Last week was bittersweet for me, as I felt like this column hit on many of the top plays last week, but I seemed to pick the wrong guys for my cash games. Oh well, I hope some of you hit on the plays last week and are enjoying the column.
At quarterback, Stafford exploded for easily his best game of the season and Tom Brady was not far behind with 300 yards and three touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdowns but amassed just 255 yards.
Running back happened to have a few landmines. Lacy was apparently hurt (although he was not on the injury report). I’m not sure if he was truly hurt, but instead, out of shape and playing poorly. Needless to say, Starks rolled for ten carries and 112 yards and two touchdowns. Yay, for us picking the right matchup, but the wrong back. Forte nearly tripled his salary and had plenty of chances to do more. Overall, he was a more an excellent play.
At wide receiver, we took a huge hit with Maclin getting a concussion and missing the rest of the game. He is questionable to play this week. DeAndre Hopkins did not disappoint me when I said he was a must-play this week across the board. Hurns and Robinson both had strong games as well.
Both tight and defense was a bit of a mixed bag. Our tight ends all put up moderate scores, but none of them put up amazing numbers. I hope you guys paid up for Denver’s defense, they had a massive game.
Cash Games and Tournaments
In this article, we’ll go position by position in terms of my favorite picks for the week. I also will be mentioning if I like a player more in cash games or tournaments. This is standard daily fantasy lingo and is simple to understand.
Cash games are contests where you have to beat a few other players, such as head-to-head or 50/50 contests. In these games, you only need to beat your opponent or place in the upper half of the field to cash. Cash games could also extend to 3-man contests or triple ups, or even larger contests. In these types of games, we want players who have an excellent floor of points and aren’t necessarily looking for upside (though, it certainly helps).
Tournaments are large field prize pools that consist of hundreds of players to thousands of players. For example, the Week 1 Millionaire Maker has over 500,000 thousand available entries. In large fields, it pays to be more contrarian. For tournaments or GPPs (guaranteed prize pools), we’re looking for players who are lesser-owned and have high upside or ceilings.
In summation, in cash games, we’re looking for high floors and per point value and in tournaments, high ceilings, and low ownership percentages.
Now, onto the plays for Week 7.
Thursday Night Football
The Seahawks head to San Francisco for Thursday Night Football this week in a game that has among the lowest totals of the week. Seattle is -7 favorites and the 49ers have a team total of just over 17.50 points.
There’s not a lot to love in Thursday’s game. One could make the case for Marshawn Lynch, but he has always performed much better at home versus on the road. San Francisco’s defense is one of the worst in the league, but I’m not sure Seattle will have to do much to win this one. They also don’t look their best on offense, so there’s little reason to target Russell Wilson or any of his passing options.
San Francisco is beat up as well, and they are not a team I like to target unless they are facing a destitute defense. The Seahawks have not been dominant this year defensively, but they shouldn’t have any issues putting the clamps down on Colin Kaepernick.
I would fade this game altogether if you are joining Thursday contests, but there is certainly some merit to playing Seattle’s defense.
The NFL is back in London this week. The “visiting” Bills face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium. Like the Thursday Night game, there’s not a ton I like in this one. It’s once again supposed to be low-scoring, with a total of 42 points. The Bills are -5.5 favorites.
On the Bills side, quarterback Tyrod Taylor may be out again. This gives E.J. Manuel another start. Even at his cheap price tag, I’m not interested. LeSean McCoy looked good coming from injury this week, but the Jaguars run defense continues to go underrated in fantasy circles. Watkins and Harvin are also expected to miss this game. Tight end Charles Clay is the only guy I’m interested in on the Bills’ side as he should hog targets with other passing options injured.
As far as Jacksonville, there isn’t a lot to like. Bortles has been a solid source of points this year because the Jaguars are usually losing, but the Bills boast two of the top cornerbacks in the NFL on the outside. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are both battling injuries but are expected to play. Either way, I’m not particularly interested in them at their price points in a tough matchup.
Cam Newton (FanDuel: $8,100 DraftKings: $6,600)
Cam Newton continues to go under-appreciated in fantasy circles. His price, specifically at DraftKings, is still extremely low. He’s come a long way as a quarterback this season. Especially when you consider he has little outside Olsen in terms of pass catchers.
The Eagles defense has been terrible against the pass this season and their injuries at linebacker have left them vulnerable in the run game as well. While they aren’t running as many plays as they did a year ago, Philadelphia is still top five in the league in plays run per game.
