NFL

DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 7

Josh Allen draws a dream date with the Dolphins. Who else should you zero in on in Week 7?

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After an ultra high-scoring Week 5 on DraftKings, we were brought back to earth in Week 6 by much lower cash lines across Double-Ups and GPPs. It was a much more difficult slate to parse through with some of the high-priced, high-octane options either not on the main slate (e.g. Christian McCaffrey, Chris Godwin) or in difficult matchups (Dalvin Cook).

This slate will prove to be tricky, too, as we will need to keep our eye on key injuries throughout the weekend (specifically Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara and Davante Adams) and be prepared to fluidly adjust based on the beat. That being said, here's what we can feel good about so far in Week 7.

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen ($6,500) - A well-rested Buffalo Bills team gets the pleasure of unwrapping an early Christmas present as the Miami Dolphins travel to Buffalo after losing a nail biter in one of the most watched games of the century last week (just kidding, it wasn't). The Bills' quarterback's numbers have been slightly unimpressive this year as compared to last, but that will most certainly change this week against a Dolphins squad that is allowing the third most points to opposing quarterbacks over the entire season. Allen pops near the top of our projection models for quarterbacks this weekend. Furthermore, it needs to be stated that Allen's previous two meetings with the Dolphins last year resulted in astronomical successes, with scores of 34 DraftKings points in Week 13 and 41 DraftKings points in Week 17. Safe to say, Miami is not as good of a team as they were last year.

Jared Goff ($6,100) - Yes, Goff stunk last week -- I mean, really stunk. But the beautiful thing about the NFL is how vastly different teams and players can perform from week to week based on matchups. And Goff draws a dream one here. The Falcons are allowing 325 passing yards and 3.3 passing touchdowns per game to opposing quarterbacks over the past four games. He doesn't offer the Konami Code rushing upside of some of the other quarterbacks on the slate, but in the highest total game, with lots of weapons at his disposal, the upside for a ceiling game is there. Maybe I take an L on this take, but I will submit to the #DefenseDoesn'tMatter truthers Jared Goff's numbers from last week versus the San Francisco 49ers elite defense to what they will be versus the Atlanta Falcons "defense". Don't @ me.

Gardner Minshew ($5,600) - In the bargain bin at quarterback this week, we find the man, the mustache, the legend... Gardner Minshew. A trendy GPP pick last week, Minshew under-performed and under-delivered against a stout New Orleans D that matched up extremely well with how the Jaguars want to matriculate the ball down the field. The Cincinnati Bengals do not. With prime targets like D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook, and even Leonard Fournette to throw to against a pass defense that is allowing the third most DraftKings points to quarterbacks over the past four weeks, Minshew shows up big in our projections as the second best point-per-dollar play on the slate. To add insult to injury, or in this case just adding injury to more injuries, the Bengals look to be without two of their top cornerbacks (William Jackson III and Dre Kirkpatrick), further elevating Minshew's floor for cash games.

Running Backs

Dalvin Cook ($8,000): Coming off a bit of a down week against an exceptional run defense, Cook is set up in a much better spot in this divisional matchup against the Detroit Lions. Dalvin projects as the third highest scoring running back this week, per our numbers, against a defense that is allowing a mouth-watering 32.3 DraftKings points to opposing running backs over the past four weeks. His usage is priced down from what we would typically expect from a high-scoring bell cow, which makes him a set-it-and-forget-it play this week.

Leonard Fournette ($7,000): The secret is out on Leonard Fournette's usage as he was 43.39% owned in the Massive $25 Single Entry Double-Up last week on DraftKings. His exceptional usage in the running game (91.9% snaps, 91.3% of the running back carries) and surprising pass game role this season (averaging 6.0 targets, 4.3 receptions per game) have become a treasured commodity in today's DFS game. Not only that, but he draws the tastiest of matchups against the Bengals, who are allowing 112.8 rushing yards, 7.3 receptions, and 1.0 touchdown per game to opposing running backs over the past four weeks. They just let Baltimore Ravens running back quarterback Lamar Jackson run for 152 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 6. Fournette will be extremely chalky, but he'll be worth it in both cash and GPP lineups.

Devonta Freeman ($5,400): I've been so accustomed to the running back situation in Atlanta being a timeshare, that I did a double take when I looked at Freeman's usage last week. He saw over 72% of the snaps at running back, 82% of the running back touches, and 100% of the running back targets and receptions (3/3). Those are bell-cow type numbers. While some may argue it was a one-game fluke, I am of the opinion that the Falcons have finally realized who their most talented running back is (and it's not close), and they are using him as such. This week's upcoming matchup should feature another high scoring affair with the Los Angeles Rams coming to town to prove that their offense isn't broken, and FanDuel Sportsbook agrees as this total is up to 54.5, which is the highest total on the slate.

