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NFL DFS First Look: Week 16 DraftKings & FanDuel Picks

Matt Gajewski

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A full NFL DFS breakdown for NFL Preseason Week 1 game tonight with the best DraftKings & FanDuel NFL DFS picks (Friday, August 12)

The NFL season continues to Week 16 with a full slate of NFL DFS action provided by DraftKings and FanDuel. This piece will examine the NFL DFS slate early in the week to find potential NFL DFS picks that will return the most value. Based on the salaries released by both DraftKings and FanDuel, we will go over some of the best Week 16 NFL DFS picks, but keep an eye on the news as the week progresses. A value play early in the week could turn into a bust chalk play due to injury or COVID-related illness. The best way to stay plugged in for all the news and notes throughout the week is by catching all the Awesemo NFL DFS Strategy and Picks shows on the Awesemo YouTube Channel.

NFL First Look: Week 16 NFL DFS Picks

Quarterbacks

Justin Herbert, LAC vs. HOU ($7,200 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel)

The quarterback position looks like an interesting puzzle in Week 16. Patrick Mahomes has struggled to put up elite fantasy performances as Kansas City embraces their improved defense. Tom Brady potentially lost his top two receivers. Lamar Jackson continues to nurse an ankle injury. With reduced options near the top of pricing, Justin Herbert stands out in a matchup against the Houston Texans. The Chargers enter this contest as 11-point favorites in a game with a 47.5 total, giving LA the largest implied team total on the entire slate. Herbert has also played excellent football this year, completing 66.4% of his passes for 7.5 yards per attempt. The second-year pro has also displayed an incredible ceiling with seven games north of 300 yards. With Keenan Allen and Mike Williams fully healthy, the Chargers should have no issues aerially dismantling the Texans.

Matthew Stafford, LAR vs. MIN ($6,700 DraftKings, $7,900 FanDuel)

With the reduced player pool at the top, Matthew Stafford also stands out as a potential option. He continues to complete 67.3% of his passes for 8.3 yards per attempt this season. Like Herbert, Stafford has displayed an elite ceiling through the air with six games north of 300 yards. On the year, Stafford averages 299.8 yards passing and 2.5 touchdowns per game. The Rams continue to battle COVID absences, but most their pass catchers should be able to return with an additional week of rest time. Improving matters further, the Rams play in one of the premier shootouts of the week against the Minnesota Vikings. Los Angeles opened the week at 3-point favorites in a game with a 49.5-point total. As usual, Rams stacks with Stafford make sense across DFS platforms.

Jalen Hurts, NYG vs. PHI ($6,400 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel)

Jalen Hurts had been dealing with an ankle injury, but he played Tuesday, suggesting a return to full health. Unlike the quarterbacks listed above, Hurts does not provide much of a ceiling from a passing perspective. Hurts has not eclipsed 200 yards in five straight games, and he only has three touchdowns passing over that span. However, his rushing production keeps him viable every week. He has at least 55 yards rushing in six straight games. On the year Hurts averages 57.9 yards rushing per game. In Week 15, the Eagles are also 10.5-point favorites over the New York Giants. With positive game script working in his favor, Hurts looks like a safe floor option in DFS at his price.

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Running Backs

Dalvin Cook, LAR vs. MIN ($8,300 DraftKings, $8,800 FanDuel)

After last week’s horrific running back slate, at least one viable stud finds himself on the main slate in Dalvin Cook. After getting injured himself and missing Week 13, Cook returned to handle 27 carries and three targets against Pittsburgh in Week 14. Cook racked up an absurd 205 yards rushing and two touchdowns on his volume. Unfortunately, Cook and the Vikings draw a tough matchup against the Rams here as 3-point underdogs. The Rams are also a top three run defense in the league, allowing just 3.9 yards per rush attempt. However, Cook is also highly involved in the pass game with at least three targets in five straight games for Minnesota. Even with potential negative game script and a tough matchup, Cook stands out as a potential stud to target in Week 16.

Josh Jacobs, DEN vs. LV ($6,000 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel)

The Raiders had their Week 15 game moved to Monday, so Josh Jacobs has yet to play at the time of writing this. For Week 16, however, the Raiders are 2-point favorites over a potential Teddy Bridgewater-less Denver Broncos. This could give Jacobs a rare taste of positive game script. However, even if the Raiders fall behind Denver, Jacobs has taken on a larger role in the pass game. This does coincide directly with a Kenyan Drake injury and multiple Jalen Richard absences. Richard should return here, but Jacobs has played above expectations in the pass game during his absence. In fact, Jacobs hasn’t seen fewer than four targets in any of Las Vegas’ last six games. Over the last two weeks, Jacobs has reeled in 14 of 15 targets for 84 yards receiving. Denver plays stout defense overall, but Jacobs’ falling is starting to enter elite territory. Bringing a middling salary to this slate, Jacobs is a solid price-adjusted play.

