I’ve amazed myself at the staggering amount of restraint required to not post a single Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems) GIF, “This is how I win.” The tears are flowing. The deepest voices have gone shrill. Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season is “Bye-mageddon.”
The waaambulance chasers are already reserving airtime. “If you or a loved one had trouble setting a valid roster in Week 7, you may be entitled to financial compensation.” It’s pandemonium out there in the fantasy football community, but I’m honestly feeling just fine this week. Understanding who is left in this post-apocalyptic football hellscape is half the battle. The other half is pulling your hat down and holding on tight like Chris LeDoux and enjoying the ride.
Sure, some of my best rosters are oozing with studs from the Cowboys, Chargers, Bills, Steelers, Vikings, and Jaguars. Still, out of 46 season-long teams, only one of them made me taste the metallic flavor of imminent death. That team is 5-1, so I’ll take my loss and move on. We still have DFS. We still have the ability to double our money (or better) this week by only worrying about who is on the football field.
The Main Slate is nasty, drab, and gloomy. It still has winners. I don’t need to list the players who are unavailable; you’re already well aware. Add in the injured ones and it might seem desolate to the untrained eye. The Nimble team has the tools and the knowledge to hone in on the best plays with laser precision. The names are irrelevant. The key to saving the world with Bruce Willis this week is finding the best values and nailing down continuing trends. I can already hear Stephen Tyler screaming into the mic, “Don’t wanna close my eyes…”
Week 7 Cash Plays
I have a slightly different view from the consensus on how to build winning cash lineups. Instead of focusing on players with a “high floor,” I instead focus on their expected workload. These players often have that safe floor as a result of the VOLUME of opportunities, but they also have a higher likelihood of returning the 3x+ value that most cash games require to end the day above the pay line. A smart cash player has to always consider ceiling as a part of the equation, just maybe weighted lighter than if building for a GPP. I ask myself the same question every time: Does this player’s expected volume of opportunities (EVO) have high odds of accomplishing 3 points per salary dollar, divided by 1,000 (x=3[y/1000]).
KEY INGREDIENT*** — SECRET INGREDIENT*
KYLER MURRAY: VS HOUSTON ($8,500)
Murray was back to his cash-winning ways in Cleveland last week. The only reason to shy away from him this week is the nice top-end matchups for quarterbacks that cost a little less to roster.
PATRICK MAHOMES: @ TENNESSEE ($8,400)***
Mahomes has been erratic at the game of football, but straight money in fantasy. His “worst” performance was 22 points against a staunch Buffalo defense. This week, he draws the stone-worst secondary in the NFL. Tennessee likely has the firepower to hang with Kansas City, which bodes well for Mahomes’ median score rising.
AARON RODGERS: VS WASHINGTON ($7,500)
The 2020 NFL MVP is a shareholder of Soldier Field in Chicago, too. He returns to Lambeau Field to host the disappointing Washington Football Team. Washington has yet another tough draw, after getting diced up by Patrick Mahomes last week. Rodgers and Adams should feast yet again.
RYAN TANNEHILL: VS KANSAS CITY ($6,400)
For how dominant Derrick Henry has been, Tannehill has slipped back into mediocrity. He will be missing Julio Jones again this week, along with a svelte AJ Brown coming off the Chipotle cleanse. In any case, Tannehill and the Titans will need to chuck the ball around to keep up with KC, who also sports an abysmal secondary.
MAC JONES: VS NY JETS ($5,300)
If you’re going to build around expensive pieces like Henry and Hill this week, you might need to slide into unsavory territory at quarterback. Should you venture down into this abyss, Jones has been consistent and faces a Jets defense that is playing rudderless football.
DERRICK HENRY: VS KANSAS CITY ($9,200)
Derrick Henry in cash, no matter what. The man is generational. The size, speed, and sheer ability shown by King Henry is unmatched in today’s NFL. He is matchup-proof, script-proof, and seemingly tackle-proof. The Chiefs defense will have a hell of a time trying to slow him down and get their offense back on the field.
DARRELL HENDERSON: VS DETROIT ($6,600)***
Back to the well with Hendo, who gets a second-consecutive cupcake matchup. He has burst for days and is getting a hefty workload advantage over Sony Michel. A cash lineup without Henry and Hendo is a losing one this week.
JOE MIXON: @ BALTIMORE ($6,500)
Mixon and Henderson were key features of last week’s Hot Cash article. There is no reason to fade Mixon this week, either. Baltimore is 23rd against opposing running backs, and Mixon is one of the last remaining bellcow backs in the league. If he is healthy, he’s a great cash player.
CORDARRELLE PATTERSON: @ MIAMI ($6,300)
Did you forget about Patterson over the bye week, following the game in London? I didn’t. The Swiss army knife is averaging over 20 DK points per game this season and now goes up against a horrendous Miami defense. Arthur Smith will keep riding the hot hand. That hot hand still hasn’t been Mike Davis and won’t be for a while.
CHUBA HUBBARD: @ NY GIANTS ($6,100)
I shed a tear when I envision what kind of insane numbers a healthy Christian McCaffrey would be putting up over this stretch of games. For the third-straight week, Hubbard faces an impoverished run defense. Hubbard isn’t even a sliver of the player that CMC is, but volume is key. Bad football players can still score fantasy points.
DEANDRE SWIFT: @ LA RAMS ($6,000)
How does DK treat a player averaging 18.2 points per game? They drop his salary to the lowest it has been since Week 3. The algorithm hates Swift, which means I love him every week for cash games. The Rams should absolutely destroy the Lions on Sunday, which opens up the entire second half for Swift to PPR the slate to death.
