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DFS Early Look: Week 2

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DFS Early Look: Week 2

Week 1 of NFL football is in the books, which means that Week 2 is right around the corner. With both Fanduel and DraftKings having released their Week 2 DFS pricing, it’s time to look ahead to next Sunday’s DFS slate.

Here are the most glaring values I’ve found after analyzing pricing.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (VS. SF)

DraftKings: $6,500 (QB7) | Fanduel: $7,800 (QB6)

Hurts was PFF’s 2nd-highest graded passer on Sunday (87.9 passing grade) and had a great game for both the Eagles and fantasy owners anyway you look at it, throwing just eight incompletions and three TDs. He once again demonstrated an elite-tier rushing floor, recording 6.2 rushing fantasy points on just seven carries against Atlanta.

Hurts’ Week 2 opponent — San Francisco — undoubtedly presents a tougher defensive matchup than Atlanta, but this game does have Week 2’s 5th-highest total (50.0) and San Francisco’s defense certainly showed some weak points while giving up 33 points to Detroit in Week 1, so the potential for a shootout here is still strong. Hurts’ rushing ability and discounted salary relative to other rushing QBs on the slate should make him one of (if not) the most popular cash and tournament options of Week 2.

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys (AT LAC)

DraftKings: $6,800 (QB5) | Fanduel: $8,000 (QB5)

Prescott has averaged a completely absurd 27.9 Fanduel points and 30.5 DraftKings points per game in his last six starts. Both of those numbers would rank best all-time if extrapolated out to an entire season. And now he faces the Chargers in the highest-total game of Week 2 (53.0). In the 10 games Dak has started in his career with a total greater than 52.0, he’s averaged 27.5 Fanduel points and 29.4 DraftKings points per game. He’s been all-time great in these high-end scoring environments, and I don’t expect that to change this week. Dak’s a bit too expensive to be cash-game preferable to Jalen Hurts this week, but I’d expect Prescott to be one of the highest owned GPP QBs of Week 2.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys (AT LAC)

DraftKings: $6,200 (RB12)

In his entire career, Ezekiel Elliott has never been cheaper than this on DraftKings. This is a historical buy-low opportunity on one of the NFL’s most successful rushers over the last half-decade.

I know, I know, Zeke struggled mightily on Thursday night football, only seeing 11 total carries and 2 targets while finishing with a disappointing 5.9 DraftKings points. But he did play on 84% of snaps and his inefficiency can be blamed on facing the league’s toughest run defense, as the Bucs allowed a league-best 3.36 YPC last year - and seem to be on track to put up similarly impressive defensive numbers in 2021.

The bottom line here is simple: Zeke is going to see an 80% or higher snap share, and receive the vast majority of offensive touches in the highest-total (53.0) game of the week. In his 18 career games with a total of greater than 50.0, Elliott averages 23.2 DraftKings points per game. That’s slate-busting upside at the RB12 salary. There’s little doubt that Zeke will be one of the most popular RB plays of Week 2 on DraftKings.

Najee Harris, RB, PIT, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (VS. LV)

Fanduel: $6,100 (RB16)

Harris managed the ultimate bell cow workload Sunday, playing on 100% of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps and seeing 100% of their backfield opportunities. And he ran 30 routes on Big Ben’s 38 dropbacks (79% route share). In a slugfest of a game that saw little scoring relative to what was expected, Harris’ workload didn’t translate to much from a fantasy perspective, as he finished the game with just 5.4 Fanduel points.

Regardless of the fantasy outcome, Harris’s workload was undeniable. Pittsburgh is treating him like Le’Veon Bell 2.0, which is exactly what they hinted at post-draft. Outside of Christian McCaffrey, I’m not sure there’s an RB who we can anticipate seeing more snaps and touches in Week 2 than Najee Harris. He’s arguably the play of the week at RB16 on Fanduel against a Raiders’ defense that gave up the fourth-most FPG (28.8) to opposing RBs last season.

Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers (AT PHI)

DraftKings: $5,000 (RB26) | Fanduel: $5,800 (RB21)

With Raheem Mostert now on IR, Mitchell becomes arguably the best RB value on the slate. Mostert went down in the first quarter Sunday after just two carries with an apparent ankle injury, and Mitchell carried the load from that point onward, seeing 19 total carries and earning 104 rushing yards (5.5 YPC) and a TD.

It’s important to note that Trey Sermon was a surprise inactive before Sunday’s game, but that further solidifies Mitchell as a strong play in Week 2, as it appears Mitchell simply outright beat Sermon for the RB2 job in San Francisco. With SF as 3.5-point favorites against the Eagles in Week 2, Mitchell could absolutely approach 15 or more carries should he be the lead back again. Granted, with how unpredictable this SF backfield rotation has historically been, he’s likely too risky for cash, but Mitchell should be a strong value regardless.

Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (AT CHI)

DraftKings: $5,000 (WR38) | Fanduel: $5,500 (WR39)

Chase led Bengals WRs Sunday in snaps (62), routes run (30), targets (7), yards (101), YAC (37) and PFF receiving grade (79.8) while finishing with 20.9 fantasy points. Despite the absurd preseason reports that Chase couldn’t catch a football, he appears, at least through one week, to be the Bengals leading WR. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that per Scott Barrett’s rookie WR model, Chase is the top WR prospect to come out since at least 2015. At just 19 years old, Chase was more productive than the WR who broke the modern rookie receiving record (Justin Jefferson), and on 13 fewer targets. For WRs specifically, breakout age is arguably the most important predictor of NFL success. Chase is as elite as they come in that regard.

Despite likely being Cincinnati’s WR1, Chase is priced as their WR3 on Fanduel and their WR2 on DraftKings. I don’t see that lasting much longer, as it seemed apparent on Sunday that Chase may already be Joe Burrow’s favorite target. With a Week 2 matchup looming against a Chicago secondary that’s clearly lost a step from last season, Chase has the talent and should see the volume necessary to make him a strong tournament play on both sites.

Anthony Schwartz, WR, Cleveland Browns (VS HOU)

DraftKings: $3,300 (WR83) | Fanduel: $4,800 (WR76)

Both Schwartz (the player) and his role are extremely intriguing from a DFS tournament perspective. On Sunday, with Odell Beckham inactive, Schwartz out-snapped Rashard Higgins 31-4, and was targeted five times — catching three passes for 69 yards. Cleveland’s already made their intentions with Schwartz clear: use his speed and get him the ball deep. Schwartz ran the 3rd-fastest 40-time (4.25) of any WR since 2000, and his 24.4 aDOT from Week 1 showcases that Cleveland is clearly attempting to add a new vertical dimension to their offense after finishing 2020 with the 10th-fewest pass attempts of 20+ yards.

For Week 2, Schwartz isn’t a player worth consideration in cash games, nor is he worth significant exposure in tournaments, especially with the Browns as 12-point favorites against Houston. So why even bring him up? Schwartz’s usage was one of the bigger surprises of Week 1, and should Odell Beckham continue to be inactive, Schwartz will keep seeing playing time and deep targets. Given his incredible speed, we shouldn’t be surprised if that eventually translates to a GPP-winning performance. Like I said, he’s not a guy I want to be heavily exposed to, but his upside makes him one of my favorite low-priced WR tournament fliers in Week 2, should Odell Beckham be inactive again.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans (AT CLE)

DraftKings: $5,900 (WR22) | Fanduel: $6,600 (WR18)

Cooks led Houston in snaps (61), routes (35), receiving yards (132), and targets (7) on his way to an 18.2-point outing against Jacksonville. And this wasn’t even an ideal gamescript scenario. The Texans dominated this game from start to finish, and Tyrod Taylor attempted only 33 passes.

