Dak Prescott, DAL vs. ATL ($6,800 DK, $8,300 FD, O/U 54.0)
The Cowboys will host the Falcons in Arlington for what is expected to have no shortage of fireworks. Dak Prescott was able to top 300 passing yards last week against an airtight Rams zone coverage. Jalen Ramsey and Co. limited Prescott to only attempt seven percent of his passes at 20 yards or more. It was a bit disappointing to see all three of Prescott’s rushing attempts come as the result of scrambles. Being limited to 1.9 FPS on deep targets, additional volume on the ground would have been a welcomed sight. Dallas is implied to score 29 points against new DC Raheem Morris’ Cover 1- and Cover 3-heavy shells. Morris also ran a bit more Cover 2 against Seattle last week than what Atlanta featured in 2019 -- possibly searching for any strategy to contain Russell Wilson’s passing.
Atlanta DBs Isaiah Oliver, A.J. Terrell, Ricardo Allen, and Darqueze Dennard permitted a combined 71.6 FPS within their coverage to Seahawks receivers last week. With Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb next up on the docket, Atlanta better hope Matt Ryan brings his A-game to AT&T Stadium. The same can be expected from Prescott after watching the Cowboys’ secondary struggle to prevent the Rams’ offense from driving down the field. We will need another week of Atlanta footage to accurately assess their run defense after Seattle passed on two-thirds of offensive snaps. But we can count on Zeke Elliott to provide an elite backfield presence in all phases of the game to take some attention away from Prescott.
The Bottom Line: With the highest expected total score on the slate, I am rather shocked to see Prescott so reasonably priced on both DK and FD. You will no doubt want to stack him with any one or two of his talented receivers. Both of these teams will pull out all of the stops to prevent falling to 0-2.
Josh Allen, BUF at MIA ($6,700 DK, $8,200 FD, O/U 41.0)
Cam Newton’s new look Patriots generated over 215 yards, 18 first downs, and three TDs on the ground against a hapless Miami defense last week. Be sure to make a note for yourself that, simply because the Dolphins are currently listed in a lot of fantasy locations as the No. 1 passing defense in the NFL, New England only passed on a third of offensive snaps. Even when they did pass, the Miami pass rush was entirely non-existent. After the Buffalo running backs hit a wall against a very underrated Jets run defense, heading into Miami Gardens must be an all too welcome change of scenery.
Josh Allen carried the ball 15 times -- five scrambles -- against New York to post a healthy 11.7 rushing FPS. The Buffalo offensive line played an outstanding game in protection, allowing Allen to pass on two-thirds of offensive snaps. I anticipate that OC Brian Daboll’s Bills will exceed their implied score of 23.5 points against new DC Josh Boyer’s ‘Fins defense. This will be the week the Buffalo ground game erupts on the legs of Allen, Devin Singletary, and Zach Moss. As the Jets discovered, don’t be too quick to discount Allen continuing to push the ball downfield within a positive game script. Allen collected 55 of his 312 passing yards and a TD on nine screen passes alone. It is apparent that Buffalo is determined to bring balance to the offense this season.
The Bottom Line: If you agree with my analysis, stacking Allen with Singletary and/or Stefon Diggs could end up being an under-owned stack this weekend. Allen ran seven times for 46 yards and a TD in the first quarter alone last week. His floor is swiftly elevated to must-own status when facing poor rushing defenses.
Derrick Henry, TEN vs. JAX ($7,900 DK, $8,300 FD, O/U 44.0)
I know, I know. Really going out on a limb here with a Derrick Henry recommendation. But, in my defense, I am skipping over all of the $7K-plus DK and $9K-plus FD chalk in order to provide analysis combined with a side of salary relief. When you look back on last week's Denver game, you may feel Henry didn’t play all that well. He only managed 3.7 yards over his 31 rushing attempts and didn’t score a TD. (Queue the dramatic pause)… however, Henry manufactured over half of that yardage after contact. He also forced seven missed tackles. Still not impressed? Well, in addition to a 90-plus ownership of team carries, Henry also saw a 7.5 percent target share (three receptions) to add 4.29 receiving FPS to his day.
Did I mention he carried the ball 31 times? Without Dion Lewis on the roster siphoning passing down work, Henry suddenly may have a healthy floor to combine with his truly unique rushing upside. When Henry is on the DFS slate, you must have exposure. Should he go all “Tractorcito” on the Jags with 200-plus yards and a handful of TDs, you won’t be going anywhere close to cashing in without him. Since Darrynton Evans has already been ruled out this week, I fully expect Henry to see another set of targets in Nashville.
