Welcome back to the Daily Fantasy: Love it, Need it, Hate it, Lottery Picks article for Week 2 of the NFL season. Before I get into the Week 2 plays, I will recap how Week 1 went, and discuss how the players I talked about in last week’s article performed. It was an up and down Week 1, with some aspects of the article faring better than others. In my strategy article that comes out tomorrow, I will talk about my lineups from last week, and discuss the strategies I used for those lineups. Make sure to stop by The 33rd Team tomorrow to see that article as well!
Week 1 Recap
Self-reflection is an extremely important part of Daily Fantasy. You need to look back on your lineups and figure out where you were right, and where you were wrong. Another important aspect is not being extremely result-oriented. Just because a player had a poor fantasy performance doesn’t mean he was a bad play and vice versa. The process should always carry more value than the results. Over the long term, sticking to your process week after week is bound to reap good results. Changing your process each week due to how the past week went is a recipe for disaster.
We’ll start off on a positive note, and highlight where I was correct in Week 1.
Kyler Murray ($7,600 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel)
This is definitely one where I’ll give myself a pat on the back. All week I was extremely high on Kyler Murray, and I never really wavered. Kyler finished with 34.56 DraftKings points and looked very healthy. Pre-injury in 2020, Kyler was a fantasy monster. I knew I had to capitalize on a healthy Murray against one of the worst defenses in the league. It was also easy to stack him with DeAndre Hopkins, as DHop is a target monster with a lot of touchdown equity. Kyler Murray made too much sense in Week 1, and I’m glad I didn’t overthink it.
Dalvin Cook ($9,100 DraftKings, $9,400 FanDuel)
Dalvin Cook didn’t smash to the extent that Kyler did, but he still put up a solid fantasy performance. The volume was there, as he had 20 carries to go along with 7 targets, en route to 21.4 DraftKings points. He wasn’t very efficient with his touches, but with how much volume he was getting, it didn’t end up mattering. I’m a sucker for volume, and despite this game script not going how I thought it would, Cook still put up a solid performance.
Alvin Kamara ($8,600 DraftKings, $8,600 FanDuel)
Kamara, similar to Cook, was not very efficient with his touches. He carried the ball 20 times and snagged 3 catches to get to 18.1 DraftKings points. Kamara was the focal point of the Saints’ offense, and he may have seen even more work if the game didn’t get out of hand. He didn’t have a great performance, I’d simply call it fine. Rostering Kamara didn’t win you any tournaments, but it also didn’t lose you anything. Just take the points and move on.
Justin Herbert ($6,700 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel)
With how variant the game of football is, saying you “hate” a player on a given week is bound to hurt you at some point. It hurt me this week, which we’ll get to soon enough. However, my anti-Herbert stance in Week 1 paid off. Herbert didn’t have a bad fantasy performance, as he put up 18.38 DraftKings points. However, in a week where Kyler Murray and Patrick Mahomes both put up more than 34 DraftKings points, 18.38 points from Herbert simply wasn’t enough. He didn’t stink, but he didn’t explode. I’ll take my “win” here and move on.
There’s definitely one guy in this category, and another one is on the fence, who I ended up putting in “The Unfortunate” section.
T.J. Hockenson ($4,900 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel)
I wish I could’ve blamed this on the San Francisco end-of-game blunders, but I can’t. Hockenson ended with 25.7 DraftKings points, and still would’ve been in the high-teens without the onside kick and fumble ordeal. I contradicted myself a little bit and I overvalued the defensive matchup. I praised the likes of Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara for their volume. When it came to Hockenson, I chalked up his expected volume as unimportant due to the matchup. I explained in the strategy article why defensive matchups are overrated, yet I used that as one of the main factors against Hockenson. I was wrong. It happens. Thankfully, Hockenson wasn’t that highly owned, so it didn’t kill anyone’s lineups.
Here is where I will highlight some of the players that I believed were good process plays but didn’t result in good fantasy performances.
James Robinson (FanDuel) ($6,400 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel)
I was on the fence between putting James Robinson in this category, or in “The Bad”. However, he was above 50% in the contests that I was in, and with his price and expected workload, I can’t classify it as a “bad” process play. Shame on me, I guess, for expecting Urban Meyer to utilize his best running back. Robinson and Hyde were a dead-even split in opportunities, at 11 apiece. An opportunity is a carry or a target, as Robinson had 5 carries and 6 targets. Due to his price and ownership on FanDuel, James Robinson was a must-roster in cash games. Even with the results, in a cash lineup, I would play him again.
