Scott Barrett's Week 2 DFS Breakdown

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Scott Barrett's Week 2 DFS Breakdown

Ladies and gentlemen, football is back! Which means fantasy football is back. Which means DFS is back. Which means I get to go back to ignoring all of your start/sit questions and spending all of my time (literally every waking moment) working on this column.

What is this column? Each week I’ll be listing the best and most-interesting plays of the week, grouped by position, and ranked in some sort of descending order. Keep in mind, we’re looking only at the players available on the main slate for both DraftKings and FanDuel.

This article is long. It’s going to be long every week. Ideally, it’s all you should need to know to be able to profit playing DFS in any given week.

Be sure to also watch our DFS Preview livestream every Friday at 3PM EST. Be sure to get in our Discord — if you’re not in there already, you’re missing out on a lot of important news updates as well as personal guidance and advice from our experts. And, most importantly, be sure to check back on Sunday mornings for the “Sunday Morning Update” – basically a TLDR version of this piece along with any injury-related updates we might need.

Anyway, let’s dive in…

TLDR: Too Long, Didn’t Read

Note: this is basically what you’re looking at for cash. For tournaments? It’s complicated.

How to play this slate (GPPs)

Note: For the sake of clarity / brevity, to get the broader point across, assume DraftKings salary for everything below.

This slate is absolutely LOADED with sexy high-scoring games to target. There are 5 main slate games with an Over/Under of 50.0 points or more. That’s exciting. NFL Red Zone should be fun to watch this week. But it makes for a tricky, fairly gross DFS slate.

What I typically like to do in weeks like this, for tournaments, is go all in on the pass-catchers from one game.

For instance, [email protected] has the highest over/under of the slate (55.5), a close spread (+/- 3.5) implying shootout potential, and all of Dak Prescott, Justin Herbert, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams seem severely underpriced to me. So, it makes a ton of sense to run out a 4- or 5-player stack from that game, something like QB1 + WR1 + WR2 + Oppo WR1.

And then with the other 4 games (that have an Over/Under of 50.0 or more), I’m targeting the running backs. I’m hoping that, in each case, that game is a high-scoring affair, but the RB is the one to soak up the far majority of those scores. I’m hoping that those games are also a more-lopsided affair, or at least that the RB is continually eating up clock and keeping the opposition at bay.

So, alongside that [email protected] passing stack… Let’s say I’m rolling with Justin Herbert, Mike Williams, Amari Cooper, and CeeDee Lamb… Then I’ll also play Ronald Jones, Nick Chubb, and/or Chris Carson.

So, to recap: I have massive exposure to the game with the highest Over/Under of the slate. But I also have the “starting” (lol) RB for the teams with the highest (TB), 2nd-highest (CLE), and 3rd-highest (SEA) implied point total, respectively. The spread is close in [email protected] (implying heavy shootout-potential), but it’s far less close for Tampa Bay (-12.0), Cleveland (-12.5), and Seattle (-6.5). Ideally Vegas is right; those teams score a lot of points, but the game was never very close, so the RB soaks up the majority of the team’s fantasy production, and the receivers (comparatively) flop.

In Week 10 of last season (W 38-10), Ronald Jones scored 29.1 DK fantasy points, +10.3 more than the next-closest Buccaneer. In Week 3 of last season (W 34-20), Nick Chubb dropped 27.0, +12.6 more than the next-closest Cleveland player. In Week 4 of last season (W 31-23), Chris Carson dropped 25.0, +6.5 more than the next-closest Seattle receiver (David Moore, who no one owned.) See what I mean?

And boom! Just like that you’ve hit the nuts.

Instead of needing 9 things to go right — needing all of your 9 optimized but potentially uncorrelated plays to go off — now you only need 3-4 things to go right. Or maybe even just 1 thing — that Vegas is right.

