Week 1 of the NFL season was everything we had hoped for and more, and hopefully week 1 of your DraftKings season was equally fabulous. I had a pretty good week myself on DraftKings and ended up comfortably on the positive side of the ledger. Not to pat myself on the back too hard, but my recommendations came through in the clutch last week, including less heralded players like Willie Snead and Theo Riddick as well as the more chalky plays like Brandin Cooks, Amari Cooper and Spencer Ware.
Hopefully I can be equally helpful this week. While week 1 is tricky because we have no data set and have to rely on last season, week 2 might be even trickier because it is so easy to overreact to week 1. My advice for week 2 is to pay more attention to the role that certain players were playing in week 1 as opposed to the actual results. I promise you, if you chase last week’s result every week it will be a long season for you. With that in mind, let’s get on to this week’s picks.
Any questions – don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter @AssemblyNeil
Eli Manning vs. Saints ($7,500) – Eli Manning is never really given his proper due as both an NFL quarterback and a fantasy quarterback. The youngest Manning ranked 6th in the NFL in passing yards in 2015 and tied for 2nd in touchdowns, only one behind Tom Brady for the NFL lead. He picked up right where he left off last season in week 1 tossing for 3 touchdowns against the Cowboys. The going gets easier for Eli this week as he hones his craft against the dreadful New Orleans secondary. This could be a huge game.
Bang for Your Buck
Joe Flacco vs. Browns ($6,500): Props to Carson Wentz who, after missing most of training camp and the pre-season, came out and threw for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns in his first NFL game. That having been said… Wow are the Browns an awful squad! Joe Flacco was merely OK in week 1 against the Bills, but he should improve against the Browns who are ranked dead last in Football Outsiders’ DAVE defensive metric which combines week 1 performance with preseason projections. Look for a nice game from Flacco at this nice price.
Trevor Siemian vs. Colts ($5,200) – Siemian had quite the challenge in his first NFL start as he went against one of the NFL’s top defenses in Carolina. Siemian did not do anything too spectacular but looked quite competent in his debut. He must be licking his chops now as he gets to face the pathetic excuse for a defense in Indianapolis who were last seen letting Matthew Stafford complete 31/39 passes for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Broncos will likely feature the run much more than the Lions did against the Colts, but nonetheless, Siemian should find some holes in the Colts defense. I could see him throwing for 250 yards and 2 scores, which would easily make value.
David Johnson vs. Tampa Bay ($7,600) – Johnson looked fantastic and graded as one of ProFootballFocus’ top running backs of Week 1 with an 80.2 grade. More importantly, he dominated the Arizona backfield with 20 touches. While it is true that Tampa Bay has a solid run defense, Johnson also had 6 targets on the day and was a big factor in the Bucs’ passing game. He looks like a top 2 or 3 running back in the NFL and will likely not be highly owned this week. I will have a solid amount of exposure.
CJ Anderson vs. Colts ($6,800) – Man did Anderson look good last week with 92 yards on the ground and 47 more in the air against the tough Carolina defense. He should have a much easier time of it with Indy’s defense who are ranked 32nd in Football Outsiders’ Defensive Efficiency ratings after week 1. Detroit took advantage of the Colts’ pass defense last week, but they are also vulnerable on the ground where they allowed the 8th most yards in 2015. I like CJ Anderson for another great game.
Bang for your Buck
Danny Woodhead vs. Jaguars ($5,200) – First, as I like to remind you every week, DraftKings is full point PPR, and the safest plays among the running backs are those that catch balls out of the backfield. Woodhead had a nice game through the air in week one with 5 catches on 7 targets for 31 yards and a touchdown. But what was most encouraging was, despite Melvin Gordon running well, Woodhead still got 16 carries on the day and did a great job with those carries amassing 89 rushing yards. This is a solid value play.
TJ Yeldon vs. Chargers ($4,700) – Chris Ivory was just released from the hospital after suffering from a mysterious ailment during the course of the last week. There is very little chance that Ivory plays this week, meaning that Yeldon will take the lead back role just like last week where he carried the ball 21 times. He should be able to do some damage on the ground against the Chargers who allowed the 6th most rushing yards and the 3rd most yards per carry last year.
Jeremy Langford vs. Eagles ($4,600) – While the Eagles defense did not allow the Browns to do much last week, they did allow 5.2 yards per carry and a touchdown to Isaiah Crowell. Langford hogged the ball last week for the Bears with 17 carries and managed 57 yards and a touchdown. I think he can go for 75 yards and a touchdown this week which would be great at this price.
Shane Vereen vs. Saints ($3,800) – There is plenty of value to go around in attacking this Saints defense. In what will likely be a track meet, Vereen should be on the field quite a bit and will most likely have 6-8 targets and 8-10 carries. With that many touches against the Saints’ defense, magic might happen. For $3,800, I will take my chances in a few DraftKings lineups.
Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Saints ($9,500) – Despite the hefty price tag, OBJ will be heavily owned in DraftKings and should be a staple if you are making cash game lineups. The Saints allowed 137 receiving yards to the Raiders’ #1 receiver Amari Cooper last week, and while I like Cooper, Beckham is even better. I don’t see how the Saints slow him down and I can’t envision a scenario where OBJ does not amass at least 100 yards and a score.
