DraftKings GPP Domination: Week 7

Looking for edges in DraftKings tournaments.

WEEK 7 TOURNAMENT VALUE CHART

The chart below is a value guide for this week’s DraftKings tournaments. In an effort to help the widest range of players, only tournaments ranging from $1-to-$100 buy-ins are listed. The color scaling favors lesser entry fees, lower entry limits, and flatter payout structures since these tournaments generally represent the best return on investment for average DFS players. But remember it’s important to consider your specific strengths and goals when choosing which tournaments to enter.

Do you excel at GPP roster construction and game theory? Then don’t avoid GPPs like the Millionaire Maker due to high entry limits and a top-heavy payout structure -- you can still profit in these types of tournaments while giving yourself a shot at a life-changing payday. Therefore, cells in red do not indicate tournaments to avoid. The color scaling serves primarily to highlight the differences between tournaments, which will make it easier for you to identify the best ones to enter based on your individual skills and goals.

 

ROSTER CONSTRUCTION

Before constructing your own GPP lineups, it’s important to consider how most of your opponents will be making theirs. Due to the salary cap, figuring out the most common roster construction each week isn’t necessarily as simple as looking at a list of projected ownership percentages for individual players.

This week, there are a few near-certainties when it comes to how most people will build their rosters:

  1. It should come as no surprise on a slate where eight games have an over/under below 45-points, but quarterback is as ugly as it’s been all season. Most entrants will be choosing between paying up to Drew Brees or Dak Prescott or punting with Brett Hundley. Mid-to-upper priced options with high ceilings (Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Russell Wilson, Marcus Mariota) are all on the road and their salaries make it difficult to spend at running back without basically forfeiting two wide receiver slots.
  2. There are almost too many running backs in great spots to get enough exposure to all of them. Expect most of your opponents to invest at least a combined 30% of their salary cap at RB1 and RB2, with many lineups also featuring a third running back in the $6K and up range at flex.
  3. Wide receiver ownership will be flatter than usual. Outside of A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, and Michael Thomas, brand name wide receivers in plus matchups are in short supply. Considering the surplus of appealing running back plays, significant ownership is going to settle on some iffy wide receivers in the $4K price range.
  4. Strangely, in a slate missing Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz, tight end feels loaded this week. While there’s no one player to break the bank on, most of the ownership will settle in the top pricing tier at the position, where several high-end options are in great matchups. Considering the lack of clear wide receiver value, Delanie Walker, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jimmy Graham, Evan Engram, and even Hunter Henry ($4,200) will be heavily owned. Rosters featuring a tight end in the flex are almost always the exception, but they are more viable this week than most, even in cash games.

The easy way to create a unique roster would be to choose two running backs below $6K, a mid-salary quarterback, and a pair of top receivers. Unfortunately, there is a strong chance doing so will only make your roster uniquely bad. You should absolutely mix in a few contrarian lineup builds, but due to the potential lack of high scoring games, this sets up as a week to follow the touches, targets, and matchups, which means swallowing some chalk. When that’s the case, tight end and defense -- the two most volatile positions -- are usually the best positions to break from the pack.

WHAT ABOUT THE CHALK?

Assuming you plan on making multiple GPP lineups each week, your decision on highly-owned players usually isn’t whether to fade them completely, but rather how much exposure you want to them in comparison to their projected ownership.

Some suggestions on how to treat this week’s chalk plays (ownership percentages based on Steve Buzzard’s projections)

QB: Dak Prescott (@ SF, $7,300, 10% owned) - Prescott has been a model of consistency this season, scoring over 17 fantasy points in every game and exceeding 22 fantasy points in each of his last three. Before the Cowboys bye, he flashed his tantalizing ceiling at home against Green Bay (30.74 fantasy points) and now faces the 49ers horrid pass defense (26th-ranked DVOA) with an extra week to prepare. Each of the last four quarterbacks to face San Francisco have exceeded 20 fantasy points (a list that includes Jared Goff and Jacoby Brissett). Dallas is tied with New Orleans for the highest implied team total on the slate (26.75 points) and 73% of their offensive touchdowns this season have come via the pass. If you’re making 30 lineups this week, Prescott belongs in at least five.

