The Hail Mary (NFL DFS): Week 7 FIRST LOOK October 21, 2015  |  Doug Shain


Check out our NFL DFS Cheat Sheet!


The Huddle – Opening Statement

One of the practices I preach for building a successful GPP lineup is to keep an eye on ownership percentage. I love going with guys who are going to be low owned. I look at ownership so much that I even made up (ok, my dad made it up) a term for the types of plays I like: HuLo – High upside, Low ownership. What’s important to understand about HuLo is that too much concern about ownership can leave you with too much risk and not enough certainty on your roster. You’ve got to have some foundation plays that are going to give you a solid base on which to build your team. You’ll see this week that I like a lot of guys who are chalk plays (chalk plays refer to guys everyone is going to own); mainly Cardinals and Steelers. I’m of the belief that if I build my lineup with a foundation of chalk plays that I can construct the rest of my team in a way, through HuLo plays, that will differentiate it from the rest of the GPP field. It’s that differentiation that I am counting on to propel me up the leaderboard, but I can’t use those upside plays if I don’t have my strong foundation.

To take a look at a list of “musts” when building my GPP lineup, click here. Best of luck this week!


The Depth Chart – The Plays of the Week

I’m going to list 3 groups of players for each position (except K). These groups are going to be PUBLIC plays, EXPERT plays, and HuLo plays. For an explanation of what those plays mean, click here. They are not ranked in any order. I’ll give a little analysis after each position section, but I won’t necessarily give a narrative about each player.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Tom Brady – NE Carson Palmer – ARI Blake Bortles – JAX
Matt Ryan – ATL Ryan Tannehill – MIA Ryan Fitzpatrick – NYJ
Matt Stafford – DET Brian Hoyer – HOU Alex Smith – KC
Drew Brees – NO Cam Newton – CAR Jameis Winston – TB
Andrew Luck – IND Eli Manning – NYG Derek Carr – OAK
Philip Rivers – SD  Sam Bradford – PHI


– It would not shock me if one rebound game was all it took for people to jump back on the Matt Stafford train. I’m not sure if he’s a great play this week against the Vikings, but regardless I think he’ll be more highly owned than guys who are less expensive and whom I like more (Fitzmagic and Bortles). If you’re going to stack Stafford with Megatron I can see it, but otherwise I’d rather drop down to my HuLo plays.

– If you’re going to pay up for QB it should be for Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck, or Carson Palmer. Palmer is by far the top play of the week against a terrible Ravens defense and the only hesitation I have about playing him is that he’s going to be the highest owned QB by a mile this week. Even so, he might be worth it (there’s that strong foundation I was talking about, regardless of ownership). Luck’s matchup against New Orleans is great and his price is still down a bit. He’s in my top 4 QB plays of the week.

– Eli Manning is a really streaky player and this is one of those weeks where he could be on the upswing. Dallas isn’t anything special on defense and he loves playing them. After the clunker he put up on Monday night I can definitely see his ownership low. The other QB from Monday’s game, Sam Bradford, is starting to make some noise as a terrible real life, but decent fantasy, QB. I’m not buying it this week on the road in Carolina; I think he’s just going to be terrible.

– Some HuLo plays I’d prefer over Bradford are Bortles, Fitzpatrick, and Carr. All have decent matchups and give you more roster flexibility. Fitzpatrick in particular stands out to me as a guy that’s vastly underrated and much more consistent that you realize. His running ability is often overlooked but he gets you 30-40 yards a game with his legs, which translates into points that guys like Bradford just aren’t giving you.



Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Devonta Freeman – ATL Todd Gurley – STL LeSean McCoy – BUF
Marshawn Lynch – SEA Lamar Miller – MIA Ahmad Bradshaw – IND
Arian Foster – HOU Theo Riddick – DET Christopher Ivory – NYJ
Adrian Peterson – MIN Mark Ingram – NO Alfred Morris – WSH
LeVeon Bell – PIT Doug Martin – TB Jonathan Stewart – CAR
DeMarco Murray – PHI Justin Forsett – BAL


– My buddy, never one to shy away from hyperbole, texted me the other day that Devonta Freeman is “the next Barry Sanders”, and while he’s not quite at that level, boy has he been good. His price still hasn’t caught up with his productivity so I’d say he’s actually a value play at this point. The thing that Freeman has going most for him is that he catches a lot of passes so he’s got a high floor and an immense ceiling. I really feel like the bubble is going to burst at some point but this week at TEN isn’t it. Other Public plays I’d get into my lineup are Foster and Bell because of their similarly high floor. I’m going to jump off AP for a week to see if he gets rolling a little bit.

