NFL DFS Week 2 Picks
Ah, another NFL week has come and went. Another DailyRoto sub became a millionaire. Dinkbot binked yet another GPP. The sky is blue. Roses are red. My picks are still bad. Gotta love it when things don’t change! While last week was the Age of Chalk and everyone who ate the chalk enjoyed massive winnings, that isn’t necessarily the norm for most of the season. Temper your expectations. As a DFS player, one must know whether the chalk is good or bad before voraciously gobbling it all up like Thanksgiving dinner. Thankfully for all of us, DailyRoto’s optimizer does most of the job at deciphering the goodness or badness of said chalk. Sort of like the Pope, but richer. Dinkbot even outlined his recent win with a great video explanation of how he played around with it to streamline his lineups.
As is customary with the NFL season, we have plenty of injuries to be aware of. Leonard Fournette suffered some sort of a hammy injury and is currently on the right side of questionable to play. Rex Burkhead suddenly popped on the injury report with a concussion, an important one to keep on as it would massively boost James White’s value if Rex were to be ruled out. Marquise Goodwin is on the bad side of questionable, which would boost both Kittle and Dante Pettis against the Lions. With all of this in mind, I’ll skip mentioning the above as plays and focus elsewhere. I mean, you can read Twitter and DailyRoto’s convenient e-mail alerts just as well as I can! By the way, DeAngelo Williams is still better than James Conner. I’m not bitter at all. Not at all. Onto our NFL DFS Week 2 Picks.
I think this is a week to jam in all the value QBs, so I’ll briefly outline the clear top two plays on the slate. Big Ben likely is the chalk QB play of the week at a position that generally doesn’t have large ownership percentages. He gets a KC defense that gave up a whopping 74 offensive plays to the Chargers, tied for fifth most snaps given up in Week 1. The result? An easy 400+ yard day for Rivers with nearly 200 receiving yards combined from LAC’s running backs! That doesn’t include the several dropped long passes/touchdowns by LAC’s WRs. Point blank, the Steelers’ air attack will have very little resistance from the dead-last ranked Chiefs pass coverage in a potential shootout at home. Sounds like one of the easiest QB plays on the slate.
The other top QB play that stands out is Drew Brees, coming off the aftermath of getting FitzMagic’d as the Saints got dominated by the Bucs in an upset loss. Brees proved to the naysayers that last season’s passing woes were just a thing of the past. He tossed the pigskin 45 times and completed 37 of those for a massive 439/3/0 day! Incredible! Granted, the Bucs defense was almost just as bad as the KC defense, but that’s beside the point. Brees and company will be looking to unleash their anger upon the Browns, coming off a strange tie win (loss?) against the aforementioned Steelers. The Steelers may have committed several turnovers in rough weather conditions, but that doesn’t mean the Browns defense was actually good. James Conner racked up 192 total yards and two touchdowns, while Large Benjamin tossed for 300+ passing yards and a touchdown. Numbers that Brees and Kamara should be able to match or go beyond. The Browns defense was already on track to give up 70+ offensive plays before overtime was a possibility. Good news and a great spot for a Saints playoff team looking to right the ship. Enjoy your half win, Browns fans. All three of you.
While some of you might think FitzMagic can have a repeat performance as last week, I am not on that bearded train and likely will avoid in favor of QBs like Alex Smith/Jimmy Garoppolo. I love Alex Smith’s matchup and his price point. The Redskins romped the Cardinals with a surprisingly high octane offense, racking up 75 offensive plays in the process. That would be good for fourth-most snaps, just behind the Indy Colts at 77 snaps. Wait a minute, The same Colts that Alex Smith will be facing? Oh, my offensive goodness! The Colts rated well in their run defense which isn’t surprising considering they were the 10th best-run defense DVOA last year. That means the Redskins likely will rely on Smith’s arm to lead them to victory. The returns of Chris Thompson (128 total yards) and Jordan Reed (4/48/1) were big boosts to Smith’s fantasy ceiling and it showed on Sunday. The Colts playing at the fifth fastest pace just pushes the Alex Smith narrative further for me.
