Welcome to The Gauntlet. We are going to break down each and every game to find our NFL DFS Week 7 top plays on what is considered the main slate on DraftKings and Fanduel. This consists of the games only on Sundays. If you are playing other slates, such as the primetime slates, be sure to check out our other DFS content for plays in those games. In this breakdown, we are going to dive deeply into each matchup which is why we are going to stick to just the main slate of games. The numbers in parenthesis are the Vegas implied totals for each team. All of the stats in this breakdown are from Football Outsiders, while all of the player grades are from Pro Football Focus.
We now have somewhat reliable data from weeks 1-6. There are defenses who have been really bad at certain aspects of the game, and we will look to exploit those here in week 7. With that being said, let’s get to it…
NFL DFS Week 7 Top Plays
Bucs (20.5) at Bills (23.5) Total 44
One of the top plays of the entire slate comes from this game. The Bucs are giving up points in bunches, and are also allowing 46 receiving yards per game to opposing RBs on an average of 7.5 targets a game. This is a number McCoy should be able to destroy. If we get word that Jordan Matthews is going to play in this one, he is a solid option at $3700, but with the value at QB this week, I am not sure you will need to go that low. There is a better 4K receiver I prefer that we will get to later.
With Winston playing with a hurt throwing shoulder, I am going to pass on him in this tough road matchup. If EJ Gaines sits, however, fire up Mike Evans.
Top plays: McCoy, Evans (If Gaines sits), Bills D (If at full strength)
Saints (26) at Packers (21.5) Total 47.5
I expect this to be one of the most popular games for people to roster players from. Even with Hundley playing, you may see the general public target this Packers air attack. I think that is a mistake. This Saints D since their bye week has quietly been one of the best fantasy defenses in the league scoring in double digits in all 3 weeks. With a rookie QB who will be expected to throw a ton due to playing from behind, there is a lot of room for Saints to get sacks and force turnovers.
On the offensive side for the Saints, if you are paying up at QB on DK it will be for Drew Brees. This Packers secondary will have no answer for the versatility of the Saints offense. Michael Thomas is as consistent as anyone in the NFL in terms of fantasy production, and I think he has a breakout game here this week. Stacking with Brees outside of Thomas can get tricky because he loves throwing to his 2 RBs, so I don’t hate it if you want to just go Brees and Thomas here, but I wouldn’t mind pairing Ingram or Kamara with Brees either and hoping for a receiving TD from one of those two. If you play Ingram with Brees then you will likely capture all of the Saints TDs, and they are one of the highest projected team totals of the week.
Top plays: Brees, Thomas, Ingram, Saints D
Ravens (16.25) at Vikings (21.75) Total 38
This is an extremely low total, especially for the Ravens offense. Vikings at home with a favorable opposing Vegas total means to play their defense.
On the offensive side of the ball for the Vikings, Diggs has been ruled out already, and when that happens we can fire up Adam Thielen. His floor is safe as he should be the main target in this offense. The Ravens secondary is banged up with 2 of their starting CBs listed as questionable. If either of these guys sits, it makes Thielen a better play. Last week, if you read the Gauntlet, you noted that Jordan Howard was sneakily in an incredible spot against the Ravens run D. They have been giving up 125 rushing yards a game to RBs which is third highest in the NFL. McKinnon has shown explosiveness and the ability to rack up yards. The only issue with him is the Ravens are giving up chunks of yards but no TDs, so it limits his upside at his price. Great spot, but I think I will pass for DFS purposes here.
Top plays: Thielen, Vikings D
Titans (25.5) at Browns (20) Total 45.5
Last week, I expressed that the Browns are actually one of the better run Ds in the league. This is why Watson was a great play, and we faded Lamar Miller at high ownership. People usually see Cleveland and jam in the running back. As badly as you want to just jam in Derrick Henry this week when Demarco is ruled out, it is actually not a great tournament spot. The Browns are averaging the 6th fewest rushing yards per game this year at 72, and are only giving up one rushing TD every 3 games. The workload Henry will see if Murray is out is safe enough for cash, but his upside is really limited here for tournaments. I would much rather play Mariota, Walker and Rishard Matthews in this one.
Duke Johnson gets Kizer back who loves to target him and the Titans are giving up 50 receiving yards per game to RBs. This is another great spot for Duke.
Top plays: Duke, Mariota, Walker, Matthews, Henry (cash only!)
Jets (17.5) at Dolphins (21) Total 38.5
In what shapes up to be an ugly game, the only interest I have on DK (PPR format) in this one is Jarvis Landry. He has seen double-digit targets in almost every game and is just racking up catches. They aren’t going very far, and he doesn’t have much TD upside, which is why he is a DK only play for me because his value comes solely from catching a ton of short passes. I guess Ajayi is fine, but there are other RBs I prefer and I think his knee is really bothering him as he rarely practices anymore to be ready for gameday.
On the Jets side, ASJ has one of the best TE matchups of the weekend. The Dolphins are giving up the 7th most fantasy points to the position, but the 3rd most targets and the 2nd most catches. The Jets number one target is ASJ and this should be magnified by other teams willingness to continuously target the TE position when they played the Dolphins.
Top plays: Landry (DK only), ASJ
Jaguars (20.5) at Colts (23.5) Total 44
The top play in this game is the Jags D. They are a funnel defense and are only allowing teams to pick up their yards on the ground. Frank Gore is still being handed the bulk of the carries for the Colts and the Jags will be happy to force Gore to try and beat them.
Fournette is looking highly questionable for this weekend, and my speculation is he won’t play. If he doesn’t play, Ivory will be thrust into 20+ touches because the coaches are doing all they can to prevent Bortles from throwing. At Ivory’s current prices on every site, he is basically a cash game lock as the Colts are giving up the 4th most fantasy points to RBs this year. If Fournette does play, that speaks for itself and Fournette vaults to near the top of the raw points list for RBs this week.
