Without a glaring game on the main slate possessing a huge Vegas over/under, finding value among the top tier of games will be key in Week 7. What stands out among the following games to exploit for DFS lineups?
- Saints at Ravens (Saints coming off bye, Mark Ingram II back, but stingy Baltimore defense on all fronts, promising over/under)
- Colts vs Bills (Bills underrated on defense but still touchdown underdogs)
- Patriots at Bears (New England humming along, but Bears - Week 6 an outlier? - have been good on defense)
- Chargers vs Titans (Tennessee looking toothless on offense, Chargers strong home favorite, is Melvin Gordon III an auto-play?)
- Buccaneers vs Browns (Is Tampa Bay a guaranteed weekly shootout game script?)
- Saints at Ravens - The Ravens are one of four teams on the main slate implied to score at least 26 points. Saints players are popular every week regardless of opponent, but Baltimore's pass-catchers warrant a look in this matchup. In particular, look for a bounce back from John Brown, who trails only Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins in air yards this season.
- Colts vs Bills - Andrew Luck leads the league in pass attempts per game by a wide margin, which has powered him to three consecutive 27+ point performances despite the struggles of the Colts as a whole. It could be argued Luck and his top targets warrant GPP exposure every week, but it's hard to get excited about him against the Bills, even as a big home favorite. The team defenses look like the best plays in this game.
- Patriots at Bears - Week 6 was an outlier. The Bears were fatigued on both sides of the ball in Miami, where the heat index was over 100 due to the humidity. Chicago's pass-rush is well-equipped to hamper Tom Brady at home, but it wouldn't be shocking to see a fair amount of scoring on both sides in this one. Josh Gordon remains mid-priced around the industry because he hasn't filled the stat sheet as a Patriot yet, but the time to roster him is now -- before he blows up and gets too expensive. If last week's 81% snap rate and team-leading nine targets are any indications, Week 7 is the last time we'll see Gordon priced below $6K this season.
- Buccaneers vs Browns - It's easy to like both of these offenses, especially each team's explosive second-year tight end. David Njoku has capitalized on numerous injuries to Cleveland's wide receivers, with 23 targets over his last two games. He remains affordably priced against Tampa Bay, who have allowed the most fantasy points per game to enemy tight ends this season. O.J. Howard played on the majority of snaps last week, despite an MCL sprain. He now has 13-or-more fantasy points in each of his last three healthy games. The Browns haven't played against an intimidating tight end since Jared Cook dusted them for an 8-110-2 receiving line in Week 4.
- Bonus game: Panthers at Eagles - Carolina's 27th-ranked pass defense (DVOA) will have their hands full against the defending champs. Carson Wentz has looked better each week and now has three straight games with 24-or-more fantasy points and a completion rate above 66%. Alshon Jeffrey and Zach Ertz have each seen a combined 20 targets over the last two games, making a Wentz super-stack especially attractive.
Saints at Ravens I like the idea of stacking both Ingram and Kamara against the Ravens tough run defense in a GPP or two and run it back with a Flacco and John Brown stack.
Colts vs Bills Not really a game I want to target on the weekend as both offenses seem to be playing second string players and both defenses have had some rare solid performances. Obviously, Andrew Luck is the name that stands out here and possibly you could try a few stacks with his different receivers and run it back with LeSean McCoy on the other side.
Patriots at Bears This is a game that has my attention as both offenses have a lot of different options to offer. Both passing games and running games are in play here and this has the potential to be a shootout style game. The likes of Josh Gordon and Allen Robinson intrigue me as breakout potential in this matchup.
Chargers vs Titans Both of these defenses have seemed to be pretty decent to start the season. I am not sure I would be looking in this direction as far as passing game points go. This is also an early game that won’t be on the main slate.
Buccaneers vs Browns I would rank this game right up there with the Patriots/Bears as the games I want to attack on the main slate. I like both Jarvis Landry and Mike Evans to have a rebound performance in this game. Hopefully because of their dud performances last week their ownership will be slightly decreased.
