Daily Fantasy Football Week 16: DraftKings, FanDuel Strategies and Value Picks

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 24, 2021

Daily Fantasy Football Week 16: DraftKings, FanDuel Strategies and Value Picks

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    There are always some weeks during the NFL season when unexpected players rise up and become fantasy stars. And with so many players around the league dealing with injuries or having been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, this has the potential to be one of those weeks.

    Running backs and wide receivers who typically serve in backup roles could put up big fantasy numbers because they are being given an opportunity. It could also influence teams' game plans, meaning some may pass more or less than usual depending on the personnel they have available.

    So when filling out your daily fantasy lineup Sunday, it may be wise to use some of these fill-in players to put up the most points possible or at least consider how certain players could be affected by potential losses.

    With that in mind, here are several players who should comprise the core of your Sunday DFS lineup for Week 16. 

Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Justin Herbert may be the fourth-most expensive quarterback on the Sunday slate ($7,200 on DraftKings; $8,400 on FanDuel), but he has the potential to be the No. 1 QB of the week. He's been putting up consistently big numbers of late for the Los Angeles Chargers, and he's got a great matchup for Week 16.

    In his past eight games, Herbert has thrown multiple touchdown passes in seven of them. That stretch includes three in which he had three touchdown passes and two others in which he accounted for three total TDs (two passing and one rushing).

    Los Angeles could be without starting running back Austin Ekeler (reserve/COVID-19 list) against the Houston Texans on Sunday. If that's the case, the Chargers may lean even heavier on Herbert to lead the offense and could be forced to keep passing the ball, even later in the matchup.

    If Houston can stay somewhat close, Herbert and Los Angeles will have to keep the pressure on offensively. And it could lead to a huge performance from the Chargers QB, perhaps resulting in one of the biggest DFS totals of Week 16. Make him the centerpiece of your lineup to capitalize on that.

Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

    Whenever Alexander Mattison has been called upon for a spot start this season, he's delivered in a big way. The Vikings' No. 2 running back has made three starts in place of Dalvin Cook, and in those games, he's totaled 315 rushing yards, 133 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

    In Week 16, Mattison is going to get another opportunity to be Minnesota's lead back. Cook recently tested positive for COVID-19, and it's highly unlikely he can return by Sunday. That means Mattison ($6,800 on DraftKings; $5,500 on FanDuel) is a great running back to include in your DFS lineup, as he's fairly affordable and is likely to produce positive results.

    The Vikings are facing the Los Angeles Rams, so it's not the best matchup for rushing success. But Mattison is likely to get a large number of touches, and he's typically involved in the passing game when he's on the field. So if he can score a touchdown, he should have at least a decent fantasy performance.

    Mattison is becoming a must-start player any time that Cook is out, and that extends to DFS. Make sure to include him in your lineup Sunday because of his potential for a big game.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    The Lions have been playing better in recent weeks, and the emergence of Amon-Ra St. Brown has been a key reason why. The rookie is developing into Detroit's top wide receiver and a solid fantasy option, both in standard leagues and for DFS.

    St. Brown has been targeted at least 11 times in each of the Lions' past three games, which has resulted in eight or more catches per outing. He had a season-high 90 yards in Detroit's upset win over the Arizona Cardinals last time out, and he also scored his second touchdown in three weeks.

    On Sunday, the Lions offense has a great matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, who are allowing the ninth-most passing yards per game in the NFL (246.6). It could be important to monitor the status of Detroit quarterback Jared Goff, though, as he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday and could miss Sunday's game.

    If Goff is cleared, St. Brown ($5,600 on DraftKings; $6,500 on FanDuel) is a must-start wide receiver at his DFS price point. Even if the Lions have to turn to another quarterback, St. Brown should be at least a solid contributor for your lineup.


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