Welcome to Week 7 - The NFL Ambush, a full guide into this weekend's NFL DFS Main Slate of action to help you become a better player and find some success.
What a wild and wild slate of NFL we have in store for us this weekend. For once it's nice to have no games lost due to COVID-19 tests, but as usual we do have movement with a flip of the schedule around which I'll touch on in the COVID update below. This feels like an insanely high scoring DFS weekend because of so many value plays and so many of those situations are GOOD matchups as well. I look at this and don't get too overwhelmed with ownership percentages because when we have depth of choices to consider there's no reason to take someone just because they are "chalky."
It's like logging into read an article on recommended plays and seeing someone list eight guys in a "Cash" breakdown, and then another 14 players as "GPP" only. Never fails with bad content out there and I will continue to narrow it down to the few plays whom I trust on a weekly basis because in the long run this is the successful model.
The first thing we must do each week is understand the landscape of the slate and any injury or weather or miscellaneous information that we need to monitor from the time this article comes out (Saturday's) until lock on Sunday at 1PM EST.
Weekly COVID Update
As you know by now the Seattle-Arizona game was swapped with the Tampa Bay-Las Vegas game on the NFL Schedule. For DFS the Seattle-Arizona game will remain on the Main slates while DraftKings has ADDED the Tampa Bay vs Las Vegas game to the MAIN and Afternoon Only slates.
Injuries and Playing Time Concerns
Ton of information here and even with guys already ruled out I wanted to add thoughts on the impacts here
- RB, Joe Mixon: Cincinnati is running so much and Bernard has good pass catching usage as well which gives him a solid boost.
- WR, Michael Thomas: So they say he is OUT. Okay fine, he is OUT because they would get fined majorly if they suddenly activate him. I'll cover below.
- WR, Emmanuel Sanders: Out with COVID for two weeks.
- RB, Aaron Jones: If he is in, he's a decent play. Not great. Just decent. If he is out, Jonathan Williams AND A.J. Dillon will both likely finish with 8-12 fantasy points this week & I'll avoid that.
- WR, DeAndre Hopkins: I expect him to play.
Chiefs at Broncos: SNOW! We finally have something good to report in 2020 and it's a snow game in the middle of October! Very cold and some heavy snow fall is expected in this game. Quite honestly I don't see how you don't do a 4PM only snow globe game stack this weekend?
1. Kyler Murray
The last game of the day will pick up tons of QB ownership, but as always -- QB chalk doesn't burn you 90% of the time.
1. Alvin Kamara
If Jones is OUT then even more ownership slides over to Kamara in Double-Up and Single Entry spots.
1. DeAndre Hopkins
Because of value at RB and WR3 this week, there's lots of temptation to pay up for WR's this week.
1. Travis Kelce
THE AMBUSH PLAYS
Working on the Night Moves w/ Chris Carson
Ambush Play #1 - Working on the Night Moves out in the Desert.
This series has gone the way of the road team in recent meetings and I like Seattle off their BYE week to have success on the ground in Arizona again this week. With the rest off Carson has been able to heal up and should go back to his 17-20 carry range that he normally gets when the Seahawks play on the road. They're a much heavier run volume team on the road and Arizona's been easier to run on of late when we factor the quality of the opponent in. There's three weapons for the Seahawks and Carson is the forgotten one in the passing game but should be able to catch 4+ balls in this game as well which makes him viable on all formats at his price point. Game flow for me has the Seahawks slowing it down a little bit to protect their defense and that starts and ends with Chris Carson this weekend. You'll want late exposure to this game, so take it with Carson.
Expectations: Chris Carson scores two touchdowns (one through the air and one on the ground) and tops 100 yards for the Seahawks in a ground and pound road win.