This is my preferred play — massive exposure to Dak Prescott or Justin Herbert and their pass-catchers. But it’s also extremely chalky. So, outside of small-field single-entries, you’re going to have to get more creative. In large-field GPPs, you’re going to have to get extremely creative. So, incorporating this strategy, but attacking a different game, your stacks could look something like:

Russell Wilson + D.K. Metcalf + Tyler Lockett + A.J. Brown

Ezekiel Elliott + Cowboys DEF

Leonard Fournette

Or:

Tom Brady + Mike Evans + Antonio Brown + Kyle Pitts

Chris Carson + Seahawks DEF

Ezekiel Elliott

Or:

Baker Mayfield + Jarvis Landry + Donovan Peoples-Jones + Brandin Cooks

Derrick Henry + Titans DEF

Ezekiel Elliott + Keenan Allen

Some of those are much better (less contrarian) than others, but I hope you get the idea.

Quarterbacks

I’m going to spare you a massively long write-up.

Justin Herbert is by far the best QB value on FanDuel. Though he’s basically tied with Prescott all the way at the top on DraftKings.

Josh Allen is the No. 2 QB value on FanDuel. Though Kyler Murray and Prescott are right there with him.

Tom Brady is the No. 3 QB value on DraftKings.

If you’re playing cash on either platform, you’re only looking at Herbert, Prescott, Allen, Brady, and Murray.

In tournaments, as always, get weird, get creative, have fun. The QB position is always (especially in weeks without an egregiously mispriced Jalen Hurts) more about the stack (and the leverage you’ll gain if that stack hits) than the individual QB-play itself.

Some of our favorite tournament plays — from the Cashing Points Livestream — are Josh Allen, Tom Brady, Jalen Hurts, Matthew Stafford, and Kyler Murray. Johnny said, “Josh Allen is the stone nuts tournament play.” I like Allen, but I personally prefer Brady. Stafford is probably Wes Huber’s favorite, while Hurts is Graham’s favorite QB play on DraftKings, against a 49ers defense decimated with injuries. And we all liked Kyler Murray a lot. It wouldn’t shock me if he went somewhat under-owned in what could be his second game in an MVP-winning season.

Running Backs

Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
[DK: RB11, FD: RB16]

According to the DFS SuperModel, Harris is the top overall value on both sites. Here’s what Jake Tribbey had to say in DFS Values:

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’ extreme outlier of a workload didn’t translate to much fantasy production, as he finished the game with just 5.9 fantasy points on a 16.5 expectation (11th among Week 1 RBs).

Regardless of the fantasy outcome, the workload was undeniable. Pittsburgh is treating Harris 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 (and still looks like a value at RB11 on DraftKings) in a far better gamescript environment than last week as 6.0-point favorites against a Raiders’ defense that gave up the fourth-most FPG (28.8) to opposing RBs last season.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
[DK: RB12, FD: RB7]

Elliott is an undeniable value on DraftKings, priced at just $6,200, the cheapest he’s ever been in his 72-game career. But I think the best reason for playing him this week (in tournaments), is the immense leverage he offers. Basically, one can imagine Dallas dominating this game, mostly on the ground, with Elliott totaling something like 24-117-2. And if that happens, all of the chalky pass-catchers and QBs in this probably disappointed. (Justin Herbert surprisingly struggles, allowing Dallas to feed Zeke and Dak to keep his foot off the gas.) For that reason, I expect to have a DAL/LAC stack or Elliott on nearly all of my Week 2 lineups.

So, in addition to being a top on-paper value, Elliott also offers immense leverage over some of the chalkiest plays on the slate.

From DFS Values:

Throughout his entire 72-game career, Ezekiel Elliott has never been cheaper than he is this week on DraftKings. This is a historically great 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, seeing only 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 the Cowboys’ pass-first approach and 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 (55.5) game of the slate. In 18 career games with a total of greater than 50.0, Elliott averages 23.2 DK FPG. That’s impressive upside at the RB12 salary (and an absurd 3.75x value). Assuming ownership doesn’t get out of hand, then Zeke will be my favorite RB tournament play of Week 2 on DraftKings, and he likely presents enough value overall to be considered a strong cash-game play as well.

Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
[DK: RB11, FD: RB12]

Carson isn’t looking especially chalky at the moment, but he should be. He’s a top-3 RB play on both sites. From DFS Values:

Carson was one of the most utilized backs of Week 1, logging a 77% snap share and seeing 16 carries for 91 yards while catching all three of his targets for 26 yards — finishing the day with a rather pedestrian 12.7 fantasy points.

