The neverending quest to play cheap quarterbacks continues again this week! With another extremely tight salary cap on DraftKings, I’ll be looking to find any savings that I can get, and the first place I look to do so is at quarterback. In Week 7, that will be TyGod Taylor, Brett Hundley, and C.J. Beathard. With very little value to love at running back and wide receiver, I’ll certainly be getting one of these three guys into my cash game lineup. Taylor is shaping up to be the safest of the three options, as he typically performs better at home, where he faces Tampa Bay this week. At home, TyGod has thrown 16 of his career 23 passing touchdowns, and faces a Buccaneers’ defense that has given up top six quarterback finishes to Case Keenum, Eli Manning, and Carson Palmer. His floor is boosted by his rushing upside, but I believe we need to keep expectations of his ceiling in check. I’ll be honest, Brett Hundley did not look good in mop-up duty against the Vikings last week after Aaron Rodgers was forced to leave the game with a broken collarbone. However, with a week of practice and preparation for this New Orleans Saints defense, in a game in which Green Bay is a sizable underdog, I like Hundley’s chances of achieving value for fantasy purposes. Whereas Tyrod Taylor is working with a limited amount of skill players, Hundley has a sizable amount. Rolling out Hundley by himself, or with slot receiver Jordy Nelson is my preference this week for cash games and tournaments. While the Saints defense is better than people expected them to be, they’re still a middle of the road defense with a decent pass rush, but can still be exploited through the middle of the field. With Hundley’s rushing upside, I think he’s a great play for his price this week. Rounding out the value tier, I think C.J. Beathard will fly under the radar in today’s afternoon tilt against the Cowboys. Coming in slightly cheaper on both DraftKings and FanDuel, you can roll with Beathard in either your cash games or tournaments on either site. With San Francisco projected as nearly a touchdown underdog, I’m expecting we see upwards of 40 pass attempts for Beathard, and anticipate a significant amount of those to go to college teammate George Kittle.
If you’re playing on FanDuel, you have access to Sunday Night Football on the main slate. I’m paying up for Tom Brady in cash games and tournaments. The Falcons currently have the 22nd DVOA against the pass, and generating very little pressure on the quarterback, and now get to face a red hot Tom Brady. He’s a smash play. On the other side of the field, it’s do-or-die time for the struggling Matt Ryan. The Patriots will offer what is likely to be Ryan’s best matchup of the season, as they’ve failed to contain a quarterback from throwing for over 300 passing yards in any game so far this season. Needless to say, I’ll be loading up on this game on FanDuel, and all across the afternoon/primetime slates on DraftKings. Furthermore, Marcus Mariota appears to be near 100% after practicing in full this weekend, and finally restoring some mobility that makes his game so great. Against the Browns this weekend, he makes for a great contrarian tournament option to pay up for. Rounding out quarterback, Dak Prescott is in a great spot against a 49ers team that is allowing the most plays to opposing offenses. Considering that the sites jacked his price through the roof in anticipating of the Cowboys being without Zeke Elliott, I expect there to be minimal ownership here and that will make him a fantastic play in tournaments.
Welcome to LeSean McCoy chalk week! No running back has gained more traction in Week 7 than Shady. In a matchup as a home favorite against a Bucs defense that just revitalized Adrian Peterson’s career, I expect Shady to continue to be the focal point of this offense and remain heavily involved in the passing game. He’s currently leading the Bills in targets and there’s no reason to expect anything different this week. Failing to find the end zone so far this season, as well, I expect some positive regression to be coming McCoy’s way. He’s a near cash game lock and great play in tournaments. While the narrative exists that Lev Bell doesn’t score touchdowns at home, he’s a tremendous way to spend your salary this week in either format. The Bengals have a legitimate pass defense even despite the absence of Pacman Jones this week, and OC Todd Haley *should* feed his bellcow running back the football this week. Bell has 30+ touch upside and is heavily involved in the passing game. Although he wasn’t initially projected to play this week, Zeke Elliott is in a tremendous spot on the road in San Francisco against the 49ers team that gives up the most plays per game to opposing offenses. Dallas loves to run the ball and control the clock whenever they can, and this should be a spot where they can execute that gameplan. San Francisco has lost it’s last 5 games by a total of 13 points, so if they’re able to keep this game close, we could see a massive workload for Elliott which makes him incredibly appealing for daily fantasy. While he’s not going to crack my cash game teams or first run of tournament lineups, I think I’m a little too low on Todd Gurley’s outlook against the Rams this weekend. He should be considerably low owned in a game that he should be featured.