The other value play in Jimmy G is more about taking advantage of a discombobulated Lions defense that got completely dominated by a rookie QB and an average/below average offense. It appears that the Lions may have some severe growing pains under the new coaching tutelage. Jimmy G didn’t exactly have a great day against the vaunted Vikings defense, but he did enough to impress me against a potential top-five defense while missing one of his best weapons in Marquise Goodwin. Jimmy G may be missing Goodwin once more but that shouldn’t matter against the now 26th overall DVOA Lions defense. The Jets ran the eighth fewest plays with the slowest pace, yet were able to gain 349 total offensive yards against the Lions. The 49ers were one of the better offenses last year during Jimmy G’s five starts, amassing the third most offensive yards and fifth most points scored during Week 13-17 (Garoppolo’s five starts). The numbers speak for themselves. If Goodwin is able to suit up, start Jimmy G with tremendous confidence!
Hey, remember that guy who outperformed Tom Brady in the Super Bowl and showed him what a real wide receiver looks like? Yeah, that Foles guy! He gets a Bucs defense that got completely dissected by Drew Brees and company. That’s to be expected though from an All-Pro QB, right? Well, here’s the thing. The Bucs linebackers and safeties allowed ALL of the 21 targets in their coverage to be completed. That resulted in a 21/237/2 stat-line for that particular group. That is shockingly bad. That’s not even mentioning the poor job the cornerbacks did at defending anything in their path. In fact, two of their few “reliable” corners in Vernon Hargreaves and Brent Grimes likely will miss the game. Not good. Except for Foles, of course. Hopefully, the playoff version of Foles shows up this time instead of the one that threw for 117 yards and no touchdowns against an underrated Falcons defense. My money’s on the former being able to beat up a bunch of practice squad cornerbacks and a LB core that simply cannot stop anything in their direction.
There’s several top play worthy RBs to choose from this week, so let’s try to differentiate between them a little bit. Alvin Kamara is essentially the Saints’ WR2, as he played an absurd 18 snaps at wide receiver and ran 37 total pass routes against the Bucs. That would explain his ridiculous 9/112/1 receiving stat-line. He’ll get the Browns and the top RB price for the week. Seems like a good bet to hit 20+ fantasy points from volume alone, but will he be worth it at his hefty price tag? Likely not, so let’s look elsewhere.
Todd Gurley gets the Cardinals defense that allowed a 90-year-old Adrian Peterson rack up 166 offensive yards and a touchdown. That seems not ideal. Not only that, Chris Thompson garnered 126 offensive yards, so let’s do some quick math. The Cardinals defense gave up 500 billion gazillion yards to the Redskins running backs in Week 1. That certainly bodes well for the Gurley man, one of the league’s best dual threats RBs from last season. Gurley received 26 touches against the Raiders, turning it into 147 total yards and a touchdown. That was a rather low volume game for Gurley in all fairness. Lock him as a top play against a middling Zona defense.
Lastly, we’ve got the Bills defense. Pick everyone against the Bills defense until further notice. That means rostering as much Melvin Gordon as you can stomach. It’s okay, you don’t have to watch him run into his offensive line repeatedly. He gets so much volume and is fully involved in the passing game that for every negative yard lost, Gordon simply makes up for it in some way. Gordon touched the ball 24 times last week for 166 total yards, including 9 receptions for 102 yards. Sexy! This is more an indictment on the Bills defense letting a bottom five offense run roughshod on them than Melvin Gordon really truly being a top play despite the volume. Either way, Josh Allen ain’t saving that team. Or is he? No, he’s not.
James Conner is the new Le’Veon Bell. 36 touches. 192 total yards. Two touchdowns. Gets the Browns defense. Priced as the best value play on the optimizer. 36 touches. Thirty six. On a Steelers offense that is so concentrated between Ben, AB, and whoever the RB is. 36 touches. Best value on the board. Optimizer decides my fate. Warning, warning. This is a malfunction. Play Conner, the new Le’Veon Bell. This is the optimizer speaking now. If you want to be a millionaire, you will heed my advice. PLAY CONNER BELL. BELL IS CONNER. I AM CONNER. THIRTY SIX TOUCHES!
