Wow, the carnage that was Week 2. If you sustained two or fewer injuries consider it a victory. Once again, I proved myself the original and true TE whisperer, but injuries to Davante Adams and every bell-cow RB in the league cost me the big payday. Fortunately with DFS, If you fall off your horse, you can immediately get back up again the following week.
DFS: The Primetime Slate
Sunday we get a battle of two grizzled veteran QBs each trending a different direction in their careers. Last Monday, Drew Brees looked like he should have retired this offseason. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers has looked like he is looking to serve to Green Bay management his foul thoughts about their drafting of Jordan Love. Brees is at home (Not that home-field advantage means much in the time of CoVid), so maybe he won’t be as atrocious as he was this past week. Rodgers may be without his top weapon, Davante Adams, but he has played like he has a lot left to give. Still, with the consensus top-two fantasy QBs facing off on Sunday Night, Aaron and Drew will be looking at QB3 and QB4 at best. Aaron Jones has been dominant in both the passing and running game. He is actually starting to remind me of Alvin Kamara. Kamara dominated the touches for New Orleans last week with Michael Thomas out. Thomas should remain out, leaving Kamara and Jones your consensus RB1 and RB2. I could also see using Latavius Murray at FLEX if you decide to spend up at WR. Even if Davante Adams plays, a hamstring will likely slow him down. If that wasn’t enough he would also have to deal with Marshon Lattimore. Despite the quality QBs on this docket, the WR matchups aren’t great. I doubt I would use Adams much, if at all unless he has a full practice before Friday. If he is given a clean bill of health, I might use him as a pivot WR1. I actually wish he would take a week off to be fully repaired for their Week 4 contest. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard are both legit WR2 options, and I would be happy to use either.
Emmanuel Sanders was handed the keys to a Ferrari last week and left the lot with a Yugo. It will be hard to trust him here, although he cannot possibly be targeted less. I guess you could use him at WR3, but I don’t love the matchup. Tre’Quan Smith was the actual WR-beneficiary of Thomas’ absence. He needs to be on your short-list for WR3. Deonte Harris looks like a future star in the league, but his time isn’t yet. I’m not going to dig that deep except in Showdown formats. At TE, Robert Tonyan or Marcedes Lewis could do 1/3 of the damage Darren Waller did and make themselves relevant at a cheap price. Still, they are TE5 and TE7 at best. Jared Cook was also inexcusably not used on MNF. That will need to change in this game. He will still be TE3 behind Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews, but the price difference may make the slide worth it. He also could be a useful FLEX, if you don’t use three RBs. On paper, the Saints’ defense is better than the Packers. They didn’t look the role last week, but the whole team was Vegas-drunk on the field. At home, I would list them at DEF1. The Packers get the defacto DEF2 spot, but I almost feel safer playing them than New Orleans.
Monday, Baltimore hosts Kansas City in a battle between the young phenoms, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. Both teams have electric offenses that can score from anywhere, but the Baltimore defense is far more proven than that of KC. Still, Mahomes has averaged 376-2.5 against this defense in two career starts. I’ll slot him in at QB2, but Jackson (despite lesser numbers against KC in their two meetings) gets the QB1 slot thanks to his rushing ability. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the RB3 on this slate in a tough matchup. I still am tempted to use him at FLEX alongside both Jones and Kamara. We got a strange RB usage collection from Baltimore last week. J.K. Dobbins is clearly the most talented, but he played third-fiddle to both Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards. At this point, we need to ignore this backfield until Dobbins ascends to the rightful position on top. None is worthy of anything more than a FLEX slot. Tyreek Hill went off versus Baltimore last season, a sign that even an elite defense cannot contain Hill. He is the easy WR1 on this slate. Sammy Watkins did what we all expected and turned back into a pumpkin Week 2. Even if he was 100% healthy, I refuse to start him outside of Week 1. Demarcus Robinson is the safer play this week and he is worthy of WR3 consideration (especially if Watkins doesn’t suit up). Mecole Hardman also can be considered at WR3 if Watkins sits out.
