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NFL DFS Week 16 Picks & Lineups

Last Updated: Dec 24, 2023

Week 16 is the penultimate DFS week, which means Week 17 ends The Game Day’s weekly DFS breakdowns. There will be plenty of DFS talk during the NFL playoffs.

There’s no better way to play this holiday week than having games on four days - Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Despite the Christmas hullabaloo, this article will be updated for each slate, including a two-game breakdown on Saturday and a three-game slate on Christmas Day.

Do not forget to check out all of The Game Day’s Week 16 fantasy football content. There’s a lot of great analysis from the crew, and they deserve your eyes and attention as we wind down the fantasy season.

Reminder: Use the Table of Contents to the right to easily navigate each section of the weekly DFS article.

Week 16 Thursday Night Football DFS: Saints @ Rams

The NFL lines used for TNF are current as of Thursday, Dec. 21, at 12:00 p.m. ET., courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook:

  • Spread: Rams -3.5
  • Total: 46 Points

The Saints will be without a few core pieces on offense and defense, but none are skill position players. DEs Isaiah Foskey (quad) and Payton Turner (toe), CB Lonnie Johnson (knee), and OT Ryan Ramczyk (knee) are out. RB Kendre Miller (ankle, $1,000 on DraftKings) is questionable.

The Rams are in better shape, with only CB Tre Tomlinson (hamstring) confirmed out. OT Joe Noteboom (foot) didn’t practice on a short week but is listed as questionable. Ronnie Rivers (IR, knee, $200) doesn’t have an injury designation but still has to be activated from IR to play.


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A 46-point Thursday total is a sight for sore eyes. It’s not eye-opening, but it means points are expected. Part of the implied game total is based on Los Angeles’ health on offense.

Matthew Stafford ($10,000) is in a better spot with Cooper Kupp ($11,000) and Puka Nacua ($9,600) healthy. Shocking, I know. It also does not hurt that second-year running back Kyren Williams ($11,600) has stepped into the feature-back role and played beyond expectations.

Since Week 12, when all three have been active together, the L.A. offense averages 433 total yards and 3.8 touchdowns per game. The Saints defense ($3,400) is bottom-half in the NFL in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs, RBs, and TEs, according to 4for4. Despite a better track record against wideouts, New Orleans hasn’t faced a duo this good since Week 4 against Tampa Bay.

That was also the last week the Saints allowed multiple TDs to the position.

Life will get much easier for Derek Carr ($9,000) with Chris Olave ($8,600) active. Olave has 38 more targets, or 1.8 more targets per game than the next player on the Saints, Alvin Kamara ($10,800).

Both are in cushy spots, with the Rams defense ($3,800) allowing at least 60 yards and/or a score to each team’s WR1 the past four games and multiple catches to RBs in each contest. Kamara will also be the best back the Rams have faced over the past month.

Favorite Thursday Night DraftKings Showdown Plays

* Stacks

Captain Alvin Kamara with Derek Carr and Tyler Higbee

Incorporating Higbee in with the popular Saints stack is a pivot off the obvious pass catchers and onto the player with the best matchup using schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed.

Captain Kyren Williams with Rams DST and Chris Olave

Olave could be swapped for Kamara, but the salary would make the rest of your build difficult. Using Olave still gives you a player with elite target share in a great matchup opposite Williams and his unquestioned RB1 role.

Captain Cooper Kupp with Matthew Stafford and Rashid Shaheed

The risk of paying up to be contrarian and Shaheed’s boom-or-bust nature will lead to uniqueness with so many high-priced, worthy options.

Captain Chris Olave with Derek Carr and Puka Nacua

Olave has a top 5 matchup using schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed. Nacua will be as popular, if not more than Kupp at CPT, so using him in the Flex position opposite Olave should be different enough.

* Dart Throws/Cheap Options

WR Keith Kirkwood ($2,400)

His TD in Week 15 led to his best fantasy output of the season. Kirkwood continues to play with Michael Thomas on IR, but he has one game with multiple receptions.

