Oct 25, 2017
The NFL has produced an abundance of weird results this year, including in Week 7, when there were 7 teams unable to score a TD on offense, and two of those teams still managed to win. Chicago figured a throwback style of football resembling something last seen when players wore leather helmets was their best bet to win, and it turns out they were right. Tennessee flirted with giving the Cleveland Browns their first win of the season, yet managed to beat them in overtime. Despite the madness, there does seem to be an order establishing for most teams, with clear top teams, clear bottom teams, and a big mess in the middle.
Unfortunately, if the Week 7 targets were going to be equated with a team in the NFL, they would be part of the bottom group. Of the six total targets, only two tripled up their price, one was slightly above double their price, and the rest under performed. Let’s take a closer look at how everyone did.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Dak was one of the few highlights from the Week 7 targets. Somehow the 49ers had managed to keep most of their games close, but had still been one of the weaker defenses against the pass. What ended up happening was that Zeke Elliot went nuts and Dak was his typically efficient self in a dominating performance for the Dallas Cowboys. Coming in as a higher priced QB option, Dak was still able to easily surpass his expectations and finish with 234 passing yards, 3 passing TDs, and an extra 26 yards a and a TD on the ground. Finishing with a 29.96 DraftKings score, Dak has been one of the safest bets to triple up his price this year, only failing to do so in Week 1 against the New York Giants and seeing his price rise each week from Week 2 on. His outstanding rookie year is looking like it might be his floor in terms of fantasy scoring, which has to scare the other teams in the NFC.
Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
Hyde was looking like a good bet to get a ton of work on the ground against the Cowboys in their matchup, especially given that it was going to be rookie QB C.J. Beathard’s first NFL start. Unfortunately, the 49ers found themselves down 20-3 at half, and then didn’t score again until there was just over 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter and the score was 40-10. It’s too bad they were down so much because Hyde had a decent day in terms of his efficiency, rushing for 68 yards on 14 carries, and adding in another 20 yards on 4 catches. While 12.8 points isn’t a complete disaster, it could have been much better. Moving forward, it remains to be seen how viable a play Hyde will be with Beathard in at QB for now, and he certainly won’t hold much value if they are going to be down by as much as they were against Dallas. Hopefully, he can still hold some value but unless his price starts dropping down below the already low $5900 he had going into this game, he probably won’t be a great play.
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
Here’s where things start to get ugly. Henry has been up and down this season, as he’s gotten good work in some games and been an afterthought in others. DeMarco Murray had been ailing the whole week leading up to the Titans game against the Cleveland Browns, and even though the Browns had been decent against the run, it looked like a solid opportunity for Henry to out work Murray and have a nice fantasy day in an easy win for the Titans. Instead, the Titans barely were able to beat the Browns and failed to score a single touchdown. There were several players who under performed, including Henry who only had 23 total yards and two catches. While it was nice that he set a new season high in catches, the outing was a big disappointment. Henry will continue to be someone worth using if Murray is out, but even then, it seems like it will depend on the matchup based on the rushing defense.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
What was looking like a great play when pricing was first released seemed to fade a bit as the week progressed. There had been a lot of talk about fellow WR Martavis Bryant’s role in the offense and usage that led a lot of people to come off of the JuJu bandwagon by game time. Bryant was being told by coaches that he was going to be a bigger part of the offense, despite his lackluster attitude and work ethic this season. The Bengals had been pretty vulnerable to slot WRs but Bryant seemed to have an edge in sheer talent, so people faded the rookie, who was dirt cheap in DraftKings at only $3800. In the end, JuJu had 2 catches for only 39 yards, but had a 31 yard TD catch so he was able to salvage a decent day of 11.9 points. For his price and role in the offense, this was about what was expected in terms of point production, though not necessarily the way he went about it. He should be an even larger part of the offense moving forward, for a couple of weeks at least, as Bryant was demoted to the practice squad for part of the week heading into Week 8. Smith-Schuster has shown himself to be a reliable target and if his price stays in the $4000-$5000 range, he should be capable of returning decent value. The Steelers haven’t been the offense we expeceted this year, content to run Le’Veon Bell as much as he wants, but things look like they might be shifting a bit as QB Ben Roethlisberger looked better throwing than in recent weeks and set season highs for QB rating and adjusted yards per attempt. If the QB play goes back to where we expected from Ben, then Smith-Schuster could become a very good play moving forward.
George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
Kittle has been a typical fantasy TE in 2017, meaning he’ll tease with moments of excellence, only to let you down. The 49ers were playing a Dallas defense that had been one of the worst against TEs, and he also had a new starting QB that would hopefully lean on his TE as a security blanket when the coverages looked too difficult. That new QB just happened to be his old college QB, C.J. Beathard, so people just assumed that Kittle would be able to build off of his previous two weeks, where he’d had his two most targeted games. Factor in his low price of $3600 and Kittle seemed like a great streaming candidate for TE last week. For all of those things working in his favor, Kittle still only scored 2.6 points off of one catch for 16 yards. It wasn’t his worst game this year, as he went 1 for 8 yards against the Rams earlier, but it was close. Kittle still could become a more reliable target in the future, but for now we’ll have to see how Beathard adjusts to life in the NFL versus the Big Ten. Keep an eye on him, but for now there are better options.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Rudolph was the next guy in line to exploit the Baltimore Ravens defense that has been atrocious against TEs this year. Aside from the great matchup, the Vikes were also without top receiver Stefon Diggs for this game. Rudolph was coming off back to back weeks with 9 targets and had been a consistent part of the Vikes passing offense. He still didn’t have a bad day, finishing with 5 catches for 43 yards for 9.3 points, but was short of the 11.4 he needed to hit value. He was he Vikings second leading receiver in the day, but this was a day where the Ravens defense was just too good against backup QB Case Keenum, holding him to under 200 yards on the day. With a little more volume, Rudolph likely comes much closer to where he needed to be. Anytime either Diggs or Adam Theilen miss time, Rudolph figures to be involved in the passing game.Back to DFS