Top Plays and Top Sleepers Daily Fantasy NFL Week 7

“If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re gonna be winners.”

– Coach Norman Dale, Hoosiers

A writing teacher once told me starting off an article with a quote is never a bad idea. I’m terrible at writing introductions, so I figured I’d share my favorite quote from a sports movie. I’m putting my effort and concentration into making the best picks possible today, so in my book, I’m a winner already.


Top Play: Carson Palmer

I had a hard time choosing between about four guys: Brady, Luck, Palmer, and Cam Newton. But Palmer has the best mix of price and expected performance. First off, the Cardinals are a very pass heavy offense and are also going up against one of the worst pass defenses in the league in the Ravens. So great matchup right off the bat, the Cardinals strength plays right into the Ravens weakness. The Ravens are also a fast paced team with a bad offense, so we have them in 4th in expected plays from their opponent. The Cardinals should be passing the ball successfully this week, and should have plenty of opportunity to do so. Carson Palmer has been ProFootballFocus’s top rated passer this year, so what’s not to like? Way too cheap on DraftKings.

Top Sleeper: Ryan Tannehill

The most pass heavy team in the NFL adjusting for victory margin is unsurprisingly the New England Patriots. The 2nd most pass heavy team? The Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are 2nd in pass point share as well as projected pass percentage at 67% this week against the Texans. I wrote about the Texans in my plays article. The Texans are the fastest paced team in the NFL and have lost one of their best corners Kareem Jackson to injury this week. The Texans play at a similar pace to the Eagles and their solid run defense and bad pass defense makes them the best matchup for QBs and WRs this season in my opinion.


Top Play: Devonta Freeman

I almost hate saying this because Freeman is almost certainly going to have the highest ownership of any player this week. However, it’s also clear that he’s the best projected. Tennessee’s run defense gave up over 110 yards and a TD to Lamar Miller, who hasn’t had a TD or more than 55 yards rushing in a game the entire season. The Titans run D hasn’t been that bad but it’s mostly because of their extremely soft schedule.

Devonta Freeman has been the top fantasy RB in football this season. Even without looking at his statistics, you can see why his success is going to continue. Atlanta has by far the best run blocking offensive line in the league. He’s gotten 85%+ snaps since becoming the starter every week there wasn’t a blowout. He’s also been incredibly good in the Falcons passing game and benefits from their high powered offense.

I almost put Todd Gurley here, but Freeman has a few things on Gurley in my opinion. Gurley does not play on passing downs. Gurley’s offensive line is also not very good at run blocking. If the Browns get out to an early lead, Gurley could have a bad game. Having said that, I really do love Gurley. He was the 10th pick in the draft last year despite tearing his acl several months earlier. That’s the level of talent this guy has. He’s easily the 2nd best play at RB this week.

Top Sleeper: Doug Martin

It’s weird calling Martin a sleeper, because the last time he played he was the best fantasy RB of the week. But he is an underdog this week to the Redskins, who are not known as a vulnerable run defense, and frankly Freeman and Gurley are probably going to be so highly owned that Martin may be under the radar. With a rookie QB at the helm, the Buccaneers are the most rush inclined team in the league, and their conservative strategy has helped Martin become one of the best fantasy RBs this season. I think his success continues this week.


Top Play: DeAndre Hopkins

The Texans are one of the fastest paced offenses in the league. Despite an average passing attack, their pace gives them a lot of fantasy points in the passing game. Because of their lack of talent at WR and TE, Hopkins gets an enormous share of the targets and passing production. The talent at WR has gotten even worse with it looking like both Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington will be out this week. Miami is one of the worst defenses in the league so far this season, so the matchup is good enough for me not to shy away.

Top Sleeper: Rishard Matthews

A lot of the reasons Ryan Tannehill is my sleeper at QB is the same reasons I like Rishard Matthews; The Dolphins should have a lot of success in the passing game this week. The Texan’s secondary should be worse with arguably their best corner Kareem Jackson being out this week, and they’ve already given up a lot of points in the passing game this year. I like Jarvis Landry a little better from a pure expectation standpoint, but Matthews is way cheaper and has similar expected production.


Top Play: Rob Gronkowski

I keep harping on Gronkowski in the forums, and he keeps not coming through with a huge game since Week 1. I see Gronkowski, with such a good passing offense and being easily the biggest red zone threat on the team, as having similar expectation this season as his 90 reception, 1300 yard, 17 TD season he had in 2011. He’s just getting a bit unlucky. If that’s the case, his salary is never going to be pushed high enough on FanDuel, DraftKings, or any other site. I love the matchup against the Jets, who should thwart Edelman with Darrelle Revis and force Tom Brady to finally give Gronk a lot of targets.

Top Sleeper: Travis Kelce

I think a lot of people are going to crush on Antonio Gates, but Kelce is easily the 2nd best TE and arguably the best value at TE, that is IF Jeremy Maclin is out this week with a concussion as it looks to be the case right now. The Steelers have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL and have been awful against TEs this season. The Raiders have been worse, but Kelce has far more going for him from an injury impact perspective than Gates. Not only does Maclin’s absence literally make there no one else to throw to on offense except Kelce, the Chiefs also lost Jamaal Charles two weeks ago. Charles was not only an integral part of the Chiefs passing game, but also makes me expect the Chiefs to be a little more pass heavy with less effective runners at RB. I’d probably recommend playing Kelce over Gronk if Maclin is out, because the value is too good.


Top Play/Sleeper: Washington Redskins

Everyone keeps saying the Rams are the best defense, but I like the Redskins the most, which makes them a top sleeper for me as well. The Browns have the best pass blocking offensive line in the league in my opinion and I believe in Josh McCown as a QB a little more than most. I don’t believe in the Buccaneers offensive line or QB Jameis Winston. Young players are notorious for being much worse on the road in all sports. Winston’s one of the most inaccurate QBs in the league and when he faced Carolina Week 4, the only good defense he’s faced all year, he threw 4 INTs. The Redskins are a good defense and a great pass rush that should cause a lot of turnovers. The Rams look a little better as a sack matchup with data so far this year, but Washington looks better from a turnover perspective and have nearly the same amount of expected sacks in my view. Rams are good, but should be highly owned, while the Redskins will be a bit under the radar.


View all posts by Daniel Steinberg
Daniel Steinberg

About the Author

Daniel Steinberg Daniel Steinberg is a former bond trader at a multi-billion dollar proprietary trading firm in Chicago. He uses his knowledge of statistics and his creativity from his career as a poker professional to create the most advanced Daily Fantasy statistical analysis that you will find anywhere. Follow him on twitter @DanielSingerS

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