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Daily Fantasy Football Strategy: Week 7 DraftKings Breakdown

Below is a breakdown of Sunday’s Week 6 NFL contests on DraftKings along with player rankings. Keep in mind that price has a huge impact on a player’s ranking. This post will only cover the 12-game slate beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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Quarterback

  1. Andrew Luck – $7,600 – Indianapolis Colts
  2. Carson Palmer – $6,700 – Arizona Cardinals
  3. Philip Rivers – $6,500 – San Diego Chargers
  4. Ryan Tannehill – $5,700 – Miami Dolphins

Let’s start with the fact that each of these four quarterbacks has a very good matchup. Here’s a chart showing how their opponent ranks in 4for4.com’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) and Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA.

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Luck gets the top spot for several reasons. First, he has the best matchup of the bunch, though Carson Palmer‘s matchup with Baltimore is about as good. Second, it appears the two weeks off helped him get healthy as he threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns in his first game back last week. And third, his ownership from the Thursday night contests on Fandeul wasn’t nearly as high as that of Palmer and Philip Rivers.

The ownership percentage issue may not matter as much to you if you’re just playing cash games, but it’s more important if you’re playing GPPs. There’s a strong correlation between Thursday ownership percentages and Sunday ownership percentages, so you can expect Luck to be owned in fewer contests than Rivers and Palmer this weekend.

Josh Shepardson from dailyfantasycafe.com has compiled some Thursday ownership percentages, and it would appear that Luck will be owned quite a bit less than Rivers and Palmer. The exact percentages will be different given the different pricing and the absence of the Thursday night players, but you can see there’s a significant gap between Luck’s ownership and that of the other two. If you can’t bring yourself to go really cheap at QB to be contrarian, Luck is the guy for you. I trust Luck enough to use him in cash games as well, but if you really like Rivers or Palmer in cash, you’ll get no argument from me.

The other GPP option is Ryan Tannehill. He was owned in less than two percent of the Thursday contests, so he’s a true contrarian play. Brian Hoyer and Landry Jones were the more popular cheap options at the position. Jones’s matchup is about as good as Tannehill’s, if not better, but he’s hard to trust with a half a game of work under his belt. And Hoyer has been very efficient this year, averaging 8.2 yards per attempt, but he has a tough matchup against Miami who ranks sixth in aFPA against quarterbacks. Tannehill has two touchdown passes in each of his last four games, but seven picks have kept him down. His 3.5 percent interception rate this year is a fair bit higher than his 2.6 percent career rate, so he may have some positive regression coming there.

Running Back

  1. Todd Gurley – $5,000 – St. Louis Rams
  2. Lamar Miller – $4,600 – Miami Dolphins
  3. Devonta Freeman – $7,900 – Atlanta Falcons
  4. Matt Jones – $3,200 – Washington Redskins
  5. Frank Gore – $4,900 – Indianapolis Colts
  6. Chris Ivory – $5,800 – New York Jets

Devonta Freeman and Todd Gurley were by far the most owned running backs in the Thursday night contests, with Freeman being owned by almost half the teams and Gurley being owned by more than a third. But with his price tag on DK, Gurley should be the higher owned back this weekend, and his ownership should be over 50 percent in cash games. He has over 300 yards rushing in his last two games and hasn’t even tacked on a touchdown. Once he gets in the end zone, he could put up a big day. He has a great matchup against the Browns who rank 29th in aFPA against backs in PPR leagues. The matchup and price are so good that I don’t think you can afford to fade him.

As for Freeman, I do think he can be faded. People love reliability, and Freeman couldn’t make anyone feel more warm and fuzzy as he’s working on a streak of four straight games with at least 25 fantasy points in standard leagues. Yeah, he’s on some kind of roll. But his price tag has finally caught up to his production, so he has to keep that level of performance up to really deliver value. He was $1,600 cheaper just two weeks ago.

Freeman’s matchup with Tennessee is a conundrum. On one hand, the Titans rank seventh in aFPA against backs in PPR leagues, but they rank 32nd in run defense DVOA.  Further confusing things, they rank first in DVOA against running backs as pass catchers. That’s all over the map. But ultimately, it’s Freeman’s price tag that prevents him from being a top play. He’s still a good play, he’s just not automatic. If you can afford him in cash games, go for it. But don’t sacrifice at other spots and leave yourself with guys you’re not comfortable with just to get Freeman into your lineup.

If you need to go cheaper with your second back, consider Lamar Miller. It’s hard not to think the coaching change in Miami is a huge boon to Miller after he carried the ball 19 times in Miami’s first game out of the bye. He was averaging only 9.25 carries per game prior. That volume should play well this week against Houston who ranks 23rd in aFPA against backs in PPR leagues and 21st in run defense DVOA.

