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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
Vic Beasley Oct 18 5:10pm ET

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley has been put on the trade block with the deadline approaching, according to a league source. The former first-round pick is making $12.8 million this year and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The 27-year-old had a career-high 15.5 sacks in 2016 but had a combined 10 sacks the following two seasons as the Falcons moved him around. He has 12 total tackles and 1.5 sacks through six games in 2019. He's off the IDP radar for now, but he could become more attractive if he lands in the right spot.

From RotoBaller

Jeremy Sprinkle Oct 18 5:00pm ET

Washington Redskins tight end Jeremy Sprinkle will be the starter for the third consecutive week with Vernon Davis having once again been ruled out and Jordan Reed's entire career up in the air. The Redskins are the only team, real or otherwise, that he should start for this week. The 49ers are allowing fewer than four catches per game to tight ends, and Sprinkle has caught a total of four in his two weeks as the starter. There isn't much else to say. Sprinkle isn't relevant on his own bad team, so he is thereby a player to ignore in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Paul Richardson Oct 18 4:50pm ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 3, has caught three or fewer passes in four of six games, and has broken 40 receiving yards just once. His next opponent is a 49ers Defense that is certain to highlight all of those shortcomings for another week, as they have allowed opposing wideouts to catch an average of nine passes a game. Terry McLaurin figures to see over half of that average on his own, leaving little else for Richardson or any other Washington pass-catcher.

From RotoBaller

Josh Gordon Oct 18 4:50pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon (ankle, knee) missed a second straight practice on Friday. Tight ends Ryan Izzo (concussion) and Matt LaCosse (knee) also sat out. Gordon looks unlikely to play on Monday night against the Jets, so fantasy owners should make plans to be without him. If that's the case, it's likely that Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett will be the team's top two receivers in a good matchup against Gang Green. Dorsett has sneaky flex and DFS appeal after missing last Thursday's game. LaCosse is out multiple weeks and Izzo is in danger of sitting out Monday, leaving the Pats dangerously thin at tight end. It's why they re-signed veteran Benjamin Watson earlier this week.

From RotoBaller

Trey Quinn Oct 18 4:50pm ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn looked like he might be on the brink of carving out a PPR-relevant role for himself early in the season, hauling in 13 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown in his first three games. Since then, he has seven catches for 36 yards. Even the return of Case Keenum in Week 6 against an atrocious Dolphins team wasn't enough to bring Quinn back up, as he failed to eclipse even 10 receiving yards in his team's most inviting matchup to date. Now he'll have to deal with a 49ers secondary allowing opposing WRs to catch nine passes a game. Dynasty owners who are looking to tank the 2019 season for the number-one pick in their draft next year would be wise to start Quinn this week. For everyone else, stay away.

From RotoBaller

Terry McLaurin Oct 18 4:40pm ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin has been his team's lone bright spot on offense in 2019, but he's about to face a 49ers Defense that has dimmed those bright spots on each and every one of its previous adversaries. The Niners create pressure on 33.9% of opponents' drop-backs, which is the second-best rate in the league. This will inevitably have Case Keenum scrambling for his life behind a shaky offensive line, in turn minimizing the amount of time he has to find his favorite target downfield. Only one quarterback has thrown for more than 200 yards in a game against San Francisco, and the 49ers haven't given up a touchdown pass in their last two games. McLaurin is a volume-based flex play at best in this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Deebo Samuel Oct 18 4:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) has been ruled out for Week 7 against the Redskins. Samuel has been a little-used receiver in his rookie season in a run-first offense, so he belongs on the waiver wire in the majority of leagues. His absence is good news for both Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis, but the Niners probably won't have to rely on the passing game all that much against a poor Redskins team all around.

From RotoBaller

Washington Redskins Oct 18 4:20pm ET

The Washington Redskins Defense is allowing an average of 4.6 yards on opposing rushing attempts, and they're about to go up against a 49ers team that has attempted the second-most rushes in the league despite playing one fewer game than a majority of NFL teams. San Francisco's commitment to the run isn't just some stubborn refusal to diversify its game plan, either, as they're averaging 4.6 yards per carry. They've got two capable running backs in Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida, so there will always be a relatively fresh set of legs ready to rumble over what is sure to be a worn-out Washington front seven. The Redskins allow opponents to extend drives on 50.6% of third down opportunities, the second-worst mark in the league. Steer clear.

From RotoBaller

Tre'Quan Smith Oct 18 4:20pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (ankle), tight end Jared Cook (ankle) and wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) have all been ruled out for Week 7 against the Bears. Make sure to remove Kamara and Cook from your lineups now. With Kamara sidelined, backup Latavius Murray will be the backfield workhorse and will have RB2 value, albeit in a tough matchup on the road against Chicago. Josh Hill should see starting tight end duties, but he can be avoided in fantasy. No. 1 wideout Michael Thomas should be targeted heavily, but Chicago's superior defense will game plan to slow him down. The Bears Defense, already a weekly top play, just got more attractive in fantasy. Even with Smith out, fantasy owners shouldn't be banking on Ted Ginn.

