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NFL Week 7 GPP Plays on DraftKings

Nick Chubb

Here are some players that could return above average value on DraftKings in Week 7 for the featured 10-game slate this Sunday.

 

QUARTERBACKS

Joe Flacco: $5400 – BAL vs NO – Game Total 50.5 (BAL -2.5)

One of only three games featuring a 50-point implied game total on Sunday’s main DraftKings slate, the Ravens get the opportunity to face a porous New Orleans defense that is ranked 25th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against the pass. On the season, the Saints are allowing the 2nd highest passer rating and the 3rd most DraftKings points to opposing QBs at 26.5 per game.

Although the Saints have only played two road games thus far in 2018, they have allowed QBs to complete 74.95% of their passing attempts and have given up 29.4 DK points in those contests. In Week 3, Matt Ryan torched this defense for 43.2 DK points while throwing for 374 yards and 5 touchdowns. Conversely, New Orleans has been tough against the run and is currently ranked 3rd in rushing DVOA which should help funnel Baltimore’s offensive output to the passing game.

While no one is going to argue that Flacco has performed as well as Matt Ryan this year, through the first six games, Flacco is averaging 27.3 completions on 44 passing attempts, 298 passing yards, 1.5 touchdowns, 0.67 interceptions, and 18.5 DK points per game. That being said, he certainly hasn’t been the poster boy for consistency. In the games played to date, Flacco has three performances with 15 or fewer DK points and three others with 21 or more.

Given the implied Vegas point total for this game, if Flacco is able to take advantage of a weak Saints secondary, he could return up to four-or-five times value over his current salary of $5400. Putting him into your lineups at this price will also free up valuable cap space to chase after some of this week’s other high-value targets at the RB, WR, and TE positions.

Blake Bortles: $5200 – JAC vs HOU – Game Total 41 (JAC -5)

From a game featuring one of the highest Vegas totals on Sunday, we now turn to the contest with the lowest. Despite the low implied total, I still believe that Blake Bortles offers upside this week based on a number of factors.

To start, through the first six games of the season, Houston is ranked 22nd in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against the pass, 2nd in rushing defense, and they are allowing the 19th most DK points to QBs at 19.1 per game. In their three road games, however, they have allowed an average of 23.6 DK points to the position. This road average includes an 8.9 point dud put up by Blaine Gabbert in Week 2 while filling in for an injured Marcus Mariota. If you were to remove Gabbert’s game from the mix, the Texans have allowed an average of 31 DK points in the other two.

If we look at Bortles stats through the first six games of the season, he is averaging 24.2 completions, 39.5 pass attempts, 279 passing yards, 1.5 touchdowns, 1.33 interceptions, and 21.3 DK points per game. Bortles is also ranked 4th among QBs with 188 rushing yards on the season (31.3/game) which provides him with an additional method of putting fantasy points on the board. Much like Flacco, however, you won’t exactly see Bortles on any of those old school sports posters with the tagline “Mr. Consistency.” On the year, he has scored 28 or more DK points in three games and 14 or less in the others.

Despite these yo-yo type performances, if we look at his home splits, his totals are slightly more impressive. In his three home games this year, Bortles is averaging 26 completions, 39 pass attempts, 306 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 0.67 interceptions, 30 rushing yards, and 24.6 DK points per game. At his price point of $5200, if he can hit these averages against Houston on Sunday, he would achieve almost 5x value compared to his salary.

The real question is, can he actually do it? Despite Doug Marrone suggesting that Fournette might be able to play this week, to this point he has been unable to practice and it’s unlikely that they will rush him back into action. In addition, T.J. Yeldon is also dealing with an ankle injury but managed to return to a limited practice on Thursday. While I expect Yeldon to play, the Jags don’t have much else at the running back spot other than Jamaal Charles. This could force them to pass more than normal and provide Bortles with the opportunity he needs to lead the offense.

Although putting Bortles in your lineup certainly comes with significant risk, he offers enough upside at his price point to warrant consideration in Week 7 against the Texans. Considering the poor showing he had against the Cowboys last week on the road, he should also come with very low ownership.

