FanDuel’s Week 7 Main Slate features 16 games and will kickoff at noon ET.
The optimal lineup builds are going to spend $20-22K to roster a pair of elite quarterbacks, $16-19K on two mid-high priced running backs, and leave just $19-22K left to fill out the three wide receiver spots. The core plays you will see below reflect those realities.
This slate breakdown will go position-by-position, highlighting the top options and giving an overview of the toughest choices we face this week. The top options are broken down into two categories. Players listed as Core Plays are those who you can play with high confidence in both cash games and tournaments. Players listed as Worth Considering are viable as cost-saving options in your main lineup or high-upside options for tournaments
Jalen Hurts ($11,500) is going to be incredibly chalky but it is hard not to play him given his dominance as both a runner and passer. There are a bevy of other strong, high-priced options including Sam Ehlinger ($10,800), Tua Tagovailoa ($10,700), Jamie Newman ($10,300), and Brock Purdy ($10,100). Most rosters will feature two of these five quarterbacks and that looks like the path of least resistance in cash games.
In tournaments, trying to save some money at quarterback (or super flex) could be a strong option. Trevor Lawrence ($9,400), Charlie Brewer ($9,300), Jayden Daniels ($8,800), and Kedon Slovis ($7,400) don’t necessarily need to match the score of the top quarterbacks. If one can just come close, the extra cap space could prove the difference with a bigger score at another position.
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma ($11,500)
Hurts is a must-play in cash games. He is the most dynamic dual-threat quarterback on the slate and playing on the the team with the highest implied team total (43.5 points). A full four quarters on the field are virtually guaranteed in Oklahoma’s biggest game of the season. The numbers Hurst has been putting up are staggering. He is averaging 305 passing yards and 2.8 passing touchdowns per game. He’s also rushing for 100 yards and 1.4 rushing touchdowns per game. The matchup against Texas is excellent. The Longhorns rank just 66th in SP+ defense and are missing a pair of starters in the secondary. Against the only offense close to Oklahoma’s that Texas has faced this season, they allowed 471 passing yards and 4 touchdowns to LSU and Joe Burrow.
The problem for tournaments is that Hurts isn’t sneaking up on anyone. He is going to have ownership of 50% or more. I project his odds of being in the winning lineup of bigger tournaments to be less than 50% because there are so many other high-upside quarterbacks on this slate and Hurts would have to outscore them by a decent amount given his salary. If you are playing one lineup, play Hurts. If you are multi-entering, you want significant exposure but it may make sense to come in slightly below the field.
Sam Ehlinger, Texas ($10,800)
In two games against the Sooners last season. Ehlinger threw for 663 yards and 5 touchdowns and ran for 114 yards and 5 more touchdowns. It is the rushing upside, especially down around the goal line, that makes Ehlinger such a strong play this week. Given that it is such a big game, we should also see Ehlinger run even more than normal (19 rushes against LSU, for example). The problem with putting too much stock into last season’s numbers is that, through five games, Oklahoma’s 2019 defense has been much better than last year’s version. The Sooners have the 36th-ranked SP+ defense under new coordinator Alex Grinch and have looked more like what a defense loaded with four star recruits should look like. Texas has a solid team total of 32 points and with his rushing upside, Ehlinger is a top cash game option and solid tournament play. We are probably going to need four touchdowns out of Ehlinger to feel good about rostering him as the second-highest priced player on the slate, so there isn’t a whole lot of room for non-Ehlinger Texas touchdowns (unless Texas scores more than Vegas expects).
Others to Consider
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson ($9,400)
Lawrence is understandably flying under the radar this week given how strong the other top quarterback options are. The fact he won’t be nearly as highly owned combined with his salary coming in $2,100 below Hurts and about $1,000 below most of the other top passers make him an intriguing tournament option. Lawrence hasn’t been great this season, both in terms of fantasy and on the field. He is throwing for under 250 yards per game and has and 8-to-5 TD/INT ratio. Lawrence has heard the criticism over the bye week and it will be interesting to see if he can put up a performance that reminds us why many believe he is an elite talent. The timing might be right for a statement game. Florida State ranks just 78th in SP+ defense and has been on the field for 82.8 plays per game (2nd most in the country). The matchup, pace, and two weeks of moderate criticism after the dud against North Carolina make this spot very interesting if you still believe Clemson is one of the best offenses in the country.
Brock Purdy, Iowa State ($10,000)
Iowa State carries an almost identical implied team total (31.8) as Texas (32) and Purdy keys the Cyclones offense in the same way Ehlinger does for the Longhorns. It makes Purdy a strong option to pivot off of Ehlinger to get similar upside at lower ownership and a lower price. Purdy has averaged 316 yards and 2.0 touchdowns through the air while also rushing for 40.3 yards and 1.0 touchdowns on the ground. He is facing a mediocre West Virginia defense that ranks just 62nd in SP+.