That doesn’t seem like much, but Carson never exceeded a 70% snap share in any individual game last season. And we need to remember that snaps correlate more to fantasy production at RB than total touches. Granted, Rashaad Penny did suffer a calf injury in Week 1, so Carson’s Week 2 snap share could trend back towards his 2020 average of 51%. That’s the major downside risk of this play, but Carson’ still the lead back on one of the best offenses in football, and that carries with it significant upside.

Seattle are 6.5-point favorites against Tennessee and offer a massive 30.0 team implied total — the 3rd-highest of the Week 2 main slate. In Carson’s career, Seattle’s been favored by 6.0 or more points 14 times, and in those instances Carson averaged 16.1 DraftKings FPG while exceeding double-digit DraftKings points 11 times. And Carson averaged 17.4 DraftKings points and 15.5 Fanduel points on the five occasions Seattle’s game total has been over 52.0 (Seattle’s Week 2 total is currently 53.5). He’s been consistently impressive in these spots historically.

…Carson projects for moderate ownership (10-15%) at the position across the industry, presenting a strong large-field GPP leverage opportunity in a fantastic scoring environment for both Carson and this Seattle offense. Given the way RB salaries shook out, I prefer Carson more on DraftKings than Fanduel — but he’s tournament-viable on both sites regardless. The upside with Carson this week is simply undeniable, and upside (especially at low-to-moderate ownership) is my favorite thing to chase in large-field tournaments.

Nick Chubb / Kareem Hunt, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
[DK: RB5, FD: RB4] / [DK: RB18 / RB22]

The Browns have a 30.5-point implied total (2nd-most), favored by 13.0-points against the Texans. Last season, the Texans ranked worst in YPC allowed (5.57), worst in rushing FPG allowed (22.5), and worst in total FPG allowed (32.8) to opposing RBs.

Chubb now averages 20.0 FPG over his last 11 games, hitting at least 17.5 fantasy points in 9 of 11. And he's seen expanded usage in the pass-game over his last 7 games, averaging 2.1 carries and 21.5 receiving YPG over this span.

Stripping out Week 4 of the 2020 season, when Chubb played on just 14 snaps prior to injury… Since 2019, Chubb averages 26.5 FPG when Cleveland has scored at least 28 points (8 games). Over this span, and regardless of how many points Cleveland scores, he averages 19.7 FPG in games Cleveland has won. And 22.1 FPG when they’ve won by multiple scores.

Anyway, Chubb is a smash-play. If Hunt wasn’t a threat to vulture touchdowns, he should be viewed identically to Derrick Henry. Maybe just tack on an extra reception and subtract away 4 carries. But, alas, Hunt is a minor threat at the goal-line. Over their last 7 games, Chubb has seen 17 opportunities inside the 10-yard-line to Hunt’s 6.

Chubb should be super chalky this week. I don’t know whether he will be or not. But he should be. And if he is, that pushes Kareem Hunt in-play as a leverage option for large-field GPPs. But that’s about the only reason to play him.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
[DK: RB6, FD: RB10]

Elliott is an immense value on DraftKings, but Ekeler is a near equally strong value on FanDuel.

He earned 15 carries last week, in a tough matchup against Washington. He didn’t see a single target, which is something that hasn’t happened since 2018, but he also entered the game with a hamstring injury. Hamstring injuries are always going to hinder a RB most in open space. So it's not surprising to me that he saw reduced involvement in the pass game last week. The good news is, he’s back to practicing in full. And, I think, the bigger takeaway from his Week 1 performance was that he saw two carries inside the five-yard-line — he had only two such carries all of last year.

So, you can make the same argument we made with Elliott for Ekeler. Though I don’t think it’s as likely. But Ekeler also has far more upside in the passing game, so his floor is probably higher.

Ultimately, he’s a fine play, but not an amazing play. And the majority of the allure with Ekeler is the leverage he’ll offer against Keenan Allen & Co.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
[DK: RB25, FD: RB19]

Despite my joke at the top, Ronald Jones isn’t actually in play. Maybe only as a super-YOLO contrarian option for large-field GPPs. The actual quote, initially taken out of context, did not in-fact imply Jones would be starting over Fournette this week.

Jones sat on the bench all of last week after his fumble. So, if subtracting Jones from the equation, Fournette played on 71% of the team’s snaps, handling 9 of 9 carries and 7 of 10 targets out of the backfield.