– Murray has been given a heavy dose of run the last 2 weeks and that’s going to make him a popular play. I’m not sold on him this week against a stout Carolina run D. I’m going to pass.

– My favorite plays of this week come from the Expert and HuLo lists. Todd Gurley is a beast and is still priced like a high end RB3. He’s a low end (possibly mid) RB1 right now. Cleveland can’t stop anyone from running the ball. He’s going to be highly owned but he’ll be well worth the price. I also love the price/matchup combo for Lamar Miller, Doug Martin, LeSean McCoy, and Christopher Ivory. Ivory is a sneaky play against such a high scoring Pats offense but the Jets are a lot better than you think and should keep this game close. He’s a low-end RB1 right now that you’re getting for RB2 prices. HuLo indeed!

– I have a feeling that Alfred Morris is going to get some carries this week against the Bucs to try to keep Kirk Cousins from throwing a bunch more picks. He’s not safe at all, but if he doesn’t step up this week we could be talking a whole lot about Matt Jones in Week 8.

– Theo Riddick and Ahmad Bradshaw are both PPR plays that would work if you’re going to completely punt the RB position. I wouldn’t advise it since you can get really good production cheaply this week, but it’s something to keep in mind.



Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
DeAndre Hopkins – HOU Travis Benjamin – CLE Allen Hurns – JAX
 Julio Jones – ATL Jarvis Landry – MIA Willie Snead – NO
Calvin Johnson – DET Stefon Diggs – MIN TY Hilton – IND
 Antonio Brown – PIT Donte Moncrief – IND Eric Decker – NYJ
Amari Cooper – OAK Brandon Marshall – NYJ Albert Wilson – KC
Keenan Allen – SD Martavis Bryant – PIT Pierre Garcon – WAS
Larry Fitzgerald – ARI Mike Evans – TB Steve Smith Sr – BAL
Odell Beckham – NYG John Brown – ARI


Arizona and Pittsburgh have insane matchups this week and I want all the receiving exposure I can get. I’m going to have lots of Fitz, John Brown, Antonio Brown, and Martavis Bryant. I believe very strongly in these matchups and I think the Public will too. I’m ok with them being highly owned because I’m not sure if they’ll be highly owned as a stack, which is how I intend to play them.

– Aside from those top plays I’m very comfortable with DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Johnson, and Keenan Allen (if he’s healthy) from the Public list. All 3 get a lot of targets and should give you a solid return on your investment.

– Travis Benjamin is a guy I wrote about in Week 3 (or 4) as a fade play because he was all or nothing. He was seeing 3 targets a game and was just a long-ball threat. My opinion has changed on that as Benjamin is averaging around 10 targets a game over his last 4 games. If you’ve read anything of mine this year you know that targets = cash. He’s a very safe play with a bunch of upside. Other Expert plays that I will have in my lineups this week are Brandon Marshall, Stefon Diggs, and Mike Evans.

– If Allen Robinson’s injury has him limited or out this week then Allen Hurns is a very intriguing play (he’s pretty interesting even if ARob does play). Buffalo has been getting torched through the air over the last 3 weeks and Bortles has been hot. That’s a combo for success for the Jags’ passing game. I also can see TY Hilton finally emerging as the true #1 for Andrew Luck in a very juicy matchup against the Saints. Eric Decker has scored in 4 straight games and the Jets are going to need to score to keep up with the Pats this week. Albert Wilson has developed a rapport with Alex Smith and if Jeremy Maclin is hurt this is an interesting cheap play.



Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Greg Olsen – CAR Charles Clay – BUF Delanie Walker – TEN
Rob Gronkowski – NE Antonio Gates – SD Ladarius Green – SD
Jimmy Graham – SEA Ben Watson – NO Gary Barnidge – CLE


– It’s been a while since Gronk truly Gronk’d. If you like him, you play him. He’s a little too rich for my blood this week.

– Greg Olsen is matchup proof, but he doesn’t need to be this week against the Eagles. He should continue to be a huge part of the Carolina offense.

– “Play your TE against the Raiders” is what they say; it’s what I say, too. This week I think the cash game play is Antonio Gates, while the GPP play is Ladarius Green. Everyone is going to be so keyed up on Gates but it’s Green that I could see having the big day.

– Ben Watson will not do again what Ben Watson did last week. Avoid.

