FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 16 (Saturday Slate)
Saturday NFL football is here, and that gives us a fun and different way to play NFL DFS on FanDuel via smaller slates.
This Saturday's slate starts at 4:30 p.m. EST and features the Green Bay Packers hosting the Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts hitting the road to take on the Arizona Cardinals. The Colts-Cards game is more appealing from a fantasy perspective, as it carries a 1.0-point spread (in Arizona's favor) and 48.5-point total. The Packers are 7.5-point favorites over Cleveland in a game with a 45.5-point over/under.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Let's dive into each position and see which players stand out as good options.
They are the clear top choices on this two-gamer, and our projections reflect that, forecasting Murray for 20.9 FanDuel points and Rodgers for 20.1. It'll be interesting to see which one winds up being more popular between the two.
Rodgers is red-hot right now, posting 23.82, 29.64, 26.28 and 33.50 FanDuel points across his last four games. While the matchup against the Browns is mostly an average one, Rodgers has some gaudy home/road splits this season, averaging 286.2 passing yards and 2.5 passing touchdowns per game in six Lambeau contests, compared to 252.9 yards per game in his travels. He's an excellent option and could torch the Browns, and while he doesn't have the rushing ceiling of Murray, Rodgers offers an elite stacking partner. Be warned, though -- the Cleveland-Green Bay game figures to have a very slow pace.
As for Murray, he is coming off a dud in a shocking loss at the Detroit Lions, but his work as a runner gives him colossal upside every time he suits up. The Colts have permitted the 11th-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (18.7), including the 9th-most rushing yards to the position. The overall game environment is better for Murray than it is for Rodgers, as the Cards-Colts matchup has a higher total (by 3.0 points), a tighter spread (1.0) and should be better in the pace department.
I give an edge to Kyler but will have plenty of both.
I say this as someone who usually tries too hard to be cute -- if you use either Carson Wentz ($7,200) or Baker Mayfield ($6,700), you're probably trying too hard to be cute. With that said, Wentz and Mayfield will be contrarian, and maybe things get weird.
Between Mayfield and Wentz, I much prefer Wentz, who should benefit from the better game environment. He's put up at least 20.30 FanDuel points in four of his previous eight games, and we project the Colts' signal-caller for 16.3 FanDuel points -- 2.1 more than Mayfield.
We should probably start any build by locking in Jonathan Taylor ($10,500) and going from there.
The salary is restrictive, but we're just gonna have to make it work. JT hasn't scored fewer than 15.0 FanDuel points since Week 3. That's a real long time ago. He has at least 29 carries in three of the last four games, and while he hasn't caught a pass in either of the past two, both of those were run-heavy game scripts. From Week 10 to Week 12, he racked up a combined 13 catches, and Indy may have to pass a little more in this one as a 1.5-point 'dog.
We project Taylor for 18.5 FanDuel points, and there are paths to him being the slate's top overall scorer. While it's always worth at least thinking about fading any player who will be obscenely popular, which Taylor will be, just plug him in.
After Taylor, you can poke holes in pretty much every other running back on the slate. Our model has Nick Chubb ($7,600), Aaron Jones ($7,300), James Conner ($7,100) and A.J. Dillon ($6,200) projected for double-digit FanDuel points.
Conner played just 44% of the snaps last week in the first game with Chase Edmonds ($5,800) back, and he still hasn't practiced this week. Conner was banged up coming into last week's game, and the Cards got into a big hole -- both of which may have led to increased snaps for Edmonds. We project Conner for 13.1 FanDuel points, but there are reasons to be worried about his role and health. If Conner sits, Edmonds would be a superb play.
If you don't use Rodgers, you can roster both Dillon and Jones in the hopes that most of the touchdowns go to the ground game, and I think that makes some sense. They're splitting up things evenly since Jones came back, and they've both managed to be productive. Playing at home as a big favorite, Green Bay could pound the rock against the Browns.
Chubb -- who our model projects for 15.1 FanDuel points, second-highest at the position -- isn't someone I use much on full slates because his role isn't very good compared to the other backs usually in his salary range. He's more appealing on a small slate. Chubb, however, has made more than two catches in a game only once this season, and his season-best snap rate is 66%. He's at risk of spending a lot of time on the sidelines if Cleveland can't keep this game competitive, even with Kareem Hunt likely out. Prior to last week, Chubb had played only 56%, 56% and 57% of the snaps in his three games sans Hunt this season.
