Daily fantasy picks: Who should you start in Week 7 of the NFL season?
My DraftKings and FanDuel lineups have been relatively similar all season, but that’s going to change this week. Thanks primarily to extreme price differences on the sites for two of my favorite players this week, A.J Green and Spencer Ware, my rosters could not be mirror images of one another. One change led to another, which led to another, and resulted in the greatest differentiation between my DraftKings and FanDuel lineups this season.
Below are my ideal picks for both DraftKings and FanDuel. I will be playing lineups other than the ones I present here, but these are my go-to lineups for both sites. Be sure to read on and check out Andrew Perloff’s plays, as well.
Andy Dalton (DraftKings: $6,000, FanDuel: $8,100) vs. Cleveland
The Cavaliers are NBA Champions and the Indians are in the World Series, but the Browns are still the Browns. Cleveland’s lone remaining misfit team has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season. Every quarterback who has faced the Browns has scored at least 18.18 points, and the last two, Tom Brady and Marcus Mariota, were both QB3 for the week. Dalton has had poor touchdown luck this season, but he’s third in the league in yards and fifth in yards per attempt. The touchdowns will be there for him, along with those yards, on Sunday.
DeMarco Murray (DK: $7,200, FD: $8,700) vs. Indianapolis
Sometimes it really is as easy as it seems. Murray has scored 22.5 DraftKings and 19.3 FanDuel points per game this season, putting up no fewer than 12.5 points in any week. The Colts have allowed the second-most points per game to backs, allowing three to post at least 22.3 points, and three more to notch at least 13.8. Murray is tied for fourth among backs in receptions and 10th in receiving yards. The Colts have allowed the sixth-most receptions, fourth-most receiving yards and most receiving touchdowns to backs. In short, no defense has stopped Murray, and the Colts have yet to keep a starting running back in check on the ground or through the air. The chance of either of those streaks ending this week is slim to none. It helps, too, that the Titans are favored and playing at home.
Devonta Freeman (DK: $5,900, FD: $7,500) vs. San Diego
With all the attention paid to great matchups for Murray and Spencer Ware, Freeman seems to be a forgotten man among this week’s big-time backs who should take advantage of a bad defense. To be fair, the Chargers have struggled more against backs through the air than on the ground, and Tevin Coleman handles more of the receiving load for the Falcons, but this figures to be one of the highest-scoring games of the weekend. The over/under sits at 53, and neither defense has put up much of a fight this season. If Philip Rivers is able to move the ball on the Falcons, Matt Ryan, Freeman and company will have to keep the foot on the gas. That’s good news if you’re invested in either side of this game.
Spencer Ware (DK: $5,800, FD: $7,000) vs. New Orleans
The above paragraph wasn’t designed to throw any water on the case for Ware, who should be in for another monster game this week. It’s a three-pronged argument on behalf of Ware being the top running back this week. First, how great has he been this year? Ware is averaging 5.32 yards per carry and 17.8 yards per catch, totaling 646 yards from scrimmage on just 91 touches. Second, Jamaal Charles popped up on the Chiefs injury report on Friday, listed as questionable because of swelling in his surgically repaired knee. He was a limited participant in Friday’s practice, and is in real jeopardy of missing Sunday’s game with the Saints. Even if he plays, he may not have much of a role. Third is the matchup. The Saints have allowed the most points per game to running backs this season, The only running game they’ve slowed down this season belongs to the Giants, which isn’t exactly something to brag about. Ware is one of the best plays regardless of position this week.
Jacquizz Rodgers (DK: $4,300, FD: $5,600) at San Francisco
Doug Martin suffered a setback with his hamstring injury, and will be out this week when the Buccaneers visit the 49ers. With Charles Sims (knee) on IR, Rodgers should be in for another huge workload. He started the Buccaneers last game before their Week 6 bye, running for 101 yards on 30 carries and catching five passes for 28 yards. He may not handle 35 touches on Sunday, but 22 to 25 is a safe bet. The Tampa Bay offense is essentially down to him, Mike Evans and Cameron Brate. That’s a narrow usage tree that should lead to an easy profit at his affordable price tag.
A.J. Green (DK: $8,600, FD: $8,500) vs. Cleveland
Rarely do you see a player with a higher price on DraftKings than FanDuel, so you need to really like Green to play him on the former this week. I do really like him, projecting him as the No. 2 receiver for the week, but it can still be a challenge to work him into DK lineups. Cleveland has allowed a receiver to put up at least 18 FanDuel points and 20 DraftKings points in four of its six games this season. That could be somewhat defensible if they’d seen a steady stream of elite receiver, but that simply hasn’t been the case. The four receivers who hit those thresholds against the Browns were Jordan Matthews, Mike Wallace, Jarvis Landry and Kendall Wright. This team doesn’t have any chance of slowing down Green. If you were ever going to be on a 200-yard day from a receiver, this would be the time.
