Another week down and an even ten to go as the 2013 NFL season marches on. Week 7 was a low scoring affair for many with the big days mainly coming in from high-priced players and the top value picks, while present as always, being held to more reasonable outputs than in past weeks. It was hard to find a team without at least one bust in their lineup, with a particular abundance of disappointments at the quarterback position. Whether you overcame the adversity this week or not, it’s time to look back at what happened to help make the most informed decisions possible when setting lineups for Week 8 and beyond.
Here’s a look at the top scorers, best value picks, and biggest busts of Week 7.
Top Performers in Week 7 (highest scorers)
1. Calvin Johnson –WR, DET ($8,500) – 32 fantasy points
2. Vincent Jackson – WR, TB ($7,600) – 30.8 fantasy points
3. Andrew Luck – QB, IND ($8,700) – 30.02 fantasy points
4. Matt Forte – RB, CHI ($8,500) – 29.9 fantasy points
5. Andy Dalton – QB, CIN ($7,400) – 27.48 fantasy points
6. Robert Griffin III – QB, WAS ($8,200) – 27.32 fantasy points
7. Peyton Manning – QB, DEN ($10,400) – 26.34 fantasy points
8. Matthew Stafford – QB, DET ($8,700) – 26.28 fantasy points
9. Eric Decker – WR, DEN ($6,500) – 25 fantasy points
10. A.J. Green – WR, CIN ($8,400) – 24.5 fantasy points
Calvin Johnson had been quietly slipping into relative obscurity over the last few weeks with two sub-par performances in Weeks 4 and 6 bookmarking a shocking DNP in Week 5. That allowed his FanDuel price to slide from a position-high $9,200 in Week 4 to a somewhat more affordable $8,500 in Week 7. Users looking for value among the high-priced options at wide receiver were able to get Megatron cheaper than usual and those who capitalized on the opportunity were rewarded with nine catches on 15 targets for 155 yards and two touchdowns. That’s actually the best fantasy game that Johnson has had since 2011, and he now has one more touchdown in just six games this year than he caught in the entire season last year. While the yardage totals aren’t quite as gaudy this season, Johnson is on pace to catch 15 touchdowns, which would be one shy of his career high and would mean great things are in store for FanDuel users that select him in the coming weeks. Of course, if you want him in Week 8 it will once again cost you a position-high $9,200.
It was a hit or miss week at quarterback in Week 7, with five QBs making the top ten scorers list but also three making the top ten bust list and quite a few mediocre games in between by highly owned passers. Points at all positions were tough to come by and generally expensive to afford, with the average FanDuel salary of the top 10 Week 7 scorers at $8,290 compared to $7,230 in Week 6 and just $6,460 in Week 5. Low-priced options can quickly jump into the fantasy picture but there’s a reason the high-priced players are priced the way they are as they remain the most reliable sources of fantasy points particularly at positions like quarterback and wide receiver.
Top Value Picks from Week 7 (most bang for the buck)
1. Harry Douglas – WR, ATL ($4,800) – 24.4 fantasy points
2. Jordan Reed –TE, WAS ($4,800) – 23.9 fantasy points
3. Roy Helu – RB, WAS ($5,000) – 23.1 fantasy points
4. Vincent Jackson – WR, TB ($7,600) – 30.8 fantasy points
5. Calvin Johnson –WR, DET ($8,500) – 32 fantasy points
6. Eric Decker – WR, DEN ($6,500) – 25 fantasy points
7. Jeremy Kerley – WR, NYJ ($4,500) – 19.7 fantasy points
8. Jarrett Boykin – WR, GB ($5,000) – 20.3 fantasy points
9. Brandon Gibson – WR, MIA ($4,500) – 18.5 fantasy points
10. Jacquizz Rodgers – RB, ATL ($5,900) – 22.2 fantasy points
One low-priced player who emerged from the pre-game hype cloud to deliver a massive performance was Harry Douglas, the new number one Falcons receiver in the absence of Julio Jones and Roddy White. I would call him a journeyman, but he’s done all his journeying in an Atlanta uniform, blending into the background noise of the Falcons’ passing game since 2008. Well, Week 7 was a huge opportunity for him to finally make a name for himself and he absolutely rose to the challenge catching all seven of his targets for 149 yards and a touchdown. Douglas could easily build on his big game in future weeks as Jones is out for the year and White has yet to play an effective or healthy game so far all season. Douglas needs just 130 receiving yards to surpass his previous career high, which he’ll attempt to do against Arizona in Week 8. As always it’s crucial not to overrate any one week by any player, but with Douglas there is good reason to take note of his Week 7 performance with the new circumstances in Atlanta. Just remember that you’ll have to pay $6,500 if you want him in your lineup this time around.
With Jimmy Graham and the Saints on bye and the customary scoring chaos at the tight end position, Washington’s Jordan Reed became the latest name atop the tight end value pyramid. Reed caught all nine of his targets in his new starting tight end role and turned them into 134 yards and a touchdown. Reed remains priced to succeed in Week 8 at $5,400 as he and the rest of the league’s tight ends resume their pursuit of Graham for the lead in fantasy points at the position this season, which Graham retained despite not playing in Week 7.
