Week 7 of NFL DFS is upon us, and everyone is looking to cash in on the big money DFS NFL contests at DraftKings. Every week, we’ll take a look at the top pivot plays off the chalk, as well as identifying contrarian options and sleepers. And to keep up with all things PlayPicks, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
As with any daily fantasy sport, the advice below is relevant for fantasy purposes. A player, stack, 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, be sure and give DRAFT a try.
Now, let’s dive into our Week 7 pivot, sleeper, and contrarian plays.
Week 7 DraftKings NFL DFS Pivot, Sleeper, and Contrarian Plays
CHALK: Brett Hundley ($5.1k) vs. NO
PIVOT/CONTRARIAN: DeShone Kizer ($4.9K) vs. TEN
I wrote about how much I like Brett Hundley earlier this week. While that still stands, there’s always merit in exploring pivots. Hundley has a lot going for him this week: an excellent wide receiving corp, positive gameflow, home-field advantage. But he’s also coming off a three-interception game.
That’s a nice lead-in to the contrarian pivot option I’m looking at: DeShone Kizer. I was baffled, no, furious when Kevin Hogan got benched this week. I was ready to go all in on the Browns’ newly-minted starter a week after he disappointed the masses, only to see him get benched one week after getting the gig.
This is a leap of faith admittedly, but I just can’t imagine Hue Jackson doesn’t understand the gravity of this decision. The second phase of the DeShone Kizer experiment has to demonstrate definitive progress. If it doesn’t, it’ll be yet another Cleveland Browns disaster.
While I don’t expect Kizer to play a flawless game, I do think he boasts better upside than Hundley (who isn’t quite as good a rusher), and he gets a Tennessee Titans defense ranking dead last in DVOA. If you’re willing to roster Hundley, who was a turnover machine last week against a tough Minnesota Vikings defense, you should at least consider Kizer and his advantageous matchup.
CHALK: Carson Palmer ($6.6K) @ LAR
PIVOT: Cam Newton ($7.0K) @ CHI
Carson Palmer is going to be super chalky this week, coming off a three-touchdown performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’ll face a Los Angeles Rams defense that has been exploited numerous times this season. Yet in their last two games, they’ve held the Seattle Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars to 16 and 17 points, respectively. Sure, those aren’t the most potent of offenses, but I really am wary of Palmer’s eroding abilities against a Rams defense that has Aaron Donald fully ramped up.
Instead of the Cards’ signal caller, I’m looking to pay up just slightly for Cam Newton. He absolutely has better upside than Palmer, thanks to his ability to rack up yards and scores on the ground. Plus, the Bears’ defense, though better than expected, isn’t equipped to handle Newton’s athletic style of football.
Now, this may look like a game-log play, as Newton has looked very good during the past three games. And in some ways it is, but the most encouraging takeaway from Newton’s recent success is that he’s healthy enough to compete. I said earlier this week that I thought he was an elite GPP option, but now I’m beginning to think he’s a viable Cash option too.
CHALK: Michael Thomas ($7.5K) @ GB, Dez Bryant ($7.8K) @ SF
PIVOT/CONTRARIAN: Kelvin Benjamin ($6.9K) @ CHI
Two days out from the main slate, I’ve become inclined to avoid the pricier wideouts in most of my builds. I’m worried about gameflow for Michael Thomas, as I think the New Orleans Saints should control this game against the Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers. And Dez Bryant can’t seem to break through this year, regardless of how many targets he seems to get. His 13.1 DK ppg average doesn’t exactly make the idea of paying up for him appealing.
As for Antonio Brown and A.J. Green, I’ll have exposure, but I’m very wary of the gameflow in that Steelers-Bengals contest.
Instead, I like the idea of taking the savings and opting for a slightly less expensive Kelvin Benjamin. The Chicago Bears are 29th in DVOA against WR1 this season, and Cam Newton appears to be back to full health. Meanwhile, Benjamin has scored at least 15.8 DK points in each of the last three weeks (which is why I wrote about a Newton-Benjamin stack yesterday). Fire away on the Panthers’ top pass-catcher.
