FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Early-Slate Helper: Week 2

The Week 2 NFL DFS early slate on FanDuel has a whopping 10 games on the books, all kicking off at 1 p.m. EST. There are six teams with implied team totals over 24.0, so this will likely be a high-scoring slate.

Our NFL DFS Matchup Heat Map will be referenced for all implied totals and spreads throughout this article, so be sure to check it out.

Let’s check out the best options at every price point on the slate.

High-Priced Studs

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants ($9,200)

Saquon Barkley averaged an absurd 0.64 Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per carry with a 72.73 percent Success Rate against the Dallas Cowboys in the opener. Those were both the highest figures among all backs with at least five carries. So, yeah, Barkley is still pretty good.

Unfortunately, he was a victim of game script, as he received only 11 carries with Dallas jumping out to a strong lead and never looking back. The good news is that Barkley is matched up against the Buffalo Bills this week. The Bills ranked 12th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play last season while the Cowboys ranked third, so even though Buffalo is a solid D, this is a better matchup.

Josh Allen is also not the most consistent quarterback around, so Barkley should be safe from getting game scripted out and should be just as efficient as his usual self. Our projections have him as the highest-scoring running back on the early slate.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings ($7,900)

Dalvin Cook was one of the highest-owned players on last week's slate, and he absolutely delivered. The Atlanta Falcons still seem to be the best target for fantasy running backs.

This week, Cook will be matched up with the Green Bay Packers, who actually did a good job at shutting down the Bears' running backs in Week 1 by allowing a -0.25 Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play. That seventh-ranked figure is a far cry from Atlanta’s 24th-ranked rushing defense, so Cook might struggle to see the same efficiency this week.

Somewhere he should improve, however, is in the passing game. Kirk Cousins threw the ball just 10 times against the Falcons. Cook saw two of those targets and turned them into nine yards. Throwing the ball 10 times is unsustainable in today's NFL, so the Vikings will be forced to throw the ball more. Cook might not see the same 20 percent target share, but expect his passing game role to expand against this improved Packers defense.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans ($9,000)

While getting shadowed by Marshon Lattimore last week, DeAndre Hopkins put up 111 yards and two scores on eight catches. Now he is up against Jalen Ramsey and a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that allowed Sammy Watkins to drop 198 yards and three touchdowns on them.

Hopkins has put up more than 100 yards or scored a touchdown in every matchup with the Jags since Deshaun Watson has arrived in Houston. Expect that trend to continue.

George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers ($7,100)

Not surprisingly, George Kittle saw 10 targets in Week 1. The San Francisco wide receiver situation is an absolute mess, with their supposed top wideout Dante Pettis playing just two snaps. Furthermore, Kittle had two touchdowns overturned by penalties. Jimmy Garoppolo should continue funneling targets to his best weapon and pray for better luck for the athletic tight end.

Mid-Priced Upside Plays

Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots ($6,800)

The Pittsburgh Steelers completely sold out to stop the run against New England, and it showed. They ranked 12th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play while completely shutting down Sony Michel on the ground. They opted to instead let Tom Brady demolish them with every drop back, allowing the fifth-worst Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.

The bright spot for Michel is that he still received more carries than his all of his backfield mates combined, and he’s facing the Miami Dolphins this week. The Patriots have an implied team total of 33.0 and are 18.5-point favorites. You want to play starting running backs who are 18.5-point favorites in fantasy football.

Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,900)

With Nick Foles getting knocked out of Week 1 early, Dede Westbrook was on track to bust as a DFS play. Luckily fantasy gamers were bailed out by a fourth-quarter touchdown to salvage the day.

Westbrook is in a far better spot this week, as the Texans released their starting slot cornerback, Aaron Colvin, after Week 1. The Jags' receiver will be in a dream spot with rookie Lonnie Johnson filling Colvin’s shoes. Expect Gardner Minshew to keep his targets close and pepper Westbrook in the slot.

Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans ($5,900)

If you want to pay down at tight end, look no further than Delanie Walker. He immediately reclaimed his role as Marcus Mariota’s security blanket, hauling in five of six targets in Week 1. He was also extremely efficient, ranking sixth among tight ends with a 1.31 Reception NEP per target while finding the end zone twice.

Bargain Bin Prospects

Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals ($5,700)

When Joe Mixon went down, Giovani Bernard assumed an every-down role for the Cincinnati Bengals. The team will likely want to play it safe with Mixon this week, meaning DFSers can get a three-down workhorse at $5,700 if Mixon is out.

Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals ($5,400)

While it didn’t show up the box score, Christian Kirk was close to a monster day in Week 1. His 12 targets and 132 air yards, per PlayerProfiler, indicate that he was getting the opportunities but just couldn’t capitalize. As Kyler Murray gets more comfortable in his offense, his connection with Kirk should improve. Kirk should be extremely low-owned against a tough Baltimore Ravens defense, but this game has sneaky shootout potential. Sprinkle in Kirk to some tournament lineups where you can.

Jonathan Taylor Smith is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice Jonathan Taylor Smith also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jtsmittyyy. 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.