DAMIEN HARRIS: VS NY JETS ($5,700)
Maybe Bill Belichick has gone soft at his advanced age, but he hasn’t put Harris in the doghouse for very long. He has given some more work to the plodding rookie, Rhamondre Stevenson, but Harris is still getting a ton of work. I don’t see much resistance this week for Harris against the Jets.
DAVANTE ADAMS: VS WASHINGTON ($8,900)
The Washington secondary is terrible. Davante Adams is the best wide receiver in the NFL. They cannot and will not cover him. 15-plus targets are on the docket for Sunday and I will try to shoehorn him into my cash lineups wherever possible.
TYREEK HILL: @ TENNESSEE ($8,600)
If the Adams shoe just won’t fit, the Cheetah-print track shoe will slip on like Cinderella. Hill will be another week healed from his thigh contusion, which limited him to a mere 22 DK points last week in Washington. Just imagine the possibilities.
DJ MOORE: @ NY GIANTS ($7,100)
Don’t forget about DJ Moore! Sam Darnold is still heavily targeting him, which has given him an unprecedented number of chances to showcase his game-breaking talent in the open field. After two games with a downtick in production, he is back down to a more reasonable salary. I will be happy to pay that for his volume against the woeful Giants.
CALVIN RIDLEY: @ MIAMI ($6,600)***
Save for a head-scratching Week 1 game plan, Ridley has surpassed ten targets in every single game he has played this season. Just like with Patterson, we are getting salary relief from the bye week. We’re getting Ridley at his lowest salary of the season, by far. He missed the London game for a personal reason before the bye, and will be returning to face a Dolphins defense with a myriad of injuries in the secondary.
BRANDIN COOKS: @ ARIZONA ($6,000)
Can we get any more repetitive in this article? Cooks was my key ingredient wide receiver last week and very quietly surpassed a 3x value. Another 10-plus targets is on the docket this week against the Cardinals. Their defense has been powered by a ruthless pass rush, but their talent at corner is still really bad.
CHRIS GODWIN: VS CHICAGO ($5,900)
With Gronk and AB out this week, both Evans and Godwin are fully in play. Evans is the preferred tournament option, but Godwin in the slot is an automatic cash play against this pass funnel Bears’ defense. Godwin is much too talented to be under $6k, no matter who the Bucs are facing.
JAYLEN WADDLE: VS ATLANTA ($5,600)
Even with a massive $700 markup from last week, it was deserved for the speedy rookie, Waddle. He garnered 13 targets from Tua Tagovailoa last week in London. This week, he faces an Atlanta defense that has defended wide receivers relatively well, but not against great competition.
DARNELL MOONEY: @ TAMPA BAY ($4,600)
Can we get some respect for Mooney on DK? Actually, let’s keep him a well-kept secret for cash games. The Bears don’t pass a lot, but Mooney is still the most-targeted receiver on the team. Although we can’t trust Matt Nagy at all to come up with a good game plan against the league’s best pass funnel defense in Tampa, there should be a nice uptick in an already solid workload for the second-year pro from Tulane.
AMON-RA ST BROWN: @ LA RAMS ($4,100)
The Sun God was targeted seven times last week at $4.2k. The problem? He only clawed his way to 26 receiving yards on five receptions. Goff is a major problem for St Brown’s aDOT figure. This game should be a humiliating blowout, so I do like a likely double dose of targets for the USC rookie in mop-up time.
RASHOD BATEMAN*: VS CINCINNATI ($3,400)
DraftKings still hasn’t caught on to the massive potential of Shoddy B. Fresh off a groin injury, he took the field and seized a 22% target share. That equaled Mark Andrews’ share. Yahoo! DFS already increased Bateman’s salary by 50% from last week, but DK is lagging behind with only a $400 increase. I’ll take that free square every time.
TRAVIS KELCE: @ TENNESSEE ($7,600)
Surprisingly, the Titans are pretty decent at defending the tight end position. A deeper dive would reveal that they simply haven’t had to face any good ones. Kelce commands a ton of attention on the field, which makes him a decent value. He isn’t my favorite, however, due to his stinger injury and matchup with Kevin Byard.
DARREN WALLER: VS PHILADELPHIA ($6,700)***
Didn’t that Vegas offense look liberated last week? It was the opposite of what I expected, but the Raiders draw another great matchup for tight ends this week. The corners for Philly have played pretty well, but they have been destroyed from the slot. Waller is a premium play this week at a lovely salary.
KYLE PITTS: @ MIAMI ($5,900)
It sounds strange, but I was excited to get up at 6:30 in the morning to watch the Falcons and Jets play in London. Kyle Pitts was in line for a massive day and he didn’t disappoint. The rookie isn’t done yet; the Dolphins are falling apart on defense. I think it also finally clicked for Arthur Smith. He now realizes that he should involve one of the most gifted receiving prospects in NFL history more for better results.
MIKE GESICKI: VS ATLANTA ($4,700)
Just as it isn’t fair (or accurate) to classify Kyle Pitts as a tight end, Gesicki has only lined up at the traditional spot on 12 snaps this season. The Falcons are in the middle of the pack against the pass, but this game has some sneaky shootout potential.
DALLAS GOEDERT: @ LAS VEGAS ($4,600)
It finally happened. Zach Ertz was traded months later than expected, but now the Eagles and Nick Sirianni can run 11 and 21 personnel like they planned to. Goedert will be a huge factor in this offense going forward, especially with the struggles of Jalen Hurts and Jalen Reagor.
CJ UZOMAH: @ BALTIMORE ($3,000)
It may be a statistic inflated by a series of tough matchups, but the Ravens are 29th at defending opposing tight ends. I think another contributing factor has been the poor health of the Baltimore secondary. Uzomah has looked incredible coming off his Achilles tear. Down at this salary, I feel very confident that Uzomah will approach double figures this week.