DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 2
Not only does numberFire offer multiple DFS articles (like this one) each and every week, we've also got the tools you need to build lineups and sort through projections that are specific to the scoring system used by DraftKings. And there is perhaps no better way to quickly see the big picture of how the slate is shaping up than by viewing the Matchup Heat Map. In addition to all the written content and awesome tools, numberFire also has podcasts that will preview all the upcoming action.
After a crazy, chalky Week 1, here's our top plays for Week 2.
Alex Smith ($6,000): Opening the season on the road against the Arizona Cardinals, Smith didn't need to take many chances in a comfortable 24-6 victory. Making his Washington debut, Smith completed 70 percent of his passes for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns. PlayerProfiler accredited Smith with just one deep ball attempt and placed him outside the top 25 in air yards thrown. Also, the box score credits Smith with 8 rushing attempts for an additional 14 yards. For their home opener, Washington is tied for the fourth-highest implied total on our Heat Map tool. Last week, the opposing Indianapolis Colts allowed a respectable stat line -- 243 yards and 2 touchdowns -- to Andy Dalton. Our projections like Smith to hit 20 DraftKings points and finish top-five among all quarterbacks on the slate. He deserves heavy consideration in cash games.
Case Keenum ($5,800): Cash game players looking for a cheap quarterback with more upside than Smith are going to bypass him and save $200 on Keenum at home against the Oakland Raiders. And just like last week, I think Keenum is going to beat our models' projections. Beginning the season at home against the Seattle Seahawks, Keenum was intercepted three times -- nearly half the amount of picks he had all of last year -- but he also completed 25 of 39 passes for 329 yards and 3 touchdowns. The game charting done by PlayerProfiler saw Keenum attempt six deep balls and three money throws. Having played in the nightcap of the Monday Night Football opening slate, the Oakland Raiders head to Mile High on a short week. Oakland didn't get much pressure on Jared Goff in that game and could struggle to get to Keenum, as well. According Pro Football Focus, the Denver offensive line only allowed 5 pressures on 40 passing plays. After targeting Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas a total of 21 times in Week 1, Keenum can continue to feed them while also getting additional splash plays from rookies Courtland Sutton and Phillip Lindsay.
Matt Ryan ($5,700): No one wants to play Matt Ryan right now, but that's exactly why you should play him. The Atlanta Falcons will play in their home opener 10 days after starting the season in an ugly Thursday night loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Ryan completed less than half of his passes and took four sacks. He was also intercepted once and couldn't find the end zone. However, he did target Julio Jones 19 times, completing 10 throws for 169 yards to his stud wideout. Ryan only hit 300 passing yards in 4 games all of last year, but 2 of those were against the Carolina Panthers. However, Carolina only allowed 170 passing yards to Dak Prescott in Week 1 and are currently seventh in pass defense by our Team Power Rankings. Playing Julio in a tournament lineup is never a bad idea, so try stacking him with an extremely cheap quarterback at low ownership.
Christian McCaffrey ($7,000): Christian McCaffrey is coming off a mild season opener in which he tallied only 10 carries and 6 receptions for 95 yards in a matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. After fumbling just twice as a rookie, McCaffrey put one on the ground near the goal line early in the game. Despite the low number of carries, playing on 85 percent of the snaps suggests more usage is right around the corner. Thankfully, this matchup is built for McCaffrey. He'll be on the road but playing indoors against the Atlanta Falcons. In addition to losing two critical pieces of their defense -- linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal -- Atlanta has allowed the most receptions to running backs each of the last three years. Projected as a top-five running back this week, McCaffrey is shaping up to be a fixture in cash game lineups.
James Conner ($6,700): As the Le'Veon Bell saga continues to play out, Conner is making the most of an incredible opportunity. In a frustrating draw to start the season, Conner handled 31 carries for 135 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. As a receiver, he caught 5 of 6 targets for 57 yards. In addition to seeing a massive 96 percent snap share, Conner was credited by PlayerProfiler with two breakaway runs and four evaded tackles. As they prepare for their home opener, Pittsburgh is one of three teams on the slate with an implied total of 29 or more points. In Week 1, the opposing Kansas City Chiefs saw Melvin Gordon run for 64 yards on 15 carries while catching 9 balls for another 102 yards. Still underpriced, Conner should once again be among the most highly rostered players, regardless of the contest format.
Tevin Coleman ($5,300): After missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday, it's becoming very possible that Devonta Freeman (knee) will miss Atlanta's home opener against the Panthers. Coleman scored on a nifty move in the Thursday night opener but only touched the ball 10 times. Freeman struggled with knee issues at the end of 2017 and needed Coleman to make two starts in late November. In those games, Coleman scored 3 touchdowns on a total of 39 carries. If Freeman ends up playing, James White ($4,500) is even cheaper and projected for double-digit DraftKings points with Rex Burkhead (concussion) and Sony Michel (knee) both limited in Thursday's practice. T.J. Yeldon ($5,600) is also in play if Leonard Fournette (hamstring) can't go. Clearly, the lower range of the running back position won't be settled under we get the final status on several players.