Raheem Mostert ($5,800 DraftKings, $6,100 FanDuel)
Week 1 was supposed to be the week where Raheem Mostert made up for breaking my heart in the 2019 NFC Championship Game against my beloved Packers. Instead, Mostert exited with a knee injury after two carries and has found himself out for the season. With Trey Sermon being scratched late Sunday morning, it led to a flood of players rostering Mostert in their lineups. However, the Sermon news shouldn’t have had that big of an impact on Mostert’s outlook. Sermon wasn’t injured, and the team clearly knew all week that he wouldn’t be playing. It wasn’t as if he had a knee injury, tested it out in pregame warmups, and then decided he wasn’t good to go. If that was the case, maybe it would lead to Raheem Mostert getting fed extra carries. With ownership flooding to Mostert on DraftKings, late news made him a viable fade. On FanDuel, with how touchdown-dependent that site is, and how cheap he was, Mostert was still a great play. All my reasons to like Mostert showed on Sunday. The 49ers scored 41 points, and the backfield totaled 30+ DraftKings points. You have to imagine that if Mostert stays healthy, then he eats up a lot of those points. Mostert’s injury was unfortunate, but I stand by the play.
Julio Jones ($6,800 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel)
The Cardinals’ did their part to make this game a shootout. The Titans simply couldn’t get anything together. Despite that, Julio still had a chance for a relevant fantasy performance. Julio finished with a poor 5.9 DraftKings points, but multiple dropped passes, including a dropped touchdown, sealed his fate. A low-owned receiver with the skillset that Julio possesses, in a projected shootout, is a player that I would roster ten times out of ten. However, Julio dropped a couple of passes, including a potential touchdown, which really hurt lineups. The result was bad, but the process was fine.
Week 1 was a solid start to the season, but now it’s over. Week 2 is upon us, and it’s time to figure out who to play.
Week 2 Picks
Players in the “Love it” section are guys that I am excited to play in any format, regardless of the ownership that they may garner that week.
Dak Prescott ($6,800 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel)
A quarterback headlined Week 1’s “Love it” section, and we’re going right back to the well in Week 2. In Dak Prescott’s last five full games played, he is averaging an insane 51.8 pass attempts per game. He also had an impressive Week 1 showing, as he posted a 31.42 DraftKings point performance in his first game back from the ankle injury. All of this was against the Tampa Bay defense, which shows that Prescott is essentially matchup-proof. With Michael Gallup going on IR, it makes stacking for Prescott even easier. Amari Cooper had 16 targets last week, and CeeDee Lamb trailed right behind with 15 targets.
Looking at this week, Prescott is set up in an expected shootout. This game has the highest total on the slate at 55, making it one that I am eager to get exposure to. In his 12 career games with a total of 51 or higher, Prescott has averaged 27 DraftKings points. He also has some rushing upside, albeit less than he used to have due to his ankle injury. There were a few designed runs called for Prescott, which shows that he is comfortable tucking it and running. The Chargers’ defense isn’t a pushover, but it’s no Tampa Bay. If Prescott can go for 30+ DraftKings points against Tampa, I’m sure he can do the same against the Chargers. Justin Herbert also shapes up really nicely in this shootout, but I expect him to come with higher ownership than Prescott. He is going to be lower owned, and with the Cowboys being underdogs, I expect Prescott to have more passing attempts than Herbert. Due to his high passing volume, sheer talent, and awesome game environment, I love Prescott this weekend.
Joe Mixon ($7,000 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel)
No, you’re not reading the Week 1 article again despite how it may look. I started with a quarterback I love in a projected shootout, and I’m following it up with a running back who is going to hog touches. There was speculation coming into the year that Joe Mixon may move into a workhorse role, and last week’s matchup showed just that. Mixon carried the ball 29 times and had 4 catches on 4 targets. That volume is up there with the likes of Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook. Despite the touch-volume, Mixon’s price has not been adjusted on DraftKings and FanDuel. Mixon is the 8th priced running back on DraftKings, and the 6th priced running back on FanDuel.
The matchup with Chicago isn’t anything to go crazy about, but it definitely isn’t going to scare me away. Darrell Henderson Jr. had a solid performance on the ground against Chicago last week, as he had 70 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Mixon is game-script proof, as he is used in the passing game and running game. If Cincinnati falls behind, Mixon is a part of the offense as they try to get back into the game. If Cincinnati takes the lead, they feed Mixon the ball on the ground to eat some clock. Until DraftKings and FanDuel adjust to Mixon’s role, I’m going to play him as he is underpriced. He also isn’t projecting for that much ownership, as right now I’m expecting him to be sub-15% in tournaments on both sites.
This section will contain guys who I believe are necessary when you are constructing a lineup for cash games. They are still viable in tournaments, but they aren’t necessary. I still like them as plays, but these guys may come with higher ownership, which could provide merit to fading them and going another route.
CeeDee Lamb ($6,400 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel)
Do you need a receiver to stack with Prescott? Look no further! Lamb is one of my favorite plays this week, as I believe he is necessary for cash games, and an awesome tournament play. Despite a few uncharacteristic drops, Lamb was able to put up a 26.4 DraftKings point performance in Week 1 against Tampa Bay. He only caught 7 of his 15 targets, which makes me feel like he has way more of an upside than 26.4 points. However, that’s still an amazing performance, and I’m not one to complain about great performances. With Michael Gallup going on IR, it seems like the targets on this offense will really be condensed to Lamb and Amari Cooper.
