Injuries cost us the big paydays Week 2. It is a fact that you have to deal with anytime you wager on any sporting event or in life in general. It further strengthens the theory that you need to diversify your holdings. Fortunately, with DFS, you can have an injury-riddled week and get right back on the horse next week. In regular season-long leagues losing Drew Brees or Andrew Luck or Ben Roethlisberger can decimate your chances at winning, but in DFS you just move on. So, with QBs dropping faster than the leaves outside and the numbers on the thermostat lets move on with this too, before anyone else gets hurt.
Each week we list the top-four point-producers at each position regardless of their salaries. We will also list two bargain players who will dramatically outperform their salaries. In addition, we will grade every legitimate player at each position based on their expected production in comparison to their price tag. Each player is identified through one of three colors: Red = Negative Value (less than 2X price), Black = Acceptable Value (2X price) and Green = Great Value (best chance to finish greater than 3X price).
By process of elimination, you have to spend up at QB this week. The only cheaper options I can see rolling with are Teddy Bridgewater or Mason Rudolph in their first starts of the year. Their matchups aren’t great but they at least stand a punter’s chance. I guess if I don’t spend big here, I could go mid-tier with Matthew Stafford or Josh Allen, but considering the trend, we may find out they have come down with leprosy and whooping-cough respectively before kickoff. Instead, I will likely keep it simple and buy Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady or Dak Prescott. Each of these three will cost me close to 14%. Stafford or Allen will still cost me in excess of 12%, so I’ll only use them to mix things up.
Thanks to the news that Cam Newton is questionable for this week, the only top-tier RBs worth rostering now are Ezekiel Elliott and Austin Ekeler. If Newton plays, Christian McCaffrey is certainly usable, but both Alvin Kamara and Saquan Barkley will have to deal with the inefficiencies that their new signal-callers bring to the table. If you go cheap at WR, I wouldn’t be upset about taking both Ekeler and Zeke. In reality, you should probably pair one of them with Mark Ingram, Chris Carson, Marlon Mack, Matt Breida, Darren Sproles or Frank Gore. You could also consider one of the Buccaneers, but good luck choosing which one. Zeke and Ekeler will cost you 32% on DK, but only 27% on FD, making them much more deployable there. I can probably survive with Zeke and Carson for 30.6% or Ekeler and Carson for 26% on DK, if I need to.
There are five clear choices at the top of the dollar spectrum for WR1: Amari Cooper, Adam Thielen, Kenny Golladay, or one of the Buccaneers. If I don’t go with two of them, I will choose either John or Marquise Brown as my WR2. Depending on my WR1/2 options, I will choose between Devin Smith, Randall Cobb, Cole Beasley or Marvin Jones at WR3. This is to make sure I have exposure to each of these juicy games. With all the injuries to Eagles’ WRs, my plan is to roster Nelson Agholor at FLEX if DeSean Jackson cannot play. If Jackson does play, I will use Greg Olsen or another RB at FLEX. WR1 and WR2 should cost you 25% to 28%. WR3 and FLEX need to come in under 17% to make this work.
I have no issue with any of the high-priced options this week. That said, I cannot fathom a lineup without Greg Olsen or Mark Andrews (at least not on DK). Their prices are a little higher on FD, but I still prefer them. Jimmy Graham could be a sneaky low-owned pivot play. I don’t see an obvious punt play here. Andrews or Olsen will cost me 9% or 7% respectively on DK and 11% and 10% on FD.
The Cowboys and Patriots are the obvious choices. The Buccaneers and Cardinals may be nice pivots. I lack a true punt play, but I guess the Chargers versus a sack-prone Texans O-Line might be an option. The Bucs and Cards will run you around 6%, while Dallas and New England will each cost you between 7% and 9%. The Cards are essentially free on FD, while TB will cost you 7% and Dallas and New England will be each 8.3%.
Here are my recommended lineups.
At DK: $6.5K at QB for Dak Prescott. $14.8K for Ezekiel Elliott and Chris Carson. $7.5K for Amari Cooper. No more than $14K for three of: Marquise Brown, John Brown, Randall Cobb, Devin Smith, Cole Beasley, Nelson Agholor and Greg Olsen split between WR2, WR3 and FLEX. $4.6K for Mark Andrews. $2.9K for Buccaneers’ defense.
At FD: $7.8K for Tom Brady. $16.4K for Zeke and Austin Ekeler. $13.6K for Cooper and John Brown. $10K or less for two of the above-listed WR3/FLEX options (leaning Nelson Agholor and Cole Beasley). $6.9K for or less for your choice of: Zach Ertz, Mark Andrews or Greg Olsen at TE. $5K for either the Cowboys or Patriots.
