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RealTime DFS Strategy: Week 2

Fri Sep 13 1:40pm ET
By MIKE BARNER
Contributing Writer

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.

QUARTERBACKS

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. 

RUNNING BACKS

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.

WIDE RECEIVERS

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.

TIGHT ENDS

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.

Player Notes
Demaryius Thomas Oct 18 10:50pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has a rough matchup Monday against a Patriots Defense that allows the fewest fantasy points against to opposing wide receivers. Thomas got five targets last week, so he's been getting more involved in the offense, but is still not seeing the type of target share to warrant consideration in standard-size fantasy leagues. Thomas got five targets last week but is the clear third option behind Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder and won't carry much fantasy appeal as long as those other two are healthy.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Oct 18 10:40pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder will face a tough test Monday when the Patriots No. 1 ranked pass defense comes to town. New England allows the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and shut down Crowder in Week 3 when they held him to only 25 yards on two catches. Third-string quarterback Luke Falk started that game, so Crowder should have more success with Sam Darnold back under center. In two games with Darnold, Crowder has 20 catches for 197 yards, so he has major fantasy upside moving forward, especially as the Jets' schedule gets softer. In Week 7, however, Crowder is only a borderline WR3 who has more appeal in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Oct 18 10:30pm ET

New York Jets Le'Veon Bell will face a tough matchup Monday night when the Patriots elite defense heads to MetLife Stadium. New England allows the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs so it's a tough matchup for Bell, but he should put up RB2 numbers based on volume. Bell has played 92.2 percent of the team's offensive snaps so far and has the second-most targets on the team. Bell should see his usual 20-25 touches and fantasy owners should start him with confidence he can put up a decent day even if he doesn't score a touchdown.

From RotoBaller

Robby Anderson Oct 18 9:50pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson will look to change his fortunes against the Patriots in a tough matchup Monday. In seven career games against New England, Anderson hasn't scored a touchdown and his 39.5 percent catch rate is by far his lowest mark against any team he's faced more than once. This season, the Patriots are as daunting a matchup as there is in the NFL allowing the fewest fantasy points against to wide receivers. There is always the chance Anderson grabs a long touchdown, like the 92-yard score he had last week, so he has some appeal as a flex in deeper leagues. However, where possible, owners should look to steer clear of Anderson in this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Sam Darnold Oct 18 9:40pm ET

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold will face a tough challenge Monday night against the Patriots, the team that has given up the fewest fantasy points this season to opposing quarterbacks. Darnold, who missed three games with mono, had a strong showing in his return to the field Sunday when he put up 338 yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect that type of performance Monday against arguably the best defense in the NFL, especially with two starters on the offensive line unlikely to play. Darnold is best left on the bench this week, however, the Jets schedule gets very soft after the game vs New England so Darnold is a good bench stash for those matchups.

From RotoBaller

Jakeem Grant Oct 18 8:50pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant (hamstring) and cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) were limited in practice this week and are questionable for Week 7 against the Bills. Even if Grant plays this weekend, he's nowhere close to being fantasy relevant behind Devante Parker, Preston Williams and Albert Wilson on the depth chart. Grant has only nine catches (19 targets) for 52 scoreless yards in four games this year. Howard is the team's best cornerback, but the Dolphins Defense/special teams is also well off the fantasy radar. If Howard sits, it'll be good news for Bills wideout John Brown.

From RotoBaller

Josh Oliver Oct 18 8:50pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars rookie tight end Josh Oliver (hamstring) practiced in full the last two days and isn't on the Week 7 injury report against the Bengals. Oliver has yet to play in his rookie season, but this weekend would be good timing for him to make his debut with Geoff Swaim out and James O'Shaughnessy on Injured Reserve. There's no guarantee that Oliver is heavily involved in the offense in his first game, but he's one to watch for those that are desperate at the position.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Oct 18 8:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham (ankle) was limited in practice on Friday and was removed from the Week 7 injury report against the Raiders. With Davante Adams (toe) out, Geronimo Allison (concussion) doubtful and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) questionable, Graham could see his biggest workload of the season this weekend. The Packers will continue to lean on the running game with their receivers beat up, but Graham could easily be quarterback Aaron Rodgers' favorite target against Oakland. The Raiders have also allowed the sixth most fantasy points per game (9.7) to tight ends. Graham has clear WR1 upside in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Geronimo Allison Oct 18 8:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (chest, concussion) missed practice all week and is doubtful to play in Week 7 against the Raiders. The Packers are holding out hope that Allison can get cleared from the concussion protocol, but it doesn't look like it's happening. Davante Adams (toe) has already been ruled out and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) will be a game-time decision. Green Bay could be without their top three wideouts, so Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and rookie Darrius Shepherd could be their three receivers on Sunday. Kumerow and Lazard will be in play as DFS sleepers and flex options in deeper leagues, but expect the Packers to lean heavily on their ground game.

