With eight of 13 games set with an over/under of 47 or higher, the Week 2 main slate should be high-scoring. Ownership is going to center around Falcons vs. Cowboys and one chalk running back -- and for good reason -- but it’s going to potentially leave some great games under-owned.
Let’s walk through some leverage angles this week.
Is Jonathan Taylor a free square?
Deciding what to do with Jonathan Taylor is the top question for Week 2. Priced at $5,700 on DraftKings (15th-highest priced RB) and $5,800 on FanDuel (RB20), we’re going to see Taylor at 40+ percent ownership on Sunday. Since FanDuel’s pricing continues to be incredibly soft, you have to play Taylor at his egregiously low price. There just aren’t any logical pivots within his salary range that have near the upside of Taylor.
However, the way DraftKings pricing is set up is different and it forces you to actually make some decisions. Miles Sanders ($6,000), Kenyan Drake ($5,900), and David Johnson ($5,800) are all right in the same price range as Taylor and Melvin Gordon ($5,200) is a cheaper pivot off of Taylor chalk with Phillip Lindsay (turf toe) out.
David Johnson is my favorite pivot off of Taylor for tournaments. If Duke Johnson (ankle) sits out this week, D.J. is going to play nearly every single snap and will come in at fractions of the ownership of Taylor. Last week, only Christian McCaffrey (35) ran more routes than Johnson did (33). It’s obviously a bad matchup against the Ravens, but Johnson is going to get bell-cow usage and has a floor of 3-5 targets locked in. With Nyheim Hines highly involved -- especially on passing downs -- Taylor doesn’t have bell-cow in his range of outcomes yet.
Drake and Sanders are both great pivots, too. Drake is somehow $500 cheaper on DraftKings this week despite a significantly better matchup at home against Washington. Chase Edmonds was involved last week (6 carries, 5 targets), but Drake’s usage was nearly at bellcow levels (71% snap rate; 67% of RB carries). Sanders is a little bit tougher of a sell as the Eagles come off a disappointing Week 1, but he was apparently healthy enough to play and the team was just being cautious. If Sanders isn’t on a snap count restriction and the Eagles unleash him, he’s an incredible value. Getting LT Lane Johnson back healthy is huge news for Philadelphia’s run game, too.
Taylor is a cash game lock but I think there is merit to an outright fade for single-entry and three-max tournaments on DraftKings with all of the options in his range.
Pivots off of Falcons-Cowboys
Falcons vs. Cowboys is going to be the premier game for fantasy this week. Between all of the pass catchers on both sides of the ball, Dak Prescott and Matt Ryan, and Ezekiel Elliott -- there are so many combinations to stack this game. Both teams have bottom-10 defenses and both play fast on offense, leading to a ton of plays and volume on both sides of the ball. Last week, the Cowboys were first in FootballOutsiders’ pace (seconds in between plays) while the Falcons were third. While it would be a massive disappointment if both the Falcons and Cowboys flop, all of the ownership centering around this game will leave some potential shootouts under-owned. Ravens-Texans, Lions-Packers, Rams-Eagles, Panthers-Buccaneers, and Vikings-Colts all have game totals of 47 or higher and are filled with great leverage plays.
One thing is for sure: I’m locking in Ezekiel Elliott because his floor and ceiling is unrivaled on this slate, but I’m looking for ways to create pivots off of what will likely be 15-25% ownership for all of the Cowboys pass catchers and Calvin Ridley (DK: $6,800; FD: $7,100).
With Ridley and Amari Cooper (DK: $6,300; FD: $7,000) likely absorbing a lot of ownership, Robert Woods (DK: $6,400; FD: $6,700) makes a fantastic tournament play at what will likely be 5-7% ownership. Sure, Darius Slay is likely going to shadow Woods, but with the way HC Sean McVay constantly uses motion to create mismatches and get receivers in space, I’m not overly concerned about Slay’s coverage. Woods is the Rams unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver -- he’s out-targeted Cooper Kupp (DK: $6,700; FD: $7,200) by a massive 87 to 49 margin over their last nine games together -- but Kupp is more expensive on both sites. And, just like how Washington did with Terry McLaurin last week, the Rams will certainly move Woods into the slot some to get him away from Slay’s shadow.
After disappointing (4/55 on 8 targets) as chalk last week, I’m getting on Marvin Jones Jr. ($5,700) over Michael Gallup ($5,600) on DraftKings. With Kenny Golladay (hamstring) out again, Jones is going to be Matthew Stafford’s main target in a pristine matchup and likely game script. Stafford absolutely shreds zone coverage and no team played zone more often last week than the Packers defense did. And, as touchdown underdogs, the Lions are going to have to throw a ton to keep up with the Packers scoring. Stafford is hilariously the same price as Mitchell Trubisky ($7,200) on FanDuel this week, so a Stafford-Jones stack and bringing it back with Davante Adams makes a ton of sense.
Finally, if you’re looking for ways to play Jonathan Taylor and still differentiate your lineup, a Philip Rivers, Taylor, and Parris Campbell team stack is a way to go in tournaments. After losing Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Michael Pierce, and remaking their entire secondary -- the Vikings brand new defense was just picked apart for 364 yards and 4 TDs by Aaron Rodgers. The Vikings are going to struggle all year long to generate a pass rush and their new, young secondary will take time to gel. This week, they’ll be without starting CB Cameron Dantzler (ribs). Campbell is going to be highly owned on DraftKings at just $4,500, but he is an amazing play this week -- especially since Jack Doyle (ankle/knee) is out. If you roll Colts and want to stack the game, I’d look to also play Adam Thielen who is underpriced on FanDuel ($7,300).
I faded DeSean Jackson in Week 1, so I don’t have any scars after he burned everyone. But, he’s arguably just as good of a play this week at what will be 5% ownership. D-Jax led all receivers in air yards (214) as six of his 7 targets traveled at least 15 yards in the season opener. With everyone on CeeDee Lamb, Parris Campbell, and Diontae Johnson at similar price points on DraftKings -- D-Jax still has slate breaking 5/125/2 upside. This is easily my favorite one-off contrarian play of the week.
No one will want to play him, but Chris Herndon’s price didn’t adjust on either DraftKings ($3,400) and FanDuel ($5,100). With Jamison Crowder (hamstring) out, Herndon is a safe bet for 6-8 targets against a banged up 49ers secondary.
Russell Gage (DK: $4,800; FD: $5,400) is an interesting way to get a low-owned play in the Falcons-Cowboys game. JM, Scott, and I talked up Gage on our Monday recap/lookahead podcast. In the 10 games since Mohamed Sanu was traded, Gage has averaged 7.8 targets per game.