Dan Hindery: The Saints-Ravens matchup stands out as a game with sneaky shootout potential. It is a pace up game, with the Ravens playing at the league’s second-fastest pace and the Saints ranking in the middle of the pack. The Saints also boast the league’s best run defense but are just 30th (DVOA) against the pass, which could lead to a pass-heavy approach for Baltimore.
The Saints offense (#2 DVOA) versus Ravens defense (#4 DVOA) is a strength on strength matchup but this New Orleans offense at full strength has too many weapons to be fully stopped and should see a few extra snaps given Baltimore’s offensive pace. The DFS plays on the other side of this matchup may slide slightly under the radar but are extremely intriguing, especially if the Ravens lean heavily on the pass. The surprisingly solid Ravens offense (#13 DVOA) faces a Saints defense (#26 DVOA) that has allowed some big fantasy numbers against, especially through the air. One key piece of news to watch for this week is who Marshon Lattimore is expected to cover. If it is John Brown, Michael Crabtree could have a big game on the other side. Lattimore’s talent has led to the opposing #2 receivers facing the Saints getting a ton of targets. Crabtree has seen 8+ targets each of the last five games and would likely see 10+ if Lattimore is on Brown. While Brown or Crabtree would shoot to the top of the list if they aren’t facing Lattimore, whoever matches up against Lattimore isn’t out of play either. The Saints rank dead last in DVOA against both WR1s and WR2s.
- NOS v BAL – Mark Ingram II is a dicey play against a suffocating run defense that has yet to allow more than 11 fantasy points to a back. Touchdowns are hard to come by in this matchup (only one allowed so far), so Ingram’s goal-line prowess isn’t an obvious help. His discount is attractive, I’m much more inclined to take up Alvin Kamara at higher upside and lower exposure across the industry.
- IND v BUF – Andrew Luck is attractive, as he’ll likely be winging 45+ passes every week. Even without sexy targets, that’s volume you want to chase in DFS. His receivers don’t pass the smell test, of course, and there’s much better cash-game value on the slate. But Luck is a top GPP option this week, with ever-present potential to make a run at 400 yards.
- NEP v CHI – I’m not overly frightened by this Bears defense, which is built to create splash plays but could be shredded by Tom Brady. Their strength lies in their pass rush and a dominant man-coverage duo at cornerback. But Brady’s excellence has never hinged on those two factors. He’s fully capable of a 350-yard, 3-touchdown eruption by sticking to his backs, tight ends, and slot men.
- TBB v CLE – Yes, the Buccaneers are to be both drawn from and targeted in weekly DFS decisions. With an aggressive quarterback (and scheme) that piles up big plays, they’re always underpriced. And on the other side of the ball, they’re nothing short of atrocious in downfield coverage. Their soft zones and shaky cover men always come off as sitting ducks.
Saints at Ravens
- I would be careful with taking anyone from the Saints after coming off of a bye week. Teams are 1-3 when coming off a bye this season and the Panthers needed a 60+ yard field goal as time expired to post the only victory. Baltimore set a franchise record for sacks against the Titans last week and they are playing solid ball right now. I think the DFS plays here might be on Baltimore’s side of the ball – including Alex Collins who posted 19 carries for 54 yards and two touchdowns last week and Michael Crabtree who had nine targets, six receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown as well.
Colts vs Bills
- I want zero part of the Buffalo offense and their defense might only be worth a GPP flyer this week. From the Indianapolis side, the guy to have is Eric Ebron as he continues to be one of Andrew Luck’s favorite targets and has scored in each of his last three games. Derek Anderson is back under center for the Bills? He’s attempted just 67 passes since the 2014 season. No thank you.
