It’s been a long year in the battle to win a million dollars at DraftKings. Over the first half of the year, there were multiple weeks when I felt the team structure was in the game. Midseason when RB started to become fashionable, I lost my way chasing receivers from yesteryear. Here’s a look at my journey trying to build the Perfect Lineup at DraftKings:
I’m going to fade the top two RBs in Week 16 while focusing on the Saints/Bucs game. Drew Brees ($7,400) struggled two weeks ago in Tampa. I can’t see that happening again.
Brees came back in a big way in Week 15 (389/4) in what looked like a tough matchup against the Cardinals. Drew completed 77.1 percent of his 48 passes. It was his eighth game with over 300 yards passing and 8th game with three TDs or more. Drew struggled in Week 14 (257 yards with three Ints) against the Bucs. Tampa sits 19th in the league defending the QB with two disaster games (OAK - 513/4 and ATL - 344/4). Last week Brees was a low percentage own. HIs success and rematch points to explosive upside plus Michael Thomas was able to play a full complement of snaps vs. Arizona. Enjoy the ride…
I’ll pair him with Michael Thomas ($6,000) due to his scoring ability (eight TDs) while most will be attracted to Brandin Cooks after his big game.
Thomas was able to play in Week 15 after taking the previous game off due to a foot issue. He finished with seven catches for 52 yards and a TD on ten targets. Michael has four catches or more in each game played with two games with over 100 yards receiving (10/130 and 9/108/2). He has eight TDs while averaging 7.6 targets per game. Brees clearly missed him being in the starting lineup in Week 14 against Tampa. Nice pass catcher with a high catch rate (76.8) and scoring ability. In play for me this week.
On the opposite side of the game, I’ll play Mike Evans ($8,500) and Cameron Brate ($3,900). If Jameis Winston is going to throw TDs, these two players have the best chances of scoring.
The WR play overall in the NFL has faded in 2016 leading to many questions at the top end of the WR pool. Headed into Week 16, Antonio Brown is the only WR averaging over 20.0 Fantasy points per game in PPR leagues. It looks like only three WRs will score over 300 Fantasy points compared to six in 2015 and five in 2014. Evans has left Fantasy owners with that empty feeling over the last three weeks (3/38, 4/42, and 4/59) as it appears defenses have finally figured out how to defend him. Mike only has two TDs in his last six games with fading targets in four of those starts (5, 6, 8, and 8). Evans has four games with over 100 yards receiving and 10 TDs while averaging 11 targets per game. In Week 14, he had four catches for 42 yards vs. the Saints. New Orleans sits 21st in the league against WRs (193/2479/12 on 306 targets). The Saints have some injuries in the secondary, which give Mike a better chance of success in Week 16. High scoring WR with big play ability who is due for an uptick game.
Over the last eight games, Brate has 36 catches for 421 yards and five TDs on 48 targets to move him to 6th in TE scoring in PPR leagues. Cameron has over 15.0 Fantasy points in four of his last seven games. In Week 14, he had four catches for 47 yards on five targets against the Saints. New Orleans is league average against TEs (64/779/4 on 101 targets) with seven of their last nine opponents scoring fewer than 11.0 Fantasy points. Their two disaster games came vs. the Panthers (9/117/1) and the 49ers (7/160/1). Tougher matchup than most would believe, but Brate does have scoring ability while playing in a possible chaser game. I expect he'll draw a lot of interest this week.
My first choice at RB at the mid-level is Jordan Howard ($6,300). He’s been running the ball well plus the Bears’ offense looks to have more life with Matt Barkley throwing the ball.
Howard's path is so much cleaner than Gurley's in 2016. Over his last 11 games, Jordan has nine games with 4.5 yards per rush of higher leading to five games with over 100 yards rushing and seven TDs. All his rushing TDs have come at home. Washington is 27th in the NFL vs. the RB position with five teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points, which includes two in the last three games. The Redskins allow 4.5 yards per rush with RBs scoring 18 TDs. I like this matchup, and the QB play is getting better in the windy city.
I’m going to bite on DeAndre Hopkins ($5,200) based his play in Week 15 and the change at QB in Houston.
With one quick QB change, Hopkins suddenly has a pulse. Last week DeAndre had a season-high 17 targets with his best success (8/87) since Week 2 (7/113/1). Hopkins has four TDs while averaging 9.6 targets per game. The Bengals are 3rd in the league defending WRs (156/1919/12 on 256 targets) with five straight games with a high level of success (BUF - 9/110, BAL - 10/121/1, PHI - 14/132, CLE - 5/33, and PIT - 10/164/1). Three WRs have over 100 yards receiving against Cinci (Emmanuel Sanders - 9/117/2, Demaryius Thomas - 6/100/1, and Jamison Crowder - 9/107/1). We have a short sample size for the new Texans' QB plus the Bengals will have a better idea on how to attack him. He only needs 20.0 Fantasy points to be in play, so I say let's take this dance.
At the Flex position, I can’t resist the price point of Allen Robinson ($4,600) and his matchup.
Robinson added a fifth straight poor game to his resume in Week 15. Over this span, Allen has 11 catches for 105 yards and a TD on 32 targets. His only game of value came in Week 10 (9/107/1). In Week 8, he had six catches for 70 yards on 15 targets against the Titans. His catch rate (46.5) is in a losing area. Tennessee is the worst team in the league defending WRs (209/2626/15 on 354 targets). There is a whole lot of ugly going on here, but he does have an opportunity (9.1 targets per game) with a favorable matchup.
My path leaves me $8,100 to roster a RB2 and a defense. Most of the defenses of interest have a salary over $3,000 while most of the RBs with upside for their price point fall in the high $5,000s
I’m going to gamble on a third Saints’ player by rostering Mark Ingram ($4,400). Last week he had 19 touches. His salary is favorable while offering scoring ability and catches. Also, Mark has four receiving TDs, which gives him a decent chance of hitting on the double score with Brees.
Ingram had 19 touches in Week 15 for 92 combined yards and two catches. Mark was on the field for 41 of 86 plays compared to 27 by Tim Hightower, 21 by John Kuhn, and 15 by Travaris Cadet. Mark doesn't have a TD in his last three games. In Week 14, he had 23 combined yards with a catch against Tampa. The Bucs rank 21st in the NFL defending RBs with two teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. They allow 4.5 yards per rush with 12 TDs. Weird split going down at RB in New Orleans plus Ingram's not a lock to get goal line chances.
I now have the ability to roster any defense. The Patriots are 17-point favorites, but they don’t have a defensive TD in 2016. Their pass defense has been improved in the last three games leading to four Ints, two fumble recoveries, and ten sacks. This game will have a better flow at home, so I'll ride the chalk hoping for a defensive score with minimal offense by the Jets. Here's my Perfect Line for Week 16 at DraftKings:
Due to the games being pushed up by a day, I’ll just post a picture of my Perfect Lineup at Fanduel: