FanDuel Studs to Target in Week 2
For new players at FanDuel this past weekend, kickoff week was likely very frustrating, with top names like Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson putting up disappointing efforts, and sleepers like Tyler Eifert and Dion Lewis straight balling out.
With such a volatile Week 1, it's important to point out that normalcy will return, and that a bad Week 1 does not beget a bad Week 2. It's not exactly a stretch to say that it will probably be a while until we see another week when tight ends receive more touchdowns than wide receivers across the NFL.
Good players will continue to be good players, and it's important not to chase (or forgo) points based on one strong or weak performance, especially after Week 1. The best we can do is maximize the number of favorable conditions facing the players we roster.
With that said, here are some of the studs to consider rostering on FanDuel in Week 2 based on favorable conditions.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
FanDuel Price: $8,800
numberFire Projected Points: 14.79 points
Aside from being a certified freak of nature, Julio Jones actually has a few factors working in his favor making him an excellent play on FanDuel this week.
Vegas lines have this game pegged as the second highest over/under of the week at 50.5 points. With a 2.5 point spread in favor of the Giants, the Falcons are expected to put up around 24 points, which would typically add up to three touchdowns and a field goal.
After watching Jones run roughshod all over the Eagles on Monday night while accruing 31% of his team’s target share, it’s clear that he has a great chance to hit pay dirt again in Week 2.
He also gets to square up against a team that ranked as the 11th worst passing defense in 2014 in terms of Adjusted Passing Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP) per play last season. For the unfamiliar, NEP quantifies team performance in terms of points above or below expectation according to down-and-distance data. Check out our glossary to learn more about NEP.
While Jones is currently dealing with some hamstring soreness, there's been nothing to indicate that his status is in danger for Sunday. So while you may want to keep an eye on the injury report for peace of mind, the situation he faces is very favorable in going up against a middling defense in a game expected to be high-scoring. Roster him with confidence.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
FanDuel Price: $7,000
numberFire Projected Points: 12.51 points
I love getting the opportunity to roster a player who saw action on Monday Night Football the week before. Why? Because their price rarely fluctuates with any significance the following week due to new prices coming out before the Monday Night Football game even occurs.
This is especially good when something you suspected in the offseason comes to fruition, like Jordan Matthews being the resident target monster in Chip Kelly’s offense.
Despite converting 10-of-13 targets for 102 yards and having the referees rob him of his first touchdown of the season, Matthews’ price remains a very affordable $7,000, reflecting only a $200 jump from last week.
Moreover, this week he gets to play at home against the division rival Cowboys in a game with a projected over/under of 55 with a 4-point spread in the Eagles’ favor. In other words, Vegas thinks the Eagles will put up about 30 points on Sunday.
With what seems like a high floor of opportunity in a high scoring game, Matthews should be a safe option for rostering in cash games in Week 2. He might even be able to make up for the touchdown that wasn’t on Monday night.
Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens
FanDuel Price: $7,800
numberFire Projected Points: 12.69 points
One of the hardest things for casual daily fantasy players to avoid, particularly near the beginning of the season, is the tendency to develop recency bias in their rostering decisions. This can work in your favor particularly in tournaments when a player is coming off of a bad game.
Such is the case for Justin Forsett. Forsett’s matchup this week is scrumptious to say the least. With a low-scoring game predicted (42 over/under), and Baltimore nursing a 6-point spread in their favor, it’s reasonable to expect the Ravens will spend a lot of time trying to burn some clock in the second half. That smells like high potential to benefit Forsett.
Much of his struggles last week dealt with the fact that he was going against the stout Broncos’ run defense,ranked as 10th best in the league according to Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per rush in 2014. The Raiders ranked 14th, but got off to a bad start in Week 1, surrendering two touchdown scampers to Jeremy Hill and over 120 yards collectively between Hill and his counterpart Giovani Bernard.
