Ten members of the Footballguys DraftKings staff compiled value-based rankings for Week 16 of the NFL season. Those results are shown below with the highest ranking at the top. Each position is ranked as follows: (A dash indicates that player was not ranked).
Quarterback - Top 8
Running Back - Top 12
Wide Receiver - Top 12
Tight End - Top 8
Defense - Top 5
To determine the average ranking, any player not ranked received a value of the lowest rank for that position, plus 1 (LR+1). For example, the Top 8 quarterbacks are ranked by each staff member. If one staff member did not rank a particular quarterback, but others did, the ranking for that quarterback is 8+1 or 9. Instead of displaying a 9 in the table, a dash is used to show that player was not ranked, after average rank was obtained.
The value-based, collaborative results provide a window into which players are the best options for this week's slate of games. I'll explain why certain players are ranked as they are and also provide additional commentary volunteered by various staff members.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: QUARTERBACK
|Andrew Luck||IND||at OAK||7000||2||6||1||3||2||2||6||-||2||2||3.5|
|Matt Ryan||ATL||at CAR||7200||-||5||-||7||3||-||-||6||-||4||7.0|
|Kirk Cousins||WAS||at CHI||6800||8||4||5||8||8||4||-||-||-||8||7.2|
|Jameis Winston||TB||at NO||6500||6||7||8||5||-||7||-||-||6||6||7.2|
|Philip Rivers||SD||at CLE||6900||5||-||-||-||-||-||-||4||8||-||8.0|
|Andy Dalton||CIN||at HOU||5300||-||-||4||-||-||6||-||-||-||-||8.2|
|Colin Kaepernick||SF||at LA||5700||-||-||-||-||7||-||-||-||7||-||8.6|
|Marcus Mariota||TEN||at JAC||6000||-||8||-||-||-||-||7||-||-||-||8.7|
|Robert Griffin III III||CLE||SD||5100||-||-||-||-||6||-||-||-||-||-||8.7|
|Joe Flacco||BAL||at PIT||5800||-||-||-||-||-||8||-||-||-||-||8.9|
The consensus is back on the Drew Brees bandwagon. Brees erupted for 389 yards and 4 touchdowns vs. Arizona last week after two consecutive weeks of zero touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Brees will get another crack at Tampa Bay (one of the teams who kept him out of the end zone). The thought process here is that Brees ($7,400) has an affordable price and he's at home in the dome, where he has proven to be a solid fantasy producer. At home Brees averages 352 yards passing and 2.7 touchdown passes. Tampa Bay has allowed two touchdown passes in the last four games and four in the last six - and that includes the Saints. While the odds look good for Brees, it's difficult to look over how good Tampa Bay has played recently.
Luck had a surprisingly good day against Minnesota in Week 15, despite dealing with shoulder, elbow and thumb injuries - and he was without Donte Moncrief (hamstring) who should return to the lineup this week. Luck has a decent matchup at Oakland that could see him reach over 250 yards and two touchdowns. That's not super numbers, but that's essentially what Oakland is giving up on average. The Raiders have not allowed more than two touchdown passes in a game since Week 4.
Aaron Rodgers will host the Vikings, who Andrew Luck had success against last week. Rodgers and the Packers have won four straight games heading into this divisional matchup. There are some whispers suggesting Rodgers has struggled in the cold weather and his performance (zero touchdown passes) at Chicago last week backs that up. In the last seven home games where the weather was 25 degrees or lower, five of those games Rodgers threw just one touchdown pass. This week the weather is expected to be in the low-mid 30's, which falls outside of those conditions. It's still something to remember for future reference. The Vikings defense looks like a shell of their earlier season self and without their all pro safety Harrison Smith, they appear to be more vulnerable. This is a good matchup for Rodgers and the Packers, even if Randall Cobb isn't expected to be 100%. Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams are more than capable of picking up the slack.
A word of caution on Dak Prescott who was rated high by three rankers, but not ranked by the other seven. Detroit has been impressive against quarterbacks lately. Since Week 11 only Denver has allowed less DK points to opposing quarterbacks than the Lions. Detroit has allowed just five touchdown passes since Week 11 and have six interceptions in the same range.
