The Secret Stars weekly article isn’t suggesting the lineup you should use this week, rather its purpose is to identify players who represent extreme value at their current salaries for the week. Selecting these players will give you an opportunity to use such players as Christian McCaffrey and Antonio Brown in your lineups. Here are our Secret Stars for Week 16:
QB Dak Prescott $5,700 vs. TB – Nothing went right for the Cowboys at Indianapolis last Sunday. They were shut out and Dak Prescott obviously disappointed in the box score. Yet now he draws the best matchup imaginable against a Bucs team that ranks 28th in DVOA pass defense and has been horrendous on the road this season. Tampa has yielded 19 passing TD s with zero interceptions and a 132.2 passer rating with an average of 38.3 PPG allowed on the road. Prescott has a certified top receiver on the outside now in Amari Cooper, and an RB capable of producing huge gains on screens or drawing the defense in close, allowing the Cowboys to take deep shots against a Bucs team that’s allowed 52 pass plays (T-9th most in NFL) of 20-plus yards this season.
QB Nick Foles $4,700 vs. HOU – Once again, the Eagles proved that they can thrive with backup cornerbacks, safeties, and a quarterback playing in a tough road game. They stunned the Rams, who were favored by a whopping 13 points on Sunday night, and now return home to face a Texans team that’s given up 606 passing YPG over their last two road games against the weak Redskins and Jets passing attacks. Foles has plenty of weapons at his disposal and is no stranger to playoff-caliber football. He completed 24-of-31 passes for 270 yards at the Rams and is due for some positive TD regression after several of his passes came up just short of the goal line.
RB Marlon Mack $5,500 vs. NYG – The Colts were winning by leaning on Andrew Luck’s arm, but have transitioned to more of a defense and run-first team in recent weeks. They dominated the Cowboys en route to a 23-0 win last Sunday and Marlon Mack managed what not other back had against Dallas by averaging 5.1 YPC on 27 totes. Mack is extremely shifty, strong, and has some of the best advanced metrics in the NFL in terms of gaining positive yardage based on what is blocked. This week he’ll face a Giants team that coughs up the fifth-most rushing YPG (128.4) and has allowed 17 total TDs to RBs this season. Indy is 5-0 at home and positive game flow has led to Mack handling 17.8 carries per game, at an average of 4.95 YPC.
RB Elijah McGuire $4,700 vs. GB – The Jets are in full rebuild mode and are bound to give young Elijah McGuire more work going forward. The Packers have still not won a road game and are likely to start packing it in with the NFC Wild Card spot officially out of reach. Green Bay’s run defense has been sapped by season-ending injuries to Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) and Mike Daniels (foot), and now ranks 29th in DVOA rush defense. Green Bay allows a healthy 4.5 YPC and ranks 27th in DVOA pass defense against RBs, while McGuire has handled 41 touches over his last two appearances.
WR Robert Foster $4,900 @ NE – The Bills passing offense was left for dead early in the season, then re-pronounced when Josh Allen missed three games with an elbow injury. But with dead weight Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes cut, they’re showing life once again. Slot WR Zay Jones has stepped up along with UDFA Robert Foster, who has snared 11-of-13 targets for 212 yards and a TD over his last two games. Now the Bills will visit a Patriots team that has struggled in pass defense lately, and is sure to put points on the board early in a bounce-back effort. With LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and Chris Ivory (knee) likely out again, Allen will be forced to throw a ton to keep pace with Tom Brady.
WR Michael Gallup $3,500 vs. TB – Michael Gallup was a favorite target for the DFS community last week, only to come up with a goose egg along with the rest of the Cowboys offense. Sometimes regression takes multiple weeks to hit, and Gallup is still due for some big plays since he has more air yards than Amari Cooper since the latter joined Dallas. Gallup has excellent downfield skills and Prescott simply needs to be more accurate on those deep throws. As mentioned above, Tampa Bay gives up a lot of deep passes and has shown almost no resistance on the road this year.
TE Austin Hooper $3,700 @ CAR – The fact that Austin Hooper also posted a goose egg during an easy win over Arizona last week makes him a great buy-low candidate. He remains an integral part of Atlanta’s pass-heavy attack and is ensured good volume against a Panthers defense that’s stout against the run and leaky against the pass. Carolina ranks 30th in DVOA pass defense against opposing TEs and has allowed 8 receiving TDs to the position (T-4th most in NFL). Hooper is still having a career year with 64 receptions for 557 yards and 4 TD s, most of which have come when familiar opponents send extra resources towards Julio Jones in the red zone. Carolina is just the type of defense to double Julio and leave Hooper open underneath in key spots.
FLEX T.J. Yeldon $4,000 @ MIA – You’ll also want to keep an eye on the Rams John Kelly at this same price point in case Todd Gurley (knee) misses Sunday’s tilt at Arizona. Meanwhile, T.J. Yeldon could serve as a great value if Leonard Fournette (foot) sits towards the tail end of a lost season for the Jaguars. Yeldon struggled with 16 yards on 8 carries in a start for Fournette three weeks ago, but saved his day on DK with 7 receptions for 49 yards. He’s a far better receiver than Carlos Hyde and is likely to see more volume now that checkdown-master Cody Kessler is under center for Jacksonville. Miami has given up an above-average 671 receiving yards and 16 total TDs to opposing backs this season and has been pulverized for 345 rushing yards the past two weeks.
D/ST NE $2,500 vs. BUF – While they’ve struggled lately, the Patriots are a completely different team at home. New England is holding opposing QBs to an 80.8 passer rating with a 12:8 TD:INT ratio at Gillette Stadium this year. The Pats held Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins to a combined 27 points their past two home games and are in a virtual must-win spot after collapsing in Miami and losing in Pittsburgh. Late in the season, you bet against Bill Belichick at your own risk.
Here’s our lineup this week:
· QB Tom Brady $5,900 vs. BUF
· RB Christian McCaffrey $8,800 vs. ATL
· RB Marlon Mack $5,500 vs. NYG
· WR Antonio Brown $8,300 @ NO
· WR Michael Gallup $3,500 vs. TB
· WR Robert Foster $4,900 @ NE
· TE Zach Ertz $5,900 vs. HOU
· FLEX Elijah Mcguire $4,700 vs. GB
· DST Patriots $2,500 vs. BUF
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