Ronald Jones, TB vs. CAR ($5,100 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel)

In a Monday Night Football bloodbath, Tampa Bay potentially lost Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Leonard Fournette to injury. Without Fournette, the Buccaneers turned to Ronald Jones for a sizeable workload in the second half. Jones carried the ball eight times for 63 yards, while securing his only two targets for another eight yards. Importantly, Jones outplayed backup Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who only carries the ball three times and failed to catch either of his targets. Game script should also work in Jones’ favor here. Even with the potential injuries for Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers still opened as 6-point favorites in a game with a 50.5-point total. For those looking at running back punt plays, Jones looks like the strongest option at this point in the week.

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Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp, LAR vs. MIN ($9,100 DraftKings, $9,800 FanDuel)

While Kupp missed the weekly salary adjustment, he rightfully is the most expensive receiver on the slate. Kupp has an absurd 32.2% target share and 32.9% air yards share in one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. Kupp has not been below ten targets in any of his last five games. He also has just one game below 95 yards receiving all season prior to Week 15. This game has the second-highest total on the board and Minnesota’s defense certainly does not raise any concerns. For those making the decision to fade Kupp, Odell Beckham could offer leverage as a lower owned piece in this same offense.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET vs. ATL ($5,600 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel)

Suddenly playing competent football, the Detroit Lions may have found a solid building block for the future in their 2021 fourth round pick Amon-Ra St. Brown. While he began the year as a rotational piece in this Lions’ offense, St. Brown has emerged as the team’s alpha down the stretch. St. Brown has at least 11 targets in three straight games with at least 73 yards receiving in each contest. St. Brown does not have the most upside on a weekly basis, playing in a Detroit offense. However, Detroit has a higher scoring expectation in Week 16 against the Atlanta Falcons. The Lions opened the week at 4.5-point underdogs in a game with a 44-point total, putting St. Brown in a competitive spot. Even with the increased salary, St. Brown deserves consideration as Jared Goff‘s new preferred weapon.

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Antonio Brown, TB vs. CAR ($4,900 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel)

Mentioned above, Tampa Bay potentially lost Evans and Godwin to injury this week. While unfortunate, these injuries coincide with Antonio Brown‘s return from suspension. When healthy and active this year, Brown boasts a 20.3% target share and 29% air yards share in Tampa Bay’s offense. Without the two top receivers, this volume could theoretically increase down the stretch too. Carolina plays elite pass defense, allowing just 6 yards per pass attempt. However, Tampa Bay is still a 6-point favorite in a game with a 50.5-point total. Despite the matchup, Brown’s blend of price and volume is too good to pass up here.

Tight Ends

Mark Andrews, BAL vs. CIN ($7,000 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel)

Now fantasy’s top tight end on the season, Mark Andrews deserves consideration regardless of matchup. On the year, Andrews has a 24.8% target share and 27.9% air yards share in Baltimore’s offense. However, these numbers have improved further in Baltimore’s recent games. Andrews has not seen fewer than eight targets since Week 8. He has even seen double digit target numbers in five of his last seven games. The preferred passing option of both Jackson and Tyler Huntley, even the quarterback downgrade has not mattered for Andrews. As 2-point underdogs to Cincinnati, look for the Baltimore Ravens to feature heavy doses of Andrews again in Week 16.

Tyler Higbee, LAR vs. MIN ($3,900 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel)

After missing Week 15 with a false positive COVID test, Tyler Higbee actually got placed in COVID protocols again in Week 16. The mid-range of tight end looks pretty weak on this slate, setting up Higbee as a stronger play here. Higbee only has a 14% target share on the season, but he is part of one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. With a higher scoring expectation than most in this range, Higbee stands out among a group of largely touchdown dependent tight ends. Again, the Rams are 3-point favorites over the Vikings in a game with a 49.5-point total. This is one of the top game environments to target for DFS across the board.

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Cameron Brate, TB vs. CAR ($2,500 DraftKings, $4,500 FanDuel)

While Rob Gronkowski deserves mention here in Tampa Bay’s depleted pass catching corps, the Buccaneers may elect to use elevated rates of 12 personnel. When dealing with injuries at times last year, the Bucs resorted to more two tight end sets. On the year, Cameron Brate has seen 47 targets, catching 24 balls for 217 yards. Much of that came with Gronkowski injured, but Brate has shown the ability to fill in for injured pass catchers in the past. Likely to go un-owned, Brate offers sneaky leverage off Gronkowski and the other punt tight ends on the Week 16 slate.

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Take a look at our NFL inactives, NFL depth chart list and NFL starting line-ups. View our DraftKings NFL DFS rankings and our FanDuel NFL DFS ownership rankings. If you’re interested in other DFS NFL stats for multiple game slates, head over to DFS NFL projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL daily fantasy football rankings, and NFL DFS stacking. We also have showdown projections and DraftKings showdown ownership projections.

Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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