Daily Fantasy Football Week 7: DraftKings DFS Rankings and Best Values

Jeff Smith@JSM8ithFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2015

Daily Fantasy Football Week 7: DraftKings DFS Rankings and Best Values

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    It's officially Week 7 of the NFL season, which means we need to check out the top daily fantasy options at each position and find some sleepers to make it possible to get those studs in your lineup.

    While many of the studs may remain in the top five on a weekly basis, they're often shuffled around based on the matchups and how they performed the week before. As for the value plays, well, a lot of that will come down to finding great matchups on paper, or just jumping on players whose price hasn't increased to where it truly should be.

    It's a big week, and there's plenty of money to be won. We'll start it off with the quarterbacks and a man who seems like he's back to playing at an elite level.

Quarterback Rankings and Value Plays

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    1. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts ($7,600)
    2. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals ($6,700)
    3. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers ($6,600)
    4. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers ($6,500)
    5. Tom Brady, New England Patriots ($8,500)

    For the daily fantasy players who are looking to find a strong option at quarterback that won't break the bank, this is your week. In the top five we have three players with costs of $6,700 or less on DraftKings, each of which have great matchups and scored at least 21 fantasy points in Week 6. There's not much more to say about Palmer, Newton and Rivers, because if you want to save money, these are your guys.

    As for Andrew Luck, the top overall choice, he looks to finally be back to playing at an elite level. During Indianapolis' loss to the New England Patriots, Luck threw for 312 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Seeing a healthy Luck was a beautiful thing, and he finished the day with 30.98 fantasy points.

    Brady is the No. 5 player on this list, and in most weeks he'd usually find himself in the top two or three. The reason? Well, the New York Jets simply have a stellar defense, as they've allowed just 186.6 yards per game through the air, which rank them No. 2 in the NFL. Is Brady able to be the man to figure out the Jets defense? It's possible, but it's still a bit risky at the price of $8,500.

    Value Plays

    Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans ($5,300)

    There's always a value play or two at quarterback, but the way that Hoyer has played over recent weeks is pretty crazy. While head coach Bill O'Brien finally gave Hoyer the starting nod in Week 6, it paid off nicely. Not only did the Texans get a win, but Hoyer threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns.

    While he and the Texans are up against a Miami Dolphins team who is ranked in the top 10 against opposing quarterbacks this year, that doesn't mean Hoyer and top target DeAndre Hopkins won't be able to produce. Hoyer and Hopkins have a great connection, and I don't see it slowing down this week. Even if you're concerned, it's worth the risk in at least a lineup or two at the cost of just $5,300.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets ($5,200)

    The journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick is impressing in a big way through the early part of the 2015 season. He's coming off a great showing against the Washington Redskins in which he completed 73.1 percent of his passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He tacked on 31 rushing yards and an additional touchdown on the ground as well.

    To top it all off, the Jets are playing their biggest rival, the Patriots, so we should expect to see them pull out one of their best performances of the season. Fitzpatrick has been stellar this year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him top 20 fantasy points in Week 7.

Running Back Rankings and Value Plays

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    1. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons ($7,900)
    2. Arian Foster, Houston Texans ($7,500)
    3. Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams  ($5,000)
    4. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers ($8,500)
    5. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings ($7,600)

    The top five this week at running back is interesting, as it not only features four studs in Freeman, Foster, Bell and Peterson, but also a value play in Gurley. While Freeman has been an absolute star and seems almost completely unstoppable at this point, he, Foster and Bell all face mediocre matchups against teams ranking in the middle of the league against opposing running backs.

    As for Peterson, he has the potential to repeat what he did against the Lions earlier in 2015. Back in Week 2, Peterson shredded the Lions for 134 yards, while tallying 58 receiving yards as well. He has a strong matchup against a defense that has allowed 627 yards and nine touchdowns to opposing running backs this season.

    Last up is Gurley, who draws a team who literally hasn't been able to slow down opposing running backs at all this year in the Cleveland Browns. The Browns rank No. 32 in rushing yards allowed per game at 149.8. With that matchup for a player who has rushed for 159 yards and 146 yards over the past two weeks, it doesn't get much sweeter than that, especially at a cost of only $5,000.

    Value Plays

    Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins ($4,600)

    Miller seems to have turned the corner under new interim head coach Dan Campbell. After a four-game stretch to open 2015 in which he never topped 53 rushing yards or hit double-digit fantasy points, Miller exploded in Week 6 with 113 yards, one touchdown and 22.8 fantasy points.

