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Mike’s Player Grid 16.22

Mike Johnson (MJohnson86) has racked up nearly $500,000 in DFS profit as an NFL tournament player with success in all styles of contests


Welcome back to my (Mjohnson86) Player Grid. The format will vary slightly from JM’s Player Grid, as we each see things slightly differently and play in slightly different contests, but should complement his thoughts and content very well for those looking to build their lineups for the week. The format of this article will likely evolve as the season progresses but should provide a lot of value. Enjoy!!


The Core

This is a list of players that stand out to me at each position from using my “Checking the Boxes” criteria outlined in my course you can find in our Marketplace. This list is a starting point, from which I build out lineups using game theory and roster construction concepts (which we will also touch on) with the mindset being to find the best plays with big ceilings. Low ownership is a bonus, but not a must. This section will focus primarily on three positions – running back, tight end, and defense – as the other two positions (quarterback and wide receiver) tend to have more dependent tendencies which I try to attack from other angles (which we will get into in the other sections). I like all of these plays on all sites unless otherwise noted:

Running Back ::
Tony Pollard

Pollard is in a high-leverage game where his talents will be needed by the Cowboys. He has scored 20+ points in five of his last seven games and led the Cowboys with 24 opportunities last week. The Eagles just surrendered a 24.1 DK point game to David Montgomery last week on 15 opportunities and Pollard’s situation this week is drastically better than Montgomery’s was.

Jerick McKinnon

McKinnon’s recent run has been terrific and he appears to have taken over the lead in the Chiefs backfield. While he isn’t a true workhorse, his role as the pass-catching back with the majority of the red zone usage playing with Patrick Mahomes is highly valuable. McKinnon is what we all wanted D’Andre Swift to be but in a more explosive offense. 

Derrick Henry

There isn’t much to say about Henry that hasn’t already been said a thousand times in the fantasy football industry this week. He smashes bad run defenses. He smashes in games the Titans win and/or are heavy favorites. He has destroyed the Texans for a few years now.

Dalvin Cook

Cook has not flashed his highest upside yet this season, failing to reach 4x his Week 16 Draftkings salary through 14 games. Cook only has four games over 20 Draftkings points this season, although every time he reached 20 points he scored more than 25. Ultimately, your expectations for Cook should depend on how you think the Vikings offense does, as all four of his games of 25+ points came when the Vikings scored more than 28 points. Only once, against a stout Patriots run defense, did Cook have a down game while the Vikings offense scored 29 or more points. The Giants run defense is very poor and this is a spot where the Vikings could put up a big number. 

Christian McCaffery

I’ll say it this way, I think CMC is a pretty safe bet for 20+ DK points but is unlikely to put up the 35-40 point game that truly hurts you for avoiding him. At his price, that means he’s unlikely to cost you a tournament either way and should be considered based on the roster you are building around him.

  • Side Notes/Thoughts::
    • Kenneth Walker – If Walker is playing, I assume that he is well enough to do so. The Seahawks would prefer to keep this game close and keep the ball out of the hands of Patrick Mahomes, so Walker’s ceiling at his price tag is hard to ignore.
    • Miles Sanders – Sanders finds himself here this week because his ceiling remains the same this week while his workload is more secure and the field’s sentiment on him is very negative. 
    • Saquon Barkley – Barkley has had a great year but has not truly “popped” since his 36-point Week 1 outing against the Titans. This week he has a chance to do just that as he is the focal point of his team’s offense in a high-scoring game.
    • James Cook – Cook’s role has fluctuated this year, but his season high in touches came in a game against the Patriots that the Bills controlled from start to finish. This week, the Bills are playing in very heavy winds that could lead to increased use of the running backs against a bad Chicago defense. The playoffs are just around the corner, so it would make sense if the Bills try to limit the number of hits Josh Allen is taking in a game where Buffalo should be in control. There aren’t many great value options this week, so if you think the Bills handle this game then Cook could be a primary beneficiary.
Tight End ::

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