Merry Christmas my friends! We are on to Week 16 of the NFL. Hopefully this article finds you preparing for a season-long fantasy football championship. Despite the fact that Roger Goodell seems like the Uncle that gave you a book for X-Mas as a kid, the NFL has blessed us with games on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Lots of nice excuses to avoid the family!
Let's look back at last week. Matt Moore had this article coming out on absolute fire Saturday. In a large Thursday-Monday contest I saw Moore ownership at .2% on DraftKings. That's exactly what we are looking for in this spot. Christine Michael was our 1% All-Star of the week. It was a bit disappointing that we only got 10.5 points out of a guy that had a 42-yard touchdown run. Additionally, picking Michael likely meant a Ty Montgomery fade. Whoops. I promise I'll never suggest Alfred Blue again. Trey Burton was largely made irrelevant late week once we had another $2,500 tight end option in Ryan Griffin. Brandon Coleman … let's just move on. Finally, we got a terrific game from Aldrick Robinson with 4 catches and 111 yards. The only thing we were missing there was a touchdown for a monster afternoon. Overall, a solid but not spectacular effort here.
Deep Sleepers for Week 16
I rarely target the Patriots offense (looking at you Dion Lewis) because it's so hard to figure out how the Patriots offense is going to distribute the ball on a weekly basis (other than Tom Brady's binky Julian Edelman getting a ton of targets.) This week is a bit different as the Patriots have shown a willingness to throw the ball 40-50 times when facing a great run defense which I still think the Jets possess. Chris Hogan strikes me as a guy who will benefit from the additional pass attempts this week (Malcom Mitchell, too). In fact, we are firing Hogan up as the 1% All-Star of the Week.
We've reached the point in the season where understanding narratives becomes as important in fantasy football as it does when watching an episode of Westworld. There may be no bigger narrative in a meaningless game than Antonio Gates and the tight end touchdown record. Gates is two away, the Chargers have nothing to play for and the Browns stink. Gates very well may end up being over 1% because people love targeting the Browns but I do not want anyone missing a great spot. This may be the last time in our lives that we get to roster Antonio Gates, do so early and do some often.
This matchup accounted for 81 points earlier in the year. I expect another track meet in this game despite the Panthers looking great in multiple facets of the game Monday Night. I want no part of the run game here; I don't expect 100+ yards game from Jonathan Stewart, and the Panthers just held to Fat Rob Kelley to under a yard per carry. I love Kelvin Benjamin despite his recent struggles here but he's still not the pick. If Julio Jones is back, I expect Mohammad Sanu to go back into the Aldrick Robinson role and face the lesser talented defensive backs on the Panthers roster. He's a little pricey on DraftKings but I think Sanu is a nice play on FanDuel as I think he finds the end zone this weekend.
Saints on the slate at home? Say no more. It's just a matter of who is cheap that I'm going to target in this game. Doug Martin has not been effective this year, whether it be injuries or maybe being weighed down by a new contract. I expect people to be a bit timid on these two teams given their low scoring game a few weeks ago but I think it's safe to say we can expect more than 26 pass attempts from Jameis Winston this week. I like the Bucs to try and get the backfield involved in the passing game this week and Charles Sims should fit into some rosters nicely.
Side note: Jacquizz Rodgers was a healthy inactive last week. Rostering Sims should be contingent on the same such situation this week.
Last week I said I was drunk for handing out Matt Moore as a pick. This week I might get drug tested but give me Jared Goff if he gets the start this week. Look, I'm not saying to not roster Todd Gurley. He's the clear pick in this game to target the 49ers' awful defense. But winning large tournaments normally means going against the grain and what could be more against the grain than going Jared Goff at this point? A few things I like about the story line here: it's sure looked like the 49ers are tanking at this point and the Rams have no incentive to lose since they don't have their first-round pick. Throw in that I believe the front office will be pushing John Fassel to make Goff look as good as possible to help the front office save face. Last note: don't @ me when Goff has a 12-31 line for 96 yards.
Nothing is going to put me in the holiday spirit more than watching the Ravens and Steelers whoop each other on Christmas. I may even find a bar for this one. People watching on Christmas Night at bar is always a tremendous experience. On to the game here: if Jimmy Smith is out, the obvious target is Antonio Brown (great advice Bob). Le'Veon Bell will be a factor in the passing game but I don't see him getting it going on the ground versus this run defense. Ladarius Green should be made a non-factor by the Pro-Bowl snubbed Eric Weddle. The alternate play here becomes Steelers slot wide receiver Eli Rogers. It seems like these games always feature the less heralded guys making plays for their team to win and let's not forget that Rogers had a stout 6-103 line earlier in the year versus the Ravens.