Welcome to the NFL DFS WR Coach, where we identify the best wide receivers for our lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel!
It’s important to note this article is posted mid-week, so injuries and other news can change our reads as we get closer to Sunday.
Welcome back! Hopefully you had a profitable week of DFS and are ready to continue building that bank roll here in Week 16. Week 15 was a solid rebound with multiple plays reaching the end zone (some multiple times) despite a few uncharacteristic duds sprinkled in. One my most-used players last week (Tyreek Hill) didn’t enter my pool until seeing the snow on Sunday. It’s just a reminder that this list comes out a bit early, so make sure to pay attention to Jeff Mans’ Sunday AM updates to his Cash Breakdown and tune into DC & Healy’s Sunday Livestream. Let’s take a look around the league at which wide receivers we should be targeting in DFS this week on the Sunday main slate.
Michael Thomas vs TEN ($9,300 DK & $9,000 FD)
It looks like we’re shaping up to have some value plays at the RB position this week. DraftKings opted to keep MT’s price the same as last week (despite going 12-128-1) and FanDuel is actually giving us a $100 discount from Week 15. There are some routes to fitting in Thomas in your lineups this week and he makes for a strong play against the injured Titans secondary. This time of year it’s important to pay attention to milestones and Thomas is just 10 receptions away from breaking Marvin Harrison’s all-time reception record of 143 in a season. After seeing the Saints aggressively game plan to let Drew Brees capture the all-time touchdown record last week, it wouldn’t surprise at all if this week’s game plan revolved around netting Thomas 10+ receptions. Malcolm Butler is on IR, a foot injury has kept Adoree’ Jackson out the last two games (LP this Wed), and the remaining outside corners are nothing to worry about. Even if we see Jackson active in this matchup, the Titans have given up multiple 30+ fantasy point outings with him on the field. Thomas remains head and shoulders the most expensive receiver, but that pricetag generally keeps his ownership in check. With narratives in play like this one, finding a way to pay up for Thomas makes a ton of sense in Week 16.
Julio Jones vs JAX ($8,000 DK & $8,000 FD)
Is it chasing? Sure, to a degree, but the matchup against the lowly Jaguars is something we’ve been targeting all season. Now we get to add a 51% (!!!) target share to Julio against a corner like A.J. Bouye, who has fallen off a cliff this season. Bouye joined the Jaguars in 2017 where he sported a top-5 cornerback rating from PFF. That number fell to 21st in 2018 and has now plunged all the way down to 68th in 2019. He’s allowing a 99.7 QB Rating when targeted and 63% catch rate and is far from being an imposing shadow corner. The Falcons lead the league in pass play percent (67.4%) and if Julio even comes somewhat close to last week’s monstrous target share, he should put up an elite outing here in Week 16. The Jaguars give up the 10th-most fantasy points to perimeter wideouts and Julio is an incredible value on FanDuel at just $8K.
Tyler Lockett vs AZ ($7,600 DK & $7,600 FD)
Week 15 we finally saw a healthy Lockett back in action and he looked sharp for the Seahawks, catching 8-of-9 targets for 120 yards and a score. He draws a terrific matchup this week against the Cardinals secondary and a beatable one-on-one matchup against rookie Byron Murphy in the slot. Murphy is tied as PFF’s No. 113 graded cornerback this season and has been a liability for much of the season. He’s surrendered a league-leading nine touchdowns against in coverage and ranks second in receptions allowed (63). The Cardinals lead the league in fantasy points given up to opposing slot receivers this season, which is where Lockett runs 71% of his routes. Lockett is always a risky play with the Seahawks having no issues falling back on their heavy rushing attack if the gamescript doesn’t turn out to be competitive. That makes Lockett more ideal for tournaments, but with Seattle still playing for homefield advantage, don’t expect them to take their foot off the gas yet.
Amari Cooper vs PHI ($6,700 DK & $7,700 FD)
The Philadelphia Eagles secondary has had its up and downs, but after allowing Dwayne Haskins to throw for career-highs pretty much across the board, you can definitively state they are in the downward trend. They’ve had a tough time rotating responsibility in this defensive scheme and it’s created some one-on-one matchups that the corners are just ill-equipped to face. Amari Cooper should be able to highlight these deficiencies quite well against the perimeter corners of the Eagles. They are allowing the most fantasy points in the league to outside receivers all season AND over the last four weeks. Jalen Mills (PFF’s No. 82 graded corner) and Ronald Darby (No. 113) have been liabilities in coverage with the pair combining for 10 touchdowns against. Cooper runs 85% of his routes on the outside. He, along with Michael Gallup (86% perimeter), are both poised for quality outings against this secondary.
Terry McLaurin vs NYG ($6,200 DK & $6,500 FD)
McLaurin excelled last week beating up an Eagles secondary that he seems to have their number. He posted a 5-125-1 stat line against them in Week 1 and did nearly the same in Week 15 with a 5-130-1 stat line. He draws an even easier matchup this week against the Giants, who let their top corner, Janoris Jenkins, walk just a week ago. McLaurin runs 76% of his routes on the outside, meaning he’ll run the plurality of his routes against DeAndre Baker and Sam Beal. Baker has been struggling with his starting gig this year, currently coming in as PFF’s No. 113 CB and ranks sixth in yards against (712) and third in touchdowns against (7) among all corners. Beal has seldomly played this season but was elevated to a starting role in Week 14. He’s since allowed 9-of-13 attempts against to be completed these past two weeks. McLaurin’s combination of target share (22%) and Air Yards (42%) make him an ideal candidate to expose the weaknesses in a Giants secondary that is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to receivers this season.
