Before we get started on picks, I canít help but brag about the performance of my Week 6 recommendations. The eight players I wrote up accounted for 180.32 DK points while occupying just $41,600 in salary, with every selection returning at least 3x value. To be fair, my strategy for the week partially relied on an expectation that Adrian Peterson wouldnít make an immediate impact in Arizona, which turned out to be spectacularly wrong.
Coming off a very profitable week my confidence normally would be quite high, but I have to admit Iím feeling a bit hesitant about the upcoming slate. There arenít obvious high-caliber value plays like Mark Ingram and Jerick McKinnon from last week, and the games with the first, second and sixth highest over/unders are being played in primetime, leaving us with a main slate devoid of likely shootouts.
My research keeps leading me back to the Dallas-San Francisco game, which has the second highest over/under (46.5) on the main slate, though Vegas installs the Cowboys as a clear favorite (-6). Keep in mind that these picks arenít necessarily meant to be used together in the same tournament lineup, as itíll be tough for four players from the same contest to all post huge stat lines, particularly when one of them (Carlos Hyde) is a high-volume running back.
Without further ado, here are my favorite DraftKings tournament plays for Week 7, picking from the main slate that only includes games on Sunday afternoon. The focus here is on value more so than projected ownership, but itís still a nice bonus if a player doesnít figure to be a popular choice.
Dak Prescott, DAL (at SF), $7,300 - With an offensive line thatís declined from elite to merely solid, the Cowboys have struggled to consistently create openings for Ezekiel Elliott, instead relying on Prescott to do the heavy lifting. The second-year QB has responded by topping 17 DK points in every contest, including three in a row with 22.9 or more. His price may be at an all-time high, but Prescott is worth every penny in a matchup with a San Francisco defense thatís allowing 7.8 yards per pass attempt and just 3.4 per carry. The Niners nonetheless rank last in the NFL in DK points surrendered to running backs, as theyíve somehow allowed opposing backs to pile up 43 catches for 440 yards and three touchdowns on 58 targets (each mark is worst or second worst in the league). A Prescott-Ezekiel Elliott stack isnít something Iíd normally recommend, but this would be the week to give it a shot (I still prefer Prescott-Dez Bryant).
Other options: Marcus Mariota, TEN (at CLE), $6,900; Russell Wilson, SEA (at NYG), $6,400; Tyrod Taylor, BUF (vs. TB), $5,100; Brett Hundley, GB (vs. NO), $5,100
LeíVeon Bell, PIT (vs. CIN), $9,100 - Averaging 27.5 DK points over the past four weeks, Bell will probably be the best option among elite running backs whenever his price isnít in its own hemisphere (at least until David Johnson returns). The matchup this week isnít great, but it also isnít as bad as the numbers suggest, given that the Bengals have yet to face an opponent with a reliable running game. This feels like a rare opportunity to roster Bell at a reasonable price without accompanying high ownership. LeSean McCoy and Ezekiel Elliott figure to be the popular pay-up plays at running back, despite facing defenses that have been solid against the run and terrible against the pass.
Carlos Hyde, SF (vs. DAL), $5,900 - Coming off a game in which his snap share (78 percent), touch volume (18) and production (24.2 DK points) all rebounded from a disastrous Week 5 outing, Hydeís average of 16.7 DK points equates to 2.8x value at this salary. Having reasserted himself ahead of Matt Breida in the San Francisco backfield, Hyde will take aim at a Dallas defense thatís given up 4.5 yards per carry and 7.4 yards per target to running backs. Heís averaging 14.3 carries and 4.8 targets per game, with his 10 carries inside the 5-yard line ranking first among all players.
Other options: Todd Gurley, LAR (vs. ARI), $8,200; Melvin Gordon, LAC (vs. DEN), $7,000; Jordan Howard, CHI (vs. CAR), $6,400; Aaron Jones, GB (vs. NO), $5,200; Isaiah Crowell, CLE (vs. TEN), $4,000; Orleans Darkwa, NYG (vs. SEA), $3,700
Dez Bryant, DAL (at SF), $7,800 - Bryant is awfully pricey for a player whoís averaging just 13.1 DK points and has yet to break 20 in any game this season. He failed to take full advantage of a favorable matchup with Green Bay two weeks ago, but I still believe his lousy mark of 5.5 yards per target is largely a product of an early-season schedule that pitted him against excellent cornerbacks the first four weeks. Bryant now comes out of a bye week to take aim at one of the worst cornerback groups in the league, with the added bonus that the Niners have been stout against the run and have barely allowed tight ends to get involved. San Francisco hasnít been terrible in terms of cumulative production surrendered to wideouts, but the stats for catch rate (62.5 percent) and yards per target (8.4) suggest more trouble is around the corner. Bryant leads the league with 1.2 targets per game from inside the 10-yard line, accounting for 54.5 percent (also a league best) of his teamís opportunities in that area.
