Remember: Starting this week all positional breakdowns are open to the PUBLIC. Here they are:
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Welcome to Week 2 of the NFL! The “Cheat Sheet” is a feature that will be released every Friday throughout the season. It will be a fluid article (so check back often!) that will encompass everything you need to set your lineups for the NFL. We will go game by game, discussing the most relevant players on each team.
If you are interested in reading last week’s Cheat Sheet, here it is for Week 1.
DraftKings strategy and pricing is front of mind, but these can also help you set your season long lineups. I love action, so we will go in order of Vegas point totals, highest to lowest! Let’s do it!
Philadelphia (-5.5) vs. Dallas – o/u 55.5
The Eagles running back situation is one of the most fascinating scenarios in football. All three RBs have value and I am starting to lean more towards Sproles and Mathews to have increased value due to the speed of the offense. Quite frankly, either of them can “get stuck” on the field since the Eagles go so fast and don’t change personnel in situations that other teams might.
Imagine if Sproles catches a pass from the 40-yard line and gets tackled at the 5. The Eagles, unlike other teams, are more likely to get up to the line of scrimmage and run another play as opposed waiting to get a different RB in the game. Sproles and Mathews could find themselves in more opportune situations simply “by accident”.
So for this week, everyone has an awesome matchup with the Cowboys and how many points are projected in this game. My favorite dollar-for-dollar play is Darren Sproles ($3,500). Sproles played 25 plays last week (34%) compared to Murray’s 33 plays and Mathews’ 16 plays. (See all RB snap counts here) In those 25 plays he was on the field he saw 12 touches! That’s Chip Kelly manufacturing ways to get him the football. You will also get the added benefit of him returning punts to potentially increase his value.
The pricing on Jordan Matthews ($7,100) seems a little off. Most likely because this was the Monday Night game and I believe Week 2 pricing was already set. That is something we can take advantage of here. Matthews caught 10 balls for 102 yards and scored 23.2 DK points on MNF. He cost $7,200 last week. Now he’s at home, in a game with an even higher total, with the Eagles projected to score even more points and he’s $100 less. Matthews was the 5th highest scoring WR last week and it’s clear that QB Sam Bradford loves looking his way. I’ll be rostering Matthews liberally.
If you follow me at all, you know I am high on Tony Romo ($7,100) this season. He has this stigma of being a “choke-artist” but continues to produce fantasy points. He was the third highest scoring QB in Week 1 and will now play the Philadelphia Eagles as a five point underdog in the highest total of the week. That would indicate a good game script and a lot of passes from Romo.
I was concerned about the Cowboys running back situation, but I am more optimistic now. Joseph Randle ($5,600) dominated the touches for the Cowboys, getting 16 carries to Darren McFadden’s 6. He ran effectively and even caught three balls for 42 yards. I am a firm believer that the Cowboys offensive line is the best in football and should have no problem opening up gaps against the Eagles defense that surrendered 80 yards on the ground to Tevin Coleman (who?!) in Week 1. Again, this is the highest projected game of the week and Randle could be a steal at $5,600.
Dez Bryant will be sidelined for the next few weeks. While many will run to Terrance Williams, I actually think his upside is still a bit capped. The biggest boost might go to Cole Beasley ($3,300). Beasley should be on the field more often and see an uptick in targets. His shifty, slot style makes him more valuable in PPR formats. Beasley was 4-49 in Week 1.
While we are trying to figure out who’s going to benefit from the loss of Dez Bryant, it’s easy to justify that it may be Jason Witten ($4,300). Witten saw eight targets in Week 1, but what’s even more telling is that he saw five targets (including two in the redzone) after Dez Bryant left the game. Tony Romo leaned heavily on the reliable Witten down the stretch as they converted on all eight targets for 60 yards and two TDs.
New York Giants (-2) vs. Atlanta – o/u 51
I am certainly not panicking on Odell Beckham Jr ($8,800) who only reeled in five catches for 44 yards in the opener. Those are pedestrian numbers after the type of production we saw from him last season. On the promising side, he still led the team in targets (8) and you’d expect the Giants to possess the ball much longer than they did in Week 1, only 22:50 which was the fourth lowest in the league. Las Vegas certainly believes a ton of points will be scored in this one and the game script would indicate a lot more opportunity for ODB.
