Week 1 was not particularly kind to me and most DFS players, since a lot of the popular picks fell well short of expectations, and I also dealt with a number of injuries that ruined some picks. And finally, some of the “sneaky” cheap plays just didn’t come through. I did have some good WR/TE calls and for the most part, I was on the right track at QB, so it wasn’t all bad.
Armed with some lessons learned from Week 1, here are my recommendations for DraftKings Week 2:
Kyler Murray (Ari vs. Was - $6100) - I have Dak Prescott and Matt Ryan as the best DFS values on the board this week when you add up their upside, cost, etc. But I will only list them both below because they will be extremely popular, so recommending them won’t be that helpful. I’m trying to be helpful, so I’ll feature Murray, who I have as delivering the third-best option this week in terms of Point Per Dollar Value. Murray was excellent last week, and while the Redskins defense ruined Carson Wentz in Week 1, Murray’s OL and backfield is in way better shape than Philly’s was last week, and Murray is less of a sitting duck in the pocket than Wentz. We do have a decent total expected in 46.5, and 27 points expected from the Cardinals. Murray’s YPA should be low again this week against a ferocious Redskins front, but Murray led all QBs with 13/91/1 rushing in Week 1, and the Football Team’s secondary is beatable, so we can’t rule out a big play. For example, last week Christian Kirk was wide open for a likely TD, but Muray ran the ball instead. Seeing the film from last week, Murray may look to take a few more downfield shots and the Redskin secondary is vulnerable.
Daniel Jones (NYG, at Chi $5800) - Jones didn’t have a great game against Chicago last year, but with a lot of bad QB matchups this week and some other QBs dealing with worrisome injuries (like Matthew Stafford) and some game script concerns (like Ben Roethlisberger), I think Jones has a good chance to get some volume, even though the expected total is only 42.5. But when I add up his cost and upside, and how much I like Evan Engram this week, I do like Jones’ chances.
Higher-end guys I’m okay with
Matt Ryan (Atl, vs. Dall - $6100) - He’ll be popular, but he’s at least cheaper than Dak Prescott. Of course, I’ll also use Prescott, as well. No Sean Lee and Leighton Vander Esch do help Ryan’s chances, and those injuries could make Hayden Hurst relevant.
Dak Prescott (Dal, vs. Atl $6100) - He’ll also be popular, but while the matchup is fantastic--with the Falcons not having a good pass rush and giving up the second-most fantasy points to outside WRs last week--I am a tad worried about Dallas’ problems at RT this week, and they may not have their stud LT, which is a huge concern. So if given the choice between Dak and Ryan, I’m going Ryan. But Dak’s still a good bet to come through.
Josh Allen (Buf, at Mia $6700) - Miami’s revamped secondary wasn’t really tested last week, so we don’t know how well they will hold up. But we know Allen will run with 14 attempts last week, and he did drop 6 TDs on Miami in two games last year, and he’s crushed them in his career.
Miles Sanders (Phi, vs. LAR - $6100) - This entry is not exactly about price, although $6100 isn’t bad for a player of Sanders’ caliber. The Ram defensive front is still quite good, but you just know the Eagles are going to bounce back in their home opener (although they will lose some juice with the stands empty), and it will likely be due largely to Sanders. Getting RT Lane Johnson back will also be huge for their offense and for QB Carson Wentz. I expect them to go with a quick-strike passing game to help their OL, which should mean some screens for Sanders. There will be some skepticism about his snap and touch totals this week, which is obviously fair, but I’m optimistic since he was very, very close last week. More than enough time has now passed for him to be completely healed, and he is 100%. You worry about a setback, but three’s a big reward here if you’re willing to take on some risk.
Jonathan Taylor (Ind, vs. Min - $5700) - He’ll be very popular, but I don’t see how you can lose with Taylor this week at only $5700. He saw a promising six targets in Week 1 and he saw 10 carries to Nyheim Hines’ three carries after Marlon Mack went down. The Vikings defense did a good job on Aaron Jones last week, but they still allowed 28/139/1 rushing and 9/37 receiving to the Packers backfield last week.
Ronald Jones (TB, vs. Car - $5200) - I really don’t know if he’ll be a popular DFS pick this week (but check our DFS ownership projections on Saturday), but I do know this: unless Leonard Fournette soars up the pecking order and takes over, I can’t see Jones flopping this week with such a good matchup. Jones led the Buccaneers backfield with 47% of the snaps, and while LeSean McCoy actually finished second in snap share (36%), his touch percentage when he was out there was just 4%, so he was basically serving as a blocker. The Panthers just allowed 3 TDs to Josh Jacobs last week, and they’ve now allowed multiple rushing TDs in six straight games. I see the Bucs bouncing back in a big way offensively and really containing the Panther offense, so it should be a great situation for Jones.
