WR ALLEN ROBINSON II, CHICAGO BEARS (21% PROJECTED OWNERSHIP)
I am breaking my 15% rule here with Robinson projected to be quite popular early in the week, but my expectation is that the field will gravitate more toward David Montgomery at an identical $7,700 price point. The matchup is elite for both Chicago studs, but odds are that only one of them will exceed the 30 fantasy points you need at this elevated price tag.
Leaning to Robinson over Montgomery is a pure leverage play, as I discussed above with the Titans' offense. The Bears' offense has consolidated around Robinson and Montgomery, with the rest of the skill players picking up the scraps. Check out Robinson’s air-yard shares over the past three weeks:
Week 15: 51%
Week 14: 70%
Week 13: 36%
Over that same three-game stretch, Robinson has a massive 30% target share. For context, Davante Adams is the only player with a 30% target share on the entire season. Robinson is the undisputed alpha of the Bears' passing attack — any fantasy points that come via the air are extremely likely to flow through him.
Accordingly, Robinson is a strategic fade on Montgomery who is likely to garner upward of 35% ownership. And rightfully so, with Montgomery on a four-game streak of scoring over 27 DraftKings points. No running back has tallied more fantasy points over that stretch than Montgomery.
However, the game theory angle must ask an important question. If the Bears' fantasy points do not go through Montgomery, then where are they going? Allen Robinson is the clear and obvious answer, with ownership unlikely to reflect what is an incredible leverage point.
The matchup could not get any better for Robinson against a Jaguars defense that wide receivers have demolished week in and week out. Marquise Brown grabbing only 98 receiving yards against the Jaguars last week ruined what had been my favorite stat of ineptitude: Prior to Brown missing the mark by two yards, Jacksonville's defense had allowed 100 yards to wide receivers in a ridiculous nine straight games.
The Bears are 7.5-point road favorites with an implied team total of 27.25, giving them a Vegas expectation at just under four touchdowns. Regardless of whether the Jaguars can keep pace with the Bears, Robinson will have several opportunities to find the paint and rack up fantasy points.
Of course, I would be remiss not to mention that there is a revenge narrative in play with Robinson set to face off against his former team. Perhaps he has a little extra motivation to score a touchdown against the team that drafted him.
RB GIOVANI BERNARD, CINCINNATI BENGALS (4% PROJECTED OWNERSHIP)
The Texans' defense is atrocious against the run. Check out their run-defense metrics:
419 rush attempts faced (fourth-most)
2,107 rushing yards (second)
5.0 rushing yards per attempt (most)
1,369 rush yards after contact (most)
3.3 rushing yards after contact per attempt (most)
18 touchdowns (fifth)
61 runs of 10-plus yards (most)
The Cincinnati Bengals pulled off one of the upsets of the year in defeating the Steelers on Monday Night Football. They leaned on Giovani Bernard as a bell-cow running back in handing him a whopping 25 carries, to which he turned in 97 total yards and two touchdowns. Bernard totaled a 68% snap rate and 81% of the Bengals' running back touches.
Dec 21, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) runs with the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Because this game was on Monday Night Football, DraftKings failed to adjust Bernard’s price — he is a bargain at just $4,800. The 4% ownership projection feels light, but I do not expect the field to latch onto a Bengals running back despite the cupcake matchup.
We will need value plays if we are to pay up for the expensive studs, and Bernard is a great way to blend floor and ceiling at a cheap price.
WR AMARI COOPER, DALLAS COWBOYS (13% PROJECTED OWNERSHIP)
The Eagles defense still cannot cover alpha wide receivers. Check out the following receiving lines they have allowed over the past four weeks:
DeAndre Hopkins: 9-169-1
Michael Thomas: 8-84-0
Davante Adams: 10-121-2
D.K. Metcalf: 10-177-0
Enter Amari Cooper. DraftKings finally dropped Cooper’s price to a more palatable $5,700 after he spent the past three weeks priced in the $6,000 range. This is the perfect time to jump right back in for a primo matchup at a cheaper price. Cooper last cost $5,700 back in Week 12 when he wrecked the Washington Football Team for a 6-112-1 receiving line.
My favorite way to utilize Cooper this week is to stack him with Jalen Hurts. This matchup provides back-and-forth shootout potential with a short 2.5-point spread and a 49.5 total. Pairing Hurts with Cooper offers immense upside in a unique pairing, especially because there is no obvious stacking partner on the Eagles.
Because of his rushing upside and widespread target distribution, Hurts can smash without bringing any other Eagles along with him. If Hurts activates beast mode, then the Cowboys are most likely passing aggressively to keep up.
Keep an eye on Ezekiel Elliott‘s status — I would like Cooper even more if he misses this game. Should Elliott skip Week 16, then Tony Pollard will become one of the most popular DFS plays on the slate and Cooper would provide clear leverage.
TE HAYDEN HURST, ATLANTA FALCONS (5% PROJECTED OWNERSHIP)
Chiefs vs. Falcons is the only game on the main DFS slate with a total above 50, and it is all the way up at 54 as of Friday. Accordingly, DFS players need to keep this game in mind when building rosters with the assumption that at least one elite score (and possibly several) will happen here.
Calvin Ridley is rightfully all the rage right now. He has not only has been balling out all season long, but he also has taken his game to the next level with Julio Jones on the sidelines. However, a matchup against the Chiefs is rather daunting for Ridley, and he needs 100 yards and a touchdown to hit value at $8,500.
The Chiefs' defense is one of the league’s best at limited opposing wide receiver production, as they have allowed the second-fewest completions and yards to the position among all NFL defenses. Accordingly, I am tempted to fade Ridley at his exorbitant cost. Russell Gageis more tolerable at $5,100, though he will likely carry sizeable ownership.
That makes Hayden Hurst an interesting leverage play. Check out the production that the Chiefs have allowed to opposing tight ends:
100 targets (ninth most)
809 yards (sixth)
7 touchdowns (10th)
17 catches of 15-plus yards (eighth)
Hurst is priced down at $3,400, and all he needs is a touchdown to pay off his salary, with clear upside from there. He is a cheap way to get exposure to a potential shootout or to correlate your Chiefs stacks.