FanDuel NFL Week 7 Picks: Avoid the Chalk
Week 7 of the NFL season does not feature a whole lot of stud players in great matchups. The stars are still projected to be highly owned chalk plays, but are in situations where they may disappoint. This week we will largely focus on players who are projected to have extremely low ownership, but are in great matchups and may surprise.
QB Marcus Mariota (TEN, $8,200) comes with some hesitation because he is only two weeks past a hamstring injury that could easily be re-aggravated. However, all signs out of Tennessee is that he had a great week of practice. . “He had a real good day,” coach Mike Mularkey said of Mariota on Thursday, according to RotoWire. “He did a lot of good things, and is moving around better than he has.” Mariota’s mobility was limited last week, but he still passed for 306 yards and a TD against the Colts. This week he faces the Brown who have given up the second most Fantasy Points Per Game( FPPG) to QBs at 20.53, according fantasy.nfl.com. The Browns have also allowed 14 passing TDs and two rushing TDs to QBs, both tied for the league high. Mariota has a 2.4% projected ownership on FantasyPros.
QB Jared Goff (LAR, $7,300) has performed well against poor pass defenses having scored 23.6 FanDuel points against the 49ers (29th worst pass defense) and 18.1 FanDuel points against the Cowboys (22nd). Five of Goff’s eight passing TDs came in those games. This week the Rams play the Cardinals who are ranked 25th against the pass. Arizona has given up 13 passing TDs, tied for third worst. Typically the Rams offense goes through RB Todd Gurley II (LAR, $8,400). The Cardinals defense, however, has only allowed four TDs to RBs and is 7th best 15.1 FPPG allowed to RBs. This puts the onus of Goff for the Rams to score. Goff has a 0.8% projected ownership.
The WR position is incredibly difficult this week. None of the defenses that give up a ton of points and TDs to WRs are going up against an offense that has a WR who has been constant. This leads me to go ahead and play the chalk players because they have shown consistency. WRs Antonio Brown (PIT, $9,300, 47.8% projected ownership), Dez Bryant (DAL, $8,200, 16.5% projected ownership), Mike Evans (TB , $8,100, 14.2% projected ownership ), and Michael Thomas (NO, $7,700, 16.8% projected ownership) will be mixed into my lineups because they are among the lead leaders in targets and constantly produce.
WR Eric Decker (TEN, $5,100) will be stacked with Mariota because he is the most constantly targeted WR on the Titans. Decker should provide a solid floor in a great matchup against the Browns, but has yet to score a TD this year. Decker has a 6.6% projected ownership.
WR Robert Woods (LAR, $5,500) will be stacked with Goff, but for the same reason as Decker is with Mariota. Woods is the most consistently targeted WR on the Rams with four to eight targets in every game. Woods, however, has also yet to have a TD this season. Woods and Decker’s constancy and price provide a nice floor for points while freeing up cash for a stud WR. Woods has a 2.0% projected ownership.
For the first time all season, I’m completely avoiding the high price studs because none of their matchups are conducive to over performing. RB Ezekiel Elliott (DAL, $8,700, 20.7% projected ownership) is in the best matchup of the elite RBs. San Francisco has given up the 9th most FPPG to RBs at 20.12 and a total of four TDs. The matchup, however, is really just okay for Elliott’s cost who is somewhat overrated considering he only has three TD’s on the season.
RB Adrian Peterson (AIR, $6,300) was traded from Saints to the Cardinals last week and then shocked the fantasy world by rushing 26 times for 134 yards and two TDs against Buccaneers. Despite this performance, it seems most fantasy players are not jumping on the aging Peterson bandwagon. Being concerned about Peterson’s ability to stay healthy is understandable approach for season long leagues, but not for DFS. We should just care about this week, and Peterson has the best possible matchup against Rams who have given up a 26.13 FPPG and 9 total TDs to RBs, both a league worst. The Cardinals offense coming into the season was built on having it operate around a bell cow RB in David Johnson (IR, wrist). There is every reason to believe it will now run that way with Peterson getting a ton of work. Peterson has a 3.7% projected ownership.
