off a multi-week injury but I’ll be monitoring practice reports on Julio this week. It’s possible they kept him out of last weekend’s game as a precaution because the 49ers suck so bad that they didn’t need him.  I’ve been on the Taylor Gabriel train for a while now and it has produced nicely. My concern with him is that his salary ($6200) has exploded on Draftkings to the point where I consider him unplayable. Sanu has been a disappointment all season as well so finding a stack with Ryan will be difficult in this one outside of the dice roll on Julio’s health. The Panthers are known as a solid team vs the run but with Keuchly out they have dropped off considerably in that area. The Falcons will probably lean on Coleman and Freeman this week. It’s impossible to really predicts which of the two will have a quality game on a week to week basis rendering both as tournament only type plays.

For Carolina, everything depends on which version of Cam shows up. Newton has a remarkably solid December win-loss record throughout his career. He played what could have been his best game of the season last week and I think there’s a good chance he keeps that going here. The primary pass catcher for the Panthers remains Greg Olsen. He makes for an elite play facing an Atlanta defense that gives up the 28th most fantasy points to opposing TEs. Kelvin Benjamin hasn’t done a thing since the first couple of weeks of the season. He’s a GPP only Hail Mary play at best. Teddy Ginn has been the best WR option to target on the Panthers and is the preferred play. At RB, Jonathan Stewart is usable as well facing an Atlanta defense that is generous to opposing RB’s.

Elite Plays: Cam Newton, Greg Olsen, Ted Ginn, Matt Ryan

Tournament: Devontae Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Julio Jones

At Green Bay -7 Minnesota 43

The Packers are heavy home favorites vs the floundering Vikings in a game Vegas sees as low scoring.

The Vikings are basically falling apart right now. Last week they got thrashed at home by a Colts team that has sucked defensively all season. Smart people lost money playing Sam Bradford in their DFS lineups! This week they travel to Green Bay to take on a Packers team that has been heating up at just the right time. The forecast in Green Bay calls for freezing rain at game time but it’s early and that can change. I warned everyone not to touch Adrian Peterson last weekend. Many of you didn’t listen and you got burned. I’m issuing that same warning here. Don’t use him. I got toasted last week when Adam Thielen came out of the game with an injury. With 25% exposure across my lineups that zero stung like, you couldn’t believe. I’m not going back to the well.

For the Packers, this is an all hands on deck situation. The Vikings best defensive player is Xavier Rhodes. I’m assuming he will shadow Jordy Nelson making Davontae Adams the preferred play. It helps that his salary is lower than Jordy’s as well. I still like Nelson as a secondary play in this one. I’ll be paying close attention to practice updates for the Packers this week. If Ty Montgomery is declared the starter, and especially if Starks is out again, I’ll be looking for heavy exposure once again. Montgomery’s role with the Packers includes a shitload of passing game targets. I love it when my running backs get targeted in the passing game.

Elite Plays: Aaron Rodgers, Davontae Adams, Ty Montgomery

Tournament: Jordy Nelson, Packers Defense

At New England -16.5 NY Jets 43.5

This game is going to get ugly in a hurry. The Jets head out to New England like lambs to the slaughter. Vegas slapped a massive 30 point total on the Patriots in this one. The Jets are expected to score a pathetic 13.5 points.

Looking at the Jets, I suppose Bilal Powell is usable here. Maybe Roby Anderson in garbage time. Realistically, probably not.

For the Patriots this game should look more like a scrimmage vs the local College team. Brady and company should be scoring at will in this one. I fully expect to see Garroppolo in there early in the 4th quarter. There will be plenty of time to pile up the fantasy goodness in the first three-quarters, however. Obviously, Brady is in a solid spot here. Edelman, Hogan, Mitchell and Martellus Bennett round out the foursome of pass catchers that all have TD upside in this one. There’s no way of knowing which of the group will have the biggest game. Edelman tends to see the most targets of the bunch but Mitchell and Bennett seem to have the highest TD potential. Legarett Blount makes for a solid play here as well. Patriots Defense should be extremely chalky this weekend and will probably be my top play at the position,

Elite Plays: Tom Brady, Malcolm Mitchell, Julian Edelman, LeGarrette Blount, Patriots Defense

Tournament: Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett

Tennessee -4.5 At Jacksonville 43.5

The Jags finally fired Gus Bradley last weekend and now they get their shot at the “fired coach bounce” as they take on the Titans as home dogs in a game that is expected to be low scoring.

