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NFL DFS Week in Review – Ownership, GPP-Winning Lineups for Week 16




The NFL regular season is heading down the home stretch, and we had a few teams clinch playoff berths on Sunday. In the NFC, the Cowboys officially clinched the top spot in their division, while the Cardinals and Rams both secured spots in the postseason. Things are a bit more hectic in the AFC, where only the Chiefs have a guaranteed spot in the playoffs.

From a fantasy perspective, Week 16 was a wild one. We had some huge performances from unlikely sources, resulting in some surprising winners and losers. Let’s break down a few of the biggest, along with some of the winning tournament lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.


Bengals passing attack

What a banner day for the Bengals offense. They were facing a decimated Ravens secondary, and Joe Burrow and company took full advantage. They put up 41 points in Week 16, and the vast majority of their scoring came through the air.

Burrow was nothing short of fantastic. He finished with 525 passing yards and four touchdowns, resulting in a nearly-perfect 143.2 quarterback rating. More importantly, his 41.1 DraftKings points easily ranked first at the position.

This was the first 500-yard passing game of the season, and it was the first of Burrow’s career.

Most of his yardage went to Tee Higgins, who racked up 12 catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns. His 46.4 DraftKings points ranked first on the slate regardless of position, and Burrow was the only player within 10 points of him.

Despite the massive game from Higgins, there was still more than enough to go around for the rest of the offense. Ja’Marr Chase racked up seven catches for 125 yards. Tyler Boyd had three catches for 85 yards and a score. Joe Mixon also got involved in the passing game, racking up six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Mixon added 65 yards and another score on the ground, bringing his fantasy total to 31.5 DraftKings points.

Ultimately, a Bengals’ stack was the key to a big win on the Week 16 slate.

Value running backs

There were plenty of value options worth consideration at running back this week, but two options delivered more than the others.

The first was Justin Jackson. He was one of the chalkiest running backs on the slate, checking in with average ownership of approximately 53.02%, and his $4,200 price tag was simply too cheap with Austin Ekeler out of the lineup. Jackson filled the Ekeler role to perfection, racking up eight catches, 162 scrimmage yards, and two touchdowns vs. the Texans. He finished with 35.2 DraftKings points, making him the highest-scoring running back on the slate.

On the other side of that matchup, Rex Burkhead served as the Texans’ workhorse back with David Johnson sidelined. He did massive damage on the ground, racking up 149 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

Even better, Burkhead was massively overlooked by the DFS community. He carried average ownership of less than 4% in DraftKings tournaments, making him one of the best plays on the slate.

Isaiah McKenzie, Buffalo Bills

If Johnson and Burkhead weren’t enough value for you, Isaiah McKenzie delivered a massive performance at receiver. The Bills were without both Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley vs. the Patriots, which opened up an opportunity for McKenzie to play a few additional snaps. He delivered in a big way for fantasy owners, racking up 11 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. His 32.4 DraftKings points trailed only Higgins at the receiving position on the main slate.

McKenzie was another player who was overlooked by most of the field. He had average ownership of just 2.6% across DraftKings tournaments, including just 1.65% in the Milly Maker.


James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

Everything was set up for a huge performance for James Robinson this Sunday. Urban Meyer is gone, which allowed Robinson to slide back into a bell-cow role for the Jaguars last week. He finished with 18 carries and six targets in his previous contest, and he could’ve done some serious damage vs. the Jets with that many touches.

However, “could’ve” and “should’ve” don’t pay the bills in DFS.

Robinson went down with an Achilles injury early in the game, which limited him to just a single DraftKings point. That was essentially game over for the nearly 45.5% of lineups that rostered Robinson on DraftKings.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing to really take away from this performance. For as much research as we put into crafting our lineups each week, it often comes down to luck. It’s possible that Robinson would have smashed and Jackson could’ve turned an ankle, but instead, the opposite happened. Such is life in NFL DFS.

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

With all the value available at running back this week, paying up at receiver was the default strategy for most people. Cooper Kupp had the highest ownership at the position, while Tyreek Hill ranked third at more than 30%.

Hill was expected to see a sizable boost in value with Travis Kelce out of the lineup, but that never materialized. He finished with just two targets, and he ranked merely fifth on the squad in terms of receiving yards.

What makes his production even more disappointing is that the Chiefs racked up 36 points. I don’t know the odds of the Chiefs scoring that much and Hill having just 3.9 DraftKings points, but I guarantee it’s pretty low.

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

Matthew Stafford was able to lead the Rams to a victory over the Vikings, and the Rams officially secured a spot in the playoffs. With that in mind, it’s hard to call him a loser.

Still, that’s not going to comfort those who rostered Stafford at quarterback this week. He was the highest-owned player at the position, but he failed to crack double-digit fantasy points.

The Rams did most of their damage on the ground – Sony Michel racked up 127 rushing yards and a touchdown – and they also scored on special teams.

The one saving grace for Stafford is that he didn’t bring Cooper Kupp down with him. Kupp didn’t smash as he had in previous weeks, but he still managed 10 grabs for 109 yards. The first 2,000-yard receiving season is still very much in play.

Winning tournament lineups

NFL $3M Fantasy Football Millionaire

Just in case you needed more evidence that Bengals’ stacks were the nuts this week, I’d like to present Exhibit A. This team featured four players from the Bengals – Burrow, Mixon, Higgins and Chase – and they combined for 141.5 DraftKings points. I’d say that qualifies as successful.

Even better, this lineup also employed Mark Andrews as a bring-back. He racked up his third straight game with at least 100 yards and a touchdown, and he played with a different QB in each of those contests. That’s pretty impressive.

The rest of this team consists of quality value options, including Jackson, Damien Harris and Braxton Berrios. Harris scored each of the Patriots’ three touchdowns, while Berrios scored a kick return touchdown for the Jets.

The lineup was capped off by the Eagles’ defense, which was a difference-maker at the position. Defensive scoring was down this week, and the Eagles’ 16 points were tied for the top mark among Sunday’s squads.

NFL $1.25M Wildcat

Another winner, another Bengals stack. This team didn’t go quite as all-out with the Bengals, but they used Burrow, Higgins and Boyd. They also brought it back with Andrews.

McKenzie ended up being the difference-maker for this squad. He provided nearly 11x on his price tag, which allowed this lineup to survive mediocre performances from Kupp and Ronald Jones.

This team also paid up for the Buccaneers’ defense, which was the other unit that racked up 16.0 DraftKings points this week.

$3.33M WFFC Fan Championship

The winning lineup in the big FanDuel contest was similar to the previous winner on DraftKings. In fact, the only differences were at defense – one had the Bucs, the other had the Eagles – and at flex. The lower salary cap meant the DK winner had to save some salary with McKenzie, but this user was able to pay up for Harris on FanDuel.

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