NFL Daily Fantasy Football Picks for the Los Angeles Chargers vs Indianapolis Colts: Austin Ekeler is the clear choice
Week 16 of the NFL season closes out tonight with a matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers, who go on the road to face the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts will be making yet another QB change ahead of this game with Nick Foles now taking over for Matt Ryan after Ryan had been named the starting QB once Jeff Saturday was hired as interim head coach. The over/under for tonight’s game is at 45.5 points, and the Bolts are favored by a field goal roughly. So scoring could be moderate and hopefully, we get a competitive game. After having plenty of games impacted by wind, cold temperatures, and even a little bit of snow in Miami, we can look at this game straight on with the safe conditions and just dissect the matchups to formulate our winning DFS lineups.
Check out our Los Angeles Chargers vs Indianapolis Colts predictions
**Please note that players not listed below are not necessarily a complete fade and any player listed can certainly be used as the MVP/Captain. These are merely suggestions for players to use when setting Showdown lineups.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Everyone has different beliefs about how to construct Showdown lineups. I typically don’t utilize too many D/ST’s or Kickers at Captain. I also max out my QB exposure at this spot to about 10% of my lineups if building multiple lines. What I prefer targeting are players heavily involved in the passing game that can break the slate with multiple touchdowns. Ekeler fits the bill even as a running back. Out of the backfield, Ekeler averages 6.8 receptions and 8.2 targets per game. Even after a bit of a slow and sluggish start to the season where he didn’t score in the team’s first three games, he’s still collected 14 touchdowns on the year.
My one knock on Ekeler? The rushing volume fluctuates too much to have a ton of confidence in him locking in the 100-yard rushing bonus on DraftKings. But he’s involved enough in the passing game that the full PPR format over there puts him firmly in play to offset even a performance where he only rushes for 50-60 yards. And we know he can score one or two times as well.
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
It took a hot minute, but it looks like Keenan Allen is back up to speed. He has 37 targets over his last three games, and while the fantasy production has fluctuated a bit, we know the volume will be there. The Colts don’t give up a ton of production through the air. Most teams beat them on the ground or get out to such a huge lead that there’s no need to air it out much. That was different last week when they blew a 33-point lead to the Minnesota Vikings. But in general, the opponents aren’t required to throw much on Indy. But if he’s getting double-digit targets and finding the end zone then there’s a captain-worthy performance if this game doesn’t feature a ton of scoring.
Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
We know what we’re getting with Williams. He’s the epitome of a boom-or-bust player. And that’s fine for the Captain/MVP slot on DraftKings and FanDuel for our GPP contests. Williams has appeared in ten games this year. In half of those games, he’s put up over 20 fantasy points on DraftKings. In the other half, he’s posted less than 11 fantasy points. He doesn’t quite get the volume Keenan Allen does, but given the big play upside, he does have a better shot at the 100-yard bonus and is always a threat to score.
Deon Jackson, Zack Moss, RB, Indianapolis Colts
This one will be tricky. I had a ton of questions in our Discord channels about these two over the weekend. Truthfully, we could get the blanket pulled over our eyes and see Moss’s role reduced to nothing tonight. Or the Colts could go run-heavy, which we’ve seen teams do against the Bolts (with success), and if that’s the case, then Moss is viable. In 14 games, we’ve seen opposing teams rack up over 150 rushing yards on eight different occasions against Los Angeles. That’s the argument for Moss, at least, and he’s coming off a performance last week where he had 24 carries.
For Jackson, his production is heavily dependent on the game script. He’ll get some carries (had 13 last week), and he’s more likely to be used in the passing game if the Colts fall behind multiple possessions. Way back in Week 6 he caught all ten of his targets against the Jaguars. It certainly can be done, but will we see Nick Foles check down to him if that’s what the game plan calls for as things progress?
MID-TIER AND DFS VALUE PICKS
Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
I am going to take the bold position of not utilizing Herbert at Captain tonight. And you can easily disagree with me, but I prefer quarterbacks that have rushing upside and Herbert doesn’t offer enough of that to tickle my fancy for my MVP/Captain. But he does have the ability to throw for over 300+ yards as we’ve seen the last three weeks. However, over his last ten games, we’ve seen him put up less than 15 fantasy points on DraftKings in half of those performances. Not to mention, in that span, he only has one performance truly worthy of breaking the slate. He offers a good floor and one that’s certainly worth having in our Flex spot. But with no rushing upside then we really need the 300-yard bonus and at least three touchdowns if plugging him at captain.
Most teams don’t have to throw on the Colts to beat them. Hence why they only allow 205 passing yards per game with about 32 pass attempts per game as well. For some lineup construction advice, if you go with either Ekeler, Allen, or Williams at captain, you should correlate the play with Herbert in the Flex to capitalize on the touchdowns.
Nick Foles, QB, Indianapolis Colts
We’re playing with fire here. Nick Foles endeared himself to all of America with the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots a few years ago. But he’s appeared in just one game since the start of 2021. And even his time with the Bears in 2020 was rather forgettable, and the same can be said for his stint with Jacksonville in 2019, although he was injured in the first game. Foles has had a week to prepare and get up to speed. The $9,000 price tag is higher than I’m willing to pay, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibilities that he goes for 200+ yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts
There’s no arguing with the volume Pittman receives. He averages 9.3 targets per game, which is great, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had his share of poor stat lines. The lack of a quality quarterback has hurt him in his brief tenure in the NFL, but he’s still a very talented wide receiver. He only has two touchdowns on the year and two performances with over 100 receiving yards. Has he developed enough of a rapport with Foles? We’ll see. For the time being, I prefer utilizing him as a Flex play.