With much softer competition and a Vegas line indicating a favorable game script, Forsett should be a safe bet for cash games, and has a chance to pop off in tournament lineups as well.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
FanDuel Price: $8,500
numberFire Projected Points: 17.8
We project Marshawn Lynch to be the highest scoring running back on FanDuel this week, so it should be worth it to fork up the $8,500 to acquire his services. A number for conditions work in Lynch’s favor this week. First, the over/under of 48, while not gaudy, is still fourth highest projected game total according to Vegas lines.
While Green Bay is the favorite, the spread is only three points, so they’re not predicting a blowout, meaning Seattle’s consistent focus on the run should remain intact. Lynch has had success against the Packers since becoming a Seahawk as well. In three games since 2012, he’s torched the Packers for an average of 122 yards per game to go with 3 touchdowns.
And the Packers run defense, albeit after one game, showed continued signs of weakness carrying over from last season when they finished 11th worst in the league with a 0.02 Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per rush. This resulted in Matt Forte accruing 166 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown to go with it.
While Forte’s numbers might be a bit optimistic for Lynch in Week 2, the conditions are ripe for a good game from Lynch. Roster him whenever you can afford to.
Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
FanDuel Price: $6000
numberFire Projected Points: 9.68 points
Rostering Jason Witten this week is smart if only for the simple fact that nearly 30% of the teams total target share from 2014 in Dez Bryant will be missing in action for quite some time. While this should give Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley more opportunities to make plays, it’d make sense for Witten, who sports a 71% career catch rate, to receive a reliable uptick in targets as well.
A favorable game script also lends it hand to Witten as a good cash game play. With a predicted high scoring game in which the Cowboys are projected to be four-point underdogs in Philadelphia, there's a good chance the Cowboys will be down in the fourth quarter, necessitating an offensive tilt toward the pass.
I know rostering Witten is about as exciting as signing up for a new checking account, but you could do a lot worse than having your tight end come from the game sporting the highest over/under of the week. He will likely see higher ownership than normal in tournaments given Bryant’s injury, but in cash games where you only have to beat 50% of the crowd, rostering Witten should pay off.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears
FanDuel Price: $6,100
numberFire Projected Points: 9.05 points
Martellus Bennett almost let fantasy owners down last week until he secured a garbage time touchdown pass from Jay Cutler in the fourth quarter. But I’m going back to the well this week because the stout Cardinals defense has been woefully inadequate against tight ends the past three seasons, finishing as the 15th, 20th and 27th best defense against the position from 2012 to 2014 respectively according to Football Outsiders.
The Cardinals did a good job stopping the run last week but got gashed by Mark Ingram in the passing game. Guess who’s never been good in the passing game in their career? Mark Ingram. Guess who’s been a certified stud in the passing game for their whole career? Matt Forte.
Cardinals’ safety Tyrann Mathieu already alluded to the Cardinals needing to keep Forte's screen game in check in order to notch a win. With additional attention diverted Forte's way in the passing game, this could open up some holes up the middle of the field for Bennett to exploit and get his.
With Mathieu and star corner Patrick Peterson likely to be focused on stopping Alshon Jeffery, and the defense as a whole likely to be keying in on Forte, Cutler’s targets have to go somewhere, and Bennett’s a good bet to be the recipient.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
FanDuel Price: $8,900
numberFire Projected Points: 22.19 points
Drew Brees got off to a pedestrian start in Week 1, but it’s critical to remember that he was facing the Arizona Cardinals, who sported the 11th best pass defense in 2014 in terms of Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per pass. His opponent this week? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers , who were the second worst passing defense by that same metric.
The Bucs also finished as the fourth best defense in terms of Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per rush in 2014. So even though Bishop Sankey ran well against them in Week 1, it’s not unreasonable to think that Jameis Winston’s inability to keep the offense on the field tired the defense out.
All of which is to say that unless Winston is as bad as he was against the Titans in Week 1, it’d make more sense for Brees and the Saints to engineer offensive production via the pass.
Vegas projects the Saints as 10.5-point favorites with the third highest over/under of the week, and Brees at home against an awful passing defense with a 30-point team projection screams for him having a big day. Take the safety of Brees in your cash games or stack him with Brandin Cooks in your tournaments for upside.