You set your alarm for 3:00 AM so you can get to the airport by 4:30 to make your 6:00 flight. It’s a travel day. You force yourself out of bed, pushing past the stiffness in your body that damn well knows you should be asleep. You make it to the airport after having parked and bused to the terminal. Then, you wait in a never-ending series of lines before entering a tube with a hundred other humans, never quite comfortable until you leave your destination airport. Yes, this is my life as I’m writing this article. It is also how I feel about the NFL DFS Week 7 slate. Uncomfortable.
NFL DFS Week 7
This is the first time we have no Josh Allen or Jalen Hurts. Christian McCaffrey just got traded but is still the most expensive running back on the slate. You get Davante Adams back, but who trusts the Las Vegas offense? Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson are also on bye. No player is priced over $9,000, but the options below $5,000 leave plenty to be desired.
You’re forced into a corner, just like sitting in the middle seat on your flight. Of course, it could be worse, and you can make do, but if you had the chance to stretch your legs, you’d feel much better.
And while I may not be able to make you feel like you’re in First Class this week, I can at least get you to Comfort Plus.
Despite the top teams being on a bye week and only one game with a total line over 50, there are still several safe options. Don’t overthink it this week. Remember, in cash, we want the chalk plays, and we want them to hit. Don’t feel pressure to get different. Pick the players for whom you have the most confidence, and trust yourself.
Cash is in session.
Michael Pittman (DraftKings: $7,400 / FanDuel: $7,500)
Michael Pittman is back. After a rough start to the season for the entire Colts offense, they pulled it together in Week 6, with Pittman playing a significant role in their victory. While 13 receptions are unsustainable, the connection between Matt Ryan and Pittman exists.
As I mentioned in last week’s episode of Start Sit, Different Day, I was looking for the Colts to bounce back coming off a 10-day break after the ugly Thursday Night field goal fest. They did precisely that, and now they are poised to get Jonathan Taylor back against a divisional rival. Taylor returns to a better Colts offense, allowing him to threaten defenses in the run game, further opening the passing game.
Lastly, the Titans are the second-worst team against receivers on this week’s slate. This is poised to be a tight battle, with a spread of only two points. The Colts will get the opportunity to run their ideal offense by running the ball and finding Pittman on play-action passes. With some of the top receivers out this week, Pittman has the chance to finish as the number-one scoring receiver on the slate.
Dak Prescott (DraftKings: $6,700 / FanDuel: $7,500)
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Let’s be very clear about one thing: I’m still of the mind that most weeks, we should pay up at quarterback and punt elsewhere. But this week, I’m open to other options. The top quarterbacks on the slate, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, are clearly the best talents available, but their matchups scare me at their price. Mahomes may not need to throw for 300 yards to beat San Francisco and Cleveland is dreadful at stopping the run, so the Ravens may just rotate various running backs all game.
But Dak Prescott has returned to save us. Through Week 6, Detroit has given up the most points to opposing offenses, including the fact that they had a bye week. Meanwhile, Dallas is coming off a closer-than-it-should-have-been loss to the Eagles. So they have something to prove – that they can shred a team like the Lions better than the Eagles can. Prescott is priced cheaply enough to return at value without a 2021 Tom Brady performance. Additionally, he has been known to run in a touchdown, providing additional safety on the ground.
Josh Jacobs (DraftKings: $6,500 / FanDuel: $8,600)
I’ve got to give it to our founder, Josh Hudson. I had given up on Josh Jacobs. And I had done so before we had that preseason game where he was taking way too many snaps. I just didn’t believe he could still be a dominant running back, or even that Las Vegas needed him to be.
But through six weeks, he has been one of the brighter spots of this offense. Now he gets a Houston Texans defense that averages 31.6 points allowed to opposing running backs. Las Vegas will be playing from ahead, as they are 6.5 points favorite. And more importantly, Jacobs has become a consistent target in the passing game, with five catches in consecutive games. This is a tougher choice for me in FanDuel, where if I’m paying up, I’d instead go with Austin Ekeler or Saquon Barkley. But for DraftKings, Jacobs is a solid value with upside.
Tee Higgins (DraftKings: $6,400 / FanDuel: $7,100)
It wouldn’t be The A List if I didn’t take one moment to pick on my Atlanta Falcons. At the beginning of the season, I would have said that Tee Higgins is a great option because A.J. Terrell is likely to cover Ja’Marr Chase. But Terrell has had a down season so far.
Nonetheless, I’m riding with Higgins this week. He is the steady force in this offense, outperforming Chase on several occasions this season. With his pricing at $6,400, I really just need him to catch seven passes for 100 yards. That is well within the realm of possibilities, especially because Atlanta is giving up the third-most points to receivers. Further, the Falcons have been frisky throughout the season, going 6-0 against the spread, which could push Cincinnati to continue throwing to stay ahead.
This will change if Joe Burrow shows up wearing Ja’Marr Chase’s jersey again.
Before you set your Week 7 NFL DFS lineups, be sure to check out Austin and Ryan’s weekly rankings!
Kyle Pitts (DraftKings: $4,300 / FanDuel: $5,900)
I know, I know. Just let me have this, okay? Give me something to pull for with this team.
But seriously, Cincinnati is average against tight ends, giving up the 12th-most points allowed. And unlike recent weeks, Atlanta will not be able to run its way out of this one. They aren’t facing Jimmy Garoppolo, who will only throw five yards down the field. Instead, this is Joe Burrow we’re facing. He will air it out, and so will the Falcons if they want to keep up. Pitts has been efficient when targeted, and this week presents his best opportunity for touches in several weeks.