Joshua Palmer, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Even with Williams and Allen returning, the Chargers have carved out a role for Palmer. Has it been as fruitful as it was a few weeks ago? No, but he’s still getting between five and seven targets and there’s been an okay floor for Palmer in DFS. Obviously, with the return of the Chargers’ stud wide receivers, the scoring opportunities haven’t been there. But the price is a little depressed and he still gets some looks from Herbert. He’s not someone I’ll be considering for Captain because of the low floor, but if you go that route, you might get him at under 10% rostership at that spot.
Gerald Everett, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
This seems like a little too cheap for Everett on DraftKings. $4,800 for a guy with at least six targets in three straight games? I get that he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 4 (maybe he’s due), but he has 14 catches and 20 targets in his last three games. He’s only $200 more than the Chargers D/ST. The Bolts defense might have more exposure from the field because of the matchup against Nick Foles in his first start for the Colts. But the Chargers can be run on. The Chargers only have two games with double-digit fantasy points. Everett has five such games and he’s only $200 more. He’s a big target that could find the end zone.
Jelani Woods, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Kylen Granson will miss the game with an ankle injury, which should give Woods more opportunities. We aren’t that far removed from a game where Woods caught eight-of-nine targets for 98 yards. Woods is at a cheap enough price tag where he does have some upside if Foles does lean on him for shorter passes and volume could certainly be there as well. He’s a nice, cheap way to get exposure in all lineup builds, but especially in lineups where you’re going 5-1 or 4-2 in favor of the Chargers.
Parris Campbell, Alec Pierce, Ashton Dulin, WR, Indianapolis Colts
A big mystery ahead of tonight’s game will be which secondary pass catcher for the Colts emerges behind Michael Pittman. It could be Jelani Woods or Deon Jackson depending on the game flow. But a lot of people will be dying to know which of these pass catchers has the most chemistry with Nick Foles. I have no idea, but we’ll look to gain that edge closer to lineup lock later this afternoon. Personally, I like how Alec Pierce has been trending. In his last four games, he has had two performances with at least eight targets. I’m also of the mindset that this season is a wash for the Colts. It’s over. Why not try and get a look at your second-round draft pick and see what you’ve really got? He is very cheap and has a double-digit fantasy point upside.
Campbell and Dulin are okay options as well, but with how they’ve trended recently, I just don’t know if there’s much of an effort to get them the ball. The change at quarterback could improve their fortunes, but I’m not holding my breath.
DART-THROW DFS BARGAINS
Donald Parham Jr., TE, Los Angeles Chargers
Parham’s been a little beat up and he was out-snapped last week by Tre’ McKitty. However, McKitty has typically been used as a blocker. Parham, on the other hand, returned last week and caught all three of his targets for 35 yards. Parham had a great preseason, but injuries have derailed his season to just three appearances. He’s only $400 on DraftKings, so a couple of catches could lead to him providing value. But given the small sample size, and the fact that he’s so far down the depth chart, this is obviously far from a slam-dunk kind of play.
Mo Alie-Cox, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Kylen Granson is out, so there just leaves Alie-Cox and Jelani Woods as the lone tight ends for Nick Foles tonight. On DraftKings, Alie-Cox is only $200. Let’s say he catches his lone target for maybe ten yards. He’s basically hitting high levels of value right there. If his lone target is caught for a short touchdown? Then he’s probably in the optimal lineup. Ownership likely falls heavily on him because he’s the min price on DK, so let’s just hope he gets some looks from Foles.
Jordan Wilkins, RB, Indianapolis Colts
I wouldn’t recommend going here if only making one lineup. But he’s serving as the third running back for the Colts, mostly for depth. Similar to Alie-Cox he’s the bare minimum price and nobody will play him. Much more exposure will fall on Moss and Jackson (understandably so), and most people needing to punt in this range will play the two guys we just mentioned. Wilkins is purely a leverage play with minimal rostership that you’re hoping gets a goal-line carry for a touchdown. Again, he’s only an option to differentiate lineups if constructing 20+ builds.
We have two Monday Night Football touchdown scorer best bets!
KICKERS AND D/ST’s
I don’t love writing these positions up in-depth for Showdown purposes because they’re always viable and popular salary savers. These are two positions of variance. Generally, with kickers, you’re hoping the offense moves the ball between the 20’s and stalls in the red zone. But that theory changes for Showdowns because if we’re pairing our kicker with our quarterback then we want touchdowns, not field goals. In a game like this with a 45.5-point total, I’m less inclined to play a kicker at captain, which is something I don’t really do to begin with, but I want touchdown upside from my Captains. Both Cameron Dicker and Chase McLaughlin can establish a good floor for their teams and they’re an affordable way to open up salary and still get some fantasy production.
For the D/ST position, I’m likely more inclined to play the Chargers. They’re the favorites, going up against the Colts with their third different quarterback this season, and there’s no Jonathan Taylor. As I say all the time in the NFL DFS D/ST Coach, this is a position of great variance, and a pick-six or a kick return for a touchdown changes the entire slate. The Chargers have just two performances with double-digit fantasy points all year, but they have held their last two opponents to 17 or fewer points and under 300 total yards of offense. The Colts are a good contrarian option. They’re a little beat up on this side of the ball, but even in a game last weekend where they allowed 39 points to the Vikings and gave up 500+ yards of offense, they still put up 23 fantasy points because of a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and a pick-six.
Again, even a horrible fantasy performance is salvaged with a touchdown for this position. I don’t recommend playing either a Kicker or D/ST at MVP/Captain. This game is played in a controlled environment and I don’t think this is a game script that sees either of these positions score well enough to be Captain/MVP.