In four postseason games last year, with Jones banged up but active for three of them, Fournette averaged 16.0 carries, 5.3 targets, 112.0 YFS, and 21.7 FPG (with a low of 18.4), on 74% of the team's snaps. You don’t need me to tell you that’s bell cow and RB1 usage and production.

If he’s the bell cow this week, he could be one of the best and most under-owned plays of the slate. If it’s a 3-way committee he could be a major bust. But I love his upside in a game Tampa Bay is favored by 12.0-points, behind the highest implied point total of the slate (32.0), and up against a bottom-5 run defense.

It’s much riskier, but I view Fournette similarly to Elliott, in the sense that I want a bunch of Tom Brady stacks and heavy exposure to Fournette on non-Brady lineups.

Other Running Backs

Alvin Kamara is a phenomenal play on DraftKings. He’s the RB to pay up for this week, though, a high-priced RB isn’t as necessary this week. People are significantly underrating his new role. Last week he saw 20 carries, for just the 2nd-time in his career, and earned a 19% target share, which ranked 4th-best among RBs on the week. He’s now a full-time player, and a bell cow, and he gets a top-6 matchup this week. I like him significantly more than Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, and co.

Jonathan Taylor is a decent value on FanDuel, with a massive upside. His Week 1 XFP total (25.2) was a career-high. Last year he averaged just 13.4 XFP per game with a season-high of just 20.9. If he sees a 25.2 XFP-total in Week 2, and is just as efficient as he was in 2020, we should expect him to score 31.9 fantasy points this week. Whew! The matchup isn’t amazing on paper, but that concern doesn’t matter quite as much as his talent and recent usage.

Darrell Henderson is a strong value on both sites, fresh off of a Najee Harris-like workload. In Week 1, Henderson played on 94% of his team's snaps (2nd-most) and handled 92% of his team's XFP out of the backfield (3rd-most). Still, he only saw 1 target last week, and this matchup is similarly tough on-paper.

Kenyan Drake could be a bell cow this week with Josh Jacobs out. I mean, isn’t that why you’re paying him $11M? But I’m inclined to believe Jon Gruden when he says (or at least heavily hints) that Drake’s role won’t really change much with Peyton Barber instead playing the Jacobs role. He’s no doubt an immense value, but I think he’ll go significantly over-owned in tournaments and he’s still too risky for me in cash.

David Montgomery is popping as a value on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He averages 25.7 FPG over his last 6 games, hitting at least 20.0 fantasy points in all 6. But I don’t like him quite as much as Johnny and Graham did. Over his last 12 games last year, he averaged 17.0 carries and 4.9 targets per game on an 80% snap share. Last week those numbers moved to 16, 1, and 59%, respectively. If he hits you need Chicago to win, and the spread is currently a little too close for my liking (-2).

Chase Edmonds is still mispriced on DraftKings. I question his upside but he’s no doubt a “fine” value, and he offers leverage off of Kenyan Drake at the same price.

Javonte Williams is another slight value on DraftKings, in a game Denver in which should decimate the Jaguars. Wes Huber absolutely loves him, and spent more time on him here.

Elijah Mitchell? That guy you spend $934 FAAB on? Or maybe Trey Sermon, the guy you spent a Round 8 pick on? I won’t have exposure to either RB, but they’re at least vaguely in play for large-field tournaments.

There’s an argument to be made with Damien Harris playing the LeGarrette Blount-role in a game the Patriots are favored by 6.0-points. But I think we will see more of Rhamondre Stevenson this week.

Wide Receivers

Interestingly, there’s a lot of high-value WRs this week, but they all seem to be on the same teams. Again, it’s a great week to be extremely stack-happy.

DAL Wide Receivers

Per the DFS SuperModel:

On DraftKings, Cedrick Wilson ranks as our No. 7-overall value, while Amari Cooper ranks 21st. On FanDuel, Lamb ranks 10th, while both Cooper and Wilson rank outside of the top-25. And I’m even more bullish than the SuperModel.

Over Dak Prescott’s last four healthy games, he now averages:

- 456.8 passing YPG (low of 403)

- 34.0 FPG (low of 28.4)

Over this span, Dallas averages 78.5 plays per game. For perspective, the Chargers led the league last year with 70.4. (They’re playing each other this week.)

