Week 7 NFL DFS Starting Points

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In this weekly article, we’ll use the early betting lines from Vegas to take a deeper look at which games to target and avoid for NFL DFS. Implied team totals have positive correlations with fantasy output, especially for quarterbacks. Plus, we’ll highlight some potentially under the radar teams with high implied team totals despite a lower over/under. Note that these lines will probably change over the course of the week, which is why we call it ‘starting’ points.

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Target:

Kansas City at Tennessee, Total 57

Chiefs minus-4.5

Both of these teams rank in the Top 10 in points per game, with the Chiefs coming in fifth on that list. Patrick Mahomes is fantasy’s No. 2 overall player, first among QBs. His 19 total touchdowns (18 passing) lead the league, though his eight interceptions are second only to Zach Wilson (ouch). The Titans rank as the fifth-most generous QB matchup for fantasy, and the top spot for opposing WRs. Tyreek Hill is on a tear lately, catching nine of 12 targets in Week 6, and scoring though racking up only 76 receiving yards. Thanks to a couple huge efforts, only Cooper Kupp is averaging more fantasy points per game than Hill. You’ll have to spend up for him, which is tricky this week (I want to spend up on everyone). Travis Kelce is also dominating the TE position as usual. He’s averaging 15 half-PPR fantasy points per game. This player's salary has also come up, but the most savings you’ll get from the Chiefs are with Darrel Williams, who is coming off a 2TD game. He had six red zone rushing attempts, bringing his season total to 12. He’s scored on four of the 12, with the two from Week 6 coming from within five yards.

On the other side of this game, Ryan Tannehill gets a great on-paper matchup with the Chiefs, but he has hardly been worth rostering this season. I don’t see how you trust him in a cash game lineup, but maybe he’s usable as a GPP option with struggling AJ Brown and Julio Jones. The problem with the Titans’ pass game is that it isn’t necessary. Derrick Henry, fantasy’s leading scorer through six weeks, is doing all the heavy lifting. Even in games where the Titans score 30-plus points, it’s Henry (nine rushing TDs), not Tannehill (one passing TD, one rushing TD), responsible for the high score. Whereas most teams turn to or rely on the pass to stay in competitive games with high-powered offenses like the Chiefs, Tennessee would be crazy to go away from Henry. He’s the only reliable option you can use this weekend in cash games.

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Avoid:

New York Jets at New England, Total 42.5

Patriots minus-7

The AFC East finds itself here a lot this season, with every team in the division but the Buffalo Bills ranking in the bottom third of the league in points scored. The Jets are dead last and have one of the lowest implied team totals of the week (17.5 points). The Patriots might not be a total fade if there weren’t so many more desirable options. Mac Jones, Jakobi Meyers (or Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor), Hunter Henry (or Jonnu Smith) could be fine in this game. The main issue is that Jones has started to spread the ball around a lot more. It was one thing when you could count on Meyers to get double-digit targets, but he’s dropped off a bit as Jones has only thrown an average of 25 passes per game the last two weeks. The Jets best matchup for fantasy is the RB position, to which they allow the second-most fantasy points. As teams get a big lead on the Jets, they tend to run the ball, and run it effectively. We’ve seen Damien Harris’ touches go up and down even in six short weeks. He is coming off his best game of the season, but it was also Rhamondre Stevenson’s best game. Far be it from me to attempt to predict the Patriots’ running backs usage or production, but if you were filling your last RB spot and Harris fit, I don’t hate the play. The Patriots’ D/ST is an excellent option here. Not only do the Jets not score a lot, they let Wilson take a lot of sacks (average 3.6 per game) and as noted above, he’s leading the league in interceptions (nine).

