4 Daily Fantasy Football Matchups to Exploit in Week 7
The beauty of daily fantasy football is that, unlike a season-long draft where someone is tied to their top players all year, any top players in the NFL can make their way into your lineup. While that can be a blessing, it can also be a curse.
Although you're able to roster Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and Derrick Henry all at once if you want, it is unlikely that all three running backs are optimal plays at their respective salaries for a particular week. There are many elements to decide which players are the best plays, and a large aspect of daily fantasy is the matchup a player has.
While usually encompassed in some respects inside the salary figure, a soft matchup can carry a good running back to a great week. On the other hand, a tough matchup can make superstars suboptimal to roster.
Which matchups are lurking in this weekend's games that we can take advantage of on FanDuel?
Dolphins Passing Attack vs. Falcons Secondary
Miami has a 69% pass rate in all situations this year, and that is first in the entire NFL for what we consider a "limited" passing offense. It's only come attached to a 6.1 yards per attempt figure, so the Dolphins are not explosive, but throwing a lot is a great way to attack the Falcons' defense.
Atlanta has allowed 0.31 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back to opposing offenses this year. That mark is only better than Detroit (0.36) through six weeks. Atlanta, though, can score points to match their opponents on most Sundays, which is why their defense remains a top target to attack in daily fantasy while running it back with Calvin Ridley or Kyle Pitts.
Miami's passing game may see another boost beyond its matchup, too. DeVante Parker is practicing in a limited fashion this week, and it's possible he rejoins Mike Gesicki and Jaylen Waddle on the outside.
While that would crowd the market shares in this passing attack, it's still a phenomenal one to target in a game with a 52.5-point total.
Devontae Booker vs. Panthers Run Defense
Targeting defenses like Detroit (sorry, Michigan readers) can be challenging because their defense is so bad that the points could come from anywhere.
In some ways, that makes defenses like the stronger Panthers even better for seeking matchup advantages. Wait, what?
Yes, Carolina is solid against the pass. In fact, their 0.02 Adjusted Passing NEP per play is the second-best mark in the entire NFL behind Arizona (-0.03). However, their rush defense leaves a lot to be desired.
The Panthers' front seven is allowing 0.09 Adjusted Rushing NEP per play, which is tied for the third-worst mark in the league with their Sunday opponents, the New York Giants.
That opens an exploitable opportunity for Devontae Booker. Booker is still filling in Saquon Barkley's role as Barkley continues to miss practice, and because his production wasn't there in a negative game script against the Rams, he may go overlooked far more than he should in Week 7.
Booker played 72.1% of snaps last week in a total blowout. This backfield is exclusively his, and I'm not sure the matchup will be a common one to spot. He is an interesting value at just $5,800.
Tyler Higbee vs. Alex Anzalone
As mentioned in the previous sections, Detroit's defense leaves openings at all levels, and the Rams are 15.5-point favorites visiting the Lions Sunday. Why even bother looking here?
Typically, I won't. Despite the revenge narrative rumors, there's just not a great chance this game stays competitive long enough to meet peak daily fantasy value. However, the Lions are so notably bad at defending the worst position in fantasy football that Tyler Higbee might be worth a look.
Higbee has been a frustrating player to roster on FanDuel this season. His snap rate (89.4%) and routes run rate (78.8%) are among the game's best at tight end, but he is buried amongst the bevy of weapons at Matthew Stafford's disposal. However, Alex Anzalone might leave Stafford no choice.
Anzalone isn't solely responsible for Detroit's tight end scoring woes, but his 40.1 Pro Football Focus coverage grade certainly isn't helping matters. Overall, Detroit is allowing the most adjusted fantasy points to tight ends per target, and they have gotten fortunate the overall damage has been limited by game scripts that did not require a heavy passing volume.
Like C.J. Uzomah, who found paydirt in Detroit for the Bengals last week, Higbee is on the field enough to have multi-touchdown upside at his peak outcome. That would require anyone besides Cooper Kupp to catch a touchdown for Los Angeles, though, so who knows?
Cardinals Pass Rush vs. Texans Offensive Line
The Texans are an easy punching bag, so you almost have to feel for them as 17.5-point underdogs this weekend to the undefeated Cardinals.
Davis Mills has not been terrible the past two weeks (0.16 Passing NEP per drop back), but his supporting cast is incredibly limited, and he has been forced to make some tough choices this season. Mills is still second-worst in the NFL with a 4.7% turnover-worthy play percentage, trailing only Zach Wilson.
Houston's offensive line is allowing a 28% pressure rate this season, which is tied for sixth-worst of any team playing this weekend. Even without Chandler Jones since Week 2, the Cardinals' pass rush has been stout behind J.J. Watt. They've posted a 31% pressure rate, and that mark is fourth-best among teams playing this weekend.
A so-so offensive line, a painfully negative game script, and a bolstered Cardinals pass rush make the $5,000 salary worth getting to on FanDuel when possible.