DRAFT Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 16
Just because the NFL season is underway doesn't mean you can't enjoy fantasy football drafts.
Over at DRAFT.com, you can get the experience of a fantasy draft while building your daily fantasy rosters, and the format is quite simple.
You roster one quarterback, two running backs, and two wide receiver/tight ends, while drafting against opponents in real-time. That means the typical "value" aspect of daily fantasy is different, as you're not worrying about salary cap and instead just playing your opponents for your preferred picks of the week.
What stands out for Week 16's main slate?
When considering running backs in the DRAFT format, you are required to draft two, but the difference between the top options and the next grouping can be a big drop-off.
Our projections have five running backs projected for 18.0 points or more, while the sixth running back is projected for 17.3 fantasy points. This might not seem massive, but in fantasy football or DFS, every point matters. In your head-to-head matches, you will 100% be grabbing at least one of these top running backs, but as you move on to 4-person, 6-person, and 10-person DRAFTS, things can change dramatically.
Let's take a look at a few players by tiers, so you can get a clear picture of where you should be targeting each player.
1. Christian McCaffrey (RB1) - Even with the Carolina Panthers making a change at quarterback, we still see McCaffrey come in as our highest projected running back this week at 22.1 FanDuel points. The Panthers hold a modest 20.25 implied team total this week and are 6.5-point underdogs against the Indianapolis Colts. CMC has managed nearly 20 total touches in every game this season, with two different quarterbacks. This change won't slow him down.
2. Leonard Fournette (RB4) - Fournette has the fourth-highest projected points for a running back this week, but I like him a bit higher. He has a solid matchup against the Atlanta Falcons and comes in with six targets or more in seven straight games, a level of involvement RB2 and RB3 cannot match.
3. Alvin Kamara (RB2) - Kamara hasn't been producing lately -- this isn't a secret -- but he is against the Tennessee Titans this week, who are allowing 21.8 FanDuel points per game to running backs -- right at the league average. Involvement in the running and passing game always makes him a threat, he just needs to show it this week.
4. Ezekiel Elliott (RB3) - With Dak Prescott dealing with a shoulder injury, the Dallas Cowboys could lean on Zeke even more than usual this week. The matchup versus the Philadelphia Eagles isn't ideal -- they are allowing the eight-fewest FanDuel points per game to running backs -- but the extra volume of carries should be there for him. We have him projected for the third-most rushing attempts this week.
5. Saquon Barkley (RB5) - Barkley had his best game of the season last week, and we should be seeing more of that this week against Washington, who are allowing 24.5 FanDuel points per game to opposing running backs. A bad overall game environment with a 41.5 over/under, but it's a great matchup.
6. Chris Carson (RB6) - In the Seattle Seahawks' offense, the starting running back is always primed for a good volume of touches -- that is a constant in the NFL. Carson and the Seahawks are boasting a slate-high 30.25 implied team total, are a -9.5-point home favorite, and are facing the Arizona Cardinals this week. He went for over 100 yards against them earlier this season, and we should see more of that here.
7. James Conner (RB8) - Conner played last week but didn't produce anything noteworthy fantasy points. With the Pittsburgh Steelers' inconsistency and overall lack of production from their passing game, they might need to turn to Conner and the rushing game in a winnable matchup against the New York Jets. The Steelers need this win for the playoffs, so lean on their best player.
8. Joe Mixon (RB9) - Mixon was back at practice on Friday and has one of the best matchups versus the Miami Dolphins, who are allowing 25.1 FanDuel points or opposing running backs. This game has some shootout potential since both defenses are so bad and Mixon has over 100 yards in two straight games.
9. Melvin Gordon (RB11) - Although Gordon is splitting snaps with Austin Ekeler, you should consider looking to him this week, as the Los Angeles Chargers have a 26.25 implied team total versus the Oakland Raiders. The consistency isn't there, so this is only for deeper DRAFTs.
1. Michael Thomas (WR1) - The best receiver in the league has the highest projection -- 21.0 FanDuel points this week -- and is nearly four full points higher than WR2. It's a clear spot to grab Thomas, as the New Orleans Saints have a 26.50 implied team total.
