DraftKings GPP Domination: Week 16

Looking for edges in DraftKings tournaments.

WEEK 16 TOURNAMENT VALUE CHART

The chart below is a value guide for this week’s DraftKings tournaments. In an effort to help the widest range of players, only tournaments ranging from $1-to-$100 buy-ins are listed. The color scaling favors lesser entry fees, lower entry limits, and flatter payout structures since these tournaments generally represent the best return on investment for average DFS players. But remember it’s important to consider your specific strengths and goals when choosing which tournaments to enter.

Do you excel at GPP roster construction and game theory? Then don’t avoid GPPs like the Millionaire Maker due to high entry limits and a top-heavy payout structure -- you can still profit in these types of tournaments while giving yourself a shot at a life-changing payday. Therefore, cells in red do not indicate tournaments to avoid. The color scaling serves primarily to highlight the differences between tournaments, which will make it easier for you to identify the best ones to enter based on your individual skills and goals.

ROSTER CONSTRUCTION

Before constructing your own GPP lineups, it’s important to consider how most of your opponents will be making theirs. Due to the salary cap, figuring out the most common roster construction each week isn’t necessarily as simple as looking at a list of projected ownership percentages for individual players.

A few points to consider as it relates to this week’s common roster construction:

  • The main slate features three double-digit home favorites with implied team totals of 28 points or more -- New England, Carolina, and Kansas City. Expect the main players from these offenses to be among the most popular.
  • By extension, we can expect as much as 60% of total quarterback ownership to fall on players priced between $6,400 and $7,000. This group not only includes Tom Brady, Cam Newton, and Alex Smith, but also Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers, each of whom are in winnable matchups. Since most of the aforementioned signal callers have come down in price, quarterbacks in the $6K and below range will be the exception.
  • Monster games from Todd Gurley, Kareem Hunt, Mark Ingram II, and Le'Veon Bell in Week 15 reminded the field spending on high-end running backs has been the winning recipe all season. Gurley, Hunt, the returning Ezekiel Elliott, and Melvin Gordon III (with Austin Ekeler looking doubtful with a broken hand) will attract massive ownership. Most lineups will feature some combination of at least two high-priced running backs.
  • No wide receivers on the slate crack the $8K salary threshold, which also points to heavy spending at running back. Michael Thomas is likely to get piled on due to his recent hot streak (see below), but ownership at the position should otherwise be relatively flat, creating interesting leverage opportunities in the $6K and up range.
  • Another reason low-mid-priced wide receivers will be popular this week is the surplus of upper-crust tight ends in great spots. Rob Gronkowski (priced equivalent to WR4) and Travis Kelce (WR5) are the top two options at the position in any given week, but we can expect an ownership spike for both players with their teams playing at home as double-digit favorites. Those who don’t go with Gronkowski or Kelce will probably look to Greg Olsen. His price is up $1,200 from last week (TE5), but still doesn’t reflect his upside at full health, in a great matchup. From a game theory perspective, it’s as good a week as any to fade the chalk at tight end and focus on identifying cheap target and touchdown potential.
  • The Jaguars have fallen below $4K for only the second time in the last six weeks, but are still priced as the top team defense. Rostering Jacksonville may qualify as paying up to be contrarian on a slate with plenty of viable defenses in the $3.5K and below range.

WHAT ABOUT THE CHALK?

Assuming you plan on making multiple GPP lineups each week, your decision on highly-owned players usually isn’t whether to fade them completely, but rather how much exposure you want to them in comparison to their projected ownership.

Some suggestions on how to treat this week’s chalk plays (ownership percentages based on our Steve Buzzard’s projections). Be sure to check back on Saturdays for updated ownership projections.

QB: Cam Newton (vs. TB, $6,800, 17% owned) - Newton is coming off one of his best passing games of the season against the Packers (242-4-0) and has now topped 40 rushing yards (the equivalent of an additional passing touchdown) eight times in his last nine games. The reemergence of Greg Olsen is an encouraging sign for Newton as a passer and both his floor and ceiling are bolstered by Tampa Bay’s 29th ranked pass defense (DVOA), as well as their tendency to get burned on the ground by running quarterbacks. Tyrod Taylor (6-53-0), Brett Hundley (7-66-0), and Newton himself (11-44-0 in Week 8) all had success as a rusher against the Buccaneers this season.

While Newton should absolutely be one of the quarterbacks you build stacks around this week, there’s no need to follow the crowd and make him your highest exposure. There is a surplus of quarterbacks with similar upside in great spots, many of whom have come down in price (Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, and Dak Prescott to name a few). If you’re making 30 unique lineups this week, put Newton in three or four.