RB Mark Ingram (NO, $7,100) was used like a workhorse back last week when he carried the ball 25 times for 114 yards with two TDs, and caught five-of-five passes for 36 yards against the Lions. This week the Saints faces the Packers without QB Aaron Rodgers (IR, shoulder). Green Bay has given an 8th worst 20.18 FPPG to RBs, and seven total TDs. There is a good chance that without Rodgers for the Packers, the Saints can play ball control and dominate the time of position. If that is the case, Ingram could be in for another big day. Ingram has a 15.7% projected ownership.
RB Derrick Henry (TEN, $5,600) carried the ball 19 times and rushed for 131 yards and one TD against the Colts on Monday. The balk of his production came on a 72 yard TD run in the 4th qtr. Henry could see an increased workload against the Browns this week. Teammate RB DeMarco Murray (TEN, $6,500) is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury and will likely be a game time decision. Cleveland is actually a top 10 defense against the run in allowing fantasy production and has only allowed four total TDs to RBs. However, if Murray does not play then Henry should have ample opportunity to make more than value at his price. Henry has a 2.6% projected ownership.
RB Chris Ivory (JAC, $5,900) is a phenomenal value if he indeed gets the start. Teammate RB Leonard Fournette (JAC, $9,000) did not practice this week and is listed as questionable against the Colts. Indianapolis has given up 22.73 FPPG, and 8 total TDs to RBs, both second worst. Last week, Ivory scored on 18.2 FanDuel points when he was used largely as a pass-catcher when Fournette got hurt. If Ivory starts, he will likely see a large workload against a poor run defense. However, if Fournette does play it will be hard to trust either one because there is a chance Fournette will take the bulk of the work or be limited with his injury. Fortunately, this is a morning game. If Fournette is listed as inactive, then play Ivory. If Fournette plays, make the tough call and pass on playing either Ivory or Fournette in this great matchup. Ivory has a 2.4% projected ownership.
RB Melvin Gordon (NYG, $7,700) is worth playing in at least one GPP lineup. On paper there is no way you should play him. Gordon draws the toughest matchup of the week against the Broncos who have given up the fewest points to RBs (10.62). Denver has held RBs Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy (BUF, $7,900) and Marshawn Lynch (OAK,suspended) to a combined 1.9 YPC, according to RotoWire. However, last week, Orleans Darkwa (NYG, $5,200) rushed for 21 times for 117 yards and has one catch for 13 yards against Denver. Gordon is coming off back-to-back performances of scoring over 30 FanDuel Points (31.3 and 31.5), and has scored four TDs in those games while averaging 30 total touches. Gordon has shown streaks of performing at an elite level. Based on what Darkwa did last week, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Gordon again be a fantasy leader this week. Gordon has a 11.4% projected ownership.
TE Jimmy Graham (SEA, $5,800) is still capable of putting up good games. He has had three games in a row where he had an acceptable score at TE position to make the rest of your lineup competitive with FanDuel scored of 10.7, 8.1, and 12.7, respectively. The Seahawks play the Giants who have given up 13.87 FFPG and seven TDs to TEs, both a league worst. Graham has a 14.6% projected ownership.
TE Hunter Henry (LAC, $5,2000) is now constantly being used and making value. He has scored at least 11.5 FanDuel points in three of his last four games with a low of 8.6 points in those games. Henry faces the Broncos who have allowed a sixth worst 10.26 FPPG and three TDs to TEs. Hunter has a 15.7% projected ownership.
Game Stack Atlanta at New England: I didn’t talk about any of the players in this Super Bowl rematch that has by far the highest over/under of the week at a predicted 56.5 points scored because I plan to get my exposure to this game with two game-stacks that will use both QBs Tom Brady (NE, $9,200) and Matt Ryan (ATL, $8,700). This means that I’m building two lineups that will use a maximum of four offenses players from both the Patriots and the Falcons. The strategy is that I hope, and believe, the game will live up to expectations and that in a high scoring game there will be more opportunities for all the players involved to have a solid fantasy day then in any of the other predicted lower scoring games. In case the game fizzles, , I will avoid these players when building my other lineup since I already have high exposure to this game.
McLellan’s Week 7 FanDuel Player Pool
Derrick Henry (If DeMarco Murray doesn’t play)
Chris Ivory (if Leonard Fournette doesn’t play)
Melvin Gordon (limited exposure)
Game stack Atlanta at New England with both Brady and Ryan at QB.