TEs Jimmy Graham ($1,600) and Foster Moreau ($2,000)

That is odd pricing, considering Graham’s overall role. His salary will lower his rostership, and I don’t recommend rostering him and hoping for TD luck.

Moreau has seen enough volume (nine targets, seven receptions) in the past three weeks to be a way to save.

WR Lynn Bowden Jr. ($3,000)

The former RB continues to work as a low aDOT option but could lose passing game work if Kendre Miller is active since they have similar roles despite different positions.

WR Tutu Atwell ($2,800)

Atwell should split work with Demarcus Robinson as the WR3 for L.A. Atwell and Robinson are two very different receivers, so it isn’t a simple coin flip to decide who to play.

*Thursday Night Captain Picks

Kyren Williams ($16,800)

His current usage makes him game script independent. Even if TD regression comes for Williams, he should get 20-plus touches and could be the optimal CPT on that alone.

Chris Olave ($12,900)

Olave’s workload is at the mercy of Derek Carr’s production and the offensive line slowing Aaron Donald. Olave makes a lot of sense as the top Saints CPT option as a road underdog in a plus matchup.

Puka Nacua ($14,400)

I will have some Kupp CPT, but it is Nacua who has led the two in target share, air yards, and first-read targets. DK priced the two wideouts based on recent production.

Week 16 DFS Saturday Slate

Saturday’s doubleheader will be missing two of the best players at wide receiver. Ja’Marr Chase (shoulder) and Keenan Allen (heel) will miss Week 16. Kenny Pickett (ankle) is also out, but it was a longshot he’d return under center for the Steelers.

Mini slates like this make it less necessary to rely on value. Yes, certain inexpensive players will/should be in your lineups, but it isn’t a slate to play stone minimum players throughout, unless you’re going ultra-contrarian.

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen (@ LAC), Mason Rudolph (vs CIN), and Jake Browning (@ PIT)

Allen and Browning should be the most rostered QBs, which is why Rudolph is a target. The veteran benchwarmer has a top 10 matchup this week according to 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric. Stacking Rudolph with at least two pass catchers will lead to some uniqueness, but cheap wide receivers will be popular with the top options lacking.

Running Backs

James Cook (@ LAC), Jaylen Warren (vs CIN), Chase Brown (@ PIT), Isaiah Spiller (vs BUF), and Ty Johnson (@ LAC)

Playing Cook is going to require getting unique elsewhere. A lot of Cook-Joe Mixon builds will be out there, so choosing to pivot off Mixon to Brown is an option. Take away Mixon’s TD and he only outscored the rookie by one point.

Spiller and Johnson continue to out-touch their teammates behind the starter, and both could be utilized more in what could be a game to spread the wealth.

Wide Receivers

Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis (@ LAC), Tyler Boyd and Trenton Irwin (@ PIT), Diontae Johnson and George Pickens (vs CIN), and Joshua Palmer (vs BUF)

I grouped the wideouts because the best way to get different is game/team stack this position. Plugging in Diggs, Irwin, and Johnson/Palmer is going to draw a ton of rostership, for example.

Davis is especially appealing since he has as many DraftKings points as you and I the past two games.

Tight Ends

Pat Freiermuth (vs CIN), Dalton Kincaid (@ LAC), and Gerald Everett (vs BUF)

The return of Dawson Knox has hurt Kincaid’s production, but both TEs were zeroes Week 15 in an odd pass game script. I’ll pay up for Kincaid against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Kincaid is the best pivot off Diggs if not building a Bills onslaught.

DST

Bills (@LAC) and Steelers (vs CIN)

The Steelers defensive line has a slight edge on the Bengals offensive line according to Brandon Thorn of Establish The Run, but why I want to target Pitt’s DST is for real-life reasons. A win against Cincy buries the Bengals in the AFC North (they’d be 0-5 vs. the division), puts them in a tie with them, and could put them within a game of the Browns.

