DFS Player Pool Week 7
And we’re back. The insanity that was Week 5 was never going to last, and 300+ point lineups were not in play in Week 6. Cash lines were way down and last week was all about hitting value on the mid-tier and value plays. There are definitely some tasty matchups on the main slate this week, and the best value seems to be in the mid-range again. With the overall player pool down to its lowest amount of players yet this week, so roster selection will be tough. Luckily, the player pool is here to help guide and possibly educate. Best of luck, and onto the DFS Player Pool Week 7.
DFS Player Pool Week 7
Deshaun Watson, $7,000, @ IND
After getting hit constantly the first four weeks of the season, Watson has not been sacked for two weeks now. It’s no coincidence that the three games Watson has had the lowest time from snap to throw he’s had his best fantasy results. In Weeks 1, 5, and 6 he was at 2.73 seconds or faster, and scored an average of 35.95 points. The Texans worked on getting the ball into his receivers’ hands faster, and the results have been great. Look for that trend to continue, and the Colts don’t have the personnel to pressure consistently. On the season, they have the 3rd lowest hurry percentage and the 7th lowest pressure percentage (per Pro Football Reference).
While Watson’s ceiling might not be as high this week, he is a safe bet for solid production. Given his position as QB1 in the pricing for the main slate and the matchups other cheaper QBs are facing, Watson’s ownership will be down quite a bit this week compared to last. Manage the expectations; he remains a valuable cash play due to his high floor. But few can touch his upside if things escalate in this matchup. Given the state of Houston’s and Indianapolis’ secondaries, this game looks primed to go way over.
Kyler Murray, $6,700, @ NYG
Rising up the DFS ranks, Murray’s price has increased for the sixth week in a row. Coming off his best game as a professional, the air raid finally seems primed to fulfill its promise. Christian Kirk remains questionable, but Murray should have the rest of his WR corp, as well as David Johnson, to target in this game. The Las Vegas odds have this game as a solid potential shootout, with a game total at 50 and trending up. New York currently allows the 5th most points per game to QBs, and the Cardinals are close by at 3rd. This isn’t cheap, but it is a very safe floor and a solidly high ceiling as well.
Josh Allen, $6,500, MIA
Nothing Miami has done this season should give any pause from a matchup standpoint. John Brown and Cole Beasley are in great positions. Old man Frank Gore is still chugging along. Even Devin Singletary has returned from injury and could put up solid numbers against the tanking Dolphins. There is one major risk factor here for Josh Allen, and that is the Buffalo run game. But, with as generous as Miami has been, ranking 2nd, 3rd, and 13th in points per game allowed to RBs, QBs, and WRs, respectively, there will plenty of scoring to go around. Allen has a safe floor due to his rushing ability. His turnover risk is mitigated by the fact that Miami offers little in the way of a pass rush. They are currently tied for last in sacks (5), QB hits (15), and tackles for a loss (9). Buffalo TEs are more likely to spend time in the backfield than any Dolphins defender.
Jared Goff, $6,200, @ ATL
Definitely, the optics of throwing Jared Goff into a lineup are tough. But, right now, there are only a few defenses more fantasy friendly than the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have allowed the fifth most passing yards and only Arizona and Miami have worse TD/INT ratios as a defense. The offense of the Rams might still be down Todd Gurley and his backup Malcolm Brown by game time. Meaning the passing offense might have to carry the day. Injuries have forced coach Sean McVay and his offense to alter tendencies, but this should serve to help, ultimately. Incorporating in TE Gerald Everett more can help ease the burden felt by LA’s excellent trio of WRs. The recent poor performance of Goff should help offset any boost in ownership Atlanta brings. There is real risk here, but not enough to justify a full fade.
Gardner Minshew, $5,400, @ CIN
Right back to the well with Gardner. The Bengals are going to be missing both of their starting CBs this week and are staring down the barrel of a full tank. Leonard Fournette is set to smash in this matchup, but his success should only help soften up coverage for Minshew. There is obviously some risk here, but Minshew is still averaging 17.2 points per game, even after putting up a 5.62 dud against the Saints last week. His disappointing showing should help drive ownership down, so there is also that. If you’re looking for roughly 18 points and salary relief, Minshew is the play.
Dalvin Cook, $8,000, @ DET
Do not be one of the people avoiding Cook after his worst game of the season. There were several factors heading into the Eagles game that seemed to be working against Cook. While he has looked matchup-proof at times, the Vikings determination to keep their two star WRs happy is the most legitimate threat to Dalvin’s continued DFS dominance. The Lions’ defense certainly isn’t going to have the same level of success Stefon Diggs and the Philly secondary did in containing Cook.