Chris Ivory is in a similar boat to Freeman. Ivory has back-to-back 20-plus point performances in standard leagues, but his price has started to climb as a result and his matchup is less than ideal. The price isn’t prohibitive, but there’s certainly less value potential as he’s $700 more expensive than he was last week. As for the matchup, the Pats rank 12th in aFPA against backs in PPR leagues but rank 29th in run defense DVOA. The bigger issue with the matchup may be game flow. The Jets have the defense to keep the game close, but there is some chance that they have to lean on the passing game playing from behind.

If you’re looking for a GPP play, how about Matt Jones? Chris Thompson is doubtful for Sunday’s game, and Washington has said Jones is likely to fill the third down role. That matchup with Tampa is middling, but with his price tag being only $200 more than the minimum and the chance to catch a few balls, there’s plenty of value potential here. Jones was owned by less than one percent of teams in the Thursday night contests, so this is a very contrarian play.

Wide Receiver

  1. Larry Fitzgerald – $7,400 – Arizona Cardinals
  2. John Brown – $5,500 – Arizona Cardinals
  3. Brandon Marshall – $7,800 – New York Jets
  4. DeAndre Hopkins – $8,600 – Houston Texans
  5. Donte Moncrief – $5,200 – Indianapolis Colts
  6. T.Y. Hilton – $6,500 – Indianapolis Colts
  7. Willie Snead – $4,300 – New Orleans Saints
  8. Michael Floyd – $3,200 – Arizona Cardinals

I didn’t discuss Palmer too much individually above, but this list of receivers is the best argument for using him as your cash game play. Of the top notch receivers availble this week, Fitzgerald is the most reasonably priced. He’s not a huge value or anything, but he’s not overpriced. As for John Brown, he does have the value potential. According to Pro Football Focus’ WR/CB matchup chart, Brown has the biggest individual matchup advantage of any Arizona receiver. As a cash stack, Palmer/Brown may be the way to go. In GPPs it’s tough to roster Cards as Fitz and Brown were two of the four highest owned receivers in the Thursday contests. The options for differentiating from the pack with Arizona are to either roster Palmer with both Fitz and Brown, or you could stack Palmer with Michael Floyd who was owned in just 2.2 percent of Thursday contests and caught his first touchdown of the season last week.

As for the options to stack with Luck, Moncrief is probably your best bet. For one thing, he’s a better value with a price tag $1,300 cheaper than that of T.Y. Hilton. Moncrief has also been somewhat consistent with double digit DK points in five of six games so far this season. Moncrief also has a much better individual matchup than Hilton according to the WR/CB chart. Moncrief was owned in more Thursday contests than Hilton, and he was the sixth most owned receiver. But with Luck’s ownership percentage not expected to be super high, the stack is unconventional enough to work for GPPs.

The stud options to plug into your roster are DeAndre Hopkins and Brandon Marshall. Who has the better matchup is tough to say. According to aFPA and DVOA against #1 receivers, Marshall has the better matchup. But according to overall pass defense DVOA and the WR/CB matchup chart, it’s Hopkins who has the better matchup. Hopkins’ ownership percentage was about three times that of Marshall’s in Thursday night contests, so Marshall is probably the better GPP play. And I probably prefer Marshall in cash as well just because the two grade out so similarly, and Marshall gives you an extra $800 to allocate elsewhere. But you’d get no vehement argument from me if you prefer Hopkins.

Tight End

  1. Travis Kelce – $4,900 – Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Delanie Walker – $3,900 – Tennessee Titans
  3. Ladarius Green – $2,900 – San Diego Chargers

Let’s start with the guy ranked third, as Ladarius Green could end up being the top TE play of the week if Antonio Gates is inactive. Gates suffered an MCL sprain last week and did not practice this week.  Were I a gambling man, I’d say Gates doesn’t go. And the reason Green would be such a good play if Gates sits is that the matchup with Oakland couldn’t be much better. The Raiders rank dead last in aFPA against tight ends in PPR leagues. Their last game in Week 5 against Denver was the only game this season where they haven’t allowed at least one touchdown to a tight end. The problem is that the Chargers play in the late afternoon games, and both other tight ends ranked here play in the early afternoon games. If Gates is a true GTD and his status is genuinely unknown at 1:00 ET, you probably have to avoid Green.

There’s no harm in potentially having to fade Green as both Delanie Walker and Travis Kelce have good matchups. Walker will face the Falcons who rank 26th in aFPA against tight ends in PPR leagues and 18th in DVOA against tight ends. Kelce will face the Steelers who rank 28th and 17th in those same stats. Walker will be catching passes from Zach Mettenberger instead of Marcus Mariota, which is keeping him from being ranked above Kelce. He did have a big game last year with Mettenberger under center with five catches and 155 yards in Week 11, but he only scored one touchdown in five games with Mettenberger and didn’t crack 40 yards in the other four games. Kelce hasn’t scored since Week 1, but the Chiefs are down Jamaal Charles and may be without Jeremy Maclin as well, so Kelce is by far the best weapon Kansas City has right now.

Defense

  1. St. Louis Rams

As I frequently do, I’ll cop out here and refer you to the (free) D/ST post I write for Fantasy Alarm each week. You can check that out here. But just use the Rams.

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