Outside of the top three studs, there’s a bunch of running backs that I find to be muddied together. Melvin Gordon has been an absolute monster the pass two weeks but now faces a difficult matchup against the Denver Broncos run defense. Due to his passing game involvement, I like him on PPR scoring sites for tournaments, and he’s bound to go underowned…again. The Adrian Peterson trade appears to have helped both Arizona and New Orleans, as Mark Ingram tookt he reins of this Saints running attack last week. We’re all well aware of New Orleans’ road woes, and I expect Sean Payton to feed Ingram the football in a game they’re favored by nearly a touchdown. As of writing this on Sunday morning, there’s a heavy amount of rain projected for Lambeau Field today, which makes the run game options for New Orleans even more attractive. Alvin Kamara is a fantastic tournament pivot off of Ingram. Jordan Howard should be in line for a massive workload against the Panthers at home. Carolina will be without stud linebacker Luke Kuechly which adds to the appeal of Howard’s matchup. Tournaments only for me. Finally, the running back who is certainly to gain the most traction on Sunday…Chris Ivory. It’s been reported overnight that the Jaguars are expecting to be without stud Leonard Fournette against the Colts this week, which makes Ivory very appealing for a cheap price. The Colts have a somewhat stingy run defense, but Ivory is a solid pass-catching back who figures to be in line for 15-20 carries and a handful of targets.
As usual in a passing oriented league, there are plenty of solid options at wide receiver this week. Michael Thomas is set to be one of, if not the highest owned wide receiver on the board in a gorgeous matchup against Green Bay who has simply been unable to contain opposing WR1’s. Thomas’ 4 catch, 41 yard performance last week is among the worst of his young career, and I expect New Orleans to feed him the ball to the tune of double-digit targets. He’s a lock and load cash play for me this week. On FanDuel, I’m going to continue riding the wave with Julio Jones. It’s a dream matchup against the Patriots and I expect this is the week that he finally finds the end zone. Cash game and tournament option for me. As always, Antonio Brown is in play. He’s smashing the NFL in targets accrued, and now gets a home matchup against a Bengals defense who will be without Adam Jones. If you check Brown’s career numbers against Cincinatti, you’ll see that he’s been held in check, thanks in most part to Adam Jones coverage. Great tournament play. On the other side of this game, A.J. Green is another fantastic tournament option. Since Bill Lazor took over as offensive coordinator, Green has a touchdown in 3 straight game, and he’s averaging 11 targets and 121 receiving yards in those games.
Sliding into the mid-tier, I remain confident that Jordy Nelson will still be peppered with targets in Brett Hundley’s first start. I expect Jordy to be moving around the field and mostly avoiding the coverage of stud cornerback Marshon Lattimore. With a depressed price due to the injury to Aaron Rodgers, I think Jordy is a great pairing in a stack with Brett Hundley. No DeVante Parker again this week means that Jarvis Landry’s target project should continue to be through the roof against the Jets. I prefer him on PPR sites, as he’s never been the player to be targeted down the field or break off from tackles for a long touchdown. Currently 6th in the NFL in total targets, Pierre Garcon gets a great matchup against the Cowboys secondary in a game that should see San Francisco throwing throughout. Garcon has also garnered 5 red zone targets on the season, so while he’s a better play in PPR formats, I think he’s playable on a .5 PPR site like FanDuel, also. A wide receiver who should be widely popular this week is Demaryius Thomas. In the absence of Emmanuel Sanders, I expect that Thomas will be seeing all of the targets that he can handle. However, DT was hobbling around a little bit on Sunday night against the Giants, and does face a difficult matchup against Charger cornerback Casey Hayward. While he’s struggled on the season, Hayward is a cornerback that I respect and could create some problems for Thomas this week. Thomas’ price is low across the industry and has to be considered for both cash games and tournaments.
