For the uninitiated, playing daily games on DraftKings can be an enjoyable experience, but equally sobering is the fact that season-long knowledge does not always translate to success in the daily space. Footballguys will bring you a series of value- and strategic-based selections from a number of seasoned daily veterans throughout the NFL season. Herein is another edition of “Tipandpick’s Tips and Picks,” where we will examine the salaries of players at each position on DraftKings and make value-based recommendations for both your cash games and tournaments.
Below you will find a list of recommended players for both formats. GPP players generally have high-upside, but are too risky for cash games; cash game players are consistent with high fantasy floors. In some instances, the value for a player is so strong, he may fall into both categories…let’s have a look.
In order to help you build winning rosters, let's walk through some of the observations that I have made while doing my research for DraftKings this week. As you build out your lineups on DraftKings, try to consider the following commentary, which revolves around game strategy and how we will want to take advantage of what the masses are doing when they construct their own lineups.
CASH GAME TIPS
RETURN OF THE ROAD FAVORITE: Sometimes it pays to have a short memory when playing DFS, particularly when we are talking about recency bias and the effects it can have on player selection. That said, I hope that you remember my admonition about the fickleness of 'away favorites' back in Week #3 (click HERE for that discussion if you missed it); that week, there were a slew of supposed 'sure thing' plays that busted, many of which fell because of unanticipated poor play from those road favorites as a whole. When generating the Vegas Value Chart this past Tuesday, it was the first thing that leapt from the page: On the 12-game main slate on DraftKings, there are 7 road favorites (58.3%). Does this mean that we should expect a repeat of Week #3 where many of the sharper players in the industry reported poor results? Absolutely not...but it does mean that we should be cognizant of situations where a road favorite might be susceptible to a let-down performance. This week, I am looking at teams like Jacksonville (at Indianapolis), New Orleans (at Green Bay), and Carolina (at Chicago); in each of these cases, we have road favorites who could underperform for various reasons. Jacksonville could be without Leonard Fournette and possibly even Marqise Lee, which could hamper their ability to move the ball...New Orleans is always subject to letdowns on the road, where Drew Brees' historical numbers pale in comparison to when he is at home...and Carolina is 3-0 on the road this season (and 1-2 at home), which feels like an ideal spot for an upset against Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears in an otherwise soft spot. How do we combat these potential landmines? My best recommendation is to find players from these teams who will see time regardless of gamescript. For example, Jonathan Stewart is intriguing at only $3.7K on a team favored to win by 3.5 points, but he would be largely eliminated from the game plan if Carolina were to fall behind unexpectedly; Christian McCaffrey, however, should not see his opportunities affected either way, as he is firmly entrenched in the passing game, short-yardage situations, and inside the redzone. For these reasons, McCaffrey is the less risky running back on the Panthers. Likewise, we might otherwise ignore Tennessee receivers because they are 6-point favorites over the Browns, which could favor the ground game. That said, DeMarco Murray has been limited all week and the Browns actually field the league's 3rd-best DVOA rush defense; as a result, players like Eric Decker and Rishard Matthews represent value plays for cash games because the Titans might get away from the rush to some degree despite being favored by nearly a touchdown. And if Cleveland surprises with a competitive home performance, you will not have been stung because your exposure to the Titans is mainly through their passing weapons.
Please note that these are not hard-and-fast rules, but simply guidelines by which you should be thinking when you construct your lineups, particularly those in which you are putting the bulk of your bankroll (i.e., cash games). Vegas is right more often than they are wrong, but road favorites represent a scenario when Vegas misses most often. For that reason, it is imperative that we conscientiously select players from those teams into our DFS lineups.
