Cost Efficiency Breakdown: DraftKings Week 7

A look into the smart DraftKings Week 7 plays in terms of cost efficiency. Who provides the most bang for your buck?

For Week 7, I’m going to take you through my primary cash lineup. It uses my performance-based, red zone-focused projection model to create expectations of scoring and value, and this lineup projects to tally 174.29 points, well beyond the desired threshold for a cash contest. And of course, I’ll highlight the top alternatives at each position, as well as my favorite GPP/dice roll types for the week, along the way.

As always, the focus will be on cost efficiency, projecting the scoring, points-per-thousand figures, and h-values for Week 7’s most prominent options. (I've gone ahead and included my top-five projections at each position.) My goal is to show you not only the best plays as my projection model spits them out, but also the most efficient way to work all of this production into a lineup.








Blake Bortles





Philip Rivers





Cam Newton





Brian Hoyer





Derek Carr





The cash play: Philip Rivers ($6,500)

Here’s your top play of the week, from any angle. Rivers is the league’s busiest passer and projects to 45.3 attempts this weekend, by far the league’s highest, and projects as one of just four QBs to throw 6+ times in the red zone. He’ll finally throw to his full stable of receivers against a secondary that has struggled to contain Joe Flacco, Josh McCown, and Jay Cutler. Yet Rivers remains priced in the low-QB1 tier, a screaming bargain for a guy with as strong a likelihood to reach 300 yards and 4x value as anyone. In cash games, his 3x return is all but certain.

Cash Considerations

If I’m passing on Rivers, it’s only a $200 jump to the next-best thing. Carson Palmer ($6,700) isn’t blowing us away with volume, but his deep ball is hitting its mark and his talented wideouts are making huge chunk plays. That’ll continue against a Ravens defense that’s been gashed by big plays – only two teams have allowed more completions of 20+ yards… Tom Brady ($8,500) projects as Week 7’s No. 2 quarterback scorer, but for the first time in weeks, there’s little dynamism to his outlook. The Jets’ cornerbacks are locking down the outside ranges; that’s not Brady’s specialty, of course, but it narrows his scope down into a dead heat with the rest of his tier. I prefer 3-5 cheaper options to paying a back-breaking $8,500 for Brady… Andrew Luck ($7,600) is finally semi-valuable again, though his salary remains fairly prohibitive. I prefer Rivers and Palmer by a mile, but I see the appeal of pouncing as he takes on an overmatched Saints secondary.

GPP plays

Blake Bortles ($5,400) sits atop my h-value rankings for the week, projecting as the No. 4 QB scorer at the No. 15 salary. Averaging 45.3 attempts over his last three games – including 7.7 in the red zone – Bortles has another strong QB1 outlook against a Bills defense that’s been thrown against more than any team, allowing 13 touchdowns along the way… Brian Hoyer’s ($5,300) GPP value is handcuffed to DeAndre Hopkins, a fine burden to bear and one that projects him to the QB1 borderline. Arian Foster isn’t yet himself, so the Texans have remained among the league’s most pass-happy teams. Hoyer has responded with an eye-popping 4.76x scoring value over the last two weeks.







Devonta Freeman





Todd Gurley





Adrian Peterson





Duke Johnson, Jr.





Doug Martin





The cash plays: Devonta Freeman ($7,900), Todd Gurley ($5,000)

Le’Veon Bell’s disastrous Week 6 reminded us that, alongside a passing game that’s truly inept, even an All-World back is likely to struggle for efficiency – and eventually for volume. Luckily for us, we get a $500 discount to follow the herd to Freeman. But there’s plenty of appeal even beyond the high ownership, of course. Freeman is dominating the backfield of a successful offense, and it’s been successful largely because of him. He’s creating chunk plays and scoring from everywhere on the field, and producing very well in the passing game.

Gurley is the easiest cash play of the week, for a multitude of reasons. There’s his supernatural talent level, of course, and the run-heavy script of a typical Rams game. There’s the fact that Tre Mason is likely to miss Sunday’s tilt, ensuring Gurley will single-handedly power the Rams offense barring an unforeseen blowout loss. There’s the juicy matchup with a Browns defense that’s allowing 5.0 yards per rush, and 152+ yards in five of six games. And there’s the fact that he’ll be nearly universally owned in cash lineups, so even a surprising collapse would keep your afloat.

Cash Considerations

Adrian Peterson ($7,600) comes at a $300 discount from Freeman and could easily outscore him. No team has run more plays in the red zone than the Vikings, and no RB has taken more carries there than Peterson. His 4.3% red zone touchdown rate is unusually low and should start to normalize any week now, and he carries the yardage outlook to provide a great floor… We may be seeing a true return to form in former rookie sensation Doug Martin ($4,900). He’s racked up 301 scrimmage yards, four touchdowns, and eight receptions over the last two weeks. And with the passing game a holy mess, the Buccaneers are the only team in football running the ball more than they’re passing when a game is within one score.