Fournette, who saw just 13% of the snaps last week, could get it done late, but he’s way harder to trust than Jones, and he was hesitant as a runner in his Bucs debut.
Adrian Peterson (Det, at GB - $4700) - I went back and forth on AD and D’Andre Swift for inclusion because I can make the case for both. Ultimately Peterson got the nod because he’s $200 cheaper and because, while he played 10 fewer snaps than Swift, his touch percentage in the backfield was way higher (71% vs. 18%). Peterson’s 3 targets and 12.5% target percentage in their backfield put it over the top for me, since he may not be dead if the Lions are getting smoked. I can also see the game being close enough for him to get 15 carries or more. The Packers did give up 5.6 YPC to RBs last week with 2 rushing TDs.
Higher-end guys I’m okay with
Derrick Henry (Ten, vs. Jac - $7900) - Henry didn’t look great last week, but Denver’s run defense is nasty, and they’ve had his number dating back to last year. Henry figures to get his volume this week in a positive game script as nine-point favorites, but most encouraging is that he ran a career-high 22 routes, and an active role in the passing game would remove almost all of his downside this week, since they will need to feed him the ball more than ever with A.J. Brown out. Also, he will not have to worry about Darrynton Evans, who will miss the game.
Ezekiel Elliott (Dal, vs. Atl - $8300) - I have no qualms paying for Zeke this week in a cash game, since Chris Carson caught two touchdown passes against the Falcons last week and Elliott also scored a receiving TD (4 targets). Tony Pollard could get more involved in the passing game this week (3 targets in Week 1), but Zeke is a good bet to score TDs again.
Alvin Kamara (NO, at LV - $7800) - When I plugged in the numbers for his projection, he came out as the second-best RB value on the board behind Derrick Henry in terms of Point Per Dollar Value. He will be needed with Michael Thomas likely out, and New Orleans’ defense should make life miserable for the Raiders’ offense, which should help Kamara and Latavious Murray.
Davante Adams (GB, vs. Det - $8100) - He was an easy call here last week, and he’s an easy call this week. Adams has 22+ FP in six straight games (playoffs included) and he’s averaging 13.5 targets per game in that span. The Lions top three CBs (Desmond Trufant, Jeff Okudah, and Justin Coleman) each could miss this week with hamstring injuries (Coleman is on IR). With the Lions capable of hanging in there if this one is a shootout, Adams is a good bet to eat again Week 2.
Amari Cooper (Dal, vs. Atl - $6300) - With rookie CeeDee Lamb facing the toughest matchup for Dallas this week in the slot, Cooper (and Michael Gallup) gets a juicy matchup against young CBs Isaish Oliver and A.J. Terrell, who allowed a combined 12/180/2 receiving on 14 targets to Seahawks WRs last week. The Falcons gave up the second-most fantasy points to outside WRs last week, per SIS, and Cooper had a promising 10/81 receiving on 14 targets against the Rams last week, and he’s clearly the receiver Prescott trusts the most. With the highest total on the board this week at 53.5, Cooper is a good bet to score and post 20+ PPR points. Also, his iffy status may scare some people off him this week, but he is expected to play.
Mike Evans (TB, vs. Car - $6400) - With Evans’ price down due to his lingering hamstring, I see a buying opportunity in Week 2. Chris Godwin through Friday was still doubtful, although an upgrade is possible, since he worked on Friday. Between Evans’ injury woes and Godwin’s iffy status (at least until inactives are announced), Evans may not be a popular pick this week, which is part of the appeal. He also did little against Marshon Lattimore, last week, which probably hurts people’s confidence in him. But Lattimore has been a nemesis to Evans with his tight man coverage and the Panthers played nearly 70% of their snaps in zone, per SIS. The old scheme was zone heavy in Carolina as well, which helps explain how he torched the Panthers for 18/272/2 receiving in two games last season.
Diontae Johnson (Pit, at Den - $4500) - Johnson had an awful first half in Week 1 and I was worried that Ben Roethlisberger would start shying away from him the second half - but he did the opposite. Johnson led the team with nine targets and a 30% air yards share, and it’s clear they are viewing him similarly to how they viewed Antonio Brown. Top CB A.J. Bouye (shoulder) will miss this week, and the bad Broncos secondary just allowed 7/101 receiving to NFL draft bust Corey Davis. But most encouraging is Johnson’s price, which makes him one of the best WR values on the board this week, per our projections. While the Steelers should win easily, Denver’s stout run defense could keep Big Ben passing a little more than usual in a game they are holding a lead.