Even though Detroit has faced only two top 12 rushing units (in terms of rushing offense DVOA), they are allowing 133.8 yards per game. In every game this season, they have allowed at least 112 yards. Their best game so far was against Arizona in Week 1, when the Cardinals were playing in a negative game script for almost the entire second half of the game. Last week saw Jamaal Williams power through the Detroit front seven, gaining consistent yardage. Cook is the best back this defense has faced up to this point, and he will only add to the 31 points per game the Lions are surrendering.
Leonard Fournette, $7,000, @ CIN
There really isn’t too much to read into this play. Fournette will likely be one of the chalkiest plays of Week 7. Even as the likely highest owned RB, he offers a floor and ceiling combination that is untouchable. He has had 20+ touches every week since Week 3, and has seen 20+ carries each of the last three. His involvement in the passing game is legit, and he has passed DFS deity Chrisitan McCaffrey for most RB routes run this season (yes, because of bye weeks, but still…). Currently, he is tied for 2nd on the team in receptions, behind only DJ Chark.
Defensively, Cincinnati has several shortcomings. They lead the league in rushing yards allowed, rushing TDs against, and yards per carry. Tackling is a secondary option for them as they also allow the most yards before and after contact. At 180+ yards per game, and accounting for Fournette’s 76.3% rushing yards share, he projects to 141+ yards, just on the ground. This is THE best matchup he will likely see all year.
Chris Carson, $6,500, vs. BAL
So far the main theme of the DFS player pool running back stable is volume. That continues here with Carson. Just a few weeks ago, Carson was on the verge of losing the starting job due to his ball security issues. Now, three turnover-free games and one Rashaad Penny injury later, and Carson has resumed his workhorse status. Penny has returned but has not impacted Carson in any way. In back to back weeks, he has logged 28 touches, and the rush attempts have been at least 22 the last three. Now, he faces a Ravens defense that is banged up and more vulnerable to the run than the numbers might suggest.
Baltimore has held up well against bad offenses with poor running games. Cincinnati, Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Miami were all held to under 100 yards rushing as a team. All of those teams, except for Pittsburgh, had long stretches of negative game scripts dictating the play calling. Seattle can follow the Cleveland Browns example to feature their RB and control the clock. LeSean McCoy, Nick Chubb, and James Connor all scored TDs against this defense. McCoy and Chubb scored multiple. An upright offensive line and a solid back are all that is necessary to run on Baltimore. Carson more than fits that description.
Jamaal Williams, $4,900, vs. OAK
One of the easiest places to find consistent volume is from the previous week’s Monday Night Football participants. Williams and his teammate Allen Lazard are two clear examples. After an early fumble and a bad drop, backup running back Jamaal Williams was given some extra work. He turned in his best performance since Week 12 in 2012. Looking strong and decisive in his 14 carries, totaling 104 yards, he also mixed in 4 receptions for an additional 32 yards and a TD. This season was supposed to see Aaron Jones ascend to RB1 status, but inconsistency, injury, and ineffectiveness have conspired to force a full-on running back by committee.
As more Packers appear on the injury report, the offense will be forced to adapt. Top WR Davante Adams is out. Geronimo Allison is doubtful. Fellow WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling is questionable and likely a game-time decision. The best option to move the ball given their personnel is with the running game. Jones and Williams should see enough volume to have a reasonable value. This aligns nicely with their opponent, the Oakland Raiders, who tend to push fantasy production to opposing RBs and TEs.
Cooper Kupp, $7,400, @ ATL
Few fantasy defenses can raise an opponents offense like the Falcons. After a terrible week against a tough San Francisco defense, Kupp and the Rams face a near-polar opposite in Atlanta. Kupp had the worst game of his season and was held to single-digit fantasy points for the first time since he tore his ACL last year. So far this season, Atlanta is allowing the fourth-most points per game to WRs, and have been especially generous the last two weeks.
Just two weeks ago, Will Fuller went bananas against the Falcons secondary for the first 50+ point day in almost two years. Last week, they allowed Kyler Murray to have a career day. He spread the ball around to the tune of 340 yards and 3 TDs and letting Julio Jones eclipse 100 yards. This secondary is getting burned by everyone, making Jared Goff’s security blanket one of the safest bets in DFS this week. Even after his disastrous 6 target, 4 reception day, Kupp leads the league in targets and is 8 receptions behind league leader Michael Thomas. Fire him up in all formats, just know that the ownership will be high.