Consider:

Green Bay vs. Washington, Total 49

Packers minus-9.5

We have a lot of huge spreads this weekend, with potent offenses facing lackluster defenses. In fact, Washington allows the most real points and most fantasy points to opponents. Washington has been the best matchup for QBs this season, something Mahomes took advantage of in a big way in Week 6. Look for some fire from Rodgers and Davante Adams this week. Despite not being the highest scoring wide receiver this season, he is the most expensive (or tied with Hill) but this is an ideal opportunity for him to reach peak value. Our NFL DFS Optimizer usually favors cheaper plays, but Adams ranks pretty high for value/ROI this weekend (in fantasy points per salary dollar). Aaron Jones also gets a Top 8 RB matchup, but that is a bit skewed due to Williams’ two scores against them in Week 6. Jones is tied with Cordarrelle Patterson with a league-high four receiving touchdowns among running backs, and has two rushing scores. He’s been significantly better at home than on the road this year, and does all that make him worth the second- or third-highest RB salary? I think it does. First, he’s incredibly high-floor, and second, he’s still a big drop off from Henry’s top price. Maybe it’s just me, but when I see him right next to Patterson’s creeping salary, I’m thrilled to pay for Jones.

LA Rams vs. Detroit, Total 50

Rams minus-15

Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are making Matthew Stafford look like a genius at QB, the same way they made Jared Goff look great last year. Don’t be surprised if you catch Goff trying to sneak back into the LA huddle as these teams come face to face with the implications of their big trade. Detroit is a familiar 0-6 while the Rams are a familiar 5-1. The Rams are one of the league’s leading scoring teams and best defenses, while Detroit ranks fifth-fewest points scored and eighth-most points allowed. The Rams’ D/ST and Darrell Henderson are my favorite plays here. Though Henderson’s salary has crept up, this is the dream scenario for him. Not only should the Rams be playing with a lead, but Detroit is fantasy’s best RB matchup. Henderson is Mr. Reliable, with at least 80 total yards in each game, and failing to score only in Week 4 vs. Arizona. I have nothing negative to say about Stafford, Kupp or Woods, except they may not be needed for a full four quarters. It’s not a bad game to cover the touchdowns with Stafford, Henderson and Rams D/ST.

Tampa Bay vs. Chicago, Total 47

Buccaneers minus-12

The Bucs are coming off a fun win over Philadelphia on Thursday Night Football, so they should be well-rested for this home matchup vs. the Bears. Tampa is the third-highest scoring team in the league, while Chicago is the third-lowest scoring team. The DvP matchups are pretty neutral, but assuming there is no bad news about Tom Brady’s thumb, he’s a great option at QB. If you like to play guessing games, I’d guess that Mike Evans is in for a bounce-back game, but I always like Chris Godwin and Brady always likes Antonio Brown. Brady will take what the Bears give him, though he might like Godwin a bit more than usual given how much pressure Chicago brings. If Rob Gronkowski manages to make it back for this game, and since he’s avoided IR to this point I would think that’s probable, he’d be my favorite Brady pairing. Leonard Fournette has been great the past two weeks but when I look at RB, I am tending to find guys that are cheaper or too similar that I like as much or more. Chicago’s defensive front isn’t exactly a friendly one and they’ve held everyone but the Browns and the Packers to under 90 rushing yards.

Arizona vs. Houston, Total 47.5

Cardinals minus-18.5

The Cardinals tie the Rams with the highest implied team totals of the week (32.5 points). That makes Kyler Murray an instant consideration given the strong correlation between team total and QB fantasy points. As I’ve said before, I’m happy using him as a solo play, or mini-stacking with the D/ST given Houston’s low-scoring, turnover-prone offense. We didn’t get a lot of clarity in Week 6’s offensive fireworks from the Cardinals as DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and A.J. Green all scored and everyone, including Rondale Moore, had at least three receptions. It’s too hard to predict who will have the best day among this talented group. Green and Kirk are the best cheap options, with Moore being more of a risk/reward bargain flier and Hopkins being the highest floor, but costly. Chase Edmonds and James Conner could both be in for big games here as well. My approach is that if I have one RB spot left to fill and one of their salaries fits it, I do it. This high scoring game environment and fantasy-friendly RB matchup (eighth most fantasy points allowed to RB by Houston) make either guy worth a roster spot this week.

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