Mike Evans (DK: $7,800, FD: $8,000) at San Francisco
The 49ers represent just as great at matchup for Evans as they do for Jacquizz Rodgers, making both players a happy pivot of the other. You can work both into the same lineups if you like, but I prefer to differentiate a bit in cash games. The Niners haven’t been terrible against the pass, though they have surrendered 10 touchdowns to receivers, second most in the league. More importantly, Evans is coming into his own in his third year, and is a threat to lead the league in targets every week. He was already tops in targets per week, and now Vincent Jackson is on IR. Evans is a good bet for 14 targets in every game the rest of the season. That volume, plus his immense talent, will lead to video-game stat lines.
Allen Robinson (DK: $7,300, FD: $8,400) vs. Oakland
Robinson hasn’t had the consistency or explosiveness of last year, thanks largely to Blake Bortles’s struggles. That’s a real concern, especially for season-long owners who invested a late-first or early-second round pick in him. It’s a little different in the DFS game, where a reduced price tag makes him all the more attractive in a great matchup with the Raiders, a defense that has allowed the fourth-most points per game to receivers this season. They’ve allowed six 100-yard games and seven touchdowns to the position. With both of these defenses failing to meet lofty expectations they had coming into the year, it could be a great day for both offenses in Jacksonville. You want to find some line of investment into this game.
Michael Crabtree (DK: $6,600, FD: $7,200) at Jacksonville
But why stop there with Raiders-Jaguars. The Jags have mostly struggled with receivers, surrendering the ninth-most points per game to the position. Crabtree is the team’s No. 2 receiver, but he’s the most 1a of No. 2 receivers in the league. With Amari Cooper likely to draw Jalen Ramsey for most of Sunday’s action, Derek Carr could favor Crabtree, who has had a couple quiet weeks in a row. That recent performance could also pull down his ownership rate. Bet on a Crabtree rebound this week.
Jamison Crowder (DK: $4,300, FD: $6,200) at Detroit
Kirk Cousins is my second quarterback of choice behind Andy Dalton this week, and I will be building lineups with him as my passer. I wanted to get some investment in him into this lineup, though, and that’s were Crowder finds his place. The Lions have surrendered the fifth-most points per game to receivers and second most to quarterbacks this season, making them just as willing a patsy through the air as the Browns. Crowder was a strong play with Jordan Reed out last week, and Washington will be without its starting tight end again this week. DeSean Jackson (shoulder) is questionable, as well. If he’s out, Crowder would be a near-lock for double-digit targets.
Hunter Henry (DK: $3,600, FD: $5,800) at Atlanta
If you’ve been reading any of the fantasy coverage at SI.com this season, you had to know this is where I’d go. All Henry has done since taking on a larger role in the San Diego offense the last four games is catch 18 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns, good for 17.67 DraftKings points per game and 14.67 FanDuel points per game. If he can keep up all or most of that pace, he’ll finish in the top three among tight ends. Remember, too, that Antonio Gates has been back the last two weeks, and Henry’s production hasn’t suffered. He has turned himself into a necessary weapon for Philip Rivers, and the San Diego passing game should have success in Atlanta. In fact, there’s reason to believe Rivers will focus on Henry more than usual this week. The Falcons are slightly better than league average in fantasy points allowed to receivers, but have surrendered the fourth-most points per game to tight ends.
Steven Hauschka ($4,800) at Arizona
Yes, we’re coming up a couple hundred dollars for the stone minimum kicker price of $4,500, but we have some money to play with thanks to the cheaper-than-they-should-be prices for Spencer Ware and Jacquizz Rodgers, and Hauschka is well worth it. He remains one of the best kickers in the league, and the Seahawks should be able to move the ball on the Cardinals defense with enough regularity to make Hauschka a weapon. It doesn’t hurt that he’ll be kicking indoors.
Tennessee Titans (DK: $2,500, FD: $4,600) vs. Indianapolis Colts
If you haven’t been playing close attention, you may not realize just how good the Titans defense has been this year. They’re fifth in the league with 18 sacks and have allowed the seventh-fewest rushing yards per game. That makes them a particular brand of challenging for the Colts and their offensive line that can’t keep Andrew Luck upright. The Colts have seen their quarterback sacked a league-high 23 times. The Titans are likely to force the Colts into more than their fair share of obvious passing situations, and it’s the home team that will have the advantage when that occurs. This is an excellent DFS defense matchup at an affordable price.