Go! Kyler, Go! Go! Kyler-B-Goode
Ambush Play #2 - Rushing Quarterbacks get it done versus the Seahawks
One of my long theories has been a rushing quarterback does exceptionally well against the Seattle defensive scheme. A big part of their scheme is to have a single deep safety over the top and physical, press coverage on the outside. While they struggle big time with the CB depth to make this system work this year, it's still one which is designed to get quick pressure on the quarterback and force the ball out fast as you can't go deep on them normally because of the single safety. The glitch in this defense over the years has been when they face a mobile quarterback who can tuck it and make plays happen with his legs. This dates back to when the Seattle defense was truly the legion of boom and rookie Deshawn Watson came in and torched them up. It's even continued this year with Cam Newton throwing for 350 and rushing for two touchdowns as well as Ryan Fitzpatrick (who is mobile, yes) getting 47 rushing yards as well. Now comes the best running quarterback in the game in the red zone in Kyler Murray and we think he won't be able to tuck it down and rush one in?
Expectations: Kyler only throws one passing touchdown but accounts for over 50 yards on the ground and minimum one rushing touchdown with upside for two, making him a hard late night hammer to ignore.
ONE EBRON, ONE TOUCHDOWN, ONE WINNER
Ambush Play #3 - With all their WRs healthy, it's the TE - Eric Ebron who gets in the box for Pittsburgh
When it comes time for last call on your DFS lineup(s) this weekend I have a suspicion that the final spot you'll be filling in is the Tight End position. That's a mistake. It should be our first position this weekend because it's that thin. You'll either be paying down or near value or going all the way up to Travis Kelce. (Please, do not play George Kittle, do not!). So because I don't think Kelce is an automatic lock in this week I'll take the value pivot at the Tight End position and go back to attacking those Tennessee Titans with TE's after they got torched last weekend and have been less than stellar for a couple seasons now. In fact, Ebron while with the Indianapolis Colts scored in every game down in Nashville. The Steelers will have their 4 WR all healthy for this game and so I think there's lots of upside in getting a $4,000 Eric Ebron at DraftKings at low ownership vs a team with nobody who can cover him. Look for Ben to get over his fears of playing in Tennessee by dumping down to Ebron, and with all the attention on Smith-Schuster, Johnson and Claypool it's the TE who get it done for Pittsburgh in the red zone.
Expectations: Scratch your TE itch baby with the forgotten Eric Ebron getting in the box and having a 5-61-1 stat line.
Moore Points on the Bayou
Ambush Play #4 - This weekend we're all a gamblin man down in New Orleans
There is a house in New Orleans, they call the Superdome. That's how one parody beginning of the Animals famous song goes and it's how I am kicking off the 4th Ambush play of Week 7 as we head to the Louisiana Superdome and jump on my favorite game stack of the week, Panthers vs Saints. I had this game circled as a top game well before the news about Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Thomas broke this week and those are certainly big reasons why one might shy away from this game, but neither of them were the main reasons I was on this game to begin with (although Thomas when he does come back is going to be the easiest DFS play in the world).
This game is all about the ego and the pride of three men. Sean Payton, Matt Rhule and Joe Brady. Joe Brady spent two seasons (2017-2018) in New Orleans as an offensive assistant and under Payton before jumping to go take the Passing Game Coordinator role with the LSU Tigers in 2019 leading them to a National Championship and implementing an offense he learned in New Orleans that made Joe Burrow a star. But when Brady left New Orleans for LSU, Sean Payton said, "He was making a mistake" and Brady quickly made him eat his words en route to becoming one of the hottest coaching names in the league. I'll spare you the details around the petty games that Payton and Rhule have been playing this off-season since Rhule was announced the Head Coach in New Orleans, but trust me when I say that both teams coaching staffs have a mutual but competitive respect for each other. This game stems way beyond just Brady and Bridgewater and a bunch of other former Saints returning to New Orleans to face the Saints. It's going to be a shootout.