After a disappointing Week 1 showing that saw McCaffrey get vultured not once but twice at goal-line. I have a feeling many may shy away from the RB since his price didn’t drop. He’s still projected as a top-five scoring RB and a good value play overall. I tend to agree with the ranking, as he’ll face a Falcons defense that put two of their biggest playmakers (Deion Jones and Keanu Neal) on injured reserve. That’s two of their surest tacklers gone, suddenly putting the onus on everyone else to contain the underneath routes ran by opposing running backs. As some may have already known, Falcons have a defensive scheme that allowed short routes to be caught rather easily, shutting down any run after the catch opportunity. A bend but don’t break defensive mentality that only really works if a defense has superior speed and tackling. Sounds familiar? Yes, those were the traits of Jones and Neal. That means McCaffrey gets a very tasty receiving matchup against backup defenders, alongside an expected increased target share in the wake of Greg Olsen’s broken foot injury. Opposing offenses had targeted their RBs 25% of the time against Atlanta, tied for most last season. Perfect opportunity to grab a top five scoring option at a potentially discounted ownership.
And now, the final piece for the Steelers stack. Yep, I’m inserting Antonio Brown as the top WR play of the week. He’s at home, playing against the corpse of Orlando Scandrick and the soon-to-be corpse of Steven Nelson who had given up a 7/103 on 10 targets in his coverage. Quite tasty. Not to mention Eric Berry isn’t expected to suit up as well. Just too tasty. One of the easiest locks of the week at the WR position. Pivot off him all you want, but I’ll die on the AB hill every single time he gets this kind of matchup against the dustiest of dusty cornerbacks. Stack ’em!
With that easy peasy pick out of the way, let’s forge on and find some compelling plays to lose your money on. We’ve got Julio Jones coming off a smash Week 1 performance, but likely will be in a low scoring game as the Panthers may try to control the clock.
Deandre Hopkins certainly jumps off the screen in a game where he won’t be constantly doubled as the Pats did to him. That Texans OL is borderline awful though, and Watson’s accuracy leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Mike Evans could dominate the Philly secondary much like Julio did, but Fitzmagic has a very bad history of regressing after fantastic outings.
Hmm, who’s a good lock for the week? Tyreek Hill should be a popular pick after he single-handily beat the Chargers defense by himself, but KC running only 55 offensive snaps and an elevated price tag are some worries with Hill. While the opto does like Hill as a scoring play, he’s actually a negatively rated value play. It appears that to truly lock in as a top WR play, it is best to look towards Michael Thomas and Keenan Allen as they possess true volume and plus matchups compared to the others. They were involved in two of the highest scoring offenses and were the most targeted on their respective teams. Respect the KISS rule and keep it simple, stupid!
With the Olsen injury and the splits of Funchess with/without Olsen favoring the latter, Funchess steps in as an obvious value WR play for the week. However, I’m not a fan of his skill-set and would rather look elsewhere for salary relief. Kenny Golladay is the better option for me in a potential shootout between two bad teams. Golladay played in 65 snaps last week, easily surpassing his career high for a single game. He’ll get a decent matchup against a largely mediocre 49ers secondary that gave up several big plays to the Vikings WRs. If the Lions were smart, they’d start the game off fast with the no-huddle offense and eschew trying to establish a plodding run game that just grinds the offense into a slow crawl. Stafford actually has one of the better no-huddle numbers among qualified QBs, and Detroit did run the highest percentage of no-huddle snaps last week. Sure, it was mostly in the second half while trailing by a large margin, nearly decapitating Stafford in the process. Beggars can’t be choosers though! It’s a high volume outlook for the Lions’ receiving leader that’s clearly getting the snaps at a discounted price tag and is an opto favorite.
Ignoring the obvious injury issues at WR, there’s a guy that I’ve had my eye on for a little bit and the opto seems to keep spitting him into my lineups. It’s Corey Davis of the loser Titans, coming off a 6/63 stat-line on 13 (!) targets in a loss against the SB bound Dolphins. He’ll get a Texans secondary that just allowed a 7/66/1 stat-line to Philip Dorsett. Yes, the Texans did shut down Chris Hogan but at what cost? Gronk and the RBs sliced and diced the defense in Hogan’s absence! With Mariota returning to practice in full, Davis should be peppered with targets once more while moving all over the formations to get the best possible matchups. It’s a volume play with low ownership against a defense that simply had too many holes in their pass coverage beyond Jonathan Joseph’s coverage. The Titans also were surprisingly the eighth fastest team and ran the 11th most offensive plays last week. All good things moving forward for Davis.
