FanDuel Core Plays: Week 16 NFL DFS advice, picks for cash games
Our Week 16 FanDuel core plays aren't for the faint of heart, as they kick off with a rookie QB making his first NFL start in Will Grier. There's a little more safety in the players around him, but if you're knocked out of the fantasy playoffs and feeling like risking it all, Grier might be for you.
Grier is joined in our cash game lineup by the other core lineup plays, Joe Mixon, Austin Ekeler and Darius Slayton. Below, you'll find an example cash lineup built around those four players.
1 QB Will Grier, Panthers @ Colts ($6,000)
CORE PLAY: The Panthers have decided to bench struggling Kyle Allen and see what they’ve got in Will Grier for the final two games of the season. While Grier is a virtual unknown, I’m willing to take a chance on him on FanDuel at his $6,000 price tag in a good matchup against the Colts. Grier has a strong arm and showed some rushing upside during his college days at West Virginia. The Week 16 slate is pretty ugly for quarterbacks unless you want to spend up to Lamar Jackson or Drew Brees, but I’m going to opt to spend down and punt on Grier in cash games to help jam three high-volume running backs into the lineup.
2 RB Austin Ekeler, Chargers vs. Raiders ($6,800)
CORE PLAY: Christian McCaffrey is going to make my cash game lineup, but there is enough merit in fading him in tournaments this week for him to not quite make the core plays cut. Instead, I’m opting for a much cheaper running back in Ekeler, who has the highest point-per-dollar upside among any running back on the slate. The Chargers' season is dead in the water, but I expect them to put up a decent fight this week in a home game against a division rival. Ekeler hasn’t seen elite volume since Melvin Gordon has come back from his holdout, but he has been one of the most efficient players in the league with his limited touches. The running back options below $7,000 on FanDuel are thin, but Ekeler makes for a nice mid-range value and can hit 3x his salary expectations at his price point.
3 RB Joe Mixon, Bengals @ Dolphins ($7,800)
CORE PLAY: I haven’t played Mixon a single time this season, but it’s going to be impossible to overlook him this week given the volume he has seen over the last four weeks and the matchup against the Miami Dolphins, who rank 32nd in defensive DVOA. Mixon has 23 or more touches in each of the last three games and has had 150 or more yards from scrimmage in each of the last two. I don’t love the price on FanDuel at $7,800 - it’s much better on DraftKings at $6,600 - however, I don’t have much interest in spending up on any of the other high-end running backs outside of Christian McCaffrey. The combination of volume and matchup make Mixon a top-end cash game play, and someone you’ll want some exposure to in tournaments despite likely high ownership.
4 WR Darius Slayton, Giants @ Redskins ($6,000)
CORE PLAY: Anyone who rostered Darius Slayton last week (I was one of them) got extremely lucky after being bailed out with a touchdown after he saw only three targets on the day. While I’m slightly worried about going back to him after seeing that low volume, I think last week’s game is an outlier and not the norm after New York opted to lean on Saquon Barkley. Slayton is an excellent price on FanDuel at $6,000, and the matchup is good against the Redskins, who are an average at best team against the pass. Slayton should be priced in the $6,500 range with players such as Mike Williams, Terry McLaurin, and Michael Gallup, so I will gladly take the value and point-per-dollar upside with Slayton in all formats.
5 WR Danny Amendola, Lions @ Broncos ($6,000)
Amendola has seen 29 targets over the last three weeks and is the clear number 2 option for the Lions with Marvin Jones on IR. His upside is limited, but you have to like his target volume in cash games at his price point.
6 WR Christian Kirk, Cardinals @ Seahawks ($5,900)
While Kirk hasn’t flashed a ton of upside over the last few weeks, he is still seeing a decent target share in the offense and has a nice matchup against an average Seahawks passing defense. His $5,900 price point offers up good value for a player that we have seen have 10-plus target upside on multiple occasions this season.
7 TE Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. Cowboys ($6,900)
I normally like to spend down at tight end in cash games, but this week Zach Ertz is a very reasonable price for someone that is the clear cut top passing catching option on his team. Ertz has seen 10 or more targets in five of the last six games and has a matchup with the Cowboys, who struggle defending opposing tight ends. Ertz should be priced above $7,000 on FanDuel given his role in the offense with the Eagles receiving core down to Greg Ward Jr. and JJ Arcega-Whiteside.
8 FLEX Christian McCaffrey, Panthers @ Colts ($10,800)
I’ve prioritized Christian McCaffrey in cash games all season long, and we’re doing it again in Week 16. He is on pace for a 1,000 yard rushing and 1,000 yard receiving season, gets all of the goal-line work, and has the passing-game volume of a WR1. If you aren’t playing him in cash games week in and week out, then you probably haven’t been profitable in double-ups and head to heads this season.
9 D/ST New York Jets vs. Steelers ($3,600)
The D/ST is going to the New York Jets, who are very cheap at $3,600 and have a nice matchup at home against the Steelers. It doesn’t matter who between Devlin Hodges or Mason Rudolph starts at quarterback for Pittsburgh; both of them are turnover prone and not NFL-caliber starters.
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