Week 8 NFL DFS Insights – Week 7 Optimal Lineup Recap for FanDuel & DraftKings

Week 8 NFL DFS Insights – Turning back the clock to have a look at the week 7 optimal lineups (mains late) on FanDuel and DraftKings. Let’s find out what we can learn from how things shook out to help make our week 8 lineup selections.

Welcome to the NFL DFS Insights column for FanDuel & DraftKings.

This week’s post focuses on taking a look at the week 7 NFL DFS optimal lineups (courtesy of our Lineup Rewind tool on FantasyCruncher.com). What can we learn? What did we see coming? What were the surprises? Let’s dive right in.

Last week I focused on making sure you leverage your intuition to help you make your DFS picks rather than just quantitative data. Hopefully you took advantage of some of the game scripts you thought would come to life this week and turned it into a profitable on on FanDuel and/or DraftKings.

Jeremy Hill, for example, was high on my list this week in tournaments. Not only because his price was great on DraftKings (only $4,000), but the Bengals were also big favorites playing against a terrible team (Cleveland). I expected them to get up big and ice the game with their power runner. It didn’t hurt that he broke a huge TD run as well on his way to a 30+ DK point day, making his ROI tremendous on the $4K salary.

The same is to be said for LeGarrette Blount, who was in a great spot as well. The Pats were favored by a touchdown, and we knew he’d close out the game. Scoring a couple TDs was a huge boost to his production as well, but the writing was on the wall for a solid game at an affordable price tag.

How did things turn out on each site? Let’s have a closer look.

DraftKings Week 7 Optimal Lineup (Main Slate)

FanDuel Week 7 Optimal Lineup (Main Slate)

Key Takeaways

Overall, there was a little chalk that came through, but some surprises as well.

I’m considering A.J. Green, Mike Evans and Jack Doyle to be fairly chalky plays. We talked about these guys at pretty great length on the week 7 podcast and across our content columns leading up to Sunday. By the way, make sure you catch our week 8 broadcast tomorrow (Tuesday) night.

Evans was (and is) set to be a target monster moving forward now that Vincent Jackson is down for the count. We thought Cameron Brate or Adam Humphries may step in to take some targets here, but that really wasn’t the case. He’s the key red zone threat for the Bucs and needs to be played in most matchups until further notice.

Doyle was a bargain on both sites, but at $2,500 on DK – we should call that an absolute steal. Andrew Luck loves the guy and he’s going to be a key threat for the Colts moving forward, even when Dwayne Allen returns. I didn’t expect that he’d be in the optimal lineup, but there was a very high probability he was going to be a profitable play at such a cheap price tag.

I’m a little surprised to see Andrew Luck as the optimal QB play here, making him and Doyle the QB/TE stack to have exploited. I’m sure you considered playing T.Y. Hilton here too, and that would have worked out just fine as he had a very good game himself (7/133/1). Jeff and I talked about how this was the week to get back on the T.Y. train as he’s been alternating great and poor weeks – and that trend continued here. Solid matchup and big production from the Colts’ best offensive weapon.

I mentioned Blount and Hill above as 2 guys that had positive game script situations that we could have projected. Both were considerable favorites and came in at very good prices on both sites (especially DK). Scoring and piling on some big yard totals really helped cement their values. Even though they didn’t make it to the optimal lineups in the end, they were both excellent producers.

Jay Ajayi had another incredible game, and it came against a team that typically is very solid against the run. Hard to believe the he’s now had back-to-back 200+ yard games for the Dolphins. It looks like they have found their true #1 rusher in Miami.

Melvin Gordon wasn’t a popular play on the main slate, but the production was fantastic thanks to 3 TDs. We knew points would be scored in this one, but many of us thought that Hunter Henry or Philip Rivers would be key contributors to that. Rivers was ok, but Gordon was the guy to own from this game (in addition to Josh Lambo on FD).

It’s pretty clear that the chemistry between Michael Crabtree and Derek Carr isn’t going away. These guys just look to be on the exact same page with one another, which is really frustrating for DFS because conventional wisdom says that we should be exploiting the far more talented Amari Cooper / Carr stack. Looks like we need to make sure we rotate in the #2 receiver on that club when we like Oakland’s passing attack on a given week.

The Eagles were an affordable DEF/ST option on both sites, and they had their most productive outing in 2016 to day with 6 sacks, 1 INT, 3 fumbles and a TD while holding the Vikings to only 10 points. With high winds, this game was an easy one to pick on for DEF/ST and I hope you did just that here. Always keep a close eye on the elements right before kickoff (or lineup lock) as they can often sway things in the corner of (making a strong) DEF/ST play.

A couple surprises that are only relevant for the DK lineup – Matt Forte and Michael Thomas.

Forte had over 100 total yards and 2 scores as the Jets surprised the Ravens in this one. I didn’t see that coming, nor did many others, considering his ownership was so low. On DK, the price was certainly right, though ($5,000). Blount or Hill had similar outputs and were much stronger plays on paper, in my opinion. Don’t kick yourself for missing this one with Forte – it came out of the blue (considering he was also pretty banged up heading into week 7).

Michael Thomas continues his emergence for the Saints, and he’s going to see his price climb steadily moving forward. Fresh off a 5/78/1 game in week 6, he put up 10/130 in week 7 on 13 targets. That makes his season a pretty impressive one early on, in my eyes. Three games of 9+ targets and at least 5 in each that he’s played. TDs in 3 of his last 4 and at least 70 yards in that same timeframe. He’s definitely on our radar now, and his price is up to $5,000 on DK for his week 8 matchup with the Seahawks. He’ll be an intriguing GPP play once again here, but this matchup won’t be too easy – especially if they focus on shutting him down. I’ll still play him in a few GPPs as Brandin Cooks is likely to get more defensive attention, but I’m not expecting over 100 yards.


Trying to boil this down to a couple key insights to help guide our week 8 lineup construction:

Insight #1 – Stacking is a Good Thing

We saw the Luck-Doyle connection end up as a great option here. Adding Hilton into that mix worked just fine, too, even though it wasn’t the true “optimal” lineup. If you see production coming for a particular team and have a good read on the guys that should be a part of it – exploit it!

Other stacks that paid off this week:

Insight #2 – Play and Fade the Chalk… Strategically

Temptation to “fade chalk” can sometimes take you the wrong direction. At times it will work, but we’ll often see at least 1-2 higher-owned (chalky) plays make the grade and end up on high-scoring rosters.

One way to manage that within the Fantasy Cruncher lineup construction tools is to create Group(s) that identify the chalky guys you like, and putting a condition against how many you want (minimum, maximum or exact number) to have in your lineups.

For example, you may have liked Mike Evans, Julio Jones and A.J. Green this week but only wanted the optimizer to include a maximum of 2 of them per lineup. You can also tell it to create lineups with at least 1 in your squad. A simple but VERY effective feature that we have in our software.


Best of luck in week 8 and beyond, everyone.

About Jared

Jared is an expert fantasy sports player for both DFS and season-long formats. Specializing in DFS Baseball, Football & Basketball, with tens of thousands of dollars in career DFS earnings. Active player on FanDuel, DraftKings & FantasyDraft. Annual NFBC high stakes league participant.

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