Let's cover the easy side of the ball which is the Carolina Panthers. They're going to have to air it out because they have no chance mounting a consistent running game with Mike Davis and with a clear advantage on the outside that's where they should eat. D.J. Moore has destroyed New Orleans cornerbacks and if he can get away from Janoris Jenkins he'll find a way to torch the Saints slow secondary. God help the Saints he if draws Patrick Robinson because then it's going to be a 6 catch, 147 yard, 3 touchdown performance from D.J. Moore. I like Marshon Lattimore to have one of his better games against Robbie Anderson, but also trust that the Panthers will mix things up enough to get Anderson free as well. And if Curtis Samuel does make it onto the field he'll score on some end around in the red zone. None the less, I love the Panthers passing game and yes I like Teddy B here to be good. Somewhere in the 23-31, 315 yards and minimum-two scores range.
But the Saints side of the ball is where all the ownership lies. And by ownership, I mean Alvin Kamara who is trending as the 2020 Offensive Player of the Year the longer that Michael Thomas sits out. You should not be playing Kamara because the Panthers have a horrible rush defense. You should be playing Kamara because he's going to be the Saints #1 WR this week and will likely catch 8 passes as Latavius Murray and Taysom Hill do a heavy amount of running the ball too. There's zero reason for the Saints to not have Murray be RB1 this weekend and let Kamara act both as a jet sweep decoy and a mismatch problem lining up wide, in the slot, at fullback, under center, etc. I'm serious when I say the game plan will be to get Kamara anywhere and everywhere on the field and it's not the rushing game that he'll eat in, it's just Kamara is playing at an elite level that makes him a great play. But the gem in this game to me is Drew Brees. Drew Brees is $6,100 on DraftKings and when Brees has had success in recent seasons it has been in games where he has the comfort in the pocket to be able to step up and get his timing right. This nonsense that Brees is old and washed up so far in 2020 is entirely based on an early season prime time game in which he played poorly against the Raiders. Carolina is next to dead last in the league in sacks per game and ranks near the bottom in Quarterback pressures as well. Brees is going to have all day to throw in short yardage spots and the Panthers are gonna be looking around pointing fingers at each other and wondering who the hell just caught a 23 yard crossing pattern pass against them for a touchdown. His name is Marquez Callaway by the way and he is only $3,000 on DraftKings. So do yourself a favor and get an extra lineup in this weekend into a good contest that has a core build out of Teddy/Brees, Kamara/Murray, and Callaway/Moore/Anderson.
Expectation: Panthers and Saints roll up a ton of big plays in a sneaky shootout.
CROSS EM OFF
Ambush Play #5 - The Week 7 Fades
We need games to fade with so many high scoring totals, so here's the games/teams I am avoiding this weekend and why
- Houston: You beat the Packers on the ground and that's just not what Houston does well.
- Tennessee: Even with the Bush injury I still respect the Steelers defense a ton. The Taylor Lewan injury is also a concern for me on the Titans side.
- NY Jets: There's just no need to be cute here.
- Atlanta: Slow moving game in my mind. Limiting exposure.
- Dallas: Washington front 4 should eat their O-Line up, don't mind the RB on DK as they both should have lots of PPR upside, but that's it.
- Jacksonville: Bad team vs a good defense, no thank you.
- San Francisco & New England
Expectation: None of the spots above do enough to damage you in tournaments by not having them.
RECAP OF AMBUSH PLAYS
- A little late night safety net is Chris Carson
- Rushing QB always get theirs vs Seattle and it's Kyler Murray this week.
- Eric Ebron -- Mr TE lock of the week
- Panthers vs Saints Sneaky Shootout
- GAMES TO AVOID -- Week 7 Edition
One of my long long theories has been a rushing quarterback does exceptionally well against the Seattle defensive scheme. A big part of their scheme is to have a single deep safety over the top and physical, press coverage on the outside. While they struggle big time with the CB depth to make this system work this year, it's still one which is designed to get quick pressure on the quarterback and force the ball out fast as you can't go deep on them normally because of the single safety.
The glitch in this defense over the years has been when they face a mobile quarterback who can tuck it and make plays happen with his legs. This dates back to when the Seattle defense was truly the legion of boom and a rookie DeShaun Watson came in and torched them up and it's even continued this year with Cam Newton throwing for 350 and rushing for 2 touchdowns as well as Ryan Fitzpatrick (who is mobile, yes) getting 47 rushing yards as well. Now comes the best running quarterback in the game in the red zone in Kyler Murray and we think he won't be able to tuck it down and rush one in?