RB: Todd Gurley (@ TEN, $9,100, 24% owned) - Gurley’s Week 15 performance (180 total yards and 4 touchdowns) will propel him to mega-chalk status despite his standing as the only running back on the slate priced above $9K. While last week’s explosion in a perceived tough matchup vs. Seattle should serve as Exhibit A in the case never to go lighter on Gurley than the field, he could be in for a letdown in a matchup the public expects him to dominate.

Tennessee’s defense is a prototypical pass funnel. The Titans rank inside the bottom-three teams in opponent rushing play, yardage, and touchdown percentages. No single running back has rushed for more than 77 yards in a game against Tennessee all season. Gurley’s workloads (22.2 touches per game), involvement as a receiver (3.9 catches per game), and the overall efficiency of the Rams offense (31.3 points per game) have lifted him to strong fantasy games in tough matchups before. But it wouldn’t be shocking to see LA head coach Sean McVay attack the Titans where they’re weakest, making Gurley’s prospects of reaching the ceiling we’re after in tournaments dependent on scoring touchdowns against a defense that rarely surrenders them on the ground. Top out at 15-20% exposure.

RB: Ezekiel Elliott (vs. SEA, $8,000, 17% owned) - Elliott is a prime candidate to exceed his current ownership projection by the time final updates are released this weekend. His popularity will be inflated by the simple fact entrants haven’t been able to play him for six weeks, and it doesn’t hurt he faces Seattle -- the team Gurley just drubbed -- at home, with the Cowboys favored by five points.

Ownership concerns aside, Elliott is a great play. He enters this contest with fresh legs, which is more than the Seahawks defense can say. Pro-Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright should return from the concussion that kept him out against the Rams, but All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner clearly had trouble moving laterally while playing with a hamstring injury. If Wagner remains compromised, we can expect chunk plays from Elliott, who also brings massive touchdown equity.

Despite missing six games, Elliott’s nine total touchdowns trail only five other running backs this season and he still leads the Cowboys with a 31% opportunity share (targets + rush attempts) when the team gets inside the 10-yard line. Dez Bryant ranks second at 17%. Elliott shouldn’t be priced below RB3 on this slate. He warrants at least 25% exposure.

WR: Tyreek Hill (vs. MIA, $6,500, 21% owned) - Hill has totaled 348 yards and 3 touchdowns in three games since Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy took over play-calling duties from Andy Reid. His opponent this week, Miami, has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers when normalized for quality of opponent over the last five weeks, but they owe much of that success to forcing a wonky game script on the Patriots two weeks ago.

On the season, the Dolphins opponent catch rate on targets that traveled 20-25 yards through the air is over 50% higher than league average (per airyards.com). Since Nagy started running the offense, the Chiefs have connected on 14 pass plays of 20+ yards, which trails only New Orleans for the league lead. The possibility of a splash play or two is certainly enticing, but anytime a player with Hill’s boom-bust track record is owned as if the boom is a foregone conclusion, it’s a good idea to fade. Don’t exceed 15% exposure.

WR: Michael Thomas (vs. ATL, $7,600, 22% owned) - All Thomas had ever been missing this season was touchdowns and now they’re coming in bunches -- or at least they would be if he hadn’t gotten two scores called back last week. Despite the bad luck, Thomas has now scored in three straight games and his 30% team target market share is sixth-highest in the league over the last five weeks. When Thomas faced this same Atlanta defense in Week 14, he posted a season-high 30.4 DraftKings points, which is nothing new for him against the Falcons.

Given his recent play, Thomas is more than deserving of a salary over $8K, making him somewhat of a top-tier bargain play. The allure to Thomas over the last several weeks, however, was rostering him at modest ownership while the field shied away due to his lack of scoring. Playing Thomas as the chalk isn’t quite as appealing, but it’s fine to go even with the field, provided his ownership projection isn’t much higher by Saturday’s update.

TE: Greg Olsen (vs. TAM, $5,200, 15% owned) - Despite the stellar spots for Gronkowski and Kelce, Olsen may end up the highest-owned tight end by virtue of recency bias, his stackability with Newton, and his comparative bargain price. Even though he’s only had one usable game all season, we can trust a player with Olsen’s track record when he looks as healthy as he did last week vs. Green Bay (12-9-116-1).

Tampa Bay’s struggles defending the pass aren’t limited to wide receivers. They rank 24th in opponent pass success rate to tight ends and allow 7.5 yards per pass attempt to the position, which is also a bottom-10 ranking. Olsen checks off two important boxes we look for when projecting tight end touchdown equity -- he plays for a huge home favorite (Panthers -10), with one of the highest implied team totals on the slate (29.25 points). It’s hard to avoid heavy exposure to Olsen, given his price and upside relative to the rest of the position’s top tier. Play him at will.