UPDATE: On Friday afternoon, it was announced the Jacksonville Jaguars had traded with the Cleveland Browns and acquired Carlos Hyde. Further reports also indicated that Hyde is unlikely to play for the Jaguars in Week 7.

RUNNING BACKS

Kerryon Johnson:  $4500 – DET @ MIA – Game Total 46.5 (DET -3)

If you are looking to spend down at the running back position, one lower priced option to consider is Kerryon Johnson. However, if you were to only take a quick glance at his splits through the Lions first five games (they were off on there by last week), he might not immediately stand out as a potentially high-upside play.

When it comes to running backs, volume reigns supreme. Over the first five weeks, Johnson has been in a three-way running back by committee situation while sharing the workload with Theo Riddick and LeGarrette Blount. With all three backs in the picture, Johnson has averaged 10 carries, 2.6 receptions, 0.2 touchdowns, 70.8 yards (rushing and receiving combined), and 11.5 DK points per game.

That said, as of the end of Thursday, Theo Riddick has failed to log an appearance in any of the Lions practices this week. According to a report from Rotowire, Riddick is apparently dealing with a knee issue and seemed to be favoring his left leg at the team’s facility on Thursday. If Riddick is unable to suit up on Sunday, that would leave an average of six passing targets per game to running backs unaccounted for. Since Blount is not known as a pass catcher, Johnson would be the most likely candidate to fill that role in Lions passing attack.

According to Football Outsiders, Miami is currently ranked 10th in DVOA against the rush, but they are giving up the 4th most DK points to running backs. So how can we explain this discrepancy between points allowed and Miami’s top 10 DVOA ranking against the rush? Diving deeper, Miami has been exploited by pass catching running backs and they are ranked 23rd in this category. Through the first six games, the Dolphins have given up an average of 5.7 receptions on 7.3 targets, 58 receiving yards, 0.75 touchdowns, and 21.5 DK points to pass catching backs. This group includes Tarik Cohen (24.1), Joe Mixon (20.5), James White (31.2), Jalen Richard (11.9), Bilal Powell (19), and Dion Lewis (22).

While we need to keep an eye on Theo Riddick’s status leading up to kickoff, if he cannot play, Johnson may have an opportunity for a larger workload and could return good value in this Week 7 matchup against the Dolphins.

UPDATE: Theo Riddick has been confirmed as out against Miami this Sunday.

Nick Chubb:  $3600 – CLE @ TB – Game Total 51.5 (TB -3.5)

Just as I was about to complete this article for this week, I received a notification on my phone informing me that Carlos Hyde had been traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Presumably, this trade was facilitated to provide rookie Nick Chubb with an opportunity to become more involved in the running game. That said, this matchup against the Buccaneers rush defense is one of the best of the week.

Prior to being traded to Jacksonville, Hyde was receiving 20 touches per game, was tied for 4th among running backs in red zone rushing opportunities, and was averaging 12.9 DK points per game. If Chubb picks up the volume vacated by Hyde, he could absolutely smash his salary implied point total in this game. However, before we all rush out and put Chubb in every lineup this week, there are few things we should consider.

First, due to his super low price of only $3600, he is likely to be very highly owned in GPPs on Sunday. There are times when it is absolutely necessary to eat the chalk and this might be one of those times. That said, Chubb hasn’t exactly seen the ball a ton this year and so we have a fairly small sample size to work with in making our evaluation.

Through the end of Week 6, Chubb was averaging 2.7 rushing attempts, 0.3 touchdowns, 0.2 targets, and 5.38 DK points per game. Furthermore, his stats are buoyed by a Week 4 performance against the Raiders in which he turned 3 carries into 105 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. If you remove that game from the equation, his DK points per game average drops to 1.4 but he still would have averaged 5.2 yards per rush attempt which is promising.