Cooper averages 13.4 targets and 24.8 FPG over Prescott’s last five healthy games. He seemed fully healthy in Week 1 -- though there were concerns with his ankle -- ending his day with 13 catches for 139 yards and two scores (16 targets).

Lamb averages 9.5 targets and 19.1 FPG over Prescott's last four healthy games. He ended Week 1 with 7 catches for 104 yards and a score (15 targets). He was less productive than Cooper in Week 1, but saw better volume. Including plays negated due to volume, he earned 16 targets, 180 air yards, 3 end zone targets, and 3 deep targets, good for 31.9 XFP. That ranked 2nd-best on the week, behind only Darren Waller, while Cooper finished 4th (29.0).

Wilson is another immense value, priced at just $3,100 on DraftKings but playing the Michael Gallup-role. He’ll run 84% of his routes from the slot, up against Chris Harris Jr.’s backup. Yeah, there’s no way he doesn’t clear 3X value in this game. He’s easily one of the best value-plays / punt-options of the slate.

LAC Wide Receivers

Per the DFS SuperModel:

Mike Williams ranks as our No. 6-overall value on FanDuel, while Keenan Allen ranks 18th. On DraftKings, Allen ranks 12th, while Williams ranks outside of the top-25. Again, I’m even more bullish.

Chargers OC Joe Lombardi tried to tell us in June that Williams was in line for a massively expanded, potentially Michael Thomas-esque role. And no one wanted to believe him (ADP WR47). But we saw that play out in Week 1 — Williams saw 12 targets, the 2nd-most he’s seen in 57 career games, catching 8 for 82 yards and a score. He averaged a 10.0 aDOT, more in line with Keenan Allen’s typical usage (9.3) than his prior career average (16.2). Williams either has a soft-to-neutral matchup or an exceedingly difficult one, depending on whether or not Trevon Diggs (who shut down Mike Evans last week) decides to shadow.

Keenan Allen, meanwhile, has one of the best matchups of the entire slate. From Wes Huber, "This is a matchup that I’ve been looking forward to since the schedule was announced."

Since Justin Herbert took over, in Week 2 of last season, Allen averages 12.3 targets and 20.2 FPG in games he's played on at least 50% of the team's snaps. Those numbers would rank 1st- and 3rd-best respectively.

So, on paper, I like Allen quite a bit more than Williams. But, factor in projected ownership, and maybe it’s a trickier call. Perhaps the 2021 version of Allen isn’t anywhere near as valuable as the 2020 version, because Williams really is playing a sort of Michael Thomas-esque role in the offense. But, still, I’d definitely rather play Allen on DraftKings, and probably FanDuel as well.

LAR Wide Receivers

Per the DFS SuperModel, Cooper Kupp ranks as the 2nd-best overall value on DraftKings (+$649), while Woods ranks 22nd (+$157). Kupp ranks as the 4th-best overall value on FanDuel (+$994), while Woods ranks outside of the top-25.

Kupp was being drafted after Woods in season-long drafts, even though Kupp averaged more targets per game than Woods in 3 of the last 3 seasons, and he averaged more FPG in 2 of the last 3 seasons.

Here’s what I had to say in the Week 2 XFP Report:

Kupp was the better value in fantasy drafts, but I’d actually start to worry about Woods. He saw just 4 targets, catching 3 for 27 and a score. But more importantly, he ran just 18 routes on the day. Kupp ran 27. Van Jefferson ran 23. This could just be typical Sean McVay-shenanigans (their specific Week 1 matchup dictated this sort of usage but that won’t be the case every week), and he’ll go back to a full workload next week and beyond. But still, this isn’t what you want to see from a guy you drafted in Round 3.

This is legitimately concerning to me. And it pushes Van Jefferson in play on DraftKings ($3,500). But factor in ownership, and you can convince yourself Woods is a great play. You can say something like, “People are just overreacting to HC Sean McVay doing Sean McVay-type things. It’s a one-week outlier.”

You can also play both stacked with Matthew Stafford. Wes (here) and I both like that a lot. Stafford was nearly perfect against the Bears last week, earning the highest passer rating of his 166-game career (156.1). And Russell Wilson was nearly perfect against this Colts defense last week (152.3).

