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Welcome to Week 7 of the National Football League season. Below you will see my super-secret FanDuel team for this week. Don't tell anyone about it!
Eli Manning $6,800 MIN @ NYG -- I was having quite a bit of trouble choosing a quarterback this week. I of course want Peyton Manning and I do think I’ll have him on a few “scrubs and studs” teams, but trying to make a team I liked with him on it was tough, so I decided to go with his little brother.
Manning has been atrocious, but against easy matchups he’s at least been okay. If you delete the road games at Carolina, at Kansas City and at Chicago, you get 382 yards, 2.3 touchdowns and unfortunately 3.3 interceptions per game in the three others. In FanDuel that gives you an average of 21.72 FanDuel points for the three games vs. Philadelphia, at Dallas and vs. Denver. Those three teams have been three of the worst against the pass this season and Eli was able to put up decent numbers. This week he gets another poor pass defense at home when Minnesota comes to town.
The Vikings are giving up 314 yards and 2.4 touchdowns per game to opposing quarterbacks, which put them as the fourth worst defense against quarterbacks this season. In five games this year they have yet to keep an opposing quarterback from throwing for over 350 yards or three touchdowns. That sounds like a recipe for success to me.
Other QBs I like: Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Chad Henne and Nick Foles
RB Adrian Peterson $9,400 MIN @ NYG – This week has been killing me at the running back position. I usually splurge here, but not this much. Peterson hasn’t been destroying opposing teams like last season, but he’s still been putting up numbers and is second to Jamaal Charles in FanDuel points per game for running backs with 18.92. This week he gets a prime time matchup on Monday night against the Giants with new quarterback Josh Freeman in tow. Opposing running backs are scoring 21.43 FanDuel points per game against the Giants, which ranks them the 11th worst. But I’m not going to tell you this is a cake matchup because they have held some tough running backs to subpar rushing games this season, but those same backs always are able to get fantasy points in the passing game and thankfully Peterson has been used in the passing game when he’s finding no room to run. In the three games where he didn’t hit 100 yards rushing, he has averaged 4.3 receptions and the Giants are giving up 6 per game, the sixth worst in the league. Plus, he will have a new quarterback to ease in and they will want to give the ball to Peterson as much as possible. Oh, and he’s Adrian Peterson.
RB Matt Forte $8,500 CHI @ WAS – Washington is giving up 107.6 yards rushing (29th), 4.4 yards per carry (25th) and one rushing touchdown (25th) per game to opposing running backs. And these numbers come after dodging some pretty good running backs, like Reggie Bush due to injury, Eddie Lacy, who was concussed on his first play, Darren McFadden, who left with a hamstring injury in the first quarter and DeMarco Murray, who suffered a knee injury in the second quarter of their matchup. Ok, now I’m worried that he’ll get injured! The only stud running back they’ve faced for a whole game is LeSean McCoy who rushed for 184 yards against them and of course James Starks, who totaled 168 yards and a touchdown.
Forte in his own right has been a stud this season. He is second in running back receptions with 33 and is averaging the fifth most total yards per game with 114. He has yet to have a game where he’s had less than four receptions or 13.5 FanDuel points. I like that kind of safety, coupled with upside.
Other RBs I like: LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, Lamar Miller, Danny Woodhead, and DeAngelo Williams
WR Victor Cruz $7,200 MIN @ NYG – I’m going to double up here with Giants players against the horrid Vikings pass defense. The Vikings’ slot coverage man is Josh Robinson who ranks 99th out of 101 defensive backs graded by Pro Football Focus. In four out of their five games Minnesota has given up 100 yards and a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver. Cruz has been quiet lately after a hot start and this looks like the game to get him back on track.
WR Keenan Allen $4,500 SD @ JAC – At $4,500 there aren’t many FanDuel teams that won’t have Allen on their rosters. So if you want to buck the trend and try to one up everyone go for it, but Allen and his price are too good for me to pass up. Over the past three weeks he has emerged as Philip Rivers’ go-to guy and has proven himself in the process. In those three games he’s caught 20-of-27 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns.