Rashad Jennings ($5,000) is an interesting option in all formats this week. He only saw 13 carries last week but converted for 52 yards. What’s really promising is that he handled all the rushing attempts inside the opponents 16 yard line (4) and was handed the ball three times inside the five yard line. Those are great signs moving forward for Jennings’ fantasy production. Just imagine how good he could be if his team would let him score!
As if you didn’t already know, Julio Jones ($8,900) is primed for a massive season. He saw a ridiculous 15 targets, which accounted for 41.6% of Matt Ryan’s looks. Another massive total game, only separated by a two point spread would indicate lots of points all around. The Giants were picked apart through the air last week to the tune of 356 passing yards (2nd worst in the league) and there is no reason to think they can stop Julio this week.
Green Bay Packers (-3.5) vs. Seattle – o/u 48.5
I think it’s clear that one of the top GPP plays is Aaron Rodgers ($8,300). Rodgers suffers from being compared to himself. It takes a lot for people to notice how great he is, because we’ve come to expect greatness from him. He can throw 4 TD passes and we wouldn’t bat an eye. In reality, Aaron Rodgers is REALLY good at football. He had a “ho-hum” 23.06 DK point day versus Chicago last week only throwing for 189 yards. The truth is, that’s all he HAD to do. He was 18-23 with 3 TDs. I like him as a GPP play because the general public believes that the Seattle Seahawks defense is the greatest defense to ever play the game. That’s the same defense that surrendered 297 passing yards to Nick Foles in Week 1. Rodgers, at home on a low ownership is exactly what I want to target in GPPs.
The Wide Receiver position for the Packers is another interesting situation. Many are going to flock to James Jones ($4,700) after his three TD performance and rightfully so. Jones and Rodgers looked to have great chemistry and Jones led the team in redzone targets (4). He certainly has value this week, but I rank him 3rd of the 3 GB WRs.
I like Davante Adams ($4,900) now that many jaded owners will forget all about him. I expect his ownership to plummet significantly, making me much more interested in him. I don’t like to jump to conclusions after one week and Adams was tied with Jones for the team lead in targets (7). Adams was actually the GB WR who was on the field the most, playing 58 of 59 team snaps compared to 55 for Jones and 54 for Cobb. While that’s not a huge difference, it’s a great sign of opportunity for Adams.
There are reports that Randall Cobb ($7,400) will be shadowed by Richard Sherman in this game which would be very rare considering Sherman usually stays on one side of the field. I LOVE a discounted Cobb (down from $8,000) in a matchup with Sherman who might be out of his comfort zone in this game. Overall, I don’t think this SEA defense is nearly as formidable as they were in the past and they looked pedestrian in surrendering 297 passing yards to Nick Foles!
Here’s a fun fact about this game. According to Covers Historical Data, the 48.5 point O/U set for this game is the highest involving the Seahawks since Week 3 of the 2007 season! That’s a pretty telling statistic. I think Vegas is not buying this Seattle defense being able to stop Aaron Rodgers and having to score a lot of points to keep it close. Also, ESPN has been reporting that the Seahawks might use more no-huddle and hurry-up offense this week. That would greatly increase the fantasy value for the SEA players.
A discounted Russell Wilson ($7,300) coming off a $7,800 salary has really piqued my interest. I am a firm believer in his fantasy talent and incredibly high ceiling. If we are ever going to see that ceiling, this might be the game. This is the highest point total in Russell Wilson’s career! How can he not be the focal point?! In the highest O/U of his career (to this point), he scored 32.10 DK points versus the Saints in Week 13 of the 2013 season. Football Outsiders ranked Green Bay 19th in their Defensive DVOA rankings. Obviously a small sample size of one week, but another favorable sign for Wilson.
I am buying every stock of Marshawn Lynch ($7,200) that I can get. Matt Forte had a massive day against the Packers in Week 1 and while Lynch won’t catch as many balls as Forte did, he will do his fair share and will dominate the carries for the Seahawks. He will also see all the goal-line work for the Seahawks.