LOWERING YOUR (MY) PLAY: There will be an occasional week in NFL DFS where cash games (or GPPs) just do not strike you as particularly appealing. This week is one of those weeks for me. By removing the Sunday Night game, DraftKings has eliminated the best game on the Sunday slate, leaving behind 12 games, of which only 4 teams have implied team totals of 24 or higher (there are typically ~ 10 teams that fit that criterion). As such, this would project to be a lower-scoring week on DraftKings and the options for cash games are less obvious that they might be on a more typical week; likewise, the number of road favorites lessens my enthusiasm for playing cash games in this type of environment. As such, I'll probably lower the amount of action I have in cash games across the industry, while bumping up some of my GPP action because I suspect this could be a week where odd things happen and thus favor a contrarian mindset. Do not despair, though...I've done the heavy lifting and provide my best cash game plays in the "Picks" section below. Feel free to follow my logic and build your lineups accordingly.
LEVERAGE PLAYS: I mention C.J. Anderson as a "leverage play" later in this article and thought that it was something worth discussing a bit more in this section. When a player is suspected to be owned at a higher level of ownership (> 15-20%), the contrarian move can be to roster a different player on that same offense at much lower ownership. Using C.J. Anderson as an example, both Demaryius Thomas and Bennie Fowler are expected to be owned at 15% or higher on Sunday; if C.J. Anderson were to have a big day, chances are that those receivers would post marginal numbers, thereby sinking their owners' rosters while catapulting your rosters to the top of the leaderboards. It's a game strategy move that can be risky, but pays major dividends when executed properly. This week, you can also consider the following players as leverage options: Jordan Matthews (4%) over LeSean McCoy (29%), Kenny Stills (3%) over Jay Ajayi (21%), and Joe Mixon (4%) over A.J. Green (19%). There are certainly other options and this strategy is not fool-proof, but it can be a game-changer when you select your players appropriately.
Let's take a deeper look into some of the players who I will be targeting for my cash game and tournament rosters this weekend. There is little difference in terms of strength of selection between those players who have text to justify their appearance in this article versus those in the "also eligible" section; all are strong plays in their respective categories, but time and space restrictions do not allow for expansive written summaries of every player listed.
CASH GAME PICKS
Dak Prescott (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7,300). There appear to be a number of potential landmines at the quarterback position this week (i.e., Russell Wilson on the road against an underrated Giants secondary, Carson Palmer in London with a potentially renewed emphasis on the running game, etc.), which makes it even more important to nail down the safest candidates for your cash games. Of those options, Dak Prescott is probably the one with the highest floor who is least likely to disappoint; he will, however, cost you due to his considerable $7.3K salary on DraftKings. That salary may be worth it, though, as Prescott has logged multiple touchdowns in every game since their opening weekend 19-3 win against the Giants; since then, Prescott has averaged 23.8 fantasy points per game and has increased his fantasy output every subsequent Sunday. That consistent upward trend makes him an appealing option against the San Francisco 49ers, who run out the league's fastest offense (24.3 seconds per play), which results in opponents running the highest number of plays each weekend (70.8 per game); that implied volume fortifies the case for Prescott, who also is a threat to run the ball for 20-40 yards each week and has 8 rushing touchdowns over his short career. Pencil Dak in for 200+ passing yards, a pair of touchdowns, and 30+ rushing yards, which represents a floor of 18-20 points with 30+ point upside in this superb road matchup.
