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Daily Fantasy Football Recommendations for Week 3

*Mike Barner*

Daily Fantasy Football Recommendations – Week 3

We are only two weeks into the NFL season, but the league already feels upside down. Veterans like Andy Dalton, Brandon Marshall and Adrian Peterson have been huge disappointments this season. Rookies Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook have performed well right off the bat. What craziness can Week 3 possibly bring? Hopefully it results in some extra money in your pocket from your DFS winnings. Put your favorite daily fantasy football recommendations from the article below in our lineup optimizer and hit calculate. You can let it fill in the rest of the spots for you or choose your personal favorites from the NFL Player Lab.

 

**QUARTERBACKS**

Matt Ryan vs. Detroit Lions
Stadium – Ford Field
DraftKings = $7,100
FanDuel = $8,500

While he’s not off to a spectacular start, Ryan has been solid for the Falcons so far this season as he has thrown for at least 252 yards and one touchdown in both games. He has yet to throw an interception and has a 69% completion percentage. He wasn’t needed to throw the ball a lot last week against the Green Bay Packers as the Falcons got up big early and turned it over to their running game. Week 3 brings a match up against the Lions who have a solid passing attack of their own. The Lions have allowed the 10th most passing yards so far this season and that includes their game against the terrible New York Giants offense. This may be a high scoring affair, which could lead to fantasy friendly numbers from Ryan.

Cam Newton vs. New Orleans Saints
Stadium – Bank of America Stadium
DraftKings = $6,600
FanDuel = $8,100

Newton is not off to a good start this season as he only has 399 passing yards, 30 rushing yards and two passing touchdowns over the first two weeks combined. He was banged up a bit in Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills, but is expected to play Sunday. The tonic to cure all offensive woes is a match up against the horrid Saints defense. Through the first two weeks, the Saints defense ranks last in the NFL in passing yards allowed (777), yards per attempt (11.2) and tied for last in passing touchdowns allowed (six). Even though the Panthers will be missing star tight end Greg Olsen due to injury, you should still expect big numbers from Newton in this contest.

DeShone Kizer vs. Indianpolis Colts
Stadium – Lucas Oil Stadium
DraftKings = $5,000
FanDuel = $6,900

Kizer got off to a hot start Week 1 as he threw for 222 yards and one touchdown while also scoring a rushing touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He did not have the same fortune Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens as he only threw for 182 yards to go along with no touchdowns and three interceptions. He missed part of the game with a migraine, but is expected to start Week 3. While it’s tough to rely on a rookie on the road, this is a favorable match up against a bad Colts secondary that has allowed the third most passing yards in the NFL this season. If you want to go cheap at quarterback, Kizer is your man.

 

**RUNNING BACKS**

Jay Ajayi vs. New York Jets
Stadium – MetLife Stadium
DraftKings = $7,700
FanDuel = $8,200

Ajayi received a heavy work load in the Dolphins first game of the season Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers as he rushed for 122 yards on 28 carries. Although he didn’t reach the end zone, that’s the kind of volume you want out of a high-priced fantasy option. Week 3 brings a favorable match up against a bad Jets defense who has allowed both the most rushing yards (370) and rushing touchdowns (four) in the league so far. They are also allowing a whopping 5.4 yards per carry. Put Ajayi in your lineup and enjoy the ride.

Christian McCaffrey vs. New Orleans Saints
Stadium – Bank of American Stadium
DraftKings = $6,100
FanDuel = $6,800

First glance at McCaffrey’s yardage totals don’t show anything that impressive as he only has 57 rushing yards and 72 receiving yards through two games so far. The key here though is his involvement in the offense as he has at least eight carries and at least five targets in both games. He may see an even bigger role in the offense as well going forward with Olsen out of action. Throw in the aforementioned favorable match up against the Saints and I believe McCaffrey is primed for the best game of his young career on Sunday.