If Cleveland were to be upset in Houston, the Steelers would be very live for a Wild Card spot and have a better record in the North, and would pull within a game of the Browns in the Conference standings.

Favorite Saturday Showdown Stacks

Captain Pat Freiermuth with Mason Rudolph and Tyler Boyd

The Bengals allow the most schedule-adjusted fantasy points to the tight end position. Over their past four games, the Bengals defense is allowing a TE slash line of 9.75/94.25/0.5 per game. That includes Freiermuth 9/120/0 performance Week 12.

Captain Tee Higgins with Jake Browning and George Pickens

Higgins makes his first appearance in the column! There is fear that Higgins will see shadow coverage from Joey Porter Jr., who has a sub-50% completion rate against. Regardless, the Steelers secondary is barren due to injuries and suspension, which means a long TD from the Bengals de facto WR1 is in play.

Captain James Cook with Josh Allen and Gerald Everett

I want to cover all bases with the Bills offense while allowing for multiple Chargers coming back the other way. It’s one of the easiest ways to avoid getting duped. A 2-4 Bills build with salary left on the table will be much different. A 4-2 Bills stack with at least $2,000 unused is another way to build.

Captain Austin Ekeler with Easton Stick and Gabriel Davis

The lack of rushing attempts is a red flag. Where Ekeler remains valuable is the passing game. It’d be nice to see Stick find his rhythm sooner than in Week 15’s blowout loss.

Week 16 DFS Sunday Main Slate

A few injuries to monitor for Sunday’s nine-game slate. We’re clear on a lot of major injuries, but Tyreek Hill (ankle) needs to be active before I get too excited.

Week 16 Quarterbacks to Target

Justin Fields (vs ARI), Nick Mullens (vs DET), and Geno Smith (@ TEN)

Seahawks passing game stacks will be overlooked some because of games in Chicago and Minnesota, which is one reason to target Geno. The Titans defense is in shambles with multiple players out or going on I.R.

Week 16 Quarterbacks to Consider

Dak Prescott (@ MIA), Jared Goff (@ MIN), and Joe Flacco (@ HOU)

Goff may not feel like a DFS play in Detroit’s balanced offense, but only five teams account for more explosive plays than the Lions, and one of those teams is the Vikings.

Week 16 Running Backs to Target

Chuba Hubbard (vs GB), Breece Hall (vs WAS), and Aaron Jones (@ CAR)

Packers-Panthers could be devoid of a lot of receiving talent, which is where both backs could shine. Jones is also off the injury report for the first time in what feels like months.

Week 16 Running Backs to Consider

Bijan Robinson (vs IND), Rachaad White (vs JAX), and Devin Singletary (vs CLE)

White’s role on the Bucs is elite, out-touching Chase Edmonds 90-17 over the past four games and just under 20 PPR points per game. Jacksonville continues to be a target for opposing offenses, especially for pass-catching backs.

Week 16 Wide Receivers to Target

Calvin Ridley (@ TB), D.J. Moore (vs ARI), and DK Metcalf (@ TEN)

Ridley is in a great spot if Trevor Lawrence is active. The Bucs getting healthy on defense won’t dissuade me from playing him in a must-win spot.

Week 16 Wide Receivers to Consider

Mike Evans (vs JAX), Amari Cooper (@ HOU), and DeAndre Hopkins (vs SEA)

The Seahawks potentially being down three starters in the secondary is all I need to have Hopkins in my player pool. He is the clear go-to target for Ryan Tannehill.

Week 16 Tight Ends to Target

Trey McBride (@ CHI), Evan Engram (@ TB), and David Njoku (@ HOU)

Engram may be in an ideal spot if Zay Jones (hamstring) is out Week 16. Regardless, few tight ends are featured in their respective offense as much as the former Giant.

Week 16 Tight Ends to Consider

Cade Otton (vs JAX), Kyle Pitts (vs IND), and Jake Ferguson (@ MIA)

The Dolphins have only allowed four tight ends to reach double-digit fantasy points, but Miami has not faced as complete of an offense that also features a TE like Dallas. Using Ferguson in a Dallas stack instead of CeeDee Lamb is a cheap way to get exposure to this game.