Brett Hundley (Cash only, Salary: $5,100). There is a case to be made for Brett Hundley in DFS circles this weekend. The biggest thing that we must remember is that it is not fair to compare Hundley to Aaron Rodgers for any number of reasons, but price point should be the top of that list; Hundley is offered at ~ 60% of the salary where we typically see Rodgers on any given week, which means that we only need about 60% of the output that Rodgers would otherwise provide, a threshold that is arguably possible given Hundley's athleticism and prior success in preseason action. Another thing that we must take into account is that Hundley was unknowingly thrust into action last week against an excellent Vikings' defensive backfield that features Xavier Rhodes and Terrence Newman; with a week to prepare against a far less talented New Orleans Saints secondary, there should be significant improvement in Hundley's stat line. Before we get into Hundley's metrics, it is important to get a feel for what mold of quarterback he actually is? Fellow Footballguy and esteemed talent evaluator, Matt Waldman, broke down Hundley's abilities HERE and basically summarized that Hundley is a Marcus Mariota clone without the pedigree because of where he played college football (UCLA versus Oregon for Mariota); in other words, Hundley is an athlete whose skill set is overshadowed because he plays behind one of the best quarterbacks in the league and draws unfair comparisons as a result. Supporting Waldman's take on Hundley is his 125.1 SPARQ score (just 2 points shy of Mariota) and his preseason statistics that boast 12 touchdowns and over 1,000 passing yards against only a pair of interceptions spanning over 150 pass attempts. All of this supports the notion that Hundley can be successful in his NFL debut at Green Bay on Sunday; his price point is fair, the matchup is solid, and he has enough quality receivers around him to legitimize his spot in your cash game rosters on DraftKings.
Also eligible: Tyrod Taylor ($5,100)
LeSean McCoy (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7,400). As one of the few home favorites with a reliable feature running back, Buffalo's LeSean McCoy represents a solid cash game option in DFS circles this weekend. McCoy has 20 or more touches in every game this season, except for an outlier 18-touch game in a 3-9 loss against the Panthers back in Week #2. Those touch numbers are founded primarily in rush attempts, but McCoy is a unicorn in the NFL these days, as he represents one of the few running backs who also sees time in passing situations; his 6.4 targets per game rank him third (of starting running backs) behind only Melvin Gordon III and Le'Veon Bell, which makes him a significant value at only $7.4K in DraftKings full PPR scoring format. Coming off a bye week, McCoy should be well-rested against the visiting Buccaneers, who have dropped three of their previous four games and are starting a hobbled Jameis Winston; if Winston falters against the league's 6th-ranked overall DVOA defense, McCoy could see plenty of rushing opportunities late in the game, as Buffalo looks to run time off the clock. Tampa is middle-of-the-road against the rush (3.7 yards per carry allowed), but has struggled to contain the pass-catching running backs they have faced this season (Dalvin Cook, James White, Tarik Cohen), making McCoy even more enticing at only $7.4K.
Jay Ajayi (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6,200). Sticking with the theme of home favorites, Jay Ajayi represents a high-volume, low-risk running back option for cash games this weekend. Ajayi's fantasy performance has been directly linked to the outcome of the Dolphins' games to this point in the season; in their two losses, Ajayi has touched the ball an average of only 13.0 times, but that number more than doubles to 27.7 touches per game in the Dolphins' three wins this season. That trend in opportunities bodes well for Jay Ajayi's fantasy prospects when the Dolphins host the Jets as 3.5-point home favorites. The matchup could not be better against New York, who has allowed a whopping 27.5 DraftKings points per game to opposing running backs this season (6th worst in the league). Yet another reason to like Ajayi's prospects is the fact that the Dolphins' best prospect for scoring via the passing game, DeVante Parker, will miss his second consecutive game with an ankle injury, thereby strengthening the argument for Ajayi to hit paydirt against the Jets. At only $6.2K, Ajayi basically needs 100+ all-purpose yards to reach cash game value on his salary, which feels like an absolute certainty as long as the Dolphins do not fall behind early in this plus matchup.
Michael Thomas (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7,500). Coming off a terrible 3-catch, 11-yard performance at the hands of Darius Slay blanket coverage last week, Michael Thomas will look to get back on track against the Packers' untalented secondary on Sunday afternoon. Prior to last week, Thomas was targeted just a tad under 10 times per game by Drew Brees and had posted back-to-back 20+ fantasy point performances versus the Panthers and Dolphins. There is little reason to suspect that the heavy volume will drop this weekend, as Thomas remains the mainstay receiving option while Willie Snead IV slowly ramps up his snap count, Ted Ginn Jr continues to be the rare deep-field option, and Coby Fleener does largely nothing as a receiver. Mark Ingram II will certainly get his share of opportunities against the Packers' defensive front, but Thomas is too cheap as the WR1 for the team with the second-highest implied team total on DraftKings' main slate. If Brett Hundley can keep this game remotely close at home (I suspect he will, as described above), Thomas will be involved throughout the game and should finish with another 8/80/1 stat line (or better) that will more than exceed the 20-22 points needed to pay off his $7.5K salary.
