Merry Christmas everyone! It’s Week 16 of the NFL season which means in-season leagues are having their championship weeks (well, almost all of them) and the NFL regular season is reaching its conclusion. We’ve come this far on the season and hopefully, this article has helped even just a little bit with your cash game play. We’re not done yet though. So let’s get to it, shall we?
I’m considering each of the players below for cash game lineups this week:
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Baker Mayfield (CLE): $7,600 at New York Jets
The Jets are allowing the third-most passing yards per game and are tied for the second-most passing touchdowns allowed per game. Over the last five games, the Jets have allowed 14 passing touchdowns with each quarterback throwing for at least two touchdowns.
Only three running backs this season have rushed for more than 80 yards against the Jets, with two of those occurring before Week 7. That might be bad news for Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, but Mayfield should be able to take full advantage of the Jets.
Over the last four games, Mayfield has thrown for 1,232 yards, 10 touchdowns and only one interception. This could be a big game for Mayfield and wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Don’t expect the Jets to get their second win of the season this week.
Jalen Hurts (PHI): $8,200 at Dallas Cowboys
Hurts might not have led his team to victory last week against the Arizona Cardinals, but he certainly led a lot of DFS lineups to the cash line. Suffice to say, his performance after two starts begs not a question of whether he’s a week-to-week starter for the Philadelphia Eagles, but whether he’s officially their quarterback of the future.
His previous two starts have also come against defenses that are actually good. Hurts has not disappointed. According to PFF, “Hurts is 12-of-23 for 197 yards and four touchdowns on third and fourth down over the past two weeks.” The rookie quarterback is coming up big when his team needs him the most.
This week he gets a really bad defense that is going to be missing key starters.
Xavier Woods, Antwaun Woods and Leighton Vander Esch are expected to miss Eagles game with injuries#DallasCowboys
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) December 24, 2020
What started off as simply a “Konami Code” has emerged into a full-fledged weapon.
… and he can pass! pic.twitter.com/iSZCUFTsu4
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) December 21, 2020
Other notables: Patrick Mahomes (KC): $9,400 vs. ATL; Deshaun Watson (HOU): $8,500 vs. CIN
J.D. McKissic (WAS): $5,800 vs. Carolina Panthers
Reports out of the Football Team’s practice was that Antonio Gibson returned in a small capacity. Pay close attention to the injury reports as well as the inactives for this game. If Gibson is out, McKissic should be a cash game lock given his recent usage and the matchup itself. In Week 15, McKissic was on the field for 88% of the snaps and had 23 total touches.
Weeks 13-15 Snap %s:
74% -> 65% -> 88%
A very quiet 22 touches last week
Weeks 14-15: Routes on 64.2% of Dropbacks.
This Week vs CAR
29th DVOA vs Pass Catching RBs
6th most Rec Allowed to RBspic.twitter.com/ayzpXD1wHW
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) December 24, 2020
Le’Veon Bell (KC): $6,400 vs. Atlanta Falcons
Similar to McKissic, this is all about the opportunity at an affordable price. Unlike McKissic however, we know that a teammate isn’t expected back this week from injury. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out for the foreseeable future and Bell stands to benefit in a big way in the league’s best offense. In a game where the Chiefs are 10.5 point home favorites, Bell is in a smash spot at an affordable price.
Other notables: Melvin Gordon (DEN) : $6,400 @ LAC; Miles Sanders (PHI) : $7,300 @ DAL;
Tee Higgins (CIN): $5,800 at Houston Texans
The Texans secondary is still battling injuries and Higgins is emerging as an alpha receiver on the Bengals. With the possibility that Tyler Boyd misses this week due to a concussion, Higgins could be force-fed targets galore this week. So feel free to fire up a receiver that has not had less than five targets in a single game and gets to line up against Texans cornerback Keion Crossen this week.
The Texans rank 30th in DVOA against WR1’s and 31st in DVOA against WR2’s. On the season the Texans are 30th in DVOA against the pass and are 24th in pressure generated. The Texans are allowing the sixth-most yards to deep passes (15+ yards). Long story short, they are really bad defensively against the run and the pass.
Higgins over the last three games leads the Bengals in air yards, target share, and receptions. While he hasn’t gotten a touchdown in that time period, the Texans are allowing the 17th most points in the red zone on the season and are ranked 29th in touchdowns per drive. Hello, positive regression!
Tyreek Hill (KC): $9,400 vs. Atlanta Falcons
How many members of the Chiefs you want to roster is entirely up to you, but a three-man or even four-man stack isn’t just for GPP’s when it comes to this game. While the Falcons defense has been playing significantly better recently, the Chiefs are a completely different animal.
Hill has emerged as arguably the top wide receiver in the NFL and he’s not even necessarily the best pass catcher on his own team. Once again, with regards to Hill, pay close attention to the injury reports. Hill didn’t practice on Wednesday due to a lingering hamstring injury, but he was a limited participant on Thursday.
Other notables: Robby Anderson (CAR): $6,600 @ WAS; D.K. Metcalf (SEA): $7,700 vs. LAR.
Travis Kelce (KC): $8,800 vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are 27th in DVOA against tight ends this season. Kelce leads the Chiefs with .24 targets per route run. If Hill is limited in any capacity, expect a whole lot of Kelce in the passing game. A lot of the Falcons points allowed to tight ends came in the first four games when they allowed seven touchdowns to the position. Since then they’ve only allowed two touchdowns to tight ends.
Of course, we all know Kelce isn’t like most tight ends…
Dalton Schultz (DAL): $5,200 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Per Rotoviz, “Dalton Schultz has drawn at least 10% of the Cowboys targets in 11 games this season, going as high as 20% 3 times.” Michael Gallup is nursing a hip injury that might limit his availability on Sunday against the Eagles in a must-win game for both teams to keep their slim playoff chances alive. Since the Cowboys bye week, Gallup has led all Cowboys receivers with 35 targets. If he’s out or even limited, those targets need to go somewhere.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have continued to get gashed by opposing tight ends this season. The Eagles are 10th in fantasy points allowed to the position and are ranked 29th in DVOA against tight ends. The last time these teams faced each other Schultz was targeted eight times and caught six passes for 53 yards.
With Darius Slay expected to return and likely shadow Amari Cooper, the Cowboys might have to rely on Schultz heavily this Sunday. As a fan of the movie Road House, how can I not want to see as much Dalton to Dalton as humanly possible?
Other notables: Mark Andrews (BAL): $7,000 vs. NYG; Donald Parham (LAC) : $4,200 vs. DEN
Cleveland Browns D/ST: $4,900 at New York Jets
Last week was the Jets’ Super Bowl. Cinderella’s carriage is going to turn into a pumpkin this week. Of course, last week showed why paying up for a defense can be a risky proposition. The Browns’ run defense has actually been fairly respectable this season. The Browns have not been generating much pressure against opposing quarterbacks (29th) but the Jets rank 29th in adjusted sack rate allowed. So the unstoppable force meets the immovable object eh?
If you’re looking to save a little salary that can be better used with actual skill positions, the Colts defense against an ailing Steelers offense is likely where to go, however.
Other notables: Indianapolis Colts D/ST: $4,300 @ PIT
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Matt Giraldi is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Matt, check out his archive or follow him @MGiraldi.