7 Daily Fantasy Football Tournament Plays for Week 2
Week 1 is a difficult time to project daily fantasy players - so much has changed that it becomes largely a guessing game. But as Week 2 approaches, we have more relevant matchup and usage data to draw off of when setting our lineups. And that's only going to get deeper and better as the season moves forward.
Let's take a look at some daily fantasy football tournament picks for Week 2. If you want to see who our algorithms like this week, check out our optimal lineups. And while you're doing that, make sure you're using our custom optimal lineup tool as well.
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals - Palmer is coming off of an excellent Week 1 in which his 300 yards and 2 touchdowns were good enough to place him among the top five in quarterback scoring. He finds himself in an even more favorable position in Week 2, playing against the New York Giants, who's Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play of 0.73 puts them dead last in the league. That, of course, coming after Matthew Stafford's big Monday night performance.
On top of his very favorable matchup, Palmer looks to have the potential to put up big touchdown numbers, as the Cardinals appeared committed to throwing the ball while in the red zone in Week 1, calling six pass plays to one run play. Palmer's price tag puts him 12th among quarterbacks, a bargain for a quarterback who finished at the top of the pack last week.
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints - Ingram made a case for himself as the best pure rusher in the Saints crowded backfield last week, leading the team with 13 carries for 60 yards, as well as converting both of his goal-line rushes into touchdowns. This success was good for third in the league in Rushing NEP per carry (minimum 10).
Admittedly, the Saints backfield still appears hard to predict, and there are three talented backs fighting for touches. This has driven Ingram's price low enough that he's hard to pass up, especially when it appears there will be plenty of touchdowns to go around (the Saints ran the ball five times on the goal line, versus only one pass last week). The uncertainty may also keep other players away from Ingram, giving you a big edge in tournaments if he has another big week.
Shane Vereen, New England Patriots - The Patriots backfield shaped up interestingly in Week 1 against the Dolphins. Shane Vereen, thought to be a change-of-pace and pass-catching back, saw only one fewer carry than Stevan Ridley.
More surprising, however, is that Vereen was the only back to see goal-line work, carrying the ball twice inside the 5-yard line. Vereen also saw much more success on the ground than Ridley, with a Rushing NEP of 3.52 to Ridley's -1.37. An increase in carries as well as seeing goal-line work gives Vereen the potential to break out into elite fantasy territory, especially when combined with the fact that he was as active in the passing game as ever, finishing third on the team with 8 targets in Week 1. Vereen's cost has him tied for 13th in running back price on DraftKings, and with his high floor coming from a steady flow of targets in the pass game and DraftKings' point-per-reception (PPR) scoring, he's a solid value play.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos - The Broncos are projected by Vegas oddsmakers to be the highest-scoring team in the league this week, favored by 12 points over the Chiefs with an over/under at 51. Thomas' price has fallen drastically - he's $1,100 cheaper than he was last week following a shaky fantasy performance in Week 1.
Looking more closely at his numbers, there's little reason for concern in his performance last week, and he's as poised for a big week as ever. Thomas led the Broncos last week with four targets in the red zone, which accounted for 50% of the Broncos red zone pass attempts. He only managed to bring one in, but with a red zone catch rate of 64.8% in 2013 and 66.7% in 2012, it's hard to attribute that low catch rate to anything more than variance.
Again, despite his seemingly low four receptions, his total numbers were hardly discouraging. His 11 targets were good for first on the team, and accounted for 30% of all of Manning's passes. Thomas' discount this week is far too steep to ignore, and he has a legitimate shot at finishing as the top fantasy wide receiver this week. Though he'll be highly owned, you should still look for him in tournaments.
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans - The Texans have an incredibly favorable matchup for their passing attack this week, matching up against a Raiders defense that allowed Geno Smith to complete 82% of his passes. Anytime the Texans passing attack thrives, Andre Johnson stands to benefit as much or more than anyone else. Johnson was targeted on 41% of Ryan Fitzpatrick's attempts last week, a number that you love to see in PPR formats. Johnson is also likely to match up frequently with Carlos Rodgers, and per ProFootballFocus.com, the Raiders number-one corner was thrown at eight times in Week 1, allowing completions on all eight attempts.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans - The Cowboys defense had a bad showing covering tight ends last week, giving up two touchdowns to Vernon Davis. With the news that linebacker Justin Durant will miss three to four weeks, the Cowboys linebacking group is more ill-prepared than ever to stop tight ends. Walker's usage last week was promising for his touchdown potential as well. He was the only Titan to record multiple red zone targets, and he scored a touchdown on the only snap the Titans ran from inside the 5-yard line last week. With an incredibly favorable matchup and heavy red zone usage, Walker's reasonable price tag is hard to pass up.
Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars' defense surprised everyone last week, holding the Eagles to an unimpressive first half, and finishing the game with 10 fantasy points. They're matched up this week against a Redskins offense that gave up a league-worst 24 fantasy points to the Texans defense last week. The Jags' defense also finished in the top half of the league (13th) in terms of Adjusted Defensive NEP per play last week. Despite their success and favorable matchup, they cost next to nothing on DraftKings, tied for the second lowest salary among defenses this week. With a reasonably high upside, a defense with a price tag this low presents an incredible amount of value.