RB: LeSean McCoy (vs. TB, $7,400, 24% owned) - McCoy is another consistent fantasy scorer coming off his bye week, but unlike Prescott, he has yet to show us his ceiling this season (only one game with more than 15 fantasy points). Tampa Bay’s run defense ranks middle-of-the-road in most metrics, but after watching Adrian Peterson destroy them in his Arizona Cardinals debut last week, it may be time to reevaluate. The Buccaneers shut down the Bears running game in their opener, but since then they’ve only stopped the Giants toothless backfield from moving the ball effectively on the ground. Before Peterson trampled them last week, Tampa Bay allowed 105 yards on 19 carries to the combination of Mike Gillislee and Dion Lewis, and a 27-97-1 rushing line to Dalvin Cook. But even if McCoy can’t get going on the ground, his increased involvement as a receiver under offensive coordinator Rick Dennison spells doom for Tampa Bay. McCoy’s 24% team target market share trails only Christian McCaffrey for the league lead among running backs. Other backs who were entrenched in their team’s passing games -- Tarik Cohen (8-55-0), Cook (5-72-0), and James White (7-57-0) -- went onto great PPR days against the Bucs. Whether Jameis Winston plays through an injured throwing shoulder or Ryan Fitzpatrick gets the start, the opportunity for turnovers will present itself to the Bills defense, which could set up McCoy with short fields and multiple opportunities to score his long overdue first touchdown of the season. Fade at your own risk.

RB: Jay Ajayi (vs. NYJ, $6,200, 24% owned) - Ajayi’s recent volume in neutral game script situations (26 and 25 carries in his last two games, respectively) makes him underpriced headed into a home matchup against the Jets 25th ranked rush defense (DVOA). No one is pegging New York to go into Miami and blow out the Dolphins, so Ajayi should once again be among the league leaders in carries. The Jets shut down Ajayi in Week 3 (11-16-0), but he came into the game nursing a knee injury and was truly questionable to play. Only two running backs have exceeded 20 carries in a game against New York this year and both (LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette) scored about 24 fantasy points. While Ajayi profiles as a solid play, the story to watch is Miami center Mike Pouncey’s progression through the league’s concussion protocol. The Dolphins rank 24th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards metric, which takes all running back carries and assigns responsibility to the offensive line -- and that was with the All-Pro Pouncey on the field. In the five games Pouncey started last season, Ajayi averaged 22 carries, 130 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown per game. After Pouncey went out with a season-ending injury, Ajayi cleared 80 rushing yards just once in eight games and scored only two more touchdowns. If Pouncey is declared out, come off your Ajayi shares.

WR: A.J. Green (@ PIT, $8,300, 20% owned) - Green is enjoying another fine season, trailing only Antonio Brown in DraftKings points per game (21.8). Since offensive coordinator Bill Lazor took over for Ken Zampese, Green is averaging 11 targets per game and has scored a touchdown in all three contests. Pittsburgh hasn’t allowed a single wide receiver to exceed 61 receiving yards this year, but Stefon Diggs is the only true WR1 they’ve faced, and that was with an ice-cold Case Keenum throwing him passes after taking zero practice reps in Week 2. Steelers cornerback Joe Haden has played better than expected this season but has way more to prove in this matchup than Green, who seems to enjoy playing the Steelers. Since 2014, he’s averaged a 7.6-118-0.6 receiving line in five games vs. Pittsburgh. Green is worthy of being your highest owned wide receiver over $7,500.

WR: Antonio Brown (vs. CIN, $8,900, 20% owned) - On the other side of the ball, Antonio Brown is close to having three 30+ fantasy point explosions in his last four games, which will make him a popular play despite his WR1 price tag and poor matchup against Cincinnati’s secondary. There are competing narratives at play with Brown this week. On one hand, Ben Roethlisberger’s famed home-road splits have traditionally been a rising tide that has lifted Brown to huge performances at Heinz Field. But on the other, the Bengals have shown the ability to neutralize him recently. Brown was held below 60 receiving yards in each of the regular season meetings between these teams in 2016 and has just one total touchdown in their last five meetings. Brown is certainly capable of disproving a small sample, but Roethlisberger’s shaky play this season, combined with the familiar division opponent should make you leery of Brown if he’s going to be heavily owned. Never come up empty on Brown if you’re making at least 10 lineups, but owning about half as much of the field is enough this week.

TE: Hunter Henry (vs. DEN, $4,200, 10% owned) - We’ve seen a systemic change in how Henry is being deployed by LA offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. In Week 5, the team began using more two-tight end sets, which has resulted in Henry running nearly the same number of pass routes over his last two games as he did during his first four combined. Henry has eclipsed 13 fantasy points in back-to-back weeks, but DraftKings has been slow to adjust his price, making him a strong bet to easily 3x his salary again vs. Denver. 26% of pass attempts by Broncos opponents have been aimed at a tight end, which is the third-highest rate in the league, and their 55% success rate allowed on those throws ranks just outside the bottom-five. Henry comes at a significant discount compared to the position’s top price tier on a week where cap space is at a premium. It will be difficult not to go heavier than the field on your exposure given this week’s roster construction.