Blake Bortles ($5,000) played a horrible game in his last meeting with Tennessee, but he managed to put together a strong fantasy game with an entire second half that was filled with garbage yards and garbage points. At the minimum price, he's someone to consider. Tennessee has allowed three 300-yard games in the last five games and have given up 8 touchdown passes in that span.
Matt Barkley ($5,000) is also at minimum price, but he's played much better recently and Washington's defense has been vulnerable lately. In his four starts, Barkley has topped 30 pass attempts three times with the one time being the snow game against San Francisco. He has 300 yards passing in two of those four games with six total touchdown passes. He has a good matchup this week and is someone to consider as a cheap option at quarterback who can put up a two-score game with yardage to boot.
Drew Brees - I know Brees has hurt some people down the stretch, but after last week's resurgence and back at home, I expect a great week
Dak Prescott - Prescott shrugged off the Romo rumors and is set to lead the Cowboys into the NFC's top seed
Marcus Mariota - A bit out of consensus, but think he can shred a defeated division rival on a push for the AFC South title
Drew Brees - Saints/Bucs game expected to shootout with a game total of 52.5 points.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: running back
|David Johnson||ARI||at SEA||9200||6||4||-||7||5||9||-||1||6||3||6.7|
|Jeremy Hill||CIN||at HOU||5300||4||8||9||-||9||-||1||11||11||7||8.6|
|DeMarco Murray||TEN||at JAC||7000||-||5||-||2||6||-||7||-||7||9||8.8|
|Bilal Powell||NYJ||at NE||6000||9||9||7||6||12||3||-||-||-||11||9.6|
|Mark Ingram II||NO||TB||4400||5||-||10||10||-||-||4||-||9||-||10.3|
|Rob Kelley||WAS||at CHI||5200||-||-||6||-||-||6||6||-||12||10||10.5|
|Frank Gore||IND||at OAK||4800||-||-||-||11||-||8||5||9||-||-||11.1|
|Carlos Hyde||SF||at LA||5800||-||-||11||8||7||-||9||-||-||-||11.3|
|Jay Ajayi||MIA||at BUF||5600||-||12||-||-||-||-||10||-||10||12||12.2|
|Devonta Freeman||ATL||at CAR||7100||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||6||-||-||12.3|
|Kenneth Dixon||BAL||at PIT||4200||-||-||-||-||11||-||-||12||-||-||12.7|
|Kenneth Farrow||SD||at CLE||5000||-||-||-||-||-||12||-||-||-||-||12.9|
The stud running backs of Le'Veon Bell ($9,400), David Johnson ($9,200), LeSean McCoy ($9,000), Ezekiel Elliott ($7,900) and Devonta Freeman ($7,100) all have tough matchups this week, but the majority of the consensus is still high on them to produce. Sneaking up to the #1 spot is Jordan Howard ($6,300) who will host Washington in a favorable matchup for the Bears offense. Washington struggled to contain Jonathan Stewart last week with two of their top linebackers and top pass rusher injured. Howard has been on fire lately and is deserving of this top ranking. He has seven consecutive games of 100 total yards or more, with five touchdowns. Only the aforementioned Top 4 have more DK points than Howard since Week 10.
Another option to consider is Bilal Powell ($6,000) who has come on strong lately replacing the injured Matt Forte. The early consensus believes that Forte will miss this week's game, thus solidifying Powell's involvement in the offense. In his last two games, Powell has topped 140 total yards with 16 catches combined. He's being used as the Jets go-to offensive weapon and his price hasn't fully caught up to his performance level yet.
There's some interest in Mark Ingram II ($4,400) this week due to contract incentive escalators in his deal that could see him reach an additional $400,000 bonus. The escalators are mostly yards-driven but it also includes touchdowns. He was pulled from a goal line situation for Tim Hightower in last week's game and apparently Ingram wasn't too happy about it. The media got wind of the ordeal and put some pressure on the Saints for treating Ingram in this manner. It would not be surprising to see them give Ingram more opportunities and chances to reach his bonus escalators, especially after the negative feedback they received last week. He needs 150 yards to unlock his first escalator and it's believed that a touchdown would unlock a $100,000 scoring escalator. It would not surprise me to see Ingram heavily involved in the offensive game plan this week.
