For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, this column will provide free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. There are loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 16 Thursday Night Football slate featuring the Tennessee Titans hosting the San Francisco 49ers.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 16 Thursday Night Football
San Francisco will be without rookie running back Elijah Mitchell (knee), who was unable to return to practice this week. Fellow rookie running back Trey Sermon was designated to return from the injured reserve yesterday but is not expected to play tonight. Several defensive reserves are out as well, which may hamper the effectiveness of the unit.
Tennessee was able to coax a full practice from Julio Jones (hamstring), and they are also expecting A.J. Brown (chest) to return from the injured list for this game. Offensive linemen Taylor Lewan (back) and Rodger Saffold (shoulder) are out tonight, and Derrick Henry is still on the injured reserve.
While San Francisco is two games behind the Cardinals and Rams in its division, at 8-6 it is in the mix for the expanded Wild Card round. Jimmy Garoppolo has led the 49ers to back-to-back victories, and they are looking to make it three in a row in Tennessee, where they are favored by a field goal. Garoppolo has not surpassed 300 yards in his last six games, though he does have 10 touchdowns against three interceptions. Since his random two touchdowns rushing in Week 8, he has 14 carries for 17 yards. Fortunately, he does have a full complement of pass catchers and Tennessee is middle of the pack in pass DVOA.
Jeff Wilson Jr. has seen the largest workload increase with Elijah Mitchell out the last two weeks. In these games he has 34 carries for 166 yards and a touchdown and two targets for 9 yards. JaMycal Hasty has four targets and one carry in this stretch, while fullback Kyle Juszczyk has three targets and two carries. Wilson is a solid option in all formats tonight.
Deebo Samuel has been spending a fair amount of time as a running back over the last five games, which has directly contributed to a reduction in his pass targets. Fortunately, he has six touchdowns rushing in these five games, which has helped prop up his overall fantasy production. However, this is a lofty salary tonight on both DraftKings ($11,600) and FanDuel ($14,500) considering Samuel has just a dozen targets in these five games while averaging 6.6 carries for 43.4 yards.
Brandon Aiyuk has seen an uptick in targets, and he has at least six in four of the last five games. Though his big-play potential has not been realized yet, it could be at any time, and he has tallied at least 91 yards or a touchdown in three of the last five games. Jauan Jennings has been the biggest beneficiary of Samuel lining up in the backfield, and he has 11 targets over his last two appearances.
George Kittle has resumed his role as the de facto WR1, averaging 11 targets over the last three games. During this stretch he has 9.3 receptions for 141.7 yards and three touchdowns. In the last seven games the other tight ends have seen one combined target.
Tennessee has allowed multiple sacks in each of their last seven games and thrown nine total interceptions. San Francisco is running thin on depth, though this unit has been stellar, with four interceptions, eight fumble recoveries and 18 sacks in their last six games.
Aside from the 49ers’ season opener when Jared Goff posted 338 yards passing and a trio of touchdowns, only Joe Burrow (Week 14) has topped 265 yards. Ryan Tannehill has logged over 200 yards passing twice in his last six games, throwing four touchdowns and seven interceptions. It has not helped that his two best receivers and Derrick Henry have all been out for most of these games. Tannehill does have four touchdowns rushing in this stretch, and he has seven on the season. Unfortunately, there is very little yardage accompanying the handful of carries per game.
D’Onta Foreman has at least 100 yards rushing in two of his last three games since taking over the role as the lead running back. Similar to Henry, he does not get many looks in the passing game, and his red-zone equity is marginalized by Tannehill. Dontrell Hilliard and Jeremy McNichols will once again be spelling Foreman, and they are in play on DraftKings for their sub-$3,000 salaries. On FanDuel they are more of wild card since they would really need something to happen to Foreman before seeing enough opportunities to matter.
A.J. Brown (chest) has been out since Week 11, though he is expected to play tonight. Julio Jones (hamstring) has managed to take the field in only eight games this season, though he is reportedly a full-go. Jones has not posted double-digit fantasy points since Week 2, so he is hardly exciting, and it seems that his name recognition continues to bring him extra popularity. Brown is more intriguing, though the long layoff may have him somewhat rusty. There is not enough passing volume to support any other wideouts worthy of note.
Anthony Firkser has seven targets in the last two games, Geoff Swaim has six, and MyCole Pruitt has four. Swaim is the best blocker, and he has played on 75% of the snaps in this stretch, while Pruitt has been in on 40% and Firkser 30%. This is basically a three-way tie for fantasy purposes. Swaim and Firkser are essentially at the same salary on DraftKings and FanDuel, so it becomes a preference of who is on the field more versus who is the better receiver. Pruitt is only $500 less on FanDuel, so it is not worth the risk. However, on DraftKings he is a fraction of the salary compared to his position mates.
San Francisco has allowed two sacks or fewer in their last six games, and their run-first approach and the conservative nature of Garoppolo limit turnover opportunities. Tennessee has 16 sacks, eight interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a pair of return touchdowns in their last six games.
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Thursday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy
The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.
Week 16 Thursday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings
Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- George Kittle: Easy top option with Samuel moonlighting as a running back.
- Ryan Tannehill: He is not afraid to press the issue and does get a boost with Brown returning tonight.
- Jeff Wilson Jr: Take the discount and cross your fingers he gets a couple red-zone chances.
- D’Onta Foreman: Should benefit from having Brown back, as the defense will not be able to stack the box.
- Jimmy Garoppolo: Never exciting, but he is projected as a top-three fantasy option; no salary forgiveness tonight.
- Deebo Samuel: Salary is artificially inflated for his touchdowns; he needs 8 to 10 targets to justify this baseline, and he has that as his combined opportunities over the last four games.
- A.J. Brown: Should be a full-go; missing a month is not helpful for continuity.
- Brandon Aiyuk: Sadly his quarterback does not take many chances downfield. Also returns punts.
- Dontrell Hilliard: Solid discount on DraftKings has him as a core option with a projected 8 to 10 opportunities. Also returns kickoffs.
- Randy Bullock: Averaged two field goal attempts per game; 7-for-11 from beyond 40 yards.
Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Robbie Gould: Celebrated his 39th birthday earlier this month, San Francisco is not afraid to let him try deep ones.
- Jauan Jennings: Why yes, he should be ahead of the next guy.
- Julio Jones: If he is the reason for a losing lineup, so be it.
- Jeremy McNichols: He is an afterthought on FanDuel, though on DraftKings if he breaks off a 20 yards swing pass, he is worthwhile.
- Nick Westbrook-Ikhine: Direct leverage off of Jones.
Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- San Francisco D/ST: Even running thin on depth, they are still going to give Tannehill fits.
- Tennessee D/ST: Would be higher if Garoppolo threw more frequently.
- Anthony Firkser, Geoff Swaim and MyCole Pruitt: Close your eyes and pick one.
- Kyle Juszczyk: Needs a lucky break on one of his three projected touches.
- Chester Rodgers and Cody Hollister: Need Brown or Jones to have a setback, which is entirely possible. Rogers returns punts.
- Charlie Woerner and Ross Dwelley: Random tight ends with one combined target over the last seven games; there have been enough prime time games this season to know that means one of them will end up in the end zone.
- Racey McMath: Distant relative of Boaty McBoatface.
- Trent Sherfield and Khari Blasingame: Even the 150-maxers are likely to ignore this duo.
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