NFL DFS Week 2 Picks
Well, that was a fun ending to Week 1! Now it’s that time of the season where we all make wild and completely reactionary assumptions (accusations?) about what lies beyond the horizon for our fellow NFL teams. Will the Dolphins continue to flounder all season and be a fantasy smorgasbord? Will the Chiefs just slaughter everyone on offense even with a cardboard cutout of players as long as Mahomes is healthy? Is Kellen Moore the next Sean McVay? These questions will invariably get answered over the course of the season, but will the answer pad your wallet or force a third mortgage on your home? Only one way to find out!
Unfortunately, I do believe the Dolphins will continue to flounder and be a gold mine for fantasy points for the foreseeable future. The main reason why I’m comfortable rostering Brady over the likes of Mahomes, Watson, and even Brees is the fact that there likely will be no shortage of offensive plays for Brady to take advantage. Even in a laugher against the Steelers, the Pats were still able to produce the 8th most offensive snaps, 6th most if we ignore the OT game. Whatever the issue with Antonio Brown is, that won’t stop Brady and Co. from being able to run any gameplan at will against a defense that allowed a perfect rating to Lamar Jackson with nearly no pressures. Sprinkle in the fact that Miami’s OL allowed the most pressures, rank dead last in almost every meaningful category, and well….yeah it’s bad. Possession haven for Brady!
Yes, I’m probably overreacting to Jackson’s stellar play with marked improvement to his passing accuracy. However, it’s still a very favorable match-up against a 23rd DVOA Cardinals pass defense that blew multiple assignments everywhere, got scorched in their slot/TE coverage, and an offense that ranked 1st in pace with no signs of slowing down in Kingsbury’s Air Raid scheme. It’s just a numbers game for Jackon, as he should get enough possessions/plays to hit value with perhaps even showing off his rushing ability. I had noted my concerns about a young secondary with no tell-tale playmakers or veterans to keep them afloat, and that should continue to be an issue until Patrick Peterson returns from his suspension. Start Jackson with confidence.
I’m not actually sure if Prescott simply improved and made fantastic reads or he’s just enjoying a competent offensive scheme that takes advantage of the play-action while simplifying the reads for Prescott through motions/shifts. It’s probably the latter but I digress. Prescott still offers great value at a prime spot against a Redskins defense that showed some strengths and weaknesses. Strengths? Their defensive line looks like a dangerous unit that could boast a top ten run defense if their LBs can play catch-up. Weaknesses? Their secondary is just plain awful and will be a crippling weakness all season (25th DVOA). The Redskins got out on an early start against the Eagles, which prompted Wentz to speed up the game and start attacking the seams. Result? A massive DeSean Jackson day with a 8/154/2 stat-line, including two 50+ yard bombs. Sure sounds like something the Cowboys can take advantage of with Gallup, eh? With all of the wizardry Moore added to Dak’s arsenal and Elliott being a continuous threat on play-actions, I expect more of the same from Prescott as his Giants performance. Easy jam for me.
Though I’m not as high on Carr’s ceiling as an overall fantasy QB, his price is just too low in a prime spot for what he can offer in terms of lineup construction. The Chiefs were downright bad at defending our lord and savior Gardner Minshew after Foles went down with a collarbone injury. Minshew exposed the Chiefs’ inability to convert on their pressures and defend the hi/lo options from the Jaguars, which resulted in easy chunks of yardage to the tune of 22/25 for 275 and two TDs for the mustached Minshew. The Chiefs simply do not have the personnel to cover deep attacks all game as they boast one of the worst LB units and a mediocre secondary that not even the Honey Badger can save. Carr didn’t exactly wow us with his performance against the Broncos with his dink-and-dunk offense, but he is at least good at taking what the defense gives him while following the team’s gameplan. I expect the Raiders to run a ball-control offense to keep Mahomes off the field for as long as possible, and that should require plenty of Carr dinkers peppering the loathsome Chiefs defense.
BOOST ‘EM UP!
Honestly, the Jets game was largely a fluke of epic proportions for Allen and the Bills. Ignoring the flukiest of interceptions, Allen’s adjusted completion percentage ranked top five for Week 1, all things considered. While the Bills still lack real offensive firepower outside of John Brown, Allen is the type of quarterback whose fantasy output isn’t necessarily tied to his offensive weapons. He can simply become the team’s best running back as he’s done so in the past. In his last six games before Week 1’s game, Allen had added an average of 12.9 fantasy points with his legs alone. Yes, it’s a hand-picked stat to force you peons to like my taek, but it’s still a valid one nevertheless! The Giants simply do not have any talent outside of their front four, and I expect Allen to take full advantage of the sheer athletic edge he has on the dead last DVOA G-Men defense that got eviscerated by Randall freakin’ Cobb! I’m cranking his boost number to 10 and letting it all ride on the hefty legs of Allen.