At Fanball (includes Sunday Night): Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Austin Ekeler, Amari Cooper, Marquise Brown, Nelson Agholor, Greg Olsen, Frank Gore and the Patriots.
At Fantasy Draft (includes Sun Night): Dak, Zeke, Ekeler, Cooper, Agholor, Greg Olsen, Chris Carson, Matt Breida, Cardinals’ defense.
Weekly strategy – This is the week to spend up and grab Tom Brady, Dak Prescott or Lamar Jackson. I’m guessing Jackson will have the lowest ownership of the three. I also will put together some lineups featuring Matthew Stafford, Jameis Winston and Josh Allen stacked with Kenny Golladay, Mike Evans and John Brown. The only punt play I will have any exposure to is Mason Rudolph paired with Juju Smith-Schuster and Vance McDonald.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Dak Prescott, Cowboys vs. MIA ($6500 DK, $8400 FD)
The question on everyone’s mind is, “Is Miami worse against the pass or against the run?” The answer is “yes”. I mean, opposing QBs have only scored nine touchdowns against Miami through two weeks. That is only 50% more than the next-worst team. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott is tied for the league lead with seven touchdowns and he ranks third in passing yards. At home, the only thing that will keep Prescott’s stat line in check is the volume that Ezekiel Elliott will get.
Lamar Jackson, Ravens @ KC ($7000 DK, $8500 FD)
After getting torched by Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew in Week 1, the Chiefs tightened up slightly against Derek Carr and the Raiders. Lamar Jackson poses a much different threat than any of those three. In addition to averaging 398-3.5 through the air, Jackson also is averaging 6.6 yards per carry. This could devolve into a shootout making both Jackson and Mahomes (plus all their weapons) solid plays.
Tom Brady, Patriots vs. NYJ ($6600 DK, $7800 FD)
The Jets have held each of their first two opponents to one passing TD. That said, both Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield put up quality final lines against them. Tom Brady has posted multiple touchdowns against the Jets in each of his last seven meetings with them. Expect another three touchdowns here.
Pat Mahomes, Chiefs vs. BAL ($7600 DK, $9200 FD)
Even against a good defense, you cannot completely fade Pat Mahomes. He proved against Jacksonville, that he can get it done against the best. The Ravens have only allowed one passing TD through the first two weeks, but Kyler Murray still threw for over 340 yards against them last week. I’m not predicting a huge line here, but 300-2 is always Mahomes’ floor.
Josh Allen, Bills vs. CIN ($5900 DK, $7500 FD)
Josh Allen has been consistent through the first two weeks throwing for 254-1 and 253-1 respectively and scoring a rushing TD in each game as well. Cincinnati has allowed five passing touchdowns over their first two contests, but haven’t given up much on the ground to opposing QBs. Allen will change that this week, since he may see more carries with Devin Singletary limited.
Matthew Stafford, Lions @ PHI ($5500 DK, $6900 FD)
Matthew Stafford got the vote of confidence from me in both Week 1 and 2. I’ll give him some pivot-love this week as well (stacked with Kenny Golladay and perhaps T.J. Hockenson). Philadelphia has allowed an average of 350-3 to opposing QBs over the first two weeks. A similar line is safe to consider for Stafford here.
|Mark Ingram II||$5,700||$7,100|
|Ronald Jones II||$3,900||$4,900|
|Benny Snell Jr.||$3,500||$4,500|
|Jeff Wilson Jr.||$3,000||$5,300|
Weekly strategy – QB injuries have me wary of Christian McCaffrey, Saquan Barkley and Alvin Kamara. Fortunately, both Chris Carson and Ezekiel Elliott have sexy matchups. In addition, Austin Ekeler is a volume-based safe play. My goal is to try to get two out of that threesome into all of my lineups. If I need to save a few bucks, I can consider: Matt Breida, Mark Ingram or James White as a pivot. I would also consider Marlon Mack if he gets the healthy go-ahead. Frank Gore will be a possible punt or FLEX for me (if Devin Singletary cannot play). The other punt option I like this week is Darren Sproles, who could see more passes with all the WR injuries in Philly.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys vs. MIA ($8900 DK, $8800 FD)
This matchup might be illegal in the lower contiguous United States. Miami could allow Ezekiel Elliott to top 200-2 before halftime. Through two weeks, the Dolphins have allowed a total of 474 total yards and five total touchdowns to the RB position. This came while facing two split backfields. This is Zeke’s house. This is Zeke’s backfield. Stay out of Zeke’s way, because he is about to eat like Pac-Man after a power pellet.