QB: Andy Dalton
RB1: DeMarco Murray
RB2: Devonta Freeman
WR1: Mike Evans
WR2: Michael Crabtree
WR3: Jamison Crowder
TE: Hunter Henry
FLEX: Spencer Ware
DST: Tennessee Titans
QB: Andy Dalton
RB1: Spencer Ware
RB2: Jacquizz Rodgers
WR1: A.J. Green
WR2: Allen Robinson
WR3: Michael Crabtree
TE: Hunter Henry
K: Steven Hauschka
DST: Tennessee Titans
The backup running backs are invading and it causes a DFS dilemma because you know everyone is playing Jacquizz Rodgers and/or Mike Gillislee in a few of their lineups. You’re not going to win with them alone, so if you go that route you better hit on your high-priced guys.
Kirk Cousins (DraftKings: $5,900, FanDuel: $7,300) at Detroit
If Rams quarterback Case Keenum can light up the Lions, Cousins should have his way. He hasn’t thrown for huge yards this season, but this more of a bet against Detroit’s pass defense.
In addition to Cousins lineups, I’ll also have plenty of exposure to Matt Ryan ($7,200 DraftKings, $8,700 FanDuel). Unfortunately, both quarterbacks will be popular on Sunday. But Ryan is just so tempting against the Chargers defense. Jameis Winston and Colin Kaepernick in the Tampa Bay-San Francisco matchup are interesting value plays.
DeMarco Murray (DK: $7,200, FD: $8,700) vs. Indianapolis
The Colts defense is reeling and the Titans will ride Murray all afternoon in a key divisional game. With rookie Derrick Henry a non-factor, Murray has had more than 20 carries three games in a row and he’s the guy in the red zone. Of the chalk running backs, Murray is the best bet this week.
Jacquizz Rogers (DK: $4,300, FD: $5,600) at San Francisco
The Bucs’ opponent, San Francisco, is allowing a league-worst 174.5 rushing yards per game. With Doug Martin out, Rogers rushed for 101 yards on 30 carries against Carolina in his last game. He should get that many touches this week.
If you want to avoid the masses and avoid Rodgers and Gillislee, look at Minnesota’s Jerick McKinnon, since the Eagles’ run defense showed vulnerability last week against Washington. Dwayne Washington could get some serious work for Detriot. If you want to chase points, last week’s big winners, Jay Ajayi and Matt Jones are still relatively cheap. Cincinnati’s two backs, Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill represent good value against Cleveland, but which do you pick? I lean Gio. And all the primary backs in San Diego-Atlanta (Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Melvin Gordon) are worth a close look.
Julio Jones (FD: $9,200) vs. San Diego
Why reinvent the wheel? Everyone will nab the Falcons receiver against San Diego but you don’t want him to go for 30 points and not be in on it.
A.J. Green (DK: $8,600, FD: $8,400) vs. Cleveland
The Bengals blew out the Browns twice last season and could get its offense rolling again this week. Cincy is in desperation mode and will force the ball to its only consistent playmaker. And I admit, it’s just fun to imagine Green and Jones, the two biggest freaks at their position, on the same team.
Mike Wallace (DK: $5,800, FD: $6,900) at New York Jets
If you don’t have this much cash left for your third receiver, consider Wallace’s teammate Breshad Perriman. You want in on the team facing the Jets’ secondary.
Make sure to have T.Y. Hilton in a lineup or two. He’s been dealing with injuries all season and it doesn’t prohibit him from having a big day. Kansas City’s Jeremy Maclin faces the Saints. Oakland’s Amari Cooper should teach Jacksonville rookie Jalen Ramsey a few lessons and his teammate Michael Crabtree will have a matchup advantage as well. People are jumping off the Jets’ Brandon Marshall because Geno Smith is at quarterback, which makes him a bit more interesting as an against the grain choice.
Jack Doyle (DK: $2,500, FD: $4,700) at Tennessee
The Colts tight end has caught 20 of 23 targets this season and will be on the field all day against Tennessee with starter Dwayne Allen injured.
Chargers rookie Hunter Henry has caught a touchdown in three straight games and had more than 60 yards receiving in four straight games. But we don’t know how much Antonio Gates will eat into Henry’s production. Washington’s Vernon Davis is cheap and in play with Jordan Reed out.
Matt Bryant (FD: $4,700) vs. San Diego
The Falcons-Chargers is by far the highest over-under (54 1/2 right now), so Bryant should be on the field often.
New England Patriots (DK: $2,900, FD: $4,400) at Pittsburgh Steelers
New England is priced at Ben Roethlisberger-facing rates, so jump on the chance to let Steelers backup Landry Jones earn you money.