Week 1 was a little wild but also a little predictable, leaving us with some big hits and unfortunately, a few misses. Gronk, our choice for a “high dollar pick” for TE showed up and finished first among all tight ends. The Baltimore defense was incredible, as would anyone against the Bills. On the other side of the spectrum, the Saints defense was absolutely awful and didn’t end up providing the value we expected.
Dion Lewis was indeed a bargain, finishing with a strong 22 DFS points. The Browns, who were our “Bargain Defense Pick” of the week, finished fifth. The selection of Leonard Fournette was off to a great start prior to the early first-half injury while Philip Rivers to Keenan Allen was everything we expected it would be. Chris Hogan didn’t show up at all and turned out to be no bargain.
To top all that off, two of our three tight end picks were injured. Obviously, injuries can be quite difficult to predict so I’ll try to upgrade my crystal ball subscription going forward.
With some strong plays and lessons learned during Week 1, let’s take a look at week two.
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A look ahead to Week 2
Aaron Rodgers worked the entire second half out of the shotgun in last week’s win versus the Bears. It’s highly likely Rodgers will be in the shotgun for most of this game to limit his risk and cut the corners with unnecessary drop backs in the pocket. Limited mobility versus the Vikings is not a very ideal scenario. I’m avoiding Rodgers this week. DFS success is built on slam dunk matchups and value sleepers. As always, the prices from FanDuel and DraftKings are listed next to every player in parentheses.
Without further adieu, here are my picks for week two.
Philip Rivers (DK-$6,700/FD-$7,400)
Rivers is facing a Bills team who was just torched by Joe Flacco. This, among the top quarterback prices this week, is easily the best matchup. There’s also the Chargers bottom-ranked rushing defense, which will be susceptible to getting torched by LeSean McCoy, assuming the Bills line can give him a few holes. This bodes well for the Bills to at least keep things close enough to keep Rivers passing throughout most of the game.
Watson wasn’t great last week. He struggled from the onset and never seemed to get it together. This week, Watson faces a Titans passing defense who was awful last season and even worse last week, when they allowed Kenny Stills to finish as a top-five receiver. The Titans rush defense is their strength, so expect Watson to be attacking the Titans through the air and making the occasional plays with his feet. Stacking Hopkins with Watson would be a wise move this week.
Jimmy Garoppolo (DK-$6,000/FD-$7,300)
DraftKings has Jimmy Garoppolo priced a lot less than FanDuel. For now, get in on it while you can because Garoppolo is priced nearly the same as Watson and Rivers on DraftKings. He faces a pass defense in the Lions who surrendered a lot of points through the air versus the youngest quarterback to ever start an NFL game. Also, the game was at home. The Lions offense will surely rebound. This has all the makings of a low-tier shootout. Expect the 49ers, without a solid rushing attack, to go about carving up the Lions through short and intermediate passes. Get him while he’s still cheap.
Gurley faces an Arizona team who was eaten alive by the zombie corpse of Adrian Peterson last week. Expect the Rams to take control of this game early and feed Gurley a heavy dose of carries and receptions. This is as close to a slam dunk start as you’ll ever get.
James Conner (DK-$6,700/FD-$7,000)
Conner had a great game last week in a relatively difficult matchup for most running backs, racking up 192 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. The Chiefs have been decimated on defense. Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler torched the Chiefs for 49 fantasy points combined, in a game the Chargers trailed throughout. With no real competition for work, Conner has a clear path for success in this matchup.
LeSean McCoy (DK-$5,700/FD-$6,800)
McCoy had a bad Week 1. It’s no secret that offensive line needs work, but he’s going for dirt cheap this week against a putrid rushing defense in the Chargers. If you spent your budget elsewhere and need a longshot at running back, this is the only guy not splitting carries anywhere close to this price. With a favorable matchup — if the Bills manage to keep it close — McCoy should get plenty of work. For the price, there is no better talent.
Hopkins makes the list this week again. It’s a perfect opportunity to stack as the matchup with the Titans is very ideal for both Watson and Hopkins. A decent rush defense should keep Watson on the hunt for his favorite target in week two. Stack if you’ve got them.
The second-year receiver followed up his solid rookie campaign with a 100-yard performance in a rain-soaked Week 1. Now, JuJu faces the weak Chiefs secondary in their home opener. Big Ben is infamous for his favorable home performances, so following a disappointing Week 1 tie, expect the Steelers to come out with fire in week two.
Kenny Golladay (DK-$4,800/FD-$5,700)
Golladay was a target hog in Week 1. As long as Golden Tate and Marvin Jones continue to take the top off opposing defenses, Golladay will get action. For the price, there isn’t a better option at receiver this week. This matchup of weak rushing offenses has all the makings of an air battle. With that comes an endless supply of clock stoppages. There will be plenty of targets to go around this week and Golladay should be able to build on his solid Week 1 performance.
Zach Ertz (DK-$6,100/FD-$6,500)
The tight end position is a little shaky this week. On the one hand, you can pay for Gronk and reap the benefits of his continual success. On the other hand, it’s DFS and we need options. Zach Ertz had plenty of targets in Week 1. He simply didn’t come up with critical catches when he had the chances. Luckily for Zach, the receiving corp in Philly is banged up and Ertz will continue to pace this team in targets as long as Nick Foles is around. Tampa shocked the league last week by defeating a talented Saints team on the road. The Eagles and their defense should keep this game from turning into a track meet. Expect Ertz to get some good looks in this one.
Kittle had nine targets in Week 1. Despite the deep touchdown Kittle dropped, he still finished with five catches for 90 yards. That’s a great sign, especially against a very formidable Vikings defense. Kittle will get a lot of attention from Garoppolo in this one. It’s going to be a great chance for a cheap stacking play alongside Garoppolo on DraftKings, allowing you to load up on a big running back and receiver. Enjoy this game and its 75 pass attempts.
Jared Cook (DK-$3,600/FD-$5,000)
Cook was the Week 1 beneficiary of a gameplan centered around him. John Gruden’s new-look offense opened up the middle of the field for Cook, allowing him 180 yards receiving. Luckily for Cook, the Broncos were just torched by a rookie tight end no one has ever heard of. With a plethora of talented defensive backs, like the Rams, the Broncos will be an ideal matchup for Cook. If you need a cheap player with a high ceiling this week at tight end, look no further.
Rams D (DK-$3,700/FD-$4,800)
This isn’t the week to go cheap at defense. The Rams have the outright best matchup in football this week. This same Cardinals team was embarrassed at home against the Redskins last week. It’s possible Sam Bradford might just fake an injury to get yanked out of this one. With a bad offensive line and a quarterback made of tempered glass, this is lining up well for a third-quarter Josh Rosen appearance at quarterback. Enjoy the fireworks.
Texans D (DK-$2,400/FD-$4,500)
If you’re using FanDuel this week, you should probably go with the Rams and get your popcorn ready, since the difference in price between Houston and the Rams is only $300. If you are on DraftKings, there is a cheap, sneaky option this week with the Texans defense. With Mariota questionable, Matt Cassel might get the start for the Titans. That’s almost as savory as Nathan Peterman against any defense in existence. Even with Mariota at quarterback, it’s a pretty decent matchup for the Texans. In Week 1, Mariota struggled mightily against the Dolphins. Few have actually struggled against the Dolphins, so this was news-worthy. This is your bargain defense of the week. Get them before the price jumps.
Collin is a former Army Intelligence and Logistics officer who got a little too into Football analysis. Since leaving the Army, he’s practically the Jack Ryan of football analysts. But he spends most of his days with his wife and two daughters, so he is clearly a better father than Jack Ryan.