FantasyDraft Week 16 DFS Plays: Running Backs and Defenses

Rich Holman previews DFS plays at Running Back and Defense on FantasyDraft for Week 16.

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Welcome to Week 16 of the football season. I’ll be providing you with some DFS content, covering Running Backs and Defenses. We’ll take a look at some potential cash-game plays as well as some pivots that could be used in tournaments. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out in the comments section below.


Running Backs


Christian McCaffrey, CAR ($19,500) at IND

I really don’t feel like I have to say much here, as it’s been the same rhetoric all season. Christian McCaffrey is super expensive, but more times than not, he’s paid off that price. Last week, he totaled 175 yards on 27 touches, while finding the end zone twice against the Seahawks. As per usual, I’ll throw a CMC build after the article to get you started.


Cash Game Options:


DeAndre Washington, OAK ($7,800) at LAC

Normally, I put these options in price order, from the highest price to the lowest, but this week, I’m leading with DeAndre Washington. The Raiders have already ruled Josh Jacobs out for this week (couldn’t have done that last week, could ya?), which means Washington will take over the lead back role. Jalen Richard will retain his third-down back role, but in Week 14 with Jacobs out, Washington saw 63% of the offensive snaps, handled 20 touches, and saw a 21% target share. Washington faces the Chargers, who have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. I expect Washington to be the chalk this week, but his price opens up lots of opportunities to pay up at other positions.


Chris Carson, SEA ($16,100) vs. ARI

With the Seahawks being close to double-digit favorites over the Cardinals, this lines up nicely for another Chris Carson week. We know the Seahawks want to run the ball and with Rashaad Penny on the IR, Carson should be in for another big workload. In Week 15, the Seahawks were in a similar situation, big favorites with no Penny, and Carson ran wild for 133 yards and two scores. The Cardinals have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing backs this year and over their last three games, the Cardinals have allowed 141 rushing yards per game, fourth-most in the league. If you’re not paying up for CMC, I’d start my lineup by locking in Carson.


Joe Mixon, CIN ($12,800) at MIA

Anyone else sit Joe Mixon in season-long last week? Since Week 7, Mixon has either 79 total yards or has scored a touchdown in every game he’s played. ESPN’s Ben Baby notes, “A change in the blocking scheme and an emphasis on attacking the edges of the line of scrimmage have flipped Mixon’s season.” This week, Mixon gets a matchup with the Dolphins, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing backs this year. With Mixon playing like an RB1, it makes it easy to lock into my cash lineups with this matchup.


Devonta Freeman, ATL ($11,300) vs. JAX

It has not been a fantastic year for Devonta Freeman, but that could all turn around with one week against the Jaguars. For the year, Jacksonville has allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs and have been gashed for the fourth-most rushing yards per game. While the production hasn’t always been there for Freeman, the work has been relatively consistent. Last week, Freeman played on 79% of the Falcon’s offensive snaps and has seen at least three targets in every game he’s played in this year. With the Falcons being 7-point favorites, Freeman should be in for plenty of work in a positive game script.


Tournament Options:


Saquon Barkley, NYG ($15,100) at WAS

Speaking of disappointing years, haaaaaaaave you met Saquon Barkley? Unfortunately for players that drafted Saquon this year, he fell prey to the injury bug, missing the better part of four weeks with an ankle injury. In Week 15, we finally saw vintage (one-year vintage?) Barkley as he touched the ball 28 times for 128 yards and two scores against the Dolphins. This week Barkley faces the Redskins, who are slightly better than the Dolphins against the run but not by much. Saquon makes for a nice pivot off Chris Carson and should put up similar production at a lower cost.


Miles Sanders, PHI ($12,000) vs. DAL

The Miles Sanders Breakout Train is flying down the track after putting up 172 total yards and two scores against the Redskins in Week 15. As of this writing, Jordan Howard still hasn’t been cleared for contact due to a shoulder injury, meaning it should be the Sanders’ show again this week. The Cowboys rank in the middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs this year. Over the last four weeks, Sanders has seen at least four targets and with the Eagles wideouts continuing to be depleted, I don’t expect those targets to go away any time soon.


Phillip Lindsay, DEN ($10,000) vs. DET

Recency bias should factor into Phillip Lindsay‘s ownership this week, as everyone who rostered him against the Chiefs last week got burned. The Broncos fell behind early against the Chiefs in the snow, which led to Lindsay seeing the field on just 39% of the Broncos snaps. He handled just seven carries for 32 yards in what was supposed to be a good matchup against the team that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing backs. Let’s try and move past last week and look to this week, as the Broncos face the Lions. The Lions are just as good of a matchup for Lindsay and comes with a much lower risk of the Broncos getting down, leading to a negative game script (Royce Freeman time).




Cash Game Option:


Pittsburgh Steelers ($7,000) at NYJ

What do you get when you combine one of the best pass rushes in the league with one of the worst offensive lines? As Sam Darnold put it, he’ll be “seeing ghosts”. The Steelers have sacked the quarterback at the highest rate this year, while the Jets have allowed the fourth-most sacks. That type of pressure should lead to plenty of pressure/sacks, which leads to turnovers. The Steelers are pricy but should be very safe, which is why I’m locking them into my cash game lineup.


Tournament Option:


Kansas City Chiefs ($5,600) at CHI

There’s no doubt that the Bears offense has improved as the season wears on, but I love this spot for the Chiefs. The Bears offensive line has allowed the 12th-highest adjusted sack rate this year and the Chiefs have sacked the quarterback at the 11th-highest rate, which means Mitch Trubisky should be under plenty of pressure. With the Chiefs being six-point favorites, there’s a good chance we see the Bears look to Trubisky to air it out in comeback mode. With the Chiefs providing pressure on the quarterback, they should be able to force Trubisky into, well, Trubisky-like throws, leading to turnovers.


As promised, here’s a mock build that allows for CMC. Locking in Fitzpatrick, CMC, Mixon, Parker, Washington, and the Chiefs defense gives you $10,100 left per position for one WR, one TE, and one Flex. You could certainly do worse. Good luck this week!


This is my last football article of the season, so I just wanted to thank everyone for reading and a big thank you to Erik Smith for giving me my first opportunity to write about a sport that I love. Hope everyone’s holidays are the best!!



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Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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