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Gridiron 3X: Top Projected DraftKings Plays Week 16

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NFL DFS: Week 16 DraftKings Plays

Just two weeks left in the regular season! Don’t forget that this week’s main slate is on Saturday due to Christmas.

If you’re playing cash games on DraftKings, your goal for each player on your roster should be to score three times his salary.

For example, Mark Ingram is $4,400 on DraftKings this week. For Ingram to score three times his salary, he would need to produce 13.2 points (4.400 x 3).

Finding players who will score three times their salary can be difficult, but a stable set of projections should be your starting point.

Last year, Gridiron Experts’ projections were very efficient in finding these players — we’ll call them our Gridiron 3X.

Our projections are posted every Tuesday morning by Jody Smith — you can find them here for FREE this week.

In the table below, you’ll see how often the average player surpassed 3X his salary last season — only players who were projected for more than 5.0 points were included to remove injured players and those with minor roles. Next to it, you’ll see how often our Gridiron 3X guys surpassed 3X their salary. The difference between the two is in the final column:

Position Average Gridiron 3X Difference
QB 44.3% 53.0% +8.7%
RB 29.3% 48.6% +19.3%
WR 34.0% 41.1% +7.1%
TE 35.9% 42.1% +6.2%

So who fits the criteria in Week 16?

Quarterback

Robert Griffin III, $5100, Projected 3.8x: Eleven of this week’s 16 games are divisional matchups, which leaves us with just ten quarterbacks if we’re only looking to passers playing outside of their division in Week 16. If you recall from last week’s column, QBs score 2.0 less DraftKings points per game when playing a divisional opponent for the second time in a season. This will be RGIII’s fourth start of the season, and while his box scores and tape don’t provide much optimism, he’s in a fantastic situation this weekend. The Browns will host the San Diego Chargers on Saturday, who will have to fly nearly across the country to play in the cold despite already being eliminated from playoff contention and losing a close divisional game last week against Oakland — it’s hard to imagine them getting up to play the 0-14 Browns. Despite not throwing a TD pass this season, Griffin has done damage with his legs. He’s averaging 6.7 rushing attempts per game with 120 total rushing yards and two touchdowns in his three games this year. With a $5100 salary, he needs just 15.1 DK points for 3X value, a total he easily eclipsed in last week’s 33-13 loss in Buffalo.

Tyrod Taylor, $5400, Projected 3.8x: If we are going to roster a quarterback in a divisional matchup, Tyrod Taylor should be our first option. At $5400, his price still sits at a very reasonable level, and he’ll need just 16.2 DK points to be usable in cash games this weekend — he’s scored that many points in 9 of his 14 games this year. He’ll face off against Miami on Saturday, and they’ve been torched by quarterbacks in recent weeks. In their last four games, the Dolphins have allowed the sixth-most DK points to QBs, giving up 2 passing TDs per game and the second-most rushing yards per game to QBs over that span. Taylor’s 5.9 rushing attempts and 37 rushing yards per game always give him a solid floor on DraftKings, but with an easy matchup this week, he’s in line to easily surpass 3X value.

Matt Barkley, $5000, Projected 3.7x: So, who would have expected Matt Barkley to be anything other than spectacularly awful when he took over the starting QB job for the Bears when Jay Cutler was lost for the season? He’s been mostly competent and has actually provided some decent fantasy totals, throwing for 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns in two of his four starts. In Week 16, he’ll have the pleasure of facing Washington, who, if you watched on Monday night, is very good at leaving receivers wide open — they’ve allowed the most DK points to QBs over the last four weeks. Barkley is the bare minimum price and needs just 15 DK points for 3X value, a total that Washington has allowed in each of their last 8 games and in 11 of their 14 games this season.

