I can only hope you took our advice and invested heavily in the Rams, Antonio Brown, Charles Clay, Zach Ertz, the Vikings passing game, Amari Cooper and LeSean McCoy last week. If you did, you probably cashed a few DFS checks this week. I am proud to say that this group helped me post several cashes. Of course, I’d be amiss if I didn’t apologize for Brian Hoyer, Kendall Wright and Tyler Eifert, yeah that wasn’t so good. At the same time, I also need to peacock about my recommendations to avoid David Johnson, Aaron Rodgers and LeVeon Bell.
Monday night features the Giants and Lions. The Giants offense was underwhelming last week, while the Lions outperformed their expectations. The return of Odell Beckham should improve the outcomes for the G-Men. Unfortunately, the Giants stellar pass defense may depress the value of Matthew Stafford and Company. Neither lead running back (Ameer Abdullah or Paul Perkins) is reliable versus solid run defenses, but both Shane Vereen and Theo Riddick have value due to their pass-catching skills. Among the WRs, I feel more confident in Golden Tate than Marvin Jones or Kenny Golladay. On the Giants side, feel free to start Beckham or Marshall without concern. I don’t love either tight end on Monday night, but with so many great tight end options on Sunday, it shouldn’t matter.
For those playing on FD, I recommend targeting: Chris Boswell, Jason Myers and Dustin Hopkins for your kicker. Each is $4.7K or less and are in position to produce double-digit kicker points.
Most owners will pay up for Arizona, Baltimore, Oakland or Seattle. I wouldn’t argue with any of those choices, but if you are seeking variance from the chalk, consider the Los Angeles Chargers. All the top teams will be in the $3.5K to $4K range on DK and the $4.5K to $5.5K range on FD. If you take a chance on the Chargers you will save more than $1K off the top priced team.
The top dollar quarterbacks are all good deals this week following subpar Week 1s. I’ll gladly pay up this week for Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers or Derek Carr. Three guys I’m going to absolutely avoid are: Marcus Mariota, Cam Newton and Kirk Cousins. There also aren’t even a ton of value options that appeal to me. I could see taking a shot on Carson Palmer or Alex Smith but neither is enough of a price drop to truly be a value play. The only truly deep discount option would be Blake Bortles on DK versus a suspect Tennessee defense. I feel I’d just rather invest the $7.5K on DK or $8.5K on FD for the top-tier options.
Since I am obviously overspending at QB, it should make you happy to know I am not sold on many of the top-salaried RB options. Kareem Hunt and Melvin Gordon seem like the surest options up top based on their price. That said, I love the third-tier this week and will be heavily invested in Marshawn Lynch, Dalvin Cook, Ty Montgomery, Christian McCaffrey and Mike Gillislee. Two of this five-some will be in most of my lineups for $12K on DK or $13K on FD. I’ll also draw my DK FLEX from this spot for about $4.5K.
Values exist all across the price spectrum at WR. Certainly, I could roster one of the top guys: Brandin Cooks, Amari Cooper, or Jordy Nelson. Even spending up there, I should have enough left over to pair them with one of my values in the $5K DK range (Adam Thielen, Jeremy Maclin or DeSean Jackson) and one guy in the $4k DK range. I could also avoid that top guy and draft one of the $5K options and pair them with Davante Adams and Larry Fitzgerald, they are my two favorite plays of the week.
I will do at least one lineup with the Tom Brady- Rob Gronkowski stack (perhaps with Chris Hogan too). That said, I will direct most of my TE spending at the $3K DK price point on: Jesse James, Cameron Brate, Jared Cook or Antonio Gates. I will also have some exposure to Ben Watson as my favorite value play of the week.
Here are my recommendations for this week’s price range targets by position.
At DK: $7.5K-$8K for the top-tier QB of my choice, $12K for Dalvin Cook and Marshawn Lynch, $12.1K for Larry Fitzgerald and Davante Adams, $5K for WR3, $3.5K for the tight end position, $4.5K for a third RB/fourth WR as your FLEX, and $5K for one of the premiere defenses.
At FD: $8.3K for Derek Carr or Matt Ryan or $9.2K for Tom Brady, $14K for Cook and Lynch, $13.3K for Fitz and Adams, $7K (or less) for WR3, $5.5K at TE, and less than $10K total for kicker and defense.