Check the Chalkboard
Austin Ekeler (DraftKings: $8,300 / FanDuel: $9,500)
I just love pulling for Austin Ekeler. The past few weeks brought us the return of the 2021 Austin Ekeler we came to know and love. Now, he gets to take that momentum to a matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, who give up the eighth-most points to running backs. The Los Angeles Chargers are clear favorites in this matchup, which also is the only game on the slate with an over/under with over 50 points.
With that, the Chargers have a 28-implied point total. We’ve seen Ekeler in situations where he can account for all of those points. And with Ekeler averaging nearly seven catches a game, he has both the highest floor and highest ceiling on the slate. So get your air guitars ready.
Jacoby Brissett (DraftKings: $5,300 / FanDuel: $6,500)
My punt play of the week is often a sign of my feelings on the main slate. Typically, I look for a tight end or wide receiver when I feel the slate provides numerous options and is fairly stable.
Picking a quarterback as a punt play is essentially the panic button. However, as referenced earlier, I’m not thrilled about the quarterback options, so I will consider punting. Thankfully, Jacoby Brissett has been one of the most consistent players in the NFL this season. Yes, he’s consistently mediocre, but he’s priced cheaply enough that we can afford him to be mediocre.
Brissett has consistently completed at least 20 passes and scored around 15 DraftKings points. The floor is there. And this week, the ceiling is, too, as he plays against the Baltimore Ravens, who give up the fourth-most points to opposing quarterbacks. The Ravens are also favored by 6.5 points, so Cleveland will need to air it out to stay in this game. So give Brissett the upgrade, and enjoy spending big elsewhere.
Back of the Classroom Studs
Matt Ryan (DraftKings: $5,400 / FanDuel: $7,300)
Everything I said about Michael Pittman applies to Matt Ryan. I believe this offense is pulling it together and will start clicking more frequently moving forward. The biggest problem the Colts have had is protecting Matt Ryan, and last week they made significant gains on the offensive line. With Tennessee giving up the sixth-most points to quarterbacks, I’m looking for Ryan to remain steady. I’m avoiding him on FanDuel, who has once again overreacted to a big performance, but his value is too good on DraftKings.
Ezekiel Elliott (DraftKings: $6,000 / FanDuel: $6,900)
As much as I never thought I’d write about Josh Jacobs, it was even less likely I’d be in on Ezekiel Elliott. Ever since he won me a championship in 2019, I’ve moved farther and farther away from him. But he has been healthier this year and has continued to be a piece of the Cowboys’ offense. And, of course, he gets the chance to run all over the Detroit Lions, who give up the third-most points to running backs and struggle against runs up the middle, where Elliott thrives. Further, Dallas has the highest implied point total on the slate, giving him proximity to touchdown upside.
Romeo Doubs (DraftKings: $5,000 / FanDuel: $5,800)
One of the overlooked narratives of the Green Bay Packers has been the consistency of Romeo Doubs. No, he hasn’t become a fantasy football star yet. But he is the case that proves the rule when it comes to Aaron Rodgers and rookie wide receivers. Even after going three for five in London, Rodgers returned and targeted Doubs eight times against the Jets. As a result, Doubs leads Packers receivers in targets. Now, Green Bay has something to prove against a struggling Washington team that gives up the eighth-most points to receivers. Look for Doubs to help this team get back on track in Week 7.
Hayden Hurst (DraftKings: $3,500 / FanDuel: $4,900)
The thinking here is straightforward. Atlanta gives up the fourth-most points to tight ends. They just allowed George Kittle his best performance of the season and showed no signs of changing their approach against the Bengals. As a result, we are constantly hoping for a touchdown from our tight ends, and Hurst has an excellent opportunity to score in a high-volume offense against a struggling linebacker core.
Dalton Schultz (DraftKings: $3,600 / FanDuel: $4,800)
I try not to pick three or more players from the same team on any given week. But I had to this week. Dalton Schultz has become too cheap. And while I agree with the discounted price, I think we’ve reached a critical moment where we can take advantage of his slow start and injury troubles. The Top-3 performance we saw from Schultz in 2021 came with Dak Prescott at quarterback. Dak is back. And again, this offense has something to prove. If we get a last-minute notification that Schultz or Prescott aren’t starting, then we can pivot to Hayden Hurst and be just fine. But I’m taking advantage of the significant discount.
Carolina Panthers (DraftKings: $2,200 / FanDuel: $3,500)
As you may notice, I’m spending a little more cash per player this week than typical. Because of this, I’m significantly punting at defense. The Panthers are one of the cheapest defenses on the slate, and they have gained momentum in recent weeks. As Tom Brady emphasized to everyone, the Tampa Bay offensive line has struggled this season, which always presents opportunities for opposing defenses. Whether or not that “pep talk” encouraged their o-line remains to be seen. But until they prove it, I will feel encouraged to start opposing defenses.
Atlanta Falcons (DraftKings: $2,400 / FanDuel: $3,300)
This is essentially me being willing to take the risk that my defense scores zero points. If the rest of my roster averages 17.5 points or more, I can handle my defense struggling and still hit my target of 140 points. But Atlanta also has the potential to be frisky on defense. As revealed against Tampa Bay, they can pressure the quarterback and force turnovers. These are two areas where Cincinnati has struggled throughout the season, so the ceiling opportunity is there for this Falcons’ defense.
Last week was decidedly mid, with the NFL seemingly correcting itself from the wildness of Week 5. In a week with many upsets, we had several surprising outcomes, such as Tyler Lockett busting and the Jacksonville Jaguars getting beat up on defense. Nonetheless, we finished with an average score on DraftKings but struggled more on FanDuel without the touchdown equity necessary to succeed.
- A: Scored over three times their price
- B: Scored over two times their price
- C: Matched their price
- F: Scored lower than their price
|San Francisco 49ers||$3,700||2||F|
*Left early due to injury
|San Francisco 49ers||$4,700||2||F|
*Left early due to injury
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