Welcome to the weekly FanDuel “Must Plays” Column, also known as the DeAndre Hopkins featurette.
The guy just keeps getting better every week, coming off a sweet 10-148-2 performance at Jacksonville. He has recorded 14+ targets in his past four games, and he seems to be responding very well to the quarterback change.
Okay, I may be getting ahead of myself…however, my willingness to skip the traditional introduction in favor of Hopkins’ write-up is an accurate portrayal of my enthusiasm for him on FanDuel.
More on that later.
For a second, let’s talk about some popular selections who won’t be in this week’s column.
Martavis Bryant (WR – PIT) didn’t make the cut this week. As it turns out, he was the most popular wide receiver in FanDuel’s Thursday Night $2 GPP (28.8%). I understand the rationale behind using Bryant against the league’s worst pass defense, but trusting a rookie QB on the road to get the ball to a notorious “boom or bust” receiver doesn’t seem like a sure thing. I believe you can do better for the $6,900 price tag.
More on that later as well.
How about we just jump right into the player write-ups instead of me telling you about things that will come further down in the article. Sound like a plan?
Okay, here are your FanDuel Must Plays for NFL Week 7, listed in terms of priority to your FanDuel lineup:
PLATINUM: Build your lineup around these guys
DeAndre Hopkins – WR – HOU (FanDuel Price: $9,200)
As noted earlier, the rationale for Hopkins is halfway finished. He is a target monster of which we have not seen before. The consistency is there…the upside is there every week. Hopkins’ price rose a significant $700 from last week, but that’s not enough of a premium to deter me from his elite status. The Texans check in as four point underdogs at Miami, which means we could see plenty of passing in an effort to keep pace. Miami has a mediocre secondary for all intents and purposes.
Todd Gurley – RB – STL (FanDuel Price: $7,400)
Gurley has been great while tallying 150+ yards in his past two games. Those fine outings came against the quality run defenses of Arizona and Green Bay. Now, Gurley has his best matchup to date against Cleveland, one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Game flow should be on the rookie’s side as well, given that St. Louis checks in as a viable 5.5 point home favorite. In short, Gurley is a top shelf running back priced like an RB2 this week.
GOLD: Next wave to consider, in terms of priority
Devonta Freeman – RB – ATL (FanDuel Price: $8,700)
How about I present the facts and let you come to your own conclusion? That would be fun, right? 1) Freeman has churned out four straight 30+ fantasy point performances. 2) He has arguably his best matchup to date against a Tennessee team that has been one of the worst run defenses over the past two years. 3) The Titans just gave up a 19-113-1 line to the struggling likes of Lamar Miller last week. 4) Freeman will likely be heavily involved in the passing game once again, and Atlanta may lean heavily on the running game while trying to close this one out.
Carson Palmer – QB – ARI (FanDuel Price: $8,200)
Theoretically you could go several different ways at QB this week. Carson Palmer, Cam Newton, and Philip Rivers all seem like quality plays for around $8,000. However, I believe Palmer is the best QB within that group, given he has an awesome home matchup against the Ravens … Baltimore has given up the most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season, with opponents racking up an average of 22.48 FPTS. Palmer has been one of the more efficient signal callers all year, and Arizona has concentrated their production through him (lack of a running game boosts his fantasy potential).
SILVER: Good options that narrowly rank ahead of similar players
Steve Smith – WR – BAL (FanDuel Price: $6,900)
Remember in the introduction when I mentioned another wide receiver that could be better than Martavis Bryant for the same price? Steve Smith is that guy. Smith returned from injury last week to pick up right where he left off: 10 targets, 7 catches, 134 yards, 1 TD. His price is still suppressed by a bad week one (2 catches, 13 yards), and a game where he left early with an injury (4 catches, 24 yards). Smith has been over 130 yards in his other three games, and I’m willing to bet that Baltimore will force feed him the ball while trying to keep pace with Arizona.
Antonio Gates – TE – SD (FanDuel Price: $5,800)
Gates returned from suspension to put up hearty stat lines of 9-92-2 and 9-95 in his two games back. Now, he has the best matchup a tight end could hope for. The Oakland Raiders rank dead last at fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends this season, and Gates could eat them alive. However, we’ll need to monitor his status moving into Sunday, as he missed Thursday’s practice with a knee injury. If Gates can’t go, his backup Ladarius Green is a fine fallback option in this dream matchup.
BRONZE: Not 100% necessities, but they mix well into a quality lineup
Michael Floyd – WR – ARI (FanDuel Price: $4,900)
As I mentioned in the Carson Palmer write-up, Baltimore has one of the worst pass defenses in the league right now. Many people are gravitating towards Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown in this matchup, but I’m looking a little bit deeper within Arizona’s receiving corps. Michael Floyd had a nice bounce-back outing for 5-50-1 against Pittsburgh last week, and he nearly had a second touchdown snag (couldn’t quite get his feet down). It’s worth noting that Palmer has been looking for him in the red zone, and I believe Floyd is one of the best sub $5000 receivers within the player pool. If you need a value WR3, Floyd has the best floor/upside combination.
Rams Defense (FanDuel Price: $4,500)
This is a correlation play with Todd Gurley, but both are fine independently as well. Cleveland’s offense has coughed up no shortage of turnovers this season, as Denver was able to take one back for a touchdown last week. Now, the Browns will go on the road against a quality Rams team. St. Louis could jump out to a reasonable lead, forcing Cleveland into predictable passing situations with a higher probability for sacks and turnovers.
PARTICIPATION RIBBONS: Fell just short of a featured spot
Cam Newton – QB – CAR (FanDuel Price: $8,100)
Larry Fitzgerald – WR – ARI (FanDuel Price: $7,800)
Donte Moncrief – WR – IND (FanDuel Price: $6,500)
Lamar Miller – RB – MIA (FanDuel Price: $6,700)
John Brown – WR – ARI (FanDuel Price: $6,700)