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DraftKings Fantasy Football Tournament Picks: NFL Week 16 2022 Top High-Upside DFS Contrarian Targets

Geoff Ulrich shares his top high-upside targets, stacks and contrarian options for this week’s main fantasy football slate on DraftKings.

Welcome to the weekly tournament plays article for this week’s main DraftKings fantasy football slate. I’m going to focus purely on upside plays, stacks and strategies to help tackle the largest tournaments on the slate. GPPs are not won by using all of the most popular players on the slate, and finding some relatively lower-owned diamonds in the rough will be the goal of this article.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: $2.5M Fantasy Football Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Semifinal Entry]


Game Stack: New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings

Daniel Jones ($5,600) — Richie James Jr. ($3,900) — Justin Jefferson ($9,300)/T.J. Hockenson ($4,900)

Daniel Jones comes into Week 16 ranked fifth in quarterback rushing yards on the season and is averaging a stout 41.64 rush yards per game. While he’s been an uneven performer thanks to the Giants’ run-first mentality, Jones has also gone for 29.0 or more DKFP in two of his last eight starts. His last breakout performance came against another weaker pass defense in the Lions, where he threw the ball 44 times and averaged 7.8 yards per attempt. Like Detroit, Minnesota allows tons of fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (sixth-most per game) and both the Lions and Vikings rank in the bottom three of the league in yards per pass attempt allowed. Minnesota’s offense also likes to push the pace and teams facing the Vikings have thrown the ball an average of 43.4 times per game over the last three weeks.

Targeting Jones at $5,600 gives us tons of flexibility and a bevy of cheap receivers with whom to pair him with. Darius Slayton ($5,200) has been the Giants’ big-play option, averaging 15.2 yards per catch on the season, but he’s actually been out-targeted by the Giants’ de facto slot receiver in Richie James Jr. ($3,900) over the past two weeks. James being fantasy relevant this season was a massive longshot but injuries have forced him into nearly an every-down role. He’s also been a preferred red zone target for Jones of late as he saw at least one red zone target in each game between Week 11 and Week 14. With Vikings nickel corner Chandler Sullivan allowing a 78% completion rate this season, and a 102.2 passer rating when thrown at, James looks set to benefit and makes for a great value add to any Jones-anchored lineups.

While the value on Jones and James is enticing, this game has some true studs on both sides that can’t be overlooked. Justin Jefferson has torn up the league the last two weeks with 23 receptions and 346 yards and feels likely to find the endzone again against a Giants team that had issues with the Commanders’ versatile receivers last week. Using Saquon Barkley ($7,900) alongside Jones has its appeal as well as the RB has been more involved in the passing game of late, averaging 4 receptions over his last four games. He’s yet to have a true breakout game as a receiver but is going against a weak Vikings coverage crew who has allowed the fifth most receiving yards to opposing receivers.

Finally, there’s T.J. Hockenson, who seems like a favorite to post a true breakout game before the end of the year. He’s averaged 7.75 targets the last three weeks but hasn’t found the end zone since Week 12. If you’re fading the higher ownership of Jefferson, punching in Hockenson to gain maximum leverage makes a ton of sense from a strategy perspective.

Quarterback: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears ($8,500)

The weather is going to be more frightful than delightful in Chicago this week, but if we look across the slate, there are concerns forming in almost every outdoor game. With Josh Allen, at least we are getting a quarterback who is both used to wintery conditions and built to take advantage of them. Playing in cold weather last week, Allen posted one of his best rushing totals of the season, going for 77 yards on 10 carries against the Dolphins, and managed a solid 7.6 yards per pass attempt as well.

The Bears’ defense is also a massive bonus in terms of matchup as they’ve ceded both the eighth-most rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks and the most rushing TDs (8) to the position as well. Over their last seven games, quarterbacks against Chicago have now accounted for at least three TDs (of the passing or rushing variety) a total of four times. It sounds strange, on a week where the Bills are nine-point favorites, but Allen may not even be all that popular in larger tournaments on DraftKings either. The poor weather from around the league seems likely to keep ownership somewhat spread at his position and have DFS players trending more toward cheaper options. Simply put, unless things look apocalyptic on Saturday, don’t be afraid to look to Allen as a lone wolf play at quarterback. He has a bevy of great red-zone targets and performed miracles last week in equally cool conditions.

Running Back

Top End: Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles ($7,000)

Pollard has posted over 100 yards of total offense in six of his last eight games. Despite ceding a larger portion of the red zone work to Ezekiel Elliott over the past three weeks, Pollard has still managed four TDs since Elliott returned to the lineup and remains a large part of the Cowboys’ passing attack. He’s seen five targets in each of his last three games, with an average route participation rate of over 40% over that span.

