In this early week article I am going to cover a few highlights from the week before in the “What We Learned” section. I will then preview the Thursday night game from a DFS perspective if you just can’t wait until Sunday. Finally, I will have a look at each position and a few players to think about early in the week before giving you my top QB/WR stacks on Thursday/Friday.
What We Learned
Coming into Week 1, I expected the Saints/Raiders and Lions/Colts games to be the highest scoring and sure enough they didn’t disappoint. Drew Brees went off for 423 passing yards with four touchdowns with the majority of the volume going to Brandon Cooks(6/143/2) and Willie Snead(9/172/1). No matter the matchup these three will be a popular stacking option all year. The Raiders also impressed as Derek Carr threw for 319 yards on 38 attempts with just one touchdown to Amari Cooper(6/137/1) as they rushed three into the endzone with Latavius Murray, Jalen Richards and Jamize Olawale.
Looking at the Lions/Colts game we got pretty much what we expected as both defenses ranked in the bottom of the league last season with not much really expected to change. Andrew Luck led the way throwing for 385 yards and four touchdowns while spreading the ball around to his deep receiving corps. Phillip Dorsett(4/94/) led the way in yards with TY Hilton(6/79) not far behind. It was Donte Moncrief(6/64/1), Dwayne Allen(4/53/1) and Jack Doyle(3/35/2) cleaning up the scores. Jack Doyle??? I am just as surprised as you. What I take from this game is that Andrew Luck will be an elite QB for DFS this year but hard to stack as he loves to spread the ball around.
Another one of the games I paid close attention to this past week was the Divisional game between the Falcons and Buccaneers. Both QB’s had good games with Matt Ryan throwing for 334 yards and two touchdowns while Jameis Winston went off for 281 yards passing and four touchdowns. As we expected it was Mike Evans(5/99/1) leading the way for the Bucs WR’s while Doug Martin was less than impressive with 18 carries for just 62 yards. On the other side of the ball we saw what we had feared coming in with a RB by committee between Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Freeman saw 11 carries and four receptions while Coleman has eight carries and five receptions. It is going to be tough to plug either of them in your lineup from week to week until a more clear picture can be painted. Julio Jones, who was not 100% going into the week, looked decent in a limited capacity hauling in four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Those were the three big games I was watching closely last week and here are a few other situations to monitor going forward. The San Diego Chargers appear to have lost Keenan Allen(WR) for the season opening up a ton of DFS value for Philip Rivers who loves to chuck it up. The three that could see the biggest volume jump could be Tyrell WIlliams(WR), Travis Benjamin(WR), Antonio Gates(TE) and even Danny Woodhead from the backfield. The Broncos have a very clear picture in their backfield as CJ Anderson proved in Week 1 against the Panthers as he received 20 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown along with four receptions for 47 yards and a second touchdown. It appears like he can be trusted on a week to week basis from sheer volume alone. A situation to monitor this week will be to see if Adrian Peterson can rebound after a horrible opening week where he rushed 19 times for just 31 yards. Losing Teddy Bridgewater appeared to be very detrimental for the offense as the Titans completely loaded the box. If the Vikings cannot get production out of Sam Bradford moving forward AP could be a fade all season long. Sticking in the same game- we saw the emergence of rookie WR Tajae Sharpe for the Titans who recorded seven catches on 11 targets for 76 yards. A couple other WR’s that stood out, especially from a target standpoint, were Allen Robinson(15 targets-6/72), A.J. Green(13 targets-12/180/1) and Jordan Matthews(14 targets-7/114/1). All three of these players can be relied upon for top targets every week and can be trusted in cash games and come with huge upside for tournaments.
This section turned into a long look at last week and I didn’t even cover half the games. I may consider making a the recap section a stand alone article week to week. Stay tuned!
Thursday Night Football
I personally do not play Thursday night games for Daily Fantasy for a few reasons, but I don’t recommend everyone fall in line with my strategy. First of all, FanDuel has taken away the ability to see ownership after lineup lock. This was a great way to get a look into the Sunday/Monday slate and help project ownership. With this no longer an option I’m just less enticed to take the risk. As we have experienced in the past, the games are less than intriguing and a great example is this week’s matchup between the Jets and Bills. One of the other things that deters me is the injury situations which are much more muddied this season with the removal of the Probable tag. I do understand if you wanna play TNF games as it seems like a year passes before Sunday morning comes around. My only recommendation to you, if you do choose to play Thursday, would be to limit your bankroll/exposure unless you feel your plan for Sunday is epic and accurate. If you normally play the $3, $5, $9 GPP’s, consider going down to the quarter arcade and $1 buyins. However for those with keen eyes on Sunday, if you feel your info is stronger than the next guy, then the TNF slate will provide you with more of an edge than a loss- as everyone is exposed to the same risks.
As I mentioned the matchup on Thursday this week is not very pretty. It’s a short week which can be an issue for offenses with limited time to get knicked up players healthy and get a gameplan in place. The best target from a DFS standpoint out of this game is the defenses. It is setup to be a smash mouth game that could end up in the 14-13 range by the end. Neither Tyrod Taylor or Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for over 200 yards in Week 1 and both had a QB rating under 80 for the week. The Bills top WR Sammy Watkins appears to be Questionable and would be the top target if he does play. Either way, Lesean McCoy should see a ton of volume in this one as he has no one really pushing him for snaps in the backfield. From the Jets side it is much of the same for Matt Forte who got 22 carries in week 1 for 96 while receiving seven targets in the passing game. If Fitzmagic can get back on track Erik Decker and Brandon Marshall would be excellent targets, especially in the redzone.
Week 2 Top Games to Target
In this final section I am going to cover a few games that could be very optimal for daily fantasy fantasy. I will be using the Player Lab tool on the website to look specifically at things like Vegas Totals, Opponent Defense rankings, past performances and most of all future projections.
New York Giants Passing Attack vs. Depleted Saints Secondary
Early in the week my favorite team to target is going to be the Giants passing game going up against the Saints. The Saints give up 486 yards(2nd worst) in Week 1 to the Raiders and it could get worse this week as they have lost their best corner Delvin Breaux for about six weeks with a broken leg. Although Amari Cooper is a great WR he is no Odell beckham Jr. who could absolutely torch De’Vante Harris, PJ Williams or whoever gets the call on Sunday. Unless something dramatic happens you will likely see Eli/OBJ at the top of the target article later in the week and should be a definite pair worth locking in the optimizer.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Oakland Raiders
The nice thing about Week 2 is there are at least four games at this point that are projected for over 48 total points. The Falcons/Raiders is sitting at 49 right now(3rd highest) making it a tremendous target for fantasy this week. Both defenses looked vulnerable in the passing game in Week 1 with the Raiders allowing 419 yards(Last) and the Falcons allowing 281 yards(21st). Both teams limited their opponents to 90 or less run yards so look for a heavy dose of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones and Derek Carr and Amari Cooper to start with. If you are looking for a bit more of a low owned approach you can target Michael Crabtree for the Raiders and for the Falcons I would recommend Tevin Coleman over Devonta Freeman as they share the load in the back field but Coleman comes much cheaper on both sites. Matt Ryan also targeted Jacob Tamme(TE) and Mohamed Sanu(WR) eight times each and both will come with extremely low ownership for deeper tournaments. I see more underowned stacks/pairs with this game and plan on running several different locks in the optimizer with this game more than most.
Thanks for reading this week’s article and stay tuned later in the week for my Favorite Stacking options for the weekend.