Like it is for many of you, Week 16 is the last week for us in 2017.
I will roll the dice in two championship games this weekend. Out of three season-long leagues, that ain’t bad.
But, I hope y’all had more success than me in DFS this year. Turns out, winning the FanDuel Sunday Million isn’t as easy as I thought it would be in August. Like I am every year around this time, I’m disappointed, but the odds are in our favor in 2018. I think.
A recap of last week’s picks and the winning lineup, then onto the top pivot picks for Week 16 in the NFL FanDuel Sunday Million.
Week 15 Winning Lineup
Total Points: 228.74
Blake Bortles: $7,400 salary; 25.04 points; 5.7% owned
Le’Veon Bell: $9,400 salary; 25 points; 31.3% owned
Todd Gurley: $8,400 salary; 43.5 points; 12.7% owned
Marquise Goodwin: $6,600 salary; 17.4 points; 18.1% owned
Sterling Shepard: $6,300 salary; 25.4 points; 2.1% owned
Keelan Cole: $4,500 salary; 28.1 points; 1.2% owned
Rob Gronkowski: $8,500 salary; 23.3 points; 23.3% owned
Robbie Gould: $4,500 salary; 24 points; 25.1% owned
Los Angeles Rams: $4,400; 17 points; 1.1% owned
My Week 15 Picks
Case Keenum: 19.44 points; 8.5% owned
Christian McCaffrey: 22.6 points; 6% owned
Adam Thielen: 4.5 points; 25.9% owned
Delanie Walker: 10.2 points; 6.9% owned
Chalk: Russell Wilson ($9,000), Cam Newton ($8,300)
Why: Russell Wilson will rebound after having his worst performance since Week 1 last Sunday. Against the Cowboys, I like his odds to bounce back in a big way. Newton has a questionable tag as of Thursday, but he should play on Sunday. Assuming he does, that matchup with Tampa Bay is very appealing.
I don’t think Prescott’s ownership will be under 5%, even against the Seahawks, but outside of the chalk he is my favorite play of the week at quarterback.
Seattle has allowed 72 points in its last two games, as the injuries on its defense are really starting to show. Even in those games, it’s held quarterbacks to relatively quiet fantasy days, but the way I see it, Dak only needs 20 points to make him valuable on Sunday.
Prescott has had two straight serviceable games after a string of terrible performances in Dallas’ first four games without Ezekiel Elliot. What matters most to me, though, is that Dak had a 12-2 touchdown to interception ratio in six games before Zeke’s suspension finally kicked in. I see no reason why that changes on Sunday.
On the surface, it would appear that Denver’s defense is back to the spot we all thought it would be before this season. But I don’t see it that way. This team has no life and basically nothing to play for as the rest of the AFC West battles for playoff spots and a Division title.
Denver has faced Jacoby Brissett, Bryce Petty and Jay Cutler in its last three games. Before that, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, Tom Brady and Carson Wentz all torched the Broncos in consecutive weeks. Cousins has been inconsistent this year, but low owned and a threat to exceed 25 FanDuel points every game, Cousins is a great option in Week 16.
CHALK: Todd Gurley ($9,100), Ezekiel Elliott ($8,300)
Why: Gurley won a lot of people a lot of money last week. And only 12% of people owned him in the FanDuel Sunday Million, thanks to that matchup with the Seahawks. Zeke gets the same opponent on Sunday, and a bunch of people will be chomping at the bit to get him back in their lineups.
Dion Lewis has a great matchup this week. And his appeal is increased even more by the fact that Rex Burkhead is unlikely to play on Sunday.
But there’s a reason this will be my first time rolling out Lewis this year. Even without Burkhead, no one is ever quite sure what the Patriots are going to do with their backfield. Lewis has at least eight FanDuel points in eight of his last nine games though, and Buffalo has allowed the most rushing TDs in the NFL. Enough to make him an appealing dice roll in the Sunday Million.
Everybody knows what Leonard Fournette is capable of when he’s healthy. The problem is that he hasn’t been healthy for about half of the season now, intermittently.
The rookie missed last week’s matchup with Houston, and while he is likely to play in Week 16 there are still enough questions around him to depress ownership – and make him attractive in this tournament.
Fournette has exceeded 15 FanDuel points on seven separate occasions this year, including in each of his last two games. Against a 49ers team that is one of the league’s most generous to opposing running backs, Fournette is worth the small gamble this week, even if he’s 13-15% owned.
CHALK: Keenan Allen ($8,300), A.J. Green ($7,800)
Why: With Antonio Brown out and DeAndre Hopkins playing Monday, the wide receiver crop is a bit thinner at the top than it has been in weeks past. Keenan Allen came back to earth in Week 15, but he remains a top 5 fantasy option every week, while A.J. Green draws the best matchup of any top-tier receiver on Sunday.
I’m going to keep rolling out Baldwin, even if he’s put up duds in two of his last five games. This pick is more about his upside than ownership levels, but I still think he’ll be less than 15% owned on Sunday.
Dallas is a good matchup, which will attract plenty of people in this tournament, but that still won’t reflect what he is capable of on Sunday. In this tournament, obviously, upside is the name of the game.
Baldwin has 15 or more points in 4 games this year, and the Cowboys have allowed big games to a host of solid wide receivers, including Michael Crabtree, Keenan Allen, Jamison Crowder and Larry Fitzgerald. Baldwin should become the fifth on Sunday.
Cincinnati is the league’s worst rushing defense, according to FanDuel’s metrics, but it is much more competent in the secondary.
Marvin Jones has been tremendously consistent for the past month and a half. For much of the year, really. But there’s always a chance he can find the endzone twice and just have a monster fantasy day.
That doesn’t have to be matchup dependent, either, as he exceeded 100 yards and scored twice against Minnesota on Thanksgiving. Maybe the Holidays are kind to Jones, or maybe he is just an incredibly safe option at a reasonable price whose upside gives him a chance to be a difference maker in the tournament every week. I’ll go with that one.
CHALK: Rob Gronkowski ($8,400), Greg Olsen ($6,600)
Why: There is perhaps no surer thing in fantasy football than the top tier of the tight end position. If you’re looking to pay up anywhere, Gronk is the guy to do it with, while Olsen appears to be back and worth the roster spot. Finally.
Second straight week with Delanie Walker, who was serviceable against the 49ers last Sunday.
Los Angeles’ success defending the pass will limit Walker’s ownership this time around, as Jimmy Graham was held to just one catch for negative yards against the Rams in Week 15.
Regardless, Walker is Mariota’s unquestioned top redzone target, as he’s scored three times in Tennessee’s past four games. Even better, he has at least nine FanDuel points in seven of eight. Walker is a high floor, reasonable upside guy on Sunday. If you’re not paying up at the position on Sunday, Walker is your guy.
Third time’s a charm! Third week in a row rolling out Jimmy Graham as my honorable mention TE, and it hasn’t worked out at all in Weeks 14 or 15.
However, I think things are different this time around. Dallas is league average defending the position, but I just don’t see Graham being held to fewer than three catches again, like he has been the past two weeks.
Graham has arguably been the biggest catalyst to Russell Wilson’s success this year, and as I outlined before, I think Wilson rebounds in a big way this week too. I can’t be wrong three times in a row, right?