– Do people know about Gary Barnidge yet? If they don’t, they should. He’s not a high volume guy, but McCown loves him. Do people realize how solid Delanie Walker is? If not, they should. He gives you a ton of production every week for a low price. Given the choice of the two I want Walker, the volume guy, over Barnidge, the flash in the pan.



Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Seattle Seahawks Atlanta Falcons New York Jets
Miami Dolphins Arizona Cardinals New York Giants
Buffalo Bills St. Louis Rams Washington Redskins


– Seattle should be a good play against a weak SF offense but I’m not willing to pay up to find out. I also am not sure I trust Miami after only one good game against a terrible Titans offense.

– All 3 expert plays have phenomenal matchups this week and are at the top of my list. Based on price alone I’ll be riding the Rams a lot but I can’t fault you for ATL or ARI if you’ve got the cap space.

– Just because the Giants got thrashed last week doesn’t mean that Matt Cassel can do it this week. He’s going to get hit hard and turn the ball over. Jameis Winston is going to suffer the same fate against Washington’s underrated fantasy defense.

Make sure to check back on Saturday morning for my WEEKEND UPDATE.


Check out the Fake Football Cheat Sheets for my sample lineups. I do the Fantasy Aces section, but the process of selecting the lineups is the same on all the sites.

Follow me on Twitter @bankster17 and good luck with your Hail Mary!

5 Responses

  1. Sonny says:

    Hey Doug,

    I read The Hail Mary every week when building my lineups because you always seem to have a good idea for the pool of guys that are going to have a big week. This week do you think Fitzgerald or Brown are going to be the one that goes off against Baltimore I’ve been going back and forth about which guy to start in that game? Also, do you think Martavis Bryant is going to put up more big numbers with a full workload for Jones? I have yet to play a single guy from Cleveland this year, but after last week it looks like Benjamin might have a shot of putting up some numbers consistently, do you think he has a high enough ceiling to play him over Martais or John Brown? And my biggest debate of the week is rather to start Marshall or Hopkins because normally I play both of those guys because they are always solid plays, but I went RB heavy this week with Ivory, Gurley, and Freeman so I can’t go with both?

    • Doug Shain says:

      Hey Sonny,
      Thanks for reading and submitting your questions. I’ll try to make sure I address all of them for you.

      As you’ll see in my WEEKEND UPDATE I have kind of moved off of John Brown and instead am looking at Michael Floyd. I really don’t like playing guys who didn’t practice all week, especially when there’s a viable alternative. Given my druthers I’d just go with Fitzgerald over both of them, but Floyd does represent an extreme value with his low salary.

      I’m off Martavis Bryant right now because his ownership was sky high on the Thursday slates while Antonio Brown’s was under 5%. I’ll take the better player with the lower ownership every time. His price is down so it’s not like you’re dropping $9k to get him in your lineup.

      I wouldn’t play a lot of guys from Cleveland either, but Benjamin’s prices hasn’t yet caught up to his opportunities. He’s becoming a target machine and is by far McCown’s favorite target (and Manziel likes him as well). He’s becoming a reliable cash game play as well as a GPP flier. At this point I’d rank him over over both John Brown and Martavis Bryant due to price and expected ownership, especially for a GPP.

      Marshall and Hopkins are great, but their prices are starting to catch up to their production. Remember, you want to try to get guys who are going to his 2.5x to 3x value and that’s REALLY hard to do at the salary you have to pay for Hopkins. He’s pretty much just a cash game play for me this week. I’d rather go with Antonio Brown, Larry Fitz, and Benjamin (or Decker, Landry, Moncrief) at WR and then use Gurley, Ivory, and Freeman (and Doug Martin and Lamar Miller, too) at RB.

      I hope that helps. Best of luck this week. Let me know how you did either on here or on Twitter (@bankster17).

  2. Osiris says:

    Should I start Allen Robinson or Eric Decker and do you see Hurns going off since A.J Green was being held down.

    • Doug Shain says:

      Good evening Osiris,
      Thanks for reading.

      I don’t have a strong feeling about Rishard Matthews. He’s cooled off considerably and there are other value plays that I’d rather have in my lineup instead of him.

      As for Allen Robinson, that really depends on if he’s healthy or not. If he plays, I like him best, but if he sits I prefer Decker (obviously). I do like Hurns either way this week and actually he might be a better play if Robinson in in the lineup because he’ll take the main defensive attention from Buffalo.

      I hope that helps. Best of luck this weekend!

  3. Osiris says:

    What about Rishard Matthews do you see him going off.

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