Week 16 DST to Target

Bears (vs ARI), Jets (vs WAS), and Packers (@ CAR)

Green Bay is in a bounce back spot after a dreadful showing against the Buccaneers. The defense could be getting numerous players back from injury against a passing game that has the explosive qualities of fart in water. Monitor the inactive list for this game before officially locking the DST in.

Week 16 DST to Consider

Panthers (vs GB), Buccaneers (vs JAX), and Dolphins (vs DAL)

Tampa Bay getting healthy in time for Lawrence to be battling multiple injuries is a great recipe for turnovers, especially as the third-cheapest DST on the slate.

Favorite Week 16 Dart Throws

QB: Taylor Heinicke (vs IND)

RB: Tyjae Spears (vs SEA)

WR: Parker Washington (vs @ TB)

TE: Kylen Granson (@ ATL)

DST: Vikings (vs DET)

Week 16 Sunday Night Football DFS Showdown: Patriots @ Broncos

  • Spread: Broncos -7.5
  • Total: 35.5 Points

New England is battered heading into this game. S Jabrill Peppers (hamstring), Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (ankle) are out. Nine players are questionable, including Hunter Henry (knee, $7,000 on DraftKings) and seven others starters.

Denver will be without LB Nik Bonitto (knee), OT Alex Palczewski (knee), and Greg Dulcich (IR, hamstring/foot).

This game should’ve been flexed into the sun and both teams taking a loss. The Broncos are in the playoff hunt and need to win, but outside of fans of the team, does anybody want them in the postseason?

Both defenses have glaring weaknesses. Denver is a run funnel that also allows tight ends to score fantasy points, while New England is more than happy to let wideouts run free. N.E.’s shortcomings have a lot to with CB Christian Gonzalez being lost for the season, but the depth in the secondary is not there.

That makes Courtland Sutton ($11,000) a popular target in Showdown. Sutton has eight more red zone targets than the next Bronco pass catcher and has been targeted the most by Russell Wilson ($11,400).

Javonte Williams ($9,400) has been the lead rusher, but continues to struggle to find his footing and has lost passing down work to Samaje Perine ($3,600), especially the past two weeks.

If Henry is out for the Patriots, there is little to like. Ezekiel Elliott ($10,200) has been the guy with Bailey Zappe ($8,800) under center, but that’s only out of necessity. Demario Douglas ($6,800) has flashed as a rookie, but he will be easily removed from the offense by a good Broncos secondary.

Favorite Sunday Night DraftKings Showdown Plays

* Stacks

Captain Javonte Williams with Broncos DST and Hunter Henry

This option has a very low floor but could spike with Williams at the top with little consistency in his game.

Captain Courtland Sutton with Russell Wilson and Ezekiel Elliott

Another popular option, Sutton is in line for a ceiling game against a poor secondary with a positive game script.

Captain Ezekiel Elliott with Hunter Henry and Courtland Sutton

Any Patriot pass catcher can get there without Bailey Zappe. Zeke has 88% of carries and 100% of RB targets the past two games.

* Dart Throws/Cheap Options

WRs Kayshon Boutte and Jalen Reagor ($200)

No Smith-Schuster, Stevenson, and potentially Henry means more targets for the remainder of the receiving options.

TE Lucas Krull ($400)

Krull has out-produced Adam Trautman each of the past two weeks, for whatever that’s worth.

TE Mike Gesicki ($1,600)

If Henry is out, Gesicki will be a popular salary-saving option, but almost a necessity the way Zappe targets the TE position.

WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey ($2,400)

Humphrey has usurped Brandon Johnson as the WR4, but has been targeted and scored more fantasy points than Marvin Mims.

*Captains

Ezekiel Elliott ($15,300)

Elliott is going to be popular as a Flex. it is unknown how much rostership he will have at CPT. His usage is elite despite the anemic Patriots offense.

