So with one week in the books I must say this year already has me pumped. Multiple overs were eviscerated and Vegas paid out some sizeable moolah. The DFS landscape continued to pay out large chunks of guaranteed money (including some into my pocketbook). Not to mention, that we saw the premiere of some new DFS wrinkles. Unfortunately, FanDuel still trots out kicker as a position, maybe next year they will finally tire of putting its users through that headache.
On the gridiron, we got to witness a Saints defense that is actually worse than the one they trotted out last year. We got to witness DFS heartthrob, Keenan Allen, go down for the second straight season. We got to witness rookies establishing themselves (Dak Prescott, Will Fuller, and Carson Wentz) as legit and we got to watch veterans re-establish themselves (Steve Smith, Jason Witten, and Larry Fitzgerald) as legit.
For Week 2, we are presented with another wrinkle and that is “rapid price righting”. In previous seasons DFS A.I. appeared to be delayed slightly giving penny-pinching owners a couple weeks before salaries starting ramping up where they should be. No such luck anymore. The QB position in particular is whack this week where the value priced third and fourth tier talent is priced on par with second tier talent at the other positions.
This week there are values to be had at the top of the pricing charts. At RB and at WR, you can pay up for some players in the lofty salary range who will still outperform their salary. This just further strengthens the argument to pay as little as possible at TE, QB, and DEF (and yes at K too for FanDuel).
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – I’m not going to chase the stat lines posted by Andrew Luck and Drew Brees, both of whom I predict a steep drop off from in Week 2. Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton are ok at their prices but I really want to save some at QB this week. Eli Manning has the sweetest matchup of all and I will be forced to use him in a couple lineups. His salary isn’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination but he will save you about 1K from Rodgers and Cam. Most of my lineups will be anchored by the cheapest of the cheap options (Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, and Josh McCown). These three all come in at near league minimum and all are roughly 3K cheaper than the top options. We will need that savings at the other positions.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Eli Manning, Giants vs. NO ($7600 DK, $8100 FD)
New Orleans was epically bad last year against the pass. They actually gave up nine more passing TDs than the next closest team. Only three times all season did they fail to allow multiple passing TDs in a game. This year amazingly, their secondary is even worse. Topping it off, it got even more bad news in Week 1 as their only legitimate NFL cornerback, Delvin Breaux, sustained a broken fibula. Eli Manning has more than one weapon to work with now. Rookie, Sterling Shepherd and returning veteran, Victor Cruz provide Odell Beckham Jr. with legit secondary options. I’m not sure New Orleans’ best corner could cover either, Cruz or Shepherd – let alone Beckham. Eli is a mortal lock for close to 400 yards and 3+ touchdowns. You should stack your G-Men this week (yes that includes alleged wife-beater, Josh Brown at kicker on FD).
Cam Newton, Panthers vs. SF ($7900 DK, $9000 FD)
What do you get when you put last season’s fantasy scoring MVP against last season’s most laughable defense? The answer is a stat line that will only be diminished by the fact that Derek Anderson will play the entire 4th quarter of this game. Even if he doesn’t play the full game, Newton will trounce a San Francisco defense that gave up over 260 passing yards in nine different contests last year. Cam should surpass 300 total yards and he is a lock for at least two TDs.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers @ MIN ($7800 DK, $8700 FD)
Aaron Rodgers has made a healthy career out of facing the Vikings. In 16 career meetings, Rodgers has produced 35 total touchdowns and 250 yards per game. This includes a couple stinkers that he left early due to injury and a snow-bowl game or two. Throw those out and he is averaging closer to 280 yards per game. This is his floor this week.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers v. CIN ($7500 DK, $8300 FD)
Ben Roethlisberger gets to take out his revenge on the team that didn’t actually knock them out of the playoffs last season but which was blatantly responsible for their failure to make the Super Bowl. Vontaze Burfict leveled a dirty hit on Antonio Brown, costing Brown and the Steelers the Divisional Championship game and costing Burfict the first three weeks of this season. Burfict is arguably the best defender on the Bengals and his loss will affect their ability to slow down the Steelers’ well- balanced offense. Over the last two seasons, Ben has faced Cincy five times averaging nearly 290 yards per game. Expect a stronger line than that as Pittsburgh runs it up here.
Brock Osweiler, Texans vs. KC ($6100 DK, $7200 FD)
Kansas City’s secondary was atrocious Week 1. Even their best corner, second-year guy Marcus Peters was charred repeatedly like a marshmallow at a campsite. If Keenan Allen hadn’t gotten injured and deflated the Chargers’ mojo, the line against them would look even worse than it did. Until their new secondary gels we could see more pinball contests between them and their opposition. This week they face a Texans team built very similar to the Chargers. They have a cannon-armed quarterback (Osweiler), a comeback candidate running back (Lamar Miller), a very solid possession receiver who gets targeted excessively (DeAndre Hopkins) and a young burner who can stretch the field (Will Fuller). The only way Osweiler doesn’t dominate this game is if Nuk suffers a season-ending injury. Please don’t let that happen.
