Week 1 is in the books and it was a success. My DFS account balance grew by at least double on both sites, so overall I was happy. Hopefully you were able to take some of what you read here and use it to help you win some money as well. If not, let us try again this week. There are some very interesting plays that I want to own this week at a higher percentage than the field. Let’s cut down on the small talk and jump right in.
I’m going to start with my core plays, and then down below I will list a handful of other players I will be using in multi-entry tournaments.
I am all in here on at least Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and James Conner. Conner was the week 1 darling, and I think there could be a good case for using him more in the passing game this week. He’s locked into a high floor with a very high ceiling as well. He’s still priced very fairly on both sites, so there is some leverage available until at least next week.
Brown is gonna Brown. The guy is absolutely incredible. I’ve watched a lot of football in my life and he’s as good as they come. Keenan Allen just carved up this Chiefs secondary with eight catches, 108 yards and a touchdown. In general, I think Antonio Brown is at least 1.5 x Keenan Allen. Obviously that doesn’t mean he’s going to 1.5x Allen’s score each week, but in this matchup, I would not be surprised whatsoever if he ends up with 150+ yards and two touchdowns.
Roethlisberger is the wild card here. I’m hoping we can get a lower ownership than we would normally see in this spot after his atrocious Week 1. Recency bias doesn’t always work in our favor, but this could be a spot that it helps us a bit. He will likely be locked into my main lineup with both Brown and Conner. It’s no secret that he’s a much better quarterback at home. As I mentioned last week, Evan Silva (@evansilva) of Rotoworld compared this secondary to a college secondary. This is the perfect bounce back spot and everything points to one of those huge offensive weeks for the Steelers that wins DFS tournaments. Each year we can typically pinpoint one or two of those – I predict this will be one.
Lastly, Juju Smith-Schuster could also be added to any stack for upside. These three weapons, paired with Big Ben, nearly gives us all of this offense’s touches. With so much upside, a total near 30, and a NCAA caliber secondary, what could go wrong?
McCaffrey will likely be a lock button for me this week. His upside is up there with the best of them, but his Week 1 stat line left a lot to be desired (10-50-0, 6-45). That will also keep him lower owned than he should be. Not a horrible line by any means, just not a performance that is winning you money. This week he is set to explode. The workload was there, and will likely increase this week in a better matchup against the Falcons. I stayed away last week, because I’ve long respected Sean Lee’s ability at the middle lineback position for Dallas. The Falcons are the exact opposite.
Perennially one of the most giving fantasy defenses to opposing backs, this year sets up even more enticing than others. The Falcons have already lost two valuable starters, including safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones. McCaffrey’s price is right where it needs to be for me to lock him in and have one less roster spot to worry about. Ron Rivera just said Thursday that he would like McCaffrey to get 15-20 rushes and 6-10 catches each week. That’s 21-30 touches. High Floor. High UPSIDE.
San Diego Chargers Defense
This is a great bounce back spot for this defense. Last week I locked buttoned the Ravens DST and it worked out well. I’m considering the same this week with the Chargers. I do expect them to be popular, but some people are going to look at that Week 1 performance and just not be able to do it as the Chargers are one of the most expensive options. The price is set high for good reason, and much like with the Ravens last week, I have no issues paying up.
Doyle saw 7 targets in Week 1 and it looks like he will be a focus for Andrew Luck. Luck isn’t throwing the ball down the field right now, so Doyle’s route tree falls right into Luck’s wheelhouse. He’s cheap enough on both sites to be considered as a lock button play in the TE spot. I’m more likely to do that on DraftKings, though, as there are some cheaper guys I like on FD that could provide a few hundred-dollar savings where I need it.
Sanders was my highest owned player last week and I’m going right back to him this week. The connection with Keenum is real. He saw 11 targets in Week 1 and caught 10 of them for 135 yards and a touchdown. Oakland’s defense doesn’t worry me one bit. I believe Sanders is going to be a top five to 10 fantasy receiver this year if he stays healthy so his price is going to rise. On DK he was the WR4 last week and is priced as a WR15 this week. On Fanduel he was WR6 and is priced for Week 2 at WR17. Salary’s and FPPG eventually level out as the season goes on, but there are still opportunities in these early weeks to exploit certain situations, and this is one of them.