Other Gridiron 3X QBs: Tom Savage, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Trevor Siemian, Dak Prescott, Marcus Mariota, Andy Dalton, Sam Bradford, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Blake Bortles, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matt Moore, Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Matthew Stafford, Alex Smith

Running Back

Mark Ingram, $4400, Projected 4.0x: It’s been an interesting year for Mark Ingram. He’s had some success (four games of 20+ DK points), some injuries (shoulder and toe), and some sideline disagreements (he blew up last week when Sean Payton pulled him at the goal line), so it’s been difficult to predict his usage in recent weeks. After three consecutive weeks where he’s combined for just 24.8 DK points, his price now sits at $4400, the lowest it’s been all season. If there’s one positive takeaway from his recent performances, he played 47.7 percent of the snaps in Arizona last week, his highest percentage since Week 11. Playing in the Superdome this week with one one of the highest Vegas totals (52.5), Ingram should see plenty of touches and is in a great spot to reach 3X value.

Charles Sims, $3800, Projected 3.3x: Just two weeks after his return from IR, Charles Sims played in 32.8 percent of the snaps in Sunday’s loss to Dallas and is being eased back into the offense. In these two games, he’s seen nine targets and has handled seven carries, but he could be in line for a bigger bump in Week 16. Playing on the road in New Orleans against the high-powered Saints offense, Tampa Bay could be in a position where they are trailing for a majority of this contest. If that’s the case, expect Sims to play more snaps in a pass-catching role. Even if the game script doesn’t go as planned, Sims’ $3800 salary isn’t very prohibitive and he’ll be able to reach 3X value even if he plays the same amount of snaps as last week. But if things go as planned, he has 7-8X upside.

T.J. Yeldon, $3800, Projected 3.2x: Even with Chris Ivory back in the fold last week against Houston, T.J. Yeldon still played 70 percent of the offensive snaps and received 13 touches. In a more featured role in recent weeks, Yeldon has received 23 targets in the last three games while scoring at least 11.2 DK points in each of those contests. As 5-point underdogs against Tennessee in Week 16, this weekend should set up for another heavily-involved game for Yeldon if the Jaguars are trailing in the second half. Thanks to his work in the passing game, Yeldon will nearly reach 3X value based on his receiving points alone. If you’re looking to jam in some of the higher priced studs, Yeldon is a safe option in this price range to open up cap space elsewhere.

Other Gridiron 3X RBs: Paul Perkins, Duke Johnson Jr., Justin Forsett, Jordan Howard, Bilal Powell, Rashad Jennings, Ezekiel Elliott, Ronnie Hillman, Jerick McKinnon, DeMarco Murray, Adrian Peterson, Darren Sproles, Isaiah Crowell, Frank Gore, Ty Montgomery, Kenneth Dixon, Latavius Murray

Wide Receiver

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DeAndre Hopkins, $5200, Projected 4.6x: Whew, what a difference a new quarterback makes. With Brock Osweiler finally benched after throwing two interceptions last Sunday against Jacksonville, Tom Savage entered the game and knew exactly where to find the best option in the passing game. He peppered DeAndre Hopkins with a season-high 17 targets, allowing Hopkins to score his most DK points (16.7) since Week 2. If Savage is going to continue to understand that using Hopkins is his best chance for success (unlike Osweiler), then Hopkins is majorly underpriced at $5200. The talent is still there for Hopkins, so if he receives his 2015 volume, he’s an easy bet for 3X value at this salary.

Rishard Matthews, $4900, Projected 3.5x: Last week, we talked about Rishard Matthews in this column and why he was an excellent play for his $4600 price tag. Despite freezing temperatures and Marcus Mariota not throwing a touchdown, Matthews still finished the game against Kansas City with 17.5 DK points and nearly 4X his salary. For whatever reason, Matthews’ salary has increased just $300 this week to $4900, yet we can reasonably expect him to see at least 22 to 30 percent of the passing game targets. The matchup with Jalen Ramsey won’t be easy, but we’re not asking for a lot here — Matthews needs 14.7 DK points, which he’s scored in each of his last five non-Denver games. He’s one of the safer wide receiver plays in Week 16 when you factor in price.

