DFS Dreamers & Fantasy Streamers: Contrarian GPP and Deep Sleeper Plays for Week 7

by Eric McClung ·

After several weeks of successful streaming selections a letdown was bound to happen. Alex Smith didn’t need to throw very much last week as the Oakland Raiders offense was only able to score 10 points at home while Kansas City fed the ball to their running backs. It should be noted that Smith lost out on a goal line touchdown pass that was ruled to be a lateral. Smith is still in streamer consideration this week hosting the New Orleans Saints. While Drew Brees has experienced issues performing on the road, there should be enough scoring from the opposition to see Smith put the ball in the air a fair amount.

Doubling down on both DeAndre Washington and Bilal Powell for another week did not work out very well. Neither running back did much in their respective blowout defeats. Tight end Jesse James also put up a stinker as a result of Ben Roethlisberger (knee) playing hurt. Charles Clay was respectable with five catches for 52 yards, however.

There was no streamer at wide receiver because the non-believers were so slow in picking up Cameron Meredith. After 15 targets, 11 receptions, and 113 receiving years things eventually got fixed. Unfortunately, the Chicago Bears are down to Matt Barkley at quarterback after an injury to Brian Hoyer (broken arm). Who knew we would eventually be clamoring for the return of Jay Cutler (thumb)?

Quarterback

As previously mentioned, Alex Smith is a totally fine streaming option again┬áthis week, but I can hear the sighs and the groaning. You want another option. OK, fine. Now you have to deal with a Cody Kessler tout. Originally the third quarterback on the depth chart, the Cleveland Browns rookie is acquitting himself fairly well. Kessler has thrown the ball 40 or more times in two of the last three games. He’s also coming off an impressive road performance against the Tennessee Titans (26 of 41 passing, 336 yards, 2 TDs) despite going down for six sacks. Meanwhile, the typically solid defense of the Cincinnati Bengals is quickly eroding. They currently rank 24th in Football Outsiders DVOA against the pass and 18th against the run. Cleveland will be able to move the ball and score points. And if you don’t like it, stream Alex Smith!

Cody Kessler Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Cody Kessler Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

People don’t like Kirk Cousins on the road because of last year’s splits, which makes him a fine contrarian option at quarterback despite an incredible matchup. At home his completion percentage was more than nine points better while his touchdown to interception ratio was 16:2 at home versus 13:9 on the road. The NFL regular season is only 16 games, so we can’t put a lot of stock in one eight game sample versus another eight game sample. What we can put a lot of stock in is how terrible the Detroit Lions defense has been. They’ve allowed multiple touchdown passes to every quarterback thus far, which has them sitting 31st in DVOA against the pass. Last week, Case Keenum went off for 321 yards on 27 of 32 passing with three touchdowns, in addition to running in another score. Oh, and Keenum was on the road.

Wide Receiver

If I like Kirk Cousins this week you best believe I’m going to suggest streaming Jamison Crowder (33 percent owned on Yahoo, 38 percent owned on ESPN) and Pierre Garcon (18% Y, 33% ESPN) against the lowly Lions. Crowder has seen his targets reduced over the last three games, but got back into the end zone last week. He’s a good option in the red zone while Jordan Reed (concussion) remains sidelined. Garcon is coming off season-highs of 11 targets and 77 yards. He’s now been looked at seven or more times in four of the last five contests.

This is a week where expensive wide receivers will be extreme popular. Injuries have made Mike Gillislee and Jacquizz Rodgers viable cash game plays while opening up a lot of salary cap space to afford multiple stud receivers. Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Mike Evans are all in extremely favorable spots and will be among the most poplar plays in DFS this week. We can leverage this with several wideouts in the same price range that will be overlooked. For starters, I really like a game stack with the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars. You can play either one of the quarterbacks along with both Amari Cooper and Allen Robinson all in the same lineup to capture the fireworks on both sides.