Cam's upside destroys that of guys in the same price range this week. We know Cam will keep it in short yardage situations and especially down near the goal line. This is a game where New England is going to watch what the Rams were doing well against the 49ers and replicate it with a heavy dosage of the ground game and Cam will keep it enough for a 50 yard rushing game and probably two rushing TD.
This isn't about a revenge narrative as much as it is the logic of the defense funneling everything into the passing game for Carolina and I can't love D.J. Moore to explode without thinking Teddy has a good game. His $5,800 price tag on DraftKings makes him the most efficient "affordable" quarterback option this week along with Drew Brees as a sneaky, $6,100 play in the same game.
Just missed my top 3: Drew Brees, Matt Stafford
Not touching: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan
RUNNING BACK PLAYS
He is a far better play on DraftKings than FanDuel because of the full point per reception and also because of the high price tag he carries on FanDuel. Alvin Kamara is an elite football player, but the Saints system does not typically benefit one running back having a 100 yard rushing game and so just because he faces a weak rushing defense doesn't make this suddenly a "smash" spot.
Kamara's huge games come when two things happen and one of them is the Saints being in a high scoring back and forth game that requires him to catch a bunch of passes -- so if you do not have any Carolina exposure then you're probably going to be a little disappointed because the second thing Kamara relies upon is his red zone dominance and if the game isn't high scoring then you might be upset when Taysom and LatMurray have the first two Saints touchdowns this weekend.
All that said, I believe it's a high scoring game and Kamara will get his, so I thank you for reading this much garbage about an elite football player. Play him.
We can get Carson for a very reasonable price and moderate ownership this weekend. No reason to not have him as one of your core plays in my mind unless you've gone full Wilson-Metcalf-Lockett but I don't see that being the game-script.
One of the easiest plays on the weekend on DraftKings. The Bengals are a bad team versus the run and the Browns are banged up in the passing game. This is a game which I expect both teams to be glad to run the ball plenty or dump it down via the passing game to their backs and Hunt going over 100 yards from scrimmage, catching a few passes and scoring a touchdown is a high probability.
Just missed the cut, but I really like this week too: Todd Gurley, Josh Kelley, Latavius Murray
Not touching: Green Bay RB situation and the New England RB situation (even though I love NE to run the ball this week)
WIDE RECEIVER PLAYS
CORE 1-2 WR PUNCH OF THE WEEK
Do I need to say more about D.J. Moore? Don't be sitting there Sunday night kicking yourself for not having Panthers WR this weekend.
Golladay should thrive against the Atlanta secondary for many reasons why we have liked other "bigger" type wide receivers this season. His price is a little higher than I would like on both sites with the Lions having lots of options to utilize and a game I see being a little slower moving offensively (both teams will run it with moderate success) - but attacking the Falcons secondary has never been a bad play.
STAR WR OF THE WEEK
DeAndre "Nuk" Hopkins
There are three high priced WR that I think are in play this weekend. They are Hopkins, Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill. There's just no reason to force in Tyreek Hill in your main lineup in my mind with all the Chiefs options (but do on 4PM only) and Adams to me will not go over 100 yards receiving because Green Bay wins comfortably and he does nothing in the second half. So why not take Hopkins who gets to eat against the outside of the Seattle defense. When Kyler does throw, he'll go to his #1 guy.
VOLUME MID-RANGE WR OF THE WEEK
Happy "Scary Terry" weekend. Spin the wheel weekly to find who is going to be challenging Dallas in the slot and if that person is a quality football player then you can expect them to be popular and a solid play. Well, we have the trifecta as McLaurin is Washington's #1 pass catching option, a high volume receiver and someone the Cowboys should have no success being able to slow down. It will be cold and rainy in Washington though, so temper your expectations slightly on him "blowing" up the slate.