Still, on non-Stafford lineups I’d much rather just play Kupp. He’s an easy top-3-play on both sites.

CIN Wide Receivers

Per the DFS SuperModel, Ja’Marr Chase ranks as the 3rd-best overall value on FanDuel (+1,022), but only four spots above Tee Higgins (+$794). On DraftKings, Higgins ranks 4th- (+$529) and Chase ranks 6th-best (+$486).

Like with Stafford, this should make you like Joe Burrow quite a bit more.

To me, Chase is the best play of the three receivers. But if you want to factor in ownership, blah blah blah. Yeah, Higgins is definitely in play as a decent lesser-owned value, but I do prefer Chase.

From DFS Values:

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. He also led the receivers in route share (94%), ahead of both Tee Higgins (84%) and Tyler Boyd (84%). 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 and Joe Burrow had resumed their 2019 LSU connection. With a Week 2 matchup looming against a porous Chicago CB room, Chase has the talent and should see the volume necessary to make him a strong tournament play - and clear value - on both sites.

TB Wide Receivers

Minus Chris Godwin on FanDuel, all of Tampa Bay’s three WRs seem at least a little underpriced on both sites. You can make the argument that Tom Brady will give Evans the Peyton Manning treatment, aka he’ll make sure he goes off this week after last week’s dud. You can argue that Godwin is actually the team’s true WR1. But I like Antonio Brown the most, and he’s also the cheapest of the three.

Johnny put it best: “What if Antonio Brown, now fully healthy, is just back to being the Brown of old. He certainly looked like it last week. So, now you’re getting vintage-level Antonio Brown production (20.0+ FPG) at low-ownership and a $6,000-6,400 salary? This is the week to play him.”

From Wes Huber’s The Bottom Line:

I can’t wrap my mind around Antonio Brown expected to be rostered in under 5% of lineups. Was I one of the only ones who saw how explosive he looked last Thursday night? I have every bit of respect for Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. But Brown may be on a path to at least finish alongside one of the other two as the Buccaneers’ leading receiver. With Brown, it’s all about 1-2-3. He is a top-10 fantasy receiver over the last three seasons when facing Cover 1, Cover 2, and/or Cover 3 defenses. And it is for those reasons that Brown is a perfect schematic match with Tom Brady. Over the last three seasons, Brady has been a top-five QB when facing — you guessed it — Cover 1, Cover 2 and/or Cover 3 defenses.

The Bottom Line: Let’s see if you have a premonition on this one: the three coverages the Falcons featured last season? How about the only three coverages they used on at least 20% of snaps in Week 1? Cover 1, Cover 2, and Cover 3.

PIT Wide Receivers

Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson are both popping as values on FanDuel.

You should know by now we’re all very big fans of Johnson, who seems mispriced on at least one of the sites every single week. He’s now either seen double-digit targets or suffered an injury in the first-half which caused him to spend time in the medical tent in 14 of the last 15 games Ben Roethlisberger has played. In Week 1 he did both.

He’ll have a softer draw this week, after running 41% of his routes against Tre’Davious White in Week 1.

JuJu Smith-Schuster will have the softest matchup, against a Raiders defense that surrendered the 2nd-most FPG to opposing slot WRs last year. But I’m still not very interested in him, in spite of the matchup.

And I think I like Claypool the most, priced as just the WR33 on FanDuel ($700 cheaper than Johnson). He was an “avoid” last week, against a Bills defense that always sells out to stop the deep ball, while funneling volume to the short-to-intermediate levels of the field. The Raiders, meanwhile, have ranked bottom-10 in FPG and fantasy points per target allowed on deep passes in each of the last four seasons.

If you want to play more than one Steelers WR on the same lineup, you can go that route, while also gaining leverage on the Najee Harris-chalk, as Roethlisberger is fairly mispriced on both sites.

Other High-Priced Wide Receivers

D.K. Metcalf is popping as the No. 1 wide receiver value on FanDuel, per the DFS SuperModel. Wes Huber wrote him up (here) as a target. He’ll be up against Janoris Jenkins for the majority of his day. Since 2019, Jenkins has been worth a boost of about +50% to a shadowed WR’s FPG-expectation. So, in this case, we should be expecting about 25.4 fantasy points from Metcalf this week.