Josh McCown, Browns vs. BAL ($5000 DK, $6000 FD)
My co-host on the Blitzed Podcast, Steve Gallo, convinced me this week that I should target a bunch of Browns skill position players cheap. Apparently I’m into personal schaudenfreude, because here we go. In two matchups with Baltimore last season, Josh McCown totaled 669 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. He also added a rushing TD in one of those games. Both of those games also topped the 60 combined points scored mark, so Vegas might be grabbing their ankles come Monday morning over their 42.5 point line. Baltimore allowed multiple passing TDs in ten of their games last year. They will allow multiple passing touchdowns this time out as well.
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$4,500||$5,400|
Weekly strategy – The top tier at RB are all priced fairly reasonable on DK as well as on FD. The one exception is David Johnson on FD who is nearly 1K more than the next solid option. Johnson deserves top billing after his Week 1 performance but I’d rather save the money and go with a cheaper sure thing like DeAngelo Williams or C.J. Anderson. I can get the pair for 14-15K which would tie me tight at the other spots especially with 6-7K locked in at QB already. I’ll likely roster one of them paired with one of the following: Rashad Jennings, Danny Woodhead, Carlos Hyde, or Jeremy Langford. They are each approximately 6K. At 4.3K on DK, I will probably assign Theo Riddick to my FLEX slot. Both Riddick and Duke Johnson have big value as pass-catching options and either could be your 3rd RB option this week if you choose to go 3-RB instead of taking your FLEX from WR. Another serious consideration for a deep punt play is Travaris Cadet. The release of C.J. Spiller means Cadet will be the pass-catching, change-of-pace guy in New Orleans. This game will be high scoring so he may see more play than usual.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
David Johnson, Cardinals vs. TB ($7600 DK, $9000 FD)
The Buccaneers just allowed the dynamic duo of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman to roll up 165 combo yards against them. This included ten receptions allowed to the RB position. David Johnson doesn’t have to split his touches with another player. All of those stats will be his this week. Since assuming starting duties in Week 13 of last year, Johnson has averaged 132 combo yards and one TD per game over his six regular season contests. In fact, that was also his exact line from last week. Expect more of the same this week.
DeAngelo Williams, Steelers vs. CIN ($7100 DK, $7600 FD)
LeVeon who? DeAngelo Williams has more than proven himself over the last couple seasons as a more than capable lead back. I’m not sure that Pittsburgh would bench him this time when Bell comes back. In two meetings last season, Williams averaged 100 combo yards and one TD per game. That smells like his floor here as Pittsburgh should look to spank their division rival.
Lamar Miller, Texans vs. KC ($7200 DK, $7700 FD)
The Chiefs just got done allowing 177-3 to San Diego’s running back group. This included allowing a pair of TDs to a guy who failed to score a single touchdown in 16 games last year. With injuries all over in their run defense and with a poorly rebuilt secondary, Kansas City is in dire straits. Lamar Miller showed what he could do as a bell cow back last week with 117 combo yards and that was against a similarly pathetic rushing defense.
C.J. Anderson, Broncos vs. IND ($6800 DK, $7800 FD)
The Carolina Panthers’ supposed strength this season was their rushing defense. They were also facing a seventh-round, second-year QB with no NFL snaps on his resume. So of course they couldn’t stop C.J. Anderson in any aspect of the game. It only gets easier for Anderson this time out as Indianapolis just got done allowing 229 yards and four touchdowns to the Detroit Lions. The Lions use a multi-person backfield, Denver uses C.J. Anderson – do the math and laugh to the bank.
Duke Johnson, Browns vs. BAL ($4500 DK, $5400 FD)
The Giovanni-Johnson effect was not so heavily felt Week 1 versus Philadelphia. Hue Jackson has ever intent to use Duke Johnson in the Gio Bernard role, but game play will dictate touches and looks (just like it did in Cincinnati the last couple years). Isaiah Crowell is a bowling ball that is his role. Johnson has explode-ability making him a threat to burst a big play any time he touches the ball. This game has sneaky over-potential, and if it turns into a pass-fest Duke will be the one on the field.
