Week 16 FantasyDraft Advice

benroethlisberger

Week 16 of the NFL season is upon us and what better way to complement yearly leagues than by playing daily leagues as well? Assuming your opponent’s team is stacked and you’re fighting a losing battle, DFS is a way to still monetize your football knowledge on a lost week in yearly leagues. However, there is a bit of a strategy difference due to the weekly salary cap. In this article, fantasy expert Ricky Sanders will walk you through the thought process of putting together the best possible FantasyDraft DFS lineup for the upcoming weekend slate:

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, $12,600 – The recent struggles of Ben Roethlisberger should only play to the advantage of those interested in rostering him this week…and why would one not be interested? Four of Roethlisberger’s last five games have come on the road where he continuously struggles. After producing an 86.0 QB rating on the road last year and 102.4 rating at home, he has produced similar results this year: 78.4 rating on the road versus 119.0 at home. All three of Roethlisberger’s 30-plus fantasy point outbursts have come at Heinz Field this year so there is definitely some weight to this narrative. Even beyond the narrative, the Ravens present a solid matchup for him especially because Le’Veon Bell should have a much more difficult time than usual leading the ground game. Not only do the Ravens rank first in rushing defense according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric but they held Bell to just 13.00 fantasy points (his worst outing of their year) in the previous meeting on Nov. 6. With Bell potentially being held in check and Roethlisberger excelling at home, the passing offense will be relied upon to lead the Steelers to victory. This means a whole lot of Roethlisberger early and often much to the delight of those who decide to use him.

Todd Gurley, Rams, $12,300 – Here should be a checklist for rostering a RB in cash games. Question number one: “is he facing the 49ers?” If so, he belongs in your lineup…period, end of story. Over the course of the last two weeks alone, Bilal Powell torched this defense for 145 yards and two TDs and last week Devonta Freeman ran wild for 139 yards and three TDs. As a whole, the 49ers have allowed exactly 293 yards rushing more than the next worst defense (Browns) and six more total TDs to the RB position (25) than any other defense (also the Browns who rank second worst). The entire Rams offense is amidst a disappointing season but Todd Gurley has been especially discouraging. In 14 games, Gurley has only managed to top 20 fantasy points once after setting the fantasy landscape on fire in his rookie season. If there ever were a game for him to bounceback to his true RB1 form, this would be the one.

Jordan Howard, Bears, $12,000 – Alshon Jeffery returned to action last week and sparked the passing game in a big way. Although Matt Barkley had failed to top 215 yards in each of his past two games, the Jeffery-led receiving core prompted a 362 yard, two TD outburst. In fact, three receivers finished in the top seven at the position in terms of fantasy points on the Sunday slate (Jeffery, Cameron Meredith and Deonte Thompson). All of this is a long-winded way of saying the Bears now have a respectable passing game to complement the run and Jordan Howard continues to flirt with RB1 status. Since Oct. 20, Howard has touched the ball at least 15 times in seven consecutive games and has not sunk below double-digit fantasy points even once. During that span, only three backs (min. 100 attempts) have averaged a superior yard per carry (YPC) average than Howard: LeSean McCoy, Mark Ingram and Ezekiel Elliott (in that order). In Week 16, the Bears will face a Redskins rushing defense that ranks 27th in DVOA and has surrendered 15 rushing TDs to opposing RBs. After only paying for two mid-tier backs, there is plenty left over to spend up at receiver…

Antonio Brown, Steelers, $15,600 – To coincide with the Roethlisberger play, you may as well double down on Antonio Brown who is my favorite play of the week at any position. Had he not been so quiet lately, calling him the “top play of the week” would not exactly be considered bold but here we are. Brown has been very un-Brownlike recently as he has failed to top 20 fantasy points in back-to-back-to-back contests. His struggles correlate to Roethlisberger’s struggles and two of those three games have come on the road. At home, the Steelers offense is completely different and Roethlisberger needs to rely on Brown to produce a monster performance. In six home games this season, Brown has only failed to reach 17 fantasy points once and failed to top 20 fantasy points just twice. Clearly, he is more comfortable when Roethlisberger is more comfortable so the two of them should help each other out this week. As icing on the cake, Brown roasted the Ravens for 7-85-1 on the road earlier this year. A performance like that could prove to be his floor this week. Do not be the one caught without him in your lineup.

Antonio Gates, Chargers, $8,300 – The TE position is an absolute wasteland this week with both expensive and value options alike in unfavorable/risky spots. Furthermore, both Jordan Reed and Greg Olsen are currently dealing with injuries which makes them unsettling to roster despite their fantastic matchups. If fishing for someone to start, why not use a player who leads the NFL in red zone targets (17) at the position and yet is priced about $2,000 below the elites? Yes, veteran Antonio Gates is still worthy of consideration despite his frustrating platoon with Hunter Henry. In Week 15, Gates played 35 offensive snaps to Henry’s 29 and yet Henry caught a TD for the fourth time in five games. Call it a hunch but it feels like Gates’ week as he has been targeted 15 times in the last three games and yet has not found the end zone. Now, the team will play an awful Browns defense that ranks dead last in TE DVOA and has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing TEs. Both of the Chargers options are worthy of consideration but my pick is the guy playing a majority of the snaps: Gates.


Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on to FantasyDraft as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: FanVice, RotoCurve and Daily Fantasy Cafe. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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