Week 7 DFS Guide: Fill Up Your Line-ups with Rivers

by Kevin Huo

With the recent news that the Raiders may soon become the Las Vegas Raiders, I thought it would be an appropriate time to touch on how Vegas affects my DFS strategy. The people who create the lines at Vegas are paid to do this. I hate to admit it, but they are smarter than us. Through their models, they can make generally accurate predictions about how the games will go and set the lines accordingly.

By looking at the lines and the over/unders, we can determine a baseline for how the games are expected to go. Using these resources is a great way to find DFS plays because there are some trends we can exploit. Generally, you should look to target games with high Vegas expected point totals. These games will likely have fantasy players who score more points compared to those with low point totals. Another valuable trend is that teams that are favored will tend to have higher scoring kickers. Underdogs might have lower scoring running backs due to game flow. Sites like GamblingSites.org are a great and easy way to find these resources, but it's up to you to decide what these lines mean.

Each week, this guide is going to list the best VALUE plays of the week. The cream-of-the-crop (Brady, Bell, Beckham, etc) are likely appropriately priced by each DFS website. So unless they have an absolutely spectacular matchup, you probably won't see them here. You know what you're getting with those guys and often it pays to spend big on them. This guide will focus on saving you some money in some spots so you can fit those high-priced guys into your lineups.

Now let's make some money!

Week 7 DFS Guide

In each of the tables accompanying the position analysis, you'll find some of the most important factors to consider when choosing DFS plays. Prices, fantasy points per game (FPPG), opponents' fantasy points per game allowed, and the projected Vegas Over/Under are all listed and ranked. You'll also find the FantasyPros.com Expert Consensus ranking for each player - a quick way to determine how the best of the best of the fantasy community feel about that player this week.

Quarterbacks

PlayerTeamMatchupECR RankFanduel Price (Rank)DraftKings Price (Rank)FPPG (Rank)OFPPG Allowed (Rank)Vegas O/U (Rank)
Philip RiversSD@ATL4$7800 (11)$6500 (7)17.7 (12)20.9 (3)53.5 (1)
Andy DaltonCINCLE7$8100 (7)$6000 (13)17.6 (13)21.5 (2)46 (7)
Kirk CousinsWAS@DET10$7300 (18)$5900 (15)15.8 (19)23.8 (1)50 (3)
Marcus MariotaTENIND9$7900 (9)$6000 (13)17.4 (14)18.8 (9)48 (4)
Blake BortlesJAXOAK11$7400 (17)$6200 (10)16.4 (16)19.5 (6)47.5 (5)

Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

There are lot of great matchups for the mid-tier quarterbacks this week, but my favorite by far is Philip Rivers. Coming off of a bye, he has had a long week to prepare for a Falcons defense that allows the third most points and touchdowns to quarterbacks. The Falcons have allowed four top-5 quarterback finishes so far this year. Rivers is incredibly underpriced on FanDuel as only the 11th most expensive quarterback. This is Vegas' highest projected scoring game this week at 53.5 points.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

Andy Dalton is a great cash game play this week. He's scored at least 17 fantasy points in four of six games, and 22 in his last two. He's a 10 point favorite at home. Each quarterback who has faced the Browns has thrown at least two touchdowns and topped 16 fantasy points.

Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

The Lions allow the most fantasy points to quarterbacks per game and are 31st in passing defense DVOA. They are fresh off surrending 321 yards and three touchdowns to Case freaking Keenum. Kirk Cousins has topped 17 fantasy points in four of six games.

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota has been hot, scoring 27+ in back to back games. He's thrown for three touchdowns and eclipsed 60 yards on the ground in each game. The Colts are 29th in passing defense DVOA. They have allowed 23+ fantasy points in three games and multiple passing touchdowns in their last three.

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles is a little risky given his propensity to throw the ball to the other team, but I like the matchup. Throw out the game last week against Alex Smith that was played in a monsoon, and the Raiders have given up an average of 21.68 fantasy points - and that's including a 4.8 point stinker by Marcus Mariota. They have given up the most passing yards per game and this game has a Vegas O/U of 47.5.

Consider a Flyer on a Jet

If you really want to punt the quarterback position to spend big at skill positions, seriously consider Geno Smith.

Yes, I really said it. Geno. Smith. Now, by no means am I a believer in Smith, but at minimum price of $5000 on both sites, he allows you incredible versatility at other positions. Ideally, you just need 2x value; so, 10 fantasy points. That's 150 passing yards and one passing touchdown. Baltimore is a tough matchup, but they are a passing funnel due to their strong run defense (1st by DVOA). Geno should get enough volume and Brandon Marshall might be good enough by himself to hit those baselines.

Running Backs

PlayerTeamMatchupECR RankFanduel Price (Rank)DraftKings Price (Rank)FPPG (Rank)OFPPG Allowed (Rank)Vegas O/U (Rank)
Jacquizz RodgersTB@SF16$5600 (31)$4300 (23)5.3 (54)26.1 (2)46.5 (7)
Spencer WareKCNO7$7000 (11)$5800 (10)14.1 (8)29.1 (1)50.5 (2)
Devonta FreemanATLSD4$7500 (8)$5900 (9)12.6 (12)23.3 (6)53.5 (1)
DeMarco MurrayTENIND1$8700 (1)$7200 (3)17.3 (4)25.8 (3)48 (4)
James WhiteNEPIT13$6100 (26)$4600 (20)7.1 (40)23.9 (5)47 (6)

Jaquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With Doug Martin out, the door is open for Jacquizz Rodgers to again carry the load. He saw 35 touches in Week 5 with essentially no other competition in Tampa Bay's backfield. The Niners are 28th in rush defense DVOA and allow the third most fantasy points to running backs. In their last four games, they've allowed each primary running back to score at least 21 fantasy points. In those four games, they have given up nine rushing touchdowns.

Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs

Like the Falcons' duo, both Ware and Jamaal Charles should see play this weekend. I like Ware a little better for now since he has the more stable and secure role. Ware is averaging 5.3 YPC and is also fourth among running backs in receiving yardage with 231. The Saints are the 30th ranked run defense by DVOA and surrender 4.5 YPC. They've given up 10 touchdowns on the ground to running backs including multiple rushing touchdowns in three straight games.

Atlanta Falcons Backfield

Both Freeman and Tevin Coleman are great plays this week. The Chargers give up the sixth most fantasy points to running backs and are especially weak against pass catching backs, where both Freeman and Coleman excel. They have given up the most receptions to running backs this year (54).

DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans

This might be a week to spend big on the number one running back, DeMarco Murray. The Colts allow the third most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. They have given up over 100 rushing yards three straight weeks and over 22 fantasy points just to primary running backs in their last two games.

James White, New England Patriots

Since Tom Brady's return, White has totaled 155 yards and two touchdowns. He has outsnapped LeGarrette Blount 77 to 56. He has 12 catches in two games, giving him a major boost on DraftKings. The Steelers have been torched by receiving backs this year. Both Giovani Bernard and Darren Sproles topped 100 yards receiving against Pittsburgh. Overall, the Steelers have allowed the third most receptions and receiving yards to running backs on the year.

Play Gillislee if McCoy is Out

It's looking more and more like McCoy won't play, making Mike Gillislee a near must-play. At $5300 and $3000 on Fanduel and DraftKings respectively, he's a high upside play for cheap. The Bills will always be a run first team and their offensive line has been outstanding this year. And Gillislee is not a no-name bum. He sports a 5.98 YPC average on 64 carries in his last two years in Buffalo and has scored five touchdowns. The Dolphins allow the 11th fewest fantasy points to running backs, but the fourth most yards. Gillislee should easily double his value if McCoy is out.