Chris Thompson vs. Oakland Raiders
Stadium – FedEx Field
DraftKings = $4,500
FanDuel = $5,600

Thompson entered the season as the team’s pass-catching option out of the backfield, but has been a huge part of Washington’s offense as he already has two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown this season. His role in the passing attack has not disappointed as he has at least three receptions and five targets in both games this season. Starting running back Rob Kelley went down with a rib injury Week 2 and even if he does play Sunday, he may not be effective. Samaje Perine would pick up more of the slack if Kelley were to miss the game and would be an interesting play himself, but Thompson’s pass-catching abilities may be needed to keep up with the Raiders offense. Thompson is worth a shot at this price.

**WIDE RECEIVERS**

Antonio Brown vs. Chicago Bears
Stadium – Soldier Field
DraftKings = $9,000
FanDuel = $9,000

Brown started the season off strong Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns on the road as he had 11 receptions for 182 yards. Week 2 saw a bit of a decline against a much better Minnesota Vikings secondary as Brown finished with five receptions for 62 yards. However, the key is he received 11 targets in each of the first two games. Volume is the key to success for Brown and even though he hasn’t reached the end zone yet this season, he should get plenty of chances to do so this week. The Bears have allowed 8.6 yards per pass attempt this season, tied for fourth worst in the NFL. He’s not cheap, but I think he’ll be worth it Sunday.

Keenan Allen vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Stadium – StubHub Center
DraftKings = $7,200
FanDuel = $7,200

Allen was great Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins as he complied nine receptions for 100 yards. Clearly a favorite target of quarterback Philip Rivers, Allen has received at least 10 targets in both games so far this season. He has received at least 100 targets in both seasons of his career when he played at least 14 games, so clearly the only concern with Allen has been staying healthy. No worries there as he’s healthy heading into Week 3 and gets to face a Chiefs defense that has allowed the fourth most passing yards in the league this season. I like him again Sunday, especially at this reasonable price.

Jermaine Kearse vs. Miami Dolphins
Stadium – MetLife Stadium
DraftKings = $4,600
FanDuel = $5,800

Kearse put together a steady performance Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills as he posted seven receptions for 59 yards. However, he broke out in a big way Week 2 against the Oakland Raiders as he had four receptions, 64 yards and two touchdowns. While you can’t expect him to score two touchdowns every week, he clearly has a big role in a Jets offense that seriously lacks talent at wide receiver. Someone has to catch passes on a team that is likely going to throw a lot because they will be down big in games. Through two weeks, Kearse is that guy. Expect much of the same from him Sunday.

Rashard Higgins vs. Indianapolis Colts
Stadium – Lucas Oil Field
DraftKings = $4,000
FanDuel = $5,100

Browns wide out Corey Coleman was expected to have a large role in the offense this year, but broke his hand Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens. In stepped Higgins who posted seven receptions for 95 yards on a whopping 11 targets. Not bad for a guy who was on the practice squad Week 1. The Browns did bring in Kenny Britt this summer, but he has yet to make a splash with his new team. With few other options, Higgins is now primed for a big role. Considering his cheap price and favorable match up against a poor Colts defense, Higgins may be one of the best value plays of the week.

**TIGHT ENDS**

Travis Kelce vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Stadium – StubHub Center
DraftKings = $6,000
FanDuel = $7,100

The tight end position is going to be a tough one to fill this week with several of the upper level players at the position dealing with injuries. Kelce looks to be the cream of the crop this week as he’s healthy heading into this divisional match up with the Chargers. Although he got off to a slow start with five receptions for 40 yards Week 1, he rebounded nicely Week 2 to record eight receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown. With at least seven targets in both games this season, Kelce should be heavily involved again Sunday with the potential for another big performance.