I mean, it’s the obvious choice! Did you guys not see what McCaffrey did to the Rams? And we have no signs of any usage dip/snap count for Kamara! In fact, he just might keep his 70+% snap count usage throughout the season, blowouts non-withstanding. Not only did he get a full bellcow load, but he also continued his rampage as a receiver with 12 snaps at WR and managing 8 targets in the air on his 32 routes run. The Rams clearly haven’t fixed their run defense issues (28th DVOA), while the Saints seem right back to their old ways with a stud healthy OL that can pull with the best of them. We saw plenty of outside runs and sweeps from the Saints, allowing Kamara’s world-class elusiveness to take over. Just a damn lock.
Outside of Kamara, I can’t exactly pinpoint any obvious top plays that I’d be okay with a high ownership. That means my attention then pivots to the screaming values on the slate, and I think Ekeler still is one despite a price bump. With both Hunter Henry and Mike Williams dinged up for the Chargers, Ekeler effectively becomes their number two WR for Rivers. Ekeler performed well above expectations last week, putting up a monstrous 6/96/2 stat-line as a receiver despite not cracking the top ten in routes ran by RBs. That’s some efficiency! However, with the aforementioned injuries, I expect Ekeler’s routes to spike near the top five. He’ll face a Detroit Lions team that already saw a similar usage from David Johnson (2nd most RB routes run) which resulted in a 6/55/1 stat-line for ol’ Deej. There’s a clear match-up edge for Ekeler against the Lions’ linebackers. A 73% snap usage and 18% market share of the team’s targets certainly makes Ekeler even more of a screaming value.
While everyone likely will cream their pants over Josh Jacobs’ usage and low price tag, I prefer Carson’s match-up as he can actually boost his fantasy ceiling with his increased pass-work. Not only did he dominate RB touches with 22 touches, but he was also on the field for 77% of the offensive snaps and received all red-zone work. He even led the team in targets and receptions! Of course, the latter might be more about Lockett being bracketed and the lack of trust from Wilson towards his new receivers. Still, the Seahawks are actually letting Carson unlock his true potential as a bellcow which should always make him a value until he’s priced like a true RB1. He’ll get a decent match-up against the Steelers provided that his pass-work continues to grow. Both Burkhead/White ran a ton of routes and combined for 10 catches and 97 yards on 15 targets. If Carson can get similar numbers while getting fed behind a 51% run-heavy Seattle offense, then the sky’s the limit for Carson.
BOOST ‘EM UP!
Yeah, that’s right! I’m going down the Breida well once more! Except for this time I actually have reason to do so! Tevin Coleman is expected to miss multiple games with a high ankle sprain, opening the door for BIG DADDY BREIDA to take over his rightful job as the true number one for Baby Shanny. His numbers weren’t too hot as the main RB once Coleman went down early, but he still received 15 carries and played on 43% of the snaps (Coleman 26% before the injury, so around 55-60% is my guess as the starter). Against a weak Bengals front that managed to slow down Chris Carson but still gave up steady yardage, I expect the 49ers to run the ball at a higher pace to counter-act an improved Bengals pass-rush that saw Hubbard/Lawson force tremendous pressure on Wilson. It might be a fairy-tale in believing positive gamescript for a run-heavy 49ers attack to mitigate their offensive line issues and Jimmy G’s oblivious reaction to any kind of pressure. I’m cranking up the volatility tool once more to a 20 and letting it ride.
With so many of the elite WRs in tough match-ups across the board, I find myself jamming in JuJu in a bounce-back spot against a young, inexperienced Seattle secondary that got slightly exposed against the Bengals. JuJu should see plenty of both Ugo Amadi (primary slot CB, 67% of JuJu’s routes in the slot last week) and Tre Flowers on the boundary (only 20% of routes), two of the better WR/CB match-ups of the week. Amadi got injured during last week’s game but was getting picked on prior the injury, allowing all 4 targets his way and tapping out. The Bengals then picked on Tre Flowers to the run of 10/170/1 on 13 targets. Hmmm…sounds like a prime opportunity for Smith-Schuster to remind people why he was an electric player last season. There is a concern that the plodding Seahawks’ offensive pace (8th slowest) could limit Steelers’ offensive snaps, but the Bengals were able to curtail that slow pace and gather 70 plays (6th most). Rack ’em up!
Though I am seriously concerned about the Raiders’ 2nd slowest pace and obvious ball-control offensive gameplan, that should more or less affect Mahomes’ ceiling rather than his clear #1 option in Watkins. The Raiders won’t have both Gareon Conley and Jon Abram for the game due to freak injuries, so that leaves the Raiders seriously lacking at CB talent/depth. Watkins destroyed both Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye in his debut, showcasing a physical release and an impressive 5.82 YPR/R that clearly won’t be sustainable but is a good look long-term. It’s the obvious chalk play but it’s a good chalk play to eat considering the lack of legitimate threats from the Oakland secondary and Reid’s usage of Watkins in the Tyreek Hill role. There’s not much to say here but JAM HIM IN!
