Large field tournaments are what make DFS such an exciting attraction week after week. It takes just one lineup to hit it big and cash in for a five or six figure week (or seven if you’re “lucky” enough to win a millionaire contest). Building GPP lineups can be pretty labor-intensive with so many options throughout the league, and chasing upside can be defeating when your favorite life-changing lineup bombs and you can’t even see the cash line from the depths of your couch.
In order to speed up your lineup building process, I’ll be here weekly with some of my favorite tournament plays for the upcoming NFL weekend. Remember, all we’re chasing is upside in our tournament lineups, but check out more details regarding GPP lineup construction here.
Tournament Plays for FanDuel and DraftKings: NFL Week 7
Brett Hundley (GB, FD: $6,500, DK: $5,100) vs. New Orleans Saints
The Saints have looked solid on D the past two weeks, but I’m not buying they’re all of a sudden a shut-down until with those games coming against the Jets and a banged-up Matthew Stafford. We saw Hundley struggle after replacing Aaron Rodgers last Sunday, but that was on the road against a Mike Zimmer defense. He’ll have a full week to prepare for New Orleans, not to mention this is his third year in Mike McCarthy’s system. We saw DeShaun Watson struggle when he came in mid-game and in Week 2 after just three days of practice, but once he accumulated the first-team reps he’s been unstoppable, something I can see happening in this situation as well.
With all of that said, I’m siding with Hundley in this matchup against a Saints’ defense that’s allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing QBs. They’re surrendering the fifth-most passing yards per attempt (7.9) along with the fifth-most passing yards per game (268.4). The UCLA grad should also pick up some points on the ground, as he’s an impressive athlete who ran well in college. I hope players look at last week’s performance and write him off, because this could be a great spot for Hundley at home, and he makes for a cheap GPP option this Sunday.
Marcus Mariota (TEN, FD: $8,200, DK: $6,900) at Cleveland Browns
Mariota practiced in full on Wednesday, which is great news from a quarterback that’s been dealing with a hamstring injury the last couple weeks. His matchup provides us with some more great news, as the Browns are allowing 20.5 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs, the second-most in the NFL. Mariota’s been uber consistent this season, with every game falling within the 14-20 range in terms of fantasy scoring, but this could be where he finally breaks out. Cleveland has allowed the most passing touchdowns (14) and rushing touchdowns (2), which should benefit a fully healthy Mariota who already has three rushing TDs on the season. Feel confident targeting the Flyin’ Hawaiian against a Browns’ defense ranked 29th in pass-DVOA.
LeSean McCoy (BUF, FD: $7,900, DK: $7,400) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This could be a blow-up spot for Shady, as he’ll face a Buccaneers defense that’s allowed 256 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in the past two weeks. McCoy has seen at least 21 touches in four of his five games, yet hasn’t scored a touchdown all season despite seeing five carries inside the 10-yard line. The Bills are out of weapons in the passing game, so Shady should see plenty of work in the passing game. He actually leads the team with 32 targets, and Tampa ranks 22nd in DVOA against receiving backs. McCoy is in line to receive 25+ touches and red zone work against a team struggling against opposing RBs as of late, so makes a great GPP play for the weekend.
Leonard Fournette (JAX, FD: $9,000, DK: $8,600) at Indianapolis Colts
I’m hoping Fournette’s absence from Wed/Thurs practice will scare people away from the rookie this weekend, as he’s primed for another breakout spot against the Colts. The fourth-overall pick has averaged 25 touches over the last four weeks and has made every one of them count. He’s averaged 136.8 total yards per game and scored five touchdowns in those contests. He’ll now face a Colts defense coming off a short week who just allowed 171 yards rushing and two touchdowns to Tennessee backs on Monday night. I fully expect Fournette to play this weekend and think this is a great spot to get him at lowered ownership, setting him up for a solid GPP play at the RB position.
Adam Thielen (MIN, FD: $6,900, DK: $6,700) vs. Baltimore Ravens
Stefon Diggs looks like he’ll miss his second straight game with a groin injury, making his counterpart an attractive tournament option this week. Players will be hesitant to plug him in this week due to the Ravens allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs, but Thielen has been more than capable of producing without Diggs on the field. In his three solo games, he’s racked up 9-97-0, 7-127-1, and 8-53-0 lines. He’s hauled in at least five catches in every game this season but is yet to reach pay dirt. If he finds his way into the end zone this weekend, he could be a big boost in tournaments as he’ll likely have miniscule ownership.