Brandon Marshall Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Brandon Marshall Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

However, the receiver I’m most excited about is Brandon Marshall. Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing poorly, yet Marshall was still productive. Switching to Geno Smith is a lateral move yet it’s being viewed as a death sentence. The opposing Baltimore Ravens are now first in DVOA against the run. They could also be without their top cornerback, Jimmy Smith (concussion). Last week, Odell Beckham Jr. was held in check until Smith departed, then boom went the dynamite. Baltimore is also 14th in DVOA against the pass, despite being one of the most generous defenses in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. With the Jets likely playing from behind and unable to run the ball, Marshall is a mortal lock for double-digit targets and could be debated as low-owned cash game option.

Running Back

More than a streamer, Mike Gillislee is a must add following reports that LeSean McCoy (hamstring) could miss multiple games. Yet he’s only 41 percent owned on Yahoo and 4.8 percent owned on ESPN. However, the Worldwide Leader only updates their ownership figures once per day at 5:00 AM eastern. Seems archaic, but the point is to make sure Gillislee is owned everywhere.

Mike Gillislee Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Mike Gillislee Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

As for the true streamers, I’ll stay with Washington and look at Chris Thompson. Even though Matt Jones is coming off a monster game, Thompson is the back they gets targeted in the passing game and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which Jones gets scripted out of this game if Washington is trailing. Back in Week 5 against the Lions, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles combined for nine catches, 56 receiving yards, and a touchdown. While Detroit has allowed a pair of 100-yard rushers this season, but no touchdowns have been scored on them via the ground.

You can also hold your nose and stream either Mike Davis or Shaun Draughn from the San Francisco backfield. Hyde (shoulder) is expected back following a Week 8 bye. Tampa Bay ranks 14th in DVOA against the run, but have allowed a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games. We’ve seen Chip Kelly run the ball frequently, regardless of how things look on the scoreboard.

The only expensive running back worth paying up for cash games is DeMarco Murray. The creates a lot of opportunities for contrarian plays at running back. Since all the value that’s opened up makes Julio Jones a lot easier to get into lineups the clear pivot away from that is to play Devonta Freeman and/or Tevin Coleman. Outside of big games allowed to T.Y. Hilton and Amari Cooper, the Chargers pass defense has been good. In fact, they sit inside the top 10 in DVOA against the pass. Against the run, however, San Diego is 21st. The Chargers are a West Coast team traveling cross country to face the top offense in the league. They catch a break in that the start time is 4:05 PM eastern instead of 1:00 PM. Regardless, San Diego has lost all three of their road games thus far. While Atlanta’s defense is nothing special this game could very easily shootout with a lot of passing on both sides. There’s a very realistic outcome in which Julio does alright, but can’t match his hefty price tag because Atlanta attacks the weaker spots of the San Diego run defense.

Tight End

Prior to a Week 6 bye, Cameron Brate only caught one of his three targets for 38 yards and got himself dropped in a lot of leagues. Well, Vincent Jackson (knee) has been placed on Injured Reserve and Adam Humphries has caught one pass in each of the last two games. Now that Tampa’s bye week is out of the way, tight end streamers may have just found their guy for the rest of the season. The Bucs need a No. 2 target to emerge, why not Brate? The incoming 49ers were roasted by Greg Olsen (5 catches, 122 yards, TD) in Week 2 and again by Jimmy Graham (6 catches, 100 yards, TD) in Week 3. After this one Tampa will play Oakland and Atlanta, two other teams that also struggle against the tight end.

Cameron Brate Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Cameron Brate Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Dwayne Allen (ankle) is going to miss this week’s game against the Titans, and perhaps more. That will make the Jack Doyle a popular play with everyone looking to pay up at wide receiver. Doyle is minimum salary on DraftKings and only $200 above that mark on FanDuel.

The contrarian move is basically anyone not named Doyle. Travis Kelce and Delanie Walker are both coming off stinkers. They each have strong matchups yet won’t see much ownership at their prices.