Wide Receivers

T.Y. Hilton ($5,900): It would be an injustice to the DFS community to not write up T.Y. Hilton this week against the Houston Texans. In his last six contests versus the Texans, Hilton is averaging 9.3 targets per game and has scores of 30-plus DraftKings point in three of the six contests. As evidenced by Tyreek Hill's 80-yard, two-score performance last week, the Texans are getting dusted by opposing wide receivers, ranking 27th in DraftKings points allowed to wideouts over the past four weeks. This game projects to be close as the spread is just one point in favor of the Colts with a decent total of 47. Both offenses have the firepower to host a shootout, and if that happens, T.Y. will be a lock to explode.

Brandin Cooks ($5,400): If you're looking for a receiver to pair with the aforementioned Jared Goff, Cooks offers legitimate upside in this impending shootout between these two teams. One might argue that Robert Woods offers the safer floor in cash games, and while that may be true on a target-per-game basis, Cooks himself is still averaging 6.8 targets over the last four games and leads the team in market share of air yards on the season. His average depth of target is 13.8, compared to Woods' 8.7. And it's no secret that the Falcons are getting waxed by opposing receivers, allowing the second most points to receivers over the past four weeks. In a high-total game that projects to have a lot of scoring, I like the floor here, and I most certainly like the leverage a Cooks play creates over the likely chalkier Woods or Cooper Kupp.

Allen Lazard ($3,000): It's a little early in the week to be writing up a play that is solely based on injury speculation for Sunday, but we'll give it a shot here. Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Geronimo Allison all would have been slated for a 'DNP' had the Packers actually practiced on Wednesday, per ESPN's Rob Demovsky. If all three are unable to go on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, that would leave the Packers starting receiving core looking like Jake Kumerow, Darrius Shepherd, and our boy Allen Lazard. 6'5" tall with an 88th percentile speed score, per Player Profiler, Rodgers literally went and asked for Allen Lazard to be in the game in a critical fourth quarter against a divisional opponent on Monday Night Football. On top of all this, the Raiders are allowing the seventh most DraftKings points to opposing wide receivers. If two of the three starters sit, Lazard would be a free square.

Tight Ends

Evan Engram ($6,500) - You ready for some real #analysis: the Arizona Cardinals are bad at defending the tight end position. If you played Austin Hooper last week, you know because you're probably still counting your money. Why fix what's not broken? Play Engram, as he is averaging 9.6 targets on the season. The Cardinals rank dead last in DraftKings points allowed to the tight end at an astounding 26.2 per game. Great volume in a great matchup = Smash.

Hunter Henry ($4,000) - So, you want to be different? Alright then. How about targeting another one of our "victims" of early DraftKings pricing, a guy who scored 33 DraftKings points last week and got just a $500 price hike. Henry is averaging seven targets in the two games he's played this season, and has a quarterback throwing to him that loves to target the tight end position in the red zone (see: Antonio Gates). The Tennessee Titans got lit up by fellow elite tight end Austin Hooper for 25 DraftKings points back in Week 4. With all these factors combined, Henry pops as the best point-per-dollar value at the tight end position, per our projections.

Austin Hooper ($5,300) - In the middle of the previous two options, we go back to the well to last week's smash tight end play. A week after he was mega chalk on the main slate and delivered with 29 DraftKings points, he got a price boost of only $300. The Falcons are slated to square off in yet another high scoring affair (54.5 total), which means Hooper's average of 8.3 targets per game this season should stay relatively steady. The Rams aren't exactly defending the tight end position well right now, either, allowing the seventh most points to the position over the past four weeks. He will fit comfortably into your lineups should you need a tight end in this price tier.

Defenses

Buffalo D/ST ($4,300): In our weekly "Pay Up for Defense Against the Dolphins" portion of the column, we dive into the Bills D/St that most recently recorded five sack against the Tennessee Titans before their Week 6 bye. While Tennessee is struggling mightily in pass protection this season, allowing 29 sacks so far through six weeks, the Dolphins haven't been much better, giving up 23 sacks. With the Bills allowing the fourth fewest points to opposing receivers and ranking fourth in DVOA in Football Outsiders defensive pass efficiency metrics, coverage sacks should be aplenty. Ryan Fitzpatrick takes the helm again against this stout Bills D, and the turnovers should also be aplenty.

New York Giants D/ST ($2,500): As the cheap punt play of the week, the Giants' defense projects for a solid floor in cash games on sacks alone. The G-Men's defensive line ranks top 11 in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders, averaging 3.25 sacks over the past four weeks, and they also have six interceptions to add over that same span. The Arizona Cardinals' offensive line ranks bottom five in Football Outsiders adjusted sack rate, and while they haven't given up much in the past two weeks, that's mostly because they've faced the Falcons and the Bengals, both bottom five in defensive line adjusted sack rates.