CHALK: Adrian Peterson ($5.8K) @ LAR
PIVOT: Joe Mixon ($5.0K) @ PIT
Adrian Peterson looked like his old self last weekend, rushing for over 100 yards and adding two touchdowns. As such, everyone will be on him this week at just $5.8K. To me, this screams fade in GPPs. The Rams’ defense has looked better the last two weeks, and I really don’t think this game will feature much scoring. Also, it’s in London, which is an additional variable.
Instead of going with AP, at least in some lineups, I like Cincinnati Bengals’ lead back Joe Mixon. Mixon gets a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that is average in DVOA against both the rush and running backs catching passes. They’ve also allowed the fifth-most rushing yards this season and are tied for second in rushing touchdowns allowed. I like Mixon to see carries in the mid- to high-teens, with added upside in the passing game. And I think everyone will pass on him.
CHALK: Kyle Rudolph ($3.8K) vs. BAL
PIVOT: Jack Doyle ($3.3K) vs. JAX
I love Kyle Rudolph this week, as I wrote about yesterday. But he’s going to be chalky, so I’ll probably have much lower exposure to him in tournaments than Cash. And I’ll likely look to Colts TE Jack Doyle as my pivot.
Doyle gets a Jacksonville defense currently best in the league in DVOA, mostly because of its secondary. I think that will push the vast majority of drafters away from him. However, I think we sometimes look at DVOA and think that some teams aren’t exploitable, but the Jags allowed a touchdown to a tight end last week.
Meanwhile, Doyle is getting too heavy a workload not to be considered at this price. Would you be jumping on a wide receiver slated to see seven or more targets? Doyle has 18 targets in his last two outings, and I expect Jacoby Brissett to continue to lean on his tight end, especially with his wideouts in more difficult matchups.
SLEEPER: Marlon Mack ($4.1K) vs. JAX
The Colts get the Jaguars’ incredible pass defense this week, but they also get the Jaguars’ 31st ranked run defense (DVOA). I expect many to avoid the Colts’ offense altogether this week, but Vegas expects this game to be fairly low-scoring and close (Colts +3, 43.5 O/U).
I think that’s fair. Frankly, my biggest blowout concern is the Jaguars’ defense turning turnovers into touchdowns. While Leonard Fournette is expected to play, I can’t trust this inconsistent Jacksonville offense, the same one that managed just 16 total points against the abysmal Tennessee Titans defense.
Now, let’s get to Marlon Mack, by first talking about Robert Turbin. The latter is expected to miss the rest of the season, and Frank Gore just has no upside. There are points to be scored here, considering how bad the Jags’ run defense is, and Mack has shown upside recently, scoring a touchdown and rushing for 91 yards against the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago. With a more secure workload, I think he’s a very good play this week at home in a divisional contest.
SLEEPER: Dion Lewis ($4.7k) vs. ATL
There are numerous reasons I’m upset this game isn’t on the main slate. As I mentioned the other day, Dion Lewis is one of them. And I’m still surprised I haven’t heard more about him as a good play this week. But that could have something to do with him not being available in the Milly Maker.
The Patriots’ back is finally back to full health, and he’s urged the coaching staff the past few weeks to increase his workload. They’ve obliged, as Lewis’ carries have increase from four to seven to 11 in the past three weeks.
Against the 29th ranked defense in DVOA vs. the run, Lewis should see his workload continue to grow. He delivered a touchdown last week and has averaged no less than 4.5 yards per carry in each of the past three games.
SLEEPER/PIVOT: Zay Jones ($3.8K) vs. TBB
This play goes out the window if Jordan Mathews suits up, but if not, the Bills’ Zay Jones has a terrific matchup against a Buccaneers defense ranked 31st in DVOA. More specifically, he’ll be matched up against Vernon Hargreaves, who is having about as bad a season as a corner can.
While I expect hype around Jones to build before lock, he’ll be far less popular than Bennie Fowler, who I actually don’t think is that great of a play. Look to roster Jones for exposure to what could be a fun shootout.