FanDuel GPP Domination - Week 16

A Deeper Look at Who to Target for FanDuel GPPs this Week

For those of you who are new to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), GPPs are "Guaranteed Prize Pool" Tournaments with larger, sometimes very large prize amounts. FanDuel is one of the biggest sites in DFS and offers some of the biggest prizes in the industry. The goal of this article is to guide you towards some players that could help you take home that big prize. Footballguys offers a ton of resources to help you build that winning lineup, and this is just one of the many - but I hope that you will find it a valuable resource and check this article out on a regular basis.

Before we talk about the players for this week, we cannot completely ignore cash game plays. Typically a "GPP player" for the week is one that can score big or score terribly - the classic "boom or bust" player. A wide receiver that can catch two deep balls for two scores can get you 30+ points - or he might wind up with nada. Chasing 1-3 big plays can win you a tournament, but filling out a roster completely with these types of options will likely leave you well short of first place. That is why you cannot ignore the cash game plays each week as well, as combining the two groups is what usually leads to those big victories in GPP contests. So, expect some mention of players who are cash game plays each week, as well as some players that could be considered for both GPP and cash games.

Note - this article is not intended to provide a fully exhaustive list of every possible player. That would be an immensely long group of players. These are just some of the best options I see for GPPs this week when considering value, price, upside, and matchups.

Second note - Keep in mind the multiplier target(s) you want to hit for both cash and GPP / tournaments on FanDuel. In general, you are looking for 2x in cash (twice the cost of the player in $1,000 increments) and 3x in GPP. That means a player that costs $6,000 should produce 12 or more points in cash and 18 or more in GPPs.

Now, on with this week's top options:

 

GENERAL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 16

To help you out each week, I will give you some general thoughts as we progress through the season (you can also find more on the weekly Power Grid show (link to be updated Friday - available on the DFS home page) - be sure to watch and subscribe!). For this week, there are lots of options again, but many of the decisions will hinge upon scratches that will happen this weekend, so expect some updates here on Saturday.

Week 16 is usually the last week that most NFL DFS players focus on cash games.  Week 17 is a week where a lot of teams take time off or play rookies to get another look at what talent they have on the roster for one last time before the end of the season, or teams just rest guys before the playoffs.  That makes this the last “regular” week of DFS, so plan accordingly. 

From a roster construction standpoint, it looks like a week where rosters will focus on saving money at wide receiver and spending up at both running back spots and tight end.  A debate can be had about quarterback with Drew Stanton getting a start for Arizona, but that is much more of a GPP play in my opinion that for cash or other formats. 

There are plenty of games with big point spreads this week, which makes running backs on those favored teams a good target for lineups.  Deciding which ones will be challenging, but focusing on those games and teams should help to narrow down the choices.  Additionally, the return of Ezekiel Elliott to action after his six-game suspension provides a stud running back at a slightly discounted price with fresh legs and motivation as he gets back to action.

Also – and I wrote about this in For the Win this week – be sure to look at which teams have something to play for (or not) this week.  Most teams at the top of the standings are still jockeying for byes or divisional titles, so they are relatively safe.  Several other contests between teams with little or nothing to play for makes for risky players to target.   In addition, focus on players in the “who else is there” type of situation.  If a team is out of running backs or wide receivers or tight ends, that makes the last man standing a valuable option when it comes to getting touches on that team, which is never a bad target in DFS.

Let’s start to dig in to the players for Week 16.  Here we go: 

 

Here are a few general references I will be using as the season progresses:

Footballguys' DFS Week 9 Page

Vegas Value Chart

Interactive Value Chart

Projecting Ownership

Normalized Stength of Schedule (NSOS)

Please note that if a player isn't mentioned in the write-ups but is in the table, it does not mean that I like the player more in the write-ups. The discussion sections are to add more detail, support, and clarity for those players mentioned, but all of the picks in the tables are viable options if they are ranked.

