Let us in on your boldest, most contrarian stance for Week 16. Is it a surprisingly good (or bad) stat line that makes you want to go over- (or under-) weight on a prominent guy? Is it a wild game script no one else would've imagined? Whatever it is, it could have some real GPP appeal, so sell us on it.
Justin Bonnema: The Bills beat the Patriots. I know that's going to get some eye rolls given the status of both team's offenses and the fact that the Patriots are 12-point home favorites. It also doesn't help that, with Tom Brady as quarterback, the Patriots have lost at home to the Bills only once in 15 years. So, this is not only a bold prediction but probably a plain dumb one.
That said, I love stacking Tyrod Taylor with LeSean McCoy this week. That combo targets the two biggest weaknesses of the Patriots' defense: quarterbacks and pass-catching running backs. We've seen what quarterbacks have done to this defense. Only two teams have allowed more passing yards, only four have allowed more completions, and only eight have allowed more touchdowns. They've also given up the sixth most rushing yards, which is one of Taylor's strengths.
You don't need me to sell you McCoy, but I'm going to do it anyway. With Taylor healthy and playing well, McCoy checks in with a solid floor and an appealing ceiling. The Patriots have allowed the third-most total yards to running backs, including 739 receiving yards (also third). No team is permitting more fantasy points per touch, and McCoy gets a lot of touches. Only two players, Le'Veon Bell and Todd Gurley, have taken more, and only Christian McCaffrey has a higher market share of targets among running backs (McCoy ranks 29th in market share among all players). Over his last 2 games, he has a total of 56 touches, 206 rushing yards, 46 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns – making him a top-5 running back in both DraftKings and FanDuel scoring.
I was on this stack three weeks ago when these teams played and got burned (Taylor got hurt). I'm going right back to the well, and even if my bold take of the Bills beating the Patriots predictably falls short, I am confident that this is the best GPP stack on the board. So there: two bold takes.
James Brimacombe: It is not bold at all, but I will be 100% in on Ezekiel Elliott this week and will make the bold call that he scores three touchdowns. Sure, Todd Gurley just scored four touchdowns against the Seahawks last week, so a lot will be chasing that production with Elliott and rightfully so. It is not very often you get a running back in Week 16 coming off a 6-week absence. Before the suspension Elliott was averaging 29.5 touches a game over a 4-game stretch with 6 total touchdowns. I am going with a stance on Elliott that he sees 30 touches, and for each 10 of those touches he gets a touchdown.
Jason Wood: I guess it's not that contrarian because I'm going to have 90%-100% ownership in Elliott this weekend, too. If I'm going to make a bold stance, it would be to fade the top priced quarterbacks, including Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. Brady isn't right, and I think the Patriots will be able to win this game on the ground. Let's let him rest up, keep the quarterback hits to a minimum, and live to fight another day in the playoffs.
Justin Howe: Kareem Hunt again tops 30 DraftKings points. I was burned, you were burned, we were all burned at least once over Hunt’s seven-game cold stretch. But that’s buried deep, deep in the closet now; Hunt has been nothing short of sensational over the past two weeks. He’s gathered 61 opportunities (carries plus targets) and spun them into 344 yards and 3 scores. It’s helped that he’s seen such boosts in target share (19%) and red zone opportunity (8 opportunities from inside the 10) – and that Kansas City is again winning and icing games with the run. Only a series of odd happenings stands between Hunt another high-RB1 day.
Here’s a bonus takebomb: Cameron Brate catches two touchdowns. I’ve long been shouting his name from the rooftops through the peaks and valleys, and I’ve caught both breaks and bombs from rostering him. With O.J. Howard out, I fully expect Brate to dominate snaps and work back toward 10-15% of the targets. And we know just how high-impact Brate’s targets tend to be: dating back to last season, each one has produced 1.79 DraftKings points, just a hair below the likes of Travis Kelce (1.91) and Zach Ertz (1.83). A touchdown freak with a special rapport with his quarterback, Brate is too cheap as the full-timer.
John Mamula: Jared Goff finishes the week as the top fantasy QB, with over 350 passing yards and at least 3 touchdowns. All eyes will once again be on Todd Gurley, but the way to beat the Titans is through the air, as they are ranked third-best against the run as compared to eighth-worst against the pass. Goff has multiple touchdowns in six of his past seven games and has flashed GPP-winning upside, with four touchdowns against the Giants and three each versus the 49ers and Texans.
Dan Hindery: It isn’t an over-the-top contrarian call by any means, but I think this is a week Alvin Kamara explodes for a big game and is the highest-scoring running back. Before the concussion in Week 14 against the Falcons, Kamara had become the top back for the Saints, out-snapping Mark Ingram II in three straight games and playing as many as 70% of the snaps. On the opening drive of that Week 14 game against Atlanta, Kamara had 3 catches and looked on his way to a monster game before the early concussion. The Falcons have given up the most receptions (94) in the NFL to opposing running backs and play a “bend but don’t break” style that concedes the short completions to backs.