Week 7 NFL DFS Starting Points: Vegas Lines
You know that targeting the highest scoring games and particularly the teams with the highest implied totals makes sense in fantasy football. This analysis will highlight exactly which situations are the best to take advantage of and which you might want to avoid within those games. We’ll also highlight a couple games to use caution with as well as some less obvious targets. DK=DraftKings, FD=FanDuel.
The high scoring games:
LA Rams at San Francisco, Total 53.5
Todd Gurley is currently the leading DK and FD scorer this season. He’s even ahead of such fantasy luminaries as Patrick Mahomes. He is ridiculous on the field right now and is the highest priced player of the week. Building around Gurley isn’t as tough as you might think, however, as there is plenty of value this week. Jared Goff is DK’s most expensive QB, and ranks third on FD. The 49ers have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points overall to opponents, including the sixth-most to QBs, so he, too, is a desirable commodity in Week 7. Like last week, going with these two should cover all the Rams scoring (barring a D/ST TD, which is possible). Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks make fine plays in any format, but I prefer Woods in cash games and Cooks in tournaments. Not only is Cooks coming off a down week, which will reduce his ownership, he will be one more week removed from the concussion.
The 49ers, and Marquise Goodwin, thank god, looked pretty good on Monday night. A questionable late penalty aside, they were even with the mighty Packers for 3.99 quarters. C.J. Beathard has appeared in the DFS Bargains article I write every Wednesday a couple times, and he’s proven more consistent a value than I even expected. Averaging 20 fantasy points per game with very little deviation, Beathard is just $4800 on DK, $6400 on FD. The Rams defense is giving up 25 points per game over the last four, with just one interception (of Case Keenum in the Denver freezing, snowy cold). They haven’t been as formidable as Beathard’s salary indicates. A Beathard-Goodwin stack makes sense in tournaments. Also, take a shot on Raheem Mostert if you’re feeling chancy. He out-ran Matt Breida on just two fewer carries. This is a situation that the San Francisco coaching staff may clarify as the week goes on, so keep an ear out.
New Orleans at Baltimore, Total 49.5
This should be an interesting one. The Saints (and Drew Brees) appear at quick glance to have shaken their home/road split woes, but there’s only a two-game sample for this season and one of those was an 8.6 fantasy point game for Brees in New York. (The other was at Atlanta, so enough said). Brees and company have had a couple weeks to celebrate the new passing record and get ready for the Ravens, but no one has had much of an answer for the Ravens defense this season. Aside from their trip to Cincinnati in Week 2, Baltimore has allowed an average of nine points per game. Remember, it’s rarely good when you have to spell the number out…Brees enjoys a nice salary break on DK, but is the most expensive option on FD, while Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas remain near the top (or at the top) of their position salary scales. I’m looking elsewhere for expensive offense this week. Mark Ingram is relatively cheap on DK, but $7500 on FanDuel in this matchup requires a lot of guts to pull the trigger on. The Ravens have allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs, third fewest rushing yards and second fewest passing yards per game. The fact that Vegas has the Ravens favored here says a lot.
It says, in fact, that Joe Flacco, Michael Crabtree and John Brown should be gettin’ busy on Sunday. Crabtree can build off his strong Week 6 effort, while Brown gets the Marquise Goodwin-esque “one more chance” roster spot for me this week. Willie Snead IV, coming off a 10-target game, is a nice bargain flier for tournament lineups. I’m fading Alex Collins, despite the 2-TD Week 6 performance, because it has been much easier to pass on, rather than run on, the Saints this year.