The Jaguars have actually been decent defensively this season but not good enough to scare me off using some Titans players in this spot. Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews are the primary passing-game targets for Mariota. Both are squarely in play this week. I’m concerned about Demarco Murray in that he seems to get vultured consistently by Derek Henry. Last week Henry got two TD’s on just nine carries. That could have been an anomaly but I’m not keen on paying stud salary for an RB in a timeshare.

Looking at the Jaguars, could this finally be the week that Allen Robinson has a decent game? The Titans give up the most points per game of any team to the WR position. I’m looking at A-Rob and Marquise Lee as viable passing game options this week. They are at home and have the whole “new coach” thing going for them. I have zero faith in the Jaguars RB’s and consider them both to be off limits.

Elite Plays: Delanie Walker, Rishard Matthews

Tournament: Mariotta, Allen Robinson, Demarco Murray, Marquise Lee

San Diego -6.5 At Cleveland 43.5

The Browns are the NFL version of the town hoe this season. Every team patiently waits their turn to do the nasty with them.. the nasty meaning putting up a ton of fantasy points. This week the Chargers come to town angry after losing a home game to their hated division rivals. Vegas has the Chargers as heavy road favorites in a game they expect will be low scoring.

There’s not much to like about the Browns offense under the tutelage of RG3. Best bet is to fade them completely.

For the Chargers this is a spot to target. Rivers two favorite targets of late are Dontrelle Inman and Tyrell Williams. Inman has been the most productive of the two since Williams hurt his shoulder a few weeks back. The TE’s for the Chargers are way too inconsistent for my taste. Finally, we have the RB situation. Assuming Gordon is still out, we have Kenneth Farrow in the primary role with Ronnie Hillman coming in to spell him. Last week Farrow was in on 80% of the snaps. He wound up with 15 carries and two receptions. Farrow didn’t do much with the opportunities but this week is different. Much like the aforementioned town hoe, the Browns allow gaping holes for RB’s to trot through. I expect Farrow to be under-owned this week coming off the disappointing performance in a chalky spot.

Elite Plays: Phillip Rivers, Kenneth Farrow, Dontrelle Inman

Tournament: Tyrell Williams

 At Oakland -4 Indianapolis 53

Chalk Alert? We have the highest projected game of the week as the Colts travel to Oakland as slight road dogs. The Colts are coming off a game in which they smoked the Vikings on the road. It was a weird game where the Colts dominated defensively and didn’t need much from Luck. On the Oakland side, Derrek Carr had his second disappointing fantasy performance in a row since busting his finger three weeks back.

Looking at the Oakland Defense, they are below average across the board. They’ve been particularly vulnerable to RB’s ranked 28th overall in fantasy points allowed to the position. That bodes well for Frank Gore. Old man Gore continues to produce on a weekly basis. Last week he saw over 100 yards on 23 carries and even saw some passing game work. Gore tends to produce between 10-20 fantasy points on a weekly basis. A classic cash game-high floor low ceiling player. The player that stands to benefit the most if this game becomes high scoring is TY Hilton. Hilton had is coming off a quiet week where he was locked down by Xavier Rhoades of the Vikings. The Raiders don’t have a corner of that caliber to shut Hilton down. With Moncrief possibly out I expect Hilton to be peppered with targets this week.

Looking at the Raiders, it’s another tricky fantasy situation. You never feel comfortable about starting a QB with a throwing hand injury. That said, this is an excellent matchup for the Raiders taking on a Colts defense that, sans last week, has been very generous in delivering fantasy points totals. Michael Crabtree has been the more consistent pass catcher for the Raiders this season and he is the preferred cash stack with Carr in this game. Cooper hasn’t had a quality like since back in week 8. I’m not sure whats up with him but he hasn’t justified his massive DFS salary. The best matchup in this one goes to Latavius Murray. The Colts are ranked 28th in points allowed to the RB position. Murray at home stands to benefit.

Elite Plays: TY Hilton, Latavius Murray, Andrew Luck, Mike Crabtree

Tournament: Amari Cooper, Derek Carr

At Los Angeles -3.5 San Francisco 40.5

Wow what a stinker. I think this may actually be a chance to roll out Gurley in a good spot. Outside of Gurley, I’m hearing that the Rams may roll out Sean Manion at QB if Goff isn’t cleared from the concussion protocol. I’m not sure he could possibly be any worse the Goff. On the 49ers side the only player I’d consider here is Carlos Hyde. Last week the Rams completely shut down a similar runner in Tom Rawls at Seattle so there is some risk there.

