clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

DraftKings core players for Saturday, Week 16

There are a host of great plays this week for daily fantasy. We take you through some of the safest to help build your team’s core.

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle reacts after a reception late in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The 49ers won, 48-46.  Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

When researching DraftKings, I usually end up with a set of core players that end up running through all of my lineups. Typically, they are consistent fantasy producers in good matchups or have value due to an injury. You will likely see them across the fantasy football blogosphere because, well, they’re core plays for a lot of people. We could probably call them chalk plays too, so there is a good reason to lean toward cash games with these types of players, but even in GPPs, I want consistent and high-upside plays, and sometimes my core players might not be fully in the chalk column.

The final injury report for Saturday’s games is out, with Julian Edelman highlighting the list. He will play as usual, but there is no-doubt he isn’t at 100 percent and going against a tough Bills pass defense. Jameis Winston continues to be limited due to his hand injury but he’s now put up back-to-back 450 yard games, so I think he’ll be okay. Will Fuller and Carlos Hyde are listed as questionable but both will play. Chris Godwin is out, as expected and DeAndre Hopkins returned to practice after an illness kept him out on Wednesday. He remains a top start.

Saturday’s games all have some interest to the casual fan but fantasy nerds like ourselves will gravitate to the Texans and the Buccaneers, as that game should produce the most fantasy points. One strategy might be to use players just from that game to catch the wave, but the other two games have interest as well. Let’s get to it.


DeShaun Watson ($7,000), Jameis Winston ($6,900), Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,500)

DeShaun Watson

I am 50/50 on Winston vs. Watson this Saturday, as both have reasons to like them, but I’m going to lean Watson, as the Buccaneers are the top defense against the run, which should force Watson to throw more and Winston will be without his top two receivers. Winston will still put up numbers with Breshad Perriman, O.J. Howard and others, so if I’m making multiple lineups, Winston will be in heavy rotation.

Running Backs

Todd Gurley ($6,300), Raheem Mostert ($6,100), Devin Singletary ($5,500), Sony Michel ($4,600), Ronald Jones ($4,400), Duke Johnson ($4,100), Rex Burkhead ($3,600)

Todd Gurley

There aren’t many backs playing on Saturday who get the work Gurley has seen of late. He’s handled 12, 27, 20, 6, 27 touches over his last five games, including seven targets over his last two. The two down games were both blowouts from the Ravens and Cowboys. He also has five touchdowns in his last five games along with three games over 100 yards. The 49ers are banged up defensively and will get Richard Sherman back, likely giving their pass defense an edge this week.

Devin Singletary

The matchups for the two every down backs are tough this week, but I like trying to get the most touches on my team as possible and on this short slate, it is possible. Singletary has finally taken over for Frank Gore, as he’s seen 23, 23, 17, 23 touches in his last four games. The Patriots run defense is stout but 23 touches from Singletary is something I want on this slate.

Raheem Mostert

If I can’t afford this group of running backs, I’ll likely move down to Sony Michel at $4,600 after he touched the ball 20 times last week, but I like Mostert’s matchup better. The Rams have been decent against the run this season, but they were just eviscerated by the Cowboys running backs for 248 yards and three touchdowns. Mostert isn’t guaranteed huge touch numbers but he’s hit double-digits in his last three games as the lead back in a committee.

Wide Receivers

DeAndre Hopkins ($8,500), Robert Woods ($6,200), Breshad Perriman ($6,000), Will Fuller ($5,900), Cole Beasley ($4,800), Justin Watson ($4,600), Kenny Stills ($4,400), N’Keal Harry ($4,000), Ishmael Hyman ($3,000)

DeAndre Hopkins

If you can afford him, then he’s a great start as you already know. His upside takes a slight hit with Will Fuller in the fold though, as his target numbers always take a hit with Fuller in the lineup. But on a short slate, if you can fit the studs, do it.

Breshad Perriman

Perriman might have the highest ownership percentages on this slate, as he’s coming off a huge three touchdown game with Chris Godwin playing for three quarters and now he’ll work without Godwin and of course Mike Evans again. The Texans are a below average pass defense, ranking 26th in DVOA against the pass.

Will Fuller

Hopkins is the lead of course, but Fuller has just as much upside or possibly more as at much cheaper price. Fuller’s hamstrings are always a cause for concern but he played fully last week and caught 5-of-7 targets for 61 yards. The Buccaneers also rank dead last in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers on the season.

Justin Watson

I expect O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate to see plenty of work this weekend and that could relegate Watson’s work, but he will be the No. 2 wide receiver and had a good game two weeks ago with Evans and Scotty Miller out. This week Evans, Miller and Godwin are all out, almost assuring Watson 5-7 targets with upside for more in a good matchup.

Tight Ends

George Kittle ($6,500), Tyler Higbee ($5,000), O.J. Howard ($4,000), Cameron Brate ($3,500)

George Kittle

If you are going to pay up for any stud on this slate, Kittle is likely the safest. He topped eight receptions and 100 yards the last time these teams met and always plays the Rams well. Last week, the 49ers couldn’t get anything going but Kittle was the mainstay as usual, as he caught 13 passes for 134 yards. In cash games, he feels like a must play.

O.J. Howard

I like both Brate and Howard in this matchup for the same reasons I like Perriman and Watson. The Bucs will throw the ball even with Evans and Godwin out and it has to go to someone. Last week, Howard led the team with eight targets while Brate tied Godwin with seven. There’s no Godwin this week, so the target numbers could even go up from there if this game ends up being another shootout.


Patriots ($4,000), 49ers ($3,400), Texans ($3,200), Buccaneers ($2,300)


I can probably make a case for any of the defenses going this week, so I’ll go with the cheapest. DeShaun Watson is coming off back-to-back games with two interceptions in each and was sacked a total of ten times. There will be plenty of drop backs and pass attempts, which will give the Bucs D/ST chances to put up fantasy points.

I am an avid fan and user (my username is cogresha) 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 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.