Each week, I break down the DFS slate over at SportsLine where I provide not just my tiered DFS rankings and optimal lineups for both DraftKings and FanDuel, but also key DFS value plays that cover a few different categories. I go through my core values, which are at the center of my lineup-building strategy each week; my wide range of outcome values, which bring massive point-per-dollar potential but also high volatility; and my value plug-ins, which project to keep your lineup on pace for a strong score and are viable if you need the savings to pay up for expensive conviction plays.
You can find all those picks with analysis in my Week 7 NFL DFS Values column at SportsLine, but here's one player who falls into the "value plug-in" category for this week.
$2,700 on DraftKings
$4,900 on FanDuel
We are really scraping for any value on this slate. It's Week 7, six teams are on bye, and scoring is down across the league. It has felt like the number of viable values that I could include in this article has shrunk with each passing week. Just look at the way bettors are reacting to what we're seeing in the NFL -- even though opening lines continue to drop, bettors continue to hammer the under.
If it feels like the NFL hasn't been as fun as usual this year, that's because it hasn't. Defenses are winning, and that's not as fun from a mainstream entertainment standpoint. It's certainly less fun for Fantasy.
And so here we are, scraping the bottom of the barrel for value. And we may have found something with rookie tight end Michael Mayer at a near-minimum Week 7 salary.
Michael Mayer’s snap rate by week— Jacob Gibbs (@jagibbs_23) October 17, 2023
Week 1 — 51%
Week 2 — 39%
Week 3 — 48%
Week 4 — 52%
Week 5 — 66%
Week 6 — 82%
Quietly went led the Raiders with 5-75 receiving in Week 6
There are a lot of factors working against Mayer in Week 7. Davante Adams is currently one of the squeakiest wheels we've had at the wide receiver position in quite some time, and we all know that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. So we have a likelihood of targets funneling to Adams and a backup QB to contend with. The timing of the squeaky wheel narrative is particularly problematic, as there may not be many targets to go around with Brian Hoyer at the helm. I'd expect the Raiders to lean on the ground game against Chicago.
On top of that, we have just one data point to go off of when projecting Mayer for a breakout. There's a reason that he's priced so low -- Mayer has just two games with double-digit receiving yards, and Week 7 was his first game with more than three targets.
The tight end position is a complete guessing game beyond Travis Kelce, though. It makes some sense that if you aren't using Kelce -- in Isiah Pacheco lineups, for example -- to go ahead and drop all the way down to the cheapest viable tight end play. In Week 7, Mayer is clearly the guy. The 35th overall pick was a prolific collegiate pass-catcher and looked the part in Week 6. If last week's playing time is sticky, Mayer brings an outlook similar to someone like Pat Freiermuth, and the Steelers TE is routinely priced around $4k on DraftKings. Getting this type of a potential discount is at least worth considering on a week where value is tough to come by.
Another player I'm especially high on comes from the same game, which you can find in my DFS Values column for Week 7. Additionally, you should also check out more of my key plays in my Week 7 NFL DFS Helper, where I break each position into tiers for DraftKings and FanDuel, then provide my optimal lineups for each site.