Players to Avoid: Week 7

Daily fantasy football isn’t all about who you are going to use. Sometimes it’s just as important to determine who you aren’t going to use. That way, if the salary happens to fit for your last spot, you’ll know which names to disregard in order to produce the greatest overall fantasy point output. Here are the guys to cross off your list heading into the seventh week of the NFL season.

Drew Brees, Saints, $14,000 – Home/away splits are an objectively real concern for Drew Brees and the sample size is growing. Throughout the course of Brees’ career, he has posted a 90.7 QB rating on the road compared to 101.3 at home. Over the course of the last two seasons, the gap has been widening as evident by his 82.8 rating on the road versus 114.3 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Vegas appears to be buying into this trend as well because the Saints are listed as 7.0 point underdogs in Kansas City. As if that were not enough, the Chiefs have allowed the eighth fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs this season so the matchup is subpar as well. Combine all the negatives with being priced as QB2 and there just is no reason to spend up for someone with such obvious downside. At a similar price, Matt Ryan is the superior play in all formats.

Christine Michael, Seahawks, $12,600 – After playing 73-percent of the Seahawks’ snaps is Week 4 (prior to the bye), Christine Michael yet again played exactly 73-percent of the snaps last week as well. Even though he is a workhorse back seeing a majority of the touches, this is a very difficult matchup. Michael has averaged 23.80 fantasy points over the past three weeks but all three of those teams rank in the top half of fantasy points allowed this year. By contrast, the Cardinals have allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to the position including just two rushing TDs and 104.0 rushing yards total per game. The last time Michael faced the Cardinals was in last year’s playoffs and he rushed 17 times for 102 yards and just 13.20 fantasy points. Of all the negatives to the matchup, the most unfavorable aspect is definitely the price; the only backs priced more expensively than Michael this week are Le’Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy, David Johnson and DeMarco Murray. While Michael has certainly been impressive to this point, his performance does not yet deem him a top five back even in one of the most difficult possible matchups. Although he will come at a low ownership this week, all of the aforementioned backs draw much more attractive matchups. There is no reason to drop down to Michael when it is easy to spend up for one of the elites or save salary for a similarly projected Spencer Ware.

Matt Forte, Jets, $9,900 – As a whole, Matt Forte is only averaging 3.5 yards per carry (YPC) and ranks as RB18 after looking like a top five back after the first two weeks alone. In two of the last three weeks, Forte has failed to even reach 2.5 YPC. After he carried the ball 52 times in Weeks 1 and 2 combined, he has only carried the ball 50 times in the four games since. Both his volume and effectiveness are on the decline and the 10 touches last week were by far a season-low. Certainly game flow factored into his Week 6 flop but are things really going to get any better with Geno Smith? The price has bottomed out but there is just nothing too appealing about the Jets offense, or even running game specifically, at this point. Furthermore, they will have their hands full against a Ravens defense that has only allowed 393 yards rushing and two total TDs to opposing backs. While Vegas implies the Jets will score 21.3 points in this game, which feels a bit high. Forte is barely worth considering in an upper-echelon matchup with the way he is playing at this point so there is no reason to consider him in one of the absolute worst possible draws.

Antonio Brown, Steelers, $17,700 – According to Brad Evans on Twitter, Antonio Brown only produced a 17-235-0 line in the four games sans Ben Roethlisberger last season and he only ranked as WR62 during that span. In other words, Brown ranked outside the top 60 fantasy receivers when Landry Jones and/or Michael Vick were under center. This week, Brown is still the absolute most expensive receiver on the slate so the price clearly does not reflect the new role. His matchup is no walk in the park either as the Patriots have allowed the eighth fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs although it certainly would have been beatable had Roethlisberger been healthy. There is no way to justify spending top dollar for Brown with Jones under center because the QB play worsens significantly. If the guy under center is unable to get Brown the ball consistently then there really is no way for him to produce in a meaningful way.

DeAndre Hopkins, Texans, $12,900 – Only the Bears (16.8) and the aforementioned Jets (15.8) have scored fewer points per game than the Texans’ 18.0. Although they are two totally different teams (49ers and Bills), there is only a duo of NFL squads to have thrown for fewer yards per game than the Texans this season as well. Basically, the passing offense ranks in the bottom handful of teams regardless of the metric and a lot of that can be attributed to the team’s inability to get the ball in the hands of DeAndre Hopkins to this point. For a little perspective, Hopkins and Travis Benjamin are virtually averaging the same amount of fantasy points per game this season (Hopkins 14.56 to Benjamin’s 14.50). In fact, Hopkins ranks second in his own receiving core in terms of fantasy points per game to Will Fuller’s 15.34. Last year, Hopkins did not have any competition so he dominated targets at a historic rate for the first half of the season and finished with 192 targets. Currently, he is only on pace for 152 targets in 2016. Additionally, Hopkins averaged a hefty 0.50 fantasy points per opportunity in 2015 but that number has plummeted all the way down to 0.35 with Brock Osweiler this year. All of these statistics are discouraging but probably none more so than the fact the Broncos have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs. the Broncos have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs. Yes, Hopkins and company face the absolute most difficult matchup possible against a secondary that has only surrendered 571 receiving yards and one TD to receivers. Fade him.

Kyle Rudolph, Vikings, $7,000 – Finding a TE1 to fully avoid this week is tough because most are in excellent spots but Kyle Rudolph seems to be one of the few exceptions. In five games, opposing TEs have only managed eight receptions and 93 yards against the Eagles (although they have scored one total TD). According to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average statistics (DVOA), only the Cardinals have graded as a stouter defense against the position to this point. Sure Sam Bradford loves to target Rudolph in the red zone and this is an awfully cheap price tag but the Eagles linebackers are more than athletic enough to stick with him. Throwing to receivers and pounding the ball are the ways to defeat this Eagles defense and the return of Stefon Diggs should certainly help their cause. Hunter Henry is virtually the same price and possesses far more upside so do not feel the need to pivot to Rudolph under any circumstance.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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