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FanDuel NFL Lineup Advice: Week 16 (Saturday Slate)

by Elliott Baas | @ElliottBaasBB | Featured Writer
Dec 19, 2019

It’s Week 16, and while sadly Thursday Night Football is no more for 2019, the NFL has blessed us with a nice three-game slate on Saturday. That means there are Saturday exclusive contests on FanDuel, giving us a nice little appetizer before the Sunday afternoon main slate. This article will cover the three-game slate starting Saturday at noon.

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Quarterback

Jameis Winston (TB): $8,400 vs. HOU
Winston has been a fantasy monster over the last two weeks, throwing for over 900 yards and scoring nine total touchdowns during that stretch. He’s averaged 35.73 FanDuel points in his last two games. Now, he takes on a Houston defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, and that just gave up more than 25 points to Ryan Tannehill and Drew Lock over their last two games. With its massive 49.5 O/U, there should be fireworks on both sides, and using a red-hot Winston in this game would be like using a chainsaw to slice a loaf of bread. The injuries to Winston aren’t a concern, as he proved last week he’s capable of playing well through some pain. Unless you want to go contrarian with Jimmy Garoppolo, your two choices at quarterback are in the HOU at TB game. Next to Lamar Jackson, Winston is the hottest quarterback in football.

Also Consider: Deshaun Watson (HOU): $8,600 at TB

Running Back

Todd Gurley (LAR): $7,400 at SF
On a slate like this, I want one thing from my running backs: volume. Not only are we limited to six total teams, but several of the teams have messy running back situations. There aren’t many clear-cut workhorses on this slate, and Gurley is the closest thing we’ll get to a bell cow. San Francisco does boast a strong run defense, having surrendered just the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing rushers this season, but there’s still reason to trust Gurley in this one. First, the Niners took a huge blow last week when they placed defensive tackle D.J. Jones on injured reserve. Jones and DeForest Buckner were one of the strongest interior lineman duos in the league, and going from Jones to Sheldon Day is a considerable downgrade for San Francisco. It didn’t show much last week, but a Devonta Freeman-led Atlanta rushing attack isn’t a good test for a banged-up defense.

Another reason not to fear San Francisco is their 4.28 YPC allowed to running backs. That mark actually makes them below average by the metric, and most of their success has been keeping running backs out of the end zone, having let just four cross the goal line all year. Gurley has a nose for the endzone himself, with 42 touchdowns in 42 games since the beginning of 2017. He’s reached paydirt four times over his last three games, and Gurley could certainly defy the odds in a game the Rams desperate need to keep their dwindling playoff hopes alive.

Devin Singletary (BUF): $6,400 at NE
Singletary, like Gurley, is his team’s lone workhorse, and he therefore has my interest despite the tough matchup. Singletary has averaged 20.2 touches per game since snatching the starting role from Frank Gore’s weathered old hands. He’s also averaged a solid 12.12 points per game during that stretch. Like the Niners, the Patriots are dealing with injuries to their front seven. Nose Tackle Danny Shelton is banged up, and if he were out, or even limited, there would be a 345-pound hole up the gut for Singletary.

The Patriots have also given up a 4.22 YPC, and their rush defense has thrived on preventing touchdowns, having allowed one running back to score on the ground all year. The Patriots defense is unquestionably strong, but their overall numbers could be artificially boosted thanks to inordinate rushing touchdown prevention. Good defenses prevent touchdowns, of course, but given their YPC allowed and a few low-rated defensive linemen, the Patriots’ rush defense may not be as strong as it looks on paper. It’s enough for me to sneak Singletary into my lineup based on workload. Seeing his opponent as the number one ranked rush defense might scare owners away, and we could get an under-owned bell cow on a small slate.