D/ST: Minnesota Vikings (vs. BAL, $3,300, 9% owned) - We just saw the Bears banged up defense hang 15 fantasy points on Baltimore while playing on the road as seven-point underdogs. Until further notice, the Ravens might be the best matchup for opposing D/ST units this side of Cleveland. Joe Flacco is either unwilling or unable to challenge opponents downfield and Baltimore’s collection of ragtag running backs is no match for the Vikings fifth-ranked run defense (DVOA). Minnesota also ranks inside the top-10 in adjusted sack rate, which spells trouble for Flacco, who has thrown five interceptions with a clean pocket this season. Baltimore’s two turnover per game average trails only three other teams. Why the Vikings aren’t priced as a top-tier defense is a mystery. Follow the crowd and make them your heaviest D/ST exposure. The floor is high here and so is the ceiling.

MORE CHALK PLAYS:

Player Pos Opponent Salary Proj. Own % Comment
Drew Brees QB @GB $7,200 10% Highest raw projection of any QB on slate.
Le'Veon Bell RB  CIN $8,000 25% Projected ownership too high for heavy exposure in tough matchup.
Dez Bryant WR @SF $8,200 14% 100+ yard potential vs. 49ers to go with usual multi-TD upside.
Delanie Walker TE @CLE $4,500 7% The mother of all tight end matchups. Keep an eye on calf injury.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE @MIA $7,300 9% Teams targeting TE heavily vs. MIA. ASJ is essentially Jets WR1. 
Jimmy Graham TE @NYG $4,900 8% Next closest thing to mother of all tight end matchups.
Tennessee Titans DEF @CLE $3,400 7% Always play D/ST vs. Browns, even terrible ones like Tennessee.

CORE PLAYS

These players fall in the middle to upper-middle ownership tiers. Each has a path to top-5 numbers at their respective positions or a strong chance to exceed their salary-implied point expectation. You want more of them than your opponents.

QB: Marcus Mariota (@ CLE, $6,900, 6% owned) - If Mariota weren’t playing the Browns this week, he’d be difficult to trust after how immobile he looked against the Colts in Week 6. But despite being limited in his movement and doing most of his work from the pocket vs. Indianapolis, he was able to take advantage of the plus matchup (306-1-1, 76% completion). Mariota is reportedly feeling better than last week, but he doesn’t need his usual rushing upside to be a great GPP play in Cleveland. The Browns have allowed the most normalized fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks by a mile. No quarterback Cleveland has faced this season has come away without scoring multiple touchdowns - a list that includes Joe Flacco, Jacoby Brissett, Andy Dalton, and Josh McCown. Tennessee is one of only three teams with an implied total over 26 points and 70% of touchdowns scored against the Browns have come via the pass. The possibility of aggravating a hamstring injury in-game is the only reason not to go overboard with your Mariota shares.

RB: Ezekiel Elliott (@ SF, $9,000, 16% owned) - San Francisco’s rush defense has performed better than expected in terms of real football (13th ranked DVOA), but only the Rams have ceded more fantasy points to opposing running backs when normalized for strength of schedule. The one time the 49ers faced a true workhorse running back this season, Todd Gurley annihilated them on their home field to the tune of 33 touches, 149 scrimmage yards, and 3 total touchdowns. Gurley’s stellar Week 3 output is within Elliott’s range of outcomes this week when you consider his involvement as a receiver and San Francisco’s struggles to contain pass catchers out of the backfield. Elliott is on pace for 68 targets, compared to the 40 he totaled in 15 games last season. The 49ers have allowed 43 receptions, 440 receiving yards, 7.6 yards per pass attempt, and 3 receiving touchdowns to opposing running backs. If Bell, McCoy, Ajayi, and Gurley are going to garner more ownership, the case can be made for Elliott as your highest running back exposure.

