Strategy and lineup picks for NFL Week 16

Special to Yahoo Sports

Whether you are playing in the biggest tournament of the week on Yahoo or prefer to play in smaller GPPs, there are some general positional strategies that you can implement in any size tournament. These concepts include stacking, finding pivots off of popular players, and looking for leverage in other spots. While it’s important to implement these into your lineup-building approach, the foundation of any tournament lineup is a solid core — usually players you would use in cash games.

Stacks to Target

QB Matthew Stafford, Rams ($36)

WR Cooper Kupp, Rams ($41)

WR Odell Beckham, Rams ($23)

WR Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($32)

No matchup this week stands out as a better game stack than the Rams at Vikings. The contest has a 49-point over/under — almost four points higher than any other game on the slate — with a spread of just three in favor of Los Angeles. This specific four-man build takes up a huge portion of salary but there are plenty of sub-$20 running backs available in Week 16 to be able to jam in the top two wide receivers on the slate.

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Over the last month, Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson are tied for the lead league with 12 targets per game.

In that span, the Rams have thrown at the fourth-highest rate in neutral game script and their passing game should feast against a Vikings defense ranked in the bottom two in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to both quarterbacks and wide receivers. Odell Beckham helps lower the average salary per player in this stack and has seemingly hopped into the No. 2 role in LA with 21 percent of targets and a quarter of air yards over the last month.

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How popular Jefferson ends up on Sunday may hinge on the availability of Adam Thielen, but no matter how tournament players approach it, building around Minnesota’s passing game will offer some leverage off of Alexander Mattison, who figures to be the most popular player on the slate with Dalvin Cook landing on the COVID list.

QB Justin Herbert, Chargers ($37)

WR Mike Williams, Chargers ($21)

Of the QB/WR stacks with the five highest ceilings, according to 4for4, this is the only one that has a cumulative salary below $60. The Chargers have the highest implied point total on the slate and are high favorites against the Texans.

Over the last six weeks, only seven teams have thrown at a higher rate in neutral game script than the Chargers — in that span, Justin Herbert is fantasy’s QB2 in terms of points per game. While Herbert will be popular, leaning into LA’s passing attack could offer huge leverage off of Justin Jackson, who will be among the highest-rostered players on the slate with Austin Ekeler likely out. If touchdown variance falls to Herbert, DFS players targeting passing-game stacks could quickly climb the leaderboard.

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Keenan Allen is the most reliable option for Herbert but rostered rates should reflect that, despite Allen carrying a salary of $6 more than Mike Williams. Over the last few games, Williams has returned to a more versatile role, similar to how he was being used in the first month of the season, rather than simply as a deep threat. His big-play ability looms large in this game, however, as the Texans have allowed the second-most half-PPR points per target on passes of 20+ air yards.

Contrarian Plays to Target

RB Rashaad Penny, Seahawks ($20)

Rosters will be dominated by running backs with a salary below $20, creating an opportunity to get unique by playing backs in this middle salary tier. After Rashaad Penny’s monster Week 14, he posted pedestrian numbers in his last game and even lost a rushing touchdown to DeeJay Dallas. Seattle’s coaches are adamant they want to get the ball back in Penny’s hands this week in a game where the Seahawks are favored by 6.5 points against a Bears team that has faced nearly 29 running back touches per game over their last five games.

WR Russell Gage, Falcons ($17)

Atlanta is an intriguing offense all-around this week, but Russell Gage has been seeing elite usage of late. The Falcons receiver has 12 targets in two of his last three games, exceeding 90 yards in both contests while ranking fifth in target share and 13th in air yards share over the last month. Atlanta has a respectable 24.25-point implied total in a game that is surprisingly stackable on both sides.

Cash Game Strategy

Low-salary running backs dominate the value reports this week, opening up salary for cash game players to comfortably target some of the higher-end passing games on the slate.

  • QB: Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow

  • RB: Alexander Mattison, Justin Jackson, Ronald Jones, Josh Jacobs, James Robinson, Cordarrelle Patterson

  • WR: Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson, Diontae Johnson, Antonio Brown, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Byron Pringle, Mecole Hardman

  • TE: Mark Andrews, Foster Moreau, Kyle Pitts, Dawson Knox, Noah Gray

  • DEF: Eagles, Chargers, Falcons, Raiders

This article originally appeared in its full form on

TJ is a former full-time poker player who has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade. After online poker was outlawed, TJ ended his poker career and dedicated himself to fantasy football. His background in poker statistics and analytics translates to success in both daily and season-long fantasy football.

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