GPP plays

Even in a full-blown committee, Duke Johnson ($4,200) sits behind only Freeman, Gurley, and Peterson on the h-value chart. He’s firmly entrenched as a major pass-game contributor with 24 catches over the last four weeks, and with his Browns at 6.5-point road underdogs, it’s fair to project similar usage in Week 7. Always a threat to erupt on any given touch, Johnson is a dice roll but brings an impressive floor for a rookie committee back… The Dolphins opened the Dan Campbell Era by grinding the ball on the ground, a great sign for the floundering Lamar Miller ($4,600). He responded with 5.9 yards per rush and an impressive red zone touchdown, hinting at real (and cheap) dynamism if the team stays committed to the run… The Lions are locked into a committee of their own, and the most consistent role at this point belongs to Theo Riddick ($3,400). Riddick is gobbling up snaps (a team-high 28.8 per game) and targets (a league-high 42 through just six games). Any matchup in which the Lions project to struggle – that’s all of them – elevates Riddick into the dirt-cheap punt discussion.







Brandon Marshall





Steve Smith, Sr.





Stefon Diggs





Eric Decker





DeAndre Hopkins





The cash plays: DeAndre Hopkins ($8,600), Steve Smith, Sr. ($6,200), Donte Moncrief ($5,200), Willie Snead ($4,300)

Hopkins is the best receiver on the fantasy rolls right now. No one has seen more targets in or out of the red zone, and Hopkins’ volume dominance is belied by his 15.8 yards per catch over the last three weeks. Hopkins is simply turning monstrous opportunity into strong downfield production, and that yardage projection gives him a great floor in case he’s unable to find the end zone in Miami.

With no setbacks to his back injury, Smith aligns as the clear-cut No. 1 option in a pass game projected to throw around 40 passes Sunday. He’s averaged 158 yards and scored three times over his last three full games, but only needs a line around 5-76-1 to return full cash-game value. It’s understandable to shy away due to the matchup with Patrick Peterson, but Smith will be moved around and see his share of the underwhelming Jarraud Powers and Tyrone Mathieu. Mathieu is a dynamic playmaker, but according to Pro Football Focus, he’s allowed five touchdowns in coverage, and only Morris Claiborne has allowed more yards after the catch.

The Colts have quickly learned what seemed like common sense this offseason: Andre Johnson is near the end and even less capable of creating big plays than ever, while Moncrief is uniquely gifted and much better suited to the starting lineup. He’s reached 3x value easily in three of his six games, and his stranglehold on the No. 2 job looks more secure every week that Andrew Luck is under center. Bask in the savings until the unmistakable breakout comes and launches Moncrief into the second or third pricing tier.

Snead still has yet to catch the eye and/or respect of DraftKings pricing. As the Saints’ most productive receiver, he’s caught 4+ balls in every game since Week 2, and his deep ball prowess (seven receptions of 20+ yards) gives him a real WR2 ceiling in any matchup. And he’ll be widely owned at this dinky salary, so a middling performance wouldn’t do much damage to a cash lineup.

Cash Considerations

Brandon Marshall ($7,800) presents boom-or-bust value in a tricky matchup with the Patriots. He’s excelling right now, and game flow seems to be squarely on his side as an eight-point underdog, but there are reasons for pause before we take the above projections (8 catches, 114 yards, 1 TD) to heart. He’ll spend much of the day squaring off with Malcolm Butler, who’s shadowing No. 1 wideouts quite a bit and has held his own against Allen Robinson and T.Y. Hilton. Still, Marshall is a confident WR1 and priced decently for his ceiling… Larry Fitzgerald ($7,400) has cooled a bit from his earth-shattering 2015 start, but he’s still producing on a WR1 level with room for more every week. He’s seeing nine targets per game and remains a red zone fixture, so there are few safer options this far down the WR1 salary list… Allen Robinson draws the Twitter love, but Allen Hurns ($5,300) is an equally strong cash option this week. They’ll face a Bills defense that has tightened up against the pass, but has still been burned by No. 2 and slot receivers that spend most of their time matched up on the shaky Stephon Gilmore. Rishard Matthews (32.3 points), Marvin Jones (24.5), and Dwayne Harris (16.1) have all obliterated their season averages against Buffalo… Stefon Diggs ($4,200) isn’t a nobody – he was a consensus five-star recruit to Maryland – and he’ll be widely rostered in cash games at this low salary. He’s the best option in this range behind Snead, and while he lacks a strong touchdown outlook in run-happy Minnesota, he appears to be taking over the No. 1 role on the fly… The Texans’ No. 2 wideout has been fertile fantasy soil all year as the team has shifted extraordinarily pass-heavy and up-tempo. Cecil Shorts has been the main beneficiary, but he’ll miss Sunday with yet another hamstring injury, so the stage is set for Nate Washington ($3,000) to easily return 4x value on his minimum salary. Shorts has averaged 12.8 points over his five games, and Washington himself posted 37 over the first three weeks while rotating in. With the No. 2 job to himself, it would be nearly impossible for him to fall short of 3x scoring value, and that’s his PPR floor.