Long story short, at his current price and given the matchup against the Buccaneers, this is an opportunity that is too good to pass up. Although I will probably be one of the few people on the planet that doesn’t put him into every single lineup, I will still have plenty of exposure to Nick Chubb this weekend.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Taylor Gabriel:  $4700 – CHI vs NE – Game Total 49 (NE -3)

After a somewhat slow start to begin the year, Chicago’s offense has picked up steam over their past two contests against Tampa Bay in Week 4 and Miami in Week 6 (the Bears had a bye in Week 5). As the Bears offense has begun to round into form under new head coach Matt Nagy, Gabriel’s fantasy production has increased along with it. At a price tag of only $4700, Gabriel has an opportunity to keep the train rolling against the Patriots in a game which features the 4th highest implied point total on DraftKings main slate.

On the year, Gabriel has averaged 5.4 receptions on 6.8 targets, 60.6 receiving yards, 0.4 touchdowns, and 15.8 DK points per game. These averages are bolstered by a 19.9 scoring day in Week 6 and a 33.4 outing in Week 4. In the matchup against the Patriots, who are currently ranked 19th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against the pass, he will once again have an opportunity to surpass his salary implied point total.

Although the Bears defense has been good this year, they may be without Khalil Mack on Sunday as he is currently day-to-day with an ankle injury. However, even if Mack takes the field, we have all witnessed Tom Brady’s ability to put up points on just about any defense in the league. Given the high implied point total in this game, the Bears will likely need to pass quite a bit to keep pace with the Patriots this weekend.

While the Bears offensive success the past few weeks should make Gabriel’s a popular choice on Sunday, I don’t believe that his ownership will be through the roof. At his current cost and potential output, he is worthy of roster consideration in this game.

Willie Snead:  $4000 – BAL vs NO – Game Total 50.5 (BAL -2.5)

As was noted in my write up on Joe Flacco above, this game is only one of three on Sunday’s main DraftKings slate that features an implied game total of 50 or more points. Also as noted above, in this Week 7 matchup, the Ravens will face a Saints passing defense that is ranked 25th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against the pass and is currently giving up the most DraftKings points to wide receivers at 52.5 per game. Given the close point spread and the high implied game total, this contest has the potential to turn into a high scoring affair.

Over the first six games of the 2018 season, Snead has received at least 5 targets in every game and is second on the team with a total of 30 catches. He is currently averaging 5 receptions on 7.2 targets, 52.2 receiving yards, 0.2 touchdowns and 11.2 DK points per game. Although he has only found the end zone one time this year in Week 1 against Buffalo, this weekend’s contest might afford him the opportunity to do so again.

Although I don’t personally like to over-rely on narratives when it comes to sports, there is also the revenge factor to consider in this game as Snead’s offer sheet with the Ravens wasn’t matched by his former team at the conclusion of last season.

Given the matchup and his $4000 price tag, I will certainly have some exposure to Snead in this game. To maximize the potential upside, you might also consider stacking Snead and Flacco together for a combined price of $9400 which would leave a considerable amount of cap space to roster a number of other high upside players on your rosters.

 

TIGHT ENDS

David Njoku:  $4200 – CLE @ TB – Game Total 51.5 (TB -3.5)

When looking for roster targets at the tight end position, I normally start off my research by looking at the number of DraftKings points allowed to the position. Taken one step further, I specifically look for tight ends who have a significant role in their team’s passing offense and who have the matchups to go along with those opportunities. On the Week 7 slate, we can start with David Njoku against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

On the season, the Buccaneers are giving up the most DraftKings points to the tight end position, at 21.1 per game. This is further supported by Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings, where they are 29th worst against the position. Through their first five games (their bye occurred in Week 5), the Buccaneers have allowed 22.1 points to Austin Hooper, 16.6 to Trey Burton, 24.2 to Vance McDonald, and 20.4 to Zach Ertz.

Next up on their schedule is David Njoku who may very well be able to replicate these results. On the season, Njoku is averaging 4.5 receptions on 7.5 targets, 40.8 receiving yards, 0.2 touchdowns, and 9.6 DK points per game. In addition, over the past two weeks, he has seen a total of 22 targets come his way and I don’t think this trend will stop this week.

Given his price point and the exceptional matchup, I actually expect Njoku to be one of the most popular tight end targets of the week, so you may want to consider his potential ownership levels. However, this may be chalk that you want to eat in Week 7. If you were so inclined, you could also stack Njoku and Chubb for a combined total of $7800.