Jordan Matthews (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,700). On Wednesday night's Footballguys' Fantasy Hour hosted by RotoGrinders, I went on record stating that Zay Jones was in store for a "Bounce-Back" performance because of his matchup and the personnel situation surrounding him. That pronouncement was made prior to knowing that Jordan Matthews would make his return to the gridiron on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Bucs; now that Matthews has returned (early) from his thumb injury, he will recapture the WR1 role and the majority of Tyrod Taylor's attention in the passing game. Charles Clay was, without question, the primary receiver in the Bills offense before he went down with a knee injury in Week #5. Since then, the Bills have had two weeks to circle the wagons and reinvent their passing attack and you have to believe that they will get Jordan Matthews more involved to stay competitive down the stretch because they cannot reasonably expect LeSean McCoy to continue touching the ball 25+ times for the duration of the season. Matthews has demonstrated an ability to carry the load of a WR1, as evidenced by his 8.3 targets per game with the Eagles last season. If the Bills do integrate him into the gameplan this weekend, as was their intention when they traded for him in August, the matchup is excellent because the Buccaneers have allowed more points to opposing WRs than any team in the league this season; in fact, no WR1 has finished the day with less than 15.0 DraftKings points against the Bucs and that is a list that includes the Bears in Week #1.
Jimmy Graham (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4,900). We have been patiently waiting on that breakout game from Jimmy Graham that we do not see enough since he joined the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. This week, however, sets up well for a big fantasy day for the 8-year veteran, as he gets a plush matchup against the league's friendliest defense to opposing tight ends: the New York Giants. To date, the Giants are allowing 20.5 DraftKings points per game to opposing tight ends and have arguably not faced a tight end of Jimmy Graham's caliber just yet. That will certainly change on Sunday when these teams take the field in the Meadowlands. The Giants will lock down half of the perimeter with Janoris Jenkins, while returning (from suspension) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the slot to chase after Doug Baldwin. With Baldwin minimized, Paul Richardson Jr dealing with Jenkins, and questions abound in their running back corps, it would make a lot of sense for Coach Pete Carroll to call Graham's number early and often on Sunday. Prior to their Week #6 bye, it appeared that the Seahawks were doing exactly that, as Graham had 25 targets over his previous 3 games (8.3 per game); likewise, Graham is Russell Wilson's favorite target inside the redzone this season (5 redzone targets) to this point in the season. Because Graham has only scored once thus far, his salary is somewhat depressed at only $4.9K, making it possible to get him into your cash game lineups without having to dramatically downgrade elsewhere. If you can afford it, do it.
George Kittle (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,600). Arguably the second receiving option on the 49ers entering Week #7, George Kittle is an attractive cash game option at tight end on Sunday. The 6'4" rookie tight end impressed in the preseason and was largely responsible for Vance McDonald's eventual departure to Pittsburgh. He started somewhat slowly in the first month of the season, but hindsight argues that he was the victim of tough matchups against defenses that are stingy against the tight end position; more recently, he has had plus matchups against Washington and San Francisco, where he saw 17 targets and averaged a hair over 15 DraftKings points per game. This week's matchup is equally appealing against the Cowboys, who have allowed 40+ receiving yards or a touchdown to every TE1 they have faced this season, an unimpressive list that includes Virgil Green, Tyler Higbee, and Jermaine Gresham, among others. If you are into narratives, it is worth noting that Kittle's college quarterback (and roommate) was none other than C.J. Beathard, who inherited the starting role last week after Brian Hoyer was benched for mediocrity; one could make the argument that they know one another tendencies well and Beathard might look towards Kittle more often under pressure. While that is more speculation that based on data, the fact remains that Kittle is a fairly-priced, sure-handed receiver in the highest totaled game on DraftKings' main slate, which puts him squarely into contention as a cash game tight end option.