Demaryius Thomas, DEN (at LAC), $5,800 - Thomas is my favorite play at any position this weekend, even though heís likely to spend much of his afternoon lined up across from standout cornerback Casey Hayward. The Chargers have a zone-heavy defensive scheme, which makes sense when deploying a defensive back like Hayward, whoís more of a playmaker/ballhawk than a true shutdown corner in the Patrick Peterson mold. I do expect Hayward to hold his own and quite possibly come away with his first pick of the season, but with Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) unavailable, Thomas shouldnít have any trouble picking up double-digit targets and at least six receptions. Coming off a 10-catch, 133-yard effort in Sundayís debacle against the Giants, Thomas profiles as a low-end WR1 due to the massive volume expectation in Sandersí absence. Heís a clear bargain as the No. 18 priced wide receiver on a slate that doesnít even include DeAndre Hopkins, Golden Tate, Julio Jones, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Alshon Jeffery, Tyreek Hill, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper.
Robert Woods, LAR (vs. ARI), $4,000 - Woods surprisingly has emerged as Jared Goffís favorite option, leading the Rams with 37 targets and 322 receiving yards despite getting off to a slow start the first two weeks. Heís drawn at least six targets in four straight games, catching five or more passes for 66 or more yards in three of those. The absence of a touchdown has kept his price down, and he has a nice opportunity to find the end zone Sunday while Sammy Watkins presumably does battle with Patrick Peterson (quadriceps). Iíll actually downgrade Woods if Peterson doesnít end up playing in London, as such a development would increase the likelihood Goff relies on Watkins rather than Woods.
Other options: A.J. Green, CIN (at PIT), $8,300; Adam Thielen, MIN (vs. BAL), $6,700; John Brown, ARI (at LAR), $4,900; Eric Decker, TEN (at CLE), $4,300; Martavis Bryant, PIT (vs. CIN), $4,300; Allen Hurns, JAX (at IND), $4,100; Zay Jones, BUF (vs. TB), $3,600
George Kittle, SF (vs. DAL), $3,400 - Iím not a fan of the ďthey played together in collegeĒ angle when it comes to Kittle and C.J. Beathard, particularly considering Kittle was criminally underutilized (48 career catches) while mostly operating as a blocker in Iowaís run-heavy offense. His 4.52 40-yard dash at the Combine hinted at serious pass-catching upside, which is now coming to fruition much quicker than anyone (besides maybe Kyle Shanahan) couldíve predicted. Kittle has 11 catches on 17 targets the past two weeks, and he accounted for seven of Beathardís 36 pass attempts while logging 92 percent of the offensive snaps in Sundayís 26-24 loss to Washington. If you like the Iowa angle, thatís fine. Personally, Iím more focused on Kittleís combination of workload and price, not to mention his matchup against a Dallas defense thatís surrendering 8.4 yards per target to tight ends. The Cowboys havenít allowed much overall production to the position, but thatís best explained by an early-season schedule consisting of the Giants, Broncos, Cardinals, Rams and Packers. Evan Engram is the only tight end from those five teams averaging more than 36 yards per game.
Other options: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NYJ (at MIA), $5,000; Jimmy Graham, SEA (at NYG), $4,900; Hunter Henry, LAC (vs. DEN), $4,200; Jack Doyle, IND (vs. JAX), $3,400; Nick OíLeary, BUF (vs. TB), $3,100
Los Angeles Chargers (vs. DEN), $2,400 - There are a lot of different directions we can go this week, with many offering the potential for a RB-D/ST stack. While Iím a bit hesitant about Melvin Gordon and may have Demaryius Thomas in all my lineups, the Chargers defense nonetheless gets my nod as the best of our many choices. Lack of value at other positions is a big part of the equation, as Iím finding it hard to fit a premium option like Minnesota, Buffalo or Pittsburgh into my lineups. The other part of the equation is my expectation that the Chargers come out ahead in a low-scoring affair, facing a Denver offense thatís awfully thin at wide receiver and hasnít played well since Week 2.
Other options: Buffalo Bills (vs. TB), $3,400; Minnesota Vikings, (vs. BAL), $3,300; Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CIN), $3,200; Indianapolis Colts (vs. JAX), $2,800; New York Giants (vs. SEA), $2,600; Los Angeles Rams (vs. ARI), $2,400; Arizona Cardinals (at LAR), $2,400; Chicago Bears (vs. CAR), $2,200