Darius Slayton (NYG, at Chi - $5000) - I hate to chase points, but Slayton made a strong case for being Jones’ top receiver this year in Week 1 with 6/102/2 receiving on nine targets against a very good Steelers secondary. He’s now scored multiple TDs with 100+ yards in three of his first 15 games, and he’s pretty darn affordable at $5000. He will need to score again, but if he does I see him delivering 3X his price tag, or 15 PPR points. It’s not looking good for Golden Tate this week through Friday’s practice, which helps Slayton.
Parris Campbell (Ind, vs. Min - $4500) - TY Hilton is also looking really good this week, but with the youngster so affordable ($4500 vs. $5700 for Hilton), I gotta go Campbell, who was one of my 33 “Gurrific” players this summer (out of 300+). Campbell saw a promising 19% target share in Week 1 (same as Hilton), and he 95% of his routes from the slot. Mike Hughes allowed 4/69/1 receiving out of the slot to Packers WRs last week, and through one week the Vikings are giving up the second-most FP/G out of the slot (52.9 FP/G). If there’s one thing we know about Philip Rivers, it’s that he loves slot. Also, TE Jack Doyle is out, which should help Campbell’s target number. This game also has a solid expected total of 48.
Marvin Jones (Det, at GB - $5700) - He’s not an incredible value this week, but I still like him as a play after he let so many people down last week, and I like the game script for him in one of the higher-scoring expected games on the docket at 49 points. The Lions won’t likely have Kenny Golladay again, which is obviously huge, but their secondary is also all kinds of banged up, so this looks like a week for Stafford to have to throw it 40+ times, which gives Jones a good chance to come through.
Mike Williams (LAC, vs. KC, - $4200) - Just as I suspected all summer, Williams has a chance with Tyrod, who is a big-chunk thrower and who last week threw the ball to Williams 9 times, mostly down the field. Williams looked great, and he’s reportedly no worse for the wear this week, so I like him a lot in a game that should feature the Chargers playing from behind late.
Breshad Perriman (NYJ, vs. SF - $3800) - The Jets were really bad last week, especially Sam Darnold, who missed a wide-open Perriman for a likely TD last week (you will only see the play on the All-22 tape). But things are setting for a productive day for Perriman, at the very least in garbage time. Jamison Crowder is out, which is obviously huge. CB Richard Sherman is also out, which is also huge. The game is in NJ, so the 49ers will be making the trek across the country for a game they may be a little flat for. Perriman was the only WR in the league to run a route on every drop back last week, and the rest of the 49er secondary is beatable. Perriman will likely see 7-8 targets, and he’s going to be a choice receiver for Darnold in the red zone. If he can manage a TD, Perriman is damn near a lock to get at least 12 PPR points, which qualifies as coming through given his low salary.
Corey Davis (Ten, vs. Jac, - $4000) - With Davis, it’s actually very simple: he cannot consistently win against press-man coverage, so you want him against teams that run a zone-based defense. Denver was in zone last week the 11th-most snaps at 68%, per SIS, and Jacksonville last week was in zone a solid 60% of the time. Davis saw a 20% target share last week and now has 12/166 receiving with 15 targets in his last two games with Tannehill. That target share should be in the 30% range this week with AJ Brown out, so Davis doesn’t have to do much to come through at his very low price. Even a line of 5/70 would make him a successful play.
Higher-end guys I’m okay with
Marquise Brown (Bal, at Hou - $6200) - His price is way up this week, and he will see the same matchup that slowed Tyreek Hill down last week, but Brown was sick in Week 1 and could have racked up 150+ yards easily if they really wanted him to. Brown posted an effortless 5/101 receiving on six targets last week against the Browns, and while I can see things being tougher for him this week, I can also see his target number up 3-4 targets.
D.J. Moore (Car, at TB - $6300) - The guy can’t find the endzone, but Moore saw a team-high 26.4% target share in Week 1, including three deep balls and two end-zone targets. He totaled 16/162 receiving against the Bucs last season, which makes sense because they play a lot of zone. Tampa really put the clamps down on Christian McCaffrey last year, and since I expect the Bucs to break out offensively, there should be some nice garbage time chances for Moore.
