Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 2
Welcome to the weekly Yahoo NFL DFS Primer! This will be a weekly piece where I analyze high-dollar and value plays at each position across Yahoo’s NFL main slate. The focus will be on both tournament and cash game options as we try to unlock slate-breaking upside in Yahoo's unique DFS game.
The theme of Week 2 over on Yahoo, is hyper-inflation. Hyper-inflation in DFS, boys and girls, is when a site wildly overreacts to either one week's performance or upcoming match-up and prices players well above (or below) their previous week's price, when such a reach is not necessary.
In Week 2, six quarterbacks on the main slate got at least a 10% price increase on Yahoo thanks to their Week 1 performance: Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Kirk Cousins, Cam Newton, and Dwayne Haskins.
Scouring the wide receivers (Adam Thielen is 32% more expensive) and running backs (Clyde Edwards-Helaire is 50%!! more expensive), we see similar trends in those positions and must practice restraint to not just jam in all of the great plays from Week 1, leaving us short on funds elsewhere in our roster. I prefer to look for players who didn't see much price movement or who saw a price drop but who have the talent, usage, or game context to overcome their upcoming match-up.
For example, Patrick Mahomes ($39) got a price decrease. Do we think Mahomes can't perform well in a match-up against the Los Angeles Chargers? Of course not. Calvin Ridley's price ($22) dropped by $3 for his match-up against the Dallas Cowboys, after torching the Seattle Seahawks. You don't need me to tell you what to do.
On to the best plays for Week 2.
Dak Prescott ($36) - After a mediocre showing in what was projected to be a shootout against the Los Angeles Rams, Prescott gets to turn right around and play in the nuts match-up against the generous Atlanta Falcons' defense.
There has been plenty of digital ink spilled about how good Russell Wilson was on Sunday, but for Prescott's prognosis, how bad were the Falcons? In a word: abysmal. Atlanta's two primary corners ranked 80th and 88th among all cornerbacks in Week 1, according to Pro Football Focus. The routinely blew coverages and allowed yards of separation between them and the Seattle receivers, including on the long touchdown bomb to D.K. Metcalf.
Even with Blake Jarwin out for the year, Prescott has a full stable of offensive weapons ready to torch the over-matched Atlanta defense. The Cowboys are projected to score 28.5 points on Sunday, and if they hit the over, I don't think it will be a surprise to anyone.
Mitchell Trubisky ($22) - It was a tale of two halves for Trubisky on Sunday, as we got Jekyll Trubisky in the second half, while having to stomach Hyde Trubisky for the first two quarters. You don't need any more 19th-century British literature references to know that it was an uneven performance by the Bears' quarterback, but one that ultimately, somehow ended in a win.
Against the New York Giants this week, Trubisky at least has the opportunity to provide a more consistent performance. If you saw how Ben Roethlisberger carved up the New York Giants' secondary on Monday, you understand that is a defense that is in trouble. If the issues with their top receiver can get worked out this week (more on that below), Trubisky provides the floor with his arm and his legs that you want in an almost min-priced quarterback.
Austin Ekeler ($29) - I want to encourage all those with Ekeler on their fantasy or DFS rosters to take a step back from the ledge. Yes, we clearly want to see more than one target for Ekeler going forward, but he was never going to get the level of passing work he received with Philip Rivers at quarterback.
Ekeler still ran 23 routes on Sunday (top 10 among running backs) and ran a route on 62% of Tyrod Taylor's dropbacks. His 23 routes were more than double the amount that Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley ran combined. So, Ekeler's role in the passing game is secure. He just wasn't targeted enough against a tough Cincinnati Bengals front seven.
We must be encouraged by the 19 carries from Ekeler in Week 1, which were the most of his career. If he can accumulate this level of offensive involvement and opportunity all season, he should have no problem paying off his price tags. We just saw a player with a similar profile (David Johnson) torch the Kansas City Chiefs last week, and in a game where the Chargers are large underdogs, Ekeler's role in the passing game should shoot back up.
Jonathan Taylor ($19) - Of course, we never want success for one player to come at the expense of the health of another, but Taylor has been gifted an amazing opportunity with Marlon Mack out for the year with an Achilles injury.
The Indianapolis Colts' offensive line ranks as the best in the league with all five linemen coming in as top 10 options at their position. The presence of Nyheim Hines will be a nuisance all season, but considering the Colts threw to their running backs an astounding 17 times on Sunday, there seems to be enough usage in that part of the game plan for both Taylor and Hines to be effective.
Against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Taylor gets to face a soft Vikings' defense that just allowed 158 rushing yards to the Packers, plus 11 targets to running backs.
Allen Robinson ($27) - As Teddy KGB once said; "Pay that man his money."
Robinson, unhappy with his contract situation and stalled talks of an extension, continues to put up massive stat lines whether its Trubisky, Blake Bortles, or Nick Foles passing him the ball. In Week 2, assuming he hasn't forced himself out of Chicago by then, Robinson has an excellent opportunity to showcase to the Bears and every other NFL team just what kind of receiver he still is.
The Giants looked lost defensively in Week 1 and ranked seventh-worst in the league in adjusted passing net expected points (NEP) allowed per play. The Giants allowed 0.40 expected points for each pass the Pittsburgh Steelers threw on Monday night. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson were able to torch them for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns on 16 targets.
If accurate Jekyll Trubisky shows up on Sunday, A-Rob should be able to feast.
After both receivers played at least 94% of Seattle's offensive snaps, both received eight targets, and both ranked in the top 25 among all receivers for NEP per target (minimum of six targets). Neither Lockett nor Metcalf saw their price increase, even one dollar, after Sunday's offensive explosion.
If the Seattle passing trend from Week 1 continues, the sheer volume for the receivers in their narrow passing tree should be able to overcome any perceived tough match-up against Stephon Gilmore and the New England Patriots.
Logan Thomas ($13) - Thomas may have been one of those players who received a huge price spike relative to his Week 1 price ($10), but for how the Washington Football Team plans to use Thomas in their offense, he is far too cheap. The new featured tight end for Washington played 52 of a possible 70 snaps (74%) and ran routes on 31 of 36 passing dropbacks. He will look to fill the pass-catching tight end role held by Jordan Reed for so many years.
Thomas ranked second among all tight ends in Week 1 with eight targets. Even though he was only able to haul in 4 of those targets, he finished with 37 receiving yards and 1 touchdown, coming in fifth among all tight ends in Yahoo DFS scoring. In Week 2, Thomas gets the Arizona Cardinals, who allowed the most points to tight ends in all of 2019.