Much like Week 6, a lot of the plays that were great last week, are in great spots for Week 7. There are a few differences, however. Rob Gronkowski’s usage has slowly dwindled sine the beginning of the season. Most weeks I usually wrestle with the idea of whether I want to play Gronk or not in my cash lineups. This is something I am not contemplating for Week 7. He went from seeing 25 percent of the market share of targets in Week 1, to just 13.5 percent in Week 6. At a price tag as steep as his, his usage is troublesome and there are discounted tight ends in better spots this week that I’ll be looking at. Now, let’s get to it!
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Carson Palmer ($8,200): Per 4for4.com the Ravens rank dead last at defending the quarterback position when adjusted for strength of schedule. Carson Palmer may very well be in the best spot among quarterbacks for Week 7, especially when you factor in price. The Ravens have allowed four quarterbacks to reach over 340 yards passing, and in each of those games the quarterbacks have thrown for at least two touchdowns. Efficiency is one of the key stats I look for when selecting quarterbacks and per Pro Football Focus, Palmer is averaging .59 fantasy points per drop-back, which is good for sixth-most in the league. Baltimore’s defense has forced just four turnovers on the season, third-lowest in the league. They also rank in the bottom-10 in passing yards allowed (1,717 yards) and yards per attempt (5.7.) When all is said and done, Palmer is the most likely to end up as my cash game quarterback.
Philip Rivers ($8,000): If you need the $200 in savings, Philip Rivers isn’t a bad secondary option at quarterback. Rivers leads the league in passing by 356 yards. The Raiders quietly have a top-10 rushing defense, allowing 416 yards (second lowest) on the ground and 3.6 yards per attempt. This could result in a more pass-heavy approach for the Chargers. Rivers is already throwing the ball 64 percent of the time, completing 76.1 percent of his passes – a league best.
Devonta Freeman ($8,700): There’s a strong chance Devonta Freeman will be one of the most popular plays on Sunday, and for good reason. However, for cash game purposes we don’t really care what ownership percentages look like. Save that for tournaments. The Falcons are currently 4.5-point favorites with an implied team total of 28.5 points, 5.5 points above the league average. Freeman ranks second in the league in both carries (105) and targets (41), he also leads the league with 22 red zone carries and 47 percent of the market share of red zone opportunities for the Falcons, per Daily Roto. Freeman shouldn’t be ignored in Week 7.
Todd Gurley ($7,400): Todd Gurley is what you would call a “crock-pot” player in terms of roster construction. You just throw him into your lineup, forget about him for the afternoon and check him out when he’s done. He gets a prime matchup against the Browns, who rank 31st in rush defense DVOA per Football Outsiders. Gurley gets my favorite attribute of a running back I look for in my cash lineups, as the Rams are 4-point home favorites. The Browns have allowed a league high 899 rushing yards, and 5.0 yards per attempt. Since Gurley has taken the reins for this backfield, he’s accumulated 21 touches or more in each game, including six total red zone touches. Don’t overthink this one and just plug him in.
Larry Fitzgerald/John Brown ($7,800/$6,700): I named both starting Arizona wide receivers because I think they are interchangeable depending whether you need the salary cap or not. Similar to how the Ravens give up the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, they give up the second most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown see similar market share, as Fitzgerald has been targeted just nine more times on the season, and a mere one more red zone target. The Ravens rank 22nd in Football Outsiders’ adjusted DVOA pass defense and rank 20th and 18th at defending opposing No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers. With Brown being $1,100 cheaper than Fitz, I have no problem plugging in Brown if you need the cap room.
Donte Moncrief ($6,500): Donte Moncrief has a dream matchup on Sunday, along with being featured in the game with the highest over/under, at 52.5 points. Moncrief has played the second-most snaps on the team at 75 percent. Andre Johnson has out-snapped Moncrief in just one game this season. Moncrief has seven or more targets in five of six games this year. TY Hilton is out-targeting Moncrief by 10 targets, but I think Moncrief makes more sense given his price tag. Also, Moncrief will get to run most of his routes against Brandon Browner. Browner is giving up a catch rate of 65.6 percent, allowing 404 yards on 21 receptions. The Saints’ “No. 1” corner is allowing the fourth most yards in coverage and allows the third most yards per completion. He grades out Pro Football Focus’ worst corner among 109 qualifiers.
Travis Kelce ($6,000): If Jeremy Maclin is going to miss this game, Travis Kelce could be in for a monster week. It may be about time the Chiefs start utilizing him the way they should’ve been to begin with. Per Pro Football Focus, Kelce leads tight ends with 208 routes run. That’s 30 more routes than Rob Gronkowski and 47 more than Greg Olsen. Maclin leads the team with 55 targets, and Kelce is runner-up with 40 targets. The injury to Jamaal Charles also opens up market share because Charles boasted the third-most targets on the team. What’s already encouraging is the fact Kelce owns 29 percent of the market share of red zone opportunities, 11 percent ahead of the next closest player. The Steelers rank 17th in adjusted DVOA at defending the tight end position, but I think they may be worse than that. Four of the teams the faced off against don’t utilize their tight end all that often and then New England and the Chargers’ tight ends tuned them up for 20 receptions, 237 yards and six touchdowns. I wouldn’t be all that shocked if Kelce was the No. 1 tight end when Week 7 comes to a close.
Antonio Gates ($5,800): In all likelihood Antonio Gates will be the highest-owned tight end in tournaments and cash games. Gates’ snap count rose 19 percent on Sunday to 75 percent. The Raiders currently allow the most FPPG to opposing tight ends at 21.8. Keenan Allen was also banged up last week; if he’s hampered in any way this could pay dividends for Grates. Sporting 27 targets in the last two weeks, Gates has been a volume machine. It also helps that the Chargers target their tight end more than any other team in the league. 46 percent of their touchdowns have been scored by the tight end position.