Julio Jones vs. Raiders ($9,200) – Not to be overlooked in picking on the Saints, is that their opponent also allowed a tremendous amount of carnage through the air last week as Brandin Cooks had 143 yards of his own against the Raiders as part of a 423 yard air attack by the Saints. The Raiders don’t get a break by having to face Julio this week. This could be a big game for the Falcons’s star.
Alshon Jeffery vs. Eagles ($7,700) – In a very tough match-up against the Texans, Jeffery managed to amass half of the Bears’ receiving yards with 105 and now gets an easier task with the Eagles. Jeffery’s 26.3 yards per reception were good enough for 6th in the NFL last week and he managed this production with only 6 targets on the game. Jeffery was under 9 targets only twice in 2015 and should see heavier volume this week. He could go off against the Eagles.
Bang for your Buck
Kelvin Benjamin vs. 49ers ($6,500) – After a year off it was easy to forget just how good Benjamin was in his rookie season, but he served a quick reminder for us after catching 6 balls for 91 yards and a touchdown against the tough as nails Denver secondary. Most importantly for DFS purposes, Cam was looking for Benjamin early and often as his 12 targets tied for 5th in the NFL. Benjamin is priced reasonably and should get plenty of opportunity again this week.
DeSean Jackson vs. Cowboys ($6,200) – I wrote this one down without doing any research because, off the top of my head, I remembered that Jackson is a Cowboys’ killer. I will now go through the pro-football-reference game logs to see if my recollection is correct. Hold Please! OK, I can now confirm that Jackson has amassed 80 yards receiving or more in each of his last 3 games against Dallas and has scored touchdowns in 2 of the 3 games. This should be another nice day for the Redskins’ top aerial threat.
Sterling Shepard vs. Saints ($5,200) – For those who don’t want to spend the big bucks on OBJ, Sterling Shepard is another nice option against New Orleans, who allowed 45 touchdowns through the air last year and got torched by Oakland again last week. Shepard managed to find the end zone in his first NFL game and should get plenty of opportunity to do more damage this week against the Saints.
Steve Smith Sr. vs. Browns ($4,300) – Smith’s numbers in week 1 were not pretty as he caught 5 balls for only 19 yards, but most encouraging was that he got 9 targets from Joe Flacco. This week, he gets to go up against the Browns’ porous secondary who allowed the Eagles’ #1 receiver Jordan Matthews to run free across the field for 114 yards. Flacco will be looking for Smith and Smith should have a nice game at a too low price.
Tyrell Williams vs. Jaguars ($3,700) – Unfortunately after a horrific injury in 2015, Keenan Allen tore his ACL in the first game of 2015. While we feel bad for Allen, someone has to account for his targets in San Diego and Williams looks like a good bet for a bigger load. Williams led the league in yards per reception last week with 35.5 yards on 2 catches with 5 targets going his way. With more targets, Williams should be in line for another couple of big plays and some little ones too. This could be a 90+ yard receiver for near minimum price.
Jeremy Kerley vs. Panthers ($3,000) – Pundits were talking up Torrey Smith as a potential sleeper as the 49ers WR1 this season, but if week 1 is any indication, it is Kerley and not Smith who is the top target for Blaine Gabbert. Kerley managed an impressive 11 targets and caught 7 of those balls for a modest 61 yards. That said, even if he duplicates that effort, 13.1 DraftKings points for a minimum priced receiver is fantastic. Kerley should keep getting opportunities and could bust out for an even bigger game.
Gary Barnidge vs. Ravens ($4,000) – Barnidge had 0 catches for 0 yards for 0 DraftKings points last week and yet I am all in on him this week. Why you ask? Two words – Josh McCown. McCown started 7 games for Cleveland and here were Barnidges numbers in those games: 1) 6 catches 105 yards and a TD 2) 6 catches 75 yards TD 3) 8 catches 139 yards TD 4) 3 catches 39 yards 2 TDs 5) 6 catches 101 yards 6) 7 catches 53 yards TD 7) 7 catches 91 yards. I am taking my chances with Barnidge this week.
Bang for your Buck
Eric Ebron vs. Titans ($3,500) – Ebron looks like he might finally be poised for his breakout season as he caught all 5 of his targets for 46 yards and a touchdown last week. Someone in Detroit needs to account for the lack of Megatron in the red zone and Ebron looks to be the beneficiary. I love him at $3,500 this week.
Virgil Green vs. Colts ($2,800) – Virgil Green was a guy who caught my eye while watching the opener last week. He looked very fast and was flashing open quite a few times. His numbers were somewhat modest at 4 catches for 28 yards but his 5 targets were encouraging and Siemian seemed to look for Green in the red zone. I have a touchdown hunch on this one.
Bang for your buck
Seahawks vs. Rams ($3,800) – The Rams looked like the worst offense in the NFL, and Case Keenum looked like the worst QB in the NFL against the 49ers. I can’t imagine that the recipe for them waking up offensively is a date with the Seahawks. The Seahawks should force a couple of turnovers and get a couple of sacks minimum.
Ravens vs. Browns ($3,000) – This is a nice price for the Ravens whose defense looked stellar against the Bills and whose competition is getting easier against the lowly Browns this week.
For any further questions, follow me on twitter @AssemblyNeil
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