Prices indicated: Red = Negative Value and Black = Acceptable Value and Green = Great Value
Weekly strategy – The opposite of last week, I am paying up for a top-tier QB. Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Derek Carr and Ben Roethlisberger will be highly represented on my lineup cards. I will also have some shares of a stack with Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. The other positions are all stacked with values, so spend up here – save elsewhere.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Tom Brady, Patriots @ NO ($7900 DK, $9200 FD) There is every reason to believe that Tom Brady will be playing to prove last week was a fluke. Fortunately for him, the New Orleans Saints should gladly oblige. Frankly, I could throw for 300 yards against this chaff. Brady’s floor is 300-3 this week – YES you read that right this is his FLOOR. If there was ever a week I’d predict five passing touchdowns it is this week.
Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. GB ($7500 DK, $8200 FD) Matt Ryan lit up the Green Bay Packers to the tune of 288-3 last year. This is par for the course for Ryan against Green Bay. He has owned the Packers since his arrival in the league. His FD price is $1K less than Brady making him a nice veer from the more obvious Brady-play. After Week 1, Ryan said he wasn’t “panicking” over a 321-1 line against an improved Bears’ defense. I’m guessing that means he expects to produce more than that this week.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers @ ATL ($7400 DK, $9100 FD) This game has the second-highest line of the week and I believe that number justified. This game features premiere offenses facing mediocre defenses. Last year, these two teams finished 30th and 32nd respectively in passing yards per game allowed. They also finished 28th and 31st respectively in passing touchdowns allowed per game. In what has the makings of a pinball contest, each of these two QBs should post 300-2 as a floor.
Derek Carr, Raiders vs. NYJ ($7200 DK, $8300 FD) Derek Carr is one of my favorite plays this week. He is a little cheaper than Brady, Rodgers and Ryan, but his output will be on par with them. It helps that his opponent, the New York Jets, just made Tyrod Taylor and a bunch of nobodies in the Buffalo passing game look like All-Pros. My only concern with Carr is that Oakland will be so far ahead at the half that they will use a “ground-and-pound” offense in the second half.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals @ IND ($6000 DK, $7500 FD) Yes, Carson Palmer looked like a buffoon last week. Yes, the Cardinals just lost All-World running back, David Johnson to IR. Yes, John Brown is injured for the 719th time in his career. All of those things considered, Palmer is facing an injury-ravaged, Indianapolis defense that just got humiliated by Jared Freakin’ Goff. Without David Johnson commanding touches, Palmer will look to throw the ball until his arm falls off (considering his age, that very well could happen).
Alex Smith, Chiefs vs. PHI ($5700 DK, $7200 FD) Both of these teams are shorthanded in the secondary this week. This should produce the opportunity for Carson Wentz and Alex Smith to get into a mini-shootout. The reason I prefer Smith is that the loss of Ronald Darby will hurt Philadelphia more, than the loss of Eric Berry will hurt the Chiefs. I feel that Smith will safely achieve 275-2 with most of that going to Tyreek Hill making them a sexy stack.
|Todd Gurley II||$6,800||$7,700|
|Duke Johnson Jr.||$3,900||$5,400|
Weekly strategy – As I mentioned above Dalvin Cook and Marshawn Lynch will be my main two plays here. I could do also do a little mixing and matching involving Kareem Hunt. I will likely roster my DK FLEX from this spot saving some money with either Jacquizz Rodgers, Chris Carson, Buck Allen or Tarik Cohen. I expect to have 25 percent of my budget going to my top two RBs, with no more than 10 percent going to the DK FLEX.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Melvin Gordon, Chargers vs. MIA ($7000 DK, $7600 FD) Only one team allowed more rushing yards per game last year than Miami. Part of that damage was done by Melvin Gordon, who posted 132 combo yards against the Dolphins in Week 10. Gordon’s price tag is nearly $2.5K less than LeVeon Bell, but their line may end up a lot closer than that. Gordon should safely top 125 combo yards and score at least once.
LeVeon Bell, Steelers vs. MIN ($9800 DK, $9000 FD) With the offseason loss of Chad Greenway, I expected the Vikings’ run defense to suffer a fall off. Their first test was stuffing their prodigal son, Adrian Peterson. Test – Passed! What they failed at was stopping the Saints’ other two backs from catching passes. This is a scary proposition because LeVeon Bell is prolific at gathering receptions out of the backfield. LeVeon may once again struggle to run the ball this week, but if he hauls in nine passes (what Minnesota allowed last week), his point total will still be near the top of this position.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons vs. GB ($7300 DK, $8100 FD) Devonta Freeman’s lackluster line last week certainly could be attributed to an improved Bears’ defense. Fortunately, he saved his owners by finding the end zone once for a touchdown. What is concerning is that Freeman out-touched Tevin Coleman only 14-12. Not to mention, that he finished with fewer total yards than Coleman. This game’s script could favor additional targets for Coleman as well, which means that Freeman will need to score again to retain value. Working in Freeman’s favor, Green Bay allowed five yards per carry to the bunch of stiffs that Seattle force fed them.
