The NFL Week 2 slate kicks off with two games on the main slate that currently have Vegas over/under greater than 53. Per usual, these games will see the heaviest amount of ownership in cash games and tournaments. The difference this week from the first week is that these games actually consist of four high-powered offensive teams. Before I dive into this week’s positional breakdown, I’ll give a preview of the two games that could dictate the landscape of week 2.
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Patriots (31) @ Saints (24.5) o/u 54 (open) 55.5 (live)
The Patriots come into week 2 0-1 for the first time since 2014. If you’re panicking as a Patriots fan, you really shouldn’t, the last three times the Patriots started 0-1 they went on to win the Super Bowl. Bill Belichick is 42-6 following a loss. The Vegas lined open with the Patriots as a 4.5 point favorite but has since moved to a 6.5 favorite over the Saints giving the Patriots the highest implied team total on the main slate. They are going up against a Saints defense that just got lit up by Sam Bradford on Monday night football. Last season the Saints ranked 27th in the league in Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA) and 23rd against opposing wide receivers. To say the Saints have a bad secondary is an understatement. So Tom Brady against the Saints after not throwing a touchdown pass in the first game of the season is in a great spot. The Patriots offense as a whole with 10 days to prepare for this week going up against a Saints defense that has had 5 days to prepare an irritated Belichick.
Now the Saints aren’t in a bad spot themselves. They are playing in what many of the DFS community call the Coors Field of the NFL, the Superdome. The Saints offense passed the ball on nearly 60% of their offensive plays in the first week against the Vikings. The fact that they are about a touchdown underdog shows that Vegas believes they could be trailing throughout the game and could lead to more of the same game script for the Saints offense. Drew Brees is notorious for his home and road splits, and this week he’s back at home, and the Saints offense has performed much better when playing at home.
We always got to remember that Vegas isn’t always 100 percent right, but they are often a good indicator of game scripts. Figuring out how to roster a few players in this game will be key having a successful week 2.
Packers (25.5) @ Falcons (28) o/u 53.5
These two teams meet up for the first time since the NFC Championship in a highly anticipated rematch. These two teams are also coming off of a week 1 offensive let down where they had similar positive Vegas numbers. Both teams had their fair share of concerns back in week 1. The Falcons were on the road, and the Packers were going up against an improved Seahawks defense. But onward to this week!
The Falcons return home where they flat out dominated the league with their high-powered offense. The difference is that this season they have a new offensive coordinator in Steve Sarkisian who managed the Falcons to a 57-43 pass to run ratio. Matt Ryan is going up against the Packers defense that was 31st in passing yards allowed and 29th in quarterback touchdowns. Matt Ryan at home against a mediocre Packers secondary is just as must as a lock as a top quarterback could be.
While the Falcons are favored by just under a field goal, the Packers implied total is also top 10 in the week. The Packers offenses threw at a 60-40 percent ratio against a tough Seattle passing defense and were able to manage over 300 yards. Aaron Rodgers has lit up the Falcons in his first two meetings against them accumulating 7 touchdowns on 573 yards against the Falcons.
This game will be featured as the Sunday night game, and you’d want to construct your lineups to have some exposure to this game or else you could see yourself dropping on the leaderboards.
Now that we looked into the two games that could have the highest impact on this week’s slate let’s take a look at a few other options at the different positions.
If week 1 taught us anything, it was that paying up for the premium quarterbacks is over rated. The average quarterback scored 15.5 points on DraftKings and 14.62 points on FanDuel. We saw plenty of lineups at the top of the leaderboards with Carson Wentz and Matthew Stafford, and there were plenty of bust in the higher tier (I’m talking about your Russell Wilson). This week it may be harder to get away from the top tier (Brady, Brees, Rodgers, and Ryan) but there are always a few options in the middle and lower tier we can consider.
Derek Carr (DK $7,200, FD $8,300)
There are two quarterbacks that I like this week as a pivot from the quarterbacks mentioned above and the first is Derek Carr. Carr is coming off a week 1 performance where the Raiders offense controlled the game against an improved Titans defense and Carr completed over 68% of his passes. This week the Raiders are a huge 14 point favorites (second biggest on the slate) with an implied total of 28.5 at home against the Jets. The Jets have among one of the worst defenses in the league and last year allowed 30 passing touchdowns, which ranked in the bottom 10 in the league. The Jets also have a funnel defense which could force the Raiders to more passing situations with the Jets ability to limit the run game.
Russell Wilson (DK $6,800, FD $8,100)
Similar to Carr, Wilson comes into week 2 with an implied total of 28 points at home against a 49ers team that also allowed 30 passing touchdowns last year. The 49ers front seven is much improved from last season but could be limited depending on the status of rookie linebacker Reuben Foster. In week 1 the Seahawks had a 60-40 pass to run ratio, and Pete Caroll could look to stick with that ratio as Seattle has a lot of question marks in their backfield. Wilson has traditionally performed better at home than on the road, and Wilson is averaging 2.83 DK points at home than on the road. Wilson has averaged 19.7 DK points against the 49ers at home in two meetings against them in his career. These two quarterbacks are likely to be the most popular pivot from the high priced guys.