With Xavien Howard likely shadowing Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown issues/snap counts up in the air, Edelman looks to be the primary benefactor of the gold mine that is the Dolphins’ abysmal defense and the preferred stack option with Brady. Marquise Brown had a career day as the primary slot WR for the Ravens, burning vaunted slot defender Minkah Fitzpatrick on a long bomb for a TD among other things. There is a serious lack of pass-rushers for the Miami defense, which bodes well for Brady’s ability to pick apart defenses at the comforts of his untouched pocket. If there were concerns that maybe Fitzpatrick had a bad game and would bounce back in a big way, I respectfully disagree not because Fitzpatrick may be struggling but because Miami appears to not want to play him at slot as much as 2018 indicated (only 12 snaps at slot). That means Edelman will face the following warm bodies – Jomal Wiltz, Eric Rowe, and Chris Lammons. Yuck. Just ugh. STOP IT! YOU’RE MAKING ME CRY! Even the optimizer has him as the best DK value! Wheeze.
It’s the stack option with Carr to take advantage of the aforementioned weak Chiefs secondary that allowed the most deep receptions (20+ yards) to D.J. Chark the baby shark. Williams has always excelled as a deep threat, with the 4th highest percentage of yardage gained on deep receptions since ’16 (per PFF). A healthy 27% market share of the team’s target and the clear #1 option for Carr, Williams has huge potential to be the best value across the board if the Raiders can keep Carr upright long enough.
BOOST ‘EM UP
Rough start for the Troob stans out there, huh? Even in a horrid game that saw more balls over his head than into his hands, A-Rob still managed to put in a WR1 performance with a nearly 30% MS/T! He lined up all over the field as a true X-Factor for the Bears, playing nearly half of his snaps in the slot. The curious thing about the Broncos is their usage of Pro Bro CB Chris Harris, widely known as a top tier slot cornerback and all-around stud. He only played about half of his snaps in the slot, sharing duties with fellow slot CB Isaac Yiadom. The former only allowed 2/16 in his slot coverage, while the latter didn’t fare as well with 9/123 surrendered in his coverage. Chances are the Bears know this and will target Yiadom everywhere he lines up with A-Rob, or so I’d hope. It’s hard to tell these days with how shaky Trubisky has looked. Still, I’m adding a 11 boost to push Robinson as a top ten value/points on the board and hoping the lack of pass-rush from the Broncos continues.
Travis Kelce/George Kittle/Evan Engram
Just pick one of them. They’re all top-notch plays that should probably lead their teams in targets and are red-zone phenoms. Engram might suffer the most due to the utter lack of other receiving options from the Giants and actually faces a competent defense. He’s still in line to see an absurd amount of targets. Kelce is a given, and Kittle would likely have blown up with a 30 point burger had the refs decided to let the 49ers play (two TDs called back on holding). Those are the clear options. That’s it. Stop asking every week!
Darren Waller/Mark Andrews/T.J. Hockenson
Honestly, they’re all great value that are similarly priced to each other with almost the same amount of workload/usage. Waller likely is the chalk pick alongside Hockerson, while Andrews might still fly under the radar among the sea of value TE plays like Delanie Walker. We all know what Hockenson did to the Cardinals defense, but that might be more about how much of a talent he is than an indictment to the Cardinals defense, more specifically about how Jordan Hicks was aligned away from him. The Ravens very well could move Andrews around enough to pit him against the worse LBs (Reddick/Walker who combined to give up 100+ yards in coverage) and let Andrews roam free. Either way, all of the above options are extremely viable with little to no hang-ups for workloads.
BOOST ‘EM UP!
Speaking of the other value plays, Walker once again pops as an ideal play in a favorable match-up against a Colts defense that continues to play the bend-but-don’t-break defense. There are some concerns about Walker’s snap count though, as he was on only 45% of the team’s offensive snaps. Still, he got plenty of looks from Mariota and was the trusted red-zone guy (2 targets for 2 TDs, lucky or nah?). On a per snap basis and route-wise, Walker still operated as the preferred option for Mariota (alongside A.J. Brown) but I imagine his snap count probably won’t hover above 50-60% with Jonnu Smith acting as a reliable back-up. That increases his volatility a bit despite being the safety valve for the offense. As long as the Colts allow underneath routes and keep everything in front of them (5/64 to opposing TEs last week, deeeecent), I think Walker can put up a similar line with probably fewer touchdowns (I know, right?). I’m boosting his volatility to a 30 to better represent the big payout and the good chance for a goose egg.