Also eligible: Hunter Henry ($4,200)
Seahawks (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4,000). Coming off back-to-back double-digit fantasy performances, the Seattle Seahawks have the plush matchup of the week against an injury-riddled Giants squad that upset Denver on their home turf last Sunday Night. The gamescript worked out perfectly for the Giants in that game, as Trevor Siemian dug the team into a hole early with a pick-six that gave New York a 14-point lead before halftime; with the early lead, the Eli Manning did need to throw the ball, which was ideal for a team that was without all three of its primary receivers (Odell Beckham Jr Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard). To ensure a similar gamescript this week, the Giants will have to build another early lead against the Seahawks, but Russell Wilson will not be as generous to the defense as Trevor Siemian, which does not bode well for the Giants' likelihood for success. Vegas agrees with that sentiment, as they have pegged a 17.5-point implied team total on the Giants, the third lowest total on the Week #7 board.
Vikings (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3,300). Still an underrated defense, the Minnesota Vikings will likely be the top cash game defense on the slate when they take on the Baltimore Ravens at home on Sunday. The Vikings' 11th-ranked DVOA defense is allowing only 17.2-points per game this season, which is a notch above what Vegas oddsmakers have projected the visiting Ravens to score against them this weekend. In fact, only the Steelers have scored more than 20 points against Defensive Coordinator George Edwards' defense, while other Green Bay, Detroit, and even New Orleans were each held below that 20-point threshold. Meanwhile, only the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins have scored less points this season than the Ravens, namely because Baltimore has struggled to establish a passing game and none of their running backs have been successful behind the league's 28th-ranked offensive line. Over the past month, Minnesota is averaging 9.0 fantasy points per game and has collected 13 sacks with 8 turnovers during that period of time; expect more of the same this weekend against Joe Flacco and the low-level talent surrounding him on the Ravens offense.
Marcus Mariota (Salary: $6,900). Hobbled by a hamstring issue entering last weekend's matchup against the Colts, Marcus Mariota still managed to pass for 300 yards and a touchdown en route to a 36-22 win. Mariota came out of the game just fine and practiced in full each day this week, an indication that his hamstring is close to 100% going into this Sunday's game against Cleveland. The matchup for Mariota is pristine, as the Browns are excellent up front, having allowed only 3.0 yards per carry (best in NFL) this season, but have been a sieve through the air, as evidenced by the league-leading 14 passing touchdowns they have allowed through the first six weeks of the season. That inefficiency in coverage has resulted in the Browns allowing the 3rd most fantasy points per game (21.2) to the quarterback position, a huge reason to like Mariota's fantasy prospects this weekend. If the running game is stifled by Garrett Myles and the Browns' underrated front seven, Mariota could take to the air often against this dead-last DVOA pass defense that is still starting Jamar Taylor despite the fact that he has allowed nearly 400 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns into his coverage this season. The Browns' best coverage cornerback, Jason McCourty (ProFootball Focus, 92.0, Grade "A"; 1st overall out of 108), landed on the questionable list for Sunday after tweaking his ankle in practice on Friday. If McCourty misses the game, Mariota's upside is virtually limitless with the likes of Eric Decker and Rishard Matthews gallivanting through the Browns' defensive backfield; lest we forget, the Browns also allow the second most fantasy points to the tight end position, making either Delanie Walker or Jonnu Smith preferred plays, depending on Walker's final status on Sunday morning (Walker is trending towards resting into the Titans' Week #8 bye...see Jonnu Smith writeup below for more details).
