Brandon Aiyuk may not be the first 49ers pass catcher to come to mind, but that doesn't mean he can't pay off in DFS this week.
I could talk about how my best bet hit last week. Or how I absolutely swung for the fences with my RB high-leverage pick and I totally miffed. But I'll start the NFL Week 7 Best Bets and daily fantasy (DFS) picks with some trends we are seeing this year.
Folks like to say "it's a weird year," but it's a weird year every year! What makes this year weird however is that the chalk is hitting far more than usual. It's not just the "best players," but also those heavily owned value picks due to injury as well. Jamaal Williams after D'Andre Swift went down earlier this season or more recently Deon Jackson after Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines were ruled out are just two examples.
The other trend you may or may not have noticed is that fantasy scoring is down this year and it's at the lowest level since 2017. The question is, what is causing this? My theory is that there seem to be more penalties this year. And when there are more penalties, players don't receive credit for those points, even if they are on the defense and it is helping the offense. And you know what? I'm right. Look at this:
NFL penalties per game:
It helps explain why we are not seeing a lot of "ceiling games." Something to think about when making your bets and DFS selections.
Teams on bye: Buffalo, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, Philadelphia
And with that in the back of our minds, we start as usual with our best bet of the week.
After a strong Week 6, I am feeling a little more aggressive. To balance that out, I will limit this bet to just a quarter unit, or maybe even a tenth of a unit, since we are getting 230-to-1 odds. I'll probably throw either a tenth of a unit or a quarter of a unit on each of the legs as well.
Because while this is an aggressive bet, I love the value we are getting here. Green Bay is allowing 1.2 rushing TDs per game, the seventh-worst rate in the league. If Washington is going to run it in, there's a very high chance it is Robinson who does so. And the Packers' defense is even worse when it comes to rushing yardage. They are allowing the sixth-most rushing yards per game at more than 135. I would put Robinson's chances of breaking the century mark and getting a TD at better than 10 percent, giving us some value at 10-to-1.
As far as Walker and Ekeler go, I present to you this NextGen Stat:
Furthermore, the Chargers and the Seahawks have both been chewed up on the ground, allowing 125 and nearly 166 rushing yards per game, respectively. With Ekeler and Walker the clear primary rusher for their teams, we can agree that the chances of both hitting 100 or greater are more than five percent right? So at 20-to-1, there's some value here and we are getting a nice little payout.
And finally, 20x10 is 200, but for the extra 30 points I am very happy to throw a fraction of a unit on the combined legs parlay. This is an aggressive bet, so don't bet the house on it hitting. But given the size of the payout, the value we are getting on this bet makes it quite attractive.
Onto this week's DFS picks...
I'm shooting for upside this week and therefore probably not going to be playing Burrow in a lot of lineups. But I definitely like his floor better than most other options, especially at his price. Burrow is averaging more than 23 FPPG and with Atlanta allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year, there's no reason to fade Burrow this week.
I often say that taking down a GPP requires you to "embrace the uncomfortable." And Mills is a pretty uncomfortable choice. But he's super cheap, allowing us to pay up and play chalk elsewhere. And his ownership will obviously be super low. With an over/under of 46 points in this game and the books expecting the Raiders to score at least 20 points, I... yes, I'll say it, love Mills as a high-leverage play this week.
Related: Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for QB/TE/DST in Week 7
Ekeler is averaging a TD a week along with more than 100 combined yards a game. If you need more reason to play him, see above.
See above. See also my RB rankings from earlier this week. My apologies, but I just really like this kid.
And right now he's in a ton of my GPP lineups.
Related: Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for RB/WR in Week 7
Both these receivers have been pretty good. The Titans' secondary meanwhile has been absolutely awful. They are giving up 44.85 fantasy points to WRs this season. Only one other team has been more generous to the position. Pittman and Pierce each should at least produce double-digit fantasy points on Sunday and I would not be surprised if either puts up 20-plus points.
Lots of options this week, but I would be shocked if Aiyuk's ownership is even five percent this week. I expect most will stack WRs from the HOU/LVR, BAL/CLE, SEA/LAC, or DAL/DET games. And even if folks decide to grab a 49ers pass catcher, my guess is it will be George Kittle or Deebo Samuel before opting to go with Aiyuk.
And I remind you this was just last week.
Andrews is currently the second-best TE in fantasy football and Travis Kelce has a matchup against the 49ers. If you got the salary to spare, why wouldn't you play Andrews in cash games?
I'll be honest, this scares me a little given both Schultz's health as well as Dak Prescott's. But I'll cross my fingers and pray, even though the stats support this pick.
For one, Detroit has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to TEs per game this season. Also, Schultz has been injured, but I remind you that last year he was targeted more han 100 times and caught 78 passes for 808 yards and eight touchdowns. He's not going to hit those marks this season, but I bet he matches that pace for the rest of the way.
Carolina has a 1-5 record and the third-fewest TDs in the league. And that was with their best player, Christian McCaffrey, who you might have heard the Panthers just traded. This could get really ugly really fast.
Washington very quietly is becoming one of the better defenses in the league. The Commanders have allowed the lowest rate of rushing first downs, but they also are tied for the fourth-most sacks this season. And now floundering Green Bay comes to town. Let's just keep this one a secret between us, okay?
QB: Trevor Lawrence, Geno Smith, Matt Ryan
RB: Travis Etienne Jr., Kenyan Drake
WR: Nico Collins, Wan'Dale Robinson, Donovan Peoples-Jones
TE: Evan Engram, Isaiah Likely, Cade Otton
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.