Patriots at Bears
- Chicago was one of the three teams that I mentioned above who came out flat after the bye week and lost a game they should have won. Their defensive secondary is suspect, but they were gassed in the second half of the 100+ degree heat in Miami and allowed Albert Wilson to run wild. This week they are back home where they play better and facing a New England team that plays worse on the road and just came off of a slugfest against Kansas City last week. I like Tarik Cohen in this game as the Bears need to get him the ball in space against a soft New England Defense. Taylor Gabriel is also on the rise and worth consideration at a reduced price. Chicago’s going to come after Tom Brady as they couldn’t get pressure on Brock Osweiler last week and he picked them apart. This has the makings of a Chicago upset and I’d be careful about stacking too many Patriots in a lineup this week.
Chargers vs Titans
- Gordon is the Chalk this week against a Titan’s team that took a beating against Baltimore last week. Their defense is generally tough though, so I’d be careful about going ‘all in’ on the Chargers this week. I can’t think of any reason to start a Titan from the offensive side of the ball. Corey Davis is probably the best of the bunch, but I don’t think you can count on him at all.
Buccaneers vs Browns
- DFS players avoid words like ‘Guaranteed’ but Tampa Bay is giving up almost 440 yards per game this season (31st in the league). That makes this ripe for low-cost players like Baker Mayfield, Carlos Hyde and Jarvis Landry to post big value games. Even David Njoku finally got into the end zone last week posting a season-high seven receptions. I like any of these guys against the Bucs this week.
BJ VanderWoude: Phil made a great point, referencing John Brown's impressive target volume this season. If you are looking for value though, Willie Snead IV has been consistent, catching at least five passes in four of the Ravens six games. While his upside is not at the level of Brown, he is an intriguing week to week play. On the Saints side of the ball, Mark Ingram II has clearly affected Alvin Kamara's value, but his price has not dropped due to Kamara's point totals last year while both were in the lineup. Ingram should continue to be the goal line back, which offers value at his price across the industry.
- Colts vs Bills
I have no interest in the Bills side of the ball, with the exception of perhaps LeSean McCoy. He hasn't really popped yet this season, but if he is going to, it is going to be against a Colts team ranked 23rd against running backs. Andrew Luck is doing the best he can, but he has lost so many targets the Colts had to sign Dontrelle Inman this week. The Bills have played solid defense this year, which should prevent the Colts from having any predictable fantasy assets outside of Eric Ebron. Ebron has proven himself to be a big-time contributor when he is seeing a massive target volume (8.6 targets a game, six touchdowns), and he is an automatic play this week with the tight end pool as bad as it is.
- Patriots at Bears
This game is very interesting to me, perhaps more than any other game this week. The Bears have been stingy on defense, but the Patriots will find ways to attack them. The real question is, can the Bears offense continue its success through the air and match the Patriots touchdown for touchdown? It is asking a lot, but Tarik Cohen, Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel are all solid options this week with the Patriots secondary constantly letting opposing offenses get behind them.
- Chargers vs Titans
Melvin Gordon III is an autoplay for me, as his ceiling is as high as any running back not named Todd Gurley. Gordon has nine touchdowns already this season and is a great bet to add at least one more against the Titans. The only Titans player I really have interest in week to week is Corey Davis (8.5 targets per game), but only when the matchup is right. The Chargers secondary has been pretty solid, but with Davis's depressed salary, I will take a flier on him this weekend in a game where the Titans will be playing from behind.
- Buccaneers vs Browns
From the looks of it thus far, Tampa Bay does offer consistent shootout potential each week. I really like Chris Godwin, as he's scored touchdowns in four of the Bucs first five games. Desean Jackson is also in play, and Mike Evans--despite last week's down performance--is an every week play because he offers the upside of the top wide receivers without the inflated salary. The Browns are a tough offense to read right now. They are losing wide receivers left and right, and even Jarvis Landry, who had been consistent with his production, is at the mercy of the Browns play calling and Baker Mayfield's progression. With that said, the Bucs defense has been so bad, it is hard not to want to play Landry and David Njoku, and both offer fantastic value this week.
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