This Chargers-Cowboys game is shaping up to be an offensive parade. The total sits at 55, which is the highest of the league, and both of these teams had a top-11 pass rate last week, with Dallas ranking 2nd, and the Chargers sitting at 11. In Lamb’s 10 career games where the total is over 50, he has averaged 18.3 DraftKings points. 18.3 is an impressive number, but it’s reasonable to expect that average to keep increasing. 9 of the 10 games in that data are from his rookie year, and now Michael Gallup is sidelined with an injury. I expect Lamb to see a similar target number in this matchup as he did last week. In this expected shootout, I expect Lamb to light up the score sheet. I believe he is necessary for cash game lineups on both sites. I also think he makes for an awesome tournament play, despite a solid chunk of ownership.
Najee Harris ($6,300 DraftKings, $6,100 FanDuel)
The rookie first-round pick wasn’t eased into Pittsburgh’s offense at all. Najee Harris played 100% of the snaps en route to 16 carries and 3 targets. Harris was inefficient, as he averaged 2.8 yards per carry, and was only able to muster up 5.9 DraftKings points. However, Buffalo is a tough matchup, and my main takeaway is the sheer volume that Harris received.
Harris isn’t priced like a running back who could potentially see 20 touches against a weak Raiders’ run defense. Las Vegas gave up 5.6 yards per carry on Monday night against Baltimore, and now they travel to the east coast on a short week to match up with Pittsburgh. The Steelers are favored, and due to their massive advantage on the defensive front, I expect them to take a lead. A lead equates to a positive game script for Harris, meaning more carries on the ground. The Raiders just gave up 30+ DraftKings points to the Ravens on the ground. With Harris expected to receiver almost all of Pittsburgh’s carries, I am very intrigued. Harris also saw passing game work, which is important. If the Raiders do jump out to a lead, we don’t need to worry about Pittsburgh swapping Harris for a pass-catching back. I believe Harris is an awesome play, but so do a lot of people in the Daily Fantasy realm. I expect him to be one of the highest owned players on DraftKings, and I think he will be the highest owned player on FanDuel. He is viable in tournaments, but with his high ownership, it could make sense to go another route. In cash games, Harris should be the first guy into your lineup.
Players in the “Hate it” section are guys that I do not want to roster that week in DFS for a number of reasons. They may have a bad matchup, they may be projecting to have too much ownership, they may be too expensive, or it could be a combination of the three.
Myles Gaskin ($5,900 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel)
Myles Gaskin is someone who I have no interest in for DFS this weekend. Gaskin is priced around the likes of Ezekiel Elliot, Harris, Chris Carson, and David Montgomery. To be priced with these horses, he must have a good matchup, or lots of volume, right? Well, no. The Bills stifled the Steelers run game last week, as they held Harris to just 2.8 yards per carry. The Bills are also favored against Miami in this match-up, meaning less expected carries as the game script doesn’t expect to be in Miami’s favor. However, I could move past a sub-par matchup and a bad game script if volume was something I could bank on.
So, that whole volume thing. Yeah, Gaskin doesn’t really have that. This Miami backfield is shaping up as a committee, as Gaskin played 54% of the snaps in Week 1, Malcolm Brown took 30%, and Ahmed brought up the rear with 20%. Gaskin led in touches with 14, as Brown and Ahmed both totaled 5. Despite Gaskin being the leader of the committee, I’m not too interested. I don’t want to roster the leader of a three-back committee for $5,900 on DraftKings and $5,700 on FanDuel. I can get running backs with far more volume in better matchups for around the same price.
The Lottery Picks section contains players with low ownership who I think have the upside to be in tournament-winning lineups.
Deebo Samuel ($6,700 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel)
This week’s lottery pick is Deebo Samuel, as I think he shapes up as a great play. Samuel is currently projecting for less than 10% ownership on both sites. This may creep up, but if I had to guess, I’d expect Samuel to stay below 12% on both sites. Anything above that would surprise me. Jimmy Garoppolo attempted 25 passes in last week’s matchup with Detroit, and he targeted Samuel 12 times, good for a 48% target share. Obviously, that number is unsustainable, but I still expect Samuel to see a lot of volume. Despite the expected volume, his price is still very affordable. Samuel had 35.9 DraftKings points against the Lions, and I expect another great performance this week.
The Eagles routed the Falcons last week. The Falcons only mustered up 6 points, which I think is far more telling of how poor the Falcons offense is, as opposed to how good the Eagles defense is. I think the Eagles-49ers game has the potential of a shoot-out, and I see Samuel being one of the engines of this 49ers offense. Darius Slay is probably who Samuel will draw in coverage, but receiver vs. cornerback matchups don’t concern me that much. Even if they did, Darius Slay is not someone I am afraid of. Kyle Shanahan designs plays to get the ball into his playmaker’s hands, and Samuel is one of the 49ers’ main playmakers. Samuel has an extremely high ceiling due to his heavy target share in a potentially high-scoring affair. For sub ~12% ownership, Samuel is an awesome tournament play this weekend.