2. Julio Jones (WR2) - The Jacksonville Jaguars are allowing 25.9 FanDuel points per game to wider receivers and with the Atlanta Falcons dealing with so many injuries, Jones is a clear top option due to his potential volume this week.
3. Tyler Lockett (WR3) - Lockett has a great matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, who are allowing the ninth-most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers this season. After a few prior tough weeks, it's a chance to build on last week's big game.
4. A.J. Brown (WR4) - Brown has vaulted himself to the top wide receiver on the Tennessee Titans, posting over 100 yards in three of his past four games. With a 50.5 over/under against the Saints, the offense should be going back and fourth, opening up plenty of fantasy points.
5. Amari Cooper (WR5) - The Eagles are terrible against the passing game, allowing the second-most FanDuel points per game (33.9) to wide receivers this season. A must-win game for both teams should have them playing aggressive and looking to put up points.
6. Christian Kirk (WR6) - Kirk has plenty of big-play potential, and with the Cardinals projected to be playing from behind as 9.5-point underdogs, they will need to push the ball downfield. He makes a great stacking option with Murray.
7. D.J. Moore (WR8) - Moore has a change at quarterback this week, and hopefully they look towards him against a weak Indianapolis Colts secondary, who are allowing 31.3 FanDuel points per game to wide receivers. Don't love the quarterback change, but Moore is too good.
8. Keenan Allen (WR11) - Wide receivers against the Oakland Raiders have been profitable all season long, so no need to stop now. Allen has double-digit FanDuel points in five straight games with two touchdowns in that span but no games over 100 yards. He changes that this week.
9. T.Y. Hilton (WR12) - Hilton was a bit of a bust last week against the Saints, but against the Panthers this week we want to trust him. Carolina is allowing the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers this season.
We all know you should be prioritizing elite running backs and receivers over taking a quarterback in season-long fantasy, and that should be the same here. This week, there are four quarterbacks who we have projected to score from 20.2 to 25.1 FanDuel points and another three projected at 18.6 to 19.6. At a certain point, it can be splitting hairs, and it essentially comes down to personal preference, but know that you will be in a good spot at quarterback this week.
1. Lamar Jackson (QB1) - It's Lamar Jackson's world and we're just living in it. He is projected at 25 FanDuel points and is likely to exceed that with the Baltimore Ravens holding a 29.75 implied team total. Get him where ever you can in DRAFT formats.
2. Russell Wilson (QB2) - Wilson and the Seahawks are set for a shootout against the Cardinals, who are allowing the absolute most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks this season. No reason not to grab him with a 30.25 implied team total and even better paired with Lockett.
3. Drew Brees (QB3) - Another quarterback set for a big game is Brees against the Titans with a 50.5 over/under. Don't let the outdoor splits bother you, he has nine passing touchdowns in his last two games, and you cannot be passing that up this week.
4. Dak Prescott (QB4) - Dak is listed as a full-go this Sunday against the Eagles in what is going to decide the NFC East. He might not be 100% healthy, but a must-win game for the Cowboys will require their offense to post points, and he should have a hand in that.
5. Matt Ryan (QB5) - Matty Ice has two touchdowns in each of his last three games and now gets to try and extend that versus the Jaguars, who are allowing 19 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks. A bit lower than the clear top options, but a very safe option this week.
6. Kyler Murray (QB6) - The Cardinals will need to get the scoring going as a 9.5-point underdog against the Seahawks. His passing attempts have been a bit lower in recent games, but with them projected to be trailing, that should be much higher this week.
7. Ryan Tannehill (QB7) - The Titans need to be winning games in order to make the playoffs, and with Tannehill having two touchdowns or more in five straight games, we are trusting him this week.
8. Philip Rivers (QB8) - I'm personally excited for the fourth quarter when Rivers and the Chargers have the ball, are down by one score, and something major happens. Maybe he throws a pick, or maybe it's a touchdown this time? Regardless, the matchup versus the Raiders -- allowing the second-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks -- shouldn't be passed up.
9. Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB9) - Fitzmagic is set to do it again this week against the Cincinnati Bengals, who are tanking their way to the first pick. Fitzy has multiple touchdowns in three of the past four games, a level of production that should only continue this week.