FanDuel NFL Week 7: In-Depth Player Pool With Expert Analysis
Three of eight my GPP lineups cashed last week. It was not profitable as the FanDuel lineups that I had the most confidence in and entered into the higher-priced single-entry tournaments did not cash.
Injuries again plagued my most confident lineups with Titans TE Jonnu Smith leaving early with an ankle injury and scoring just 1.8 points. Nevertheless, my best lineup of the week was a last-minute Titans stack build that included Smith. It took 20th place in a $5 1176 single-entry. It would’ve had a shot to win the tournament if Smith had not gotten hurt, and Davante Adams would have had a better performance.
We are now at Week 7 of the season. That not only means we are approaching the half-way mark, but at this point, players with good matchups are more accurate indicators because more data has been compiled against diverse opponents to create the impression of whether or not a matchup is good.
I’m going to do my best to stick with players in very positive matchups, so elite names you may typically see in a DFS write up may not be mentioned here, or mentioned with a hint to avoid.
Research, The Mikes
As regular readers of my column, you will not only see my research of stats but the analysis of some of the best experts in the industry (If you can’t beat them, join and credit them). Mike Tagliere of FantasyPros and Mike Woellert of 4for4 are quoted frequently.
Tagliere’s weekly column, The Primer, is the most compressive look at Fantasy Football. It’s typically about 20,000 words and had well thought out information on every fantasy-relevant (and not so relevant) player. Tagliere takes into account defensive injures, schemes, matchups, and historical numbers. I admire Tagliere’s work. This article is somewhat modeled after The Primer but reduced to only the players I’m using.
Woellert is an expert at WR vs. CB matchups. He continually finds low owned undervalued players that have huge weeks. When spending up at W.R., it’s great to know they are in advantageous situations. As the season progresses, patterns emerge, and it becomes clear which CBs should be exploited. Our goal will be to play WRs covered by CBs, who average near or above 2.0 fantasy points per target.
While my articles give you free exposure to a sliver of the information, at FantasyPros and 4for4, I would recommend subscribing to help with your research.
Week 7 FanDuel Player Pool
Patrick Mahomes (KC, $9,000) is the top projected QB on 4for4 at 23.7 fantasy points, and Tagliere has Mahomes ranked 3rd. I’ll likely play Mahomes in low priced single-entry, but my confidence is not high because there isn’t an obvious Broncos CB to attack, and I don’t believe the Broncos offense can create a game script to push Mahomes to a high upside. Without a straight forward CB to attack, I will stack Mahomes with TE Travis Kelce.
Josh Allen (BUF, $8,800) is the fourth-highest projected QB on 4for4 at 23.2 points and is ranked second by Tagliere. Allen faces a Jets defense that has only allowed 18.37 fantasy points a game to QBs. Part of the Jets’ success in limiting opponents QB fantasy scores is they have only allowed 94 rushing yards to QBs and two rushing TDs. Allen has averaged 24 rushing yards a game and has three rushing TDs in six games. Nevertheless, the Jets are not a daunting defense against the pass. In the last two weeks, Allen has faced two tough defenses in the Titans (ranked 4th) and the Chiefs (ranked 8th) and scored 18.32 and 16.08 fantasy points. In four games prior, the average rank of opposing defenses against the pass was 20.5, and Allen averaged 30.09 fantasy points a game. The jets are right in the middle of the pack and ranked 16th against the pass. It’s reasonable to project Allen scored above 20 to as much as 30 fantasy points in this game.
Kyler Murray (AIR, $8,400) has the highest predicted average if you add his weekly average with what the opponent has allowed and divide by 2. That formula creates a predicted score of 25.84 points and a 3.08X return. Tagliere and I have Murray rated as our top QB of the week. The Seahawks have allowed a league-worst 29.07 fantasy points a game to QBs. My Cardinal stack will be my most confident play of the week. I’ll likely also play the other side with a Russell Wilson (SEA, $8,700) stack. Sportsline projects the Seahawks winning the game 27-26, so this could turn into a shoot out. However, the Cardinals pass defense is much better than the Seahawks as they have allowed only 16.76 fantasy points to QBs. At the lower price and weaker opponent in terms of pass defense, Murray appears to provide a better value than Wilson.
