2023 Week 7 DFS Early Look

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2023 Week 7 DFS Early Look

Week 6 of the NFL regular season just wrapped up, and that means Week 7 is just around the corner. As my readers likely know, DFS is the best version of fantasy football, and since DraftKings and FanDuel have released their Week 7 prices, it’s time to track down the obvious values and best plays.

Here are the plays that jumped out to me for Week 7 DFS.

Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers (@ DEN)

DraftKings: $5,800 (QB10) | FanDuel: $7,800 (QB6)

The Denver Broncos defense has pressured opposing QBs just 37 times this season (6th-worst among teams with 6 games played). Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers are PFF’s 4th-highest graded pass-blocking offensive line, and QB Jordan Love has faced the 5th-fewest pressures per game of any starting QB (10.8). And unpressured dropbacks are one of the most important things we can look for when assessing a QB’s matchup…

Love is already the QB7 on this slate by FPG (19.2), and the Broncos are the league’s single-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing QBs through the air (+4.2 passing FPG). Combine that with the added explosiveness this offense gains from a healthy Christian Watson, and it’s easy to see Love hitting his ceiling in this contest. I’m not sure Love is a great real-life QB, but he’s too cheap in arguably the perfect matchup.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (@ KC)

DraftKings: $8,600 (RB1) | FanDuel: $9,400 (RB1)

We are going to want to target players from the only game on this slate with a total of over 46.0. And that starts and ends with Austin Ekeler.

Ekeler picked up an ankle injury in Week 1 and still earned 25% of team XFP (23.7 XFP) with a fully healthy group of Chargers’ pass catchers.

But now Mike Williams is on IR. Last season, Ekeler averaged 10.5 targets per game and earned 28% of team XFP (23.5 XFP/G) in the two games he played without Williams, but with a healthy Keenan Allen.

For perspective, 10.5 targets per game would beat out WRs like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce this season. And 28% of team XFP is right behind Christian McCaffrey (29%) for the league lead.

Ekeler’s role couldn’t be more secure. And it isn’t difficult to argue he’s also underpriced on a slate with such poor game environments across the board.

Isiah Pacheco, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (VS. LAC)

DraftKings: $6,100 (RB13) | FanDuel: $7,400 (RB9)

Pacheco has averaged 17.4 XFP/G and 17.5 FPG since Week 3 – marks that would rank 8th-best and 10th-best among all rushers with multiple games over the full season.

A big part of that is Pacheco’s expanded receiving role. He already has more catches (17) than he did all of last season (13). And he’s exceeded a 30% route share in four of his six games this season, a feat he accomplished only once in 2022.

Pacheco would be a value on this slate regardless of opponent, but he will probably be one of the slate’s highest-owned players thanks to facing the Chargers. The game total here (50.5) is 5.0 points higher than the next-closest total on the slate, and Los Angeles has graded out as PFF’s 2nd-worst run defense after allowing the league’s highest YPC (5.4) last season.

Pacheco should crush his salary-implied expectation regardless of gamescript, thanks to his well-rounded role.

Craig Reynolds, RB, Detroit Lions (@ BAL)

DraftKings: $4,900 (RB25) | FanDuel: $5,600 (RB31)

David Montgomery is likely to miss some time, Jahmyr Gibbs is still dealing with a hamstring injury, and Zonovan Knight was recently placed on IR. That leaves Craig Reynolds and Devine Ozigbo (17 carries in five seasons) as the Lions’ only healthy RBs.

After David Montgomery went down midway through the 2nd quarter on Sunday, Reynolds earned 86% of snaps, 72% of routes, and 76% of backfield XFP. Over the full season, 76% of backfield XFP would translate to 19.5 XFP/G, which would rank 6th-best among all RBs.

Reynolds’ Week 7 usage won’t be that incredible if Jahmyr Gibbs can play through his hamstring injury, but he could still hit value even with Gibbs in the mix. The Lions were notorious for treating D’Andre Swift with kid gloves whenever he wasn’t 100% healthy, and it’s hard to imagine Gibbs will truly be 100% coming off a hamstring injury that’s sidelined him for multiple games.

Gibbs' health will be a major factor here, but unless we can be certain he’s 100%, it makes sense to take some shots on Reynolds.

Zach Evans, RB, Los Angeles Rams (VS. PIT)

DraftKings: $4,000 (RB53) | FanDuel: $4,800 (RB52)

Zach Evans is effectively the last man standing in the Los Angeles backfield. Sure, Royce Freeman can get called up off the practice squad, but Freeman averages just 3.1 YPC across his career. Without Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers, it’s reasonable to expect close to a bell cow workload for Evans.

Our own Brett Whitefield described Evans as a physical runner with “great burst and acceleration” who has “basically no skills in the pass game.”