The Bottom Line: I included Henry on this list to give fair warning in advance. Henry is as cash game-steady as any RB playing this weekend. I’ll have so much exposure to him on both platforms that I’ll need to search through my lineups to find one without him. I will have a few FD lineups injected with Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, and Julio Jones. Those are likely to be my only LU pivots from Henry.
Devin Singletary, BUF at MIA ($5,200 DK, $6,000 FD, O/U 41.0)
Very nearly listed Jonathan Taylor in this spot, but he’ll likely be touted enough that you don’t need me to do a breakdown on him. As you may have noticed in my Josh Allen writeup, the Miami run defense did not play up to NFL standards last week. No doubt they’ve worked very hard this week in practice in an attempt to meet the Bills’ ground game head-on. But talent simply cannot be coached into players. When it comes to talent, the Buffalo ground game is oozing with it.
I know it is difficult to trust in fresh rookies. Neither Devin Singletary or Zack Moss did much of anything with their 20 total carries last week. In spite of that, Moss is also in play for me this week. Moss may have collected the passing TD last week, but Singletary nearly doubled his target share (8.5 compared to 14.9 percent). Singletary (7.3) still nearly caught up to Moss (10.6) in FPS without the TD. I also wouldn’t read too much into them only receiving 10 rushing attempts apiece. The duo only ran the ball four times in the entire first half. This was entirely scripted in the gameplan well in advance.
The Bottom Line: In order to roster Henry with an Aaron Rodgers-Davante Adams or Kyler Murray-DeAndre Hopkins stack on DK, you’ll need some salary concessions to make it work. We can take it out on the TE position, throw in a receiver who will only be on the field for half of the passing snaps, or dip into the handful of No.1 backs in the $5K territory. Singletary will face a porous run defense, see at least a 50 percent carry stake, and five-to-seven targets in the passing game. That’s more than enough of an opportunity for Singletary to provide multiples in value.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT vs. DEN ($6,500 DK, $7,100 FD, O/U 40.5)
The Broncos secondary, while a distant second, is runner-up to the Lions as the unit most impacted by injuries heading into Week 2. I don’t want to take anything away from the performances of Corey Davis or Adam Humphries, but Michael Ojemudia was the only shining light for the Denver secondary following the early departure of A.J. Bouye. Ojemudia will almost exclusively play right corner on Sunday in new DC Pat Shurmur’s Cover 3 and Cover 6 zone secondary. Without Bouye’s leadership, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson become excellent plays.
Smith-Schuster really put a strain on his relationship with DFS participants last season. Yes, Big Ben played for 12 seconds the entire season, but we saw both Johnson and James Washington ball out in several games with Mason Rudolph under center. JSS just didn’t appear to have his head in the game at times. With Roethlisberger back, those concerns appear to be a distant memory. JuJu nearly posted a perfect passer rating when targeted for a 6/69/2 line last week against the Giants on the road. As for his matchup with the Broncos, Smith-Schuster has simply feasted on Cover 6 zones throughout his career. And Shurmur’s secondary finished Week 1 as one of the top-five teams most-utilizing Cover 6 .
The Bottom Line: It was actually a good thing that Johnson saw a 30-plus percent target share last week compared to JuJu’s 19 percent. Even though he scored the two TDs, had he also topped 100 receiving yards, he would likely have an inflated salary. I am anticipating that Smith-Schuster will approach double-digit targets against a struggling Denver secondary.
Amari Cooper, DAL vs. ATL ($6,300 DK, $7,000 FD, O/U 54.0)
Allow me to kick this dead horse a few times before this piece is finished. Do you really blame me? Whenever an NFL game has implications of 54 points on the scoreboard, we need to pay serious attention. Dallas will have the skill position-advantage at RB and Atlanta will easily field the better TE. While the QBs are very different stylistically, they are both top-five at the position. As for the WR units, arguments could be made for both sides, especially when factoring in Julio Jones’ age.