Aaron Rodgers (GB, $8,100) and Deshaun Watson (HOU, $8,000) face each other and typically ranked between fifth and seventh, and trade positions in who is ranked higher depending on the outlet. Rodgers has the better matchup as the Texans have allowed 20.09 fantasy points per game to QBs, while the Packers have allowed 17.68. Sportsline projects the Packers to win 27-26, so like the Seahawks like Cardinals game, there is a high chance of a game script where both sides shoot out in a close game, raising all involved’s fantasy scores.
Justin Herbert (LAC, $7,500) has averaged 298.75 passing yards, 2.5 total TDs, and 22.6 fantasy points a game. He faces a Jaguars defense that has allowed 19.84 fantasy points a game to QBs, so there is a good chance Herbert can have a game near his average for about a 3X performance. Sportsline projects the Chargers to win 31 to 28, which means they expect the Bolts to score four TDs. If that were to occur, Herbert would likely have thrown for two to three more TDs.
Matthew Stafford (DET, $7,300) let us down last week with a 13.32 against the Jaguars. The week prior, he had his best fantasy performance of the season by scoring 23.34 against a good Saints pass defense. This week Stafford has the best matchup possible in the Falcons, who have allowed a league-worst 29.07 fantasy points a game to QBs. The same formula used for the Murray projection projects Stafford at 23.46 fantasy points for the highest return to value of QBs on the Main Slate at 3.22X. Patrick Mahomes (KC, $9,000) projects only slightly higher than Stafford at 23.72 points, but at $1,800 cheaper, Stafford provides far greater potential value, albeit a lower ceiling.
DeAndre Hopkins (AIR, $9,000) would be the natural stack with QB Kyler Murray, as he has the third-highest target per game average at 10.2, according to the 4for4 Player Target App. Hopkins, however, is dealing with an ankle injury and has a tough CB matchup. He should be covered by Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar, who has allowed a low 47.4% catch rate and 1.26 fantasy points per target. That doesn’t mean Hopkins still can’t hit for the big play and rack up a fair amount of catches, but I believe Christian Kirk ($5,400) will likely provide a greater return to value.
Davante Adams (GB, $8,900) didn’t light it up in his return from a hamstring injury. He only scored 9.6 fantasy points against the Buccaneers. That’s no reason to have a recency bias and not play Adams this week against the Texans. Adams was targeted 10 times last week and caught six balls for 61 yards. This week he has a phenomenal CB matchup to exploit. Adams should be covered by Texans CB Bradley Roby, who has allowed a 66.7% catch rate and 2.19 fantasy points a target. Adams has an excellent chance of breaking through 20 fantasy points this week.
Calvin Ridley ($8,400) is the clear choice between him and Julio Jones ($8,300) for an opposing WR to Matthew Stafford. Ridley should be covered by Lions CB Desmond Trufant, who has allowed a 71.4% catch rate and a whopping 2.53 fantasy points per target. Jones will likely be covered by CB Amani Oruwariye, who has allowed a low 42.9% catch rate and just 1.0 fantasy point per target.
Kenny Golladay (DET, $7,600) is ranked sixth of the 12 WRs who have averaged at least seven targets a game, and 11 yards are more per target, according to the 4for4 Air Yards App. Golladay missed the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury. In his first three games, he has faced decent defenses in the Cardinals, Saints, and Jaguars and put up similar numbers scoring 14.7, 14.2, and 12.5 fantasy points. Golladay scored a TD in the first two games but was held out of the endzone last week despite catching four-ball for 105 yards. This week Golladay has one of the best CB matchups on the slate. against ATL CB A.J. Terrell. “This game is tied for the highest total on the board, 56.5, and Detroit’s implied team total is 27,” wrote Woellert. “Although the Falcons are favored, the Atlanta secondary stinks. There’s been some movement along the outside, and Terrell has been deployed right corner on 63% of his routes over the last two weeks, which puts him on Golladay’s radar this week. Golladay should get shots at Atlanta’s corners all day, including Kendall Sheffield, who allowed over 100 yards to Justin Jefferson last week. Terrell has been responsible for two scores and is allowing 2.7 fantasy points per target.”
Stefon Diggs (BUF, $7,500) is the obvious stack with QB Josh Allen. Diggs has the fourth-highest target average of all WRs at 9.8 per game. Diggs has one of the best CB matchups on the Main Slate in Jets CB Pierre Desir, who has allowed a 75% catch rate and 2.44 fantasy points per target. The points per target times Diggs’ target per game average equals 23.91 points, which would be greater than a 3X performance based on his price.