D/ST: Chicago Bears (vs. CLE, $3,500, 13% owned) - If your entire strategy at defense/special teams was just to play the one facing the Browns every week, you would have locked in between 8 and 25 fantasy points in 11-of-14 games this season. Further analysis is unnecessary, but if you need something else to hang your hat on, Chicago’s defense has the sixth-highest adjusted sack rate in the league and tends to play much better at Soldier Field, where they allow 18.3 points per game compared to 23.8 on the road. The Bears are one of a handful of defenses that belong in at least 20% of your roster builds.

MORE CHALK PLAYS

Player Pos Opponent Salary Proj. Own % Comment
Russell Wilson QB @DAL $7,000 10% At least 19 fantasy points in every game since Week 7 prior to last week.
Tom Brady QB BUF $6,900 9% Back home after 3 straight road games. Pats biggest favorite w/ highest total.
Melvin Gordon III RB @NYJ $7,200 24% Best dollar per projected touch value among RBs $7K and above.
Christian McCaffrey RB TB $6,400 19% Leads NFL in percent of team targets from inside opponent's 10-yard line.
Julio Jones WR @NO $7,900 16% Ceiling in play any time he's in a dome, but has to deal w/ CB Lattimore.
Keenan Allen WR @NYJ $7,700 15% WR1s smoking Jets weekly. Practicing in full after injury scare.
Rob Gronkowski TE BUF $7,400 16% 25+ fantasy points in each of last three starts, including one vs. BUF.
Travis Kelce TE MIA $6,900 16% Opponents target TEs vs. MIA at league's second-highest rate. 
Kansas City Chiefs D/ST MIA $3,300 11% Third straight home game. Double digit fantasy points in each of last two.

CORE PLAYS

These players fall in the middle-to-upper-middle ownership tiers. Each has a path to top-5 numbers at their respective positions or a strong chance to exceed their salary-implied point expectation. You want more of them than your opponents.

QB: Jared Goff (@TEN, $6,100, 5% owned) - Goff will go overlooked in the middle price tier, making him an intriguing pivot off more popular options like Dak Prescott. It’s been nearly a month since we’ve seen Goff reach a 4x multiple of his current salary, but as previously mentioned, Tennessee funnels production to enemy passing attacks.

Austin Lee’s Normalized Strength of Schedule shows Tennessee allowing 275 adjusted passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks over the last five weeks (sixth-most), but only 1.2 passing touchdowns (sixth-fewest). The Titans pass defense appears due for touchdown regression and Goff -- who has thrown 15 touchdowns in his last seven games -- is a likely catalyst. With no appreciable home/road splits to speak of and the Rams implied to score nearly 28 points in Tennessee, Goff’s ceiling is 300-yards and 3 touchdowns.

RB: Dion Lewis (vs. BUF, $6,000, 12% owned) - Lewis’ projected ownership bears watching through the weekend. If it appears he’s picking up too much steam in the wake of Rex Burkhead’s knee injury, it’s probably a good idea to fade relative to the field. Burkhead’s absence is not going to propel Lewis into a three-down, 20+ carry role. He seems to be on a 15-touch hard cap as the Patriots try to get him through the regular season in one piece. James White is still around to resume an increased role in the passing game, and Mike Gillislee is reportedly set to rejoin the active roster.

But if his current ownership projection sticks, there’s plenty to like about Lewis, even if he hasn’t cracked 20 fantasy points on DraftKings all season. 15-17 carries are all he should need to hit the 100-yard bonus against the Bills, who have allowed 20% more fantasy points to opposing running backs than league average over the last three weeks, including a 15-92-0 rushing line to Lewis in Week 13.

The one area Lewis could gain value in Burkhead’s absence is near the goal line. Since Week 9 (Gillislee’s first game as a healthy scratch), Lewis has taken seven carries from inside the opponent’s 10-yard line, compared to nine for Burkhead. It may not be a foregone conclusion Gillislee, who hasn’t cracked the active roster since mid-season, will immediately resume hogging goal line carries.

RB: Mark Ingram II (vs. ATL, $8,100, 11% owned) - Ingram never seems to be the mega-chalk due to the Saints split backfield, but all he does is hang huge fantasy numbers when New Orleans is at home. Since Week 6 (after the Adrian Peterson trade), Ingram has scored 34, 19.9, 8.9, 27.5, 24.2, and 32.1 DraftKings points in six games at the Superdome.