Targets and yardage were pretty well split between Hollywood Brown, Miles Boykin, and Willie Snead last week. In Week 1, Brown was the clear alpha male in terms of yardage and Snead scored the touchdown. Brown remains a WR2 option here and Snead and Boykin can each be considered at WR3 or FLEX. KC had some difficulty covering Keenan Allen across the middle of the field last week, this could suggest Snead is the best option here working out of the slot. Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews are your TE1 and TE2 respectively. Start either of them, if you can afford them. Heck, I wouldn’t give you flack for starting both of them and benching one of the top-three RBs. On talent alone, Baltimore has the best defense on the slate. Unfortunately, Mahomes has already proven that he can beat them. If they are your defense, don’t drop them in season long, just highly consider benching them for a week. I’ll leave them benched in DFS as well. The Chiefs defense has outperformed their talent level so far. Still, I will pass on using them here as anything other than a pivot.
The Main Slate: My recommended DFS lineups
At DK: $7.3K for either Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott. $7.8K for Derrick Henry. $6.4K for Miles Sanders. $6.5K for D.K Metcalf. $5.4K for CeeDee Lamb. $3.9K for Adam Humphries (assuming A.J. Brown is out), otherwise $4K for Michael Pittman. $3.5K for Drew Sample. $5K for Joshua Kelley at FLEX. $3.7K for the Buccaneers’ defense.
At FD: $8.5K for Prescott. $8.2K for Henry. $7.4K for Sanders. $8K for Calvin Ridley. $6.5K for Metcalf. $5.6K for Lamb. $4.9K for Sample or Dalton Schultz. $5.9K for Kelley at FLEX. $4.8K for the Colts’ defense.
At Fanball (SuperFlex – includes Sun Night): Prescott, Kyler Murray at SF, Henry, Sanders, DeAndre Hopkins, Amari Cooper, Corey Davis, Sample, and Kelley at FLEX.
Weekly strategy – The Dallas-Seattle contest is the easy target here. I fully expect to choose either Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson for most of my lineups. Kyler Murray is my pivot. I don’t love any of the middle tier QBs. Philip Rivers has a good matchup, but it feels like a low scoring game. Ryan Tannehill, Carson Wentz, Joe Burrow, and Ben Roethlisberger have the most upside. The only punt option I will even consider is Nick Mullens.
Fantasy Four Pack
Russell Wilson, Seahawks vs DAL ($7300 DK, $8700 FD)
What’s not to like? Through the first two weeks Russell Wilson has nearly as many touchdowns as incompletions. Dallas’ secondary is middle of the pack at best, and this projects to be a shootout.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys @ SEA ($7200 DK, $8500 FD)
No team has allowed more passing yards this year than the Seahawks. Plus, they have given up two QB rushing scores. This game has the highest over currently, and I expect it to be obliterated. Each QB should top 350 total yards and each will account for at least three total TDs. I firmly expect Russell to be the leader in ownership, so Dak might be the wiser play here.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals vs. DET ($6800 DK, $8400 FD)
Detroit is still without their top two cornerbacks, but rookie Jeff Okudah is back (although it seems he doesn’t have his own coaches’ support). Kyler Murray is doing his best Lamar Jackson impersonation, throwing for a TD in each game, plus adding three on the ground. He is also averaging 79 rushing yards per game. This week Murray is the sneaky pivot play, if you want to be contrarian against the DAL-SEA game. He is the only QB on this slate with any chance of besting their point totals.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. HOU ($6400 DK, $7500 FD)
Ben Roethlisberger at home is always a playable option. Especially, with the development of Diontae Johnson as a legit WR2 in that offense. Houston has faced Patrick Mahomes followed by Lamar Jackson, so they may be spent coming into this game. Or worse yet, they may underestimate the Steelers’ offense after facing those two dynamos. I’m not going to predict 300-3 here, but 275-2 is a lock. In an otherwise weak QB room this week, that puts Big Ben in play.
Philip Rivers, Colts vs. NYJ ($6000 DK, $7000 FD)
Philip Rivers underperformed last week, but it wasn’t really his fault. Indianapolis didn’t have to throw the ball much as Jonathan Taylor was eating. The Jets rushing defense is not as good as I gave them credit for last week. That said, their passing defense is still worse. That FD price is slightly off-putting, but I could see throwing out a couple DK lineups. He also makes a nice SF play on FB.
Ryan Tannehill, Titans @ MIN ($5900 DK, $7400 FD)
Much like Philip Rivers last week, Ryan Tannehill may not need to throw the ball a ton here. Still, if he does the matchup is juicy as Minnesota cannot cover anyone. Tannehill has stolen all of the TD thunder this year from Derrick Henry. That will change this week, but I still see Tannehill throwing for 275-2. In case things go pear-shaped for Henry in this game, Tannehill should be able to pick up the slack. So don’t be afraid to do a Tannehill-Davis/Humphries-Jonnu stack and pray that Henry is once again held out of the end zone.
