For the uninitiated, DraftKings runs fantasy salary-based football contests where users can take home cash each week instead of waiting for the end of the season. If your season-long teams are out of the running, it's a great time to start playing fantasy football contests on DraftKings, as someone will be crowned a Fantasy Football Millionaire this weekend.
Now that we’re deep into the season, prices will largely reflect what a player has done to this point in the year. Players emerging with new roles will frequently offer excellent value, while some disappointing veterans will carry reduced price tags. Unproven running backs forced into action by injuries are some of the most valuable commodities, as they’re rarely expensive, and are often assured of touches. You’ll also want to keep a close eye on matchups, though DraftKings’ prices are adjusted to reflect the difficulty of opponents. It might not make sense to fork over $8000 for a stud receiver, if that receiver is facing an elite pass defense. Likewise, you’ll probably want to spend some extra money, rather than starting a cheap D/ST unit that’s facing the Saints or Broncos.
Now, on to some of the best picks for Week 16
Andrew Luck, IND, $7500 at KC – With six passing touchdowns over his last two games, Luck seems to have bounced back from his slump. Volume has been an issue all season, but that shouldn't be the case against a tough Kansas City team that figures to keep the game close, at the very least. A blowout in the Chiefs' favor is also quite possible, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing for Luck's fantasy value. The Colts' signal-caller tossed four touchdown passes in an ugly 42-28 loss to the Bengals in Week 14. Furthermore, Kansas City doesn't look like the dominant defensive team that we all saw earlier this season, as the Chiefs have leaned on a suddenly explosive offense over the last few weeks. What once projected as a low-scoring slugfest could now turn into a shootout.
Drew Brees, NO, $8100 at CAR – The Saints have been quite the conundrum lately, turning in two awful performances and one near-flawless effort over the last three weeks. Fortunately, that near-flawless effort came in Week 14, against a Carolina defense that ranks among the best in the league. Is it too much to ask that Brees shred this Panthers defense for the second time in three weeks? I’m saying no, as the Week 14 effort was a complete dismantling that saw Brees complete 30-of-42 passes for 313 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. While a line that beautiful shouldn't be expected again, Brees is still a bargain at $8100.
LeSean McCoy, PHI, $8500 vs. CHI – The Chicago run defense finally turned in a respectable performance in Week 15, albeit against a Cleveland team that hasn't been able to run the ball all season. The Browns still wound up averaging an excellent 5.5 yards per carry, but were limited to just 17 rushes in a shootout. The Bears will have their hands full this week, as Philadelphia boasts arguably the most dangerous rushing attack in the league. McCoy is averaging 5.0 yards on 269 carries, and his involvement in the passing game provides a nice cushion in the event that Sunday's contest turns into a pass-happy affair. That seems rather unlikely, as the Eagles should be able to run the ball at will against one of the worst run-stopping teams in recent memory.
Zac Stacy, Stl, $6200 vs. TB –Stacy has been a monster at home this season, averaging 111.8 rushing yards per game in the Edward Jones Dome since taking over as the starting running back. Most recently, he shredded the Saints for 133 rushing yards and a touchdown in the Rams' Week 15 upset victory. While the Tampa Bay defense figures to offer a bit more resistance, Stacy is still a good bet to top 20 touches, and he's shown what he can do with the ball in his hands. At $6200, it feels as if Stacy isn't quite getting the respect that he deserves, after bouncing back from a pair of tough NFC West road matchups.
Jordan Todman, JAX, $4400 vs. TEN – Todman is best avoided if Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) suits up, but with MJD looking shaky for Sunday, Todman could be one of the best value plays in Week 16. He served as the Jags' bell cow last week against the Bills, rushing for 109 yards on 25 carries, adding four receptions for 44 yards on eight targets. Todman's involvement in the passing game was particularly encouraging, as the plentiful carries weren't exactly a surprise in Jones-Drew's absence. While the matchup here could be better, it's worth noting that the Titans have surrendered more rushing touchdowns (20) than any other AFC team this season.
A.J. Green, CIN, $7500 vs. MIN – Green has topped 70 receiving yards in eight of his last nine games, with a respectable five touchdowns over that stretch. He hasn't had a huge game since Week 11, but that should change Sunday against a miserable Minnesota pass defense. The Vikings have had trouble against opposing aerial attacks all season, and the team is currently working with a makeshift group of cornerbacks. Unless the weather does something crazy, it would appear that all the stars are aligned for Green in Week 16.
Pierre Garcon, WAS, $6300 vs. DAL –After posting a 7-129-1 receiving line with Kirk Cousins under center in Week 15, Garcon draws a dream matchup against Dallas on Sunday. I’'l spare you the numbers, as it's no secret that the 2013 Cowboys rank among the least effective defensive teams in recent memory. Fortunately, the Dallas offense should be good enough to ensure that the Redskins can't just run the ball all day. The Cousins-Garcon connection should be strong in what's shaping up as a likely shootout. I was pleasantly surprised to see Garcon listed at $6300, a price tag that makes him my easiest lineup choice of the week.
Michael Crabtree, SF, $4300 vs. ATL – Crabtree is already back to handling a full workload, and he draws the porous Atlanta defense in Week 16, after surviving a pair of tricky matchups against the Seahawks and Bucs. Given the soft opponent and Crabtree's strong rapport with Colin Kaepernick, the $4300 price tag is highly appealing. Yes, there are some other intriguing wideout options in the same price range, but you won't find another player of Crabtree's caliber unless you're willing to spend upwards of $5500. I'm betting that Crabtree scores for the second week in a row, even if the 49ers build up a lead and go run-heavy.
Charles Clay, MIA, $3900 at BUF – Nobody will mistake Clay for an elite player, which doesn't change the fact that he's on pace to finish 2013 with a solid 70-782-7 receiving line. The drawback is that he's coming off a one-catch performance, but the dud was preceded by a four-game stretch that saw Clay compile 24 receptions for 294 yards and three touchdowns. Despite doing a solid job against tight ends for most of 2013, the Buffalo defense has now surrendered a touchdown to the position in each of its last four games. Clay is a top-10 tight end play for Week 16, yet he's the 17th-highest priced player at his position.
Broncos, $3000 at Houston – This selection is based on Case Keenum's recent struggles more so than anything the Broncos have done on defense. I expect Denver to bounce back from a Week 15 loss, and a Texans team playing from behind should be prone to sacks and turnovers. There are some other solid options in the same price range, namely the Lions ($3000 vs. NYG) and Dolphins ($3400 at BUF). With stars like LeSean McCoy and A.J. Green drawing fantastic matchups, I won't be spending more than $3400 on a D/ST unit this week.
Ryan Succop, KC, $3000 vs. IND – Succop has mostly been limited to PAT duty lately, and that hasn't been a huge problem with his team thriving on offense. Seeing as field-goal attempts are so difficult to predict, it makes sense to just go with a cheap kicker attached to a solid offense. Succop meets the criteria, despite having just one 50-yard field goal on his 2013 resume.