Calvin Ridley wasn’t very high on my radar to start the week. But, now, with Carlton Davis (a premier shadow CB, so long as the opposing WR doesn’t run a sub-4.40 forty) questionable due to a hamstring injury, we have to like him (and the rest of the receivers from this game) quite a bit more. He’s a very strong play. And despite being more expensive, I like him over Stefon Diggs (up against Xavien Howard).

Allen Robinson is another strong value on DraftKings, ranking 7th among WRs, per the DFS SuperModel. Yes, QB-play is a concern, but it’s been a concern for Robinson throughout his entire career. Otherwise it’s a top-6 matchup against a Trae Waynes-less Bengals secondary. Robinson averages 9.6 targets and 16.6 FPG over his last 7 games. And though he wasn’t productive last week, that’s understandable given the matchup (Jalen Ramsey), and he did see 11 targets.

D.J. Moore is another strong value, priced at just $5,900 on DraftKings. Wes wrote him up here, and Johnny, Graham, and I all talked favorably about him on the livestream.

Cheaper Wide Receivers

DeVonta Smith and Jakobi Meyers are popping as top values on FanDuel. Wes Huber wrote up Smith here, and Meyers here.

On DraftKings, there’s a ton of options to choose from:

We already discussed Cedrick Wilson ($3,100) as undeniable value.

We discussed Van Jefferson too ($3,500), though he’s not quite as attractive.

You can go back to the proverbial well with Marquez Callaway ($4,200), Terrace Marshall ($3,300), or Elijah Moore ($3,500). Jaylen Waddle ($4,500) is still in play with Will Fuller out again.

Johnny’s favorite cheap WR would be Donovan Peoples-Jones ($3,000), who he spent considerable time hyping on the livestream. Behind a 30.5-point implied total, he’s no doubt a phenomenal GPP-play, who will go far lower owned than Wilson.

Marvin Jones is still fairly cheap ($4,700), despite 18.7 fantasy points on 9 targets last week, after a monster preseason.

Darnell Mooney is a phenomenal play ($4,200), moving from a bottom-3 to a top-6 matchup. Obviously, it’d be better if Justin Fields were starting, but we loved him this offseason.

You can gamble on one of Tim Patrick ($4,600) or K.J. Hamler ($3,800), as Wes Huber advised here.

As discussed on the livestream, Graham loves Cole Beasley ($4,600), while I love Emmanuel Sanders ($4,000). At least according to Wes, Sanders has the softer matchup against Byron Jones. He was banged up heading into Week 1, but ran a route on 52 of Josh Allen’s 56 dropbacks, earning a ridiculous 10 targets, 162 air yards, and 18.1 XFP (14th-best). He’s my favorite cheapie WR-play after Cedrick Wilson.

Tight Ends

Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams
[DK: TE9, FD: TE6]

Tyler Higbee SZN. The Higbeast. Your No. 1 TE-play of the slate on DraftKings.

From Start / Sit:

Higbee isn’t just a Week 2 must-start, but he could prove to be one of the most valuable picks you could have made in 2021 fantasy drafts. The upside argument was always easy with Higbee: Gerald Everett is no longer on the team, and the only other time Everett wasn’t on the field (2019, Weeks 13-17), Higbee was a fantasy superstar. He led the league (at all positions) in receiving yards (522). He reached 100 yards in 4 of 5 games, averaging 11.2 targets and 21.4 FPG. Both marks would have bested Travis Kelce’s 2020 season.

What happened in Week 1? Higbee scored 11.8 fantasy points. A decent, but not earth-shattering, game. But let’s look at the bigger picture.

Higbee was targeted on 24% of Matthew Stafford’s throws. That ranked 3rd-best among all TEs on the week. He ran a route on 93% of the team’s dropbacks, which also ranked 3rd-best on the week. That’s up from 53% in 2020 — which ranked just 31st at the position — and represents a career-high (besting his prior career high of 79%).

Throughout his 79-game career, there's only 8 instances of him running a route on at least two-thirds of the team's dropbacks. Those 8 games comprise 6 of the 7, or 8 of the 12 highest-scoring games of his career. In these contests, Higbee averages 9.1 targets (22% target share), 7.0 catches, 85.1 receiving yards, and 18.5 FPG.