GPP plays

Eric Decker ($5,300) has scored in every game he’s played thus far, a trend that could actually push his ownership below expectation as DFSers prepare for the end of the streak. But rationally speaking, there’s no reason to assume the worst: he’s seen one or more red zone targets in every game, including four from inside the 10-yard line, and finding the end zone at a better rate than Brandon Marshall. Decker may be TD-dependent, but he’s as likely as anyone on any given week to achieve it… With DeSean Jackson unlikely to return, Jamison Crowder ($3,700) draws another week in a prominent role among Washington’s pass game. Jordan Reed does seem likely to suit up, so Crowder may not see the 8.8 targets he’s been averaging, but he’s a quality PPR WR3 available at an absurd discount… Amari Cooper has proven a rookie stud, but Michael Crabtree ($4,300) plays just as prominent and valuable a role in the Raiders offense. He’s seen more of Derek Carr’s targets both in and out of the red zone than Cooper and received glowing reviews from his quarterback and coaches. He’s a PPR steal at $4,300 in what could be a shootout.

Tight End






Greg Olsen





Antonio Gates





Gary Barnidge





Ladarius Green





Delanie Walker





The cash play: Delanie Walker ($3,900) (Edit: with Antonio Gates missing practice through Friday, I'm moving Ladarius Green into most of my cash lineups.)

Walker is quietly dominating targets for the Titans, a struggling team forced to throw the ball far more than they’d like thus far. The steady Walker has drawn 21.8% of team targets, reaching 3x value in three of his four games along the way. Even if Marcus Mariota can’t go Sunday, Walker maintains a solid outlook with Zach Mettenberger in the lineup. He posted a 5-catch, 155-yard line on the Eagles last year with Mettenberger under center.

Cash Considerations

It’s as if future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates ($5,000) spent his entire four-game suspension running in pools and jumping out of quicksand. Gates has immediately asserted himself as a prominent member of the league’s most voluminous passing game, with 27 targets through his two games. Most importantly, he’s picked up his role as Philip Rivers’ most trusted target near the goal line, drawing seven red zone looks and scoring twice. Assuming his knee injury isn’t serious enough to sideline him entirely (and it doesn’t seem to be), roll Gates out as a discount Gronkowski against a pitiful Raiders TE defense. Let me drive that home: you want a tight end facing the Raiders, who have allowed more catches, yards, and touchdowns to the position than any other team.… Gary Barnidge ($4,900) is entrenched as the most consistent target in a frenetic, overachieving offense, so I see nothing wrong with riding the wave again. The 6.5-point underdog Browns should have the ball in the air plenty that’s allowed three TEs to catch 6+ balls thus far.

GPP plays

Even with Antonio Gates back in the saddle, ultra-phenom and the star of my most precious dreams Ladarius Green ($2,900) continues to produce. He’s seen tons of slot work with Stevie Johnson out and posted 10 and 12.5 points in two games alongside Gates. His risk will grow if Johnson returns as expected, but even wild-card TEs see a boost in value against the Raiders… He hasn’t been lighting up the stat sheet, but if the Dolphins’ offense progresses from ineptitude toward the mean, Jordan Cameron ($3,300) should have some sizeable games coming. He’s drawn 20.5% of Ryan Tannehill’s targets over the last three weeks and is sure to boost his oddball 41.7% catch rate.

Defense/Special Teams































The cash play: Rams ($2,400)

This will be a popular Week 7 play, and rightfully so – this salary is microscopic for such an impactful defense. Over the last four weeks, the Rams have tallied 13 sacks while the Browns have surrendered a stunning 17. With St. Louis widely expected to hold a lead throughout the game, their outlook for defensive splash plays is extremely bright. And they’ve held three elite offenses (Pittsburgh, Arizona, and Green Bay) to just 52 points over the last three games.

Cash Considerations

It’s hard not to roster the Patriots ($3,200) in a home tilt with the Jets, who are having some success on offense but hardly shaking the earth. The Pats have notched a league-high 16 sacks over their last four games, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is back to his old interception-happy ways… The Cardinals ($3,600) are pricey, but forcing turnovers on an elite level. With world-class playmakers throughout the secondary, they could force Joe Flacco into one of his low-efficiency games that results in the accompanying low scoring.

GPP plays

Washington ($2,500) comes dirt-cheap, considering they’ve scored in double digits for three weeks straight and get to host Jameis Winston this week. Their modest pass rush should keep their ownership low enough to really capitalize on their strong 3x-value outlook… The Steelers ($2,600) field a pretty talent-deprived unit, but they draw a Kansas City offense that's given up 17 sacks over its last four games.