Austin Ekeler, Chargers vs. HOU ($7200 DK, $7600 FD)
Leonard Fournette put up a pedestrian 87 total yards last week, but before that Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray combined for 216 total yards against this overrated defense. Austin Ekeler has made Melvin Gordon basically expendable and Justin Jackson nothing more than a handcuff. He currently leads the Chargers in carries, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, receiving touchdowns, and he is second in receiving yards, targets, and catches. Another 150-1/2 seems safe here for this league-winner.
Dalvin Cook, Vikings vs. OAK ($7800 DK, $8300 FD)
Minnesota’s offensive strategy this season is run-run-run-swing pass-run-bubble screen-run-run-run. This equates out to a huge season for Dalvin Cook. Cook has accounted for 45% of the teams’ offensive yards so far. The Raiders held the Chiefs’ running backs in check last week, but prior to that both Philip Lindsey and Royce Freeman posted solid lines against them. Until Minnesota unleashes Kirk Cousins, continue to put your faith in Cook.
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers @ ARI ($8700 DK, $8900 FD)
Bump Christian McCaffrey’s value up slightly if Cam Newton plays this week. If not, know that C-Mac will still be involved in the offense as a safety valve for Kyle Allen. Based on pass-catching alone, McCaffrey will still finish as a top-5 RB this week (it is an ugly week for top-tier RBs), just don’t expect a huge rushing line. At least he won’t have to worry about Newton vulturing him at the goal line.
Matt Breida, 49ers vs. PIT ($5400 DK, $5900 FD)
Matt Breida split touches three ways last week with Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. That said, Breida was still the “lead” back in terms of carries. He also has a stronger pedigree than either of those other two options. Pittsburgh has allowed an average of 180 total yards per game to the RB position as they have faced two other “split” backfields. Breida, Mostert and Wilson will combine for a similar figure here.
Frank Gore, Bills vs. CIN ($4400 DK, $5700 FD)
Devin Singletary has been battling an injury all week. If he cannot go, Frank Gore (who will start anyways) makes a strong play. The old man holds a 3-1 carry average lead over Singletary through the first two games. That said, Devin has a much more exciting YPC average. Cincinnati has allowed 426 total yards and five touchdowns to opposing RBs. I’ll take a fifth of that for Gore at this price.
|John Ross III||$5,100||$6,700|
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$5,000||$5,400|
|Will Fuller V||$4,900||$6,000|
|Willie Snead IV||$4,200||$5,000|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$3,900||$5,000|
|Bennie Fowler III||$3,700||$4,900|
Weekly strategy – Amari Cooper is a cheat code here. He will also be over-owned. If you want exposure without playing Cooper consider using Devin Smith or Randall Cobb at WR3 instead. If I don’t use Cooper at WR1, I will choose from this list: Adam Thielen, Kenny Golladay, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin or Keenan Allen. WR2 will be a choice between John Brown and Marquise Brown. I may also use one of the Cardinals at WR2. WR3 and FLEX will come down to two of the following: Robby Anderson, D.K. Metcalf, Cole Beasley, Danny Amendola, James Washington, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and (my favorite) Nelson Agholor. I may also use a second TE as the FLEX on DK to save money.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Amari Cooper, Cowboys vs. MIA ($7500 DK, $7700 FD)
Start everyone you can against the Dolphins. Anything less than 5-100-1 just feels improbable. Dallas will be without Michael Gallup, which should only increase the target share for Amari Cooper. Of course, you are stacking Cooper with Dak Prescott. If you are concerned about ownership rates, fade Cooper and start Randall Cobb or Devin Smith. Or better yet, start Cooper and one of those two.
Kenny Golladay, Lions @ PHI ($6600 DK, $7000 FD)
I was one of the few prognosticators that called for Matthew Stafford to find Kenny Golladay last week. Find him, he did. Golladay was targeted ten times, hauling in 8-117-1. Opponent’s top WRs have scorched Philadelphia since early last year. This year alone, Terry McLaurin and Julio Jones have combined for 10-231-3. Golladay will haul in more than the five-pass average and easily top 100 yards again. I wouldn’t be scared to predict a multi-score affair either.
Julio Jones, Falcons @ IND ($7300 DK, $8300 FD)
I cannot fathom a situation where Julio Jones doesn’t score here. Julio leads the Falcons in targets and he has scored three times in the first two weeks. Jones’ price is still low enough to make him a solid choice, despite the multiple weapons that Matt Ryan has to throw to. Indy gave up a big Week 1 line to Keenan Allen. Jones could approach the century mark, but a TD seems safe (for the one-time TD-hesitant receiver).
