Week 16 Friday and Saturday MKF Picks



It is late December and that means more days with NFL action. As an appetizer for Week 16, there is one Friday game on Christmas Day and a couple of games on Saturday. Monkey Knife Fight has lots of ways for you to play and win.

It has been an uneven season for the Minnesota Vikings, though it could have ended differently. They were 6-6 but have since dropped back-to-back games heading into this week’s matchup with New Orleans.

The Saints are 10-4, one game behind the Green Bay Packers for the best record in the NFC. It’s remarkable that they have been so successful despite injuries to quarterback Drew Brees and star receiver Michael Thomas.

Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won back-to-back games to move to 9-5 for the season. It hasn’t always been a smooth path but when the Bucs are playing well, they can compete with the best teams in the league.

The Detroit Lions are 5-9, definitely not one of the best teams in the league, and they host the Buccaneers. Head coach Darrell Bevell can’t coach this week due to Covid-19 protocols so that doesn’t help matters.

In the second game on Saturday, the San Francisco 49ers are in Arizona. It’s been a disastrous season for the 49ers from the get-go, with injuries to key players a constant theme throughout the season and they have now lost six of seven games to leave them with a 5-9 record.

The Arizona Cardinals started strong, slumped, and now they appear to be rebounding late in the season. The Cardinals still have something to play for, unlike the Niners.

Here are some props to consider for the early Week 16 NFL action on Monkey Knife Fight.

🏈 MINNESOTA-NEW ORLEANS

More or Less

Drew Brees LESS THAN 260.5 PASSING YARDS

Brees returned to action last week and threw for 234 yards despite completing just 15 passes. The Vikings pass defense has improved, allowing fewer than 260 passing yards in five of the past seven contests.

Kirk Cousins LESS THAN 253.5 PASSING YARDS

Although Cousins has had some passing success, throwing for more than 253 yards in five of the past six games, the Saints defense is daunting. They held Patrick Mahomes, who is not Kirk Cousins, to 254 yards on 47 passes last week, and held five of the previous six quarterbacks to less than 250 yards.

Dalvin Cook MORE THAN 86.5 RUSHING YARDS

Cook has been outstanding for the Vikings this season and has run for more than 86 yards in seven of the past eight games. At the same time, only three running backs have rushed for more than 86 yards against the Saints and two of them rushed for 88 and 89. But, Kansas City running backs had 146 yards on the ground against the Saints last week, it just so happened that they had a more balanced attack (due to a Clyde Edwards-Helaire injury) than should be expected from Minnesota.

Rapidfire

Justin Jefferson -7.5 receiving yards vs. Adam Thielen

Jefferson is having one of the best rookie seasons ever for a receiver, averaging 84.4 receiving yards per game, and is going back to Louisiana, where he starred in college at LSU. Thielen is a reliable veteran receiver and although he has scored 13 touchdowns in 13 games, he has averaged just 59.8 receiving yards per game.

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🏈 TAMPA BAY-DETROIT

More or Less

Tom Brady LESS THAN 305.5 PASSING YARDS

Brady’s season has been fine, more productive than his last couple of years in New England, but he’s averaging 277.6 passing yards per game and has had five games with more than 305 passing yards. The Lions aren’t good but only three quarterbacks have thrown for more than 305 yards against them. Sometimes losing has its very specific advantages.

Matthew Stafford MORE THAN 270.5 PASSING YARDS

Stafford is averaging 269.6 yards per game this season, so this is close and Tampa Bay has surrendered more than 350 yards in three of the past four games. That might be enough of an opening for Stafford, who is nursing thumb and rib injuries, to still have a productive game.

Mike Evans LESS THAN 68.5 RECEIVING YARDS

Evans had 110 receiving yards last week but that only the fourth time this season that he had more than 68 receiving yards. However, the Lions have allowed 16 different wide receivers to accrue more than 68 receiving yards against them this season, so it’s possible, it just doesn’t have to be Evans.

Marvin Jones MORE THAN 5.5 RECEPTIONS

With Kenny Golladay out, Jones becomes a bigger part of the Lions offense, with six or more catches in four of the past six games. He also has double-digit targets in those four games. If the Lions are losing, and they probably will be, Jones should get plenty of targets again.

Rapidfire

Leonard Fournette -3.5 rushing yards vs. D’Andre Swift

Swift does face a difficult matchup against Tampa Bay’s run defense, a unit that has allowed two running backs to rush for 50 yards in a game this season. The two running backs? Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey. So, it could be a tough day for Swift. Fournette has had one game all season with more than 52 rushing yards but he is expected to be the lead back for Tampa Bay in this game and the Lions have allowed 14 different runners to gain more than 50 yards on the ground this season. Consider this a vote for the Tampa Bay run defense more than anything.

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🏈 SAN FRANCISCO-ARIZONA

MORE OR LESS

Kyler Murray LESS THAN 260.5 PASSING YARDS

Murray is amazing when he’s on but has been up and down at times during the season. The 49ers, for as much as they’ve struggled, have allowed fewer than 260 passing yards in four of the past five games.

C.J. Beathard MORE THAN 209.5 PASSING YARDS

This may be a swerve because Beathard is a third-string quarterback but he’s a third-string quarterback who has some experience. In 10 starts, he has thrown for more than 209 yards in six of them. This season, 10 quarterbacks have passed for at least 210 yards against the Cardinals, including Jalen Hurts, who threw for 347 yards against them last week.

Rapidfire

DeAndre Hopkins -11.5 receiving yards vs. Brandon Aiyuk

Aiyuk has been really impressive as a rookie for a 49ers team that has run into trouble at virtually every position all season and he’s put up 66.6 receiving yards per game. Hopkins is at another level, though. With back-to-back games over 130 receiving yards, he is up to 94.6 receiving yards per game for the season.

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*The numbers in this article are subject to change at anytime leading up to kick-off of each respective game*

Scott Cullen

Scott is a sportswriter with a focus on analytics, rankings, fantasy. Even though he’s Canadian, his interests and analysis extend a wee bit beyond hockey and maple syrup. Eh?