Weekly strategy – The top of the price chart looks very different without Christian McCaffrey and Saquan Barkley. In these odd days, I find myself looking at this chart and thinking there is very little reason to not roster Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor on every lineup. Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook aren’t horrible as pivots, but I expect to have a lot of other exposure to the DAL-SEA game, and the Vikings’ O-Line is highly concerning. I especially do not like the fact that both Cook and Zeke, as well as Josh Jacobs, are more expensive than Henry on FD. If I do pivot, the easier choices would be Austin Ekeler or Miles Sanders. Considering the price difference, and the likely high-ownership level for Henry, Sanders is the clear contrarian play. In the mid-tier, there are three names that jump out with good matchups: James White, Melvin Gordon, and Mike Davis. I doubt I will have much exposure to any of them outside of FLEX. The one mid-priced RB that I will have massive exposure to is Joshua Kelley. Considering the matchup and the price, it would behoove you to pencil in Kelley in every FLEX slot. Heck, I may even put him into RB2, if I want to spend up at WR. If you don’t use Kelley at FLEX, please roster Ekeler at RB2. The punt options I may have some interest in include: Devin Singletary, the 49ers pairing, Antonio Gibson, and Tarik Cohen.
Fantasy Four Pack
Derrick Henry, Titans @ MIN ($7800 DK, $8200 FD)
Amazingly, Derrick Henry has not scored a TD yet this year. That will change on the Titans’ first drive of this game. Minnesota is currently playing with only one returning starting defensive lineman from last year and without one of their top-two linebackers. One week after Aaron Jones destroyed this run defense’s will to live, Jonathan Taylor piled it on flattening them like a steamroller. Derrick Henry is a battering ram not unlike Taylor and Jones, so I expect similar outcomes. As long as Ryan Tannehill doesn’t hog all of the scoring opportunities, this legitimately could be one of those slate-busting 225-3 type of games for Henry. He will have near 100% ownership, so bear that in mind if you want to be contrarian. Still, do you want to be on the outside looking in if he does go off? If I do skip Henry, I would use Miles Sanders or Austin Ekeler and pray against the chalk.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys @ SEA ($8300 DK, $9000 FD)
We already know that this will be a high-scoring game. This could possibly hurt Ezekiel Elliott if he doesn’t get the carries he normally does. He will still get a healthy dose of runs and a fair amount of catches out of the backfield too, so don’t completely ignore him. That said, I am going to have immense exposure to both passing attacks in this game. In these situations, you need to be careful not to be over-exposed to one game. With lesser prices assigned to both Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor, this seems like the easy fade in the DAL-SEA game. If you are dead-set on playing Zeke this week, may I suggest fading the rest of that game, and then loading up on Chargers and Titans.
Jonathan Taylor, Colts vs. NYJ ($7000 DK, $6700 FD)
I gave the Jets’ run defense way too much credit going into Week 2. Jerick McKinnon and Raheem Mostert had their way with this group. Now, New York gets to face an even tougher challenge in Jonathan Taylor and the Colts’ offensive line. Without Marlon Mack, Taylor lodged 26 carries against the Vikings. Jordan Wilkins served as the change of pace option last week, and Nyheim Hines barely saw the field. That was a bit puzzling. I firmly expect Hines to return to his pass-catching role as the season progresses. That said, there isn’t going to be a need for that in this game as the Colts will lead throughout. That means another healthy carry load for Taylor.
Austin Ekeler, Chargers vs. CAR ($6800 DK, $7500 FD)
Carolina is officially the RB whipping boy for 2020. On the year, they are allowing an average of 185 total yards, three TDs, and 9.5 receptions to opposing backs. At this point, you can start both Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley without a problem. Ekeler is a great pivot from the top-dollar guys this week. His numbers will only be limited by Kelley’s activity. I still see each of them posting well over 100 total yards and each will score at least once.
Joshua Kelley, Chargers vs. CAR ($5000 DK, $5900 FD)
As much as I love Austin Ekeler at his price, I love Joshua Kelley even more so at his price. One of the two must be in your lineup, and if you want to roll both of them, I wouldn’t blame you. As I mentioned just above, they will both go ham this week. The biggest question mark is, will they each score twice, or will one of them score only once?