Courtland Sutton ($16,500)

Sutton has better production on the road, but his three turnovers have all been away from Denver as well. One TD and flirting with 100 receiving yards could be enough to be the optimal CPT.

Hunter Henry ($10,500)

Henry is a nice paydown option and has been Zappe’s go-to guy in the red zone, where he has three TDs the past two games.

Week 16 Christmas DFS Slate

There’s a lot of fun names for the Christmas Day slate. Injuries will have to be monitored, especially with Josh Jacobs (quad) among the truly questionable players.

Quarterbacks

Jalen Hurts (vs NYG), Lamar Jackson (@ SF), and Tommy DeVito (@ PHI)

DeVito has a top 5 matchup using 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric. Playing in Philly is no treat, but the Giants offense is fairly healthy and the Eagles defense is swiss cheese.

Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey (vs BAL), Isiah Pacheco (vs LV), D’Andre Swift (vs NYG), and Josh Jacobs (@ KC)

If Jacobs is active, then it is wheels up. I doubt he is made active if he could not contribute in what head coach Antonio Pierce called a “must-win" for the Raiders.

Wide Receivers

Deebo Samuel (vs BAL), DeVonta Smith (vs NYG), Rashee Rice (vs LV), Jakobi Meyers (@ KC), Wan’Dale Robinson and Darius Slayton (@ PHI)

Pivoting off the top wideouts is where I want to be, especially in CMC builds. The Raiders defense is playing very well, but few rookie WRs excel as the season goes on, but Rice is bucking that trend.

Tight Ends

Travis Kelce (vs LV), Isaiah Likely (@ SF), and Darren Waller (@ PHI)

Kelce is the pay up to be contrarian spot off Likely, but it’s Waller that I am keying in on. He saw six targets in his first game back and looked good on his 29-yard catch and run. Waller dwarfs the Eagles safeties and is much faster than their linebackers.

DST

Chiefs (vs LV), Raiders (@ KC), Eagles (vs NYG), and Ravens (@ SF)

Philly could easily give up 30 points and score 15 because of sacks and turnovers. Only three teams allow more schedule-adjusted fantasy points to defenses than New York.

Favorite Showdown Stacks

Captain Isiah Pacheco with Chiefs DST and Jakobi Meyers

The return of Pacheco adds a trustworthy layer to the K.C. offense. I am playing Meyers as if he produces as much as Davante Adams without the elite target share.

Captain Josh Jacobs with Davante Adams and Justin Watson

A sludge match in the trenches is what the Raiders need to win. Watson is what Marquez Valdes-Scantling was supposed to be - a trusted deep target. The Chiefs WR options are bleak, but playing any other than Rice will be different.

Captain Tommy DeVito with Two Pass Catchers

I like Waller at CPT too, but DeVito’s rushing makes his floor much more appealing.

Captain A.J. Brown with Jalen Hurts and Wan’Dale Robinson

Brown’s production does not match his usage, and at some point it’s going to. Hurts at Flex instead of CPT is not going to be as popular considering the matchup.

Captain Gus Edwards with Ravens DST and Brandon Aiyuk

Edwards should be the RB1 with Keaton Mitchell out for the season. He has the best matchup against the 49ers, and their defense will be without Arik Armstead (foot, knee), and LB Oren Burks (knee).

Captain Deebo Samuel with Jake Moody and Isaiah Likely

Samuel has run hot finding the end zone, but I think his usage in both phases of the offense makes him a strong play without finding paydirt. Moody has been nails, but his drawback is only six field goal attempts at home in six games. I expect multiple attempts Christmas night.

Author

Jeff Hicks

Jeff is the Digital Content Coordinator at The Game Day. He has been covering sports in some fashion for a decade. He has been published on Yahoo Fantasy, 4for4, FantasyLabs, The Action Network, Bleacher Report, Daily Herald (IL), and numerous others. His first published piece was a poem in 8th grade, so naturally he progressed to sports writing.

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