Antonio Brown ($8,800): One week after being torched by Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen, the Kansas City Chiefs remain on the road to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the slate's highest over/under. That's a recipe for Brown to have another big outing. After a slow start but and aided by a full overtime period, AB was targeted 16 times against the Cleveland Browns. Of those, 9 were converted to the tune of 93 yards and a touchdown. After three interceptions and four sacks, Ben Roethlisberger missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to an elbow issue that's considered minor. Assuming Roethlisberger is fine, Brown should excel in a matchup DFS players will look to exploit week in and week out. There's enough value on the slate to play both Conner and Brown hoping to monopolize Pittsburgh's touchdowns.
Jarvis Landry ($6,300): Even though the Cleveland Browns are double-digit road underdogs, Landry looks very underpriced and is one of the top wide receivers based on our projections. The New Orleans Saints are fresh off getting roasted in their own building for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns by Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Landry is also riding high after seeing 15 targets, hauling in 7 receptions, and totaling 106 yards against the Steelers. Playing mostly in the slot, Landry should avoid cornerback Marshon Lattimore, last year's Defensive Rookie of the Year. Heading into Week 1, there was talk that Josh Gordon would not be a starter. However, he played more than 77 percent of the snaps. He only caught one pass, but it went for a touchdown. Even though Tyrod Taylor played poorly and Gordon saw the field often, Landry seems to be the same target magnet we've seen over the last four years in Miami.
Randall Cobb ($4,600): Assuming Aaron Rodgers (knee) plays this week against the Minnesota Vikings, Cobb is the top wide receiver value of the slate by our projections. Teammate Davante Adams is dealing with a shoulder issue but appears likely to start. Adams would occupy Xavier Rhodes while Minnesota's other starting cornerback, Trae Waynes, works through a knee injury that knocked him out of last week's game. While the matchup is a tough one on paper, the price reduction and a potentially wounded opponent makes Cobb very appealing. Boosted by a late 75-yard touchdown that erased a 20-3 fourth quarter deficit, Cobb led the Packers with 10 targets, 9 receptions, and 142 yards against the Chicago Bears. He was not very effective against Minnesota last year, although the first meeting was the one in which Rodgers was injured after only four pass attempts. With his quarterback looking to unload the ball quickly, Cobb could be in for some serious work in Week 2.
George Kittle ($3,800): While the 9 targets, 5 receptions, and 90 yards in the opener against the Vikings look really good in the box score, Kittle dropped a pass when he appeared to be wide open for a likely long touchdown. He was also missed by Jimmy Garoppolo in the end zone for what should have been another easy touchdown. Last year, the Detroit Lions were near league bottom in targets seen by opposing tight ends. However, Kittle is clearly going to a big factor in a San Francisco 49ers' passing attack that could be without speedster Marquise Goodwin (quad). If that's the case, Pierre Garcon will face stiff competition in cornerback Darius Slay. It's no surprise to see Kittle as the top tight end value on the slate based on our projections.
Jared Cook ($3,600): Another great value this week at tight end is Cook, who's coming off a big performance in which he recorded 180 yards on 9 receptions. However, Kittle sitting right above him at a very similar price is going to drive ownership away from Cook. Even though Cook went off, quarterback Derek Carr played very timid at times and was thrown under the bus by head coach Jon Gruden for not turning it loose on open deep passes to Amari Cooper. While getting the ball to Cooper should be a priority, Cook gets one of the most favorable defenses for a tight end. We didn't get to see it in Week 1, because the Los Angeles Rams don't feature a tight end, but last year's Broncos were third in DraftKings points allowed to the position. Cook didn't do much in either of those contests, though, which makes him a high-risk, high-reward pivot from Kittle.
New York Jets D/ST ($2,500): After missing out on Kirk Cousins in free agency, the Jets used part of those funds to sign cornerback Trumaine Johnson to a big contract. They also took a filer on Morris Claiborne in hopes of further revamping their secondary. And after recording four interceptions off Matthew Stafford in Week 1, the early returns look good. This week, the New York Jets host Ryan Tannehill, who threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked once in his first regular season game since Week 14 of the 2016 season. Every dollar counts now that salaries are increasing, and getting the Jets $500 above the minimum salary is an easy play to make.
Tampa Bay D/ST ($2,200): If you are really desperate for savings, Tampa Bay is probably the cheapest option on the board that someone could make a case for. Even though they gave up 475 yards of offense to the Saints, the Bucs were able to score 7.0 DraftKings points thanks to a defensive touchdown, a sack, and two fumble recoveries. And while the Tampa Bay secondary was already lacking talent before several injuries hit them, their opposing quarterback, Nick Foles, has looked dreadful going back to the preseason. With one of the better defensive fronts in the league, Tampa Bay could force Foles into more drop backs -- and perhaps some mistakes -- if they manage to contain the running game.
Eric McClung is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.