Now, without further ado, here are the players I like the most this week.

 

QUARTERBACKS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Russell Wilson 9000 2 3 Medium Dallas has been good against the run, and Seattle needs Wilson to drive the offense
Tom Brady 8600 3 9 Medium New England once again expected to score plenty of points
Drew Brees 8400 7 4 Medium Saints-Falcons expected to be high scoring, and Brees always has 300-3 upside (or higher)
Cam Newton 8300 1 1 High Safest option this week as Carolina must win, great matchup against Tampa Bay
Matthew Stafford 7900 4 2 Very Low Detroit in a must win situation, but could need the Bengals to put up offense to score big
Jared Goff 7700 8 6 Low Rams are projected for 27.5 points and the weakness of Tennessee is the secondary
Matt Ryan 7700 6 5 Low Atlanta needs a win to get in the playoffs and two for the division
Jameis Winston 7100 n/a 10 Med-Low TB-CAR could also become a shootout, but does Winston have much left (or receivers)?
Jimmy Garoppolo 7000 n/a 8 Very Low Averaging well over 300 yards a game in his last three, but Jacksonville a tough spot
Mitchell Trubisky 6800 n/a 11 Low Chicago against Cleveland - Browns are a good matchup to throw against, but Bears may not score a lot
Drew Stanton 6000 5 7 Med-High Spot starter for Arizona against a bad Giants secondary


CHALK TALK:  It appears to me that this begins and ends with Cam Newton this week.  With his rushing ability, his floor is higher than most quarterbacks, and Carolina is highly motivated to win this week to keep pace in the NFC South.  Tampa Bay also has a weak defense and secondary, so Newton looks like the top option in all formats.

Drew Stanton is the cheap quarterback option of the week, and he faces the same team that last week’s value play (Nick Foles) performed well against in the Giants.  I would not expect quite that upside, but at such a low salary, using Stanton does open up a lot of options.

Tom Brady and Russell Wilson are both cash game options nearly every week.  New England has the highest implied team total, and Seattle is in a must-win situation as they take on the Cowboys.  Wilson produces about 80% of the offense for the Seahawks, which also raises his floor.

GPP:  I was able to reduce the list a bit this week, as I can see either targeting quarterbacks in high scoring games or ones that have the potential to shoot out, or quarterbacks in very favorable matchups.  Considering that the Saints and Falcons have a lot to play for in the NFC South and the Over/Under is 53 points, but Drew Brees and Matt Ryan are solid tournament plays.  Both have just three 300+ yard games this season each, and only Brees has a game of three touchdown passes.  Even so, the potential is there for both signal callers.

Detroit is also in a must-win situation, so I like Matthew Stafford’s upside against a Bengals team that has shown no life left at this point of the year.  That is part of the problem, however, because if Cincinnati scores just seven points again this week, there could be little incentive for Stafford to put up big numbers. 

The other game that I like that could shoot out is Tampa Bay – Carolina.  As much as I like Cam Newton getting a big effort out of Jameis Winston.  A back and forth game could make both quarterbacks very viable in tournaments (and also for the flex stack in that format).

 

RUNNING BACKS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Todd Gurley 9100 5 4 Very High Exploded last week and could do the same in Tennessee
Alvin Kamara 8500 2 3 Med-High Atlanta does not stop pass-catching running backs
Melvin Gordon III 8500 1 1 Med-High Ekeler is hurt, leaving all the work for Gordon
Ezekiel Elliott 8300 3 5 Very High Back after his 6-game suspension
Kareem Hunt 8300 4 6 High Home game, big favorite, and KC could lean on him again
Leonard Fournette 8100 n/a 9 Medium Returning from injury, but SF not as weak against run of late
Kenyan Drake 7100 n/a 11 Med-High Main man for Miami, but KC is a tough spot
Jordan Howard 7100 8 2 Low Howard could carry the Bears to a win by himself
Devonta Freeman 7000 6 7 High Tevin Coleman questionable, so big upside if he owns the ATL backfield
Dion Lewis 6700 7 8 Med-High Leading candidate to be top back for New England this week
C.J. Anderson 6200 n/a 10 Med-Low Tons of carries (52) past two weeks
James White 4700 9 12 High Sleeper New England back
Mike Gillislee 4500 n/a 13 Low Possible goal line back for the Patriots