Trey Burton:  $4300 – CHI vs NE – Game Total 49 (NE -3)

If you are looking for a pivot off of David Njoku due to his projected high ownership level, for only $100 more you might consider Trey Burton against the Patriots.

In reviewing the number of DraftKings points allowed to tight ends, New England is currently giving up the 9th most at 14.65 per game. However, through their first six games, they have only faced what I would consider to be three “pass catching” tight ends. These include Travis Kelce in Week 6, Eric Ebron in Week 5, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins in Week 2. In these three contests, the Patriots have allowed an average of 5.7 receptions on 9.3 targets, 63 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, and 19.0 DK points per game.

This week, they will face their fourth pass catching tight end of the season in Trey Burton. On the season, Burton is averaging 3 receptions on 4.4 targets, 39.8 receiving yards, 0.6 touchdowns, and 10.6 DK points per game. The Bears were on their bye in Week 5, but over the past four games, Burton has scored 12 or more fantasy points three times with his highest total coming against (surprise, surprise) the Buccaneers in Week 4 when he put up 16.6 DK points.

Given the high implied point total in this game and the close point spread, you could also stack Burton at his price with Taylor Gabriel ($4700) and Mitchell Trubisky ($5600) and fill three roster spots for a total of $14600 which would leave an average of $5900 per spot to fill in your remaining roster positions.

 

DEFENSE

New York Jets:  $2100 – NYJ vs MIN – Game Total 46 (MIN -3.5)

Going into their Week 7 matchup with the Vikings, the New York Jets might be a defense that goes overlooked by the masses. Although this game features a 46 point implied total, the Vikings are only favored by 3.5 points in this contest.

While the Jets are currently home underdogs, they are currently ranked 7th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA for total defense with a ranking of 6th against the pass and 16th against the run. On the year, their defense has averaged 2.3 sacks per game, 0.8 fumble recoveries, 1.7 interceptions, 0.5 defensive touchdowns, and 11.0 DK points per game. Additionally, they have scored at least 7 DK points in 5 out of 6 games this year which is more than enough to cover the cost of putting them into your lineups at this price.

Although the Vikings have a solid passing attack, their offensive line has issues and they are currently tied for 7th in sacks allowed. Although getting Dalvin Cook back could theoretically help, they aren’t creating holes for their running game and have the 6th fewest rushing yards to start the season.

Further benefiting the Jets in this game, the current weather forecast calls for sustained winds of 15 MPH with gusts up to 25 MPH. Winds at this speed could affect both the kicking and passing games in this contest. At only $2100, if the Jets can get to Cousins and create a few turnovers, they could easily return excellent value in this game.

Detroit Lions:  $2400 – DET @ MIA – Game Total 46.5 (DET -3)

In Week 6, the Lions travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins. Although the Dolphins played surprisingly well last week against the Bears, with Brock Osweiler filling in for an injured Ryan Tannehill, I’m not betting on lightning striking twice.

Over the past several years, we have seen enough of Osweiler to know what type of quarterback he is. Prior to the Week 6 matchup with the Bears, Tannehill wasn’t listed on the injury report until the Friday before the game and wasn’t ruled out until just prior to kickoff. Consequently, I wonder how much of Osweiler’s success against the Bears was predicated on a certain element of surprise.

Regardless of why it happened, the Lions will be prepared to see Osweiler at QB this week. Furthermore, we know that he isn’t very accurate and is prone to turning the ball over. In 44 games throughout his career, he has only thrown 35 touchdowns to go along with 29 interceptions. Keep in mind, this is the same guy that guided DeAndre Hopkins through the worst statistical season of his career while playing with the Texans in 2016.

While the Lions are ranked 30th by Football Outsiders’ DVOA in total defense, in terms of fantasy production they are averaging 0.4 interceptions, 0.8 fumble recoveries, 3.4 sacks, 0.2 defensive touchdowns, and 6.8 DK points per game. Prior to their bye in Week 6, the Lions had scored at least 8 DK points in 3 out of 5 games this year.

If Osweiler plays like he has for the majority of his career in this game, the Lions could return good value compared to their $2400 price point.

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