One of the main reasons that I’m finding it essential to pay down at quarterback on DraftKings this week is the lack of value at the wide receiver position. I’ll be doing my best to play as many receivers from the mid-range and upward in my lineups this weekend, but if I’m taking a shot on any of the value, it’s going to be with either Rishard Matthews or Eric Decker. Yes, they both play for the same team. Yes, as of this writing, Delanie Walker looks like he’s going to be giving it a go against the Browns. Decker is considerably cheaper on DraftKings at just $4,300, hauled in 9 targets last week, and finally appears to be getting on the same page with Marcus Mariota. He’s involved in the red zone and has the better of the wide receiver matchups if Jason McCourty plays and covers Matthews. On FanDuel, Matthews is only $400 more than Decker, and at $5,500, will be the preferred play at WR3 if I’m going down into this price range.
It’s hard to believe that I’m about to write up my third option from the San Francisco 49ers, but here we are. Coming it at just $3,600 on DraftKings and $4,800 on FanDuel, George Kittle is one of my favorite value plays at any position. I don’t expect Kittle to fly under the radar this week, as it’s becoming well known that Kittle spent all four years of his college career at Iowa playing alongside quarterback C.J. Beathard. Kittle has racked up 17 targets in the last two weeks, played on 92% of the offensive snaps, and should be a go-to look for Beathard in his first career NFL start. Tight end is surprisingly deep this week, as there are a number of other options I like. I don’t think it’s a crazy strategy to go double tight end on DraftKings this week due to the lack of value options elsewhere. Hunter Henry is finally leaving Antonio Gates in the dust. 15 targets in the last two weeks and now he gets what appears to be the friendliest matchup for Charger pass catchers against the vaunted Denver secondary. While they have excellent cornerbacks, Denver remains vulnerable over the middle of the field, and I anticipate that Henry will be able to absorb a high volume of targets this week. Very cheap across the industry, too. While I have yet to mention a player from the Seattle/NY Giants game, I’m a fan of both tight ends here. Jimmy Graham gets the ideal matchup here against a Giants defense that has notoriously been slaughtered by the position each week of the season. Coming out of their bye, Graham should be as healthy as he’s been this season, and could be in line for a massive game. Despite being the lone talented player in the Giants receiving corps, Evan Engram remains underpriced for his likely role in the offense this week. While the matchup isn’t ideal against Seattle, Engram should continue to see targets funneled his way, and remain heavily involved in the red zone.
On FanDuel, of course you want to consider Rob Gronkowski. He’s my favorite of the Patriot pass catching options and he’s always a threat to find the end zone for multiple scores. I love him in stacks with Brady, and including him as a one-off tight end play.
Minnesota is at home against Joe Flacco who has thrown for 8 interceptions through 6 games. They’re cheap, they’ve generated 16 sacks on the season, and they’re sizable home favorites. Solid play for both cash games and tournaments. Going further down, I’m in love with the Chargers spot at “home” against the Denver Broncos who have a banged up offensive line and catch Trevor Siemian coming into this game a little hobbled after being beat up by the New York Giants last Sunday night. The defensive line of Ingram and Bosa could give Denver fits today. The Rams have 20 sacks on the season and now travel to London to face the ageless wonder that is Carson Palmer. Arizona has an atrocious offensive line and they’ve traveled very poorly so far to start the season. Finally, the Bills #1 ranked defense gets to face banged up Jameis Winston at home. Practice reports indicate that Winston is throwing with reduced velocity after exiting last week’s game against Arizona. Great correlation play with LeSean McCoy.
Hard to believe that we’re already in Week 7! Season is flying by. Overall, a pretty ugly slate of games. It’s a week like this that I’m incredibly sour that DraftKings made the move to eliminate Sunday Night Football from the main slate contests. The Patriots/Falcons game should feature an unbelievable amount of offense and I’ll be loading up on FanDuel and in the primetime slates. With DraftKings’ tight pricing, I think it’s imperative to pay down at quarterback, and use your salary to lock in the best plays at running back and wide receiver.
Best of luck in your contests this week, and stay sharp out there.
You can find me on Twitter @_ryanpaulsen for more DFS nonsense.