James White, Patriots vs. LVR ($5300 DK, $5300 FD)
James White suffered a personal tragedy last weekend when his father was killed and his mother was critically injured in a car accident. No one should ever be subjected to that sort of horror. I can’t even fathom what must have been going through his mind. As of Wednesday, White hadn’t returned to practice. So, you will need to watch the reports this Friday to see if he will be back this week. If he returns, the matchup is sweet against a Raiders’ run defense that has given up four rushing TDs, the league-high in RB receiving yards, and the league fourth-high in running back receptions. If he sits out this week (and I would fully understand if he did), the other value play RB is Mike Davis taking over the CMAC role on the road in Los Angeles. My concern here is that he will be over-owned.
Weekly strategy – There are a lot of good but not great options up top this week. DeAndre Hopkins is the only sure thing, but his price is appropriately high. If you wish to spend lower at RB, you can probably utilize Hopkins. As for me, I will join the huddled masses and go all-in on the DAL-SEA game. DK Metcalf and Amari Cooper are primed for huge performances. That said, they will also have high ownership. Using Tyler Lockett and/or Michael Gallup instead of Metcalf and/or Cooper might be the slier option. If you choose to use Big Ben, make sure to pair him with JuJu Smith-Schuster up top or Diontae Johnson for less (assuming he plays). Several people may scroll down and see Allen Robinson versus Atlanta. Do you really trust Mitchell Trubisky to have another decent performance? Show me don’t tell me. At WR2, I could also see you using Terry McLaurin, CeeDee Lamb (if you don’t use Gallup or Cooper), Corey Davis, DeSean Jackson, or Russell Gage. You could also use any of them at WR3. Punt options that I like this week are Darius Slayton, the Cardinals’ backups, Adam Humphries, Greg Ward, and Braxton Berrios. That said, Humphries is the only one from that list that I will have significant exposure to (and then only if A.J. Brown misses the game).
Fantasy Four Pack
DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals vs DET ($7900 DK, $8500 FD)
DeAndre Hopkins gets his turn against the depleted Lions’ secondary. Davante Adams left the game early last week with an injury. That was the only thing that kept him from a great game. Marquez Valdes-Scantling stepped in and the two combined for 100 yards. With so much exposure to the DAL-SEA passing game, Hopkins might make a sneaky pivot. The negative is that Hopkins costs more. Still, if you choose to use Kyler Murray, you really need to use his top option in the receiving game. If you don’t use Hopkins consider using Larry Fitzgerald or Christian Kirk at WR3.
Calvin Ridley, Falcons vs. CHI ($7200 DK, $8000 FD)
Take nothing away from the Chicago pass defense. They can stifle some of the best. This is simply a case of Calvin Ridley emerging as one of the best of the best. Through two weeks, Ridley leads the league in receiving TDs and he is tied for the most receiving yards. I’m torn as to what effect an absent Julio Jones would have on this game. With Jones on the field (even as a decoy), Ridley will receive lesser coverage. However, if Jones is limited or a no-go, Ridley may see even more targets thrown his way. Either way, you can count on 8-125-1 from Ridley as a floor. This is another situation where if you don’t use the big dollar option, consider using Russell Gage at WR3.
DK Metcalf, Seahawks vs. DAL ($6500 DK, $6500 FD)
Speaking of breakout performances, DK Metcalf served the world notice by making Stephon Gilmore look like an every day ham-and-egger. Dallas does not have anyone that I believe can cover this chiseled beast. We are looking at a shootout in this contest, so anything less than 8-100-1 would seem a failure.
Amari Cooper, Cowboys @ SEA ($6500 DK, $7000 FD)
If this game is going to devolve into a shootout, I want as much exposure as possible. Amari Cooper trails only DeAndre Hopkins among all WR in targets. That trend will likely continue this week. I should clarify that I like all three of Dallas’ WRs as legit plays this week. Amongst them, Cooper may have the lowest ownership since he is the most expensive of the three. He also will likely have lower ownership than Metcalf, who is coming off the breakout game. The easy solution, give me Cooper and Metcalf and sprinkle in something cheaper at WR3. Cooper hasn’t scored yet this year, that changes this week.
Corey Davis, Titans @ MIN ($5200 DK, $5300 FD)
A.J. Brown may not go this weekend. It shouldn’t matter since he won’t be needed for Tennessee to win this game. Minnesota’s secondary was already young and inexperienced. Now, they will likely be without the two best of the inexperienced guys. Corey Davis didn’t have the large output of yardage he had in Week 1, but he scored in Week 2. This week, he accomplishes both.