From RotoBaller

Michael Badgley Oct 18 8:40pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley (groin) practiced in full the last two days and is listed as questionable for Week 7 against the Titans. Badgley has been out all season but looks to have a good chance to make his season debut on the road in Tennessee. As usual, the Bolts have had a nightmare on special teams in the kicking game this year and were using their punter, Ty Long, for field-goal duties earlier this year with Badgley sidelined. They've been using rookie Chase McLaughlin in recent weeks, but he's predictably been unreliable in the kicking game. The Chargers will give Badgley a shot to win his job back, but he should be avoided in fantasy for the time being if he's active.

From RotoBaller

Jacksonville Jaguars Oct 18 8:40pm ET

Following two straight close losses, the Jacksonville Jaguars enter their contest against the Cincinnati Bengals needing a victory to remain in AFC playoff conversation. At the crux of securing that win will be their defensive unit, which has been largely hit or miss over the first six weeks of the year. Despite All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey being shipped to the Los Angeles Rams earlier in the week, the team has become accustomed to playing without him. While many owners may overreact to Ramseys departure, Jacksonville is coming off holding New Orleans to 13 points last week, and now squares off with a much-maligned Bengals offense. Andy Dalton and the rest of the offensive unit are averaging just 16.2 points per game and their 56.5 average rushing yards per contest enters the week as the lowest in the league. The Jaguars defense is not the same dominant group that has been in years past, but should be a serviceable fantasy unit in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Darrell Henderson Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson could have some luster as a flex option against the Atlanta Falcons. Running back Malcolm Brown (ankle) is doubtful this week, but Todd Gurley (thigh) is expected back. Gurley's workload could be spotty, and Henderson could see extended run. He rushed six times for 39 yards in Week 6, but he lost a key fumble to open the second half. He'll have a chance at redemption against the midrange matchup.

From RotoBaller

Brandin Cooks Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks has been irrelevant for a couple of weeks for fantasy owners. He left the Oct. 3 game with a concussion, and the entire Rams offense was plugged up last week. He had four catches for 47 yards in the two games combined. He has an awesome matchup against the Atlanta Falcons this week. They are the worst at defending the position in the league. They've allowed just over 15 catches for 219 yards and nearly two touchdowns per game to receivers over the last five games. Cooks is a low-end WR2 option for Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp broke a four-game string with 100 receiving yards last week as the entire offense was shut down by the San Francisco 49ers. The good news, though, is the Rams face the leaky Atlanta Falcons Defense, which is the worst at defending receivers the last five weeks. Kupp is sixth in the league in fantasy points over the last five weeks at the position despite having four catches for 17 yards last week. He'll return to the WR1 section this week.

From RotoBaller

Robert Woods Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods has been Jekyll and Hyde in the matter of a couple of weeks. He busted out with 13 catches for 164 yards three weeks ago and didn't catch a last on four targets last week. He'll have a brighter matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, who are the best matchup for opposing receivers the last five weeks. The Rams spread the ball around a lot, though, and Woods is limited to a flex option in point-per-reception formats.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Higbee Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee has been an afterthought in the offense this season with 16 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown in five games. He has a good matchup against the Atlanta Falcons this week, but he is too spotty to rely on in traditional leagues. He'd be someone to take at a basement price in daily formats, though.

From RotoBaller

Gardner Minshew II Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Jacksonville rookie signal caller Gardner Minshew hit a significant bump in the road last week for the first time as a starter. The cure for that skid? It may just prove to be a matchup against a Bengals Defense yielding greater than 425 yards per game. Minshew failed to toss a touchdown last Sunday against New Orleans, the first time he did not record one in six games. While his 240.3 passing yard per contest average is far from gaudy, he has tossed nine touchdowns to just two interceptions, making him a safe option in traditional fantasy, as well as a high-upside low-priced option in DFS.

From RotoBaller

Darren Sproles Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen) and running back Darren Sproles (quadriceps) both missed practice all week and have officially been ruled out for Week 7 against the Cowboys on Sunday night. Jackson is closer to returning than Sproles, but there remains no timetable for either player. D-Jax has been out since getting hurt in Week 2, and the Eagles offense is surely missing their deep threat, as Mack Hollins hasn't come close to replicating Jackson's production as a field-stretcher. Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Hollins will continue to operate in three-receiver sets in the big divisional showdown on Sunday evening.

From RotoBaller

Los Angeles Rams Oct 18 8:30pm ET

The Los Angeles Rams Defense shouldn't be played against the Atlanta Falcons this week. They've had their issues on the ground, but they still put up points and air it out. The Rams are amidst a tough portion of their schedule and really haven't played well enough to hang onto in traditional formats.

From RotoBaller

Kyler Murray Oct 18 8:20pm ET

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has a good matchup against the New York Giants in Week 7. Murray has been hot lately, and he's fifth in fantasy points among quarterbacks over the last three weeks. Murray has tossed for 834 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, but his legs have been the difference. He has rushed 25 times for 152 yards and two touchdowns during that stretch. The Giants allow the eighth-most fantasy points to the position on average over the last five weeks. Murray is a mid-to-low QB1 this week.

From RotoBaller