Wide Receivers

PlayerTeamMatchupECR RankFanduel Price (Rank)DraftKings Price (Rank)FPPG (Rank)OFPPG Allowed (Rank)Vegas O/U (Rank)
AJ GreenCINCLE2$8500 (4)$8600 (4)12.1 (8)25.3 (11)45.5 (8)
Mike EvansTB@SF4$8000 (6)$7800 (6)13.8 (2)23.6 (15)46.5 (7)
Brandon MarshallNYJ@BAL8$7400 (8)$7600 (8)9.2 (30)25.8 (3)40 (13)
Jeremy MaclinKCNO12$6800 (22)$6700 (15)7.0 (52)24.8 (13)50.5 (2)
Allen HurnsJACOAK30$6000 (38)$5000 (33)7.2 (49)27.4 (4)47.5 (5)

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

A.J. Green is coming off two relatively quiet weeks. He'll get right this week against the Browns who allow the 11th most fantasy points to wide receivers. The Browns have given up 11+ fantasy points to eight receivers this year, including four top-10 finishes. Green torched them for 5/128/1 in his last meeting with them in 2015. In a home game the Bengals are favored to win by 10, Green should be targeted early and often.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Perhaps fantasy football's most consistent WR1, Mike Evans has recorded at least five catches in each of his games this year. In every game except Week 4 against Denver, he's been over 70 yards and a touchdown. He should continue that trend against a Niners team that is 15th in points allowed to wide receivers but has given up 10 touchdowns through the air. The loss of Vincent Jackson only bolsters Evans' already strong target count.

Brandon Marshall, New York Jets

This is a bit of a contrarian pick, as many people will want to stay away from Geno Smith this week. However, in Smith's one full game  in 2015, he targeted Marshall 18 times for nine catches and 108 yards. As much as Fitzpatrick was locked in on Marshall, Geno may be even more so. With Decker being out, Marshall is by far Smith's most talented and reliable option. The Baltimore pass defense can be exploited. They have given up the third most points to wide receivers including a league leading 12 touchdowns.

Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs

It's put up or shut up time for Jeremy Maclin. He draws another great matchup with the Saints this week. However, he didn't do anything with great matchups earlier this season (Oakland and the New York Jets). It's hard not to play him this week though. The Saints have given up 80+ yards to seven different receivers. He is still Alex Smith's most targeted receiver with 40 on the season and draws rookie UDFA Ken Crawley in coverage.

Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars

In what has the potential to be a shootout between two pass heavy teams (O/U: 47.5), both Hurns and Allen Robinson are good plays. Hurns will look to get loose against a Raiders defense that has given up the most receiving yards to wide receivers this year. He'll run routes from the slot against D.J. Hayden -- by far the worst cornerback in the Raiders' secondary.

A Couple Studs to Avoid

There are a few big-name wide receivers this week I'm avoiding:

  • Antonio Brown will probably be okay in season-long leagues even with Landry Jones, but won't justify his $9000/$9300 price tag in DFS.
  • Brock Osweiler has been playing better, but DeAndre Hopkins in Denver is a situation to avoid. Denver allows just over 10 fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position and has only surrendered one touchdown.
  • Brandin Cooks is not the same player on the road. He scores 6.83 FPPG on the road compared to 12.44 at home. He's on the road in Kansas City this week lining up against Marcus Peters.
  • The quarterbacks for the Eagles and the Broncos have been struggling, and they face the teams that allow the second fewest and third fewest fantasy points to wide receivers respectively. Pass on Jordan Mathews, Demaryius Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders.