Top plays: Fournette/Ivory, Jags D
Cardinals (21) at Rams (24.5) Total 45.5
While the Rams are listed as the home team, this game is actually being played in London. It is being played later than normal, so it is lumped in with the 1 o’clock games here in the U.S. My favorite value play on the entire slate comes from this game. Enter Robert Woods. He is priced at 4K and has been seeing between 6-8 targets consistently. In a game where Peterson will lock down Sammy Watkins, Goff will be forced to look elsewhere. Cardinals CB Bethel is slated to start this game despite his horrid season. He is giving up 0.52 fantasy points per route this season, which is by far the worst in the NFL. While there is talks that Tramon Williams could take over for Bethel halfway through the game, that is of 0 concern to me. If a guy can’t get a start after 6 games of watching Bethel get beat over and over again, then there is a reason he is on the bench: because he is just as bad, if not worse. Fire up Robert Woods this week. I am also one of the biggest Gurley truthers out there and he has one of the safest floors every week. I will never fault you for playing Gurley any week.
On the opposite side of this game, AP is in an incredible spot. I am not recommending Peterson because of the runner he once was in his career. He is no longer that talented. Instead, I am recommending a running back who will see 20-25 touches against a defense giving up the most fantasy points to RBs by far. They are allowing 122 rush yards and 1.17 rushing TDs per game. I don’t care who the RB is, play him. In this case, it is AP, so play him.
Top plays: Woods, Gurley, AP
Panthers (21.75) at Bears (18.75) Total 40.5
The Bears defense has actually not been bad this year. They have given up more than 24 points in only one game this season and that is also the only game where they finished in the negatives for fantasy points. The reason I bring them up is that they are almost free for a defense and have actually been serviceable. They are only 2.2K on DK and get to face Cam Newton who has no earthly idea where the ball is going when he throws it. You can’t predict defensive TDs, but if you were able to get one from a defense that is basically free, you have so much salary for the rest of your positions and have a big edge.
With the Bears being in the middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed this isn’t a spot I want to load up on Panthers.
Top Plays: Bears D
Cowboys (27) at 49ers (21) Total 48
On DK, this is my game stack of the week, since the primetime game isn’t on the main slate. CJ Beathard is my QB value of the week at only $4900 on DK and is only $6300 on FD. In a game where the 49ers won’t be able to stop Zeke, and won’t have an answer for stopping Dez either, Beathard will be forced to throw and is the cheapest starting QB of the week. The Dallas secondary is extremely beatable, and the return of Sean Lee bolsters the run D. When the run doesn’t work as effectively, the 49ers will be forced to air it out. Beathard was chucking seeds all over the field against the Redskins last week and almost led his team to a come from behind victory. I expect this to be one of the highest scoring games this weekend and I want tons of exposure to it.
Oh and play Zeke. 49ers are up there with the Rams in terms of not being able to stop the run. Period.
Top plays: Beathard, Kittle, Garcon, Dak, Zeke, Dez
Bengals (17.75) at Steelers (22.75) Total 40.5
The Joe Mixon breakout is coming. If you watch his game film, he looks eerily similar to the way Leveon Bell runs. He gets the ball, waits patiently for his line to open up a hole, and then explodes through it with power and agility. This may be the week we see Mixon rack up his career high in yards so far. The Steelers are funneling opposing offenses and requiring them to run, and are meanwhile shutting down the pass. They are giving up only 88 (!!) receiving yards a game to WRs so far this season, while only allowing 8 catches a game to WRs. At the same time, they are giving up the 7th most fantasy points to RBs, resulting from the 5th most rushing yards allowed at 111 per game and almost 1 TD per game. Not only that, but they are allowing 8 targets and 6 catches per game to RBs which makes Mixon an incredible play as he is a great pass-catching back. He will be unowned in tourneys and I love that. Fade AJ Green and play Mixon.
On the other side, the Bengals defense has been really good all season, and even with as much firepower as the Steelers have, I don’t want exposure this week. If I was forced to pick someone from this side of the ball, I would take Martavis Bryant. He has expressed his unhappiness with playing time and they may force feed him a little here. Pacman Jones may not play and that would be a slight hit to the secondary.
Top plays: Mixon
Seahawks (21.75) at Giants (18.25) Total 40.5
Death, taxes, and TEs against the Giants are three of the guarantees in life. Fire up, Jimmy Graham.
Top plays: Graham
Broncos (20.25) at Chargers (20.25) Total 40.5
News just broke that Keenan Allen hurt his shoulder in practice and now might not play this weekend. The Chargers can’t afford to lose him because if he is out, the secondary can hone in on Tyrell Williams. Last year Melvin Gordon made people a ton of money against the Broncos, and the Broncos just got gashed by Orleans Darkwa to the tune of 130 yards. I don’t mind Gordon here as a tourney play but wouldn’t go crazy because until last week the Broncos were the best run D in the NFL.
I really just want to play both defenses in this game with all the injuries to both teams.
Top plays: Chargers D, Broncos D
Falcons (26.75) at Patriots (29.75) Total 56.5
If you are playing on a site that has this game, game stack it every way you can. Pats are giving up over 3oo yards and 2 TDs per game to opposing passing attacks, and there should be tons of passes thrown by the Falcons because Tom Brady always has 5 TD upside, especially here in this Super Bowl rematch.
Top plays: Brady, White, Amendola, Gronk, Cooks, Hogan (choose 2-4 of the pass catchers to pair with Brady in one lineup) Ryan, Julio, Sanu, Coleman, Gabriel