The Jaguars are usually losing, so teams aren’t madly throwing the ball against them, but even though they rank 25th in receptions allowed to wide receivers with 11.3 a game, they still rank third in touchdowns allowed with nine total. And if their offense improves even slightly with Chad Henne, Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts, you’ll see teams putting up bigger numbers on their weak pass defense.
WR T.Y. Hilton $6,000 DEN @ IND – This was probably my toughest pick. It came down to Alshon Jeffery and Hilton and Hilton won out barely. It has been impossible to play any Colts receivers in FanDuel because of their inconsistency. Andrew Luck’s 31 passes per game are behind such juggernaut passing offenses as the Jets. Pep Hamilton has taken one of the best quarterbacks in the league and turned him into a glorified handoff machine (that’s not a real thing is it?). But this week it will be very difficult for him not to throw the ball often. Last week Philip Rivers and the Chargers slowed the game down and methodically moved up the field awhile and at the same time keeping the ball out of Andrew Luck’s hands. This week Peyton Manning will move the ball at a much faster tempo and score touchdowns instead of field goals to push the Colts to throw more and that’s where Hilton comes in.
Denver is giving up 14.17 receptions for 219 yards and 1.17 touchdowns per game to opposing wide receivers. That ranks them 30th in the league in fantasy points allowed. That’s also a hefty 16.4 yards per reception, which makes me think they have trouble tackling or defending the deep pass or they’re just in prevent so often that 16 yards isn’t all that much to give up. Any way you look at it, Hilton should get his chances this week in what looks to be a shootout.
Other WRs I like: Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffery, Jarrett Boykin, and Harry Douglas
TE Rob Gronkowski $6,500 NE @ NYJ – Ye Olde Gronk is back! Hopefully. It does look like he’ll be able to go this week and all indications are that he’ll be ready to put in a full game. Doctors were worried about the integrity of his overly repaired forearm, but nobody seems to be questioning his ability to play in a game as he’s looked great in full on practices. There is risk involved in taking Gronk not having seen him play in a game this season and I can see going with Tony Gonzalez or Jermichael Finley or even Zach Ertz, but when are you going to get a chance to play him at $6,500 again?
His last game playing on the road against the Jets was 2011, but in that game he had 8 receptions for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. And in his only game against the Jets last season he had 6 receptions for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns. So far this season the Jets have only faced two good tight ends, Tony Gonzalez who caught 10 passes for 97 yards while his teammate Levine Toilolo caught a touchdown pass and Heath Miller who had six receptions for 84 yards. Scott Chandler, who is competent, but not great, caught five passes for 79 yards and a touchdown and Nate Byham and Michael Hoomanawanui were somehow shut down. And of course none of them compare to Gronkowski at this point in their careers. If he’s playing, he’s on my FanDuel team.
Other TEs I like: Tony Gonzalez, Jermichael Finley, Zach Ertz, Charles Clay and Jordan Reed
K Caleb Sturgis $5,100 BUF @ MIA – I would have gone with Dan Bailey here at his $5,000, but I had a few shekels left over and thought I would buy myself something nice. Sturgis is the seventh best kicker in FanDuel and is averaging 10 points per game while the Bills are the 29th worst team at “stopping” kickers from scoring. They give up 11 FanDuel points per game to them. And they do it pretty regularly with 10+ points allowed in five of six games.
D Kansas City Chiefs $6,000 HOU @ KC – I have never spent this much on a defense in all my years of playing at FanDuel, but this is such a nice matchup and there aren’t many cheap matchups I like, so I had to go for it. Kansas City is averaging 19.67 FanDuel points per game. The next best is Seattle with 13.83. The only team they didn’t score 16+ points against were the Dallas Cowboys who they still scored 8 against when defenses average 4.5 against them. Oh, and did I mention the Texans are starting Case Keenum and the weekly top 1 offense to face in Arrowhead this week.