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Cover the Field: WR vs. CB | NFL DFS Matchups for Week 16 | Allen Robinson

Sam Smith

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Thursday Night Football Week 2 NFL DFS Deeper Dive & Live Before Lock DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy football picks Giants vs. Washington

Receiver plays are a week-to-week thought process in NFL DFS due to a variety of outside factors impacting receiver performance. One way to predict who will break out is by examining their secondary opponents for that individual game. Every week of the season, Sam Smith will take a look at advantageous matchups for receivers against vulnerable secondaries, whether it be schematic advantage or merely a weaker cornerback head up on a star receiver. Let’s get into some NFL Matchups and give out some Week 16 NFL DFS picks for your daily fantasy football lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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Week 16 DraftKings + FanDuel NFL DFS Picks: WR-CB Matchups

DraftKings DFS Pick: Darnell Mooney vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

I, too, am not overly fond of the fact that my sections on Bears receivers frequently devolve into entertaining the illusion that Mitchell Trubisky is actually OK. But facts are facts, and Trubisky has been decent the last three weeks, keeping his receivers passable as fantasy assets. Allen Robinson did not pop quite like I would have liked after playing him last week, but he did not bust either, going for 83 on six targets. And he is again solid value this week, but his chalky projections and higher price will move me away from him. Instead, I am rolling the touchdown dice with Darnell Mooney in an advantageous matchup.

Mooney has been a modest-volume, touchdown-dependent play since Trubisky regained the starting job. From Week 12 on, he has target counts of nine, six, two and five, but he has never gone over four catches or 50 yards. Rather, Mooney’s touchdowns in each of the last two weeks have made him a strong play. And yes, chasing the touchdown dragon is foolhardy considering those two touchdowns doubled his total on the season, but he is clearly the No. 2 pass catcher behind Robinson. The only guy even close to his production is David Montgomery, who has six fewer targets and 9 fewer yards.

More than the volume, this matchup is one worth targeting since the Jaguars pass defense is a sieve. They have surpassed Detroit for the title of dead-worst pass DVOA, and only four teams have allowed more yards passing despite the fact that they see the ninth-fewest pass attempts. They also allow the most net yards per pass attempt. Jacksonville is also not improving one iota as the season goes along, as only one defensive back — Josh Jones — has allowed a passer rating below 100 in the last five weeks, and Jones is also the only member of the secondary to not surrender a touchdown. Plus, now with the clearest path to the No. 1 pick, has even less motivation to be competitive. Since the Bears offense is not the most high-powered, that does not point to blowout potential for me, but rather a good opportunity for passing production.

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Again, Mooney is a bit touchdown dependent since he has crossed the $4,000 threshold. However, that price is still low enough for a WR2 that I like Mooney at medium ownership. Awesemo prefers Robinson, but look to Mooney for a contrarian NFL DFS pick and salary savings.


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DraftKings DFS Pick: Denzel Mims vs. Cleveland Browns

Past trips to the Denzel Mims well in this column have nor borne fruit, and the Jets passing games is not often a worthwhile stacking target. However, recent events has Mims looking like one of the better receiver values on the slate due to his near-min price and consistent role in the NFL’s worst offense. More notably, their Week 16 Cleveland opponent has quietly become a subpar pass defense in the last five weeks or so. Other than the shootout with the Titans, that has not necessarily resulted in volume surrendered, but the Browns have allowed high efficiency to opposing quarterbacks, and higher-volume games have resulted in big fantasy days. Cleveland was once an upper-half pass defense, but they now rank 25th in pass DVOA and 23rd in PFF coverage. Individually, only Denzel Ward has rated above average in coverage over the last five games, and he only played two of those five.

The Jets, on the other hand, are on as much of an upswing as a 1-13 team can be. They are essentially one all-out blitz away from winning two of their last three, and though they have not eclipsed 200 yards passing since Week 9 (and only twice all year), they have gone for 23 points or more in three of five. In other words, on any given week they can be competitive, which points to enough of a favorable game script to make their cheap receivers viable. That is the case for Mims this week, as he is the cheapest of the Jets’ three primary receivers (Mims, Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman) and projects for about the same fantasy points as Crowder this week.

Now, Mims has largely been more optimism than true production in his rookie year. While he has no goose eggs in his seven weeks of action, he also has no touchdowns, and his ceiling game was four catches, 67 yards on eight targets in Week 12. Plus, his latest two games have been his most modest, with only five total catches and 58 yards on six targets. That said, Mims has seen at least six targets in over half his games this year and has never had fewer than two catches. In an offense as anemic as the Jets’, that’s pretty consistent production for a guy who is always priced in the $3,000s. He also typically makes the most of his opportunities, averaging 15.5 yards per reception and 8.6 per target. The only question with him is volume, but at such a low price tag, he is worth that gamble in daily fantasy football lineups.

Awesemo has Mims as the No. 2 receiver value on the main slate, and while popular, he is far from the chalk at his position. Mims is the premier discount receiver flier for Week 16.

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DraftKings DFS Pick: Terry McLaurin vs. Carolina Panthers (Sunday Afternoon)

McLaurin is over 1,000 yards on the season and is Washington’s overwhelming WR1, but lately he has been a bit more of a gamble than we would like. He is pushing upper-tier pricing of late and his ownership is in the top five, yet he had two two-catch, sub-25-yard outputs in the last three weeks. That said, McLaurin bounced back with Dwayne Haskins throwing to him 12 times last week, resulting in 77 yards on seven catches. While not overly splashy, that is certainly better volume than he saw the previous games. Also, his Week 16 opponent in Carolina has ranked near the bottom in pass defense since the beginning of the year. So, while there may be some tumult in the quarterback room with Haskins going off book and Alex Smith hurt, McLaurin has produced with both and figures to do the same against a bad secondary.

I have targeted Carolina plenty of times, so they do not need an overly long analysis here. Suffice it to say, they have the seventh-worst pass DVOA, the fifth-worst coverage grade, a middling pass rush and six defensive backs who have allowed over 275 yards in coverage. All but one regular contributor in the secondary has given up at least two touchdowns, and all but two have surrendered passer ratings over 105. The only area where Carolina may be able to hold against McLaurin is in deep passing, where they have actually been serviceable, while McLaurin has been one of the best deep receivers in football this year. But Carolina’s safety play has also been only OK, so McLaurin could still break a few deep, especially with a reckless passer like Haskins taking shots downfield — Haskins has only a 41.4 passer rating on deep balls but throws deep on 13.3% of dropbacks, which ranks 13th among quarterbacks.

Bottom line, this week seems like a pretty safe volume bet for McLaurin. He should find plenty of space against a weak Carolina secondary, and Haskins was not so incompetent last week that it doomed McLaurin’s daily fantasy football value. Awesemo rates McLaurin as a solid value on DraftKings and a top-six receiver value on FanDuel, though you will be eating significant chalk on both sites if you roster him.

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Sam Smith is a writer and editor with Awesemo.com. He has been immersed in the world of professional sports data since 2015, while also writing extensively on the NFL for a multitude of blogs and websites. With Awesemo, Sam looks to blend his sports and editorial expertise with Awesemo's data to bring you the best fantasy information possible. You can follow Sam on Twitter @samc_smith.

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