There’s no reason to bet against Ingram’s combination of consistency and multi-touchdown upside against the Falcons. Atlanta’s struggles to contain pass catchers out of the backfield are well documented, which gives Ingram (18 total targets in his last 3 games) an added PPR boost. With floor and ceiling projections similar enough to the rest of the top-10 running backs, it makes little sense for Ingram to be the lowest-owned of the group.

WR: Jarvis Landry (@ KC, $6,300, 13% owned) - If you plan on building Chiefs stacks, you’ll want to run them back with a Dolphins wide receiver, and none make as much sense as Landry (even if DeVante Parker sits). DeAndre Hopkins and Antonio Brown are the only players with more than Landry’s 144 targets this season, and while prodigious target volume is nothing new for Landry, his role as the Dolphins primary option when Miami gets within scoring range is.

Landry is the only non-running back to rank inside the top-20 in team red zone opportunity market share (rushes + targets). When the Dolphins get inside their opponent’s 10-yard line, his market share ranking improves to top-15, while no other wide receiver ranks inside the top-30. Landry is effectively being used as a goal-line back, giving him a 25+ point ceiling in a game double-digit targets shouldn’t be hard to come by.

WR: Robert Woods (@ TEN, $6,500, 12% owned) - Expect Woods’ ownership to climb beyond this projection by Saturday’s update. Unfortunately, the crowd seems hip to the fact Woods is a fantasy WR1 in a great matchup, priced as a WR2. Woods was on a tear prior to injuring his shoulder and looked no worse for wear in his return last week (6-45-1, team-leading 30% target market share).

Matt Waldman’s Weekly Top-10 confirmed Woods’ routes were on point and he had no trouble taking contact. As it relates to this week’s opponent -- Tennessee -- Waldman had this interesting nugget:

“The Titans gave up some huge plays in the middle of the field to Kendrick Bourne and Garrett Celek yesterday. Look for Woods (and Cooper Kupp) to have a strong outing thanks to these linebackers reacting hard to the play-action game that Todd Gurley's running generates.”

Stacking Goff and Woods is a leverage play on Gurley owners and leaves plenty of room in your lineup for two stud running backs.

TE: Eric Ebron (@ CIN, $3,700, 8% owned) - Ebron won’t qualify as a contrarian play, but with at least half the ownership at tight end tied up in Gronkowski, Kelce, and Olsen, he’s at least the most reliable option for salary relief. Something has clicked between Ebron and Matthew Stafford over the last two weeks. The enigmatic tight end has combined for 18 targets (including a team-high 3 red zone looks), 127 yards, and a touchdown since Week 14, after spending the most of the year disappointing those who pegged him as a preseason sleeper.

Cincinnati is a middle-of-the-pack defense when it comes to limiting tight end fantasy scoring, but the peripherals suggest this is a plus matchup for Ebron. The Bengals allow the second-highest pass success rate and sixth-most yards per pass attempt to tight ends. A 20-point ceiling is probably out of the question, but a 4x multiple of his salary is well within Ebron’s range of outcomes for a third consecutive week.

D/ST: Washington (vs. DEN, $3,400, 7% owned) - Washington is coming off a solid showing at home against Arizona last week (five sacks, two turnovers, and nearly a defensive touchdown) and they’re in a practically identical spot vs. the Broncos in Week 16. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing defenses than Denver when adjusted for strength of schedule, and now Brock Osweiler is their quarterback (again). In Osweiler’s three previous starts, the Eagles, Patriots, and Bengals all managed to score at least eight fantasy points -- a number Washington’s defense has exceeded in three of the last four games.

MORE CORE PLAYS

Player Pos Opponent Salary Proj. Own % Comment
Dak Prescott QB SEA $6,000 7% Almost 24 fantasy points per game w/ Elliott in the lineup.
Alex Smith QB MIA $6,600 9% MIA @ KC is a game worth stacking.
Alvin Kamara RB ATL $8,300 13% ATL perennially bad at defending pass catching RBs. Stack w/ Brees.
Leonard Fournette RB @SF $7,500 11% Injury concerns should ding ownership in plus matchup.
Cooper Kupp WR @TEN $5,300 7% Matchup/price/ownership arbitrage play on Robert Woods.
Mike Evans WR @CAR $6,400 11% CAR allowing most normalized fantasy points to WRs over last 5 games.
Marquise Goodwin WR JAX $5,200 8% Averaging 11 targets per game w/ Garoppolo, $800 price dip mitigates matchup.
Cameron Brate TE @CAR $3,300 2% Ownership will rise in wake of O.J. Howard's season-ending injury.
Detroit Lions D/ST @CIN $2,900 5% Generating sacks and turnovers vs. poor opponents lately. CIN qualifies.