Continuing with that theme, I don't mind D'Ernest Johnson ($5,900), who correlates well if you fade Chubb. Johnson played 32% of the snaps last week when Hunt was out, and he'd likely get a little more action than that if the Browns are forced to air it out. He had four looks a week ago in a tight game against the Las Vegas Raiders. While the floor is super low, Johnson is a dart throw I can stomach.
Receiver looks a lot like running back in that we have one elite play and then everyone else.
Said elite play is Davante Adams ($8,800). Like Taylor, he's going to see an astronomical draft percentage, and like Taylor, we should just roster Adams and figure out how to make the rest of the puzzle pieces fit. He's amassed at least 13.4 FanDuel points in four straight games while racking up five tuds and 37 targets in that span. We project Adams for 17.5 FanDuel points -- 4.8 more than any other wideout.
Pittman dudded last week in a run-heavy game in which he was ejected, but he's in a great spot to bounce back versus a Cardinals defense that has permitted the ninth-most (30.9) FanDuel points per game. Landry is expected to return for a Browns offense that will likely be more pass-heavy than usual. Kirk is salaried up but looks like a sweet play after he turned 12 targets into 94 yards and a tuddie in the first game since DeAndre Hopkins went back on the shelf. He's a great stacking piece with Murray.
With Marquez Valdes-Scantling likely out (in addition to Randall Cobb), Allen Lazard ($5,200) should be the clear number-two receiver for Green Bay. Lazard usually plays a lot -- 82% and 79% of the snaps the last two games -- but he might actually get decent looks in this one. He's easy to like at his salary.
A.J. Green ($5,800) has notched 18 targets, 11 receptions and 166 yards across the past two games. You could stack both him and Kirk with Murray or use just Green and Murray to pivot away from the likely Kirk chalk.
Sticking with the Cardinals, Antoine Wesley ($4,900) checks a few boxes as a value play. He was in on 85% of the snaps last week, second among Arizona receivers, and got eight looks -- hauling in only three of them for 19 yards. But Wesley narrowly missed a touchdown, and he's a worthwhile option at his low salary, even if the negative game script a week ago may have inflated his snaps and volume a tad. Wesley's outlook is enhanced if Rondale Moore ($5,200) -- who is a game-time call -- can't go.
Occasionally, we luck into small slates that aren't terrible at tight end. This isn't one of those times. That's OK, though, because tight end will be a value salary-saving spot for us. Zach Ertz ($5,800) is the highest salary on the board, and there are just four tight ends at $5,000 or more.
Ertz sits atop our tight-end projections -- 2.6 points clear of anyone else. He's got 18 targets, 11 catches and 116 yards over the last two weeks. On a slate where the rest of the tight ends are pretty shoddy, Ertz is the pick of the bunch and will probably see a healthy draft percentage at his modest salary.
You've got to overlook some stuff to roster any of the rest of the tight ends, and we're mostly just hoping for a touchdown with them.
Per our projection, the next two in raw points are Austin Hooper ($5,300) and David Njoku ($5,200), who we peg for 5.7 and 4.4 FanDuel points, respectively. A zero is well within the range of outcomes for Jack Doyle ($5,000) and Mo Alie-Cox ($4,700), but they both play a good amount of snaps most weeks. Josiah Deguara ($4,600) and Marcedes Lewis ($4,400) have each played between 50% and 60% of the snaps the past two weeks, and they've both seen at least three looks in three straight games. If I don't have the coin for Ertz, I'll likely punt with one of the Packers' tight ends.
The Green Bay D/ST ($4,700) is the slate's top option, and they're salaried like it, listed at $700 more than anyone else. They're at home against a quarterback who has been dinged up most of the year, isn't playing well and is fresh off the COVID list with very little practice. Yes, please.
The Indianapolis D/ST (3,900) and Arizona D/ST ($4,000) are salaried similarly and projected for about the same -- 6.3 for Indy and 6.2 for the Cards -- per our numbers. I side with Arizona. If the Cards can get out in front and force the Colts to have to go to the air, Arizona's slumping D can get right against Wentz, who has at least one turnover-worthy play, according to PFF, in six of his last eight games, including three a week ago despite attempting only 12 throws.
Using Cleveland D/ST ($3,300) is a pure punt to save salary, and despite their lowly salary, they rate as the worst point-per-dollar play among D/STs by a wide margin. Rodgers has a total of one turnover-worthy play across his last three games. But sports are weird and fantasy defense is random, so you never know -- is what I'd tell myself if I had to use the Browns' defense.