Tyler Lockett, $4800, Projected 3.5x: Did you know that over the last three weeks, Tyler Lockett has been the fifth-best wide receiver on DraftKings? During this three-game stretch, Lockett has amassed 63.4 DK points, behind only Jordy Nelson, Brandin Cooks, Golden Tate, and T.Y. Hilton. With 20 targets in his last three games, Lockett has become a go-to wide receiver for Russell Wilson despite the overall struggles of the offense. It appears that Lockett is finally over his PCL injury that he suffered earlier this season, and his health was evident during his explosive 75-yard touchdown run against the Panthers in Week 13. His only dud over the last three weeks was in the cold at Lambeau when the offense suffered from five turnovers. For such a cheap price, Lockett offers major upside.

Other Gridiron 3X WRs: Kendall Wright, Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, DeSean Jackson, Deonte Thompson, John Brown, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Eli Rogers, Brandon LaFell, Emmanuel Sanders, Corey Coleman, Cordarrelle Patterson, T.Y. Hilton, Allen Robinson, Jermaine Kearse

Tight End

Jermaine Gresham, $2500, Projected 4.0x: Here we are again. There must be some kind of bug in DraftKings’ pricing algorithm, as Jermaine Gresham has remained $2500 the entire season. With everything that’s going on in the Cardinals’ wide receiver group, Gresham has unexpectedly stepped into a larger role in the passing game this season. He’s received at least five targets in six of the last seven games, while reaching 3X value on DK in five of those contests. Against Seattle this week, the offense will have to run through the middle of the field, especially with Earl Thomas absent on the other side of the ball. Gresham is a safe, low-ceiling option that will allow you to spend up elsewhere.

Cameron Brate, $3900, Projected 4.0x: Since taking over as the full-time tight end this season, Cameron Brate has actually been pretty consistent. He’s scored double-digit DK points in seven games as a starter, and has seen at least five targets in nine of those games. He’ll play in one of the highest Vegas totals of the weekend in New Orleans (52.5), so there should be plenty of scoring opportunities for Brate and the Bucs on Saturday. His pricing is stuck in the middle — he’s no longer a cheap option, but he isn’t priced like the studs. His weekly touchdown upside (seven TDs this season) combined with the matchup make him an excellent bet to reach 3X value in Week 16.

Jared Cook, $3000, Projected: 3.6x: Rostering Jared Cook isn’t for the faint of heart, but he’s a great option this week. You’re never really sure what you’ll get from Cook — in his five games since returning from injury, he’s put up two games of great production (19 combined targets, 12 catches, 190 yards, 1 TD) and three miserable performances (8 targets, 5 catches, 41 yards). He should be a focus of Green Bay’s offense in Week 16 against Minnesota, as it’s generally tough sledding to get anything going on the outside against the Vikings’ secondary — they’ve allowed the second fewest DK points to WRs this season. If a $3000 tight end busts, it won’t completely kill you in cash games. But if that same tight end puts up 20 DK points, you’re well on your way to victory. Cook has the upside that can help singlehandedly win your cash games.

Other Gridiron 3X TEs: Delanie Walker, Ladarius Green, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Mychal Rivera, Martellus Bennett, Dion Sims, Travis Kelce, A.J. Derby, Greg Olsen, Dennis Pitta, Kyle Rudolph

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Good Luck this week and Happy Holidays!

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About the author

Brian Jester

Brian has been playing fantasy football for 16 years and commissioned his first fantasy league at age 12. When he’s not writing about sports, you can find him playing every daily fantasy sport and participating in high stakes fantasy football contests. Brian won more than 1,000 NFL contests on FanDuel last season and has won multiple league championships in the Footballguys Player Championship contest. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Brian usually spends his winters agonizing over Terrapins basketball. When the weather is warmer, Brian is known for his receiving prowess in flag football leagues on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

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