Point/Counterpoint: Week 16 DraftKings Strategies
By Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup:
Every week of the season for daily fantasy brings new debates about core plays, fades, game stacks, and more. For fantasy purposes, it is best to read about both sides of the argument and decide which side, data, and analysis YOU agree with.
For the NFL season, our series of Point/Counterpoint will be a back-and-forth discussion between siblings Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup about the slate strategy, stacks, core plays, and fades for that week.
So let’s get to Week 16 strategy talk!
We have an interesting slate of games for Week 16 with the main slate being on Saturday (Christmas Eve) and then just three games on Christmas Day/Sunday.
For the main slate, we have a lot of low totals with 5 games with Vegas totals currently in the 30s. Part of this is due to weather issues in Cleveland and Chicago especially.
With that said, which games stand out to you to target? And let’s start with the quarterback. I have some interest in paying down for Minshew at 4.8K if Hurts is out. Yes, he’s going against the Dallas defense, but he’s a gunslinger and I think he can pay off his salary and allow you to jam in other stars. Which QBs do you think will be in your core plays?
It sounds like the weather could impact a few games this week. 5 or 6 games total will have wind chills in the negatives. For the main slate, the two big ones are Cleveland and Chicago games, but even some other ones could have some issues. For the Cleveland game I’m fine ignoring it, or only playing running backs. That Chicago game though involves two high-upside QBs, what do we do with this game? I will definitely be keeping an eye out to see if there are any changes to make this game viable.
As for QB, core plays Mahomes and Geno Smith are both very interesting assuming that the weather doesn’t get worse in Kansas City. Prescott is priced down due to the match-up, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he could put together a big game. Minshew for a cheaper option is intriguing, but the Cowboys’ defense gave Philly some trouble with Hurts earlier in the season.
For me, I think my two favorite QBs are Joe Burrow and Kirk Cousins. Burrow has a tougher match-up against the Patriots, but this game doesn’t look to have any real weather concerns. I worry about the lack of pushback from New England, but the Bengals have a lot to play for and Burrow has the weapons to challenge the Patriots’ defense. Cousins coming off the biggest comeback ever, has a good match-up against a weak Giants secondary. New York is also the most blitz-happy team in the league, meaning that will leave some 1-on-1 match-ups for Cousins to exploit.
I am struggling to feel super excited about any quarterback this week. But then again, I was so high on Herbert last week and that was a huge letdown. I think you can play Allen or Fields since they get so many points on the ground but at their prices and the weather, I think I’ll lean elsewhere. Right now I’m narrowing my QB pool from Mahomes, Cousins, Burrow, Geno, Dak, and honestly love the idea of paying down if Minshew plays.
Why do I want to lean toward paying down at QB? Well, there are two running backs I’d love to jam into as many lineups as possible. And that’s of course Christian McCaffery and Derrick Henry. Their volume and high-value touches are so high and valuable. I guess you could make a case for Nick Chubb in a potential snow/weather game too. If I’m not paying up for one of these studs, I’m looking 6.5K and under at guys like Kenneth Walker, Miles Sanders (in non-Minshew lineups), Jerick McKinnon, and JK Dobbins. May even consider Brian Robinson in a bad matchup, knowing he may just get touches because Washington wants to run the ball so much and hope he falls into the endzone. Kind of like he did last week, but the TD got called back for an absurd penalty (clearly not over the Washington game).
Then for WR, I love paying up for Justin Jefferson where I can. As you mentioned the Giants are blitz happy and Cousins will target Jefferson in a good matchup. If I’m not paying up, I’m fine paying down or in the mid-range. I think there are some solid values there like JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquise Goodwin with Lockett out. I also don’t mind targeting value receivers from Texans, Giants, and Commanders in likely negative game scripts. Guys like Nico Collins (if he plays) or Chris Moore if Collins is out, Jahan Dotson, or Isiah Hodgins could unlock the ability to get to guys like CMC, Henry, and/or Jefferson.
For TE, I don’t see as much that I like outside of Travis Kelce, who is 8K. Schultz, Knox, and Okonkwo stick out at this point.
What do you think of my core plays at the various positions? Any core plays you would add?
Yes, both CMC and Henry are in great spots as you know their teams will want to rely on them this weekend. Henry absolutely destroys the Texans and with Ryan Tannehill out they are going to do everything to keep the ball in his hands. McKinnon or even Pacheco makes a lot of sense vs a Seattle defense that struggles to stop the run. I like looking at Dobbins as well. Though I hate the match-up for Brian Robinson, there is a chance Antonio Gibson misses this game, in which case I think we have to consider him.
Jefferson is absolutely my favorite receiver to play this week. He is looking to set records this season, and this is a game I think he has a field day. I really like the Goodwin call and playing any healthy Texans receiver you can find for a cheap play. I also think Drake London is worth a look as a cheaper option. Desmond Ridder definitely struggled last week, but he kept firing the ball London’s way. I can get a talented receiver who should see 10-12 targets for under $5K against a weaker secondary. D.K. Metcalf and Ja’Marr Chase are my other favorite pay-up options on this slate. Both should see 10+ targets this week and have the ability to get 100+ yards and 2 TDs.
Tight end is tough for me this week. I think Kelce is a stud as always. Hockenson continues to average about 8 targets a game in Minnesota. Dawson Knox could see more work if the weather is impacting that game. Beyond those three there is little for me to get excited about. You mention Okonkwo, but I worry about him with Malik Willis at QB. They are not going to throw that much if they can help it, and Okonkwo is still sharing the role with Austin Hooper. Honestly, if I have to choose a pay-down option I’d go Noah Fant, and if he misses the game I’d pivot to Will Dissly.
Great point about Drake London. And yes, Chase and Metcalf are definitely in my core plays list for receivers.
TE is tough this week! I forgot Hockenson and Fant, those are both great options at different price points. I may be doing some stars and scrubs lineups and then I’ll hedge and flip the build entirely to more QB/WR heavy or just very balanced. I want to play with different lineup constructions as I’m not sure which one I trust to be the optimal construction.
What do you think of these strategies for Week 16 DFS on DraftKings? Who are your main game stacks and core plays?