DRAFT Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 2
With seasonal leagues now underway, DRAFT provides a great way for people to showcase their fantasy acumen through weekly snake drafts. After some of the chalkiest plays smashing in Week 1, gamers would be wise to give even greater consideration to roster construction when trying to get a leg up on the rest of the league.
Drafters can particularly exploit edges in the small six-man contests. With rosters consisting of a single quarterback, two running backs, and two wide receiver/tight end flexes, each team will only roster five players. This means a mere 6 quarterbacks, 12 running backs, and 12 pass catchers will be drafted.
Ignoring quarterback, people can accumulate value by drafting a back or receiver, while their league-mates focus on the other position. This strategy is particularly viable if you can identify a late-round gem and secure top-end talent around them at other positions. With these drafts running a mere 30 players deep, valuable touches are still available in the final rounds. Last week, the likes of James Conner, Emmanuel Sanders, and Philip Rivers could all be drafted in the final rounds of drafts.
Who can you target early and late in this week's drafts? Let's take a look.
Cam Newton - Employing a late-round quarterback strategy, Cam Newton immediately comes to mind. Currently available in the final rounds of drafts, Newton finds himself in a juicy matchup against a Falcons team without defensive stars Keanu Neal and Deion Jones.
According to our schedule-adjusted metrics, Atlanta currently ranks as our 22nd-best defense. While they do pose a more imposing challenge against the pass, Atlanta has allowed the most or second-most receptions to running backs each of the past three seasons. With Christian McCaffrey at his disposal, Newton should look to exploit this mismatch all day, as Jones would have been the thorn in McCaffrey's side.
Newton also adds a floor through his legs, which most other quarterbacks simply don't have. The star quarterback rushed for a team-high 58 yards on 13 carries last week. He needs to be hammered in the final rounds of snake drafts until his price rises.
Ben Roethlisberger - Back at home after a costly five-turnover performance, Ben Roethlisberger will look to rebound against the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite the three interceptions, Big Ben still showed promise, recording 335 passing yards on the day.
Known for his home/away splits, Roethlisberger has the benefit of playing this contest at home against a weak Kansas City Chiefs secondary that allowed the second-most passing yards last week. The Chiefs' stud safety Eric Berry still doesn't appear ready for action, missing Wednesday's practice, which bodes well for Pittsburgh pass catchers. Our metrics currently rank the Chiefs' pass defense as the third-worst in the league.
Melvin Gordon - With one of the better matchups on the slate, Melvin Gordon looks like a must-draft anytime he falls to the latter half of the first round. Last week, Gordon played on 76% of the Los Angeles Chargers' snaps and saw 24 touches (including 9 catches on 13 targets).
This week, Gordon battles a Buffalo Bills defense that saw limited action against the Baltimore Ravens first-team offense after they pulled their starters with a big lead. In 2017, this Bills unit allowed the most rushing yards and touchdowns in the NFL, and they don't appear to be much better this year.
With the Chargers favored by 7.5 points, this game script bodes well for Gordon's workload. He offers a sneaky contrarian play off Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara and should be targeted outside the top six picks.
James Conner - Still not getting the respect he deserves, James Conner often falls outside the top two rounds in snake drafts. For those employing an early wide receiver strategy, the second-year back makes plenty of sense in the third.
Conner absolutely dominated the work out of Pittsburgh's backfield. He played on 92% of offensive snaps and saw 100% of the running back opportunities. Operating as a true bellcow, Conner looks like a solid bet to dominate touches once again in Week 2.
He also stands to benefit from a juicy matchup against that same horrendous Chiefs defense. The Chiefs allowed the second-most total yards to running backs in Week 1, including 189 receiving yards. Conner checks every box for a running back his week, including playing at home, in the highest total game on the slate, and he's favored by five points. The breakout warrants first round consideration, but miraculously lasts until the second-to-third rounds, so take advantage.
Jordan Howard - For the second straight week, Jordan Howard remains a target in snake drafts. Largely unappreciated, he somehow continues to last until the final rounds of drafts.
Howard dominated the Chicago Bears' touches, with 20 compared to Tarik Cohen's 8. Howard also touched the ball three times in the red zone compared to Cohen's one. More notably, the Bears used Howard in the passing game, where he secured all 5 of his targets for 25 yards.
Facing off against Seattle, the Seahawks defense allowed the third-most rushing yards last week to the Denver Broncos. The Bears go into this game favored by three points, telling us that Howard should see positive game script in this one.
DeAndre Hopkins - While Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Michael Thomas often come off the board early in the first round, DeAndre Hopkins seems to slip into the second round. 2017's target leader, Hopkins started out "quietly" with eight catches for 78 yards against a New England Patriots defense known for taking away the opposing team's top playmaker. In that contest, Hopkins still saw 11 targets, including 2 in the red zone.
Hopkins faces a Tennessee Titans defense that quietly disappointed in Week 1, allowing 201 yards to Miami Dolphins' receivers (eighth-most in the NFL). Hopkins quietly notched the fourth-most air yards on the week, showing he still saw a massive opportunity in the Houston Texans offense. Tennessee could be playing their top corner Adoree' Jackson at less than 100% after he missed some time last week with a shoulder injury.
Hopkins offers everything you want in a wide receiver one and at a reduced cost. He can be taken safely at the end of round one and early round two.
Jarvis Landry - After securing 8 catches for 106 yards on 16 targets, Jarvis Landy still lingers in the fourth round of drafts.
After showing a connection with Tyrod Taylor in the preseason, Landry went on the lead the Cleveland Browns in targets, receptions, and receiving yards in Week 1. He also ranked second in the NFL with 223 air yards.
While Landry is often seen as a player with a low average depth of target (aDOT) and a slot receiver, this usage could help him against a New Orleans Saints' secondary that showed major weakness in Week 1. The Saints allowed the most receiving yards in the league last week and Landry projects to avoid standout corner Marshon Lattimore, who mainly defends the boundaries.
With the Browns slotted as nine-point underdogs, Landry could see 10-plus targets again in a game where the offense should be throwing quite often.
Emmanuel Sanders - Fresh off a 10-catch, 135-yard, touchdown-scoring performance, Emmanuel Sanders enters another smash spot in Week 2. Last week, the receiver led the Denver Broncos in targets and showed a clear connection with Case Keenum.
Sanders benefited from running a majority of his routes from the slot, an area of the field heavily targeted by Keenum. This week, he faces another suspect secondary in the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders allowed 176 yards to receivers in a blowout loss last week, where the Los Angeles Rams completed only 18 passes en route to the win.
Lasting until the final rounds of drafts again this week, Sanders presents a supreme late-round value at the position.
Matthew Gajewski is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matthew Gajewski also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mgajewski. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.