Carolina is playing at home as -3.5 favorites and has a decent team total at almost 25 points. Cam’s rushing ability makes him an option just about every week, but it is particularly enticing against up-tempo opponents.
Carolina’s defense is among the best in the league, and even though the Eagles’ offense has looked terrible as of late, they still have enough weapons to make this one interesting. Newton’s price and matchup make him a top cash game play and his running ability gives him tournament upside nearly every week.
Carson Palmer (FD: $8,200 DK: $6,700)
Carson Palmer is easy my favorite play at the quarterback position this week, for both cash games and tournaments. I’d take a seriously long look at your cash team lineup if it doesn’t include Palmer. His matchup and price are simply too good to ignore, and he is the first guy I would lock in this week when building your cash team.
Baltimore’s defense has been particularly awful this year, especially against the pass. In consecutive games, they have been roasted by Josh McCown and Colin Kaepernick through the air for nearly 750 yards total. However, the good news here is that they have been relatively decent against the run.
The Cardinals prefer to attack through the air and have tons of weapons. Palmer has been outstanding this season and the number one rated quarterback at Pro Football Focus. They also have the highest team total on the board this week at 29 points in a game where they are -10 favorites.
Palmer is in play in both cash games and tournaments based on his extremely low price tag. I would not be shocked to see him throw for four touchdowns and 350 or so yards. He can be stacked with all his receiving options, but John Brown and Michael Floyd offer the most upside to due to their lower prices.
Andrew Luck (FD: $8,900 DK: $7,600)
Andrew Luck finally returned from injury last week against New England. His arm strength looked fine the victory, as he threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Luck also had four rushes for 35 yards. We sometimes forget about Luck’s rushing ability when evaluating him for potential matchups, but he’s had four attempts in every game this season.
Indianapolis heads to the Super Dome as -4.5 favorites against the Saints and a team total just over 28 points in a game with the highest total of the week at 52 points. The dome environment will be familiar to Luck, and I expect a big game from him against a New Orleans defense ranked 32nd in the league according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
Luck’s price point is considerably more than Newton and Palmer, so I might consider him more as a differentiation option in tournaments rather than a top cash game option, but I can’t fault you if you use him there. Stacking him with Hilton or Moncrief in tournaments is one of my favorite tournament stacks this week as well.
Devonta Freeman (FD: $8,700 DK: $7,900)
I’ve been slow to wake up to Freeman’s talent, and that has hurt me the past few weeks. I purposely avoided Thursday contests last week so I would have to deal with the conundrum of deciding whether to roster him. He, of course, had another huge game.
Freeman’s price has finally been rightly adjusted. However, he is still very much in play in cash games in tournaments this week. The Falcons are on the road, but still moderate favorites at -4.5 points. They have a solid team total at 25.50 points as well.
This contest may turn into a blow-up game for Julio Jones, but if we look closer at the statistics – the Titans have struggled mightily against the run. They are just 6th in the league against the pass but are ranked 32nd in DVOA against the run.
The fantasy community has continued to doubt Freeman and his talent level. He’s surely benefited from a vastly improved Falcons’ offensive line, but if you’ve watched this guy play – he is hitting the holes quickly and is an elite pass-catcher out of the backfield.
He’s always apart of the game plan, regardless of game flow and is one of my favorite options this week in both cash games and tournaments.
Todd Gurley (FD: $7,400 DK: $5,000)
Todd Gurley is the chalkiest play that you will find this week, but it’s going to be tough for me to fade him in either cash games or tournaments. He is supremely underpriced at DraftKings, and there is no way that he won’t find himself in 90% or more of my lineups.
Gurley checks off the boxes we need for a top running back play: He’s at home in a game where his team is -6 favorites. He’s coming off a 30 touch game against a tougher run defense. The Browns’ rush defense is ranked 31st in DVOA coming into this week.
There is no reason to get cute or over think this one. Get Gurley into your lineups across the board.
Latavius Murray (FD: $7,000 DK: $6,100)
Speaking of targeting poor rush defenses, Latavius Murray is mid-tier running back that few are talking about this week after he notched back-to-back subpar games against Denver and Chicago. A benching and game flow hurt in those contests, but Murray gets perhaps best matchup of the year this week against Chargers terrible rush defense.
They are right there with Cleveland and Tennessee in rushing defense DVOA at 30th in the league. Murray might be better suited for tournaments this week, but he’s an elite option in large field contests with so much attention being given to other running backs.
