What’s up everyone and welcome to Ben’s Building Blocks! If you’ve never read my content before, welcome. To those that have, welcome back. I truly appreciate everyone that reads and supports during NFL season. This article is designed for me to highlight the top plays of the week, and my overall player pool for the main slate. Obviously, things can change rapidly in the NFL with injury news on the weekends, so I would be sure to subscribe to our premium package for access to my Final Thoughts cheat sheet, our premium discord channel and my core plays. Our Core Plays product gives you the ability to tail all of our analysts in your contests each week. We do the work for you, and you simply plug and play with our premium Core Plays. With that being said, let’s hop into the Week 16 slate…
Week 16 and Christmas awards us one of the weirdest slates of the season — major weather concerns across the country and several games with totals below 40 points. I initially thought this was going to be my least favorite week of the season, but the more I’ve built my teams I’m actually pretty excited for this slate. I like when there are clear and obvious ways to go with our stacks, allowing us to get weird at other positions and that’s what we are getting this week. Gardner Minshew and Patrick Mahomes are the clear top-two QB plays for me and I will be building my main teams around them. Minshew has averaged around 18 DK points per game as a starter in his career, but is priced below $5K on DraftKings this weekend. Dallas is dealing with a really thinned out secondary, and this is the best set of weaponry Minshew has ever had…I view him as good chalk this weekend. Mahomes needs to explanation — he’s the best QB in fantasy with Hurts out and his team once again has a huge 30 point team total.
For GPPs, I want to buy into ceiling and that comes in the cold Chicago game. Both Justin Fields and Josh Allen are capable of breaking a slate, but both are going to be extremely low-owned due to the wind. Yes, that is a negative but both are fully capable of killing teams with their legs. It appears that huge chalk is headed to Kirk Cousins and Daniel Jones in the MIN/NY game…but, I just don’t love it. Kirk Cousins is not as good against man coverage as he is zone coverage, and he also struggles mightily against the blitz. He’s one of the worst QB’s in football against the blitz, while Wink Martindale is historically the most blitz-heavy DC. I view this as a big edge to get off these chalkier QB’s for the higher ceiling options this week — even in sketchy weather. Note that Justin Fields is chasing the single season record for QB rushing yards — and needs 202 more to break Lamar Jackson’s record.
Core: Gardner Minshew, Patrick Mahomes
Pivots: Justin Fields, Josh Allen
Week 16 feels like a DFS slate brought out of a 2017 time machine. We have a lock and load cheap QB, and several expensive running backs that we want to prioritize in cash games. Initially this week, it appeared that I was going to be playing Derrick Henry on 100% of my teams. Since Tuesday, however, he’s had pretty much the worst possible run out and he’s now outside my top few options on the slate. Ryan Tannehill is out, leaving Malik Willis to start and there’s much more risk that the offense can’t move the ball. Tennessee dropped from 8 point favorites, all the way down to 3.5. On top of Tanny missing, the already bad Titans offensive line will be without it’s two best players in starting center Ben Jones and guard Nate Davis. It’s still a great spot for the King, but with him expected to be one of the chalkiest players on the slate I’m now looking to come in underweight on Henry in all formats…
CMC is the best play on the entire slate in my opinion. He’s averaging around 150 all purpose yards since Eli Mitchell went out — and there’s less risk of him losing goal-line touches with Deebo Samuel out. We can expect him to get fed again at home in Week 16 and I feel like he’s still priced at a discount. Dalvin Cook is someone else that I have a ton of interest in, especially when it appears the Vikings pass attack will be garnering so much attention. New York has been one of the worst run-defenses in football over the last month, and Cook is one of the safest players in fantasy in terms of snap and touch count. He’s priced nearly $1,500 less than Henry, which doesn’t feel right.
Anyone that reads this article knows I was all over Jerick McKinnon last week, and I’m not stopping now. Seattle is terrible defensively against both the run and pass — but they’re also bottom-five in catches allowed to running backs. McKinnon continued to dominate the red-zone looks against Houston — and also got up to a season-high 62% snap-rate. Isaiah Pacheco is a fine tourney play as well, but if choosing just one of them I’ll keep riding Jet.
JK Dobbins sticks out for me in tournaments as well, against a terrible Falcons defense. Baltimore should be running the ball in this weather — and ATL has faced the fourth-most carries this season. He’s topped 100+ yards in each of his last two games, and saw over 60% of the opportunities last weekend. I also like Miles Sanders as leverage off Minshew and the Philly passing game. No Jalen Hurts allows him to see more looks in the red-zone, and he saw a season-high 24 carries in Minshew’s start last season.
Core: CMC, Derrick Henry, Jerick McKinnon, Dalvin Cook
Pivots: Miles Sanders, JK Dobbins, Devin Singletary, Alvin Kamara, Isaiah Pacheco
WR is loaded this week, and I’m wondering if some of these non-Justin Jefferson options at the top come in low-owned due to the strength of these expensive running backs. Jefferson is the top option no doubt — and can be used in all formats. Outside of him, DK Metcalf is the clear top option for cash games / single-entry with no Tyler Lockett. KC has really struggled to contain opposing wide receivers this season, and Metcalf is primed for a massive game. Already passing above-average — Seattle will need to throw to keep up with KC as nearly 10 point dogs. I also love DJ Moore this week against the Lions. Detroit has allowed the most fantasy points to slot receivers, while Moore has run the majority of his routes there since Darnold took over at QB. Both these options will be high-owned, but are plays I’m comfortable making even at high-ownership.
One of my favorite plays on Saturday is to use Jahan Dotson at $3,900 over the chalkier Giants receivers. Dotson was fully breaking out for the Commanders prior to getting injured, and is finally back healthy. Teams are passing at a top-three rate against the 49ers defense and Dotson will lineup both in the slot and out-right, where they struggle the most.
For GPPs, I’ll mainly be looking to fill-out my stacks and get some exposure to these higher-priced guys. I like pairing Amon-Ra St. Brown with either of Moore or Terrace Marshall in a mini-stack — and I also like Ja’Marr Chase as a one-off.
Core: Justin Jefferson, DK Metcalf, DJ Moore, Jahan Dotson, Richie James
Pivots: Ja’Marr Chase, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Michael Gallup, Terrace Marshall, MVS
Tight End is pretty straightforward for me in Week 16. There are several strong mid-tier options — including Dallas Goedert who appears underpriced in his return to the starting lineup. It was a different situation last season with no AJ Brown, but Goedert commanded a 25% target-share in his lone game with Gardner Minshew, turning in a massive 6-105-2 line. We currently have TJ Hockenson projected as the highest-owned option in our Projections Portal — but I prefer both Goedert and Dalton Schultz in the afternoon game. My favorite punt of the week is Jordan Akins, who scored last week and has topped 5+ targets in three of his last four games. Tennessee allows the sixth-most DK points per game to opposing tight ends.
Lastly, obviously Travis Kelce is in play both as a one-off and in Mahomes stacks. Seattle is one of the worst TE defenses in football and we can expect a monster game from him…it’s just whether or not he outscores other players in his price range.
Core: Dalton Schultz, Dallas Goedert, Jordan Akins, Travis Kelce
Bold Call of the Week
JK Dobbins runs for over 100 yards!
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)