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Four-Down Duel: Witten in the Stars

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

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Here’s a look at some recommended plays on FanDuel for Week 16:


Joe Flacco, BAL, $6800 – It would probably surprise a lot of people that the Giants are the worst team in the league as far as yards per attempt against this season. This speaks to the Giants most glaring weakness this season; their pass defense. As a result, Flacco should be in for a decent day through the air Sunday. Torrey Smith suffered a concussion last week, but he’ll get a chance to pass the concussion protocol and play this week. Flacco’s chemistry seems to be peaking right now with Dennis Pitta, who can do a lot of damage over the middle. The matchup and price are right here, making Flacco a strong consideration this week.

Sam Bradford, STL, $6900 –Tampa’s secondary given up 311 passing yards per game through the air, which outpaces the Saints for the worst mark in the league by 24 yards. Bradford has seen his young wide receivers develop over the course of the season and he now has his safety valve – Danny Amendola – back healthy. The Buccaneers usually sell out to stop the run, giving Bradford a fair chance to be a top-10 fantasy quarterback this week.

Running Backs

Reggie Bush, MIA, $6100 – Bush is coming off his second-best rushing total of the season in a game where Daniel Thomas left after one carry with a knee injury. Thomas has since been placed on IR with a knee injury, leaving Bush to carry the load for the Dolphins. Bush is averaging 4.5 yards per carry this season and welcomes a Buffalo Bills squad that was torched on the ground by Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch last week. Lamar Miller should see an uptick in work also, but Bush should be a lock for around 20 touches this week.

Vick Ballard, IND, $5800 – The matchup between Indianapolis and Kansas City will be important for the Colts, who are trying to lock up a playoff spot. Kansas City, on the other hand, has nothing to play for and rumors have been swirling that both their general manager and head coach have been told already they’ll be fired at the end of the season. Ballard could see a lot of carries, especially if the Colts take an early lead. He has three straight games with at least 9.4 FanDuel points, which should be easy to hit in a favorable matchup against a Chiefs run defense that has allowed 4.6 yards per carry.

Wide Receivers

Pierre Garcon, WAS, $6000 – I almost went with Garcon last week but wasn’t thrilled with the probable Joe Haden matchup and questionable status of Robert Griffin III, who was eventually ruled out. Garcon ended up not being a complete bust against the Browns, finishing with six catches for 65 yards. RG3 is expected to return this weekend, which is good news for Garcon. He posted totals of 20.6, 16.6 and 16.8 points in the previous three games with Griffin under center. Considering there are 32 wide receivers with more expensive price tags this week, Garcon looks like a great value.

Brandon Gibson, STL, $5400 – Obviously I’m sticking with the “Tampa has a terrible pass defense” theme here, but Gibson has seemed to emerge as Sam Bradford’s top wide receiver. Over the last two games Gibson has 17 targets that he’s turned into 12 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown. Again, a great matchup plus Sam Bradford should be brimming with confidence and trust in Gibson after his best game of the season.

Torrey Smith, BAL, $5000 – This call is highlighted by a big “if” as Smith will have to pass the concussion test in order to even play this week. He left the game last week with the concussion and the good sign was he wanted to get back into the game. That means he should pass the protocols and be ready to face the Giants. Smith has had a decent season with his inconsistency being the only real knock against him. It’s likely that his owners have won on the weeks he’s gone off but suffer the weeks when he’s put up few fantasy points. As a result, he’s a nice play in tournament formats where his owners will have the “pot odds” by using him in their favor.

Alshon Jeffery, CHI, $4800 – Kind of an odd recommendation considering Jeffery is coming off a giant bagel for fantasy owners. Going back and watching the game, Jeffery was close to having a solid fantasy day had the officials not flagged him three times for offensive pass interference. The calls were ticky-tack at best (there’s a rumor Sam Shields’ father was officiating), so this week Jeffery should find himself in a better situation. He’s a big-play guy that won’t get double-digit targets but will find soft coverage playing across Brandon Marshall. He’s a great pick in the FanDuel “Expert” format when you have a smaller salary cap to use.

Tight End

Jason Witten, DAL, $6000 – I try and highlight players who are cheaper at their position but at this price and matchup it’s worth talking about Witten. FanDuel rewards 0.5 points per reception, which means Witten and his 97 catches hold a ton of value. His 97 receptions aren’t just first among tight ends but are good enough to tie him for fourth among all receivers (with Reggie Wayne). This week the Cowboys’ playoff aspirations will be hanging in the balance against the Saints, a team that has given up 8.0 yards per attempt and 287 passing/receiving yards per game this season.