The Eagles are ranked below average in defensive rush DVOA and have allowed over 4.8 yards per carry the last three weeks. With Jalen Hurts looking highly likely to miss this game, Pollard should be in a great spot to push for a few extra opportunities against a weaker rush defense. He sets up as a solid pay up/pivot option.

Value: Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers ($5,200)

Williams has gone somewhat cold in the TD department after a hot start to the season. After grabbing 14 rushing TDs in his first 13 games, Williams has now gone two games in a row without scoring at all. The former Packer has ceded some work lately to D’Andre Swift (who has seen his snap count increase the last two weeks) but Williams still sets up as the preferred goal line and red zone rusher for the Lions, who gave him five touches inside the 20-yard line last week against the Jets.

The matchup this week is also far more enticing for Williams. The Lions will face a Panthers defense that ranks just 21st in defensive rush DVOA and allowed multiple rushing TDs to running backs last week. In a spot where the Lions carry a solid 23.5 implied team total, Williams could carry sub-5% ownership and makes for a perfect boom-or-bust style tournament target.

Wide Receiver

Top End: Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders vs. San Francisco 49ers ($6,200)

McLaurin surpassed the 1000-yard mark for the third straight season last week with his 70-yard effort against the Giants. McLaurin remains one of the best boom-or-bust targets among all receivers, ranking out 10th in the league in total air yards and 3rd in overall deep targets. The matchup for him may not look ideal but the 49ers have proven that they can get complacent with their coverage on the outside — especially when games get out of hand — allowing six separate games of 100 yards or more to opposing WRs this season.

This week represents a somewhat do-or-die scenario for the Commanders in terms of their playoff hopes and they’re almost certain to abandon the rush game at some point given how stout the 49ers are at defending in that area (second in defensive rush DVOA this season). Look to McLaurin to see a few extra deep opportunities this week as Washington attempts to flip the field with their best outside weapon.

Top Value: Marquise Goodwin, Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs ($4,300)

The Seahawks will be playing a Chiefs defense that has allowed the fifth most fantasy points and most TDs to the WR position this season. With Tyler Lockett having been ruled out, that should set the stage for sub-4.3 burner Marquise Goodwin to excel. Goodwin is now 32 and no longer the fastest man in the league but he’s still got plenty of speed and has worked his way into the clear No. 3 option on an offense that has thrown the ball an average of 39.7 times per game over the last three weeks.

Goodwin will almost certainly inherit a large portion of Lockett’s routes, given how thin the Seahawks are at WR, and could also find himself in a very fantasy-friendly game script given how poorly Seattle’s defense has performed of late. For well under $5,000, the volume and opportunity Goodwin is set to receive seem unlikely to be matched by anyone in his range this week.

Tight End: Jordan Akins, Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans ($2,900)

The Titans’ passing defense has been on the wrong side of some monster fantasy performances this season. They’ve allowed the most fantasy points to opposing WRs but have also allowed the third most points to opposing TEs as well. Two games ago they let Evan Engram exploit them for an almost unfathomable 11-162-2 line and simply could not, or would not, adjust to stop him from wrecking them after the catch with his superior athleticism.

The Texans have an underrated skilled TE of their own in Jordan Akins, who profiled somewhat similarly to Engram out of college and has already accumulated five catches of 25 yards or more this season. The Texans’ injury issues have forced Akins into a more primary receiving role of late, and it’s led to him seeing red zone targets in three of his last four games — two of which have gone for TDs. With Chris Moore ($4,700) again expected to be popular this week, don’t be scared to pivot off Moore and use the athletic Akins instead, who is cheaper and should come in with far lower ownership.

Defense/Special Teams

Kansas City Chiefs vs Seattle Seahawks ($2,900)

The Seahawks will be in a tough spot this week. Tyler Lockett has been ruled out already and they’ll be on the road in Kansas City where game temperatures are expected to be around 15 degrees F, with wind potentially in the 10 mph range. It won’t be the worst game environment on the slate, but it will be tough for an offense that has only averaged 68.7 rush yards per game over the last three weeks (lowest in the NFL).

With Kenneth Walker (ankle) again questionable for Seattle, expect Geno Smith ($5,800) to have to drop back 35+ times against a Chiefs defense that may be allowing points but is also fourth in the league in sacks per game. Smith has turned the ball over multiple times in three of his last four games and has been operating behind an eroding offensive line that has allowed the sixth-most sacks over the last three weeks. With the Chiefs at home, their passing game will be a popular target in DFS, but don’t be shocked if their defense dominates this game — and potentially the scoring. Kansas City sets up as a perfect leverage target at DST.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.