Theo Riddick, Lions vs. TEN ($4300 DK, $5900 FD)
Speaking of pass-catching backs, here is Theo Riddick once again. While FD & DK updated everyone else’s prices, they forgot to update Riddick’s. Ameer Abdullah did a hell of a lot more last week than I expected, but Riddick still produced a RB1-line as a reserve player. Tennessee was able to stack the box against Adrian Peterson because Shaun Hill is no threat. Detroit has way more passing weapons than the Vikings and Matthew Stafford will force them to not key on the running game. That should open a huge offensive day for both Abdullah and Riddick. I’m not predicting another 230-4 from their running game, but they should combine for a couple scores with Riddick catching at least six passes for 60 yards to go along with as many rushing yards as they give him.
|Odell Beckham Jr.||$9,500||$9,400|
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$5,500||$6,500|
|Steve Smith Sr.||$4,300||$6,400|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$3,900||$5,700|
Weekly strategy – So I have either spent 20K or 25K depending on whether I chose my FLEX from amongst the RBs. I intend to spend between 4-6K at TE and roughly 4K to take a top-two defense (Seattle or Carolina). This means that I won’t need to be overly frugal at WR. I have between 15K and 22K to work with here. I will be rostering a couple higher priced options. Odell Beckham Jr. and DeAndre Hopkins have two of the best matchups and two of the highest price tags. 18K would be impossible to come up with for both of them but one or the other will be in all of my lineups. I also like A.J. Green this week as he proved last week that he can do it against anyone. This week Tier 2 looks blah, so I will slide into Tier 3 for my other two starters. Julian Edelman, Emmanuel Sanders, Michael Floyd, and Marvin Jones Jr. all make nice starts and they can be had in the 6-7K range. When I can afford it I’ll pair two of them with ODB or Nuk. If I overspent at the other spots I’ll add one of them and a deep dive for one of the Chargers’ replacement WRs (Dontrelle Inman or Tyrell Williams) or Eli Rogers.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Odell Beckham, Jr., Giants vs. NO ($9500 DK, $9400 FD)
Odell Beckham Jr. gets the pleasure of facing the worst pass defense in the league. Plus, he is coming off what he would consider to be a down game. The only way he doesn’t top 130-2 is if New Orleans triple-covers him and literally has NOBODY cover both Sterling Shepherd and Victor Cruz (both of whom are excellent punt/stack plays this week as well).
Antonio Brown, Steelers vs. CIN ($9900 DK, $9200 FD)
Maybe Washington should have had Josh Norman cover Antonio Brown a little more frequently? Brown was actually held in check when he lined up opposite Norman, but he made a fool of the Redskins’ other DBs. Cincinnati has decent cornerbacks, but they also will be without their top defender up the middle. The Steelers will move around Brown and once again utilize him as the go-to-guy when he finds those mismatches. I will never doubt Brown’s prowess again (at least as long as Big Ben is upright). His line won’t be as huge as Beckham’s and his ownership will be extremely high. I love his potential but I’m going to go with Beckham instead this week.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans vs. KC ($8700 DK, $8300 FD)
Kansas City struggled with stopping Keenan Allen, then he got hurt and KC continued to struggle stopping Tyrell Williams. You put their lines together and you have 8-134 on 12 targets. This is about what you can expect from DeAndre Hopkins this week. Not too shabby for 1K below the top couple options.
A.J. Green, Bengals @ PIT ($8900 DK, $8900 FD)
I underestimated Antonio Brown last week against Washington and the Norman Conquest. I also underestimated A.J. Green versus Revis Island. Green made Revis look more like Beavis from the MTV cartoon. Pittsburgh doesn’t have a cornerback anywhere near as talented as Revis or Norman, so this could get messy for them. In what I expect to break down into a pinball contest, Green should do marvelous as the score at any time option for Cincy. I’m going to roster a lot of him this week where I can – I’m also going to be laying a healthy chunk of change on the over here. A line of 48.5 is going to cost Vegas some big money from this game.
Marvin Jones Jr., Lions vs. TEN ($5500 DK, $6500 FD)
Stefon Diggs was able to top 100 yards against the Titans in Week 1 despite no supporting cast help. Marvin Jones has copious other weapons surrounding him to free him up. It remains to be seen if Jones or Golden Tate will emerge as the #1 option for Detroit this season, but Week 1 it was Jones who out-targeted Tate 10-7. That suggests Jones will likely be the one to replicate Diggs’ stat line from Week 1. I like Tate as well this week but his salary is 1.3K more making Jones the easier player to fit under cap.
