Week 7 of NFL DFS is upon us, and everyone is looking to cash in on the big daily fantasy football money at FanDuel. Every week, we’ll bring you our top DFS NFL picks for each position and recommend them as Cash Game and/or GPP plays. And to keep up with all things PlayPicks, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
Cash Game options generally come with less risk and a more stable floor, while the best GPP plays can bring tons of risk but also upside. Taking a chance on players with high ceilings and low floors is a good way to separate from a large tournament field.
As with any daily fantasy sport, the advice below is relevant for fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, gameflow, and more. This is important when constructing a roster. And if you’re looking for a new way to play DFS NFL, be sure and give DRAFT a try.
In this article, we highlight the plays that aren’t necessarily obvious and, therefore, may help separate you in a contest that features thousands of lineups.
Week 7 NFL DFS Sleepers, Fades, Contrarian, and Pivot Plays on FanDuel
CHALK: Marcus Mariota @ CLE ($8.2k FanDuel)
PIVOT: Cam Newton @ CHI ($8.1k FanDuel)
Using any QB against the Browns has been a no-brainer the past few weeks, and Marcus Mariota could certainly pay off as a safe play. That said, he lacks upside with essentially no rushing ability due to his balky hamstring. Meanwhile, Cam Newton will likely have a low ownership rate because of the questionable tag next to his name (non-throwing shoulder injury) and the fact that the Bears have allowed the seventh-fewest passing YPG this season. But Chicago’s last three successes came against struggling Ben Roethlisberger, the horrible Ravens’ offense, and injured Sam Bradford (for a half). The last capable QB to face the Bears, Aaron Rodgers, went off. Look for Newton and his big wide receivers to bully the Bears on the road.
FADE: Matt Ryan @ NE ($8.7k FanDuel)
We recommended Matt Ryan as a GPP play in our main FanDuel picks article, yet he should be highly owned and has posted a frighteningly low floor this season. With OC Kyle Shanahan no longer around, Julio Jones is not getting open, and the supporting cast of skill players isn’t getting involved. This could allow the Patriots to sell out against Jones and hold their first passer under 300 yards this season. New England’s defense is showing signs of life, and a home rematch of the Super Bowl might be what they need to wake up.
CHALK: Leonard Fournette @ IND ($9.0k FanDuel)
PIVOT: Ezekiel Elliott @ SF ($8.7k FanDuel)
It’s not that Ezekiel Elliott will be an unpopular option in a plus matchup this Sunday, but Leonard Fournette should be supremely popular given his recent success and the weak reputation of the Colts’ undersized defense. Yet Fournette is dealing with an ankle injury and was already seeing snap counts under 60 percent this season, so Chris Ivory ($5.9k) would be a truly contrarian option in GPPs if you think the Jaguars will split carries a little more evenly this week. Elliott might fly under the radar a bit due to his ongoing legal issues, but he’s still running behind an incredible offensive line and actually ran for more YPG (111) on the road last season than in Dallas.
FADE: Mark Ingram @ GB ($7.1k FanDuel)
In the absence of Adrian Peterson, Mark Ingram went off for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the first half against Detroit last week. Yet after the Lions shored up some issues, they held the bruising back to just 14 yards on the ground in the second half despite the Saints’ being up big. Green Bay has struggled in run defense at times but got difference-making NT Mike Daniels back from injury and will be fired up to rally around a new QB at home by playing stout defense. Perhaps that forces the Saints to use receiving back Alvin Kamara ($6.1k) more often than Ingram.
VALUE SPECIAL: Derrick Henry @ CLE ($5.6k FanDuel)
DeMarco Murray looked noticeably injured last Monday, and he’s questionable with a couple of issues on a short week. Even with Murray active, Derrick Henry handled more snaps (40) and touches (20) than the veteran in a 36-22 win over the Colts. He should be the preferred option if gameflow works in the Titans’ favor against the winless Browns. Henry is an absolute beast capable of getting to the edge or pounding it up the middle against a team that can’t stop anything right now.
FADE: Antonio Brown vs. CIN ($9.3k FanDuel)
Betting against Antonio Brown is a very scary proposition in PPR formats, yet his recent game log against the Bengals should inspire some confidence in this fade. He’s gone for 38, 57, and 87 yards without a TD in his last three regular season tilts against Paul Guenther’s unit, and the Bengals’ defense is allowing the second-fewest passing YPG (159.6) in the NFL this year. On the other side, Pittsburgh is allowing the fewest passing YPG, and this contest has a low 41-point over/under as a result. All this lowers Brown’s ceiling after he saved his fantasy day with a miraculous (but flukey) 50-yard TD catch in Kansas City last week.
CONTRARIAN: Mike Evans @ BUF ($8.1k FanDuel)
Buffalo’s defense has a good reputation and deservedly so, but that unit is giving up the 12th-most passing YPG (234.8) and actually ranks 20th in schedule-adjusted DVOA defense this year. The Bills have faced a Falcons team with both of its top WRs injured, Cam Newton when he was still hobbled, and the Jets and Broncos this year, before getting flamed for 189 yards and a touchdown by a true top WR in A.J. Green two weeks ago. Mike Evans has a similar skill set in terms of making plays down the field, and he’s a superior red zone option to Green, or really any other WR, at 6’5 and 231 pounds.
SLEEPER: Taylor Gabriel @ NE ($6.5k FanDuel)
Feel free to change this pick to the Falcons’ usual No. 2 WR in Mohamed Sanu (hamstring) if he gets in a full practice on Friday. Yet if he remains out, Taylor Gabriel should be heavily featured against a Patriots defense that’s coughed up 28 pass plays of 20-plus yards and six plays of 40-plus yards while showing a serious lack of communication at the back end. New England particularly struggles against speedsters, and Gabriel is an absolute burner, capable of making plays on screens, jet sweeps, or other gadget plays.
CHALK: Delanie Walker @ CLE ($5.9k FanDuel)
PIVOT: Jimmy Graham @ NYG ($5.8k FanDuel)
The Browns’ defense has been particularly awful against the TE position during the past few years, which clearly makes Delanie Walker a great option for Cash Games this week. Yet his upside could suffer due to positive gameflow, while the Seahawks’ defense is far inferior on the road. That could force Seattle to throw throughout their trip to the Meadowlands. The G-Men are stifling opposing receivers with Eli Apple stepping up opposite shutdown CB Janoris Jenkins. But the Giants rank 20th in DVOA pass defense against opposing TEs while giving up the third-most receiving YPG (71.3) to the position this year. Jimmy Graham caught a TD in typical box-out fashion two weeks ago and has been coming on with 17 catches over his last three appearances. Perhaps the Seahawks keep him involved as they come out of their bye week.
VALUE SLEEPER: George Kittle vs. DAL ($4.8k FanDuel)
As mentioned in our Top Stacks article, George Kittle has a good rapport with his former college QB, C.J. Beathard, who is now the 49ers’ starter. Kittle caught three of six targets from Beathard to post 46 receiving yards one week after breaking out with a 7-83-TD line at the Colts. The Cowboys’ Cover 2 scheme leaves the middle of the field open for TEs, and that’s exactly where Beathard likes to look. He’s a conservative QB with a clear reluctance to go deep after that strategy seemed to lead to Brian Hoyer’s benching.
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