I'm surprised at the lower ranking (#8) of Todd Gurley, ($6,500) who will host the 49ers. San Francisco has allowed 100-yard rushing games to running backs in 11 of their 14 games. Surely Gurley, a player who has handled 88% of the Rams running back carries can take advantage of this situation. The Rams offense has struggled to find any rhythm at all, but this matchup could be what the doctor ordered.
David Johnson - I don't love the matchup, but DJ has proven to be matchup proof
Ty Montgomery - Don't want to overvalue last week's monster game, but worth some GPP exposure at price
Todd Gurley - If he can't get right versus the 49ers, when can he?
Jay Ajayi - Forgotten of late, but Dolphins are still solidly in playoff hunt and need a big game from him
Jordan Howard - This is a potential let down spot for Washington, who travels to Chicago on a short week after an upset Monday night loss badly hurt their playoff chances. Howard has seen at least 18 touches + targets in five straight and averaging over 5 yards per carry and 10 yards per reception.
Todd Gurley - 49ers are allowing 176.3 rush/yards per game. It's now or never for Mr. Gurley.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: wide receiver
|T.Y. Hilton||IND||at OAK||7800||4||1||9||3||1||3||-||1||2||3||4.0|
|Mike Evans||TB||at NO||8500||12||6||5||11||8||2||-||10||8||8||8.3|
|Odell Beckham||NYG||at PHI||8600||9||7||6||12||-||8||9||-||10||9||9.6|
|Larry Fitzgerald||ARI||at SEA||6100||-||5||4||7||-||-||-||-||-||6||10|
|Rishard Matthews||TEN||at JAC||4900||3||-||-||-||-||10||3||-||-||10||10.4|
|Demaryius Thomas||DEN||at KC||6400||-||-||10||-||6||4||-||-||-||12||11.0|
|Robby Anderson||NYJ||at NE||4800||-||11||-||6||-||5||-||-||-||-||11.3|
|Ted Ginn Jr||CAR||ATL||4500||-||-||-||-||-||-||4||6||-||-||11.4|
|Anquan Boldin||DET||at DAL||4100||-||-||-||-||-||-||5||-||-||-||12.2|
|Emmanuel Sanders||DEN||at KC||6000||-||-||-||-||7||11||-||-||-||-||12.2|
|Jarvis Landry||MIA||at BUF||5500||-||-||-||-||-||-||12||7||-||-||12.3|
|Golden Tate||DET||at DAL||6600||11||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||11||11||12.4|
|Dontrelle Inman||SD||at CLE||6000||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||9||-||-||12.6|
|Tyrell Williams||SD||at CLE||5800||-||12||-||-||12||-||-||-||-||-||12.8|
The consensus likes Michael Crabtree ($6,100) as the top value ranking this week. The thought process around this is that he will face a lesser talented cornerback, probably Darryl Morris, while Amari Cooper will primarily see coverage by Vontae Davis. The Colts are dealing with injuries in the secondary which has lead to positional and player moves that are a change from their optimal defensive strategies. Indianapolis was able to thwart the Vikings receiving corps last week, but Oakland's offense is much better than what Minnesota brings to the table. Look for Crabtree to see a high number of targets this week in what could be a high scoring game - Vegas game total is 53 points, the highest of Week 16.
Jordy Nelson ($7,000), T.Y. Hilton ($7,800), Antonio Brown ($8,200) and Mike Evans ($8,500) make up the rest of the Top 5 value rankings. You can make a case for all four. All have good team matchups and individual corner matchups. All four have capable quarterbacks who can get them the ball. All four are their team's top target option and all are fighting for a playoff berth. Take your pick. I ranked them Nelson > Hilton > Brown > Evans in terms of value, but I'm not going to argue about another order.
Two other wide receiver matchups I like that the consensus also have interest in is Michael Thomas ($6,000) and Cameron Meredith ($4,700). According to coverage charts, Thomas should see a lot of coverage from Tampa Bay corner Vernon Hargreaves who has had his share of disappointments this year. Meredith can play slot and the X receiver, but the expectation is that Josh Norman will cover Alshon Jeffery or the X,Z wideout. Look for Meredith to lineup in the slot often this week, making him someone Matt Barkley should target often. Meredith has 15 catches for 176 yards and 1 touchdown in the last two games, being targeted a team high 21 times.
