We are finally here! It’s officially football / fantasy football / DFS season. And I’m here to help today and every Sunday morning moving forward.
What is this article? Mostly it’s a follow-up to yesterday’s big DFS piece – Scott Barrett’s Week 2 DFS Breakdown. But this article should also offer some utility for redraft and dynasty players.
Each week I’ll be breaking down the key injuries, news, and notes from Saturday / Sunday and will be updating this article up until kickoff (1PM EST). And I’ll also be providing a sort of TL;DR to yesterday’s big DFS article. Who are my core plays? You can find that at the end of the article.
- BREAKING: Broncos WR Courtland Sutton will play. This doesn’t do much for us, except it pushes Noah Fant and Jerry Jeudy out of serious consideration. - Chargers RB Justin Jackson is not expected to play. Look for Joshua Kelley and Austin Ekeler to split carries 50/50 or 60/40, while Ekeler receives nearly all of the targets out of the backfield. - Colts TE Jack Doyle is out. Colts WR Zach Pascal is not expected to play. Look for Fantasy Points’ favorite Michael Pittman to get more work this week. TE Mo Alie-Cox is a very strong punt option at TE. WRs Parris Campbell (already a great DFS play) and T.Y. Hilton become far more intriguing.
- Giants WR Golden Tate is expected to play. This hurts Darius Slayton, who was looking like a strong DFS value this week. And this hurts Sterling Shepard even more than Slayton -- Shepard is at his best in the slot, but a healthy Tate kicks him back outside. - Texans RB Duke Johnson is not expected to play. The team signed RB C.J. Prosise off of their practice squad, but look for David Johnson to receive a near-bell-cow-workload. - Rams TE Gerald Everett is expected to play. He’s dinged up with a back injury. Tyler Higbee could steal a bit more work because of it. - Cowboys LT Tyron Smith is a GTD. Dallas is already without RT La’el Collins and backup OT Cam Erving. Atlanta has almost no pass rush, but this could make things messy for Dak Prescott chalk-eaters. - Dolphins WR DeVante Parker is a GTD. If he’s out, Mike Gesicki becomes a much more intriguing play. Wes Huber is high on him. It would actually be better for WR Preston Williams if he plays, so Williams doesn’t draw shadow coverage from CB Tre’Davious White. - 49ers TE George Kittle is out. Oh boy. San Francisco’s receiving corps is reeling from injuries. TE Jordan Reed is looking like a strong DFS punt option. Rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk is intriguing as well. San Francisco may have no choice but to give him a full workload, and HC Kyle Shanahan is terrific at scheming elite-YAC WRs like Aiyuk out in open space. Edit: Apparently Reed will be limited to just 15-20 snaps this week. That means he’s no longer in play for cash. - Jets WR Jamison Crowder is out. New York’s already very poor receiving corps just lost their No. 1 receiver. WR Breshad Perriman at $3800 and TE Chris Herndon at $3400 are a little too cheap on DraftKings this week. - Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin is out. This undoubtedly hurts QB Tom Brady, but makes WR Mike Evans and Scotty Miller more interesting from a DFS perspective. Both were already high on our radar. - Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay is out. The matchup isn’t great, but Melvin Gordon seems locked into a true bell-cow workload. - Lions WR Kenny Golladay is out again. Marvin Jones was chalk last week for a reason, but no one wants to play him this week at the same price-tag. That could be a mistake. Or we shouldn’t sleep on TE TJ Hockenson or rookie WR Quintez Cephus, who saw 10 targets last week. - Titans WR A.J. Brown is out. Like with the Jets, Tennessee really has no viable options beyond WR Corey Davis and TE Jonnu Smith. Both are strong DFS options this week, though RB Derrick Henry may just finish this game with 5,000 yards on 78 attempts. - Saints WR Michael Thomas is out. The Saints are off of the Main Slate. But this really hurts QB Drew Brees (Thomas has accounted for 29% of Brees’ fantasy points since 2018). That said, this should mean even more work for RB Alvin Kamara, TE Jared Cook, and WR Emmanuel Sanders.
If you’re not reading Adam Caplan’s Caplan’s Fantasy Insider Notebook, you’re missing out on one of the most valuable articles in the space. (Seriously, how cool is it that we have our own NFL Insider on staff? What other fantasy sites offer that?) Here are some important tidbits from today’s article:
- On RB Miles Sanders: “Sanders, I'm told, looked outstanding in practice the last two weeks and clearly was ready to go this week. I'm expecting him to have a good enough role in this game in order for you to start him.”
- On WR Henry Ruggs: “The [Raiders believe] that Ruggs (knee-questionable) will be in the lineup on Monday night against the visiting Saints.
- On #LettingRussCook: “[The Seahawks] had a plan carrying over from the off-season, I'm told, to come out throwing in the first quarter of games instead of trying to have balance. Head coach Pete Carroll, through the urging of some within the Seahawks front office and coaching staff, agreed to do this.”
- On Jonnu Smith: “The team does not have a viable replacement for WR A.J. Brown (knee-out), so look for TE Jonnu Smith to have an increased role until Brown returns to the lineup.”
The 3 Biggest Questions in DFS this week are: 1. Who don’t you want from the ATL/DAL game? Do you fade it based on ownership? That’d be just about the only reason to fade all of the underpriced options in this game. 2. Do you eat or fade the Jonathan Taylor chalk? The only reason to fade him is because of ownership, but he is going to be massively owned. On both sites, he’s projected to be the highest-owned player on the slate (25% DK, 35% FD). 3. Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott, or both? I’m leaning towards playing both.
This is an extremely difficult week for cash game and single entry tournament players. This is a great week to go contrarian. I’ll be fairly chalky in single-entry tournaments and cash games, but in any multi-entry tournaments (3-entry max to 150-entry max), I’ll be going full contrarian. Yes, although it hurts my soul, it would mean fading Jonathan Taylor and/or the ATL/DAL game. Get weird. You have to imagine scenarios where the Jonathan Taylor chalk fails. What happens? Does Nyheim Hines lead the backfield in fantasy points? Does Minnesota get out to a big lead early, forcing Indianapolis to abandon the run? Who benefits then? Dalvin Cook? Parris Campbell, T.Y. Hilton and/or Mo Alie-Cox? How might DAL/ATL fail to live up the hype? Do both teams score the bulk of their touchdowns via the run, benefitting Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley (gross)? Might another more slept on game exceed their total (maybe PHI/LAR)?
Cash Core (DK/FD)
QB: Dak Prescott (DK), Kyler Murray (DK), Matt Ryan (FD)
RB: Jonathan Taylor, Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott
WR: Davante Adams, Mike Evans, Diontae Johnson, CeeDee Lamb, Parris Campbell, Breshad Perriman (DK), Corey Davis (DK), Mike Williams (DK), Quintez Cephus (FD)
TE: Chris Herndon, Jonnu Smith, Logan Thomas, Mo Alie-Cox (FD)
DEF: NYG (DK), MIA (DK), IND (DK), Arizona (FD) For additional plays, please go back and look through yesterday’s article.