New England at Chicago, Total 49.5
Here’s another matchup featuring good offense vs. good defense, despite what happened at Miami last week. Before that strange 31-point Dolphins effort, the Bears had allowed an average of 16 points per game. They have 18 sacks, 10 interceptions, and nine forced fumbles. In terms of fantasy points, they’ve been better at stopping the run than limiting opposing QBs and receivers. Given that the Patriots are road favorites under these circumstances, I think Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, and James White are safe enough plays (especially on DK), but Sony Michel is a tough sell. He’s coming off a great week, but even at a reduced DK salary, I think he’s facing a tough Bears defensive line that will look to correct what went wrong in Week 6. Rob Gronkowski’s target share has shrunk with the addition of Josh Gordon and the return of Edelman. I’m not even totally sure he deserves to be the most expensive TE anymore, but this week he’s for sure not a priority for my lineups.
New England ranks 10th in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs, making Mitchell Trubisky, who is himself coming off two very good games, an interesting target. The high game total combined with the Patriots “offense > defense, we’ll simply outscore you” philosophy provides enough motivation for me to consider Trubisky, Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel as a tournament stack this week. Trey Burton could have a nice game as well. The Jordan Howard/Tarik Cohen situation is a frustrating one. Cohen has over 200 yards receiving and 80 yards rushing in the last two weeks. It definitely looks like the team is comfortable with a pass-happy Trubisky and it’s working in Cohen’s favor. I know Howard’s price has dropped, and remember well his plodding, consistent mediocrity with occasional excellence last season, but I can’t recommend him this week.
Cleveland at Tampa Bay, Total 49.5
The Buccaneers are a QB/WR matchup dream. Baker Mayfield’s ankle injury is something to keep an eye on, but I expect he’ll be fine heading down to Florida for this league-best QB matchup. It’s a terrific bounce-back spot for Jarvis Landry too, who should have had a better stat line given his nine Week 6 targets. This matchup puts him in the short memory, one more chance category too. At least he’s getting less expensive on FD. David Njoku produced nicely in a good matchup last week, garnering another 12 targets from Mayfield and catching seven of them, including his first touchdown, as advertised in last week’s bargains column. Njoku is a cash game tight end play at this point, and in the league’s best TE matchup, almost a must-play. Duke Johnson warrants tournament consideration here too. Johnson is coming off a big week after coaches said they wanted to get him more involved (two rushes for 36 yards and 4/5 targets for 73 yards vs. LA). Meanwhile, Carlos Hyde was awful, managing just 2.4 YPC in Week 6 and bringing his YTD average to 3.5 YPC. I think we have better options than Hyde this week, and I don’t see much upside for him in what Vegas expects to be a something of a shootout.
Jameis Winston and company did not disappoint in Week 6, and I expect them to be fairly popular plays here as well. The matchup isn’t nearly as good, and salaries, aside from Mike Evans’, have gone up. Evans put up a stinker last week, with both Chris Godwin and DeSean Jackson out-targeting and out-producing him. Both tight ends scored for the Bucs last week, and Peyton Barber finally showed up (Atlanta will do that to a RB). Evans and Godwin make good tournament plays, with or without Winston; the Browns are one of the least fantasy friendly defenses for QBs. O.J. Howard out-targeted Cameron Brate 4:1 and despite that first Brate TD sticking out in our minds, Howard is the guy you want here, if anyone.
High team totals you might miss:
Indianapolis at Buffalo, Total 42.5
Buffaloand Indianapolis have similarly surprising defenses this year. They are tied (third in the league) with 19 sacks apiece and each has 5-6 interceptions, though Indy’s have been more productive (94 yards vs. 12 yards for the Bills). Buffalo has forced 13 fumbles, and ranks sixth with 12 total takeaways. Unfortunately, they have also given up the ball 11 times this season (four courtesy of Nathan Peterman in just five quarters of football). The Colts can do worse than that however, ranking third in the league with 13 giveaways and 10 takeaways. Give Andrew Luck the advantage, but this won’t be a complete walk in the park for him. T.Y. Hilton has a chance to play this week, and could be very needed with Ryan Grant also now hurt. Chester Rogers and Eric Ebron stand to benefit from injuries again this week. I’m not touching any of the Bills offensive players (maybe LeSean McCoy in one tournament lineup??), but I do think the Buffalo D/ST will make the bargain article this week ($3400 FD, $2300 DK).