NFL Reid Option: Week 16
Each week, Sammy Reid will break down each position in detail, pinpointing his favorite plays at various salary ranges. Who should we be focusing our core on this week? Read below to find out!
When I was 22, I moved to Denmark. It was for a girl, of course.
If you’d have seen her, I guarantee you’d have done the same thing. On top of being uncommonly beautiful, she was smart, interesting, and quirky. When her U.S. visa expired, the only way we could be together is if I moved to Denmark. So I did the only reasonable thing there was to do, which is take a leave of absence from school, pack up everything I could into two suitcases and a carry-on, and fly my ass to a tiny Scandinavian country.
That year that I spent in Denmark was one of the most rich and colorful experiences I’ve ever had. It’s so far north that the summer days are 20 hours long and in the winter, darkness and freezing temperatures cloak the entire day, save for a few hours in the middle of the afternoon. In the summer, we traveled to Belgium, Austria, and the Czech Republic. We rode bikes and took weekly day trips to Germany to buy cheap beer. In the winter, we mostly stayed in, drinking tea and coffee as we gathered around the fire to get cozy every night.
Everything in Denmark was slightly different than it was in the States. The architecture and decor was straight and angular. The electrical plugs were different, and the toilets had big buttons to push instead of handles to flush. There were American shows on TV (I watched way more Baywatch and Melrose Place re-runs than I feel comfortable admitting), but they all had Danish subtitles. Their idea of a snack was a slice of fresh herring on a piece of bread. Whenever you’d go to someone’s house, they’d put out an ashtray for you to smoke in their living room – even if they weren’t smokers! What a world.
Christmas is huge in Denmark. Like indescribably huge. Their winters are so long and depressing that the holiday season becomes a true beacon of light for everyone. The dark streets are lit up, and the stores actually start staying open past 3pm. People come out of their homes and downtown becomes alive again. Advent calendars are put up in every house and Christmas games are played all month. They really get into it.
Most Danes do their major celebrating on Christmas Eve, so that morning we traveled to my girlfriend’s mom’s house for my first Danish Christmas. They were all so excited about it and so was I – but what I was most excited for was the results of my fantasy football championship game. Denmark is nine hours ahead of California, and my girl didn’t have internet at her place at the time – but her mom did. I had made it to the championship game against my best friend Justin, and I had gone into the Monday night game with a 35-point lead and he had just one player left – Brett Favre. I had read that he might not even play in the game because his father had passed away just days before. I was pretty much made in the shade.
So that morning, while everyone gathered around our Danish Christmas tree, I asked if I could quickly run to the back office to check the internet for a moment. You see, this was the Christmas present I had been most looking forward to, and I just couldn’t wait to open it. But when I opened the web browser to my fantasy league, it was all wrong. It said that Justin was the champion. That just … couldn’t be. I stared at the screen, slack-jawed and numb. I couldn’t believe it.
As you may remember, it turns out that Brett Favre did play, and he had a game for the ages that Monday night in Oakland. Fueled by emotion and the spirit of his father, he threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-7 victory. I can only imagine how special of a moment that was for him, but for me it was the opposite. My disbelief quickly turned to dismay. If tilt were a drug, I would have OD’d.
The rest of that Christmas Eve was a fuzzy blur. It shouldn’t have mattered this much to me, but it did. When I got back to the Christmas tree, it was obvious to everyone that I was cloaked in despondency. “What’s wrong?” they asked, but I couldn’t really convey it to them. How would you even begin to explain fantasy football to a half-dozen Danes? I tried to shake off the tilt, but I couldn’t. While everyone spent the day laughing and cheering in Christmas merriment, I wore a fake smile and tried to act happy. But I wasn’t fooling anyone. I let fantasy football ruin my one Danish Christmas, and I still hold regret about that to this day. (On a related note, I also hate Brett Favre’s guts to this day.)
