Fri Sep 13 1:40pm ET
By MIKE BARNER
Josh Allen provides value Week 2
The first week of action across the NFL was a fun one, especially from a DFS perspective with so many teams putting up massing scoring numbers. There were plenty of surprise performances, as well as some studs who came away with monster stat lines. Let’s dive into the action for Week 2 and see which players could help lead you to a profitable entry.
Top-tier option: Patrick Mahomes, KC at OAK ($7,000): The Chiefs’ offense looked just as potent as last season when they hung 40 points on the Jaguars in Week 1. Mahomes was once again productive, throwing for 378 yards and three touchdowns. While he did suffer an ankle injury, he is expected to play Sunday against the Raiders. Losing Tyreek Hill (collarbone) is significant, but Mahomes still has plenty of weapons around him, making him the most appealing option in cash contests.
Cheap target: Josh Allen, BUF at NYG ($5,800): While Allen and the Bills were moving the ball well in the early going against the Jets, turnovers resulted in them failing to score in the first half. Allen and the offense stepped up in the fourth quarter, eventually pulling out a one-point win. Allen’s 254 passing yards and one passing touchdown aren’t great, but he once again provided value on the ground with 38 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. This is a favorable matchup against a Giants’ defense that was torched by the Cowboys, leaving Allen as a prime target at this price.
Player to avoid: Kirk Cousins, MIN at GB ($5,900): Cousins didn’t get to do much in the Vikings’ first game against the Falcons, completing 8-of-10 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. They raced out to a big lead and rode Dalvin Cook to victory. The 10 pass attempts are certainly an anomaly, but the fact that Cook was heavily involved is not. The Vikings want to run the ball more and the Packers showed some promising improvement on defense against the Bears, making Cousins too risky here. I’d much rather save $100 and roll with Allen.
Top-tier option: Saquon Barkley, NYG vs. BUF ($8,200): If the Giants are going to have any chance of winning games, it’s going to be on the shoulders of Barkley. That’s why it was surprising that he only received 11 carries against the Cowboys. He certainly made them count, racking up 120 yards. While his 19 receiving yards weren’t great, the six targets that he received is the stat to focus on. Expect him to receive more carries this week and have one of the highest floors at his position.
Cheap target: Matt Breida, SF at CIN ($5,900): Running backs are dropping like flies again on the 49ers. First, Jerick McKinnon (knee) was placed on IR for the second straight season. Then Tevin Coleman sprained his ankle against the Bucs. Even Breida had to leave that contest to get an IV. Breida is fine for this matchup, but Coleman won’t be able to play. With the lion’s share of the workload set to fall to him, Breida could provide tremendous value based on his ability to both rack up rushing yards and catch passes out of the backfield.
Player to avoid: Phillip Lindsay, DEN vs. CHI ($6,500): What we saw from the Broncos in their opener against the Raiders was not great for Lindsay’s prospects moving forward. He was on the field for 53.1 percent of their offense snaps while fellow running back Royce Freeman played 46.9 percent of the snaps. A time share against one of the best defenses in the league is certainly a matchup to stay away from.
Top-tier option: Keenan Allen, LAC at DET ($6,800): Allen was his usual productive self against the Colts, catching eight of 10 targets for 123 yards and a touchdown. While that’s already a lot of targets, he could see even more this week with Hunter Henry (knee) out and Mike Williams (knee) trending in the wrong direction. That leaves Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman and Virgil Green as his main competition for targets. Need I say more?
Cheap target: Cole Beasley, BUF at NYG ($4,000): Beasley and John Brown are two key additions for the Bills and they both played well in Week 1. Although Brown had the juicier overall numbers, Beasley still received nine targets. The Giants’ defense is very soft in the middle of the field, which is where Beasley thrives. His touchdown upside isn’t great, but look for him to accumulate a lot of receptions here.
Player to avoid: Courtland Sutton, DEN vs. CHI ($5,300): I’m basically avoiding everyone on the Broncos. If the Bears could hold Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 10 points, think about what they could do against Joe Flacco and the Broncos, who were limited to 16 points by the Raiders on Monday. There will be other weeks in which the up-and-coming Sutton warrants consideration, but this isn’t one of them.