DeShone Kizer (Salary: $4,900). After watching the previous six quarters of Browns' football from the sidelines, DeShone Kizer will get a chance to redeem his previous poor play against the Titans on Sunday. Kizer has thrown nine interceptions versus only three touchdowns to this point in his rookie season and has been sacked an astounding 15 times in only 4.5 games, all of which will drive down his ownership levels to below 5% this weekend. The intrigue surrounding Kizer is that he possesses the requisite upside necessary for his placement in your tournament rosters; he reached 20 or more fantasy points against both the Steelers and the Colts thus far, both of whose secondaries are better than the 25th DVOA Tennessee pass defense he will face on Sunday. The Titans should be able to put points on the board, as described above (Marcus Mariota writeup), which should minimize the involvement of Isaiah Crowell, who has been dreadful this season anyhow (3.4 yards per carry, 0 touchdowns). As 6-point home underdogs, Kizer could be asked to throw quite often and the biggest question is "Who is the primary receiver with whom to pair him?" Prior to his Week #5 benching, Kizer bounced around his preferential receiver, favoring Kenny Britt, Ricardo Louis, and Rashard Higgins each once after Corey Clement was placed on injured reserve at the end of Week #2. My preferential stacking partner is probably Ricardo Louis ($4.0K) who will be largely overlooked despite being the most consistent receiving option for the Browns all season; if Kizer connects to Louis for a touchdown, there is a strong possibility that the $8.9K spent on them will result in the 35+ DraftKings points necessary to justify their spot in your tournament rosters, all at 2-4% ownership.
C.J. Anderson (Salary: $7,200). Just a week removed from killing a lot of "live" GPP lineups over on FanDuel last Sunday night against the Giants, C.J. Anderson represents an excellent leverage play against the field in Week #7. Because Anderson performed dismally in a plus matchup against the Giants at home last week, he is going to be dramatically underowned for the type of upside he provides against the Chargers' 28th ranked DVOA rush defense, a defense that has allowed 50% of opposing running back to post 100+ rushing yard games to this point in the season. Meanwhile, Demaryius Thomas will be one of the top-owned wide receivers on the boards with ownership projected to surpass 15% because Emmanuel Sanders will miss this game with an ankle injury. That elevated ownership provides great opportunity for those of us who will not allow recency bias to pervade our decision-making process. Thomas will have his hands full with shadow coverage from Casey Hayward, which could sway Head Coach Vance Joseph to lean more heavily on Anderson to keep Trevor Siemian from having another meltdown performance. Naysayers will be quick to point out that both Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker have been logging increased snaps at Anderson's expense, but their involvement seems to be primarily predicated on passing down situations; assuming Vegas oddsmakers are correct in projecting this game to be a close-scoring affair, Anderson should return to his normal usage, where 20+ touches and goalline carries would be the norm.
Marlon Mack (Salary: $4,100). The Indianapolis Colts' running back split has been a fantasy nightmare to this point in the season. 34-year old Frank Gore continues to get the lion's (err...Colts') share of opportunities out of the backfield (57% of touches), while Robert Turbin and Marlon Mack basically split the remainder (19.9% and 18.6%, respectively). Last Sunday, Robert Turbin's season was preemptively cut short with a dislocated elbow, which should mean that his share of the workload should be redistributed between Gore and Mack. Of those two options, Mack seems to be the biggest beneficiary for multiple reasons: 1) At 34-years old, Gore's body is unlikely to handle a larger load for the duration of the season, 2) Related to Point #1, Mack is the most likely running back to inherit the role when Gore retires in the near future, so getting him additional work now seems logical, 3) Mack has been electric in limited action this season, making big plays and averaging 5.0 yards per carry (versus only 3.4 for Gore), and 4) Head Coach Chuck Pagano has gone on record stating that he needs to get Mack more involved in the offense. With these factors in mind, Mack is an intriguing GPP option against the Jaguars' 31st ranked DVOA rush defense because we know that Jacoby Brissett is going to labor moving the ball through the air against their stellar secondary. If Pagano holds true to his word and Mack finishes with 12-16 touches in this matchup, his $4.1K salary makes him an intriguing GPP option because of the big-play ability that he brings to the table.