CONTRARIAN PLAYS

These players will appear in a small percentage of your opponent’s line-ups. They're high variance plays, but the greater your exposure, the farther your teams will separate from the pack if they have big games.

QB: Jameis Winston (@ CAR, $5,700, 2% owned) - Winston’s play suffered for large chunks of the season while he played through a shoulder injury, but three weeks of rest seem to have done the trick. Since returning in Week 13, Winston is the cumulative QB5 on DraftKings, yet he’s still priced as the QB12 on this slate.

Winston is recommended as one of your top quarterback exposures this week for three reasons:

  • Despite their reputation as a top defense, Carolina has allowed nearly 30% more fantasy points than league average to quarterbacks over the last five weeks.
  • If the game stays on script, Winston will be airing it out against a suspect secondary for most of the game.
  • If the game goes off-script, it won’t be because Peyton Barber got over on the Panthers seventh-ranked rush defense (DVOA).

Using Winston as the quarterback in Carolina/Tampa game stacks is a great way to leverage Cam Newton’s high ownership. And DeSean Jackson’s absence provides the ability to pair Winston with a site minimum wide receiver (Adam Humphries or Chris Godwin) or Cameron Brate ($3,300), allowing you to squeeze stud a pair of stud running backs into the same lineup.

RB: Samaje Perine (vs. DEN, $4,300, 5% owned) or Kapri Bibbs ($3,500, 5% owned) - Perine was a recommended core play last week and disappointed despite heavy exposure from the best DFS players in the industry. Going back to the well on Perine -- easily the best dollar per projected touch play on the main slate for a second straight week -- was hard enough before he was injured in Thursday’s practice (groin).

With Washington’s primary backup on base downs (LeShun Daniels) out for the year, their backfield would likely belong to Kapri Bibbs alone if Perine can’t go. Bibbs scored on a 36-yard catch-and-run in his first game with Washington last week and is in an interesting spot matched up with the Broncos (revenge game alert). Washington is favored by more than a field goal at home and Brock Osweiler has a habit of setting opponents up with short fields. Bibbs is no one’s idea of an exceptional talent (PlayerProfiler’s best athletic comp is Ka’Deem Carey), but he finds himself in the right place at the right time.

TE: Tyler Kroft (vs. DET, $2,600, 2% owned) - Kroft has been invisible for three straight weeks, but so has the entire Bengals offense. If Vegas is to be believed, we should expect a slight bounce back for Cincinnati at home against Detroit (19.5-point implied team total), and Kroft is as good a bet as any to account for a Bengals touchdown.

The Lions have allowed five touchdowns to tight ends since Week 11, which is good news for Kroft, who is frequently utilized when Cincinnati gets within distance. He trails only A.J. Green for the team lead in targets from inside the opponent’s 10-yard line and has converted all four of his close-range opportunities into touchdowns. Considering a one-yard touchdown catch gets him to 2.3x his near-minimum salary, Kroft is a viable punt if you’re trying to max out spending at running back and wide receiver.

D/ST: LA Chargers (@ NYJ, $3,700, 5% owned) - Bryce Petty kept the Jets offense moving in New Orleans because the Saints were only able to generate pressure on about one-third of his dropbacks. Hopefully, Petty isn’t expecting the same clean pockets against an aggressive Chargers defensive front fighting for their playoff lives. The Chargers have the eighth-highest adjusted sack rate in the NFL, while the Jets have given up a sack on 8.2% of their offensive plays -- the sixth-highest rate in the league. Look for the pressure to force Petty into multiple mistakes in his first start at home this season.

MORE CONTRARIAN PLAYS

Player Pos Opponent Salary Proj. Own % Comment
Mitchell Trubisky QB CLE $4,700 2% Finding his way to at least 15 fantasy points most weeks. 
Wayne Gallman RB @ARI $3,900 2% NYG taking a look at him. Scratch this idea if Davis Webb starts.
Jonathan Stewart RB TB $3,700 4% Cheap leverage play on Newton, McCaffrey, Olsen. Game script is there.
Dede Westbrook WR @SF $6,100 6% Forgotten man in wake of Keelan Cole breakout. Great matchup.
Kenny Golladay WR @CIN $3,300 1% T.J. Jones to IR = more snaps for talented big-play rookie.
Damiere Byrd WR TB $3,500 5% 2 TDs were a fluke. Role as CAR WR2 vs. terrible secondary is not.
Chris Godwin WR @CAR $3,000 1% Sneaky addition to CAR-TB game stacks if Jackson is out.
Jimmy Graham TE @DAL $4,700 4% Greater than 5% chance of hitting value in any given week.



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