Week 16 NFL FanDuel Late Afternoon Slate Breakdown
The late afternoon slate on FanDuel in Week 16 features three games, all of which carry some fantasy intrigue.
The Pittsburgh Steelers visit the New Orleans Saints in the premier matchup on the slate with the highest projected game total at 53.0 points. But this game is far from a guaranteed barnburner with two defenses that rank in the top 14, per numberFire metrics. Over their past 6 games, New Orleans is allowing just 12.3 points per game to opposing offenses.
|Matchup (Implied Team Total)||Game Total|
|Pittsburgh Steelers (23.75) at New Orleans Saints (29.25)||53.0|
|Los Angeles Rams (30.25) at Arizona Cardinals (14.25)||44.5|
|Chicago Bears (23.25) at San Francisco 49ers (19.25)||42.5|
Elsewhere, the 11-3 Los Angeles Rams will look to end a two-game losing streak against the 3-11 Arizona Cardinals. These two teams first played in Week 2, a 34-0 Rams victory. Jared Goff threw for 354 yards and a touchdown in that game, but he's been shaky in recent weeks, throwing 1 touchdown and 6 interceptions since the Rams' Week 12 bye.
Finally, the NFC North Champion Chicago Bears take on the San Francisco 49ers who have won two straight games. Nick Mullens is averaging 292.3 passing yards per game in his 6 starts, and he's thrown for multiple scores in 3 of those 6 games, but he'll face one of his toughest tests of the season against a Bears defense that ranks as the best in the league, per numberFire metrics.
Among the tournaments on the slate, the $200,000 NFL Rush costs $9.99 to enter and pays out $50,000 to first. The $35,000 NFL Bomb is $33 to play and rewards first place with $6,000. In the single-entry field, the $25,000 NFL Spike is a $5 entry with $3,000 to first.
Now, let's break down the top plays and fades at each position.
Lock: Drew Brees ($8,400) - It's been a rough three-game stretch for Brees and the Saints' offense. Over the past three weeks, Brees hasn't thrown for more than 203 yards in any game, and he's thrown a pick in each game while committing multiple turnovers in two. But all of those games have come on the road, and Brees returns home to New Orleans in Week 16. Brees' home and road splits have long been a trend and they're continuing this year. In home games, Brees is averaging 26.3 FanDuel points per game compared to 15.84 on the road.
Sleeper: Mitchell Trubisky ($7,900) - Trubisky is the fourth-highest priced quarterback on the slate, but he has one of the better matchups facing a 49ers pass defense that ranks as the league's fifth-worst, per numberFire metrics. The 49ers have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, including 30 touchdown passes, which is the second-most, trailing only the Oakland Raiders (31).
Fade: Nick Mullens ($6,700) - Neither of the low-priced options in Mullens or Josh Rosen ($6,400) are attractive plays this week. The Bears' pass defense ranks as the third-best on the year, per numberFire metrics, and Chicago is the only defense to have more interceptions (26) than touchdowns allowed (20). Over the past four weeks, opposing quarterbacks to face the Bears are averaging 215 passing yards and have combined to throw just 1 touchdown and 8 interceptions.
Lock: Alvin Kamara ($8,100) - With the injury news surrounding Todd Gurley ($9,600), it's difficult to trust the Rams' running back heading into Week 16, especially at his high price. Kamara, on the other hand, isn't listed on the Saints injury report, and he's coming off 3 straight games of at least 17 touches. Over that span, he's out-touched his backfield mate Mark Ingram 57 to 36. He's also posted the second-best market share (36.21%) among all running backs in those 3 games, trailing only David Johnson (37.21%).
Sleeper: John Kelly ($4,500) - Should Gurley sit, Kelly would be an intriguing play at minimum-price. Behind Gurley, Kelly and recently signed C.J. Anderson are the only healthy running backs on the roster. Even Justin Davis has missed practice time this week. Kelly has only 2 carries for 4 yards this season -- both carries coming in Week 15 -- but he'll be facing a Cardinals run defense that has given up the third-most points per game to opposing running backs. Per numberFire metrics, the Cardinals' run defense ranks as the league's fifth-worst.
Fade: Jeff Wilson ($5,400) - After a one-game absence, Matt Breida ($6,000) returned to the lineup in Week 15 and led the 49ers backfield in snaps (73%) and touches (22). Wilson took a clear backseat to Breida, playing only 19% of the snaps and handling 7 carries. The matchup is difficult for the 49ers this week as the Bears run defense has given up the least fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. But if you're looking at 49ers running backs, Breida would be the target.
Lock: Michael Thomas ($8,300) - The Saints have the highest implied team total (29.25 points), which is one reason we're targeting all of their skill position players. But the Saints' fantasy production also comes from a predictable pairing. On the season, Thomas and Kamara have combined to handle 47.15% of the team's touches. Thomas' numbers have dipped over the past three weeks along with Brees, but he has seen three straight games with at least eight targets. He's only topped 49 yards once, but he's also had 5 red zone targets in that span, the most on the team.
Sleeper: Allen Robinson ($6,500) - Robinson is the sixth-most expensive receiver on the slate, and he's coming off three straight games with at least seven targets. Robinson hasn't scored over that stretch, but he does have 2 games over 50 yards, and he's been the target on 25% of throws from Trubisky and Chase Daniel. The 49ers have allowed the 4th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, including 22 touchdowns, which is the most any team has given up.
Fade: Marquise Goodwin ($4,800) - After returning from a two-game absence in Week 14, Goodwin has played behind Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis the past two weeks. Goodwin played 33% of the snaps in Week 14 and 11% in Week 15, drawing just 3 targets in those 2 games. Now the 49ers' third receiver and facing a tough pass defense in the Bears, Goodwin is difficult to rely on this week.
Lock: George Kittle ($7,400) - The matchup isn't great for Kittle this week -- the Bears give up the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. But no tight end has seen a higher percentage of his team's targets (25.74%) over the past 3 weeks. Over this stretch, Kittle has topped 51 yards in every game, including his 210-yard, 1-touchdown game against the Denver Broncos in Week 14. Overall, Kittle hasn't seen fewer than eight targets in a game since Nick Mullens' debut in Week 9.
Sleeper: Gerald Everett ($4,800) - While the Rams' offense has struggled over the past two weeks, Everett has come alive. Everett continues to split snaps with Tyler Higbee, but Everett has drawn 14 targets over the past 2 games, compared to 3 for Higbee. After seeing no more than 5 targets in a game over the first 12 games of the season, Everett has seen 7 in each of the past 2 games. The 49ers have given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, but Everett is seeing a season-best in usage.
Fade: Jesse James ($5,000) - James has continued to play behind teammate Vance McDonald ($5,500) over the past three games. McDonald has out-snapped James in every game, and he's drawn more targets from Ben Roethlisberger (14 to 6). The Saints do pose a stiff matchup for tight ends -- they've given up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the position. But this split in playing time and opportunity makes McDonald the better play among Pittsburgh tight ends.
Blair Ames is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Blair Ames also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Bames31. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.