Kareem Hunt, Chiefs vs. PHI ($6800 DK, $7800 FD) As a Chiefs fan, I was hoping that Kareem Hunt would develop into something special. I just never expected it to happen Week 1 against the mighty Patriots. Hunt disemboweled a New England defense that lost Dont’a Hightower to injury early on. The Eagles held Rob Kelley in check, but they gave up 52 yards and a touchdown through the air to Chris Thompson. Kareem Hunt won’t produce an epic line like Week 1, but even half of that total would be something special.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Buccaneers vs. CHI ($4400 DK, $6600 FD) Doug Martin is suspended; and Charles Sims is just a guy. Fortunately for the Bucs, Jacquizz Rodgers proved something special last year when he stepped in for the injured Martin. The Bears held the Falcons’ backfield tandem to a total of 97 yards from scrimmage. That said, Chicago did allow Devonta Freeman to score. The Bears will also be without one of their top linebackers, Jerrell Freeman. Freeman finished with 10 tackles last week so his lack of presence will probably be felt.
Tarik Cohen, Bears @ TB ($4100 DK, $5400 FD) It is a story as old as time: Darren Sproles, Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead – and now Tarik Cohen. The diminutive running back burst onto the scene last week propelling himself to PPR-darling. With the extreme absence of talent in the Chicago passing game, Cohen should routinely see nearly double-digit targets out of the backfield. We saw last week what he could do in open space. Expect more of that this week against a Tampa Bay defense that allowed the fifth-most yards per reception last year.
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||$6,000||$6,800|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$4,800||$6,100|
Weekly strategy – I have to admit that there are several top-tier WRs (Brandin Cooks, Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson and Michael Crabtree) that I am drawn to. I will have some exposure to this foursome, but most of my interest falls on four guys: Davante Adams, Chris Hogan, Larry Fitzgerald and Tyreek Hill. In most lineups, I will have two of those three. I also have a distinct interest in Adam Thielen and Jeremy Maclin at their price. The value options most appealing to me are J.J. Nelson, John Brown, Mike Wallace, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns. Note – I will have exactly ZERO exposure to Antonio Brown this week. Expect to throw about 35 percent at this position.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Julio Jones, Falcons vs. GB ($9200 DK, $8800 FD) Seeing as how I am pimping both Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan as top plays at QB this week, it should come as no surprise that I have each of their top WRs at the top of this list. Doug Baldwin posted only 63 yards against the Pack last week, but he caught all four of his targets. Julio Jones will be targeted considerably more than four times. Last year he averaged more than nine targets per game. I cannot see any method for Julio to not post 8-125-1 this week.
Jordy Nelson, Packers @ ATL ($7900 DK, $8100 FD) I actually feel more confident in Jordy Nelson’s potential production than that of Julio Jones. The main reason being that there is more than a $1K savings on DK between the two. Nelson has been so consistent over the last year plus. Since Week 1 of last year, he has scored in 12 of 7 regular season games. Nelson will score (at least once) again this week, that is a certainty. However, I think he falls just short of Jones’ yardage.
Brandin Cooks, Patriots @ NO ($8200 DK, $7900 FD) Tom Brady will be looking to stomp a mudhole in someone. I feel bad for the Saints’ secondary cause they get to be that someone. Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen ran roughshod over, around and through this ragtag group. It could get so ugly that Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan all post 100-1 lines. Cooks is the unquestioned No. 1, making him the safest of the three. That said, I wouldn’t fault you for rolling out the Voltron stack with all four of them.
Amari Cooper, Raiders vs. NYJ ($8100 DK, $7900 FD) Until the Jets prove that they aren’t in full-blooded “tank” mode, I will pick on them relentlessly. Week 1, Buffalo barely threw to their “receivers”. They didn’t need to. However, when they did throw to those receivers, they averaged 21 yards per catch. Meanwhile, Amari Cooper scored last week, perhaps putting to rest one of the major knocks on him for his career. He was targeted 13 times tying the second-highest target output of his career. Double-digit targets will be the norm this season putting him easily on target for an 8-145 range line. I’m not going to trust him for the touchdown just yet though. I need to see him do that in back-to-back weeks first (something he has never done).