Jarvis Landry vs BAL ($6,000 DK & $6,900 FD)
After a November breakout where he was the overall WR1 in PPR formats, Landry has cooled off considerably since the calendar flipped to December (WR42). He draws a great opportunity in Week 16 to turn things around against a Baltimore defense that has had some trouble defending the slot. Landry roasted this squad in Week 4, posting an 8-167-0 stat line off 10 targets. We just saw the Jets have success with Jamison Crowder beating them in the slot, turning in a 6-90-2 performance on 11 targets. Landry leads the team in target share (26%), targets (123), receptions (74), receiving yards (1,018), and receiving touchdowns (5). The Browns (6-8) are still alive in the AFC playoffs so I’d anticipate them turning to their top receiver often in this matchup. Vegas projects this to be one of the higher scoring games of the week (49.5 game total) and if the Browns are able to pull off the upset here, it’ll likely be due to Landry having a strong outing.
Michael Gallup vs PHI ($5,500 DK & $6,500 FD)
Gallup was mentioned briefly in the Amari Cooper segment above, but he merits his own call-out this week given his cheap pricing on DK. Gallup disappointed in a potential blowup spot against the Rams last week, but with the NFC East division on the line here, I’d anticipate a more competitive game here between the Cowboys and Eagles. Gallup’s perimeter route running sets him up for plus matchups no matter which side of the formation he runs his routes. Given that the Eagles are one of the top run defenses (No. 11 Rush DVOA) and top defenders against the slot (No. 1 in fewest slot FPs), targets should naturally funnel their way to the outside to Gallup and Cooper. Gallup holds the slight edge in both target share (21% to 20%) and Air Yards (27% to 26%) over Cooper, warranting putting both receivers in your player pool this week with the playoffs on the line. After burning a ton of DFS players last week, now’s a great time to return to him.
Mike Williams vs OAK ($5,000 DK & $6,500 FD)
After failing to fill the touchdown column for much of the season, Williams has now scored in back-to-back games and is coming off a nine-target outing. He draws a great matchup this week at home against a Raiders secondary that leads the league in pass plays of 20+ yards against. Philip Rivers ranks top-5 in pass attempts of 20+ yards among qualifying quarterbacks, throwing such distance on 14.6% of his overall attempts (per PFF). With Williams sporting one of the league’s highest aDOTs (18.2), he’s custom built for attacking a defense like Oakland. The Chargers are eliminated from playoff contention (5-9 record), but after facing an embarrassing loss to the Vikings last week, they can still play the role of spoiler against the Raiders (6-8), who are still mathematically in the hunt for a playoff berth. Big downfield touchdown strikes to MW could help build the Chargers a lead that the Raiders would have a tough time coming back from.
Golden Tate vs WAS ($4,800 DK & $6,200 FD)
Tate is coming off back-to-back outings posting one reception in each game (1-11-0, 1-51-1), but draws a plus matchup here against the interior of Washington’s secondary. The Redskins are giving up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing slot receivers this season as they’ve routinely been beat by this position all season. Julian Edelman (8-110-1), Jamison Crowder (5-76-1), Greg Ward (7-61-1), and Curtis Samuel (4-65-1) have all had success attacking this secondary via the slot. Quarterback-receiver rapport isn’t just built overnight, but this matchup against Washington is one where we should see Tate finally bounce back and be routinely peppered with targets. Sub-$5K costs on a full-PPR site like DK make Tate hard to ignore for cash games.
Greg Ward vs DAL ($4,200 DK & $5,700 FD)
Ward is poised to be a popular waiver wire pickup for seasonal squads in their FF championships, but for the same reasons he’s a solid add there, he makes sense at super cheap prices across the DFS landscape. The Eagles are decimated at the receiver position. Entering this week’s matchup they will likely send out the trio of Ward, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and Robert Davis again. The trio has a combined 27 career receptions between the three of them. Ward has been the most active of the bunch, posting back-to-back outings of nine targets. While targets should heavily flow through the tight ends and backs given their plus-receiving skills, Ward should still carve out a significant role against a Cowboys defense that has struggled defending the slot. Ward has run 58% of his routes from the slot this season. Dallas has given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing slot receivers the past month, making this a plus matchup to pursue with Ward. Ward combines a plus matchup, solid target totals, and a cheap salary. Don’t be surprised if he comes in with heavier ownership than most anticipate.
John Ross vs MIA ($4,200 DK & $5,200 FD)
If running out DeVante Parker in any lineups this week, John Ross makes for a tremendous mini stack option on the bring-back. The Bengals have been relying on the ground game in recent weeks, but with the Dolphins ranking 32nd in Pass DVOA defense, perhaps we see some deep shots with Ross in this matchup. Miami ranks fourth in most passing plays of 20+ yards allowed and ties for the league lead in touchdowns given up on such distance (14). Ross’ 11.7 aDOT leads all Bengals wideouts and now that Auden Tate is on IR (11.0 aDOT), he’ll have nobody else to contend with for deep targets. This is absolutely a thin play in terms of targets, leaving Ross far away from the cash game discussion, but he makes some sense in tournaments. After seeing him used sparingly in run-heavy gamescripts since his return from IR, don’t let recency bias lead you to forget that Ross dominated the first two weeks of the season going 7-158-2 and 4-112-1. If playing 20-max or above, I’d be very interested in doubling the field on Ross exposure given what his cheap salary can provide in lineup construction.