CHALK TALK:  If you can decide which running back to use for New England with confidence this week, you can have a lot of success.  Buffalo has given up 19 rushing touchdowns and 122 yards per game rushing, so they are a highly attractive DFS target for running backs.  The problem is that Rex Burkhead is out, so it could be Dion Lewis, James White or even Mike Gillislee that gets those touchdown chances.  Odds are that Lewis is the best play, but there is no guarantee.   

Taking two expensive running backs appears to be the safe route for Week 16, and the likely chalk path.  Melvin Gordon III is highly attractive for a favored Chargers team at the Jets, as Austin Ekeler is probably out with a broken hand.  Another popular choice will be Ezekiel Elliott in his return for Dallas after a six-game suspension against a banged up Seattle defense. 

Kareem Hunt is also in a favorable spot, with a friendly game script as Kansas City is a double-digit home favorite against the Dolphins.  Hunt has 49 carries and two 100+ yard games the past two weeks with three scores, and the Dolphins have allowed 4.3 yards per carry this season.  Alvin Kamara also looks like a solid choice against Atlanta, as the Falcons struggle against both slot receivers and pass-catching running backs.  Kamara had three catches for 25 yards on the opening drive against the Falcons in Week 14 before exiting with a concussion, so the upside is definitely there for a big performance.   

GPP:  Leonard Fournette is a polarizing running back choice this week.  The positives are that the Jaguars are big favorites against San Francisco and the 49ers have struggled with good rushers this season.  The negatives are that San Francisco has been the best defense against the run the past five weeks and that Fournette was out last week with an injury.  An argument can be made in either direction.  On one hand, Fournette could dominate as he returns to action, but then again Jacksonville could rest him with not much left to play for (Jacksonville is nearly locked in as the third seed in the AFC).  High risk, high reward – but I would likely use him minimally this week.

A sleeper I do like for Week 16 is Jordan Howard.  Cleveland has not been as formidable against the run as they were earlier this year (average using NSOS the past five games against RBs) and Howard has put up several dominant performances this season.  When the Bears lead most of a game, Howard puts up those big stats, and he has two games with two touchdowns and 100+ yards this year (and also five 100+ yard games in general).  The game script looks favorable with the Bears nearly a touchdown favorite at home, so the potential is clearly there for Howard this week. 


WIDE RECEIVERS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Julio Jones 8500 n/a 9 Med-High Stud WR in a high scoring game, but will be focus for Saints defense
Michael Thomas 8200 3 6 Very High Solid cash option every week
Larry Fitzgerald 7500 4 14 Medium The Giants have not been stopping anyone and Fitzgerald looks like a lock for 10 targets
Marvin Jones Jr 7300 10 7 Medium Detroit in a must-win game in Cincinnati, great matchup
Brandin Cooks 7200 n/a 11 High Top WR for Tom Brady, but many mouths to feed in NE
Josh Gordon 7100 n/a 12 Med-Low Plenty of upside for Gordon against Chicago
Dez Bryant 7100 n/a 1 Low Great matchup against banged up Seattle, and strong game theory pivot
Mike Evans 7000 6 4 High If TB-CAR becomes a shootout, Evans should lead the way
Devin Funchess 7000 7 3 Med-High Cam Newton should target getting him more involved this week
Golden Tate 6900 n/a 16 Medium Similar to Marvin Jones Jr, cheaper but may see a few less targets
Robert Woods 6600 9 8 High Top receiver last week with seven targets from Jared Goff
Mohamed Sanu 5900 8 2 Med-Low Cheap play for ATL offense, played well in first matchup (6-83-1)
DeDe Westbrook 5900 5 10 Med-High Affordable option for Jacksonville passing game
Rishard Matthews 5700 11 13 Medium Top WR for Tennessee - best chance for Titans to keep up with the Rams
Keelan Cole 5300 1 5 High Best value for Jaguars receiver, 3 TDs last three weeks
Kendall Wright 5100 2 15 High 24 targets the past two weeks and good matchup against CLE

