DFS early Week 7 primer

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Whether you've played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are giving it a try for the first time, this new weekly column will take an early look at the DFS landscape, revealing whom I like building lineups around, stars to fade, undervalued plays, and bargain bin options to help you construct a better team.

Lineup building blocks

Derrick Henry ($40) vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Henry has run for three touchdowns in three of the last five games and stands alone as fantasy’s king right now. It’s risky (if not impossible) to fade him in any matchup at this point. Henry will get a KC run defense that’s allowed 5.2 YPC, an NFL-high 33.5 first-down percentage, and the second-most rush touchdowns (nine) up next. DFS was made for those who missed out on Henry at draft tables.

Darrell Henderson ($27) vs. Detroit Lions

Henderson continues to be treated as the Rams’ true feature back, as he saw 22 of the team’s 24 backfield touches Sunday until it was 38-3 in the fourth quarter. Despite missing one game, he’s on pace to finish with 1,391 scrimmage yards and 14 touchdowns. This week features a bunch of byes and running backs dealing with injuries, further thinning an already shallow position. Henderson is in a smash spot with the Rams 15-point home favorites against a Detroit defense that’s allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season, so he’s a strong DFS building block.

Darrell Henderson
Darrell Henderson has been shining as the Rams No. 1 back. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Davante Adams ($35) vs. Washington Football Team

Adams somehow saw just five targets last week after he totaled 45 over the previous three games, so expect a nice bounce-back Sunday. The Packers get a Washington defense that’s ceded the most passing yards and an NFL-high 16 TDs through the air, giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Adams touchdowns are going to start coming in bunches — Week 7 is a good time to start.

Stars to fade

DeAndre Hopkins ($28) vs. Houston Texans

Hopkins scored two more touchdowns last week but saw just four targets, a stat in which DHop surprisingly doesn’t rank in the top 40 this season. In fact, Hopkins ranked No. 4 in WOPR last year; he’s No. 33 among wide receivers in 2021. The volume simply hasn’t been there to sustain elite-level production, and this week Arizona adds Zach Ertz as another pass catcher and faces a Houston defense that’s far better against the pass than run (and has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers). Game script shouldn’t dictate a ton of passing for Arizona this week, so volume could once again be an issue for Hopkins.

Undervalued options

Joe Burrow ($27) @ Baltimore Ravens

Burrow has thrown multiple touchdowns in every game this season despite averaging just 29 pass attempts, as he’s been eased back from knee surgery. The Bengals have Tee Higgins back healthy joining budding star Ja’Marr Chase (along with Tyler Boyd), and they may have to pass more than usual this week as near-TD underdogs to Baltimore. The Ravens have a middling defense, and Burrow’s 8.9 YPA leads the AFC this season.

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Darrel Williams ($18) @ Tennessee Titans

Williams managed just 3.0 YPC during his start last week but racked up 25 carries/targets while continuing to see Kansas City’s goal-line work (two touchdowns). Williams is being treated as KC’s clear RB1 with Clyde Edwards-Helaire sidelined, and the Chiefs get a beatable Tennessee defense this week. Kansas City easily has the highest implied team total on the entire slate, so it’s hard passing on the team’s feature back at just $18.

DeVonta Smith ($14) @ Las Vegas Raiders

The rookie is coming off a season-low four-target game despite a highly favorable matchup, but Smith should bounce back indoors in Week 7. The Raiders pass defense has admittedly not allowed a bunch of fantasy points this season, but this game should be high-scoring and Philadelphia has essentially given up even trying to run the ball. Smith ranks top-15 in air yards and top-20 in WOPR this season in the NFL’s most aggressive system, so Smith could have a huge second half. His DFS salary is too low to ignore.

Jakobi Meyers ($13) vs. New York Jets

Meyers is more valuable in full PPR but is seeing far too much volume to be down at $13. He ranks top-15 in target percentage, and Mac Jones has mostly impressed. The Jets have been one of the toughest defenses against outside fantasy receivers this year, but Meyers has run more than 75% of his routes from the slot. Positive touchdown regression is coming.

Bargain Bin

Quez Watkins ($10) @ Las Vegas Raiders

The Eagles have easily the league’s highest neutral pass rate, and Watkins has surpassed Jalen Reagor as Philadelphia’s WR2 over the last two weeks (finishing top-20 in air yards last week). Las Vegas has been more vulnerable to the slot, while the Eagles employ one of the league’s fastest paces on offense.

New York Giants D/ST ($10) vs. Carolina Panthers

The Giants are a salary-saving option at home facing a quarterback who’s committed seven turnovers while taking 12 sacks (5.9 YPA) over the last three games. Christian McCaffrey remains out, and Carolina’s offensive line is struggling, so New York’s D/ST is a strong flier at the minimum.

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