This year, Christmas falls directly on the Monday of Week 16. Most of the games will be played on Sunday, meaning that the DFS main slate will be finished on Christmas Eve, but season-long leagues and full-slate contests remain heavily influenced by the two Christmas games still on the schedule.
For me, a die-hard Steelers fan, the Christmas game against the Texans is huge. After last week’s debacle finish against the Patriots, Pittsburgh needs to keep winning – bereft of Antonio Brown – to stay in position for a first-round bye and remain alive for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. I’m also back in the championship game in my favorite fantasy league – the same one from the Denmark story – and the game will probably come down to players on Monday (Lev Bell for me and JuJu, Martavis, and Foles for him). I also happen to be traveling to have Christmas with my fiancee’s family. Parents, brothers, nieces and nephews – the whole shebang. While they might not be Danish, it’s still a pretty big deal.
I’ve already promised myself that no matter what happens with the Steelers or with fantasy, I won’t let it negatively affect my Christmas this year. Not to go all Hallmark movie on you, but Christmas is about family, joy, and giving. While football might be tilting this holiday, keep perspective as you sweat the games – and no matter what happens, be sure to enjoy your family, enjoy the gifts, and enjoy the spirit of Christmas. Let’s get onto the picks.
On a typical NFL week I put together several cash game lineups across multiple sites which will have significant player overlap. I diversify to hedge on the players I don’t feel as strongly about to reduce variance in a game where it’s inherent. The players I feel strongest about will be in the majority of my lineups – these are my “high exposure” picks. The “moderate exposure” players will be in roughly half of my lineups, and the “GPP” picks are higher-risk, high-reward plays that I believe will be under-owned by the masses. The GPP options listed aren’t the only guys I’ll be using in tournaments, but more so the gems I see as having the best ownership-to-upside ratio on the board.
(As always, all odds listed are accurate at time of writing, and may shift throughout the week. The Reid Option focuses exclusively on the main slate.)
QB – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Cam Newton vs TB ($6800 DK, $8300 FD, $13,700 FDRAFT) – By now it should be clear that Cam is back to being one of the game’s elite cash game quarterbacks. His average of 61.4 rushing yards per game since Week 6 is just 25.5 fewer rushing yards per game than Todd Gurley over that timespan. His 13 passing touchdowns and three rushing TDs are just icing on the cake. This week he draws the hapless Buccaneers, a shameful defensive outfit that has allowed the most passing yards in the NFL (275 per game) and the second-highest NY/A (7.4) to go along with a non-existent pass rush that has posted the lowest pass rate in the league by far (3.9%). Here’s to watching Cam’s post-game presser where he beams like the sun while dressed like a 70’s porn mogul after accounting for four TDs.
Drew Stanton ($4500 DK, $6000 FD, $10,000 FDRAFT) – Stanton is the rare min-priced QB who is a home favorite, has an implied team total of 22 points, and is facing a defense that has allowed the most passing touchdowns (30) and the second-most passing yards (263.3 per game) and overall plays per game to opposing offenses (66.6 per game). I’m not going to say anything nice about Stanton the player, because there really is nothing nice to say. I still have to play with lineup construction to figure out if/where I’m going to go this route – there’s definite downside I’d like to avoid if possible – but Stanton sure does open up possibilities for the rest of the lineup.
Jared Goff @ TEN ($6100 DK, $7700 FD, $13,200 FDRAFT) – There are a ton of GPP QBs I dig on this week – Wilson, Brady, Brees, Bortles, Stafford, etc., but I think Goff will definitely go overlooked – especially by the box score surfers who see that he’s thrown for fewer than 230 yards in four of his past five games. The reality is that in two of those games the Rams dominated the scoreboard from start to finish, and in three others the team’s #1 WR Robert Woods was missing. Overall, Goff has been excellent this season, ranking third in the NFL in AY/A (8.4) and first in yards per completion (12.8) and has thrown multiple TDs in six of his past seven games. With a top-5 implied team total of 27.5 point and facing a defense adding 1.5 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks’ average (thanks to Mike Beers for this info), Goff is in a strong spot to pay off in GPPs.
