The Wednesday Watchman: Week 2

Week 2

Week 1 is in the books, and we have learned some important lessons. The Eagles and Lions demonstrated their offensive firepower as we predicted last week. You had a leg up on the field if you took my strongest player recommendation and paired Hurts with Brown in your DFS lineups.

Another focus player from last week also hit: Justin Jefferson is the cat’s meow. While the Packers forgot to show up for the game, the Vikings looked comfortable in their new offense. I’m excited to see the fireworks when Minnesota plays a formidable offense.

Some things haven’t changed much. The Jets still look bad, the Chiefs still look good, the Colts still start seasons slowly, and Elijah Mitchell is still missing games with injury for the 49ers.

Was Russell Wilson supposed to “cook” as a Denver Bronco? Were the Bengals supposed to romp Mitch Trubisky and the Steelers? Was Panther Baker Mayfield supposed to get his revenge on the Browns? Apparently not.

Of course, we can’t forget about my team, the future Super Bowl champion Buffalo Bills. They laid the smackdown on the previous champ, the Los Angeles Rams. If Josh Allen can stay healthy, that Bills offense should set records.

Trends and Stats

While it is fun to narrative hunt ex post facto, the one major thing we want to avoid in Week 2 is overreacting to Week 1. One data point does not constitute a trend. We cannot simply extrapolate the results for the rest of the season, judging from a single week of games. Traps abound. Not to worry; the Watchman found an interesting stat for Week 2 games:

Over the past 10  seasons, there have been 39 games where 1-0 teams have faced each other in Week 2. The home team is 29-9 (75.6%) straight up and 25-14 (64.1%) against the spread. They cover by an average margin of 3.56 points. The “under” on the point total hits 60.5% of the time, by an average margin of 2.47 points.

Conversely, over the past 10  seasons, there have been 39 games where 0-1 teams have faced each other in Week 2. The home team is 26-13 (66.7%) straight up and 21-17 (55.3%) against the spread. The “over” on the point total hits 53.8% of the time, by only 0.42 points per game. So, what actions can we take based on this information?

Week 2: Betting

As discussed, you should fight the urge to overreact. Two offenses that looked great in Week 1 might have played terrible defenses. That is the case with our Thursday night game. The Chargers-Chiefs total currently sits at 54.5, with the Chiefs as 3.5-point favorites. Patrick Mahomes tore apart the decimated Cardinals’ defense without breaking a sweat. The Chargers also outmatched the Raiders in a closer affair. Both opposing defenses allowed a ton of yards to passers.

2022 Adjusted net yards per passing attempt allowed

  1. Rams – 9.42
  2. Cardinals – 9.23
  3. Packers – 8.41
  4. Raiders – 8.21

Based on our focus stat and historical evidence showing teams score fewer points at Kansas City, I expect the Chargers-Chiefs game to go under the total, with the Chiefs squeezing out a victory.

Dolphins-Ravens is also a match of 1-0 teams with above-average defenses. The total (43.5) seems low, but I envision a low-scoring Ravens victory.

Buccaneers-Saints is another 1-0 showdown with two strong defenses. The Saints are at home and seem to always have Tom Brady’s number. I like the under and Saints to at least cover the +3 spread, with a decent chance at an upset.

The final 1-0 matchup is harder to envision going under the total. Vikings-Eagles features bona fide top-tier offenses. I still expect the Eagles to cover the -2.5 spread at home.

Week 2: Fantasy

First, I want to partially fade 1-0 offenses on the road against another 1-0 team. I will be moderately underweight on Dolphins and Buccaneers players in DFS lineups. It is helpful that two of these games are not on the main Sunday slate in DFS: Chargers-Chiefs (Thursday) and Vikings-Eagles (Monday). Have fun selecting which of the various skill players to use in your respective showdown lineups. Any and all options could spike.

In season-long formats, play your stars, but don’t count on secondary pieces to outperform. You shouldn’t fade the Vikings; Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, and Kirk Cousins are still fine options. The Chargers are more enigmatic to me. They have all the pieces for an explosive attack, but will the offense really explode this week? I would still start Justin Herbert, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

Week 2: DFS

Regarding which players to target for DFS main slates, I would focus on the things that we KNOW, as opposed to the things that we THINK we know. What does that mean?

  1. Baker Mayfield and Russell Wilson failed to win their respective revenge games. However, both were playing their former defenses (obviously), who have had years of experience competing in practice against their former quarterbacks. Those quarterbacks are now in a new and different situation with totally different supporting casts. I think the advantage was decidedly in favor of the defensive units. Both QBs are primed for bounce-back games. Wilson ($7200) is the 3rd priciest QB on DraftKings, while Mayfield ($5300) is very affordable. Their pass-catchers are easily stackable at their prices: Courtland Sutton ($6100), DJ Moore ($5700), Jerry Jeudy ($5600), and Robbie Anderson ($5300) can give plenty of budget for bigger names. The run-back options at WR come from the Texans and Giants: Brandin Cooks ($6000), Sterling Shepard ($4900), Kadarius Toney ($4200), and Nico Collins ($4100) also are budget-relievers.
  2. The Cardinals’ defense is banged up. Mahomes thrashed them badly, and I fully expect the Raiders to vent their frustrations at home against Arizona. Play both sides with impunity. Derek Carr ($6200), Kyler Murray ($7500), Hollywood Brown ($6200), and Darren Waller (5600) are excellent options. But world-beater Davante Adams ($8600) is my top player for the slate. With a more condensed target distribution than the Chiefs, you could readily do a Carr-Adams-Waller stack with Brown on the bring-back.
  3. Dallas is a punching bag without Dak. Joe Mixon ($7200) is my strongest RB recommendation, but you could involve any of Cincinnati’s options. Ja’Marr Chase ($8000) and Joe Burrow ($6600) could be worth their weight in gold. At $2200, the chalky Bengals D/ST is worth it.
  4. Detroit and Washington have legit offenses. I want in on this Commanders-Lions game. Any hole in your lineup should be filled with a player from this game. Or you could use this game as your main stack. D’Andre Swift ($7000), Terry McLaurin ($6600), Amon-Ra St. Brown ($6500), Antonio Gibson ($6200), Carson Wentz ($5800), Jared Goff ($5400), and TJ Hockenson ($4700) are all viable in GPPs.

Last thought: don’t forget to put waiver requests in! Tyrion Davis-Price and Jeff Wilson will replace Elijah Mitchell’s workload for a few months. Kenyan Drake is still available in many leagues. Jamaal Williams could continue his touchdown-vulturing ways. Curtis Samuel might be worth an add. I wouldn’t touch Cooper Rush.

Check in again next time for The Wednesday Watchman: Week 3!

(Data courtesy of SIS and TruMedia Networks)

WATCH MORE: Recapping a Wild Week 2

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