Devin Funchess (Salary: $6,000). Dealing with a grotesque knee issue for several weeks, Kelvin Benjamin is now on the probable side of questionable this Sunday, but one has to wonder how effective he is going to be after leaving practice on Wednesday and not returning until Friday? Enter Devin Funchess, who has been thriving (36 targets in 4 games) since Greg Olsen broke his foot back in Week #2. Funchess has three touchdowns in his previous three games and should continue to enjoy appreciable upside as long as Benjamin is playing at less than 100%. The personnel matchup for Funchess is intriguing, as he will run over half of his routes in the coverage of Kyle Fuller, who has been targeted more often than any cornerback in the league this season (4.1 targets per cover snap); Fuller is currently the 61st (out of 67) worst-rated cornerback on ProFootballFocus, yet another indication that Funchess could be in store for a nice weekend. With virtually no running game to vulture touchdowns (Jonathan Stewart is averaging 2.9 yards per carry and has not scored a rushing touchdown in 2017), it would appear that the onus is on the Panther aerial game to score the 22.5 points Vegas oddsmakers have pinned on the team; if Benjamin is as dinged up as some suspect, it will be the Devin Funchess and Christian McCaffrey show on Sunday in Chicago.
Robert Woods (Salary: $4,000). A sneakier play earlier in the week before other "touts" began to speak about him, Robert Woods is still an excellent tournament play in DFS games this weekend. The WR2 for the Rams, Woods will benefit from the Cardinals' defensive scheme that will lock down Sammy Watkins under shadow coverage from Patrick Peterson while focusing on Cooper Kupp with Tyrann Mathieu, who has allowed less than 40 yards per game in coverage this season without yielding a score. Those matchups leave Robert Woods to line up across from Justin Bethel's replacement, Tramon Williams, a 34-year old former Cleveland Brown who ranked in the bottom 20% of cornerbacks last season and allowed an opposing QB rating of 113.1 when thrown into his coverage; suffice it to say that he may be an upgrade over the oft-burnt Bethel, but it is not a dramatic upgrade. Of course, the Rams will try to win via the run with Todd Gurley, but Arizona boasts the league's stingiest ground defense (69.8 yards per game allowed), one that has earned them the 4th best DVOA rating; the Cardinals are susceptible through the air, though, having allowed 2 or more passing touchdowns to 67% of their opponents this season and earning them the league's 24th ranked DVOA pass defense. This London-based game is one of a few games on the limited, somewhat bland, 12-game slate that has sneaky shootout potential, which makes Woods a viable GPP option at a very reasonable $4.0K price point.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Salary: $5,000). With touchdowns in back-to-back games entering this Sunday, Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ASJ) is perhaps the hottest tight end in the league. To those who watched ASJ play in college, seeing him succeed at the NFL level is not surprising; what is surprising is that it took him so long to make himself a household name. Off-the-field troubles plagued Seferian-Jenkins' time in Tampa Bay and his last chance entering 2017 appeared to be with the Jets. Luckily for him, the Jets either traded away or lost to injury just about any viable wide receiver they had on their roster prior to the season opener, thereby opening a chance for ASJ to become the number one receiving option in this offense. Since returning from a two-game suspension to open the season, Seferian-Jenkins has seen his snap rate increase each week while being targeted a team-high 29 times, 4 of which were redzone targets (also a team-high). On Sunday, ASJ will face-off against the Miami Dolphins, who have allowed the 7th most fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2017. As short road underdogs, the Jets are expected to throw the ball often against this 28th ranked (DVOA) pass defense that funnels action to the passing game because of the strength of their rush defense (2nd overall DVOA); given the weakness of the Jets' running game, it would come as no surprise to see ASJ continued to be Josh McCown's primary target, particularly when they get inside the 20-yard line.