D.K. Metcalf (SEA, $7,300) has the highest average depth of target at 16.8 of all receivers who have averaged at least seven targets a game, according to the 4for4 Air Yards App. Metcalf has the best CB matchup of the Seahawks WRs. Metcalf should be covered by Cardinals CB Dre Kirkpatrick, who has allowed 77.8% catch rate and 1.53 fantasy points per target. WRs with better CB matchups in the price range, but Metcalf is the clear choice for a stack with QB Russell Wilson or opposing WR to Kyler Murray.
Keenan Allen (LAC, $7.000) has seen 30.9% of the Chargers’ team targets. Only DeAndre Hopkins has seen a higher share of 31.4%. Justin Herbert has averaged 35.25 pass attempts a game, and the Jaguars defense has averaged 32 pass attempts against them per game. That provides a projected pass total for Herbert of 33.6 passes on Sunday, with Allen receiving 10.39 targets. Allen has a great CB matchup against Jaguars CB Tre Herndon, who has allowed a 67% catch rate and 1.85 fantasy points per target. That gives Allen an implied projected fantasy score of nearly 3x at 19.22 points. Allen has been limited in practice this week after leaving the game in Week 5 with a back injury and not playing last week due to a bye. If Allen were to miss, then teammates WR Mike Williams ($5,900), WR Jaylen Guyton ($4,900), TE Hunter Henry ($5,800), and RB Justin Jackson ($6,100) should all see an uptick in targets as Allen’s massive target share is divided up. Guyton has a particularly good matchup against CB C.J. Henderson, who has allowed a 63% catch rate and 1.78 fantasy points per target.
Will Fuller V (HOU, $6,900) and Brandin Cooks ($5,900) are worth consideration for a double stack with QB Deshaun Watson. In the last two weeks, the duo has a combined 40 targets for 27 receptions, 410 yards, and four TDs. The Texans’ passing game is pretty much going through those two. If you chose just one, then Cooks is the better option. Cooks has the better line in the last two weeks with 21 (12,9) targets and 17 (8.9) receptions for 229 yards, and two TDs. Cooks also has a better CB matchup. Cooks should be covered by Bradley Roby, who has allowed a 66.7% catch rate and 1.98 fantasy points per target. Fuller has a much more difficult matchup against CB Jaire Alexander, who has allowed a low 45.8% catch rate and 1.20 fantasy point per target. My strategy will be to double-stack Fuller and Cooks with Watson while using Devante Adams in a low-cost tournament. I will also add Fuller to Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams stack in a slightly more expensive tournament.
Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE, $6,700) has had one monster game this season. It came against the Cowboys in Week 4 when he scored 35.9 fantasy points. It was also a week when he had a great CB matchup and was featured in this column. Beckham again has a great CB in Leshaun Sims, who has allowed a 74.1% catch rate and 2.35 fantasy points per target.
D.J. Moore (CAR, $6,600) has a fantastic matchup against Saints CB Marshon Lattimore. “Moore has seen a steady diet of targets over the last three weeks, 22 total, including 11 in Week 6,” wrote Woellert. “The big question here is Marshon Lattimore toast? He hasn’t been good this season. If you ask any Saints‘ fan, you’ll get the “not great, Bob!!” answer when asked how he’s been playing. He’s allowed three scores in four games and has allowed a 70% catch rate, resulting in 2.5 fantasy points per target. Lattimore isn’t shadowing anymore, spending 85% of his coverage routes as the right corner. He should match up on Moore on most of his routes, which would be a good thing for D.J. Robby Anderson has the tougher matchup with Janoris Jenkins, so I think Teddy Bridgewater feeds the ball in the Moore favorable matchup (see what I did there?).”
Julian Edelman (NE, $6,000) has THE BEST POSSIBLE CB matchup on the Main Slate in terms of fantasy points allowed per target. Edelman should be covered by 49ers CB Jamar Taylor who has allowed an excellent low 33.3% catch rate but a very high 2.67 fantasy points per target. That’s because Taylor is targeted for the big play. The average depth of target against Taylor is a whopping 23.33 yards. Edelman’s average depth of target is only 10.5 yards, which means he isn’t seeing a ton of chances at cashing in on the deep ball. That could change this week against Taylor.