From RotoBaller

Christian Kirk Oct 18 4:10pm ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (ankle) will be a game-time decision in Week 7 against the Giants. Kirk is cutting more often in practice but is not all the way back. He sounds on the wrong side of questionable in what is a great matchup for Arizona's receivers. If Kirk sits, it'll be his third straight absence. Larry Fitzgerald should see heavy targets and has WR2 upside this weekend, especially if Kirk is inactive. Damiere Byrd and rookie Keesean Johnson would also have expanded roles if Kirk is out, but they have been too inconsistent in this offense to be realistic starting options in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Malcolm Brown Oct 18 4:10pm ET

Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown (ankle) is doubtful for Week 7 against the Falcons. Todd Gurley (thigh) is expected to return from a one-game absence anyway, so Brown's fantasy appeal would've taken a hit anyway. With Brown unlikely to play, though, look for rookie Darrell Henderson to see his biggest workload of the season with Gurley likely to be scaled back. The Falcons have been generous to opposing running backs in 2019 as well, making Henderson a sneaky DFS pick and RB3/flex in deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

Wendell Smallwood Oct 18 4:10pm ET

Washington Redskins running back Wendell Smallwood should see a season-high in touches in Week 7 with Chris Thompson out. The downside is that "season-high" could be defined by as few as seven touches, and the team he'll be taking them against is a 49ers Defense that has yet to allow a running back to cross the goal line. If Smallwood inherits the full share of Thompson's passing game workload, it is worth noting that Thompson was averaging seven targets per game in the five contests the Redskins lost. The Redskins are a two-score home underdog this Sunday, bringing about the potential for similar usage for Smallwood. Either way, this is not a player or matchup you should be targeting in fantasy lineups.

From RotoBaller

David Johnson Oct 18 4:00pm ET

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that running back David Johnson (ankle) will be a game-time decision in Week 7 against the Giants. If the Cardinals had to play on Friday, Johnson would've been inactive. We thought there wouldn't be drama around Johnson's status this week with him getting in more practice work, but that won't be the case. Ultimately Johnson should be able to play in a mouthwatering matchup, but you'll need to check Sunday morning inactives just to be sure. DJ is a surefire RB1 if he plays. If he doesn't, backup Chase Edmonds would be a strong RB2 fill-in.

From RotoBaller

Todd Gurley Oct 18 4:00pm ET

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay expects running back Todd Gurley (thigh) and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (back) to play in Week 7 against the Falcons. Gurley missed last week's game but should be back on the field in an excellent matchup with the free-falling Falcons Defense. Gurley will be more of a low-end RB2 for this game and will be at risk of losing valuable snaps to both Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson. But the good news is that fantasy owners should have Gurley back. Ramsey is set to make his debut with the Rams after coming over in a trade from Jacksonville. He's tentatively expected to match up with Falcons top wideout Julio Jones on the outside. It's a downgrade for Jones in fantasy, but he should still be a must-start in all leagues. Avoid the Rams Defense as a streaming option in fantasy this week.

From RotoBaller

Vernon Davis Oct 18 3:40pm ET

Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) was limited in practice all week but has been ruled out for Week 7 against the 49ers. Davis is recovering from his head injury but just couldn't get cleared in time. With Jordan Reed (concussion) on Injured Reserve, Jeremy Sprinkle will continue to start for the 'Skins. He's an unattractive TE2, though, having caught just four passes for 41 yards in the last two weeks with Davis banged up. You can't really trust any pass-catcher outside of rookie Terry McLaurin in this dysfunctional offense.

From RotoBaller

Tyrell Williams Oct 18 3:30pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot) has officially been ruled out for Week 7 against the Packers. Williams is dealing with plantar fasciitis and should be considered week-to-week at this point. In his absence, it'll be Hunter Renfrow, Zay Jones, Keelan Doss and Trevor Davis battling for targets in a tough matchup on the road against the Packers. Expect the Raiders offense to continue to function through rookie running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller, making all of the Raiders receivers low-upside WR4/5 options.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Kroft Oct 18 3:20pm ET

Buffalo Bills tight end Tyler Kroft (ankle) practiced in full all week and was left off the final injury report for Week 7 against the Dolphins. Kroft is set to make his season debut this Sunday. The matchup is a great one against the winless Dolphins, but fantasy owners can't expect much of Kroft right away, and he could split snaps with rookie Dawson Knox. Kroft is off the fantasy radar for now, even for those desperate at the position. His return is undoubtedly bad news for Knox owners, though.

From RotoBaller

Taylor Gabriel Oct 18 3:10pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussion) practiced in full all week and was taken off the final injury report for Week 7 against the Saints. The last time Gabriel played, he caught three first-half touchdowns before suffering a head injury. He'll be back in the fold this weekend but shouldn't be in many team's starting lineups against a Saints Defense that has actually limited opponent's passing games quite well so far this year. Gabriel's three-score game the last time he played was an outlier.

From RotoBaller

New Orleans Saints Oct 18 3:10pm ET

The New Orleans Saints Defense gets a good matchup in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears. New Orleans ranks 11th in the NFL in points allowed and seventh in sacks. They'll take on a Bears offense that ranks 26th in scoring and will likely get injured quarterback Mitch Trubisky back on the field. Trubisky struggled with accuracy at times when he was healthy this season, so the Saints' defense has the potential to generate turnovers. Whether it's Trubisky or backup Chase Daniel, the Saints should be able to get several sacks and an interception or two in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Chris Thompson Oct 18 3:10pm ET

Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson (toe) has officially been ruled out for Week 7 against the 49ers. Thompson is dealing with turf toe, so he could also wind up missing Week 8 and potentially beyond. It means that Adrian Peterson will handle the early downs, with Wendell Smallwood chipping in on passing downs. However, neither running back is a good fantasy weapon against a 49ers Defense that has yet to allow a rushing or receiving touchdown to a running back this year. Smallwood should be faded in deep PPR leagues, even if you're desperate.

From RotoBaller