So which Seahawks WR should benefit the most from a high total and my expected fantasy outputs? In PPR, I think it’s Doug Baldwin ($4,200). Doug Baldwin’s aDOT (average depth of target) is one of the lowest in the league. That means that he catches a lot of balls around the line of scrimmage. While that makes it rare that he catches a 60 yard bomb, it’s a good sign because it is quick passes that are designed specifically for him. When the offense can guarantee 6+ plays that revolve around one receiver, I want that receiver! He doesn’t have to run a perfect route or let Wilson go through his progressions before targeting him. His floor immediately gets raised by those grabs and if he breaks one for a big gain, you could be in for a massive fantasy day.
New Orleans (-9.5) vs. Tampa Bay – o/u 47
Everyone and their mother is on Drew Brees ($7,800) as the #1 QB. He’s being touted all over ESPN and you can’t possibly miss how good this matchup is. I don’t need to reiterate all that. I am licking my chops to roster him. What’s great about Brees is that he’s always going to rack up passing yards. He threw for 355 yards in Week 1 against a very good Cardinals defense. He was able to return 20.5 DK points while only throwing one TD. That ability to rack up yards significantly raises his floor, making him one of the better cash game plays of the week. The Bucs were absolutely decimated by Marcus Mariota and the Titans and now have to travel to play the Saints in the Superdome? That’s a tall task. Brees is the perfect cash game play. I will tone it down a bit in GPPs since he will be so heavily owned.
I am going to have some serious exposure to CJ Spiller ($5,000) this week. After being declared inactive in Week 1, Spiller is expected to return to the Saints this week. 34.8% of Brees targets in Week 1 went to RBs. That is a great sign for CJ Spiller who is expected to be the passing down back for the Saints. Spiller is fairly priced and in a great matchup.
One of my personal favorite value plays is Brandon Coleman ($3,300). His price tag is so small, I won’t be able to stay away from him. I was very impressed with Coleman’s first NFL start. If you’re unfamiliar, he is a 6’6″ 225lb rookie who will probably grow to be Drew Brees favorite redzone target after the departure of Jimmy Graham. Coleman saw 7 targets last week which was only one less than highly touted Brandin Cooks. We’ve talked about how the Saints should dismantle the Bucs in this high total game and hopefully Coleman will be a significant part of that. If you need anymore convincing, check out this video and see his nose for the endzone:
If you’re feeling frisky, take a look at Jameis Winston ($5,600). He could not have had a worse NFL debut, right? He looked flustered, threw two interceptions and was run out of the building by Marcus Mariota. Despite all that, he still finished with 16.20 DK points on 33 pass attempts. He looked much better in the second half where he went 10-21, 140 yards, 1 TD and 0 INTs. Sure, you can argue that this was mop-up time, but it’s very valuable time for a rookie QB to work on getting comfortable in the league. There is no where to go but up for Winston who will likely be getting his stud WR Mike Evans back in Week 2. I am a firm believer that the Saints secondary might be the worst in the league. Finally, game script would dictate another game where the Bucs trail and Winston has to throw quite a bit.
I probably sound like a broken record but I am not ready to move off of Vincent Jackson ($5,500) just yet. I am optimistic that Jameis Winston has better days ahead because…how can it get worse? There is certainly some promise for V-Jax. This game has the fourth highest total set by Las Vegas with the Bucs being a big 9.5 point underdog to the Saints. That would indicate that the Bucs are going to have to throw a ton this week. Vincent Jackson saw 5 (!!) redzone targets last week which was the most in the league. Unfortunately, he only only “caught” one for a TD that was called back on a penalty. However, the fact that Winston looked his way that many times is a good sign. Depending on Mike Evans’ status in this game, Jackson’s value could increase even more.
Speaking of Mike Evans ($7,400), he’s declared himself 100% this week (what else was he going to say?), so I am assuming he plays. I am rostering him as usual. No real concerns and should provide a big boost to Winston all over the field but especially in the redzone. The return of Evans would probably impact TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins the most, hurting his value.