Evans may not be the perfect RB prospect, but his price tag and opportunity more than make up for it. The Rams backfield averages 22.2 XFP/G – and Evans will pop as the best value of the slate if we project him for even 60% of that work, which feels like his usage floor with Royce Freeman as his only competition.

We really don’t need to overthink this. Evans getting 10 or more touches at the stone-minimum RB price tag makes him an outstanding play in a neutral matchup.

Puka Nacua, WR, Los Angeles Rams (VS. PIT)

DraftKings: $7,600 (WR6) | FanDuel: $7,300 (WR10)

Nacua has averaged a 30% target share and 17.0 XFP/G since Cooper Kupp rejoined the team in Week 5. Over the full season, a 30% target share would rank 5th-best among all players, while 17.0 XFP/G would best fantasy studs like Travis Kelce and Amon-Ra St. Brown.

Nacua’s usage has held up quite well despite the addition of Cooper Kupp. And it has to help that he’s playing in one of the best possible matchups this week.

The Steelers are the single-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing outside WRs (+9.9 FPG), where Nacua runs 65% of his routes. Pittsburgh has also given up the highest target share (51%), 5th-most receiving YPG (147.2), and the 5th-most end zone targets to opposing outside WRs.

Nacua is underpriced relative to his usage (especially on FanDuel), but he’s glaringly underpriced relative to his usage in this awesome matchup.

Christian Watson, WR, Green Bay Packers (VS. DEN)

DraftKings: $5,600 (WR18) | FanDuel: $6,600 (WR19)

Watson has been eased back in coming off a hamstring injury, earning a modest 56% route share and 17% target share over the last two weeks.

But Watson looked fully healthy in Week 5 – earning an absurd 70% air yard share and 50% of Green Bay’s receiving yards. And now he’s had 13 days of rest, with the Packers coming off their Week 6 bye. Let’s not forget what a fantasy cheat code Watson was in 2022…

Watson ranked 7th-best in YPRR among all rookie WRs since 2010. If touchdown-adjusted, that increases to 5th-best.

Sure, Watson exceeded his TD expectation last season – but I wouldn’t anticipate significant regression in that area. Among all players with over 60 targets, Watson led in XTD per opportunity (0.08) and ranked top-3 in both deep target rate (31.3%) and percentage of targets coming inside the 10-yard-line (10.4%). This usage allowed Watson to rank as the WR9 in FPG from Week 10 onward.

For Week 6, Watson gets to face a Denver Broncos defense that’s allowed the most plays of 20 or more yards (31), the 2nd-highest passer rating on deep throws (145.0), and the most yards per target over expectation on deep throws (+10.1). It’s rare to get slate-breaking upside for a WR2 DraftKings salary, but that’s what we have in Watson this week.

Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons (@ TB)

DraftKings: $5,100 (WR23) | FanDuel: $6,900 (WR14)

London hasn’t seen fewer than six targets in a game since Week 1. Over the last five weeks, London ranks 9th in targets per game (8.4), 13th in receiving yards per game (65.8), and 14th in XFP/G (14.8) among slate-eligible WRs. That presents clear value relative to his WR23 DraftKings salary.

We can’t forget that London’s QB is Desmond Ridder – who has the 8th-lowest percentage of catchable throws (73%) and the 5th-lowest percentage of accurate throws (41%) of 35 qualifying QBs this season. That means target quality could be a real issue. And given the nature of Arthur Smith and this run-first Atlanta offense, I wouldn’t be shocked if target volume was an issue, too.

The good news for London is that Atlanta is listed as a 2.5-point underdog, and Tampa Bay has been a top-5 pass funnel this season, logging a +5.7% pass rate over expectation on the defensive side of the ball. London’s floor is the center of the earth with Desmond Ridder and Arthur Smith by his side, but his strong volume over the last five weeks in an enticing matchup is enough to call him a solid value at a modest price tag.

Michael Mayer, TE, Las Vegas Raiders (@ CHI)

DraftKings: $2,700 (TE23) | FanDuel: $4,900 (TE16)

Mayer was locked into a TE committee with Austin Hooper in the first five weeks of the season, earning just 32% of routes and a 3% target share.

But Week 6 saw a notable shift in how the Raiders use their TEs. Mayer ran a route on 67% of the team’s dropbacks and earned a 21% target share – with his 6 targets out-pacing Davante Adams (5).

The health of Jimmy Garoppolo (back) leaves a lot up in the air when it comes to projecting this offense for Week 7. But any full-time TE who is involved in the receiving game is worth a shot at just $2,700 on DraftKings – and that appears to be what we are looking at with Mayer.

Jake Tribbey is a recent college graduate and lifelong football fan obsessed with extracting every edge possible from NFL DFS, Best Ball, and player props/futures.