I mentioned the embarrassing performance from the Atlanta secondary in Dak Prescott’s analysis. Russell Wilson is a future HOFer, no doubt, but I came away with the impression that the Falcons will break some records this season. Some good, some very bad. The Cowboys’ triumvirate of explosive wideouts will be facing the Falcons at the perfect time. In addition, when Prescott started forcing the ball to Amari Cooper last week in Jalen Ramsey’s coverage, I witnessed something I’ve never seen him do before. In the past, when Cooper faced consistent step-for-step coverage, Dak would alter his progressions over the remainder of the game. However, last week, he seemed to find another level of confidence in Cooper’s abilities.
The Bottom Line: I am all over Prescott and Cooper stacks. CeeDee Lamb also popped last week, so we can’t forget about him. So, a couple triple-stacks might be in order. Cooper received a 35-plus percent target share against a top-three cover CB last week. Reminder: Cooper will not be covered by Ramsey in Week 2.
Mike Evans, TB vs. CAR ($6,400 DK, $7,400 FD, O/U 47.5)
Even before I read reports of Chris Godwin landing in the concussion protocol, I planned for extensive exposure to Mike Evans this week. Godwin may actually play after practicing today. His presence on the field will only help Evans. Despite his lingering injury, Evans was on the field for all sans two passing plays. The issue appeared to be on Tom Brady’s end. He targeted Evans on two-of-six combo routes with an improper read. Evans ran both routes correctly, while Brady targeted the incorrect route for the coverage shell on the field.
HC Bruce Arians even went as far as blaming himself for not calling in additional plays for Evans after that five percent of his target share was wasted. When Arians specifically calls himself out for not targeting a receiver enough, you play that man in DFS the following week. And we couldn’t have a better matchup to do so than facing the Carolina Cover 3 and Cover 4 zones. Panthers CB Rasul Douglas is a solid defensive back. But, after Douglas, the Panthers secondary is a hodgepodge of rookies and replacement-level athletes.
The Bottom Line: Brady did not play last week’s game to his standards. He will be determined to make sure the Bucs come away with their first victory this weekend in Raymond James Stadium. If you agree, join me in targeting Evans for what could be one his monster performances at discounted salaries.
Hunter Henry, LAC vs. KC ($5,100 DK, $6,100 FD, O/U 44.0)
It was not surprising in the least to see Hunter Henry only play a little over half of the team’s passing plays. A large chunk of Henry’s career has been spent in the training room. Keeping him healthy is a must without anything of substance behind him on the depth chart. But I loved the way they used him when he was on the field. When Tyrod Taylor kept the ball on read-options, he would keep his eyes on Hunter. In several instances, Henry would run crossers with separation on Cincinnati LBs. Taylor’s patience allowed him to connect on those shorter routes that gave Henry the ability to work after the catch for much of his 73 receiving yards.
All things considered, the Chargers’ offense did not impress against the Bengals. Taylor simply doesn’t have the tools to even take advantage of one of the top route runners (Keenan Allen) or, arguably, the second-best receiving back in the game (Austin Ekeler). The offense appeared to be extremely watered down to mask Taylor’s limitations. But, after seeing Henry targeted on nine-of-30 routes, I’m willing to make an exception at his manageable price.
The Bottom Line: A 10.2 percent cap investment on both DK and FD will net you a TE who was given a 30 percent target share in Week 1. Henry finished the weekend in the top-five in YPRR at the position with a history of production, when healthy.
Mike Gesicki, MIA vs. BUF ($4,000 DK, $5,200 FD, O/U 44.0)
I so very nearly elevated Jordan Reed to this spot after news broke that George Kittle was ruled out. Reed remains a tremendous value for which I will have LU exposure. But I believe Mike Gisecki is in a prime spot here against Buffalo. The Buffalo LB unit will be without Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds this week. The absence of Milano’s cover skills will especially be felt. Say what you will about Gesicki’s development, I think we need to wait for Tua Tagovailoa to enter the lineup before we rush to judgement.
Gesicki actually played well over his final six games last season. He averaged eight targets and 4/50.2/0.8 or 14 FPS over that time. Writing him off after failing to succeed against the New England defense is rather short-sighted. With DeVante Parker either limited or out entirely this weel, Gesicki is likely to be needed within a projected negative script scenario.
The Bottom Line: The Bills’ history of limiting opposing TEs can partially be attributed to low target volume. But the Buffalo LB unit does deserve proper credit. That LB unit will be a shell of itself this weekend. With a chunk of LB snaps falling on recent practice squad promotions, I will not hesitate to roster Gesicki over Reed when I have the spare change to pull it off.