RUNNING BACK – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Kareem Hunt vs MIA ($8400 DK, $8300 FD, $14,400 FDRAFT) – Hunt’s averages in games KC has won by a touchdown or more: 23.6 touches, 153.1 total yards, 1.3 TDs per game. This week, KC is a 10-point home favorite against a Miami defense which allows opposing RBs to score 4.5 fantasy points above their season averages.
Joe Mixon vs DET ($5100 DK, $6100 FD, $9800 FDRAFT) – The main slate has less running back value than Jack and Jill has funny scenes, which leaves Mixon as one of the top values among cash viable RBs. In his four full games since Jeremy Hill was shut down, Mixon has played 69.3% of Cinci’s snaps and received 81.3% of the team’s backfield touches. That’ll play versus a Detroit rush defense that has more holes than the theory of trickle-down economics. As of this writing, Mixon has been practicing in full but hasn’t officially been cleared from the concussion protocol; if he can’t go, Gio Bernard slots in as a fairly equal play at a fairly equal price.
Leonard Fournette @ SF ($7500 DK, $8100 FD, $14,500 FDRAFT) – San Francisco has significantly tightened up their rush defense since Rueben Foster took over at MLB, but this play is all about volume; Fournette has averaged 23.6 touches per game this season, and the 49ers have allowed the second-most rushing attempts in the NFL (31.2 per game) due to their high pace of play and constant negative gamescripts. The team has certainly been playing better since Jimmy Goatroppolo took over, but Jacksonville is a beast and is a 4.5-point favorite this week.
RUNNING BACK – GPP PLAYS
Ezekiel Elliott vs SEA ($8000 DK, $8300 FD, $16,300 FDRAFT) –
With so much drama in the D of SEA
It isn’t hard being double exposed to Zeke
But I, somehow, some way
Keep comin’ up with funky-ass lineups like every single day
May I jam in enough to make G’s and
Make a few ends for more Bitcoin
Two in the morning and my pants are still off cuz my lady ain’t home
I got some lineups in the Milly Maker gettin’ it on
They win and I ain’t sleeping til six in the mornin’ (six in the mornin’)
So whatchu gonna do? Shoot
I got mad lineups full of Zeke and I hope you do, too
So turn off the lights and jam in more
But – but what? We gettin’ tramps and blow, yeah
So woke we gonna trounce with this
Zeke’s up, bro down, all you MFers bounce to this
Rollin’ out with Zeke, playing indoors
Lookin’ all thin and loose
With my mind on my money and my money on my mind
Rollin’ out with Zeke, playing indoors
Lookin’ all thin and loose
With my mind on my money and my money on my mind
Alvin Kamara vs ATL ($8300 DK, $8500 FD, $16,900 FDRAFT) – I haven’t played Kamara much this season, but this week’s matchup is particularly compelling; per the ever-sharp Scott Barrett, Kamara leads all running back in receiving fantasy points while the Falcons have allowed the third-most receiving fantasy points to running backs. In addition, Kamara is fifth among RBs in routes run from the slot, and the Falcons allow the third-most fantasy points per game to slot receivers. And really, his usage hasn’t been all that low – he’s averaged 16 opportunities (rushes+targets) per full game since Week 9, including a staggering 6.7 targets per game. I still don’t consider that level of usage playable for the price in cash, but there’s no denying his GPP upside in a game that has by far the highest over/under of the week.
WIDE RECEIVER – HIGH EXPOSURE
Keenan Allen @ NYJ ($7700 DK, $8300 FD, $15,800 FDRAFT) – Since the Chargers’ Week 9 bye, Allen ranks third among WRs in targets and 6th in market share while leading the NFL in receptions. And, lest you think he’s an empty reception hog, Allen ranks 2nd among WRs in Red Zone targets (22) and 1st in targets inside the 10-yard line (14). I’m betting on a K.A. bounceback after last week’s stumble, seeing how he gets to face a Jets secondary that has allowed opposing WR cores to score 3.0 fantasy points above their season averages.