T.Y. Hilton, $5,900, vs. HOU
With a couple of weeks to get healthy, Hilton is ready to go against Houston at home. As his health has improved, the Texans secondary’s health has declined. Cornerbacks Jonathan Joseph and Bradley Roby are questionable after they were both limited in practice all week. Safety Tashaun Gipson was downgraded from a full participant on Wednesday to limited the rest of the week and is also questionable to play. Even with ideal conditions, Hilton is capable of taking the top off a defense. Now he faces a depleted secondary that was already allowing the 3rd most receptions and TDs to WRs and the 7th most yards. With the state of the Colts’ defense, simply relying on the run game might not be an option for long against Watson and the Texans. Expect fireworks, and Hilton will be front and center.
Kenny Golladay, $5,800, vs. MIN
Babytron has somewhat quietly put together an excellent season. Going through his game log shows one very bad game which is likely to drive down the perception of Golladay: the 3.7 point outing against the fantasy-friendly Eagles secondary. Around that game, though, he has had 20+ points in 3 out of 4. He has been especially outstanding in the red zone and is tied for the league lead in red zone targets. Oddly, his pricing has not kept pace with his recent production, having actually dropped $200 despite back to back 20+ point games. Getting Golladay affords top receiver upside for possession receiver pricing.
As for his matchup, Minnesota has not been as stout defensively as last year. They fall into the Baltimore and Jacksonville fantasy defense category of “better name recognition than production.” The Vikings allow the 15th most points per game to opposing WRs, likely higher than might be anticipated. He makes for a nice, low ownership pivot from Hilton or other similarly priced WRs like Larry Fitzgerald or Robert Woods.
Golden Tate, $5,800, vs. ARI
After missing the first 4 weeks of the season to suspension, Tate has made himself an important part of the Giants’ offense. With 15 targets in two games, Tate has fallen right in line as the possession receiver and veteran leader for this receiver group. This week, Sterling Shepard has already been ruled out, and Evan Engram is likely to still be bothered by his knee. Tate will be the top WR in a game with high volume expectations, given the pace of play of the Cardinals. With Patrick Peterson back, he should be fixed on outside threat Darius Slayton, allowing Tate to work in space underneath. Safeties will have to account for Engram and Saquon Barkley, giving Tate ample room. Heading into Week 7, the Cardinals have given up the 10th most receptions and 11th most yards to WRs. He will be the top healthy option for the Giants offense this week, and he will look to build on his 25.2 point performance against the New England Patriots last week.
Allen Lazard, $3,000, vs. OAK
Viable, minimum priced options rarely become available but this week is the exception. Due to a glut of injuries, Lazard finds himself very high on the depth chart for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders. As stated above (see the Jamaal Williams section), Adams is out, Allison is doubtful, and Valdes-Scantling is a GTD. Lazard could be a WR1, or more likely a WR2. His QB asked for him by name, before producing a 4/65/1 receiving line, and looking like an experienced part of the GB offense. The ownership will be very high, but the salary freedom will allow for lots of upside. And Oakland’s 8th most generous defense to WRs will keep his floor reasonable. Don’t overthink this if you are looking to save some significant salary.
Evan Engram, $6,500, vs. ARI
The chalk play of the week at TE, this is a dream matchup of talent and opponent. Arizona has been historically bad against the TE so far this year. Currently, there are only 4 players that score more points per game than the Cardinals allow to TEs (Lamar Jackson, Matt Ryan, Deshaun Watson, and Russell Wilson). Plug and play.
Hunter Henry, $4,000, @ TEN
One week was all it took for everyone to remember why everyone loves Hunter Henry. A monster 33 point outing against the Steelers puts Henry right back on the fantasy radar. Tennessee isn’t as generous against the TE as Pittsburgh, but the one top 10 TE they faced gouged them. Austin Hooper dropped a 9/130 day on them on 11 targets. That level of production is within reach for Henry. The main thing capping his ceiling is the volume, as Tennessee could be down early with new starting QB Ryan Tannehill running the offense. Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler running out the game could limit Henry here. Proceed with caution, but this is still relatively safe.
Dawson Knox, $3,300, vs. MIA
Buffalo draws the tank job matchup this week. With reports uncertain about the game time status of top receiver John Brown, Knox becomes a little more interesting. If Brown is out it helps Knox step up in the rotation behind Cole Beasley for targets. QB Josh Allen has favored the WRs early on, but Zay Jones is gone and only TJ Yeldon also has double-digit targets. Yeldon’s also likely to see more bench time with Devin Singletary set to return from injury. Miami is allowing the 10th most points per game to TEs, and the play volume will definitely be there for Buffalo. Knox has averaged 4 targets each of his last four games and has been getting worked more and more into the offense. There isn’t a super high ceiling here, but the TD potential is real, and his salary doesn’t require much production to yield a solid return.