Other lower priced options include Rishard Matthews ($4,900), Robby Anderson ($4,800) DeAndre Hopkins ($5,200) and Malcolm Mitchell ($5,200). Mitchell did not have a favorable matchup last week vs. Denver but this week's slate against the Jets favors the perimeter receivers like Mitchell. Even Chris Hogan is someone to consider as a result.
Hopkins may be reborn now that Brock Osweiler has been replaced by Tom Savage. Savage targeted Hopkins often last week, which should continue this week against Cincinnati. At $5,200 Hopkins is a great value for someone who could top 10 targets in the game.
T.Y. Hilton - More of a gut call but think he goes crazy this week given lack of healthy alternatives
Antonio Brown - Ravens have a good defense, but Steelers need this win in a major way
Michael Thomas - Thomas has a 5 inch height advantage over both of Tampa's starting cornerbacks. He should continue to be the go-to guy for Brees in the red zone.
Michael Crabtree - Still underpriced based on matchup vs. Colts
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: tight end
|Cameron Brate||TB||at NO||3900||1||2||1||1||5||2||1||1||1||1||1.6|
|Delanie Walker||TEN||at JAC||4300||3||4||2||3||4||-||4||4||2||4||3.9|
|Kyle Rudolph||MIN||at GB||4900||6||-||4||6||3||8||-||2||3||3||5.3|
|Tyler Eifert||CIN||at HOU||4800||7||7||6||8||7||5||-||-||6||6||7.0|
|Dennis Pitta||BAL||at PIT||3000||8||1||-||-||-||3||-||-||-||-||7.5|
|Jermaine Gresham||ARI||at SEA||2500||-||-||-||-||-||-||2||-||-||-||8.3|
|Antonio Gates||SD||at CLE||4400||-||-||-||-||8||-||-||3||-||-||8.3|
|Dion Sims||MIA||at BUF||2600||-||-||-||-||-||-||6||-||-||-||8.7|
|Eric Ebron||DET||at DAL||3600||-||-||-||-||-||6||-||-||-||-||8.7|
|Hunter Henry||SD||at CLE||3500||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||7||-||-||8.8|
|Daniel Brown||WAS||at CHI||2500||-||-||8||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||8.9|
Cameron Brate is the top value ranking this week. At $3,900 he's a great value for a player who is averaging 4.7 catches since Week 9 and has five touchdowns in the last egiht games. Plus, he has a favorable matchup against the Saints this week making him a better option to consider.
Outside of Brate, there is no glaring tight end to consider. Delanie Walker ($4,300), Travis Kelce ($5,000) and Greg Olsen ($5,200) are next on the rankings. Walker will play Jacksonville, who gave up 8-85 to Ryan Griffin last week and 4-60-1 to Kyle Rudolph the week prior. Travis Kelce has been a top offensive option for the Chiefs, but their matchup against Denver does not favor the passing game, so his production could be reduced. Greg Olsen is dealing with an elbow injury and it's not known how effective or involved he'll be as a result.
Kyle Rudolph ($4,900) is one to consider against Green Bay. Rudolph has been the Vikings top target since Stefon Diggs injuried his knee five weeks ago and now his hip is causing him troubles. Minnesota's offense has been putrid lately, but Rudolph has been solid with 60 yards or a touchdown in five of the last six games.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: defense
|San Diego||SD||at CLE||3400||3||3||2||4||-||4||5||-||4||-||4.3|
|NY Giants||NYG||at PHI||3300||5||4||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||4||5.5|
New England ($3,600) is the chalk defense this week. They face Bryce Petty and the Jets at home, who have struggled lately, while the Patriots are clicking on defense. The Jets also have a league-leading worst turnover ratio of -19. New England is favored by 16.5 points in this game, which is another reason to be heavy on their defense this week.
Seattle ($3,700) and Tennesee are also defenses to consider. Seattle is at home against Arizona, while Tennessee will travel to Jacksonville. The Jaguars are -16 in turnover ratio.
Another option to consider is San Diego at Cleveland. The Browns have given up the most points to opposing defense/ST units and have been sacked a league-high 53 times.
New England - Patriots defense isn't a juggernaut but at home vs the Bryce Petty led Jets is enticing
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