Michael Thomas (NO, FD: $7,700, DK: $7,500) at Green Bay Packers
This is a great bounce back spot for Thomas coming off his worst performance of the season. He saw a season low in both targets (6) and catches (3) in large part to shadow coverage from Darius Slay and a negative game script. That should change this week, as the Packers have allowed the 11th-most receptions (72) and ninth-most receiving yards (913) to opposing WRs thus far. He’s the clear number one wide receiver option for Drew Brees, as he has more than double the amount of targets (43) as the next closest WR (Ted Ginn Jr. has 20). I expect him to see close to the 10 targets he averaged in his first four games, lining him up for a solid week against a poor Green Bay secondary.
Dez Bryant (DAL, FD: $8,200, DK: $7,800) at San Francisco 49ers
It’s not surprising both sites increased Bryant’s price after Dallas’ bye week, as the 49ers have struggled against the pass this season. They’re currently 26th in pass-DVOA and 23rd against WR1s. The Niners have allowed the third-most receptions (78) and fifth-most receiving yards (1,078), so Dez should have no problem finding success. The reason I’m interested in him for tournaments is due to his touchdown upside. He leads the NFL with six targets inside the 10-yard line, but has hauled in only one those (resulted in a TD). The Cowboys’ red zone philosophy shouldn’t change much against a weak secondary, leaving Bryant with the possibility at a multi-touchdown game.
Julio Jones (ATL, FD: $8,800, DK: $8,500) at New England Patriots
The Sunday Night game possesses the largest total (56) by a wide margin (no other game above 49). Therefore, we should expect to see an offensive explosion and a great game for fantasy production. Julio is at the top of that list as he’ll face the defense allowing the fifth-most receptions and most receiving yards to opposing WRs. He’ll also enter the game completely healthy, as he was removed from the injury report altogether on Wednesday. New England currently ranks 31st in DVOA against WR1s, providing Julio with a great opportunity at a break out game. Everyone in Atlanta seems to be disgusted with his lack of touches (including HC Dan Quinn), so I expect Matt Ryan to pepper Jones with targets early. If Atlanta’s offense can’t break out of their little funk against New England, it might be time to seriously reconsider their chances of making a postseason run this season.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NYJ, FD: $5,900, DK: $5,000) at Miami Dolphins
ASJ has quickly solidified himself as the top option in the Jets’ passing game since his activation in Week 3. He’s the league leader in targets among tight ends since Week 3 and has now caught a touchdown in each of the last two weeks (should be three TDs if not for a bogus reversal last weekend). He’ll head on the road to face a Dolphins defense that allowed Austin Hooper to catch a career-high seven passes last week, as well as 10-101-1 to Chargers’ tight ends and 10-62-1 to Tennessee tight ends. ASJ should see a lot of the passing workload in this game and has a solid chance to reach the end zone for the third consecutive week.
Jimmy Graham (SEA, FD: $5,800, DK: $4,900) at New York Giants
With Delanie Walker in a killer matchup against the Browns, I think Graham creates an interesting pivot at a similar price point. He’ll face the only defense more generous than Cleveland to opposing TEs, as they’ve allowed 12.2 points per game to the position. Graham has seen solid involvement since Week 2, hauling in 17 of 25 targets for 170 yards and a touchdown. This could be another big game for him against a defense ranked 20th in DVOA against the pass, so make sure he finds his way into some of your lineups.
Pittsburgh Steelers (FD: $4,500, DK: $3,200) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
This inner-division rivalry could become a low scoring affair, as both defenses rank inside the top four in terms of total yards allowed and scoring defense on the season. In their last four matchups, Andy Dalton has thrown four INTs to just two TDs, and the Bengals don’t have much of a running game (averaging 84 yards per game, 4th-worst in NFL) to exploit Pittsburgh’s defensive weakness. Cincinnati has a low implied point total of 17.8, so we should have confidence in the Steelers’ defense heading into this weekend.