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NFL DFS Showdown Spotlight: Christmas Day Saturday Night Football DraftKings & FanDuel | Colts at Cardinals

Eric MacPherson



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For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, this column will provide free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. Tonight we’ll take a look at the Christmas night showdown slate between the Colts and Cardinals. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. There are loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 16 Saturday Night Football slate featuring the Arizona Cardinals hosting the Indianapolis Colts.

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NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 16 Saturday Night Football

Indianapolis will be without three of their starting offensive linemen including guards Quenton Nelson and Mark Glowinski while center Ryan Kelly (personal) is not travelling to Phoenix. Safety Andrew Sendejo (concussion) is also out while cornerback Rock Ya-Sin and linemen Kemoko Turay are on the COVID reserve.

DeAndre Hopkins (knee) may be able to return in the postseason if the Cardinals make a deep run. Rookie Rondale Moore (ankle) and James Conner (heel) will be a game time decisions. Center Rodney Hudson and punter Andy Lee are out with COVID and defensive end Jordan Phillips (knee) will also miss the game.

Indianapolis Colts: 23.5 Points


Indianapolis is now 1.5 games behind Tennessee after they played on Thursday and bested San Francisco. The Colts currently have the fifth best record in the AFC and are squarely in the Wild Card mix if they are not able to catch the Titans for the Division title. This will be a tough test for Carson Wentz behind an offensive line missing three starters. Arizona has the fourth best passing DVOA, though they have allowed six of the last seven opposing signal-callers to record multi-touchdown games. Wentz has been solid with 23 touchdowns against six interceptions this season, however, the yardage has been thin surpassing 200 yards once in his last five appearances.

Running Back

Jonathan Taylor has been phenomenal this season and he leads the league with 1,518 rushing yards which is 400 more than second place Joe Mixon. For perspective only Derrick Henry (117.1) has more than his 108.4 rushing yards per game. Taylor also leads the league with 19 touchdowns including two as a receiver. Nyheim Hines will be on the field for around 20% of the snaps, though over the last three games he has just six targets and four carries. Deon Jackson is the only other running back to see the field since Week 8 with a grand total of 15 snaps.

Wide Receiver

Michael Pittman Jr (104) and Zach Pascal (65) are the one two punch at wide receiver with T.Y. Hilton being out during the first part of the season and less than full-health the rest of the time. Hilton has 10 targets in the last four games and Ashton Dulin has played on 20-35% of the snaps with a paltry three targets in the same timeframe.

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Tight End

Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox and rookie Kylen Granson are in a three-way committee. Doyle has seemingly broken ahead of the other two with 19 targets in the last five games while his position-mates each have seven.

Defense/Special Teams

Indianapolis has multiple sacks in nine of their last 11 games along with 14 interceptions and 11 fumbles. On the season the Colts have a league leading 31 takeaways while Arizona is in the bottom-five ceding just one turnover per game

Arizona Cardinals: 25.5 Points


On the season, Indianapolis has the third best rushing DVOA though they are just average against the pass. In his 11 games, Kyler Murray has 20 aerials touchdowns with ten interceptions and five rushing touchdowns. Though he has a reputation for rushing, he is only averaging around 25 yards per game. Through the air he has been quite effective with 276.3 yards per outing which is the seventh highest rate among quarterbacks with at least 11 starts.

Running Back

Last week Chase Edmonds saw his first action in over a month and he and James Conner each were on the field for around 40% of the snaps while Jonathan Ward received a season high 15%. Rookie Eno Benjamin (ankle) was active, though he did not step on the field for any offensive plays. Conner saw eight carries for 39 yards and brought in both of his targets for another 31 yards. Edmonds had six carries for 53 yards and missed his only target. If Conner is able to play with his heel injury, this is looking like it will be a shared backfield once again.

Wide Receiver

Christian Kirk played a season high 96% of the snaps with DeAndre Hopkins sidelined while Antoine Wesley jumped all the way to 85% and A.J. Green held steady in his usual 70-75% range. Rondale Moore saw a season low 27% of the snaps while dealing with an ankle issue and Andy Isabella got on the field for just his second game of the year with 16% of the snaps. Kirk and Green are the clear top two options, though it should be noted that Wesley logged eight which keeps the undrafted rookie in our prime time player pool.

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Tight End

Zach Ertz had 11 targets and now has seen 18 in the last two games with Murray under center. Since joining the team in Week 7 after being acquired to replace the injured Maxx Williams, the non-Ertz tight ends have five total targets and only two in the last three games. Despite a reputation for happy feet, Wentz has been sacked only nine times in the last eight games. However, with a depleted offensive line, that trend could easily reverse course.

Defense/Special Teams

Over their last four games, Arizona is averaging three sacks with four interceptions and a fumble recovery.

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Saturday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy

The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.

Week 16 Saturday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings

Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Jonathan Taylor: The touchdown equity offsets the zero targets in the last two games.
  2. Kyler Murray: Continues to rack up touchdowns through the air and on the ground.
  3. Christian Kirk: Volume uptick should continue with Hopkins on the sideline.
  4. Michael Pittman: Arizona will be rolling coverage his way, but they can’t go overboard or Taylor will get into the second level.
  5. Zach Ertz: Huge addition for the team.
  6. A.J. Green: Continues to secure more of the workload every game.
  7. Carson Wentz: If his line was healthy he would be a couple spots higher.
  8. Matt Prater: 37-year old is 6 of 8 from beyond 50 yards.
  9. Michael Badgley: The Money Badger is 13 of 15 since joining the Colts, but he has not tried anything over 50 yards.
  10. Antoine Wesley: This is the key to unlocking everything on DraftKings with a paltry $1,000 salary, even if he only gets a couple targets it is worth the risk.

Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Arizona D/ST: Should be able to take advantage of the offensive line for some sacks, knockdowns and hurries.
  2. Rondale Moore: Between the injury, salary and lack of consistent opportunities, the second round rookie is an afterthought.
  3. Zach Pascal: He has been more consistent than Hilton this year and should be a little less popular with out the name recognition.
  4. T.Y. Hilton: Likely will have one or two key opportunities, though the volume is long gone.
  5. Indianapolis D/ST: If they were at home, they would be at the top of this section.

Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Nyheim Hines: Lacks consistent opportunities, salary implies he should get 10-12 opportunities per game, we would be lucky for half that unless something happens to Taylor. Still returns punts.
  2. Jack Doyle and M0 Alie-Cox: Coinflip between this duo, both are viable but not on the same roster.
  3. Ashton Dulin: Does just enough to warrant his own line, DraftKings only.
  4. Kylen Granson, Darrell Daniels, Demetrius Harris and Deon Jackson: third and fourth stringers – if they beat us, so be it.

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Take a look at our NFL depth chart list, inactives and NFL line-ups. We also have NFL DFS showdown projections and NFL single-game ownership projections. View our FanDuel NFL ownership rankings and our DraftKings NFL ownership rankings. If you’re interested in other DFS NFL for multiple game slates, head over to NFL DFS ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL rankings, and NFL DFS stacking.

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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