Mike Evans, Buccaneers vs. NYG ($6600 DK, $7100 FD)
I’m sorry Chris Godwin-truthers, Mike Evans is still the lead WR on the Buccaneers. It isn’t that I dislike Godwin (in fact, I will roster him a bit this week too), it is that Evans has been snake bit the first two weeks. Week 1, he played through an illness. Week 2, the Panthers committed to shutting him down. The Giants’ defense is not good. Both, John Brown and Amari Cooper made swiss cheese of them the first two weeks. Expect Evans (and Godwin) to each approach 100-1 here.
Marquise Brown, Ravens @ KC ($5900 DK, $6100 FD)
What can Brown do for you? How about average 6-117-1 over his first two career games, despite not playing most of the snaps. This week, Marquise Brown will have to be in full service to keep Baltimore in the game against the high-octane Chiefs’ offense. KC doesn’t have anyone that can cover him, so expect a third-straight strong outing (and perhaps his best yet).
John Brown, Bills vs. CIN ($5500 DK, $5900 FD)
Speedy, default-#1 WRs, Tyler Lockett and Marquise Goodwin both scored against this defense the first two weeks. John Brown is also a default-#1 WR known for his speed. Even if you consider Brown, the WR2 on the Bills, you should know that both D.K. Metcalf and Deebo Samuel also smoked this defense. Brown has averaged 7-98 over the first two weeks, expect a similar line here.
Weekly strategy – Bully to you, if you can figure out how to fit Evan Engram, Travis Kelce or George Kittle into your lineup this week. I like all three of them, but their salaries are prohibitive. If I do spend up, it will likely be for Zach Ertz, who will be WR1 for Philly this week. Ertz’ price is the same as Mark Andrews on FD, but Andrews is a thousand less on DK, making him the better choice there (but check his injury status as the weekend nears). Greg Olsen is the safest play at a great price on DK, even with Cam’s injury. His FD price is also less exciting. Jimmy Graham could also be a nice low-ownership pivot since everyone will be cranky about his goose egg last week. There really is no punt play here, I suppose you could throw a bone at T.J. Hockenson coming off the bad Week 2 line. He makes a sneaky play stacked with Golladay and Stafford.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. BAL ($7100 DK, $8000 FD)
Baltimore is a great defense, but they will have to pick their poison this week. Kansas City will spread the wealth among: Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson and Sammy Watkins. Only one of those names is a game-changer. Expect Kelce to produce his standard 6-100-1 line, just don’t beg for a blow-up game.
Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. DET ($5700 DK, $6900 FD)
When you look at the healthy WR options for Philadelphia, it seems clear that Zach Ertz is their WR1 this week. Of course, on paper, that role will fall to Nelson Agholor (and he is a great play too), but I still love the idea of getting Ertz into my lineup at a reasonable DK price. The Lions haven’t allowed a ton to opposing TEs this season. That said, they haven’t faced anyone yet either.
Mark Andrews, Ravens @ KC ($4600 DK, $6800 FD)
Facing the Jaguars and Raiders, Kansas City has already allowed 17-145 to the TE position. Mark Andrews is a step up from the options that those two teams offer. Andrews has been sure-handed this season, hauling in 16 of the 17 passes directed his way for 220 yards and a pair of scores. Another 100-1 seems on point for here in what should be a shootout.
George Kittle, 49ers vs. PIT ($5600 DK, $6600 FD)
Will Dissly just scored twice and dropped 5-50 on this defense. If Jimmy Garoppolo can find George Kittle among all his eligible targets, he should be in for a solid day. Through two weeks Kittle leads the team in targets, but it is not as pronounced as his target share was in 2018. I’d still say that 6-60 is his floor.
Jimmy Graham, Packers vs. DEN ($4000 DK, $4900 FD)
Recency bias may keep owners from investing in Jimmy Graham this week after his shutout last week. Still, he gets a Denver defense that has allowed an average of 8-72 to the position over the first two weeks despite facing an unproven Darren Waller and a dinged-up Trey Burton. Graham has his own injury woes as he battles a groin issue. If he cannot go, consider going off the board and playing Marcedes Lewis or Robert Tonyan for minimal cost.
Greg Olsen, Panthers @ ARI ($3700 DK, $6100 FD)
Cam Newton’s injury takes a little of the shine off of this play. That said, Arizona hasn’t stopped a TE since the original Bush administration. The Cards have allowed a league-worst 17-273-3 to the position. Kyle Allen (or Newton) would be wise to pepper the old man in this contest.