The 2020-21 NFL season has kicked off and there are huge Week 7 DFS contests being offered on FanDuel with big prize pools and exciting new formats such as Best Ball.
In this weekly column, we will identify the best plays, values, and tournament options for your NFL DFS lineups. We’ll also offer the best “fades” at each position, indicating which players to avoid when building your lineups.
Keep in mind that some of the plays offered are better for “Cash” games, i.e. 50/50, H2H, and Double-Up formats, which require a more conservative approach. Some plays are recommended for GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) tournaments where it’s necessary to take more risks in the hopes of separating from a large field. Those GPP plays can also be ideal for Best Ball formats where players with higher upside are valuable.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kick-off since things can change quickly in the NFL. Please note any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.
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Best Play: Russell Wilson ($8.7k)
Wilson, who is now a huge favorite to win MVP (-125 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook), comes out of his bye to face Kyler Murray at Arizona in a game with a 56-point total. The Cardinals average the eighth-most TDs per drive (.328) and rank second in red zone efficiency, but require the 16th most plays per drive to score. So Russ and the most efficient offense in the NFL should be forced to cook in a game with juicy DFS implications.
Value Play: Matthew Stafford ($7.3k)
The floor is so high for opposing QBs facing the Falcons that Kirk Cousins still exceeded value last week with 23.7 FD points despite throwing 3 picks in a scoreless first half. Stafford has disappointed this season with the Lions posting a surprising 48.6% rushing play rate over their last 3 games, but the Falcons allow the fifth-fewest rushing YPG (97.2) and cough up the second-most passing YPG (335.3) this season. This is another game with a 56.5-point implied total and Stafford is undervalued in this spot after posting a dud against the Jaguars due to positive game flow.
GPP Play: Ben Roethlisberger ($7.4k)
The perception of a Steelers-Titans matchup may be a low-scoring, competitive playoff preview, but recent results contradict that outcome. Pittsburgh is yielding a league-high 12.6 yards per catch and both defenses are bottom 5 in receptions allowed for first downs. Both offenses are top 7 in TDs per drive and the Titans defense ranks 30th in points allowed per red zone trip (6.0), so we could see a multi-TD day from Big Ben after he only tossed 1 TD in a blowout win last week.
Fade: Patrick Mahomes ($9.0k)
The Chiefs flexed their versatility on Monday with 265 rushing yards and will add Le’Veon Bell to the fold this week. With the Broncos (+9.5) implied to score just 18.5 points, game script might force Mahomes into another low-volume outing. Denver ranks ninth in DVOA pass defense and 31st in DVOA pass offense, so this is hardly a shootout spot.
Best Play: Aaron Jones ($8.5k)
The Texans are coughing up a league-high 177.5 rushing YPG and 5.4 YPC this season. Not that Jones depends on carries for fantasy value, as he ranks fourth among RBs with a 17.2% target share. The Packers offense is in a bigtime bounce back spot with a 29.5-point implied total and Jones is the most likely candidate to finish drives for a team that ranks third in TDs per drive.
Value Play: Jerick McKinnon ($5.5k)
With Raheem Mostert (ankle) out, the Niners could use JaMychal Hasty ($4.6k) or Jeff Wilson ($5.1k) as their early-down back this week. But McKinnon’s role as a receiver and outside runner is unchallenged. A phenomenal athlete, McKinnon is averaging 6 yards per touch and running a route on 54.5% of his snaps. New England’s new LB corps has been underwhelming this year and the Pats rank 17th in DVOA rush defense.
GPP Play: Kareem Hunt ($7.1k)
Hunt is a great per-dollar option for any format this week and a good GPP play because of his low production last Sunday. Despite their futility against Pittsburgh’s elite run defense, the Browns offensive line leads the NFL in created RB Yards (5.12) and is seventh in DVOA rush offense. Hunt has a stranglehold on work out of that backfield with 21 red zone touches and he played on 70% of offensive snaps in his first start following Nick Chubb’s injury.
Fade: Ezekiel Elliott ($9.5k)
While he’s unlikely to flop again after a two-fumble debacle on Monday, Elliott is unlikely to meet value at this price tag. It’s not the threat of Tony Pollard or the likelihood of extra defenders in the box with Andy Dalton under center that concerns his production, it’s the Cowboys offensive line. Tyron Smith (neck) and La’El Collins (hip) are done for the year, Travis Frederick retired, and Zack Martin (concussion) is questionable. That puts a patchwork unit in a tough spot against Washington’s tough defensive line.
Best Play: Stefon Diggs ($7.5k)
Since teams can do whatever they want against the hapless Jets, expect the Bills to get their passing attack back on track this Sunday. That means heavy usage for Diggs, who leads all WRs in Air Yards (467) with the fourth-most targets (59) this season. Buffalo is dead last in DVOA rush offense and the Jets are decent against the run, so Josh Allen should drop back early and often until the Bills (-13.5) presumably run away with this game.
Value Play: Chase Claypool ($6.4k)
His price tag is rising, but still doesn’t justify Claypool’s role. The Steelers are scheming him scoring opportunities as a runner and receiver, and he leads all WRs in yards per route run (3.49) so he deserves even more volume. The Titans are yielding the fifth-most passing YPG (272.8) and Claypool will get opportunities against 36-year-old CB Jonathan Joseph.
GPP Play: Christian Kirk ($5.4k)
Kirk has become progressively more involved in the Cardinals offense and played on 80.6% of snaps on Monday. He broke away for an 80-yard TD in Dallas and could pop another big gain against a Seahawks secondary that’s allowed 22 pass plays of 20-plus yards in 5 games. Kirk is a tough matchup for Seattle’s bigger corners and the Seahawks almost never change their defensive scheme, so Kliff Kingsbury will have some plays dialed up to utilize his speedster.
Fade: Tyreek Hill ($8.0k)
The bleak prospects for Denver’s offense this week apply as a reason for fading Hill. The Broncos secondary is full of quick defenders who are capable of preventing deep throws to Hill. The speedster posted a 8-141-3TD line over 2 meetings with Denver last season, but could disappoint with the Chiefs spreading the ball around.
Best Play: Robert Tonyan ($6.0k)
Tonyan is primed to bounce back along with the rest of the Packers offense in a game with a 56.5-point implied total. The young TE is second amongst all receivers in average separation (4.9 yards) and is catching a league-best 88.9% of targets. Houston has allowed the sixth-most receiving yards (376) to TEs and Tonyan is a primary target for Aaron Rodgers.
Value Play: Austin Hooper ($5.4k)
The Browns are utilizing their new TE to keep defenses honest against their run-heavy approach. Hooper has established a solid floor with 5 receptions in 3 straight outings and faces a Bengals team that’s allowed the third-most receiving yards (404) to TEs this season. He doesn’t have a big red zone role yet, but ranks eighth among TEs with a 19.5% target share.
GPP Play: Hunter Henry ($5.8k)
The Chargers offense is full of appealing plays in a reasonable price range as they face a Jags defense that ranks dead last in DVOA pass defense and pressure rate. Henry is commanding a 20.6% target share an 15.8% of red zone targets and played on 97% of offensive snaps in Week 5. The Jags defense is always vulnerable against TEs and has coughed up 5 TDs to the position this year.
Fade: Hayden Hurst ($5.6k)
While the Lions secondary is extremely vulnerable, their LBs are great in coverage and have allowed the fewest receptions (10) to TEs this season. Hurst is unlikely to see as many targets now that Julio Jones is back and his floor is quite low.