Elite Plays: Gurley

Tournament: Hyde

At Seattle -8.5 Arizona 43.5

This game has all the makings of a defensive slugfest. The Cardinals take on their division rivals as heavy road dogs in a game that Vegas expects will be low scoring.

I’m not sure we need to look at this game for fantasy purposes. There are so many better matchups floating around this week. Most of these will be GPP only situations but there are a few players to keep an eye on.

Looking at the Cardinals the two players that come to mind as considerations are David Johnson and JJ Nelson. Johnson is an every-week stud that should go under-owned in a difficult defensive matchup. Earlier this season, people faded DJ in a tough matchup with the Vikings and he proceeded to deliver one of his biggest fantasy totals of the season. Nelson is cheap and with Floyd gone and Brown hobbled, makes for an interesting low ownership punt with big play potential. Nelson is a burner with the ability to go over the top of the tough Seattle secondary.

Last week Tyler Lockett had his best game of the season putting up 29 DK points in a 130 yard 7 reception effort. Lockett seems to be a player on the rise. I could see grabbing a share or two of Lockett in some GPP lineups. The matchups here for Seattle’s offensive players is fairly brutal. I’ve been burned too many times by these guys this season to trust them facing a tough defensive team.

At Houston -2 Cincinnati 41

In the Christmas Eve Hammer game the Texans take on the Bengals as slight home favorites in a close and low-scoring game.

Sunday marks the likely end of the Brock Osweiler experiment for the Texans. That contract will go down alongside Matt Flynn and Scott Mitchell as some of the worst ever investments in backup QB’s. Tom Savage took over last week for the Texans and led the team to a comeback win against the Jags. This week they take a Bengals defense that comes in ranked 4th overall at limiting opposing WR’s but 29th overall vs TE’s. Last week after Savage took over for Brock he proceeded to pepper Deandre Hopkins with 17 targets. Hopkins is priced as if Brock the Suck is throwing him passes. We almost forget that he was a stud WR pre-Brock. I like him for a bounceback week here even though this matchup is tough on paper. Another name to consider for the Texans is Ryan Griffin at TE. Griffin was a player we discussed on the DFS Army VIP podcast last week as well as in our forums as an ideal pivot off the chalky Jermaine Gresham. The move worked out well as he wound up going 8 for 8 with 85 yards. The Bengals are vulnerable to TE’s and this is an ideal spot to get on the Griffin bandwagon. The Bengals have been vulnerable to RB’s as well putting Lamar Miller squarely on the value RB radar. Here’s the deal. This entire Texans offense has been hamstrung by Osweiler’s ineptitude this season. I’m looking at the game as a rebirth for them. I have no idea if Savage is any good. I actually doubt it but I think he’s better then Brock and the offense could look completely different with some competence at the QB position.

This matchup is tough on paper for the Bengals. The Texans have been solid at stopping opposing QB’s and pass catchers all season. Ranked in the top 8 vs QB’s, WR’s and TE’s, the on-paper matchups look rough. The only vulnerability for the Texans has been against the run. If I absolutely need a piece of the Bengals in this game I’d probably look at Jeremy Hill first.

Elite Plays: Ryan Griffin, Deandre Hopkins,  Lamar Miller

Tournament:  Jeremy Hill, Tyler Eifert

Sunday Slate

The DFS Sites are running three-game slates with the two Christmas Day games and the Monday nighter so we are going to need to consider the players from the following three games for those slates. I’m approaching the player picks here as if these are the only three games to choose from as opposed to taking a full week 16 view.

12/25 4:30 ET At Pittsburgh -5 Baltimore 44.5

On the first game of Christmas, the NFL gave to me, a brutal divisional matchup. The  Ravens travel to Pittsburgh as heavy underdogs to take on the Steelers in a game vegas slapped a middling total on. Baltimore is a top ranked Defense particularly against the run. They get burned by WR’s. The Steelers are the complete opposite ranking as a top Defense against the pass but vulnerable to the rush.

Based on the stats this is a game in which I expect the Steelers to attack the Ravens through the air. Antonio Brown is a must own all in play for the three-game slate. I also love Big Ben in this spot. Roethlisberger is well known to be a QB that’s better at home. Last week we actually saw the Ghost of Sammie Coates make an appearance to the tune of 5 targets and 1 reception. Not very impressive. Eli Rogers contributed with some receptions as well. Realistically this passing offense is Brown or bust right now. I’m not sleeping on Leveon Bell in this spot. Sure the Ravens are a top ranked run defense but that didn’t stop LeGarrette Blount from torching them a couple of weeks back.