    Now, Miller and the Dolphins take on a Houston Texans team that has allowed 534 rushing yards and five touchdowns to opposing running backs. On paper, Miller looks like a steal at just $4,600, especially if last week was any indication.

    Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers ($4,600)

    There's plenty to love about Woodhead's game. Even if he's not running the ball well, he's still going to make an impact for fantasy players with his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. The last two games have been a prime example, as Woodhead rushed 11 times for just 18 yards but caught 10 total passes for 129 yards. He's topped 12 fantasy points on DraftKings in every game this season except for one as well.

    While the Raiders have been strong against running backs from a fantasy perspective, they've given up plenty of receptions to opposing backs. Oakland has allowed 31 receptions for 223 yards to running backs, so this one has Woodhead's name written all over it.

    Christine Michael, Dallas Cowboys ($3,000)

    This pick is a bit more risky than the other value plays, but it's still a play that may very well be worth the $3,000 price tag. Michael's going to get his chance to make an impact for the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7, and while it's being downplayed by some, this could be the opportunity for a huge change in Arlington.

    The Cowboys are looking for an offensive spark, and if Michael can come out and shoot some energy into this offense against the New York Giants, don't be surprised if he gets a heavy workload this Sunday.

    There are question marks, but the Giants have allowed 523 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns, 40 receptions, 344 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns to opposing running backs. Is the risk worth the reward? It very well may be.

Wide Receiver Rankings and Value Plays

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    1. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans ($8,600)
    2. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals ($7,400)
    3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons ($9,100)
    4. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets ($7,800)
    5. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants ($8,700)

    When you have a guy like DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones or Odell Beckham Jr., who you know is going to get double-digit targets, it's obvious why their cost is so high. These are three of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and while all three face middle-tiered defenses, there's not much of a reason to shy away from them. If you can fit them in your lineup, show them the love, specifically Hopkins and Jones.

    Now comes one of my favorite plays of the week in Fitzgerald. The Ravens have been truly awful against opposing wide receivers, allowing 94 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. Essentially, this is matchup gold for Fitzgerald, who has been a stud this season. The No. 1 receiver for the Cardinals is averaging 23.7 fantasy points per game on DraftKings, and he should have another big one Sunday.

    Last up, a shoutout to Brandon Marshall, who has been excellent this season for the Jets. He's averaging a strong 24.4 fantasy points per game this year, and he draws a matchup against the rival Patriots. While New England doesn't have a bad defense by any means, they rank in the bottom 10 of the NFL against opposing wide receivers. In total, the Patriots have allowed 66 receptions for 921 yards and seven touchdowns.

    Don't be concerned about using any of the five above in your fantasy lineups, because all have great matchups on paper and should be in for big days.

    Value Plays

    John Brown, Arizona Cardinals ($5,500)

    As touched on above with Fitzgerald, this is a great matchup with the Ravens for any wide receiver on the Cardinals. As for Brown, he's coming off a ridiculous performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6 in which he caught 10 balls for 196 yards, resulting in 31.6 fantasy points. In fact, over the past three games, he hasn't fallen below 15.8 fantasy points in any game.

    Fire up Brown with confidence this Sunday.

    Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns ($5,400)

    Benjamin is officially the real deal. After watching him rip off nine catches for 117 yards in Week 6 against the Denver Broncos, you'd be crazy to bet against him. Over the past three games, Benjamin has topped six receptions and 79 yards in each one. In the three games prior to that, he scored a total of four touchdowns.

    If the man isn't racking up receptions and yards, he's scoring touchdowns. He's been one of the stud sleepers this year, and at a cost of just $5,400, there's no reason not to fire up Benjamin when searching for your sleepers.

    Eric Decker, New York Jets ($5,300)

    Yes, the Jets are going to be throwing the ball quite a bit against the Patriots, and yes, Eric Decker is a touchdown machine. He's played in four games this season and has caught a touchdown in each game. There are quite a few consistent plays out there at wide receiver this week, but if you want one who won't break the bank, look no further than Decker.

Tight End Rankings and Value Plays

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    1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots ($8,100)
    2. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers ($5,000)
    3. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers ($6,100)
    4. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs ($4,900)
    5. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys ($4,800)

    While Rob Gronkowski is, well, Rob Gronkowski, the rest of the names on this list are obviously great options at a far lower price. Is it worth taking the discount? It very well may be right now.