CHALK TALK:  Wide receiver looks to be the spot where you want to save salary this week.  Several options exist under $7,000 (and also under $6,000) that are likely starting wideouts who should see 8+ targets or more this week.  Keelan Cole leads my list of options and after his breakout performance last week (7-186-1) and both Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns nursing injuries, I love his floor and upside for Week 16 against San Francisco.

Other candidates for cheap values are really any starting wideout this week under $6,500, but I tend to really like Kendall Wright.  Wright has 24 targets the past two weeks, and volume usually directly correlates to value, even in ½ PPR on FanDuel.

Robert Woods was back to action and led the Rams in targets with seven last week.  His price of $6,600 is rather cheap for a lead wide receiver, but the Rams are big favorites and Woods may not be as needed in the offense (especially if Todd Gurley goes off again).

Getting a piece of the Atlanta-New Orleans game will also be desirable.  Michael Thomas is the safe bet, but the riskier side is to target Julio Jones or Mohamed Sanu.   Sanu is one of my favorite options of the week as he is relatively cheap and had a big game (6-83-1) the first time the two teams clashed just a few weeks ago.

GPP:  Dez Bryant is a great GPP target this week.  Not only does he have a great matchup against an injury-riddled Seattle secondary, he also represents a great pivot away from the Ezekiel Elliott teams.  If the touchdowns go towards Bryant over Elliott, those rosters with Bryant will be way ahead of lineups that target Elliott.

Carolina could blow out Tampa Bay, but if the Buccaneers want to keep the game close, Mike Evans will be that guy.  Tampa Bay has injuries to DeSean Jackson and at tight end, so Evans could easily see double-digit targets on Sunday.  On the flip side, Devin Funchess was a disappointment last week but he could also have a big game if the contest heads towards a shootout.


TIGHT ENDS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Rob Gronkowski 8400 2 1 Very High Loves playing against Buffalo, but expensive
Travis Kelce 7000 1 2 Very High Miami terrible against TEs
Jimmy Graham 6800 n/a 5 Med-Low Sleeper GPP play against Dallas
Greg Olsen 6600 3 3 High Re-emerged last week
Delanie Walker 6400 n/a 4 Medium Rams-Titans has sneaky shootout possibilities
Eric Ebron 5200 n/a 6 Medium 18 targets the past two weeks
Cameron Brate 5100 n/a 7 Low O.J. Howard now on IR
Antonio Gates 4500 n/a 8 Medium Huntery Henry now on iR

CHALK TALK:  In two simple words – pay up.  This is the week to decide between Rob Gronkowski (home against Buffalo) and Travis Kelce (home against Miami).  Miami has given up eight touchdowns to tight ends this season and is fourth-worst against the position this season.  Gronkowski consistently destroys Buffalo as we mentioned earlier this year, and this week could be more of the same for the big tight end.  Both players are viable in all formats, although Kelce is considerably cheaper.  The debate amongst these two star tight ends extended into a lively discussion this week on the Power Grid, including a friendly wager on the outcome.  Either way, Week 17’s show will be entertaining.

