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Here’s a data-driven breakdown featuring five key stats, courtesy of FantasyLabs contributor Bryan Mears.
FantasyLabs is a daily fantasy tool and real-time analytics platform that enables players to test theories, create and backtest models, and construct customized lineups. In this piece, I leverage the same tools used by co-founders Jonathan Bales and Peter Jennings (CSURAM88) for each fantasy football main slate.
+2.67 Projected Plus/Minus — Tyrod Taylor
Our proprietary Plus/Minus metric measures actual-versus-expected fantasy production based on the historical performances of previous players at comparable salaries. Taylor leads all QBs in Week 7 with a +2.67 mark, and he also boasts the highest Opponent Plus/Minus at +4.60. He’s coming off two rough games on the road for the Buffalo Bills and then a bye week, but he’ll certainly have a nice opportunity to get back on track against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad that ranks 31st defensively this season.
Running quarterbacks likely are undervalued in cash games given that extra rushing production, and, as a result, Taylor owns the slate’s highest floor projection at FantasyLabs despite costing just $5,100 — a whopping $2,500 cheaper than Drew Brees, the main slate’s highest-salaried QB. Taylor affords much-needed roster flexibility in Week 7.
8 Pro Trends — Mark Ingram
Ingram was highlighted in last week’s piece, and he ended up with 34.0 DraftKings points, thanks to a 25-114-2 rushing line and a 5-36-0 receiving line. We’ll go right back to the well in Week 7, as Ingram leads all RBs this week in “Pro Trends” — angles that we at FantasyLabs have identified historically yield value.
A lot of Ingram’s trends have to do with his salary value — he’s second to only LeSean McCoy with a +2.55 Plus/Minus, which might seem odd considering his $6,700 price tag is a bump up from his low $4,400 mark last week. That’s a common mistake DFS users make — thinking that a price increase suddenly means a player’s value is gone. Ingram still is projected for a ton of work with the New Orleans Saints, and he has a plus matchup against a Green Bay Packers team that ranks 18th against the run and specifically 27th to pass-catching RBs.
1.47 Red-Zone Opportunities Per Game — Dez Bryant
Bryant has played against perhaps the NFL’s hardest schedule for wide receivers so far, facing elite cornerbacks such as the Giants’ Janoris Jenkins, the Broncos’ Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., and the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson — all in the first three weeks. Still, Bryant has seen at least eight targets in each game but one, and he also has three touchdowns on the season. He’s clearly the No. 1 in Dallas, and that’s quite apparent when the Cowboys get in the red zone: He’s fourth among all receivers with 1.57 red-zone opportunities per game over the last year and second with 0.87 opportunities inside the 10-yard line.
Bryant has a brilliant matchup this week against a fast-paced San Francisco 49ers squad that ranks 26th against the pass and probably will start the worst CB trio in the league. Further, Bryant perhaps could be a bit overlooked in tournaments given how popular his teammate, Ezekiel Elliott, will be in this spot as a six-point favorite against a poor defense.
+5.2 Opponent Plus/Minus — Hunter Henry
Opponent Plus/Minus measures the number of points above or below salary-based expectations a defense has allowed to a certain position. Henry has the highest mark of the week at +5.2, which perhaps is a bit surprising considering he’s facing the Denver Broncos, who have a positive defensive reputation over the last several years. That said, the strength of the “No Fly Zone” typically has been on the outside — they’re much more susceptible to production in the middle of the field, particularly to tight ends. In fact, Denver this season ranks 30th in the league versus TEs, per DVOA.
The talented Henry finally is getting the work in the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense, racking up a combined 15 targets over the last two weeks. Given the tough matchups on the outside with the Chargers’ wide receivers, it’s very possible Philip Rivers will elect to lean more on his tight ends in the middle of the field. If so, Henry could have a big game.
4.0 Projected Sacks — Pittsburgh Steelers
We’re projecting sacks within our NFL models this year at FantasyLabs, and the Steelers own the top mark of the week with 4.0. They boast the highest sack percentage of the season at 10.1 percent, and they’re also top-six with a 3.03 percent interception rate.
Sacks and takeaways are immensely important for defensive points in GPPs, but it’s not like the Steelers lack safety this week. First, they’re at home, where they’ve averaged more points, a higher Plus/Minus, a higher Consistency Rating, and lower ownership since 2014. And second, they’ll face a Cincinnati Bengals squad implied for just 17.8 points, and the Steelers are top-five in fewest 20-plus yard passes allowed this season. They have run zone coverage 89.3 percent of the time this season — the highest mark in the league — which limits big plays from the opposing offense. They have both a solid floor and a high ceiling in Week 7.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is bcm9795) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.