Tyrell Williams, Chargers vs. JAX ($3700 DK, $5400 FD)
With the loss of Keenan Allen, Philip Rivers went on record saying that “Tyrell Williams needs to catch a bunch of balls this year”. I suppose that it is up to Rivers to allow Williams to catch a bunch of balls so I’m glad Tyrell has his QB’s ear. Williams stepped into Allen’s role on the field last week and caught two passes for 71 yards on five targets. If you expand that over a full game, you are looking at 4-142 on ten targets. I’m guessing he won’t get that many yards, but I also expect him to get more than four catches. Perhaps expect around 7-95. I also like his chances of scoring as he has the size to be a red zone weapon. Plus, Jacksonville allowed both of Green Bay’s outside receivers to score last week. This continues a pattern from last season where they allowed at least one WR touchdown in ten games. This included Week 12 where Dontrelle Inman played the Keenan Allen role and posted 5-65-1 against them.
Weekly strategy – I penciled in between 4K and 6K for a tight end and I should have no problem filling this request. Antonio Gates and Delanie Walker are as safe as you can ask for and their price tag is right in that sweet spot. Jason Witten and Gary Barnidge both have high upside based on their slightly lower prices. You can also punt here easily with Kyle Rudolph, Virgil Green, my personal favorite – Brent Celek, or Week 1-hero Jack Doyle.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Delanie Walker, Titans @ DET ($4500 DK, $6600 FD)
Mike Mularkey went on record stating that the Titans screwed up by not targeting Delanie Walker considerably more than they did Week 1. Expect a 180 in game plan this week as they over-correct by targeting him ridiculously too much. Detroit allowed 7-88-3 to Jack Doyle and Dwayne Allen showcasing their internal secondary deficiencies. If Walker is targeted twice as frequently as last week (which would be more on par with his 2015-usage), he should produce a line of roughly 6-80. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that he finishes closer to 10-100-1 as Mariota keys on him early and often.
Jordan Reed, Redskins vs. DAL ($6800 DK, $7400 FD)
Jordan Reed posted a very respectable 7-64 line on 11 targets in what would best be described as a forgettable week for tight ends not named Jack Doyle. Dallas allowed a TE score last week and it appears that the middle of their secondary is not as good as it was last season. Reed struggled against the Cowboys in both games last year but in 2014 he caught 16 balls against them over a pair of games. I expect closer to the eight catch range this time out, but I don’t love the price tag.
Antonio Gates, Chargers vs. JAX ($4500 DK, $5900 FD)
Kansas City spent last week shutting down Antonio Gates for the first time in history. Of course it came at the expense of them stopping anyone else. Jacksonville also shutdown their opposition’s TEs last week. Of course, Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers are nothing compared to the future hall-of-famer, Gates. Without Keenan Allen on the field, Philip Rivers will have to establish a new target pecking order. I already explained my love of Tyrell Williams this week, and Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin should each produce good numbers in this game as well. That said none of them have the red zone presence that Gates brings to the table. He will be targeted more than the four times he received in Week 1. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee he will be targeted more than twice as much. Expect something along the lines of 7-75-1 on about ten targets.
Greg Olsen, Panthers vs. SF ($5600 DK, $7600 FD)
I really do not like that $7600 price tag on FD. Sure, he is probably worth it against a crappy team like the Niners, but I cannot spend 1.7K more on Olsen than I would on Gates. They both have good matchups and they will both outperform their DK salaries but I cannot honestly say that Olsen will have $7.6K in value.
Virgil Green, Broncos vs. IND ($2800 DK, $4600 FD)
Virgil Green established himself in Week 1 as Trevor Siemian’s primary pass-catching TE. This role has a fair amount of value as untested QBs tend to lean on their tight ends as safety valves in the passing game. With Demaryius Thomas battling a bad hip, expect Green to be even more involved in the passing game this week. That should provide (at bare minimum) some red zone looks against a secondary that may be dressing people off the street this week.
Brent Celek, Eagles @ CHI ($2600 DK, $4800 FD)
Amazingly, Zach Ertz has not been listed as out yet for this week’s game despite a broken rib. I couldn’t fathom playing as an across the middle pass-catcher with a broken rib. I’d be hearing footsteps before the ball was even snapped. Much as was expected, Ertz was a favorite target for Carson Wentz in Week 1. If he doesn’t play as I expect, those looks will fall to the veteran Brent Celek. Celek has proved on multiple occasions to be an adept fill-in for the often injured Ertz. Last season during Weeks 11 and 12 while Ertz was hurt, Celek posted a combined line of 9-89-1 on 14 targets. This week he gets to feast on a Bears’ defense that allowed six catches to a bunch of ham-and-egger tight ends on the Texans roster. At this bargain basement price, if Ertz doesn’t suit up, I may actually roll Celek at FLEX- paired with Jordan Matthews (both on MNF) where I can take advantage of their late game swap-ability (perhaps with Diggs/Rudolph in the Sunday night game).