This could set up as a James White week by default. It’s a high possibility that Rex Burkhead is out with a concussion and Sony Michel isn’t ready by Sunday. Jeremy Hill tore his ACL in Week 1 so he’s out of the equation as well White could be on the field nearly the entire game and his touches would be significantly increased. I would lock button him, especially on DraftKings, if everyone’s out. I know I’m using “lock button” a lot this week, but I really like these plays. Keep an eye on this, because it becomes one of the easiest plays of the week if the injuries fall in his favor.
Other Spots to Target
There are a handful of cheap tight ends after Doyle that I love this week, including (in order of interest): George Kittle, Jared Cook, Jonnu Smith, and Ian Thomas.
On DK you could realistically play two of these guys and not spend more than $6,000-$7,000. That leaves you quite a bit of salary at the other positions.
- Kittle seems like he’s locked in to a solid workload, especially if Marquise Goodwin is out.
- Cook went absolute beast mode on Monday night and his salary hasn’t changed to reflect that because of that late Monday kickoff and salaries already set for the new week.
- Smith replaces Delanie Walker who was lost for the season in Week 1. He should run quite a few passing routes and it doesn’t take much to pay off his $3,100 salary.
- Thomas is a raw rookie who should be on the field much of the game in place of Greg Olsen, who was also injured last week. It worries me a little that a tight end didn’t really step up for the Panthers last season with Olsen out, but Thomas is a better weapon than anyone they had last year.
Dalvin Cook looks a little too cheap on FD coming off 16 carries and six receptions. He’s $6,500 with projection of 20-25 touches as a floor.
I don’t hate the Jets defense this week. They looked pretty good in Week 1, although I think a lot of that was just how bad the Lions were. They are really cheap on both sites.
Speaking of the Lions, I’m willing to let last week go and will have a Lions stack in tournaments. Keep in mind I’m a Lions fan, so I really want to let last week go and not accept that as the new norm. My favorites would be Matthew Stafford, Golden Tate, and Kenny Golladay. Stafford should be able to bounce back after that terrible Monday night showing. He has found a new Calvin Johnson type weapon in Golladay. He’s still really cheap, but I think he could realistically lead this WR corps in fantasy points this season. Tate makes a great addition to the team on DraftKings, where he could pop off for 10 catches and post a big line.
If Emmanuel Sanders is going to have another big game, Case Keenum should also post a decent line. Keenum was my second most owned player last week, right there with Sanders, and that duo helped carry my rosters to a really good weekend. Keenum has a lot of weapons in this offense, and as we saw last week (three interecptions), he’s going to sling it and he’s not scared to take some chances.
One more stack I have a ton of interest in for tournaments is the Texans. Deshaun Watson has a huge ceiling this week, especially if Will Fuller is back. With Fuller back in the mix things should open up more for DeAndre Hopkins. All three together make for a tourney winning upside stack, which they have done before.
I think I’m going to roll out a roster with Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill every week this season. There’s so much upside and these two fit each other perfectly.
Nelson Agholor isn’t a bad fill in if the salary is right in your last receiver spot. He saw 10 targets last week and has some chemistry with Nick Foles. He’s one of the only serviceable wide receivers healthy on this roster, so that increases his projection a bit more.
Quincy Enunwa is really cheap this week and it looks like he’s Sam Darnold’s favorite target. I’ll have a good amount of him.
It should go without saying, but Melvin Gordon and Alvin Kamara are good plays.
Due to soft pricing, I think roster construction this week should focus heavily on running backs. On both sites I’ll likely play three RB’s and pay down at receiver. I’ll be targeting Antonio Brown heavily, but after him, I’ll go down to some of the cost savings receivers and tight ends that I mentioned above.
Focus on the pass catching backs. Guys like McCaffrey, Conner, Alvin Kamara, Melvin Gordon, and the like can realistically carry the ball 15-20+ times and see just as many targets as the top priced wide receivers. You limit your upside by playing a WR in your flex spot who would likely see 8-12 targets. Why not use that spot for a guy that will see that many targets and carry the football 20 or so times. As the season goes on, this approach might shift a little as these receiving backs see their prices rise, but take advantage while you can!
That’s it for this week. As I mentioned before, I will be adjusting the format as we go, so if you have any input about what you like or don’t like, feel free to let me know on twitter @mrclutchdfs. Best of luck this weekend!
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