Carson Palmer (DK $6,000, FD $7,500)
Palmer did not look good against the Lions last week. He completed just 56% of his passes and threw 3 bad interceptions that allowed the Lions to come from behind and steal a victory. The bright side is that Palmer did throw the ball 48 times. The Cardinals also lost their star running back, David Johnson and have a mess in the backfield. Although Johnson is a huge weapon for Palmer out of the backfield, this could force even more passing plays for Palmer. This week Palmer is going up against a Colts defense that just got exposed for a 300 yard game by Jared Goff and a mediocre Rams offense. The Cardinals are an 8.5 road favorite with a score of 25.75. Palmer doesn’t quite check all the boxes you’d like to see for a quarterback, but he’s worth a flyer in tournaments, especially if you stack him with Larry Fitzgerald.
Joe Flacco (DK $5,200, FD $7,000)
Recovering from back injury, Flacco was eased back into live action in week 1. The Ravens protected Flacco by running the ball 71% of their offensive plays, but Flacco has a juicy matchup against the Browns. With an implied total of 23.5 and an 8 point favorite, the Ravens could very well continue to run the ball, but Flacco could be a big part of getting the big league for the Ravens. The Browns cut Joe Haden this preseason and ranked 30th against the pass last season DVOA, so this could be a get well game for Flacco down at $5,200 on Draftkings.
Last week I was a part of #TeamJamEmIn and rostered both LeVeon Bell and David Johnson. It didn’t work so well last week, and we no longer have that option with DJ out until possibly December. This week there aren’t a lot of backs that fill the bill with situations I like (home favorites with a high team total), but I’ll give you a few that stand out.
Melvin Gordon (DK $7,000, FD $7,600)
Gordon is insanely cheap on FanDuel, but he’s also relatively cheap on DraftkKngs as well. Due to the amount of volume he receives, he could be a steal at that mid-tier price point. Last week, Gordon had a pretty solid showing on the road against a tough Broncos defense. He totaled 23 touches and 79 yards and a touchdown (16.4 FDp & 18.9 DKp). This week Gordon is one of the few running backs that check all the boxes for being a home favorite running back with a decent team total. Gordon is the 6th highest price running back on DraftKings and 10th on Fanduel so he could warrant lower than expected ownership on DK considering he’s $200 more than Kareem Hunt.
Ty Montgomery (DK $5,800, FD $6,500)
If you’re looking for another non-expensive running back look no further than Montgomery. Montgomery is the 15th most expensive back on DK and 20th on FD. When you look at Montgomery’s game log in week 1, the one thing that stands out was his pass catching ability. A former receiver converted to running back, Montgomery caught each of his 4 targets against the Seahawks and turned that into 19.3 DK points. Although Montgomery is a road underdog against, he does have a high team total (25.25) in a game that is projected to be a shootout (53.5 o/u) and faces a Falcons defense that ranked dead last this past season in allowing running backs receptions (109) and yards (870). Montgomery is a good way to get exposure to this game at a very cheap cost.
Kareem Hunt (DK $6,800, FD $7,800)
The rookie burst onto the scene last week with a huge night racking up 248 total yards and 3 TD’s in 23 touches against a much improved Patriots defense. Hunt is likely to be very popular this week as he’s up against the Eagles who rank 22nd in aFPA per 4for4. Hunt is one of those running backs that check all the boxes as he’s a home favorite (-4.5) with an implied total of 26 points. It’s important to note that he’s not as cheap on FanDuel, where he is the 7th highest priced back.
Jacquizz Rodgers (DK $4,400, FD $6,000)
Rodgers will get his first of three starts as the Bucs premier back with Doug Martin suspended for three games this season. Rodgers had over 17 touches per game in spot starts last season and could be in for a heavy workload as a home favorite against the Bears. The Bears do have an improved front 7, so I could see a game script where Dirk Koetter elects to test out Winston’s new weapons on offense. Rodgers is cheap and should get anywhere from 15-18 touches in the game.
Tarik Cohen (DK $4,1000, FD $7,000) – A road underdog that has the game script that will likely feature a pass-catching running back. The Bears showed that Cohen is their clear pass catching back.
In a slate that features four high-powered offenses with great Vegas totals, all of the high-priced receivers are in good spots this week to have a monster year. Antonio Brown is a beneficiary of Big Ben’s home splits and the same goes for Julio Jones.