Tim Patrick (DEN, $5,500) provides a low priced, high volume WR from a team that will likely have lower ownership. Patrick has had 15 (8,7) targets in the last two games and racked up 10 receptions for 214 yards and a TD. Patrick has a plus matchup against Chiefs CB Charvarius Ward. “Patrick should line up on Ward’s side of the field, and if he gets the same target volume he’s been receiving, should be in for a solid outing,” wrote Woellert. “Ward has done a decent job in limiting yards but has been responsible for two scores, including one last week, and is allowing 2.3 fantasy points per target. Patrick has generated an average target depth (aDOT) of 16.5, so if he can get past Ward, he can break off some big receptions, as evidenced by his 21.4 yards per reception over his last 10 catches.” With the Broncos playing the Chiefs, Denver will likely need to throw a ton to try to play catch-up and provide even more opportunities for Patrick than he has seen in the last two weeks. I will have multiple shares of him, as his price will allow for an additional marquee RB.
Christian Kirk (AIR, $5,400) is a great option as either an alternative to DeAndre Hopkins or an addition to Hopkins in a Cardinals stack. Kirk is coming off his best fantasy performance of the year by scoring 21.6 points against the Cowboys on Monday. He has a great CB matchup this week against Seattle CB Shaquill Griffin. “Kirk enjoyed a breakout game, hitting the endzone twice in a blowout win against the Cowboys,” wrote Woellert. “Kirk did his damage on just three targets. He and DeAndre Hopkins are dominating the market share of air yards, and Kirk’s aDOT is 15.5. So, while I’m not expecting a repeat performance, I love the matchup opposite Griffin this week. Griffin has allowed the most yards among cornerbacks and is tied with Cameron Dantzler and Denzel Ward in touchdowns allowed (4).”
Travis Kelce (KC, $7,900) is the top projected TE at 4for4 with a projected 14.1 fantasy points. That’s not even 2X, but with Kelce, you know you have a high likelihood of a decent score from the TE position and he always offers a high ceiling. There is plenty of other value available to fit Kelce into lineup builds.
Jared Cook (NO, $6,100) doesn’t have a fantastic matchup against the Panthers who have allowed a 12th best 10.52 fantasy points a game to TEs. Cook, however, should see a large increase in targets with WR both Saints WRs Michael Thomas (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (Covid) out.
T.J. Hockenson (DET, $5,900) appears to be the value TE play of the week. Hockenson has the best possible TE matchup in Falcons, who have allowed a league second-worst 20.97 fantasy points a game to TEs. TE Ian Thomas (CAR, $4,600) has the best matchup against the Saints that have allowed 22.43 points a game to TEs. However, Thomas has not been able to take advantage of other positive matchups and is averaging less than three targets a game. Hockenson has averaged around five targets a game and has scored in three of five games.
Hunter Henry (LAC, $5,800) is a fantastic option to diversify from Hockenson at that price range. Henry has seen more targets than Hockenson, which would likely increase this week if Keenan Allen (back) doesn’t play, and is also in a great matchup for TEs. “(Henry has) now been targeted at least seven times in 4-of-5 games this season, something that’s extremely rare for tight ends in today’s NFL,” wrote Tagliere. “It’s disappointing that he’s been held below 40 yards in each of the last two games, but targets amount to production more often than not. You’d actually think his production would go up with Ekeler out of the lineup, but it’s had a reverse effect. Welcome to the matchup with the Jaguars, where fantasy points are given away for free. Seriously, they’ve allowed a league-high 2.63 PPR points per target to tight ends, which includes 10.63 yards per target and a touchdown every 7.0 targets. If Henry gets the seven targets he has in 4-of-5 games this year, he should finish as a top-three tight end. What makes the 2.63 PPR points per target even better is that they’ve played against Jonnu Smith, Darren Fells, T.J. Hockenson, Mike Gesicki, Jack Doyle, and Drew Sample, so it hasn’t been a brutal schedule or anything. Henry should be played as a high-end TE1 this week.”
Take a Side
Alvin Kamara (NO, $9,000) is by far the highest projected RB for the Week. Kamara is projected for 24.0 points at 4for4, while Aaron Jones is projected for 20.9. Kamara faces a Panthers defense that has allowed a fourth-worst 32.30 fantasy points per game. Carolina is tied with the Texans for allowing a league-worst eight rushing TDs to RBs, and have allowed a league-worst 10 total TDs (8 rushing, 2 receiving). With Michael Thomas (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (Covid) out, Kamara will likely see an immense amount of targets. I’ll have a high ownership share of Kamara, maybe close to a 100%.