Tight Ends

PlayerTeamMatchupECR RankFanduel Price (Rank)DraftKings Price (Rank)FPPG (Rank)OFPPG Allowed (Rank)Vegas O/U (Rank)
Hunter HenrySD@ATL5$5800 (8)$3600 (11)9.5 (3)12.3 (4)53.5 (1)
Gary BarnidgeCLE@CIN11$5200 (17)$3200 (14)4.9 (21)10.0 (5)45.5 (8)
Jack DoyleIND@TEN13$4700 (29)$2500 (28)6.4 (14)6.3 (19)48 (4)
Julius ThomasJACOAK9$5500 (12)$3900 (9)5.9 (16)9.8 (7)47.5 (5)
Travis KelceKCNO2$6300 (5)$5300 (4)7.4 (9)7.7 (15)50.5 (2)

Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers

Hunter Henry has had three straight games of 60+ yards and a touchdown. He has outsnapped Antonio Gates and carved a legitimate role in this offense. The Falcons give up the fourth most points to tight ends and the second most yards. Henry is a cheap way to buy into the highest expected scoring game of the week.

Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns

Predictably, Gary Barnidge has not matched his success from last year. However, he's a sneaky good option this week. The Bengals allow the fifth most fantasy points to tight ends and may be down Vontaze Burfict. Barnidge has been over 56 yards in each of his last four games and could see an uptick in targets if Terrelle Pryor is out.

Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts

The Titans are somewhat tough against tight ends (19th in points allowed), but there's no reason Jack Doyle should be this cheap. He is the clear number two option on a Colts offense that likes to throw a lot. With Dwayne Allen likely to be sidelined by injury, Doyle will be on the field. He has shown enough that he should not be considered a fluke any longer.

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

The Saints are middle of the pack against tight ends, but they've given up 60+ yards and a touchdown in back to back weeks. The Chiefs are projected to score 28 points and Kelce is a good bet to grab a touchdown if Alex Smith throws one. Other than Week 6, he's had at least seven targets and five catches.

Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars

Julius Thomas has been underwhelming this season, but he draws a good matchup against the Raiders. The Raiders give up the seventh most fantasy points to tight ends and third most yards.

Keep an Eye on Eifert

I'm usually wary to start a player coming off of a long injury, but Tyler Eifert draws an extremely tempting matchup. The Bengals are 10 point favorites at home and the Browns allow the most fantasy points to tight ends. They give up the most yards to tight ends and are tied for second in touchdowns allowed. The Bengals have lacked an explosive playmaker to complement A.J. Green - especially in the red zone - and may look to get Eifert going in a cupcake matchup. If he's healthy, he is definitely worth a look in both formats.

DSTs

Note: Take a look at Tyler Thompson's Stream-o-Matic article for a more in-depth explanation of these plays.

PlayerMatchupECR RankFanduel Price (Rank)DraftKings Price (Rank)FPPG (Rank)OFPPG Allowed (Rank)Vegas O/U (Rank)
Denver Broncosvs HOU1$5000 (2)$3800 (1)9.2 (4)6.3 (13)40.5 (12)
Minnesota Vikings@PHI2$4900 (3)$3700 (2)13.8 (1)4.4 (25)40 (13)
New England PatriotsPIT3$4400 (13)$2900 (10)5.2 (16)4.5 (24)47 (6)
Buffalo Bills@MIA4$4700 (5)$3400 (4)10.3 (2)7.5 (6)44 (9)
Baltimore Ravens@NYJ8$4800 (4)$2800 (11)5.8 (12)9.7 (2)40 (13)

Kickers

PlayerTeamMatchupECR RankFanduel Price (Rank)FPPG (Rank)OFPPG Allowed (Rank)Vegas O/U (Rank)
Stephen GostkowskiNE@PIT1$5100 (1)6.7 (21)8.0 (9)47 (6)
Cairo SantosKCNO5$4800 (5)7.0 (16)8.2 (7)50.5 (2)
Matt BryantATLSD2$4700 (8)9.5 (3)7.0 (17)53.5 (1)
Adam VinatieriIND@TEN3$4900 (4)10.3 (1)7.3 (15)48 (4)
Justin TuckerBAL@NYJ4$5000 (2)8.8 (7)7.2 (16)40 (13)

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