The Week 7 Bust List
1. Jay Cutler – QB, CHI ($7,900) – 0.12 fantasy points
2. Arian Foster – RB, HOU ($9,000) – 1.1 fantasy points
3. Trent Richardson – RB, IND ($7,600) – 1.7 fantasy points
4. Larry Fitzgerald – WR, ARI ($7,500) – 2.7 fantasy points
5. DeSean Jackson – WR, PHI ($8,200) – 3.6 fantasy points
6. Tony Gonzalez – TE, ATL ($6,800) – 4 fantasy points
7. Josh Gordon – WR, CLE ($7,000) – 3.1 fantasy points
8. Adrian Peterson – RB, MIN ($9,400) – 6.6 fantasy points
9. Nick Foles – QB, PHI ($7,200) – 5.7 fantasy points
10. Tom Brady – QB, NE ($8,500) – 8.12 fantasy points
It’s not quite fair to put Jay Cutler atop the bust list as he left his Week 7 game against Washington in the second quarter, but he was taken by quite a few FanDuel users with his seemingly juicy matchup and ended up basically delivering a zero on the day. Cutler completed three of eight passes for 28 yards and an interception, and it wasn’t exactly looking like things were going to get much better had he not left the game. He’ll miss at least the next four weeks and the Bears will have to shamble on with Josh McCown at quarterback, which could spell fantasy doom for Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, and might put quite a dent in what has been to date a very consistent and productive season for Matt Forte.
Aside from Cutler, there were quite a few popular picks that became big busts over the weekend as Adrian Peterson (21.1% owned), Nick Foles (19.5%), Tony Gonzalez (18%), DeSean Jackson (13.6%), and Josh Gordon (10.8%) crushed the dreams of many. Just another reminder that the popular picks aren’t always the best picks, and that it’s important to consider all available options when building a lineup each week.
Big Winner Spotlight – raidernation05 raids the Bomb, turns $25 into $25,000
Any FanDuel user looking to hit it big each week should take a serious look at entering the Sunday NFL Bomb tournament. Raidernation05 did just that in Week 7 with a score of 177.94 points, turning a $25 entry fee into $25,000 in prize money. Here’s a look at the high-scoring team:
Peyton Manning ($10,400) had another fine game of 386 passing yards with three touchdowns and an interception, good for the seventh best scoring game of the week, though his return on value for his salary was slightly less stellar as he finished with only the 54th highest total of points per salary in Week 7. Still, allocating such a large portion of salary cap to a player that produces even just solid value is a great start at a high scoring team. That was the case for the 11.9% of users in the Bomb that rode the Peyton bandwagon in Week 7, a seemingly unstoppable force that has now accumulated a ridiculous 2,565 yards and 25 touchdowns against just three interceptions this season, with a running touchdown thrown in for good measure.
Matt Forte ($8,500) led the Chicago offensive attack after Jay Cutler went down, rushing 16 times for 91 yards and three touchdowns with two catches on three targets for 18 yards. It was the best day yet for Forte in a season of good days that ran his ownership percentage to 23.1% in Week 7. It will be interesting to see if FanDuel users shy away from Forte in the coming weeks with the Bears offense in flux without Cutler, or if they will flock to him as the likely focal point in Chicago going forward. Either way, he’ll cost $9,000 in Week 9 at Green Bay and will have more question marks around him than most players priced in that range.
Jacquizz Rodgers ($5,900) scored two receiving touchdowns in Week 7 after scoring two rushing touchdowns in Week 5 prior to the Falcons’ Week 6 bye. Not a bad two-game stretch, although it’s still been difficult to trust the Atlanta backfield sans Steven Jackson, hence the slim 1.6% ownership percentage for Jacquizz last week. While Jason Snelling is in the mix and has scored three touchdowns this year, Rodgers is the far more explosive and compelling back with an incredibly efficient 18 catches on 19 targets in the passing game over the last three games. Couple that with his generally larger share of the running game than Snelling and you’ve got a player that is capable of consistent production. Of course, as with most players seeing success at this point in the season, Rodgers’ price rises to $6,800 in Week 8.
Eric Decker ($6,500) continued his alternating pattern of big games following ordinary ones with eight catches on 13 targets for 150 yards and a touchdown in Week 7. If I asked you which Denver receiver has the most targets and yards this year, would you say Decker? Well you should, because he does. While he’s been held to three touchdowns on the year, Decker’s 64 targets and 627 receiving yards are tops among the Denver receiving corps, and those yards actually rank him second in the NFL this year right behind Torrey Smith’s 629. Just 6.5% of users in the Bomb were able to capitalize on that fact in Week 7, a number that will very likely rise with Decker remaining at $6,500 and going up against the soft Washington defense at home in Week 8.
Jordan Reed ($4,800) had a breakout game as mentioned in the top value section above, surprising many but not the 4.4% of users in the Bomb that made sure to include him in their lineups. Reed may have trouble duplicating his notable success every week, but he has a nice matchup against Denver coming up in Week 8 and remains a value-priced play at $5,400. He’s also caught a fantastic 87% of his targets so far this year, which suggests that as long as he remains the starter in a pass-heavy offense he’s got a good shot at extending his run. His name is certainly one to take a long look at when entering contests this week.
Meanwhile, Wes Welker ($8,000), Rueben Randle ($5,500), Adam Vinatieri ($5,200), and the New England Patriots ($5,200) defense showed that you don’t need blockbuster scores from every position to win a tournament, just a few big games and solid contributions from the rest of the lineup. With four players putting up sub-20 point games Raidernation05 managed to win the Bomb in Week 7 with the lowest top score we’ve seen in any week yet this year, edging out the second place finisher by just 1.9 points.
Here’s a link to the upcoming week’s $300K Sun Bomb tournament if you want to take your shot at the big prize this time around.