Also Consider: Raheem Mostert (SF): $7,100 vs. LAR

Wide Receivers

DeAndre Hopkins (HOU): $8,700 at TB
Not only are working with a small number of games, but three top receivers all carry questionable tags. Julian Edelman was clearly banged up last week, and Chris Godwin almost certainly won’t play, meaning DeAndre Hopkins is the only WR1 we can rely on, and he’s got a juicy matchup to boot. The Buccaneers have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, and they have given up back-to-back 100-yard games to the likes of Marcus Johnson and Danny Amendola. If players of that caliber can dominate this defense, imagine what Hopkins is capable of in this one. He’s scored at least 11.5 points for ten straight games and has had at least eight targets in all but one game this year. Hopkins is the most expensive receiver on this slate, but he’s worth the premium.

Breshad Perriman (TB): $7,400 vs. HOU
Perriman is the de facto number one in Tampa Bay, and with no running game or defense to fall back on, the arm of Jameis Winston is Tampa’s only hope at stealing this one at home. Perriman came up big last week, with 113 yards and three touchdowns on five catches, and with Chris Godwin joining Mike Evans on the shelf, there’s no one to compete with Breshad Perriman for targets. Even their fourth receiver, Scotty Miller, was placed on injured reserve this week. Perriman’s heavily-scrutinized hands have become a little more sticky this year, with zero drops on 49 targets thus far. His 48% catch rate is probably a turnoff, but Perriman’s role has changed from a field stretcher to an all-purpose receiver as of late, and he’s had a much more robust 76.5% catch rate over the last three weeks. Some may run away from Perriman based on past letdowns, but he’s turned things around over the last few weeks and is in an excellent position to thrive this week.

Emmanuel Sanders (SF): $6,400 vs. LAR
Sanders hauled in just two catches for nine yards last week, a massive disappointment given the matchup with Atlanta. He has a great bounce-back opportunity this week against the Rams. The Rams have an excellent corner duo with Jalen Ramsey and Troy Hill, but Hill just underwent thumb surgery and is questionable for this game. Even if Hill plays, he will undoubtedly be affected by the injury. Even with his underwhelming performance last week, Sanders still led the wide receivers in targets for San Francisco and is their clear number one option. With a limited number of options, he’s a boom-or-bust WR3 that fits nicely into a GPP lineup.

Tight End

O.J. Howard (TB): $5,500 vs. HOU
Howard has become more involved in Tampa Bay’s offense in December, averaging six targets and 8.17 FanDuel points per game since the calendar turned over. His role should continue to expand this week, given the injuries to Tampa’s receiving corps. Houston has not fared well against tight ends either, having allowed the eighth-most points per game to the position in 2019. With all these injuries, Howard is Winston’s most familiar target (aside from Cameron Brate). Howard is the third most-expensive tight end, but he gives us tons of upside without shelling out the big bucks for George Kittle.

Flex 

Kenny Stills (MIA): $5,500 at TB
Stills is another boom-or-bust option we can slide into our flex in a likely shootout. Stills’ deep play abilities should help him in a matchup against Tampa Bay since the Bucs have allowed an above-average catch rate on balls 20 yards or more downfield. Both starting safeties, Andrew Adams and Mike Edwards, have extremely generic names. They also both grade below average in pass coverage per PFF, and the Bucs will need to decide whether they want to use their safeties to protect over the top or help with DeAndre Hopkins. They can’t do both, and with their talent, they won’t succeed at either. Stills could easily bust a big one and hit 4x or 5x his value in this one.

Also Consider: Justin Watson (TB): $5,700 vs. HOU

Defense

Buffalo Bills: $4,300 at NE
It’s not often we’ll look to play a defense against the Patriots, but with the small slate, Buffalo presents an interesting option. The Patriots don’t commit many turnovers or give up many sacks, but they also haven’t scored much lately. Sure, they hung 34 on the Bengals, but in the five games prior, they averaged just 17.6 points per game. Those matchups came against quality defenses, such as Baltimore, Dallas, and Kansas City, but they also underwhelmed against Philly and Houston. The Patriots offense hasn’t shown up against the tough teams much this season, and the only managed 16 points against the Bills in Week 4. Most owners will probably use New England or San Francisco on this slate, but we can get some good differentiation at defense by pivoting to Buffalo in what should be a low-scoring game. 

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Elliott Baas is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Elliott, check out his archive and follow him @elliottbaasbb.

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