Week 16 NFL DFS Breakdown: The Ambush (Saturday Slate)

SI DFS analyst Steve Renner covers the tripleheader Saturday NFL DFS three-game slate in a special edition of "The Ambush."
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The day after Christmas features three NFL games and some nice contests on DraftKings, one of which is only available via streaming on Amazon Prime (Cardinals/Niners) and that is without a doubt my favorite game of the day. Nice job NFL. Keep pushing streaming only options out there on your fans while you make it difficult for fans to affordably pay for a streaming Sunday Ticket service. 

We are at the point of the Ambush season where we are like an NFL team just waiting for the playoffs to begin and so I am giving everyone the format of the article that fits best for what the slate brings.

You will notice that the Main Slate article this week is a little similar to this layout below but a lot of this layout change is due to it only being three games. I am going position by position to outline what the most common plays are at that spot and highlighting the one who I have as my Ambush play for each position with some additional notes on the slate (values, stacks, contrarian stud, etc.) at the bottom of the article. The actual analysis is unchanged but it's more the method on how it's being delivered that should help with these specific slates that we have.

The three games which are going off this Saturday include:

  • Bucs at Lions (Dome)
  • 49ers at Cardinals (Dome)
  • Dolphins at Raiders (Dome)

So as you can see, we have no weather issues which is great news this time of year.  Now, let's dive into the positional breakdowns and find out who the Ambush plays are for this three game slate.


Kyler Murray - Arizona

I expect the Cardinals/Niners game to be the highest scoring game today and Murray is back to rushing the ball inside the red-zone which puts his ceiling far above anyone else's. San Francisco's defense continues to just play out the stretch and they had a hard time slowing down DeAndre Hopkins back in Week 1.

Image result for kyler murray tyler boyd

The only other viable options that I see on this slate are between Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford in a game which should funnel the Lions into a heavy passing game. Brady should have time to do whatever he wants on offense against the Lions. The challenge for that game is I don't see Detroit having enough success in the passing game against an active Bucs defense and Tampa Bay can spread it around; even to their running game which really kills the Brady upside in my mind.

Just Missed The Cut: Matt Stafford - With news coming that the Lions will be depleted in the coaching staff I expect them to just lean on the veteran QB to run the offense. If you give a gunslinger like Stafford the full keys to the car he's going to throw it a ton.  Especially given that Tampa's stout versus the run and we expect Tampa to put up some points here as well. While I like the Bucs defense to sack Stafford and force a turnover, we've also seen situations where that results in the QB still winding up with a solid statistical day and so I expect Stafford to get over 300 yards passing which is a nice starting floor.

Not Touching: Tua Tagovailoa


Josh Jacobs - Las Vegas

Las Vegas will have had nine days off between games and will also be playing their third straight home game. Things like that do matter and this is a moment where Gruden can show his offensive coaching ability by winning a game with Marcus Mariota at QB over the surging Dolphins defense. 

Image result for josh jacobs

The way to attack Miami? On the ground and what better option to have at your disposal than Josh Jacobs touching the ball well over 20 times against a defense who can only be run on due to their white hot secondary. Out of the six teams playing only Jacobs is in a spot where he should see close to 98% of his teams usage at RB. Tampa has three guys who will be involved, Detroit has two, Arizona has two, San Francisco has a handful and even Miami is mixing it up as well.

Just Missed The Cut: Kenyan Drake / Chase Edmonds, Miles Gaskin

Not Touching: TB/DET running backs


DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk - Arizona

These are the mainstays this week to pair with Kyler in a game he can air it out and provide upside rushing. Hopkins has had a well documented stretch of bad CB1 matchups but the last two weeks has clearly emerged from the cloak of stud defenders as the competition lightens up. He has a matchup this week that he exploited heavily in Week 1 and should wind up as WR1 on the short three game slate. 

DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals

Christian Kirk on the other hand is my Ambush play (just pair with Nuk) because he too has struggled as the Arizona passing game struggles. This, however is a clear get-right spot and his price has dropped too far for the big play ability he still possesses.

DeVante Parker - Miami

When Parker is healthy he is a PPR machine. Against a favorable secondary he should have an insane high volume game provided he is cleared to go and stays in.

Chris Godwin - Tampa Bay

After watching Antonio Brown catch "the big one" last week I am going right back to the Chris Godwin well. The Lions allow teams to pass at 68% completion rate and 77% over their last three. Brady will have all the time he needs to pick them apart from the 5-20 yard range and thats music to the Godwin owners ears this week.

Just Missed The Cut: Mike Evans, Brandon Aiyuk, Marvin Jones

Not Touching:  Antonio Brown


T.J. Hockenson - Detroit

7, 8, 9, 11 and 4: those are the totals on the targets Hockenson has seen the last five weeks as Kenny Golladay continues to miss time for Detroit. Tampa Bay is one of the bottom teams statistically in allowing fantasy points to opposing TE's so this isn't much of a decision for me. Waller is $2,400 more and the only comparable TE in the same price range as Hockenson is Mike Gesicki. The major difference is Detroit will have no success running vs. Tampa while Miami should be able to run a little bit vs Las Vegas. So it's Hockenson that I have far more faith in.

Just Missed The Cut: Mike Gesicki

Not Touching: Darren Waller


Tampa Bay Bucs - Tampa Bay

The most likely defenses on this slate are Tampa, Arizona and Miami. The Dolphins have been the best of the three but Tampa is fairly consistent with 11 sacks in their last three and the Detroit offensive line is similar in lack of quality to their previous two opponents Minnesota and Atlanta in terms of protecting the QB. They should get to Stafford enough and likely force a turnover or two.

Just Missed The Cut: Las Vegas Defense (I expect Tua mistakes)

Not Touching: Nobody. The other chalk defense is going to be Arizona and I am equally fine with them along with Tampa, but I guess you could argue I am not touching a pricey Dolphins Defense.


Kyler Murray, Josh Jacobs, TJ Hockenson, Tampa Defense


Tevin Coleman - RB - San Francisco

There is always one game a year when Kyle Shanahan seems to walk up to Coleman's locker and tell him, "it's Time." With Coleman being relegated to mostly special teams lately, nobody will be touching him. But I think this is the perfect game for the more physical Coleman to slide in over Jerrick McKinnon or Jeff Wilson and get more touches with Raheem Mostert out.

Lynn Bowden - WR - Miami

It's trending towards this being the true breakout week for the cheap but trendy Lynn Bowden. Bowden drafted by the Raiders in the third round and then traded away to Miami, now he is getting playing time and is being used a ton in the passing game. He's only $3,900 and likely is the top value chalk play on the board this week. He's a logical play and someone you'll want heavy exposure too.


49ers vs Cardinals

Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Tevin Coleman, Brandon Aiyuk

There is always one game a year when Kyle Shanahan seems to walk up to Coleman's locker and tell him "It's Time". With Coleman being relegated to mostly special teams lately nobody will be touching him but I think this is the perfect game for the more physical Coleman to slide in over Jerrick McKinnon or Jeff Wilson and get more touches with Raheem Mostert out.


Tampa Bay -10

Las Vegas ML (My best bet of the week is Raiders ML).  

Arizona/San Francisco OVER 48.5