Contrast this to Darren Waller’s 2020 season (93% route share): 9.1 targets, 6.7 catches, 74.8 receiving yards, and 17.5 FPG. So, tied or better than Waller in every stat.

Matchups shmatchups. In fantasy football, you start your studs. And Higbee is now looking every bit the part of a fantasy stud.

Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders
[DK: TE1, FD: TE1]

On DraftKings I like to pay down at TE. But on FanDuel, on slates with Travis Kelce or Darren Waller, I usually try to pay up.

Waller is an absolute freak cheat-code, fresh off a 19-target (and a league-high 39.5-point XFP) game. He’s been the No. 1 receiver in fantasy, and by a landslide, since Week 13 of the 2020 season.

Based on VORP, owning a TE averaging 26.5 FPG, is equivalent to owning a WR averaging 30.7 FPG. At least, that’s true in 10-team ESPN (PPR) season-long leagues. But, even ignoring the immense intra-positional value he offers as a TE, you can make a compelling argument that he’s the betting favorite to lead all WRs in fantasy points scored…

And yet, Waller would be just the 3rd-highest-priced WR on DraftKings ($7,600), on a slate without Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Davante Adams. On FanDuel, Waller would rank (laughably) 12th among WRs ($7,000). Yeah, he’s a must-play on FanDuel, and still a phenomenal play on DraftKings.

Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos
[DK: TE8, FD: TE5]

Fant probably isn’t quite 100%, though he’s at least back to practicing in full. He saw a diminished workload last week, but not too diminished. He earned a team-high 8 targets, catching 6 for 62. That's great, but his route share dropped to 66%, down from 75% (when healthy) in 2020.

The Jaguars ranked worst in fantasy points per target allowed to opposing TEs last year (2.45), and they just gave up 67 yards to Pharaoh Brown. Who? Exactly. Anyway, Fant is badly mispriced behind this 25.5-point implied total, but I don’t like him quite as much as Higbee.

Adam Trautman, TE, New Orleans Saints
[DK: TE30, FD: TE33]

On DraftKings, we’re always going to write up at least one near-min. priced TE. The position was an absolute wasteland last year, and it doesn’t look too much better this year. So, it’s always at least reasonable to consider punting the position and paying up for someone else at one of the other more important positions that also offer more upside. But in this case, Trautman is a very attractive punt.

Although the results were better for Juwan Johnson (17.1 fantasy points) than Trautman (4.8) last week, Trautman has the far more valuable role for fantasy. He ranked 9th in route share on the week (75%), running twice as many routes as Johnson (19 to 8). He also out-targeted Johnson 6 to 3. And believe it or not, those 6 targets represented a 24% target share, which ranked 2nd-best at the position in Week 1.

Based on this sort of usage, Trautman should be viewed as a sort of fringe-TE1 or a high-end TE2 at worst. Though he ranks just 26th in salary on the week.

Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons
[DK: TE3, FD: TE7]

Everyone and their mother wanted to play Pitts last week, priced as just the No. 8 TE on DraftKings. He flopped for fantasy, and now everyone hates him. But he’s just the 7th highest-priced TE on FanDuel this week, and I was actually very impressed with what I saw in Week 1.

Pitts ran a route on 79% (7th-most) of the team’s dropbacks. He wasn’t very productive, but no one on Atlanta was. And, more impressively, he saw 8 targets, tied with Calvin Ridley for the team-high. Or, actually, he had 9 targets if you included targets negated due to penalty. So, almost an 80% route share and a 26% target share (which would have ranked 2nd-best among TEs in Week 1)? Yeah, that’s phenomenal.

Still, there’s a lot of TEs to like this week, so he’s only a slight value in comparison.

Other Tight Ends

I won’t be playing him, but George Kittle always offers slate-busting upside (think what Deebo Samuel did last week, but from a TE).

People will play James O’Shaughnessy, but I prefer Adam Trautman.

Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin (in that order) are very much in play, given how much we love that game.

Rob Gronkowski is in play for exactly the same reason.

Jared Cook (8 targets last week) too.

Scott Barrett combines a unique background in philosophy and investing alongside a lifelong love of football and spreadsheets to serve as FantasyPoints’ Director of Analytics and Lead DFS Writer.