Daily Fantasy Football Bargains, Best Buys and Busts: Week 2
Week 1 of the NFL season has come and gone, and you're still stuck with that frustrating season-long team with players you picked a month ago.
But if you play daily fantasy football, you have a fresh start this weekend, with the ability to pick new lineups, exploit new matchups, and hopefully win a few bucks along the way.
So with that in mind, let's take a look at some of the best and worst picks in daily fantasy football this week by offering you 10 players to either target or avoid when building your teams for this Sunday and Monday.
These players will be broken up into three categories. The first - Great Values - are pretty obvious. They're undervalued players who will allow you to spend more elsewhere. The next is Worth the Cost, which includes players who are more than worth a large chunk of your budget. The final category is Not worth it, which includes high-cost players who aren't worth their price tag, and shouldn't be in most of your lineups this week.
Keep in mind that these players may or may not be used in our weekly optimal lineups. To see who the algorithms are selecting on the week, check out our optimal lineup section, and don't forget to use our custom optimal lineup tool.
Shonn Greene, RB, Tennessee Titans - Shonn Greene and the Titans face the Dallas Cowboys this weekend, who had the seventh-worst rush defense a year ago according to our Adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) data. They were an easy target for fantasy football owners then, and they're still a strong option to play your fake footballers against this year, too.
Vegas agrees, as this game is seen as the third-highest scoring of the week according to their over/unders. And with Greene the clear red-zone back for the Titans (he saw five of the six red-zone carries for the Titans in Week 1), and considering his role as the clear-cut number one, he's far too cheap to not roster this week.
How cheap? He's $3,300 on DraftKings (just $300 over minimum), and $5,000 on FanDuel, which is still well below most top options who aren't even as likely to score as Greene.
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans - Remember that high-scoring Titans-Cowboys game I just mentioned? Running backs won't be the only ones finding the end zone, and after watching Colin Kaepernick dismantle the Dallas pass defense in Week 1, there's obvious room for optimism about the Tennessee air attack in Week 2.
That means a cheap wideout with great size and athleticism is a no brainer, and that's what Justin Hunter provides for the Titans. He's got a size advantage on every defensive back he lines up against, and is poised for a breakout this season as Jake Locker (hopefully) settles into the starting spot after his injury last year.
Hunter is only $5,700 on FanDuel, and an even cheaper $4,300 on DraftKings, so you can afford to pick up a big name or two if you opt for the upside of the Titans' young wideout.
Jason Witten and Jordan Cameron, TE, Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns - This is a site-specific play for this week, as both Witten and Cameron are listed at $3,800 on DraftKings, which is criminally low for this duo of pass catchers.
Jordan Cameron was the third-best tight end according to our Reception NEP metric last year, and faces the Saints in Week 2, who had the second-worst pass defense in Week 1. He will be the focal point of the Browns' attack if he's healthy, so plug him into your lineups and let him go to work if he's active and starting for the Browns.
If he's not active this weekend (he's struggling with an injury), you can swap him out for Jason Witten, who will take part in that same high-scoring Titans-Cowboys game I keep bringing up. He's one of Tony Romo's favorite targets, and in DraftKings' full-point PPR scoring, that's a good thing.
Worth the Cost
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals - The Falcons had the worst pass defense in the NFL last year, and started off this season with the eighth-worst performance against the pass in Week 1. The Bengals get the privilege of facing Atlanta this week, which means A.J. Green has both a high floor and a high ceiling.
The Bengals' leading receiver was the second in Reception NEP among wideouts in Week 1, and was fourth-best last year. He's one of the most heavily targeted receivers in the NFL, and will get plenty of chances to perform as the Bengals face off against the Falcons in what could be a surprisingly high-scoring game.
He's one of the most expensive receivers this week, pricing out at over $8,000 on both DraftKings and FanDuel. But he's more than worth it, especially if you save a few bucks by picking up one or more of the players in the section above to save some salary space.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans - Among backs with 15 or more carries, none had a worse performance in Week 1 overall or on a per-carry basis than Arian Foster. According to our data, the Texans' leading rusher was well below expectation, but that's not a reason to bury him moving forward.
The Texans were playing with a lead against Washington, and used Foster to help wear out their opponent and run down the clock. He wasn't put in a position to succeed from an efficiency standpoint, but was in a great spot to earn volume-based fantasy points.
That should happen again in Week 2, as the Texans face the Raiders. Foster's team is likely to win again, giving him another opportunity to run out the clock and get plenty of carries. If he finds the end zone even once, combined with his overall yards gained over the course of the game, he'll return his value in all daily fantasy formats.
The Raiders were below average against the run last year and in Week 1, so expect a high floor from Foster.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos - Wide receiver pricing is down on DraftKings this week, and no player is a better value than Demaryius Thomas, our third-best receiver from a year ago who remains the top option in Peyton Manning's Denver offense.
At only $7,000 this week on DraftKings, you can have an elite wide receiver who was targeted four times in the red zone in Week 1, and who is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. Furthermore, you get that player against a Kansas City defense that ranked in the bottom six in Week 1 against the Titans.
Thomas is worth his price on FanDuel and any other daily fantasy site, but especially on DraftKings, where his price is deflated and easily fit into any sort of lineup.
Not Worth It
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints - The New Orleans Saints are one of the best passing offenses in the NFL, and Drew Brees is almost always a great pick in fantasy football, whether year-long or daily.
But this week on the road against Cleveland, the Saints are not in their comfort zone, as they simply don't perform as well outside of the Superdome. Drew Brees has played 93 home games and 94 road games in his career, and in those road games, he has 58 fewer touchdowns.
Add in a decently tough matchup with Joe Haden and the Browns, and consider the other options at quarterback (including a Peyton Manning against the weak Kansas City defense in a division rivalry game), and it would either be a super contrarian play to roster Brees this week, or just a waste of salary cap space.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons - The Bengals are on the schedule for the Falcons this week, which means Julio Jones will see a lot of Leon Hall, and Matt Ryan will see a lot of the pass rushers for the Bengals.
That means Jones, like Brees, is either a contrarian play or a bust, and with other options at reduced prices this week, I'll not be taking my chances on the Atlanta receiver. I would rather pay up for A.J. Green on the other side of this game, or save a few bucks and grab Demaryius Thomas on DraftKings.
Seattle Seahawks Defense and Special Teams - After watching the Seahawks dominate on defense in Week 1, you might be tempted to roll them out this week if you've saved money elsewhere in your lineups. But a matchup against the Chargers isn't the place to look for high upside in terms of turnovers or sacks.
San Diego plays at a slow pace, runs the ball quite a bit, and doesn't take a lot of chances. They finished with only 11 interceptions thrown last year, fumbled only 14 times, and allowed only 30 sacks. All of these totals were among the lowest in the NFL.
And with the Houston Texans facing the Raiders, and the Arizona Cardinals facing the Giants, there are better matchups to be had for cheaper, and that present higher upside for daily fantasy players, who need big plays from their defenses, not just limiting scoring and yardage.