RB: Melvin Gordon III (vs. DEN, $7,000, 19% owned) - Gordon’s salary is down $800 from last week due to the matchup against Denver, which is a strong sign he’ll be under-owned relative to his potential production. The aforementioned shift in LA’s offense hasn’t only benefited Hunter Henry. Over the Chargers last two games, Gordon has accumulated 60 total touches (including 15 receptions) for 313 scrimmage yards and 4 touchdowns. Considering LA rode Gordon to wins in both games after opening the season 0-4, we have every reason to believe his mammoth workloads will continue. The Broncos are the top-ranked rush defense in the league, even after being gashed by Orleans Darkwa (21-117-0) last week, but they can easily be faced with a negative game script, much to the benefit of LA’s running game. Trevor Siemian is an uninspiring quarterback, who will try to play through a sprain in his surgically repaired shoulder. It’s easy to envision the Chargers pass rush pressuring Siemian into mistakes or even knocking him out of the game completely, leading to short fields and easy scoring opportunities for Gordon. LA's defense (see below) is off the collective radar this week and can be used along with Gordon for a contrarian stack.

WR: Allen Hurns (vs. IND, $4,100, 6% owned) - Hurns becomes an auto-play as the last man standing at wide receiver for Jacksonville if Marqise Lee scratches this week. If Lee is cleared to play by Friday, he becomes the preferred play based on his team-leading 24% share of the Jaguars targets, but chances are he won’t be 100% healthy, so you’ll want exposure to Hurns regardless. Check out what happens to Colts opponents’ catch rate (green line) as average depth of target increases to 20-yards downfield and beyond (chart courtesy of airyards.com). These can easily turn out to be famous last words, but even Blake Bortles can’t screw this up for Hurns, who has double the number of red zone targets as the next closest Jaguars pass catcher. Just be aware his ownership will spike to more than double his current projection if Lee is ruled out.

 

WR: Michael Thomas (@ GB, $7,500, 13% owned) - Those who pay a premium at WR1 will look to Green, Brown, and Dez Bryant first, leaving Thomas -- fresh off a disappointing four-point performance -- low-owned relative to his status as Drew Brees’ number one target. Green Bay is banged up in the secondary and fields the 22nd-ranked pass defense vs. opposing WR1s (DVOA). Let the crowd be scared off Thomas due to his quiet Week 6. The Lions beat themselves with five turnovers and Brees took his foot off the throttle. Thomas led the team in targets last week, the same way he has in every single game this season. Equipped with a plus matchup, heavy target volume, a prominent red zone role, and an elite quarterback, Thomas has overall WR1 upside on this slate.

D/ST: Buffalo Bills (vs. TB, $3,400, 5% owned) - Whether it’s Jameis Winston with a bum shoulder or Ryan Fitzpatrick starting for Tampa Bay, the Bills have a strong probability of generating multiple turnovers this week. Buffalo’s pass rush (8.5% adjusted sack rate) will make life difficult for whoever is throwing the ball for the Bucs. According to PFF, Winston’s accuracy when pressured is the fifth-worst of all qualifying quarterbacks. And we saw last week, it still doesn’t take much to force Ryan Fitzpatrick into more than one interception. Like Hurns, Buffalo’s ownership is predicated on final inactives being announced. If Fitzpatrick starts, expect the Bills ownership to soar.

MORE CORE PLAYS

Player Pos Opponent Salary Proj. Own % Comment
Brett Hundley QB NO $5,100 7% Worth a chance w/ full week of practice and much better matchup.
Carson Palmer QB  LAR $6,600 6% Showed efficiency last week to go w/ league leading pass volume.
Carlos Hyde RB DAL $5,900 17% Pristine matchup at home against 32nd ranked rush defense (DVOA)
Alvin Kamara RB @GB $5,600 10% GB has 27th ranked pass defense vs. RBs. Lower owned than Ingram.
Jordy Nelson WR NO $6,800 10% Best stacking partner for Hundley despite Adams' TD last week.
Rishard Matthews WR @CLE $5,500 12% CLE ranks dead last defending WR1s (DVOA)
Robert Woods WR ARI $4,000 8% How bad is new ARI starting CB Williams if he wasn't already ahead of Bethel?
Kyle Rudolph TE BAL $3,800 7% Nine targets in each of last two. Priced well in great matchup.

CONTRARIAN PLAYS

These players will appear in a small percentage of your opponent’s line-ups. The greater your exposure to these players, the farther your teams will separate from the pack if they have big games.