Evan Engram (NYG, at Chi - $5300) - He’s not a great value per se, but $5300 is very reasonable, and I like the matchup. The Bears last week gave up the 2nd-most FP/Target to TEs in Week 1, the 5th most yards/TGT, a 100% catch rate, and the 4th highest success rate vs. TEs, and TJ Hockenson’s snaps were somewhat limited last week. Engram stumbled out of the gates by catching just two of his seven targets for nine yards in the season opener, which is also a positive because he’s not going to be a popular pick. He will need to score, but that’s very possible, and Hockenson caught all 5 of his targets last week, putting up 5/56/1. It’s not looking good for Golden Tate this week through Friday’s practice, which helps not just Slayton, but also Engram. Engram has also received an unusual amount of praise from his HC this week and the last few weeks.
Hayden Hurst (Atl, at Dal, - $4600) - He really let me down last week, but he did almost score and it was his first game as a Falcon, and they did throw the ball 54 damn times last week and will likely throw it 45+ this week. Hurst had just a 9.6% target share in Week 1 but he led the league in tight end routes with 45, and Dallas does go 3-4 deep in terms of solid corners. In addition, Dallas will be missing LBs Leighton Vander Esch and Sean Lee and they are shaky against TEs with those guys on the field. Hurst did look good running routes last week, so I can’t resist the potential payoff here for Hurst if he can find the endzone and/or put together a high-catch game.
Tyler Higbee (LAR, at Phi, - $4700) - He also flopped last week and it’s not a great sign that he ran a route on just 64.7% of Jared Goff’s dropbacks last week, and had a target share of just 11.7%. Our Greg Cosell sees Eagles LB TJ Edwards as a liability in coverage, and with WRs Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp seeing tougher matchups (Darius Slay and Nickell Roby-Coleman, respectively), I can easily see Higbee having a big fantasy day. I also think Philly will do well overall, so there’s a chance Higbee can rack up some garbage time production. Logan Thomas went for 4/37/1 receiving on eight targets against the Eagles last week, which helps my confidence a bit even though his TD was a bust.
Jonnu Smith (Ten, vs. Jac, - $4200) - AJ Brown is not going to play, and while Corey Davis does have a good chance to come through with volume, especially since the Jags played more zone than not last week, I also like Smith, who had seven targets last week for just the third time in his career. He turned those looks into 4/36/1 receiving, and the Jaguars gave up 5/69 receiving last week to Colt TEs, which is a pretty lame group right now.
Mike Gesicki (Mia, vs. Buf, - $4000) - He scares me a bit, but NO ONE is talking about Gesicki this week, and he’s dirt cheap at 4k on DK. I did have Jamison Crowder as a play here in Week 1 against the Bills, and Gesicki ran a league-high 78% routes from the slot last week. The Bills have been susceptible to inside receivers dating back to last week, and they will be even more vulnerable this week with LBs Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds likely out. Throw in CB Tre White eliminating one side of the field on the outside and/or one of their outside WRs (and DeVante Parker is still beat up) and how Ryan Fitzpatrick somehow threw for 282 and 323 yards against them last year, and I think it’s clear Gesicki has a real chance this week.
Logan Thomas (Was, at Ari - $3600) - If you’re looking to go dirt cheap at TE, Thomas has to be the pick. Thomas saw a 25% target share and, while his TD was fluky, he finished as the TE7 last week. Our Greg Cosell said LB/S Isaiah Simmons struggled in his first professional game, and the Cardinals easily allowed the most FPG (19.4) last season. I also expect the Cardinals to get it done in the passing game, so the Football Team should be playing mostly from behind, so we could easily see Thomas do it again with solid volume in garbage time.
Higher-end guys I’m okay with
Hunter Henry (LAC, vs. KC - $5100) - His price isn’t amazing, and neither is his QB, but Henry was active last week, as Tyrod Taylor targeted his RBs just 3.5% of the time and threw to Henry 8 times, tied for the second-most on the team with Keenan Allen. Unlike Allen, Henry actually had a decent day with 5/73 and multiple chances to score. The Texans last week, while playing from behind, gave up the most FP/target, per SIS, and also the most yards/target with 14.50. Henry has some juice this week.
Week 2 Sample Lineups
Welp, my goal of averaging 150 points per lineup was off to a good start, and then I fell off a cliff. The James Conner injury particularly hurt, but my affinity for the Rams and Jared Goff also cost me. Here’s a breakdown:
1pm games - 151.5
Sunday only - 150.5
All games - 114.2 - Conner injury, Goff/Kupp crapped out
All games - 106.1
Here’s some sample DK lineups for this week:
|Miami - D
|Miami - D
|Miami - D