Screw it, let’s get the sleeper stack! I’m pairing Foles with his best weapon in Nelson Agholor! I absolutely love Agholor this week and may consider making him a lock button. The Bucs just don’t have anyone at all to cover Agholor, and their defensive scheme has been largely predictable, even matching up linebackers against slot receivers in obvious passing situations. That’s one of the reasons why Michael Thomas ripped the Bucs apart for a 16/180/1 day, running 25 of his 61 routes in the slot. Agholor was in the slot 36 out of his 67 snaps, giving him the best possible matchup out of the Eagles’ weapons. The biggest worry with Agholor is how short his yards per route run was in Week 1 despite being one of the premier deep threats the season before. I think Agholor’s Week 1 numbers were largely due to the Falcons’ defensive scheme and some offensive hiccups as the first NFL game of the season. The Eagles offense should come back to their usual numbers from last year in a gimme matchup that should feel like a practice session for both Foles and Agholor. Slam dunk! Wait, wrong sport.
As I alluded earlier in the Week 1 article, most weeks is a Gronk week. This is not one of those weeks as he faces an elite Jags defense that should be doubling Gronk for most of the game. Still can be a Gronk smash, but I’ll pass for now. Ertz has the better matchup but I’m still worried about Dallas Goedert’s usage for the Eagles. Travis Kelce could be in line for a huge bounce back game after a dud Week 1 performance, but it remains to be seen if Mahomes is willing to trust his safety valve instead of just YOLO’ing it and bombing it to Tyreek. And welp, there goes all the top rated TEs for the week. Like I said, pay up for Gronk or punt the hell out of the position.
All right, fine. You should probably look in Reed’s direction as a top end TE play for the week. He barely played in the second half of the Redskins game, but that was to be expected in a blowout. Reed was consistently one of Smith’s go-to targets during the first half of a fairly competitive game, racking up 4/48/1 in that span. He’ll get a mediocre Indy LB coverage that gave up a combined 8/80 in their coverage. Even half-dead Eifert who only played on 50% of the snaps had a solid day with 3/44 receiving. Good enough for me.
Now we’re talking. There’s a massive amount of value plays for the punt position. Jared Cook, George Kittle, and Jonnu Smith are all in play, and that’s actually how I have them ranked. Cook is coming off one of his best performances under the bright Monday Night Football lights, dominating the vaunted Rams defense to the tune of 9/180 on 12 targets. Wow! He’ll get a Broncos defense that just gave up 3/105/1 to some dude named Will Dissly on the Seahawks and ranked in the bottom ten DVOA for TE coverage last season. Easy button.
George Kittle is also an easy button after he carved up the Vikings on a 5/90 with 9 targets line, including a badly botched long pass that would have put him well over 100 yards. The Lions Lbs graded very poorly in coverage last season, and that’s a trend that seemed unchanged after Week 1. With Goodwin’s status up in the air, Kittle is a safe bet to potentially lead the 49ers in targets. Volume, baby!
Jonnu Smith is more of a de-facto salary dump pick since Delanie Walker will miss the season with a dislocated ankle. The Texans just allowed 100+ yards and a touchdown to Gronk, but that’s the Gronkosaurus. Jonnu Smith has some athletic upside and should at the very least see considerable targets in an offense that Walker thrived in over the years. He’s not a TE1 by any means but he does offer a great price for TE2 production at a position you were going to punt anyway. Not like you were gonna pick Gesicki again, right? Right? Ricky. Stop it!
Remember that Jimmy Graham guy from last year? The guy who dunked on the field goal post ten times? Yeah, that goofy looking guy on the Packers. Yes, the one who did absolutely nothing against the Bears despite being hyped up as an elite fantasy TE. That one. He will be barely owned across all formats, but let’s give this a little bit of a think. The Vikings just allowed 5/90 to Kittle and lost him in coverage all game long. Their TE coverage numbers from last year were outstanding, yet they rank 24th DVOA in TE coverage from Week 1. Their secondary is fabulous and will remain a problem for every team going forward, which may open up more targets at an easier position. It could very well be a one-time thing, but Eric Kendricks did not fare well in his coverage as he gave up 5/73 on 8 targets. If Graham really still is elite, then he should be able to take advantage of the open seams against a Vikings defense that’s shown the cracks. Maybe Rodgers will pop a few more Vicodins and play out of his gourd once more. Who knows, but stranger things have happened. Like Ryan Fitzpatrick winning someone a million dollars. Very strange.