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NFL DFS Value Plays: Week 16 (2021)

Dec 25, 2021
Alexander Mattison

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Last week’s value column was probably the best of the season, with guys like Tyler Huntley, Gabe Davis, Amon-Ra St. Brown, James Robinsons, and DeVante Parker all coming through. I can only hope to repeat that this week…

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Matt Ryan (ATL) $5,400 vs. DET
Truth be told, Week 16 is a pay-up at quarterback week, but if I have to play a ‘pay down’ quarterback, it’s Ryan. The Lions are 26th in pass DVOA, and they are dead last in DVOA against pass-catching running backs — which the Falcons may have the best one in the league in Cordarrelle Patterson. The Lions also have the second-worst Adjusted Sack Rate (ASR), a stat that compares the offensive line to the defensive line and predicts sack potential — in other words, Ryan will have plenty of time to sit back and pick this defense apart.


Matt Ryan (ATL) $6,800 vs. DET
It’s rare that the value quarterbacks are the same on both sites, but both sites did a good job with their pricing this week — as I said above, this is looking like a “pay up at QB” week.

Running Back


James Robinson (JAX) $5,900 @ NYJ
If James Robinson was a good value last week at $5,700 against Houston, then he is a good value at $200 more against the worst run defense in the NFL. To give you an idea just how bad this Jets’ run defense has been, they have given up 35 DraftKings points to running backs (per on the season, which is a full five more points than the No. 2 team, the Seahawks. If you want to get a five-point gap from the Seahawks, you have to go all the way down to the No. 10 team, the Eagles. Yes, the Jets are that bad.

Justin Jackson (LAC) $4,200 @ HOU
Austin Ekeler still has yet to be officially ruled out, but it’s not looking very good as of Thursday night. If he is out, Jackson becomes a huge value at a mere $4,200. The Texans are ranked 26th in run defense DVOA and give up the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs.

Honorable Mention: Ronald Jones (TB) $5,100 @ CAR


Ronald Jones (TB) $5,400 @ CAR
Jones will be a chalky play this week with Leonard Fournette placed on IR, but I like Rojo on FanDuel more than DraftKings because of his lack of involvement in the passing game. Jones is also notoriously bad at pass blocking, which is likely why they signed Le’Veon Bell off the street. Bell won’t get much usage to carry the ball but could be in there in pass blocking situations, limiting Jones to first and second down only. The Panthers have struggled over the last four weeks (3 games) in points allowed to running backs, allowing 22 Fanduel points on average, 11th worst in the NFL over that span — much worse than their yearly rank of fourth-best (per

Alexander Mattison (MIN) $5,500 vs LAR
With the news that Dalvin Cook was placed on the Covid list, Mattison once again becomes a chalk play at $5,500. The Rams are a good defense against the run, ranking fourth in DVOA, but volume alone will allow Mattison to pay off his salary.

Honorable Mention: Justin Jackson (LAC) $5,400 @ HOU

Wide Receiver


Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET) $5,600 @ ATL
Last week I had Amon-Ra St. Brown and Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk as my cheap game stack. This week it’s St. Brown and Russell Gage — assuming Jared Goff plays. The Falcons are 30th in pass defense DVOA and give up the fourth-most DraftKings points to wide receivers. St. Brown now has three straight games with at least 11 targets and eight receptions. Good luck finding that kind of volume in a sub-$6k wide receiver.

Russell Gage (ATL) $5,900 vs. DET
The breakout we had hope for this offseason for Gage after Julio Jones was traded is finally starting to come to fruition. Gage has now had four straight games of double-digit points and gets a great matchup with the Lions who rank 26th in pass DVOA. Gage, stacked with Matt Ryan and Amon-Ra St. Brown, make a very cheap game stack that would allow you to pay up elsewhere.


Tyler Johnson (TB) $5,000 @ CAR
Already without Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette, there is a chance that Mike Evans also misses this game with a hamstring injury. A lot of people will gravitate to Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski, and rightfully so, but Johnson could get overlooked as the potential No.2 wide receiver in this offense. The Panthers are a good defense on the season but have struggled of late. Not to mention Tom Brady was embarrassed last week in Primetime. He will want to come out guns a-blazing.

Honorable Mention: Josh Reynolds (DET) $5,400 @ ATL

Tight End


Cole Kmet (CHI) $3,300 @ SEA
Kmet gets a ton of targets in this offense, unfortunately, he doesn’t always do much with those targets. On a week where there aren’t a lot of sure-fire value tight ends, I’ll take a shot on Kmet at $3,300 against a Seahawks team allowing the fifth-most points to tight ends.


Cole Kmet (CHI) $5,000 @ SEA
It’s rare that a tight end is a value on both sites, but he is the only cheap tight end I’m considering this week.

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