VALUE WR OF THE WEEK
Marquez Callaway (New Orleans)
Lots of folks will rush to Tre'Quan Smith but 'Quan has not been as effective when acting as the Saints primary WR (even though it's technically Kamara). Callaway is minimum price around the industry and has shown in the last two games to have the ability to get open with his speed and has earned the trust of the coaching staff and Brees. There's no reason to expect him to have fewer than 5 targets for min salary.
Gabriel Davis (Buffalo)
John Brown is OUT again for Buffalo which lets Davis get more chances in the vertical passing game for Buffalo. He's another sub $4,000 WR that is a rookie who has seen a bump in usage and has a favorable match-up this week.
Like, but won't have because of too many other options: Tyler Boyd, Stefon Diggs (would use him with Allen/J.Crowder gamestack), Calvin Ridley, Ju-Ju Smith Schuster
Not touching: The rest of the PIT WR not named Ju-Ju.
TIGHT END PLAYS
The TE position to me is not one we have to force spending up on with George Kittle getting the New England shutdown treatment and Travis Kelce coming off a 2 TD performance likely to miss out on getting in the end zone this week. Love Ebron as a sneaky play vs a team who has challenges in the department known as defending Tight Ends.
Taysom Hill - FanDuel only
Stop rolling your eyes. Taysom is one of the primary red zone weapons for a team who is once again without Michael Thomas and now is also without Emmanuel Sanders. He's also involved in the running game against a terrible rush defense and should be on the field more as a TE than normal due to the limited number of pass catching options the Saints have. No better way for Sean Payton to flex his ego this weekend than to run some single wing with Taysom Hill who is sub $5k at a weak position on FanDuel.
TE Darts: Jace Sternberger
Not touching: George Kittle
The Chargers defense is getting a little bit healthier and will be welcoming in a Jacksonville team who's allowing 3+ sacks per game and turning it over just under 1.5 times per game, so it all adds up to a solid day for the Chargers defense.
Many point to this as a "get right" game for Josh Allen, but I see the Buffalo defense shining a little bit brighter this weekend than they have and they're the ones who will get right.
Without Joe Mixon in the fold for the Bengals we should see an increase in pass attempts from Burrow which leads to their offensive line having to defend a very good pass rush. Danger Will Robinson, Danger! The Browns defense should carry them this weekend along with the running game.
Questions and Answers
QUESTION: Who is getting overlooked this week and why is it Josh Allen?
Yep, Josh Allen is getting overlooked but only because he's gotten the "Jets" boost in his price. If you want to roll with Allen then I highly encourage that you play Jets along with him to expect another Bills-Jets high scoring game. This is a Stefon Diggs catch a bomb spot with John Brown still banged up, so Allen-Brown-Crowder is a nice build.
QUESTION: Random off the wall prediction?
Tony Pollard vultures Ezekiel Elliott twice
QUESTION: Favorite 1PM and 4PM only stacks and plays?
1PM Only: Panthers at Saints game stack and avoid the Packers/Texans game in 1PM only.
4PM Only: Chiefs / Broncos as the main core with one offs Josh Kelley (he is a forgotten man this week), Chris Godwin and New England ground game. Obviously gotta fade Seattle/Arizona depending upon your site here.
QUESTION: What's the game you do not have a lot of players in which scares you to go off?
Steelers and Titans. I am putting all my faith in the Steelers defense to keep this game from blowing up.
QUESTION: Favorite Bets of the week?
Panthers/Saints over 49.5
Welcome to Week 7 - The NFL Ambush, a full guide into this weekend's NFL DFS Main Slate of action to help you become a better player and find some success.
What a wild and wild slate of NFL we have in store for us this weekend. For once it's nice to have no games lost due to COVID-19 tests, but as usual we do have movement with a flip of the schedule around which I'll touch on in the COVID update below. This feels like an insanely high scoring DFS weekend because of so many value plays and so many of those situations are GOOD matchups as well. I look at this and don't get too overwhelmed with ownership percentages because when we have depth of choices to consider there's no reason to take someone just because they are "chalky." Subscribe for full article
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