Jamie Newman, Wake Forest ($10,300)
Behind Texas-Oklahoma, the Wake Forest-Louisville game carries the second-highest total on the slate (65). This should be a fast-paced, high-scoring game Saturday night featuring a pair of solid offenses and two bad defenses (Wake is 71st in SP+ defense and Louisville is 86th). Newman is just the type of dual-threat quarterback we love to roster in tournaments. He is averaging 52.4 rushing yards and 0.6 rushing touchdowns per game in addition to his 304 yards and 2.8 touchdowns per game through the air.
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama ($10,700)
Tagovailoa has an absurd 23-0 TD/INT ratio and 225.1 passer rating through five games. He has scored at least four touchdowns in every single game this season (he has a pair of rushing touchdowns in addition to the 23 through the air). His numbers have been best against good competition. He is averaging 431 passing yards and 6.0 touchdowns in two SEC games. Alabama’s offense will face its stiffest test of the season on the road against Texas A&M’s 21st-ranked defense. With an implied team total just shy of 40, we shouldn’t expect another six touchdown game out of Tagovailoa but it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility either.
This is the toughest position on the slate because there are so many very good options but none that stand out as truly great.
At the top end of the salary scale, Jonathan Taylor ($10,400) is always in play but it is tough to fit him in this week and probably not worth the sacrifices required at other positions given the difficult matchup against Michigan State. Eno Benjamin ($9,600), Kylin Hill ($9,500), Travis Etienne ($9,100), D’Andre Swift ($9,400), Michael Warren ($9,200), and Kenneth Gainwell ($8,700) all provide more bang for your buck and look like the top options in the mid-high priced tier.
Most builds are going to require saving at least a little bit of money at RB2, so Johnnie Lang ($7,800), Cade Carney ($7,800), and Javian Hawkins ($8,300) are going to be understandably popular options.
Eno Benjamin, Arizona State ($9,600)
Benjamin has one of the highest floors on the slate because the volume is consistent and huge. He was a 300-carry, 35-catch back last season and is on pace for similar numbers again this year. Given that he should see 20+ carries and a handful of targets, Benjamin is a good bet to rack up 100+ total yards against Washington State. He comes with a high touchdown expectation, also. In 18 games over the last two season, he has scored 26 touchdowns. It feels like you are locking in 20+ points by rostering Benjamin. The biggest question is whether Benjamin can actually break off some big chunk gains to unlock more upside. He is averaging a miserable 3.7 YPC this season and has yet to top 4.6 YPC in any game. The matchup against the Cougars could be just what Benjamin needs to get back on track. The struggling Washington State defense made a bunch of personnel changes leading up to this week after defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys resigned when he and Mike Leach couldn’t agree on how to fix the defense. Overall, Benjamin looks to have the strong combination of floor and ceiling you are looking for in cash games if you can fit the salary in.
Kylin Hill, Mississippi State ($9,500)
Along with Benjamin and Jonathan Taylor, Hill is one of the few true workhorses on the slate. He is averaging over 20 carries per game and has been especially busy in close games. In three games decided by two scores or less this season, Hill has handled 28, 26, and 26 touches. The Bulldogs are 7-point road favorites in what should be a tight game against Tennessee, so we can again expect him to touch the ball 25+ times. The Volunteers are allowing 167 rushing yards per game this season and just gave up 238 to Georgia.
Johnnie Lang, Iowa State ($7,800)
Lang has slowly but steadily emerged as the top running back for Iowa State. There is a small bit of risk in assuming he is locked into a workhorse role but all indications point to his having earned that distinction after carrying it 16 times last week while no other back touched it more than four times. Lang has also found the end zone multiple times in back-to-back games. He looks like the top option on the slate under $8,000 in a strong matchup against West Virginia.
Others to Consider
If multi-entering GPPs, this week feels like one to really spread the ownership around. None of the guys listed as core plays are slam dunks for a big game and there are a bunch of backs with slate-breaking upside and reasonable salaries. Let’s briefly highlight some of those with the best chance of putting up a big game.
Travis Etienne, Clemson ($9,100)
After smashing Georgia Tech in Week 1, Etienne hasn’t put up more than 14 fantasy points in any of his last four games. He just hasn’t been able to get it going and the whole Clemson offense has been solid but unspectacular. After a major wake up call against North Carolina and a bye week, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Tigers figured some things out and explode against Florida State. The string of mediocre performances has brought Etienne’s price tag down to the point he looks like a strong bargain this week.
D’Andre Swift, Georgia ($9,400)
Swift has been good this season, averaging 121.4 total yards and 1.0 touchdowns per game. However, he has yet to have a real dominant fantasy outing. At some point, he is going to break off a long touchdown and have a huge game. Georgia has one of the highest team totals on the slate (38.5 points) against South Carolina and this could be the week Swift breaks out.
Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis ($8,700)
The Memphis-Temple matchup is expected to be low scoring and the Tigers are favored by just 5 points on the road. In fact the total has fallen to just 49 points, so a shootout isn’t expected and this isn’t as good a spot as it might look at first glance. However, as long as Patrick Taylor remains out, Gainwell is a lock for 15+ touches every game and should see at least 20 in this game. He is averaging 8.2 yards per carry and has shown the dynamic ability to break off big plays at a high rate. If he gets loose for a long touchdown or two, he could be a slate-winner and the price is also very appealing.
Javian Hawkins, Louisville ($8,300)
Hawkins should be priced $1,000 higher in a nice matchup against Wake Forest. He is coming off of a 26-touch game in which he put up 185 total yards against Boston College. He will be a popular salary-saver and looks like one of the better bargains at the position.
Jafar Armstrong, Notre Dame ($6,500)
Armstrong was injured early in Week 1 and should finally make his return this week. How much of a workload he is trusted with is a major question mark. This is an extremely boom-bust recommendation for tournaments and isn’t for the faint of heart. He could easily fail to crack five fantasy points and tank your lineup. However, the price tag, Armstrong’s high talent level, and the plus matchup against USC may make it worth gambling that he instantly steps back into a big role.
As noted in the introduction, if we roster a pair of elite quarterbacks and don’t dip below the $7,800 range at either running back spot, there isn’t much money left to fill out our roster at wide receiver. As such, our core plays are all going to come from the sub-$8K range. It will be worth risking some cheaper, contrarian plays at other positions to unlock some of the top options at wide receiver in tournaments but the optimal build is going to require taking some shortcuts at the position.
Justyn Ross, Clemson ($7,900)
Ross is off to a slow start to his sophomore season but still looks like the top option under $8K. Trevor Lawrence has thrown just 8 touchdown passes on the season but with Clemson boasting an implied team total over 40 points in an uptempo matchup against Florida State, expect the passing offense to come to life. Assuming it does, Ross has a great chance to make good on this deflated salary. He is clearly one of the top two options in this passing attack (along with Tee Higgins who is also strongly in play at $1,000 more) and has a solid floor to go along with a massive ceiling.
Collin Johnson, Texas ($7,500)
It is risky to roster Johnson in his first game back after an extended absence due to a hamstring injury. However, the tremendous price discount (Johnson likely would be $9,000+ but for the injury) makes the juice worth the squeeze. The Longhorns are double-digit underdogs and will have to be aggressive throwing the ball. Johnson has realistic 100-yard, 2+ touchdown upside if he can make a seamless return from the injury.
Jadon Haselwood, Oklahoma ($5,400) and George Pickens, Georgia ($5,700)
It feels like a stretch listing true freshman who rank as second or third targets in their offenses, at best, as core plays. However, the realities of the salary cap and roster building this week keep pushing me towards rostering a sub-$6K WR3. Haselwood and Pickens look like two of the best options in this range. Haselwood ranks third on the Sooners in receiving yards (218) and is tied with Charleston Rambo for second in receptions (14). While CeeDee Lamb is the preferred stack for Hurts this week, it is infinitely easier to fit Haselwood in given the $3,900 price gap between the two. Pickens ranks second or tied for second in every major passing category for Georgia, though that isn’t saying much given how much the team spreads it around. The price is the key here, however. Getting a starting receiver on one of the teams with the highest totals on the slate for $5,700 looks like a pretty good proposition given how badly we will want to get two top quarterbacks on our rosters.
Others to Consider
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma ($9,300)
Lamb is not without risk this week. After all, he is averaging just 3.6 receptions per game this season and Oklahoma has spread the ball around to a ton of different pass catchers. Presumably, the targets are going to be more concentrated to the top players this week, however. In Oklahoma’s biggest game of the season, it would be a shock if they don’t try to get it into the hands of their top playmaker early and often. It isn’t easy to fit in Lamb’s salary, especially if stacked with Hurts, but it is worth trying given Lamb’s 30+ point upside in this matchup. He averaged 6-126-1 against the Longhorns last season in two games.
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama ($10,100)
It has been a few weeks since Jeudy had a monster fantasy game which could mean he is due. Jeudy has been getting a ton of targets and has at least 6 catches in every single game. His floor is the highest on the slate at the position. However, if you are paying this extreme salary, you absolutely need a ceiling game from Jeudy. He is certainly capable. Two weeks ago, it was Devonta Smith who broke the slate with a 5-touchdown game. At some point, Jeudy is going to have one of those types of outings so we want to make sure he is in our GPP player pool. His ownership could be the lowest all season given how much everyone will be focused on the Oklahoma-Texas matchup.
Kyle Pitts, Florida ($6,200)
Florida’s tight end may be the highest-floor option of the players priced $6,500 or below. He has at least four catches and 8.3 or more fantasy points in four straight games. He’s also score three times in the past three weeks. Florida is a two-touchdown road underdog and is likely to have a game script in which the Gators are forced to pass. LSU’s defense has been a bit shaky against the pass.
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