Aaron Jones (GB, $8,500) is the second-ranked RB on most lists due to the reasons listed above. Not only has Houston allowed a second-worst nine total TDs (8 rushing, one receiving) to RBs, they have allowed a league third-worst 32.75 fantasy points a game to RBs. Most of my initial lineup builds, including both Kamara and Jones. However, Jones came up with a calf injury on Friday and is listed as questionable. Likely Jones will play. Fortunately, this is a morning game that will enable us to adjust lineup builds if he were to be inactive. If Jones does not play, then teammate RB Jamaal Williams ($5,000) will be in a smash value play. If Jones does play, we do have to be somewhat concerned that the calf could limit him. For those playing multiple lineups, it may be wise to limit your overall exposure to Jones due to the injury.
Kareem Hunt (CLE, $7,100) is an excellent pivot from Jones. Hunt has the third-highest projection at 4for4 at just under Jones at 19.3 points. Hunt is also ranked 3rd by Tagliere. Hunt faces the Bengals for the second time this season. In Week 2, Hunt and teammate Nick Chub (IR, Knee) combined for 234 total yards and four touchdowns. Hunt’s share in that game was 10 rushes for 86 yards with a TD, two catches for 15 yards and another TD. Now Chub is out, which means a larger workload for Hunt. “Hunt won’t be getting the 35 touches that they combined for,” wrote Tagliere. “But this is a team (Bengals) that’s faced an average of 27.3 running back touches per game, so we’re looking at what should be 20-plus touches for Hunt in this game. There have already been eight different running backs who’ve totaled at least 57 yards on the ground against them. Guys, they’ve played just six games. Outside of that game against the Browns, they’ve only allowed one running back touchdown (Joshua Kelley), which is a tad worrisome for running backs moving forward, but not enough to move me off Hunt as a candidate for the RB1 this week. He’s a must-start everywhere and should be fresh coming off just a 15-touch game.”
Joshua Kelley (LAC, $6,200) is a solid mid-priced option. Kelley plays the Jaguars that have allowed an eighth-worst 15.37 fantasy points a game to RBs. Kelley’s problem is he significantly shared the RB duties with Justin Jackson ($6,100) when the Bolts last played two weeks ago. Jackson is questionable with a knee injury. If Jackson were to miss, Kelley would be in for a workhorse load in a good matchup and a game that has the Chargers as one of the highest projected scores of the day at 28 points. That scenario would likely mean at least one rushing TD for Kelley.
Giovani Bernard (CIN, $4,800) is currently the value RB play of the week. He is in for a substantial workload with teammate Joe Mixon (foot) out. It’s hard to tell what Bernard will do with extra work because he hasn’t had more than seven carries in a game since 2018 when he played the Falcons, who allowed 15.83 fantasy points a game to RBs that season, 10th worst. In that game, Bernard had 15 carries for 69 yards and two TDs, and four catches for 27 yards to score 23.6 fantasy points. He should see a similar workload this week against Cleveland, and the matchup is better in terms of fantasy points allowed per game, as the Browns have allowed 19.21 fantasy points a game to RBs. The two TDs against the Falcons boosted his fantasy score in 2018. Even if Bernard does not reach the endzone but has the same workload and yardage production, he would score 11.6 points, nearly 3X based on his price.
FanDuel Lineup Build
There isn’t an exact science in what a winning FanDuel lineup looks likes. However, they should tell a logical story, and certain elements are frequent.
When building a FanDuel lineup, I’ll try to check off most of the criteria:
1) QB stacked with a WR: This allows for a double score when the two connect.
2) Opposing WRs: A recent analysis of big tournaments winners found a high percentage were constructed with two WRs in the same game from both teams. This combination makes sense because high scoring shootouts allow for opportunity on both sides of the ball. Based on matchups, some of our builds incorporate this.
3) RB stacked with Defense: There is a strong correlation between an RB performing well with their team’s defense. That’s something to factor in when choosing a reason, but in reality, it’s often the perceived best available defense with money left from the build that gets plugged in.
Stay with IroniqMedia for all of your fantasy football information here.
Follow Dan on Twitter @sandiegosports.