Julio Jones (DK $9,200, FD $8,800)
Julio is in a ridiculous matchup. We’ve already talked about his high team total and the fact that that game has shootout written all over it. On top of all that, Jones is going up against the Packers defense that ranked 29th in wide receiver fantasy points allowed last season. Even last week when they bottled up Wilson, Baldwin was still able to manage a decent 63 yards on 4 catches. Julio will go up against Damarious Randall who allowed the second-most fantasy points per snap on a per-route basis in week 1 per Mike Clay. Julio and Ryan at home are a dynamic duo and could be in line for a monster game.
Brandin Cooks (DK $8,200, FD $7,900)
Another wide receiver in a high over/under game. Naturally, Cooks would have to make this list. He’s returning to the Superdome to play against his former team #NarrativeStreet. The Patriots were already without Julian Edelman and are more than likely to be without Danny Amendola who has not practiced this week due to a concussion and knee injury sustained in week 1. The Patriots will likely have two healthy receivers who are familiar with the playbook and Cooks has the upside to have a huge game.
Larry Fitzgerald (DK $6,500, FD $6,600)
Fitzgerald is a stud in the first six weeks of the season. Last week he received a team-high 13 targets and caught 6 of them for 74 yards. This week without David Johnson I expect the Cardinals to rely heavily on the passing game. We already talked about how the Colts got torn apart by a mediocre Rams offense. The savvy vet Fitzgerald is almost a sure bet to find the end zone.
Marqise Lee (DK $3,800, FD $5,900)
If you’re looking for value, unfortunately, it may lie on Marqise Lee. Lee could be the benefactor from the injury that causes Allen Robinson to miss the rest of the season. Lee is likely to move into the starting wide receiver spot and will play alongside Allen Hurns who caught under 50% of his targets last season. Lee was held without a catch last week against the Texans, but he should be in line to see more volume this week. Bortles leaves a lot to be desired, but Lee is very cheap and could help you fit in some of these top priced studs.
Adam Thielen (DK $ 5,000, FD $5,800)
Thielen had a breakout game 1 of the 2017 season on Monday night. He racked up 157 yards on 9 catches and out-targeted the Vikings number 1 receiver Diggs. He’s not a big red zone factor for Bradford, but his game script does indicate the Vikings could be playing catch up and throwing a lot as a 5.5 underdog against the Steelers on the road.
Tight End is a position I traditionally like to find value. This week is no different. While there are viable top-tier options that are worthy of rostering, I find that in this week it’s easier for roster construction to find value at tight end.
Coby Fleener (DK $3,100, FD $5,300)
Fleener will be the consensus chalk on DraftKings. As the 15th price tight end, Fleener opens up a lot of salary to afford a higher priced stud. Fleener looks to benefit from the absence of Willie Snead as in the two games without Snead, Fleener has averaged 8.5 targets for an average of 81 yards and a touchdown. The Saints are a home underdog, but Fleener has traditionally done better at home. Fleener is looking to be like the free square that Ertz was last week.
Jared Cook (DK $3,300, FD $5,100)
I like Jared Cook as a pivot off Fleener’s high ownership this week. Cook receiver 20% of the target market shares in an Oakland offense that is implied to score the second most points on the slate. He looked like a nice security blanket for Carr down the seems and is an excellent pivot from both Fleener and the popular Carr/Cooper or Carr/Crabtree stack. He’s up against a Jets funnel defense that allowed the third-most touchdowns to tight ends last season.
Carles Clay (DK $3,300, FD $5,100)
Another pivot from Fleener, Clay led the Bills with 9 targets in week 1. Clay is going up against the Panthers who allowed the second-most touchdowns last season.
If week 2 is as crazy as week 1 was we better be ready to hit on defense. Last week we saw 4 different defense score over 20 DK points, and it was almost impossible to land atop the leaderboards without them.
Oakland Raiders (DK $3,500, FD $5,300)
There are a few chalk options this week, starting with the Raiders.They’re at home and face a Jets team that is implied for 15 points (second lowest on the slate). The Raiders are coming off of an impressive performance on the road against a much improved Titans offense. Playing the Raiders with Marshawn Lynch could be a nice way to get exposure to the game on both sides of the ball.
Baltimore Ravens (DK $3,700, FD $4,700)
A better play on FanDuel, the Ravens defense comes into week 2 in a great spot. After holding the Bengals to 0 points in week 1, the Ravens shift their focus to the Browns. Like the Raiders, the Ravens are a double-digit (10) favorite against a poor offense. Although the Brown showed some promise last week against the Steelers, the Ravens are at home and had a 71% run percentage last week, which suggest there could be very limited possessions in this game. The Browns are implied to score 15.5 points (third worst on the slate), so the Ravens could be a nice pivot for teams that want to save the $200 with the Raiders.
Seattle Seahawks (DK $4,000, FD $5,400)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (DK $3,200, FD $4,500)