QB: Blake Bortles (vs. IND, $4,700, 5% owned) - Bortles showed back in Week 3 (27.56 fantasy points), his fantasy upside isn’t completely dead, it’s just gone dormant in head coach Doug Marrone’s ball control offense. A matchup with Indianapolis’ pass defense should be just what Bortles needs to hit the 20-point mark for a second (and probably final) time this season. The last time the Colts stopped an opposing quarterback in 2017 was...never. Last week’s 18.24 fantasy points by a hobbled Mariota were the fewest Indianapolis has allowed to a quarterback this season, which seems unbelievable when you consider they’ve also played DeShone Kizer and Brian Hoyer. If Bortles only gets to Mariota’s 18 fantasy points, he’ll nearly reach a 4x salary multiplier in a week where cap space is scarce. A Bortles-Hurns stack accounts for only 17.6% of the salary cap.

RB: Joe Mixon (@ PIT, $5,000, 4% owned) - The low-$5K range at running back is a veritable no man’s land in terms of both talent and roster construction, save for Mixon. In three games under Lazor, Mixon has averaged 19 total touches per game, caught all 7 of his targets, and has been featured when the Bengals get within scoring range, receiving 44% of the team’s total opportunities (targets plus rushes) from inside the opponent’s 10-yard line. With an extra week to prepare for this game, Lazor surely watched enough film to figure out the path of least resistance against the Steelers is on the ground. Pittsburgh has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but the seventh-most to the running back position, including a pair of nuclear 35-point games to Leonard Fournette and Jordan Howard. Mixon may not blow-up, but given his projected workload, could he reach 20-points with an extra week of preparation and added time for his offensive line to gel? It’s a risk worth taking on a player with Mixon’s talent at 5% ownership or less.

WR: T.Y. Hilton (@ JAX, $6,100, 6% owned) - If you’re stacking Bortles with one of his receivers, it makes sense to go full contrarian and run it back with a Colts pass catcher. The only one worth playing in any given week is Hilton, who should be largely ignored due to his awful matchup with Jacksonville’s secondary. The Jaguars certainly field a pair of shutdown corners, but if you believe Bortles and company force a negative game script on the Colts, you’ll want to consider Hilton. Jacksonville has a pair of blowout wins against teams with legitimate WR1s. In those games, DeAndre Hopkins racked up 16 targets (7-55-1) and Antonio Brown was targeted 19 times (10-158-0). Hilton has two games with more than 150 receiving yards at home this season and his 33% share of the Colts receiving yards is the third-highest team yardage market share in the league. Of course, Hilton was held to 1.45 fantasy points in a great matchup against the Titans last week, so playing him in this spot is as high variance as it gets.

TE: Marcedes Lewis (vs. IND, $2,600, < 1% owned) - Lewis is a thinner play than last week’s 1% tight end cover boy, Tyler Higbee, but if you’re hurting for cap space and searching for a viable tight end absolutely no one sees coming, you can do worse than Lewis (provided Marqise Lee is declared inactive). Indianapolis ranks 22nd in opponent tight end pass success rate and 23rd with eight yards per pass attempt allowed to the position. If Lee is out, nearly 25% of the Jaguars season-to-date targets become available on a team with very few healthy wide receivers. Another three-touchdown game isn’t walking through that door, but if Lewis runs a few more routes in Lee’s absence, a final line resembling 2-30-1 is within his range of outcomes. Given the roster flexibility he offers at $100 over the site minimum, anything more would be gravy.

D/ST: LA Chargers (vs. DEN, $2,400, 4% owned) - The Chargers have won back-to-back games while Denver is still reeling from last Sunday night’s shocking loss to the Giants. Now the Broncos will be relying on a hobbled Trevor Siemian on the road, where he was abysmal in his only other start this season. Defensive ends Melvin Ingram III and Joey Bosa have led the Chargers to the sixth-highest sack rate this season. When these teams met in Week 1, Siemian was sacked four times and LA’s defense still managed eight fantasy points despite allowing 24 points in the game. There’s also a decent chance Siemian won’t make it through the whole contest, which would give the Chargers a crack at Broncos backup Brock Osweiler. The floor is high for LA and playing them checks off two important boxes this week - saving cap space and creating uniqueness.

MORE CONTRARIAN PLAYS:

Player Pos Opponent Salary Proj. Own % Comment
Derrick Henry RB @CLE $5,500 2% Won't stay under radar if DeMarco Murray can't practice Friday.
Robby Anderson WR @MIA $4,200 4% 12 targets last week. Caught 69-yard TD vs. MIA in Week 3.
Zay Jones WR TB $3,600 1% Somebody has to burn Tampa's CBs and Jones is running the most pass routes.
Terrance Williams WR @SF $3,900 4% SF ranks 29th defending WR2s (DVOA)
Devin Funchess TE @CHI $6,000 4% Target hog potential if Benjamin is out, but ownership will spike.