FantasyDraft Week 7 DFS Plays for Thursday Night Football

Phil Backert previews Thursday Night Football on FantasyDraft.

 (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)


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We had a decent showing in Week 6 with recommendations, but there were a couple of big misses which eats at me more than the hits. The lineup building still remains inconsistent, but we get another chance to bounce back in Week 7.

Prior to breaking down the Thursday night game from a daily fantasy perspective, I will recap how I did in the Fantasy Draft $100,000 Run and Gun (Sun Only) tournament from the week before. You can compete against me weekly throughout the season. 



I wanted as much exposure to the Buccaneers-Falcons and Chiefs-Patriots game and despite both games scoring a ton of points, we still need to target the correct players. I’m still shocked that Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was only 21 percent at his price and he came through in a big way by scoring 35.90 FantasyDraft points. However, stacking him with receiver Mike Evans didn’t work as Evans finished with less than 60 receiving yards. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones was extremely popular, but he was a tough fade and he lived up to the hype as he scored 27.30 points.

The big miss came in the night cap as Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins were misses. Watkins was extremely cheap so he was worth it due to the upside, but Kelce at his price needs to produce more and that didn’t happen. Tyreek Hill was the player that I needed in this game and I didn’t have him and he came with much less ownership.

Patriots running back James White was fine, but teammate Sony Michel was $100 cheaper and scored two touchdowns. The biggest miss was Jets running back Bilal Powell as I expected him to be more involved in the passing game. The Jets took on the Colts who allowed the second most receptions to running backs heading into Week 6 and I thought Powell would be used a lot as a receiver and that price I was all in. However, I should have tempered my expectations when teammate Isaiah Crowell was active after missing practice most of the week.

The biggest lesson learned this week is targeting the correct game is one thing, but identifying the players that have the best chance to put up a monster performance is another. There weren’t many players that had the upside of Hill, but since he wasn’t cheap, he also wouldn’t have had the ownership like Kelce and Watkins. That’s the type of player we need to roster.



Moving on to the Thursday night contest, we have two struggling teams and a game that only has an over/under of 41.5 which is the lowest in Week 7. The Broncos continue to lean on Case Keenum, but if the veteran quarterback struggles again, he may find himself on the bench. Keenum has thrown an interception in every game this season and went through a three-game stretch of not throwing a touchdown pass. The Cardinals check in ranked ninth against the pass in defensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders and have only allowed two quarterbacks to pass for more than 300 yards. Keenum is the fifth most expensive quarterback this week as Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Kirk Cousins are all cheaper. This is an easy fade for me as I will look at other players on the Broncos this week.

Rookie Josh Rosen makes his fourth career start and has yet to score more 13 FantasyDraft points. That may not change this week as the Broncos rank eighth against the pass in defensive DVOA and the way to attack them is on the ground. Rosen has showed an extremely low floor and his ceiling isn’t high at all. This is again an easy fade.



Running Backs


The reason both defenses may be ranked high against the pass is because teams have been attacking both on the ground. The Broncos have allowed a running back to rush for over 200 yards in back-to-back games which is unheard of so it’s not a surprise to see their rush defense rank 29th. In terms of talent, it doesn’t get any easier for the Broncos as now they face David Johnson. However, the Cardinals rank dead last in rushing offense according to Football Outsiders. The coaching staff is very boring and refuse to come up with anything creative to get their talented running back space to run. This is a prime spot for Johnson to finally get 100 rushing yards, but my confidence is low. Johnson is an elite tournament option as there won’t be a better match-up for him to smash, but I just don’t have faith in the coaching staff to recommend him being a cash game play.

The Broncos are a true running back by committee as none of their backs have played 50 percent of the team’s offensive snaps. The most productive back has been rookie Phillip Lindsay as he is averaging 5.7 yards per carry, but he only has three more carries than fellow rookie Royce Freeman. Devontae Booker doesn’t have nearly the amount of carries as the other two, but he is involved in the passing game. Game flow may dictate some of this, but opposing running backs are averaging 30.5 carries against the Cardinals which is the most in the league. The Cardinals are also allowing the second most fantasy points to running backs. The first just happens to be the Broncos. Lindsay and Freeman are both extremely cheap, but I would prefer Lindsay. I think the game plan for both teams will be to run the ball a lot so like Johnson, the Broncos running backs are in a prime spot to smash. Due to his price, Lindsay could be used in cash lineups, but I would feel more comfortable with him as a tournament option.



Wide Receivers


Despite the strong possibility this game will involve the running backs, I think there’s one receiver who has a chance to put up a great performance. Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders runs most of his routes out of the slot and will take on Cardinals defensive back Budda Baker who has allowed the second most receptions from the slot according to Pro Football Focus. Sanders leads the Broncos receiving core in targets and receptions and that shouldn’t change in Week 7. Unfortunately, teammate Demaryius Thomas will square off against Patrick Peterson who will most likely shadow him the entire game. Peterson is once again ranked among the top cornerbacks in football so this could be a long night for Thomas. Rookie Courtland Sutton could see more targets due to Thomas being covered by Peterson, but the volume won’t be enough for consideration.

It has been a long time since Larry Fitzgerald was not option number one in the passing game for the Cardinals, but that is where we are at in 2018. The veteran still leads the team in targets, but is second in receptions with 22 and is only averaging 9.8 yards per catch. The 35-year-old also does not have a touchdown catch. Fitzgerald is still priced way too high for his production and he can safely be avoided.

Fitzgerald’s role continues to decrease, but rookie Christian Kirk is becoming a favorite of Rosen over the last few weeks. Kirk has finished with at least 75 receiving yards in three of the last four games and is coming off a game in which he was targeted seven times. Kirk still finds himself with a cheap price tag at only $9,900 so he’s not the worst salary relief option. I think he is more of a cash game play as he should provide a decent floor, but his ceiling is not high enough in large field GPPs.



Tight Ends


Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman is an under the radar option as he has played 88 percent of the snaps in two of the last three games. Heuerman has also been targeted at least six times in two of the last three games for the Broncos. The Cardinals rank 20th against the tight end position in defensive DVOA so the match-up isn’t awful. Despite those positives, Heuerman has yet to score a touchdown and the Broncos offense will funnel through the running backs and Sanders.

Ricky Seals-Jones finally showed life in Week 6 as he caught five passes for 69 yards and now faces a Broncos defense that ranks 28th against the tight ends. Like with Johnson, I have no confidence the coaching staff of the Cardinals will be able to exploit this and make Seals-Jones fantasy relevant. If I’m attacking any of the Cardinals passing game, it will be with Kirk and I’ll look elsewhere at the tight end position in Week 7.





Both defenses rank in the bottom half of the league in yards per game and allow too many points as well to seriously be considered an option this week. Despite the low total, the Broncos and Cardinals don’t force a lot of turnovers. The one positive is both rank in the top 12 in sacks, but I’m not sure that’s enough to warrant serious consideration. I will avoid both defenses in all formats.


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