    Antonio Gates has been great since returning from his four-game suspension. He posted 30.2 fantasy points in his first game back, then scored 18.5 last Sunday. On Sunday, against the Green Bay Packers, though, Philip Rivers threw for 503 yards. So the question is: Was Gates able to catch nine balls for 95 yards due to that, or will he able to keep that up moving forward?

    I'd bet on Gates against the worst team in the NFL against opposing tight ends, the Oakland Raiders. With a cost of $5,000, he will save you some money as well.

    While Greg Olsen has had two terrible games this year, he's also topped 29 fantasy points twice, and he finished the other game with six receptions for 70 yards. Cam Newton's favorite target should once again be in for a big day. The Eagles may be strong against tight ends, but I love Olsen on prime time in front of a home crowd who's all in on their 5-0 Panthers.

    Now for Travis Kelce and Jason Witten, two players who have been mediocre, largely due to their lack of targets and involvement in the offense. With the Chiefs losing Jamaal Charles, though, Kelce should see six or more catches in each game moving forward, which makes him a great option. Witten, on the other hand, is playing with a new quarterback in Matt Cassel, who will likely utilize him as a safety blanket in Week 7.

    Value Plays

    Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans ($3,900)

    While even some of the players above can be considered "values," you can still save some money by going with Walker. He's played in just four games this season, but he has finished with double-digit fantasy points in three of them. His most recent game included eight catches for 97 yards, and he'll be playing Week 7 with Zach Mettenberger under center.

    If Mettenberger plays it safe and looks for a consistent, reliable option, which he should, that will be Walker. In turn, expect plenty of production from him on Sunday.

    Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints ($3,300)

    Was Watson a one-hit wonder? Maybe, but at a price of just $3,300, it may be worth finding out in a few lineups. He hadn't topped four catches in any game before Week 6, but caught 10 balls for 127 yards and a touchdown in the Saints' victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Drew Brees may have just found a new reliable option in the passing game, and it's his veteran tight end.

Defense/Special Teams Rankings and Value Plays

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    1. Arizona Cardinals ($3,600)
    2. Carolina Panthers ($3,100)
    3. St. Louis Rams ($2,400)
    4. Minnesota Vikings ($3,000)
    5. Atlanta Falcons ($3,300)

    Choosing a defense is all about playing the matchups. Well, mostly. For the Cardinals, it's a home-field advantage that's brutal for opponents. They also get a quarterback in Joe Flacco who's prone to turning the ball over, something they will likely take full advantage of.

    As for the Panthers, it's Sam Bradford and the Philadelphia Eagles. Bradford has been an interception machine this year, and Josh Norman is one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Think there's a chance for the Panthers to tally a few interceptions and sacks in front of their home crowd on Sunday Night Football?

    The Rams are a surprising choice, as they are a value play in the top five here. They're at home against a Browns team that has struggled to run the ball, averaging just 91.8 yards per game. I believe St. Louis has more than enough firepower to slow down Josh McCown and the passing game, as they've allowed just 235.4 passing yards per game this season.

    Last up, those Vikings and Falcons. The Vikings face Matthew Stafford, who did just throw for four touchdowns against the Chicago Bears but was benched the week before after throwing his third interception. I'd bet on Stafford coming back down to Earth a bit and turning the ball over a few times.

    Atlanta has been an interesting defense all year, as they've had two strong games with 12 and 21 fantasy points, but aside from that have scored five or fewer points. This week, though, it's Zach Mettenberger and the Tennessee Titans. Expect the Falcons to improve on their league-worst seven sacks this year, and also to pull down an interception or two in a dominating performance.

    Value Plays

    Pittsburgh Steelers ($2,600)

    The Steelers draw a favorable matchup with a Kansas City Chiefs team who showed obvious issues in their first game without Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs had just 57 rushing yards and scored only 10 points against the Vikings in Week 6. Can the Steelers shut them down in similar fashion in Week 7?

    Since a rough Week 1 against the Patriots, the Steelers defense has topped eight fantasy points in each week. That's strong consistency from a unit that costs just $2,600. Fire them up against the reeling Chiefs.

    Washington Redskins ($2,500)

    This one's pretty simple. Washington is up against a rookie quarterback who has gone just one game without a turnover to this point in 2015. The Redskins also haven't been bad over the past few weeks defensively, topping 10 fantasy points in each of their previous three games. Don't be surprised to see them hit the 10-point mark once again in Week 7.

    Pricing information and scoring data obtained from DraftKings.comAll statistics courtesy of ESPN unless otherwise specified.

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