Week 2 is all but guaranteed to be a different story, with the Texans as 12-point underdogs on the road in Cleveland. This Houston offense is going to need to throw a ton just to keep up, and nobody benefits more from a high-volume Texans’ passing attack than Brandin Cooks. In his 5 games with Houston, but without Will Fuller, Cooks has averaged 21.7 FPG, 9.6 targets per game, and 112.6 receiving yards per game. If extrapolated over a full-season last year, those numbers would’ve ranked 2nd, 4th, and 1st among all WRs. Cooks has already been seeing WR1-levels of volume, and that should only continue in Week 2 with the Texans expected to throw as much as any team in the league.

Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears (VS CIN)

DraftKings: $4,200 (WR53)

The Bears offense was largely helpless Sunday night, scoring just 14 points against one of the league’s toughest defenses in the LA Rams. Despite the anemic offensive performance, Darnell Mooney picked up right where he left off last season, leading Bears WRs in routes (45), and finishing 2nd in targets (7) and receptions (5).

Facing a much worse Cincinnati Bengals defense in Week 2 should help alleviate some of Chicago’s offensive woes, and that absolutely opens the door to Mooney being one of the week’s top WR values. While Allen Robinson is entrenched as the Bears’ WR1, Mooney is arguably the team’s most versatile receiving weapon — leading the team in deep targets (23) and screens (8) last season — an impressive feat for a rookie WR. And Mooney was underrated with the ball in his hands last year, ranking 6th among all WRs in missed tackles forced per reception (0.28). Mooney’s a strong talent, and with Chicago’s WR3 being *checks notes* Marquise Goodwin, there’s little target competition in the way.

Talented WR2s are difficult to find for under $4500 most weeks on DraftKings, and Week 2 is no exception. Mooney presents one of the best combinations of skill and target floor of any WR on DraftKings’ main slate this week, and that’s something I plan on rostering aggressively in tournaments, given his clearly-underpriced $4,200 salary.

Tyler Conklin, TE, Minnesota Vikings (AT ARI)

DraftKings: $3,200 (TE22) | Fanduel: $5,000 (TE16)

Conklin ran the 7th-most routes of any TE this week (32) and drastically out-snapped backup TE Chris Herndon 38 to 8 while catching all four of his targets for 41 yards. Conklin’s clearly the Vikings “guy” at TE, and while it’s nothing flashy, that absolutely brings low to mid-end TE1 upside to the table. As punt TE plays go, Conklin’s one of my favorites in Week 2 and the reasons are fairly simple: he’s going to run a lot of routes and the Vikings are 4.5-point underdogs against Arizona with the slate’s 4th-highest total (51.0). Those of us avoiding the high-end options at TE are often just trying to prevent posting a 0 at the position, and Conklin is one of the few punt-options with a high-enough target and route floor to likely prevent a goose egg.

James O’Shaughnessy, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars (VS DEN)

DraftKings: $2,700 (TE42) | Fanduel: $4,400 (TE36)

If you just can’t find the salary to fit in Tyler Conklin, then James O’Shaughnessy is your punt play at TE this week. O’Shaughnessy ran 40 routes — the 2nd-most of any Week 1 TE — and was targeted 8 times, hauling in 6 receptions for 48 yards. This Week 2 matchup against Denver certainly doesn’t scream “shootout” but the Jaguars might actually be one of the worst teams in the NFL. I don’t mean to overreact to a loss to the Texans - but they did lose to the Texans - the team with the worst roster in the NFL. And it wasn’t really close.

O’Shaughnessy’s main competition for playing time is Chris Manhertz and rookie Luke Farrell, so O’Shaughnessy’s simply going to see a starter-level allocation of TE routes. And if Jacksonville is one of the league’s worst teams, he’ll be getting a ton of opportunities to run those routes. As 6.5-point underdogs in Week 2, O’Shaughnessy has everything you can ask for from a low-end TE punt play: gamescript and opportunity.

Jake Tribbey is a recent college graduate and lifelong football fan obsessed with extracting every edge possible from NFL DFS, Best Ball, and player props/futures.

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