DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 2
Despite much uncertainty heading into Week 1 without a preseason, the quality of football mostly lived up to expectations, and there weren't too many surprises. As a result, we don't really need to adjust our expectations for players heading into Week 2 as much as many of us thought we might given all the changes around the sport in this COVID-19 world.
In this DFS preview, I'll focus on the Sunday main slate and group players into two categories based on their DraftKing's salaries: players to build around and value plays.
Players to build around are those with high salaries but even higher production ceilings, making them worth prioritizing in your lineup. Value plays are guys with lower salaries and typically come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the more expensive salaries on the slate.
All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Players to Build Around
QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens ($8,200) vs. HOU
Lamar Jackson's salary has risen to a level where we probably can't justify rostering him every week, as was the case last year. But the Houston Texans' defense is a matchup worth exploiting even at Jackson's cap hit. Since the start of last season, including the playoffs, opposing starting quarterbacks have put up 20 or more fantasy points against Houston in 13 of 19 games -- including a 32.8-point output from Jackson last November.
QB Deshaun Watson, Texans ($6,400) vs. BAL
The Ravens' defense has allowed just one quarterback to top 20 fantasy points dating back to the start of 2019 (Patrick Mahomes), so there's a limited ceiling for Deshaun Watson in this matchup. That said, his salary is discounted enough to still justify rostering him, as he only carries the eighth-highest cap hit among quarterbacks on this slate. With the Ravens favored by 7.5 points, Watson will likely find himself forced to air it out in the second half, increasing his chances of putting up a solid score. Of course, it's worth noting Baltimore held Watson to just six fantasy points in last year's matchup, but that performance stands out as an extreme outlier on Watson's resume.
RB Aaron Jones, Packers ($7,100) vs. DET
When playing with a second half lead, Aaron Jones had a 32 percent usage rate last season -- a trend that a held up in Week 1, as he had 10 touches on the Green Bay Packers' 33 second-half plays. With Green Bay heavily favored against the Detroit Lions, the game script should play in Jones' favor once again. Detroit ranked 21st in rushing defense a season ago and allowed 149 yards on the ground to the Chicago Bears in Week 1.
WR Julio Jones, Falcons ($7,400) vs. DAL
The Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons matchup features the highest total of the week at 52.5 points, so all of the receivers in this game are worth considering. Julio Jones stands out as an obvious target based on his likely matchup with Cowboys rookie Trevon Diggs. According to Sports Info Solutions, Diggs allowed 3 receptions on 4 targets for 63 yards in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams.
WR Amari Cooper, Cowboys ($6,300) vs. ATL
Amari Cooper generated 18.1 fantasy points for Dallas in Week 1 despite primarily matching up with Jalen Ramsey in coverage. This week he draws a considerably more favorable matchup against Falcons rookie A.J. Terrell. According to Pro Football Reference, Terrell allowed 5 receptions on 5 targets in coverage for 70 yards and a score in his NFL debut against the Seattle Seahawks.
QB Tyrod Taylor, Chargers ($5,300) vs. KC
Rostering a quarterback facing the Kansas City Chiefs is rarely a bad idea considering the likelihood he will be playing from behind and racking up second-half stats against their mediocre secondary. Since the start of 2019, the Chiefs have allowed at least 17 fantasy points to the opposing starting quarterback in 11 of 20 games -- including Philip Rivers's 19.1 and 17.7 outputs for the Los Angeles Chargers last season. Taylor was unimpressive in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals, generating just nine fantasy points, but he's historically been a fairly reliable fantasy option. Taylor has posted at least 15 fantasy points in 66 percent of his career starts. At this cheap cap hit, anything above that 15-point threshold would be satisfactory based on your ability to fill out the rest of your lineup stars with more upside.
RB J.K Dobbins, Ravens ($5,100) vs. HOU
Ravens running backs will carry some risk all season due to the depth in the backfield, but J.K. Dobbins led the group in snaps in Week 1 while reaching the end zone twice against the Cleveland Browns. The high snap count for Dobbins wasn't entirely due to Baltimore's blowout win, either, as he also led the backfield in first-half snaps. If the coaching staff already trusts him to lead the way in a key division game in Week 1, it stands to reason his workload should only increase from here on out. Baltimore has the highest implied total of the week at 29.5 points, so Dobbins looks like a good option again on this cheap salary.
RB Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers ($4,800) vs. CAR
It will take a leap of faith to trust Leonard Fournette after he picked up just five yards on five carries against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, however, the game script could alter his role in Week 2 against the Carolina Panthers. With Tampa trailing for most of the final three quarters, Ronald Jones and LeSean McCoy -- the better receivers in the Bucs' backfield -- justifiably saw the most playing time. According to Chris Towers of CBS Sports, McCoy and Jones combined to run 34 routes (20 in the second half) compared to just four by Fournette. As 9.5-point favorites against the Panthers, however, Fournette may emerge as the better option to bleed the clock with a second-half lead. With an extremely cheap cap hit, Fournette looks like an ideal tournament dart throw.
WR Anthony Miller, Bears ($5,200) vs. NYG
In 2019, the New York Giants allowed 10.0 yards per target to slot receivers, the worst rate in the league according to Sports Info Solutions. Those issues continued on Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, as Ben Roethlisberger completed 9 of 11 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown when targeting the slot. Anthony Miller saw six targets in the Chicago Bears' season opener, all six coming while lined up in the slot, making him the most likely candidate to benefit from the Giants' inept pass defense on Sunday.
WR Laviska Shenault, Jaguars ($4,200) vs. TEN
Laviska Shenault was on last week's values list and cashed in with a solid 13.7 fantasy points. Despite the strong debut and being on the field for 62 percent of the Jacksonville Jaguars snaps, his salary has somehow dropped $200 this week against the Titans. Shenault finished second on the team with four targets and also added two carries in the run game in last week's win over the Indianapolis Colts. Tennessee presents a tougher challenge on defense, but if Jacksonville is trailing, it could actually benefit Shenault, who could see an increased target volume. As I mentioned last week, in college, Shenault averaged 7.6 yards after the catch and 3.7 yards after contact in the run game, according to Sports Info Solutions. His versatile skill set gives him a nice ceiling every week.
WR Breshad Perriman, Jets ($3,700) vs. SF
The Arizona Cardinals picked on 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley in Week 1, and the New York Jets would be wise to take a similar approach. According to Pro Football Reference, Moseley finished with 10 receptions allowed on 15 targets. Breshad Perriman didn't get much going against the Buffalo Bills (17 yards on 3 receptions and 5 targets), but Mosely presents a far more favorable matchup than Tre'Davious White. This matchup could potentially benefit Chris Hogan ($3,200), as well, but Perriman is the more proven fantasy weapon with big-play potential.
TE Logan Thomas, Football Team ($3,600) vs. ARI
The Arizona Cardinals' struggles defending tight ends was well documented last season, as they allowed a league-worst 19.6 fantasy points per game to the position. In Week 1, an injury limited George Kittle's performance against Arizona, but he and Jordan Reed still combined for 12.5 fantasy points. This week, Logan Thomas appears set to be the beneficiary of Arizona's defensive woes. Thomas led the Washington Football Team with a 26.7 percent target share in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. 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.