Davante Adams, Packers @ ATL ($5600 DK, $6700 FD) This game has so many potential points that not only does Jordy Nelson make a sexy play, but Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are both in play as well. I particularly like Adams to post the rebound game here since he won’t be shadowed by Richard Sherman this week.
Marqise Lee, Jaguars vs. TEN ($3800 DK, $5900 FD) Marqise Lee is the wide receiver that will benefit most from Allen Robinson’s injury. He is a better fit as a WR1, while Allan Hurns is a better fit as part of a supporting cast. At some point this season, they may both take a back seat to DeDe Westbrook, but until that day Lee will be the most valuable option in this arsenal. Tennessee allowed 13-166-2 to the Oakland wide receiver corps last week (including a score for Amari Cooper). This comes on the heels of them allowing the fourth-most passing yards per game last season. Jacksonville will attempt to lean on Leonard Fournette, but they will fall behind. This will ultimately lead to Jaguar-bage time. This is where Lee should eat.
Weekly strategy – I am tempted to stack Rob Gronkowski with Tom Brady. I guarantee I will do it at least once. It is just so hard to do it when there are so many solid plays at a lower price point. I will choose my TE mainly from the following list: Kyle Rudolph, Jared Cook, Jesse James, Antonio Gates and Cameron Brate. If you need to squeeze your salary even tighter try: Ben Watson, Dwayne Allen or Tyler Higbee.
Your Fantasy Four Pack
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots @ NO ($6900 DK, $8100 FD) Rob Gronkowski will post at least twice the line that Kyle Rudolph posted last week versus the Saints. That means you can pen him in for a line of 6-52-2. That said, I still feel like this is closer to his floor this week. Simply put, New Orleans’ secondary isn’t deep enough to cover the New York Jets’ WR corps – let alone the Patriots! If there wasn’t so many other good deals this week, I’d be all over Gronk. Perhaps it is for the best because he will probably be chalk.
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks vs. SF ($4900 DK, $6300 FD) Jimmy Graham did not do much last week. Of course, no member of the Seahawks’ offense did anything. The Seattle offensive line was so bad that Graham (and the other Seattle TEs) spent most of the game trying to bail out their line-mates’ revolving doors. San Francisco lacks a fierce pass rush (Ok they lack pretty much everything on defense). This means that Graham should actually be able to run a route or three. Last year, Graham posted a total of 10-164-1 against the Niners over two contests.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings @ PIT ($4200 DK, $5500 FD) Kyle Rudolph got into the end zone versus New Orleans. This should not be a big surprise because he finished tied for third in TE touchdowns last season. Pittsburgh allowed 6-62 to a bunch of Cleveland nobodies in Week 1. Rudolph will top that line and I love his chances to get into the end zone once again.
Jared Cook, Raiders vs. NYJ ($3300 DK, $5100 FD) The New York Jets gave up 5-75-1 to Buffalo in Week 1. This week they have to face an NFL offense. Jared Cook started to connect with Aaron Rodgers near the end of 2016. So of course, he leaves Green Bay and goes to Oakland. Fortunately, Derek Carr knows what he has to work with in Cook. Jared finished with the same number of catches as Amari Cooper and only one less than Michael Crabtree. Even as option three, he should post a premium line in this contest.
Ben Watson, Ravens vs. CLE ($2600 DK, $4800 FD) Cleveland was shell-shocked by opposing tight ends in 2016. They decided to pick up right where they left off in 2017 allowing a pair of scores to Jesse James. Ben Watson caught zero passes in Week 1 and he is the No. 2 tight end on the roster behind something called Nick Boyle. Nevertheless, he has a history of success posting four seasons with 70 or more targets and three seasons of five or more touchdowns. It is a deep stretch, but remember I am the Tight End Whisperer.
Dwayne Allen, Patriots @ NO ($2500 DK, $4900 FD) Speaking of deep stretches, Dwayne Allen was invisible in Week 1. My thoughts here are that the Patriots could be so far ahead by the third quarter that Jimmy Garoppolo ends up throwing a couple touchdowns as well. At least one of those will find Allen’s waiting hands.