Russell Gage, Falcons vs. CHI ($5100 DK, $5600 FD)
If I told you after two weeks that two Falcons’ WRs were among the top-ten in targets, you would have guessed it was Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. In reality, Russell Gage has more targets than Julio who was slowed down last week by an injury. Now it appears that Julio is questionable at best for this weekend. If he cannot go, that will undoubtedly increase the target share for Gage. His price is considerably cheaper than Ridley and there is no chance that he will face the Bears’ top cover cornerback. If you don’t roll him out this week, when will you?
Weekly strategy – So many bargains at the TE position this week. Even the expensive options aren’t that expensive. I’m a little concerned about George Kittle coming back too early from injury and I’m also concerned about Bill Belichick trying to shut down Darren Waller. Outside of that, start any of these guys. Jonnu Smith is the popular new-guy who will have huge ownership against the rotten Vikings’ defense. Tyler Higbee is the young star coming off the three-score game. Then there is Zach Ertz, the veteran with the team with no WRs facing a questionable secondary. Let us not forget, Evan Engram, who gets to absorb both Sterling Shepard and Saquan Barkley’s targets. Not to mention, guys like Dalton Schultz and Greg Olsen in the DAL-SEA point orgy and Jordan Reed if George Kittle cannot go. This smells like one of those weeks where I could roll out the Double-TE. I especially am tempted to play Drew Sample against the same Philly defense that allowed Higbee to score three times last week.
Fantasy Four Pack
Tyler Higbee, Rams @ BUF ($5900 DK, $6100 FD)
I am concerned a little about the Rams traveling east for an early game. That said, my concern falls more on Cooper Kupp and especially Robert Woods since they also must face the Bills’ tough cornerbacks. In the first two weeks, Buffalo did fumble some at covering TEs. Chris Herndon and Mike Gesicki combined to post 14-167-1 against them. I’d argue that Higbee is better than either of them. If Jared Goff struggles to find his WRs open, expect a huge game from Higbee.
Jonnu Smith, Titans @ MIN ($5200 DK, $5600 FD)
Without A.J. Brown in the lineup, Jonnu Smith led Tennessee in receiving yards last week. This week he faces another easy opponent in Minnesota. The Vikings just got done allowing 5-111 to reserve TE, Mo Alie-Cox in Week 2. Even if Brown plays, I expect Smith to top 100 yards. What remains to be seen, however, is whether he vultures one of Derrick Henry’s likely four TDs.
Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. CIN ($5100 DK, $6200 FD)
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Philadelphia is short-handed at WR. Fortunately for the Eagles, they have two of the best TEs in football in Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Goedert actually has more targets than Ertz through two weeks, but Ertz is the proven veteran who stepped up and led the team to finish the 2019 season. Ertz also caught five of his seven targets last week while Goedert dropped half of his. Carson Wentz will target both of them double-digit times this week, and I don’t blame you for rolling with either of them.
Darren Waller, Raiders @ NE ($5700 DK, $6600 FD)
I was down on Darren Waller this offseason. I was concerned by the sheer volume of receiving options that the team brought in. I was wrong. Waller has taken the next step. He now joins George Kittle, Travis Kelce, and Mark Andrews in the elite TE tier. Bill Belichick has a habit of strategizing to take out an opponents’ best players, but we saw how poorly that worked on DK Metcalf last week. Waller is talented enough to best this defense, just don’t go overboard here, since there are cheaper options.
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys @ SEA ($4400 DK, $5300 FD)
In case you need more exposure to this game, may I suggest Dalton Schultz. My namesake went off last week as he got to absorb the hype that was previously destined for Blake Jarwin. Seattle hasn’t been properly tested by a TE yet this year, but last year they allowed the second-most yardage and the third-most receptions to the position. If you decide you want a Cowboys’ receiver without spending up for Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, or Michael Gallup, consider Schultz here. He actually led the team in targets and receptions last week. Plus, there are more than enough points to go around here.
Drew Sample, Bengals @ PHI ($3500 DK, $4800 FD)
It is clear that Joe Burrow likes to target the TE position. Through two weeks, Burrow has targeted Drew Sample and C.J. Uzomah a total of 21 times. The pair has accumulated a total of 16-139-1. Now Uzomah is done for the year leaving Sample to be the primary weapon from the TE spot. He was peppered repeatedly in Week 2 following the injury and I expect more of the same here. Plus, Philadelphia just allowed three TDs to Tyler Higbee, so there is chum in the water.