Jonnu Smith (Salary: $2,600). Strictly a GPP play and only if Delanie Walker is inactive on Sunday morning, Jonnu Smith jumps to near the top of my list for GPP tight ends in Week #7. Smith has quietly played 70.9% of the Titans' offensive snaps this season, but has not collected appreciable fantasy numbers because he is still second behind Delanie Walker, who is averaging 6.5 targets per game, in the pecking order. That said, Walker suffered a setback with his calf late in the practice week and is a game-time decision entering Sunday morning; if the Titans decide to rest Walker entering their Week #8 bye, Smith becomes enticing for GPP formats because of the success he has displayed in limited play this season. While the aforementioned Walker has yet to score a touchdown with 39 targets under his belt, Smith has displayed a penchant for scoring, evidenced by his pair of touchdowns in only 12 targets. The 6'3" tight end has caught 75% of his targets and would face off against the league's 2nd friendliest defense to the position, the Cleveland Browns, who have allowed two different tight ends (Jesse James and Tyler Kroft) to score multiple touchdowns in a game already this season. At $2.6K, Smith needs to find the endzone only once to achieve GPP value and could go underowned, depending on how late Delanie Walker's status is announced on Sunday morning.
**SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Delanie Walker is reported to be active this morning, which negates any DFS value that Jonnu Smith otherwise had coming into this morning. My recommendation is to avoid Smith in all formats due to Walker's active status.**
Also eligible: Kyle Rudolph (Salary: $3,800).
Jaguars (Salary: $3,700). From top to bottom, there may not be a more talented defense in the NFL than the one that Jacksonville fields every Sunday. Off-season additions of A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell have filled in the gaps that were missing on the 2016 Jaguars defense that was led by Paul Posluszny and Jalen Ramsey. The result has been the league's undisputable best secondary play (1st overall DVOA pass defense, league-high 10 interceptions, 2nd in passing touchdowns allowed) and a world-class pass rush that is now tops in the NFL with 23 sacks entering Sunday's contest against the Indianapolis Colts. Jacoby Brissett will have his hands full trying to avoid pressure from Calais Campbell (who has a sack in all but one game this season) while scoping the field for an open receiver against this defensive backfield. Indy is allowing 3.0 sacks per game (tied for 8th most in NFL) and have struggled against the better defenses they have faced to this point in the season (13.3 points per game against LA Rams, Arizona, and Seattle); if they are going to compete in this matchup, it will have to be via the ground game, Jacksonville's kryptonite, but can we expect 34-year old Frank Gore to dominate and/or will Chuck Pagano finally feed the exciting Marlon Mack enough to make a difference? Advantage Jaguars.
Dolphins (Salary: $3,100). The Miami Dolphins defense ranks near the top of the league in defending the run (80.4 rushing yards per game allowed; 4th in NFL) and have displayed a bend-but-don't-break pass defense that has yielded only six passing touchdowns on the season (tied for 6th best in the league). This week, they have a plush matchup at home against Josh McCown and the New York Jets' anemic offense that is averaging 18.2 points per game. When these teams met in Week #3, Miami allowed just a shade over 300 yards of total offense to the Jets in a losing effort that was marred by poor play from their offense moreso than the defense; this weekend, there is little reason to believe that we will see a drastic difference in strategy, as the teams are largely the same, except for the fact that the Dolphins will be at home this time around, where they are undefeated this season. Only seven teams have allowed their quarterback to be sacked more often than Josh McCown, a stat that bolsters the case for Miami, given that they got to Matt Cassel six times just two weeks ago. Miami's biggest deficiency on defense is their secondary, but it is unclear if the Jets have the talent in their receiving corps to effectively expose that weakness. At $3.1K, the Dolphins are firmly in play as a high-upside, low-risk tournament defense.
Also eligible: Bills ($3,400), Chargers (Salary: $2,400).
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