 

GPP: Greg Olsen reemerged as a stud option last week, and that can easily continue against Tampa Bay.  He is viable in all formats, but much more attractive in tournaments.  Seattle is going to have to throw the ball against Dallas, as the Cowboys have shut down the run with Sean Lee back at linebacker.  Despite Jimmy Graham’s terrible outputs the past two weeks (one catch for -1 yard) he still is a top target for Russell Wilson in the red zone.  Tampa Bay is going to have to put up some points to keep pace with the Panthers, and now that Cameron Brate is the only viable tight end for Jameis Winston, his value certainly goes up.  The same can be said for Antonio Gates, who becomes the starter for the Chargers once again with Hunter Henry on injured reserve.  Lastly, Eric Ebron has been very active lately for the Lions, and Detroit is in a must-win spot against Cincinnati this week.  Ebron has 4+ catches a game for five weeks in a row including a touchdown last week, and the Bengals have given up a score to opposing tight ends in their last two contests.  

 

 

KICKERS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Harrison Butker 4900 1 1 Medium Checks all the boxes, and has several 50+ yard field goals
Stephen Gostkowski 5200 3 5 High Strong option, just expensive
Graham Gano 4800 2 6 High Will be popular, but not a big leg
Wil Lutz 5100 4 3 High Lot of points expected for the Saints
Josh Lambo 4800 n/a 2 Low Jacksonville big favorites
Robby Gould 4700 n/a 4 Low Big game last week
Dan Bailey 4800 5 7 Low Veteran kicker has not been asked to do much of late

CHALK and GPP: These general kicker comments will likely be repeated week after week, but they are important so take note. Yes, FanDuel is the only DFS site left that uses a kicker, but you have to deal with it if you are playing on FanDuel. Sorry, that's how it goes. But there's some good news - you can actually make smart, informed decisions that can go a long way towards increasing your bankroll. First, there are four general criteria in picking a kicker:

  1. Pick a kicker who is playing at home
  2. Pick a kicker who is in a game where his team is favored
  3. Pick a kicker whose team is expected to score at least 24 points.
  4. Pick a kicker who will not be in bad weather.

Just following that above recipe will help you quite a bit. Remember - a 50+ yard field goal is five points or almost as much as a touchdown. That's significant.

Week 16 offers up several kickers, including a few under $5,000 that meet the criteria.  The top option appears to be Harrison Butker of Kansas City, as the Chiefs are home favorites and expected to score 27 points against the Dolphins.  Butker is one of 12 kickers with four or more 50+ yard field goals as well.  Graham Gano is in a great situation as well, but he has only attempted one field goal beyond 50 yards (and missed) this year.  Wil Lutz and Stephen Gostkowski make this list nearly every week, while Dan Bailey offers a veteran kicker below $5,000 at home in a must-win spot for Dallas.  For tournaments, Robby Gould had a huge week last week and Jacksonville is a tough red zone defense.  Josh Lambo is also a solid option for Jacksonville in that same contest. 

 

TEAM DEFENSES

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Jacksonville 5600 5 5 Very High Always an option, but expensive and SF playing well
Chicago 4800 2 3 High Good defense at home against Cleveland
Carolina 4800 4 7 High Tampa Bay may have spent all their energy on Monday
Kansas City 4500 1 1 Med-High Great spot at home and highly motivated - tough place to visit
New England 4600 3 4 Medium Buffalo may be done
Los Angeles Chargers 4900 6 2 Medium Road game, yes, but it is the Jets
New York Giants 4200 n/a 6 Low Cheap GPP option only

CHALK and GPP:  The top options on the probable ownership chart from Steve Buzzard is your main shopping list for a defense this week.  My favorite is Kansas City, who has won their past two games at home and has not given up over 20 points in seven home games this season.  Hosting a deflated Miami team and Jay Cutler is a solid path for a double-digit defensive performance.

Chicago gets Cleveland, so that goes without saying why they make the list.  Both the Patriots (hosting the Bills) and the Chargers (against the Jets) are viable GPP plays, and the Giants offer a cheap defense for the week against Arizona.  The safest overall bet appears to be the Chiefs for all formats.

   

Questions, suggestions, and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com


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