Kendall Wright vs CLE ($3800 DK, $5100 FD, $6900 FDRAFT) – A two-game sample is all we have to go on, but the reality is that players don’t see their prices stay at this range with any larger of a sample. And in those past two games, Wright has 24 targets and a 31% team target share, good for seventh-highest in the NFL over that timeframe. Complicating matters is the likely return of Browns slot corner Briean Boddy-Calhoun, who’s been strong in coverage this season. I’m not expecting a big game from Wright here – he’s a very worthwhile GPP fade – but he has a decent chance of hitting value in cash.
WIDE RECEIVER – GPP PLAYS
Dede Westbrook @ SF ($6100 DK, $5900 FD, $10,800 FDRAFT) – When’s the best time to roster a guy in GPPs? The week after he busted as the chalk. Double points if he’s got a great matchup against scrubs like Dontae Johnson and Ahkello Witherspoon, both men who are allowing more than .4 fantasy points per route run.
Devin Funchess vs TB ($6600 DK, $7000 FD, $12,000 FDRAFT) – When’s the best time to roster a guy in GPPs? The week after he busted as the chalk. Double points if he’s got a sick matchup against a paper mache secondary like Tampa Bay’s, which has allowed an unfathomable 8.8 fantasy points over average to opposing WR cores – 76% more than the NFL’s next-worst team. Funchess did miss Wednesday’s practice with his shoulder injury, and if he’s not able to go, Damiere Byrd (68% of snaps last week) gets a whole lot more interesting for $3500 on DraftKings.
TIGHT END – HIGH EXPOSURE
Antonio Gates @ NYJ ($2500 DK, $4500 DK, $5000 FDRAFT) – It was sad to see Hunter Henry succumb to the IR with a lacerated kidney, but it allows us to roster #GatesInCash at minimum price across the industry. Chargers TEs have accounted for 21.2% of the team’s target market share and a ridiculous 42.8% of the team’s targets inside the 10-yard line. Even if Gates only gets 60-75% of that share as the lead dog, he’s well worth his bargain basement price tag.
TIGHT END – GPP PLAYS
Vernon Davis vs DEN ($3400 DK, $6000 FD, $6300 FDRAFT) – With slot man and top team target Jamison Crowder likely to be locked down by sticky slot CB Chris Harris Jr, there’s a good chance Kirk Cousins will look to his #2 man to carry the load. Davis rates to lay the pipe on Denver, whose singular weakness against the pass comes against the TE – they’re a bottom-five unit in adjusted fantasy points against the position.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Carolina Panthers vs TB ($3100 DK, $4800 FD, $6500 FDRAFT) – Take an already bad Bucs team … now take away DeSean Jackson, OJ Howard, and three linemen. Now put them on the road against the defense with the second-highest adjusted sack rate in football. Now, roster that defense and profit.
Kansas City Chiefs vs MIA ($3300 DK, $4500 FD, $6600 FDRAFT) – As usual, the Chiefs D has been a beast at home, averaging a fierce 10.1 DK fantasy points per game while not allowing any team to score more than 20 points – despite their games coming against a fairly strong group in PHI, PIT, WASH, DEN, BUF, OAK, and LAC. This weekend the Chiefs are 10-point favorites against a Dolphins team that has scored the seventh-fewest points in the NFL while allowing the second-highest adjusted sack rate. On top of it all, my gut call of the week is that Tyreek Hill takes a punt return to the house, and I’ll be rocking some Hill+KC DST stacks in GPPs to take advantage of my baseless call of the week.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Have a great holiday, and let’s go make some money in Week 16.
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