Top-tier option: Travis Kelce, KC at OAK ($6,900): Kelce only caught three of his eight targets against the Jaguars, but he at least converted those receptions into 88 yards. With Hill now sidelined, Kelce is likely going to take on an even larger role within the offense. This is a prime matchup against the Raiders, who he torched for 230 yards and two touchdowns in two games last season.
Cheap target: Darren Waller, OAK vs. KC ($4,500): With Antonio Brown gone, Tyrell Williams takes over as the number one wide receiver for the Raiders. Their other options at the position aren’t great, which means Waller should be heavily involved at tight end. After catching seven of eight targets for 70 yards in Week 1, he has significant upside as the Raiders try to keep pace with the Chiefs’ high-powered offense.
Player to avoid: Eric Ebron, IND at TEN ($5,200): Ebron was one of the biggest surprises in fantasy last year with his 13 touchdown receptions. He started off this season slowly, catching one of three targets for eight yards versus the Chargers. While that’s bad, the really scary stat from a fantasy perspective is that he was only on the field for 39.7 percent of the Colts’ offensive plays compared to 68.3 percent for fellow tight end Jack Doyle. With Doyle now healthy, expect Ebron to continue to have a limited role.
Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.
The Washington Redskins Defense will head to Minnesota on Thursday night to take on a Vikings team that has averaged 36 points a game over the last three weeks. Minnesota's recent offensive success directly coincides with its newly established willingness to air the ball out from the arm of Kirk Cousins, who has averaged 325 yards per game and thrown 10 total touchdowns in this span. Adding fuel to the grease fire that is Washington's fantasy outlook for Week 8, the Vikings also have a running back by the name of Dalvin Cook who just so happens to lead the NFL in rushing yards per game at 103.6. Even with Adam Thielen in danger of missing this game for the Vikings, there is no conceivable reason to deploy the Redskins defense in fantasy lineups this week.
Washington Redskins tight end Jeremy Sprinkle will presumably start for the fourth consecutive week on Thursday night against the Vikings, but that starting role has yet to yield any positive fantasy results. Vernon Davis has missed Washington's last three games, a time frame in which Sprinkle has caught a total of six passes for 54 yards. Even a visit to the endzone can't necessarily save him from a usage rate that low. The Vikings are allowing double-digit PPR production on average to tight ends, but the last thing you want to do is needlessly roll the dice on a risky Thursday night player and have it go up in flames. Whether Davis (who is currently listed as doubtful) unexpectedly suits up or not, there are safer and more proven options at tight end than Sprinkle for Week 8.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson has a relatively favorable matchup on his hands Thursday, but has done nothing this season to convince fantasy owners he can capitalize. The Vikings are allowing an average of 15 receptions and 159 yards per game to opposing receivers, along with 11 total touchdowns. Richardson hasn't caught a pass for two straight weeks, and Terry McLaurin is a productive target vacuum in Washington's offense, so the reliability scale tips in the latter's direction. As much as the Redskins would probably like to involve someone other than McLaurin and diversify their attack, Richardson simply cannot be trusted as a fantasy play in any format based on his output to this point in the season.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn has totaled seven catches for 56 yards in his last three games. His only double-digit PPR outing came all the way back in Week 1 when he happened to score a garbage-time touchdown. With a short week to prepare for Thursday night's game and a Redskins offense that hasn't looked any good for pretty much the entire season, Quinn's outlook remains grim even against a Vikings Defense that has been somewhat friendly to wide receivers. If he miraculously has a productive night against Minnesota after catching three or fewer passes in four consecutive weeks, it unfortunately needs to happen on the waiver wire.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin should be in line for a ton of targets in Thursday night's game at Minnesota, making him the only reasonably safe fantasy option among his teammates. The Vikings have allowed the most receptions to wide receivers of any team in the league, for 1,116 total yards and a league-high 11 touchdowns. McLaurin's well-established rapport with Case Keenum through the first half of the season suggests he should be the pass-catcher tasked with exploiting Minnesota's secondary. Game flow figures to work in his favor as well, as the Vikings could reasonably be expected to jump out to an early lead. McLaurin's volume keeps him in flex territory for WR-needy fantasy teams.
Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum will look to bounce back from Sunday's 9-0 loss in which he threw for under 100 yards, but a date with Minnesota doesn't provide him with much more fantasy appeal. This should be interpreted more as a lack of faith in Washington's offense than a vote of confidence in the Vikings' relatively exploitable pass defense, but the point remains. The Redskins are averaging 12.9 points per game on offense, and they could be without both of Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson in the backfield. The hope here from a fantasy perspective is that Minnesota's suddenly explosive offense puts the Redskins up against a massive early deficit, thus forcing Keenum to air it out. Even if the Thursday night game unfolds as such, fantasy owners would be putting a ton of misguided faith in pass-catchers like Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn by starting Keenum in fantasy lineups. The reward does not outweigh the risk.
Washington Redskins running back Wendell Smallwood might be the starter by default in Thursday night's game at Minnesota. Adrian Peterson is questionable with a high ankle sprain, while Chris Thompson continues to nurse a toe injury that held him out of last week's contest. Considering the short week, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Redskins err on the side of caution regarding Peterson and Thompson. They don't have much to play for, and it wouldn't be worth risking further injury to either if one or both are not at 100% health. If Smallwood does have the backfield to himself, volume doesn't outweigh the unfavorable matchup. The Vikings are giving up 3.8 yards per carry to opposing backs, and have surrendered just one rushing touchdown to the position. Smallwood will have to turn in his fantasy value in the receiving game, which is not worth banking on. He is best avoided unless you find yourself in desperate need of a PPR flex.
Houston Texans CB Phillip Gaines (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injury list Tuesday, Oct. 22.
New York Giants LB Keion Adams (knee) was released from the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct. 21.
Baltimore Ravens LB Pernell McPhee (triceps) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Chicago Bears DE Jonathan Harris was released Tuesday, Oct. 22; the move cleared a spot for the signing of DL Brent Urban.
Cleveland Browns RB Elijah McGuire was released from the practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley was listed as the No. 2 receiver on the version of the Falcons' depth chart released following the trade of WR Mohamed Sanu Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Fantasy Spin: Ridley was already Atlanta's second-most productive receiver behind Julio Jones, but he stands to gain at least a few extra targets per game without much depth behind the top two wideouts for the Falcons.
Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Houston Texans RB Duke Johnson out-snapped RB Carlos Hyde 39-to-26 in the Week 7 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Oct. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Johnson received a total of nine touches and racked up 56 yards. It was his first start of the season but Carlos Hyde still had more carries. Johnson has the higher ceiling in PPR formats, but Hyde is the safer option in standard leagues.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (concussion) said Tuesday, Oct. 22, he's confident he'll return to the field soon. 'Oh, I'll be back out on the field,' Shepard said. 'It's just whether it's gonna be this week or next week.'
Fantasy Spin: Shepard has been limited to four games this season, but he has been able to rack up 25 receptions on 34 targets for 267 yards and a touchdown. The more experience QB Daniel Jones acquires while Shepard is out of the lineup will only boost the receiver's production upon his eventual return. He's a solid buy-low candidate.
Free-agent DE Kasim Edebali (Eagles) signed an undisclosed contract with the Oakland Raiders Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent LB Nate Orchard (Dolphins) worked out for the Atlanta Falcons Tuesday, Oct. 22, along with free-agent DL Shane Ray (Ravens) and DE Quinton Bell (Raiders).
Free-agent DT Willie Henry (Ravens) worked out for the Philadelphia Eagles Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent S Kentrell Brice (Buccaneers) worked out for the Denver Broncos Tuesday, Oct. 22, along with fellow free agents S Marcus Gilchrist (Raiders) and DE Joel Heath (Texans).