The Ravens offense is tougher to predict as far as where the touches and targets will go. Steve Smith Sr is old and should be wearing down this late in the season. Mike Wallace seems to be the most consistent WR option for them right now. With the Steelers solid vs the WR position the player to target in this game may be Dennis Pitta. Pitta has big games every once in a while and then goes ignored for weeks at a time. In a small slate, it could make sense to grab some Pitta shares just in case this is one of those weeks where the Ravens remember that he’s on the team. At RB, last week was supposed to be the Dixon breakout party. The Ravens went on to feature Terrance West. I’m thinking that the RB situation for the Ravens is game flow dependent and similar to how the Jets were using Forte and Powell for most of the season. Dixon represents the “Powell” coming in on obvious passing plays and catch up situations. Assuming that Vegas is right and the Ravens are playing from behind for a good portion of this game I think this could be a Dixon week.

Elite Plays: Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell

Tournament: Mike Wallace, Dennis Pitta, Kenneth Dixon

12/25 8:30 ET At Kansas City -4.5 Denver 38

On the second game of Christmas, the NFL gave to me, the lowest total game of the week. Even in a short slate, this is a brutal game on paper. Both of these teams play stifling defense that limits opposition scoring. Here’s the thing. These two teams met in week 12 and it was an explosion of offense. Semian put up 32 points Tyreek Hill matched that total for the Chiefs. My point is that even when things look awful on paper there is the possibility of big fantasy dividends.

Looking at this game from the perspective of the three-game slate we can consider both offenses as GPP Contrarian plays across the board. Looking at Denver, I’m not going anywhere near their RB’s. Sanders and Thomas have good on paper matchups against a KC Defense that has allowed big fantasy points totals to opposing WR’s this season.

On the KC side, it’s trickier to pick where the scoring might come from. Denver locks down opposing WR’s. I’m not touching Jeremy Maclin in this spot. Last time out, Travis Kelce had a big game alongside Tyreek Hill. Those are the two players I’d consider using on the KC offensive side.

Elite Plays: Chiefs Defense

Tournament: Denver Defense, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Emanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas

Monday Night Football
At Dallas -7 Detroit 42.5

In the slate finale, the Cowboys are at home taking on the Lions. Dallas is heavily favored in a game Vegas has pegged as low scoring.

I’m actually confused about the low total on this game. These two teams could easily wind up in a tit for tat style shootout of a game. Defensively, the Lions have been most vulnerable to TE’s this season coming in ranked 30th overall. They play a 3 deep defense designed to limit deep plays down the field. That style of defense should favor TE’s as well as possession or shifty slot receivers like Cole Beasley.

Starting with the basics, if you are playing the three-game slate you are probably going all in on Zeke. Elliott has a floor of around 17 points in his worst game. The Lions have been solid defensively at limiting opposing RB’s ranking 8th overall but Zeke is pretty much matchup-proof. The initial goal might be to get Bell and Zeke in the same lineup together. It will be tough to fit them both and Antonio Brown together however so that’s where the choices begin. The Chalky move will be to go with Zeke and Brown or Zeke and Bell. Contrarian may be to go Brown and Bell while fading Zeke. These types of choices are what make DFS great. I generally try to get exposure to all those possibilities when going for the nuts in a short slate. Jason Witten has to be a consideration at TE. I actually think he will be the highest owned TE simply because he’s cheap and his matchup on paper is the best of the slate. Beasley hasn’t been producing since Dez returned and I feel his salary is way too high compared to his upside.

The Lions are a tricky team to predict right now. Stafford has the finger issue and we simply have no idea how that is affecting him. I suppose the fact that this game is indoors in a controlled environment is a positive thing. Last week Golden Tate was the focal point of the offense. He saw 13 targets and pulled in 8 of them. Marvin Jones Jr was a secondary option reeling in 3 of his 5 targets. At RB, D. Washington got the bulk of the work with Zack Zenner spelling him. Ebron was involved as he saw 7 targets but didn’t do much with them. The final piece for Detroit is Anquan Bolden. He defines possession receiver and while he generally gets 5+ targets per game, he needs to score a TD to be relevant.

Elite Plays: Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliott

Tournament: Jason Witten, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr, Eric Ebron, Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley

Thats is for week 16. Merry Christmas to everyone. Let’s hope that Santa delivers a stuffed bankroll this year!