Oakland is +3.5 on the road, but they still have a team total of over 21 points. Murray plays well in the passing game too.. He is averaging 3.4 catches per game this season, so he’s not going to be phased out of the game if the Raiders get behind.
Willie Snead (FD: $6,500 DK: $4,300)
Snead is a guy I like a little more on DraftKings based on his price point, but he’s definitely in play at both sites due to his matchup. New Orleans are underdogs at home against the Colts, but still have a healthy team total at about 24 points in a game they should be trailing.
Snead lines up in the slot and on the left side of the formation, so he should steer clear of Colts’ shutdown cornerback, Vontae Davis. Snead’s targets have been consistent each week and even with Marques Colston returning from injury, I think he has a big game. He should square off mostly against Colts cornerback, Greg Toler, who is one of the worst CBs in the league according to PFF.
DeAndre Hopkins (FD: $9,200 DK: $8,600)
I mentioned in my column last week that Hopkins was a must-play at his price point last week. I’m not sure I would put him in that category this week, but he is awfully close, especially after Cecil Shorts was ruled out earlier this week.
Hopkins’ targets rates are at historical levels. He’s facing a Miami that is 25th against the pass, and he may avoid top Dolphins’ cornerback, Brent Grimes. I personally don’t care if Grimes shadows Hopkins all game. He can easily beat Grimes and with the targets he is receiving, he has the potential to put a game similar to last week.
Antonio Brown (FD: $8,300 DK: $7,900) and Martavis Bryant (FD: $6,900 DK: $4,700)
Both Brown and Bryant are under-priced on DraftKings for a cupcake matchup against a Chiefs defense that funnels towards the pass. Bryant is extremely cheap on DK, and deserves consideration for both cash games and tournaments on DraftKings.
The quarterback situation for the Steelers is still in flux, but it looks as if Ben Roethlisberger has a real shot to play in Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. If Big Ben suits up, I love Antonio Brown as an elite play in both cash games and tournaments.
No one in the Chiefs secondary can come close to covering Brown and with his price dropping to $7900 on DraftKings – he’s severely discounted. You’re getting a player should be around $9,000 in an elite matchup.
Travis Kelce (FD: $6,000 DK: $4,900)
Kelce has all the talent in the world, but Andy Reid continues not to give him enough targets. That should change this week with the Chiefs being underdogs to the Steelers, Jamaal Charles out for the season and Jeremy Maclin unlikely to play due to suffering a concussion last week.
Pittsburgh’s defense has improved this season, particularly against the run, but they do struggle against tight ends. Kelce is a matchup problem for any defense. He should see at least eight targets this week. I like him more as a tournament option, but I could see making playing him in cash games because of his cheap price.
Antonio Gates (FD: $5,800 DK: $5,000)
Gates came off his suspension with a vengeance. He exploded for two touchdowns against the Steelers in Week 5 and grabbed nine catches for 95 yards last week. He is still way under-priced on both DK and FD.
He’s easily my favorite tight end play for cash games and tournaments. The matchup against the Raiders simply can’t get any better. They are last in the league in defending the tight end, and Rivers will be looking for Gates more than anyone else in the red zone.
Delanie Walker (FD: $5,500 DK: $3,900)
I like Delanie Walker a little bit more if Marcus Mariota can’t go this week. Backup Zach Mettenberger had a strong connection with him last season, and the Titans will almost certainly be playing from behind in this one.
With that said, he’s still just a tournament play in my eyes, regardless of who suits up this week for the Titans at quarterback. I love him as a guy to separate yourself from those playing Gates and Kelce.
St. Louis Rams (FD: $4,500 DK: $2,400)
The Rams are a value at both sites but are grossly underpriced at DraftKings. I love pairing Gurley with the St. Louis defense. It’s a move I will be making with the vast majority of lineups. The Browns should not be feared offensively, and the price is way too cheap regardless. Don’t over think this one. Get the Rams defense into your lineups in all formats.
Arizona Cardinals (FD: $5,100 DK: $3,600)
Other than the Rams, the Cardinals probably have the best matchup against a Ravens’ team that is short on weapons, even with Forsett and Smith Sr. healthy. Baltimore is projected to score 19 pts. The Cardinals should have no issues scoring and should be able to tee off on Flacco in the second half and force turnovers.
Feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@JosephFalchetti) with questions, concerns, or opinions on this week’s games and plays. Good Luck in Week 7!
Author: Joseph Falchetti (twitter)
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