Austin Hooper vs. Detroit Lions
Stadium – Ford Field
DraftKings = $3,800
FanDuel = $5,400

Yes, I again like Hooper. After posting 128 yards and a touchdown Week 1, he did come crashing back down to Earth last week as he only posted two receptions for seven yards. I’m not overly concerned with that though as those types of performances happen from time to time at the tight end position. While Hooper may never see a ton of targets, he’s a threat to score a touchdown every week. He gets to face a Lions defense who allowed 49 yards and a touchdown against Evan Engram and the Giants last week. As I mentioned before, the Giants offense has been embarrassing this season. I like Hooper’s chances of being productive and reaching the end zone Sunday.

**DEFENSES/SPECIAL TEAMS**

Denver Broncos vs. Buffalo Bills
Stadium – New Era Field
DraftKings = $3,600
FanDuel = $5,100

This game might get ugly in a hurry. The Bills offense enters Week 3 ranked 22nd in total yards this season and has scored a total of 24 points. The Broncos stellar defense is off to yet another solid start as they have allowed the sixth fewest total yards through two weeks. The Bills don’t have a ton of play makers on offense while the Broncos defense is loaded with talent. Pay up for the Broncos Sunday as it would not be surprising if they kept the Bills out of the end zone in this game.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants
Stadium – Lincoln Financial Field
DraftKings = $3,000
FanDuel = $4,500

Speaking of ugly, let me continue to pile on the Giants and their terrible offense. They allowed three sacks and an interception against the Dallas Cowboys Week 1 and five sacks and an interception against the Lions Week 2. Their offensive line is a wreck, leaving quarterback Eli Manning to look like he fears for his life every time he takes a snap. Things won’t get any easier against an Eagles defense that already has eight sacks this season. If you want to save money at the position, the Eagles should be your choice as they are primed for a big performance.

NFL Lineup Daily Fantasy Football: Week 3 Cash and GPP Plays

We close the book on Week 2 of the NFL season after a relatively chalky NFL slate. We saw several of the obvious plays hit like Tom Brady, Ty Montgomery, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, and even Coby Fleener all hit value

 

Now we transition to Week 3, which opens up as an unusual ten home teams as current underdogs. The Patriots, Eagles, Panthers, Titans, and Packers are the only home teams that are favored in the main slate. That doesn’t exactly say everything about the slate quite yet; it just means ownership may be more spread out than what we’ve seen the first two weeks. So without further or do, let’s dive in.

Quarterbacks

Matt Ryan (DK $7,100, FD $8,500) – One of the first things I look for when looking into Quarterbacks are team implied totals. Matt Ryan comes in after a dominant performance against the Packers on Sunday Night Football with an implied team total of 26.75 against the Lions. That’s good enough for third highest on the slate behind only the Patriots and the Raiders. The Lions are currently 12 worst in the league by averaging 236 passing yards per game and are averaging 40 passing attempts allowed per game. This game originally opened up with a 48.5 o/u and has since moved to 50.5, which is good enough for the second highest total of the week. The game is on the road for the Falcons, and Ryan is known for performing better at home, so there is a reason to temper expectations. But in a matchup against an improved Lions offense with a secondary bad secondary, the game flow could mean Ryan will a lot of opportunities to chuck the ball.

Matthew Stafford (DK $6,200, FD $7,900) – Pivoting to the other side of the ball, Stafford has done reasonably well his first two weeks against the Cardinals and the Giants. Two opponents that are tougher on paper than his matchup this week. Stafford comes into the week as a 3 point underdog and with an implied team total of 23.75. Stafford is returning home where he threw for 4 touchdowns and 292 yards in Week 1 against a good Cardinals secondary. Out of all the games this week, this Lions/Falcons game is my favorite for quarterback points.

Kirk Cousins (DK $6,100, FD $7,600) – Cousins has been disappointing the first two weeks. He had a disappointing game on the road against the Rams and was mediocre against the Eagles in the opening week. This week could potentially be a rebound spot for Cousins. He’s at home facing a Raiders defense that has been overachieving the first two weeks of the season. The Raiders are averaging only 200 passing yards per game and have only allowed two passing touchdowns on the year. Last year the Raiders were one of the worst secondaries in the league and did very little to improve that unit this offseason. Oakland does have one of the league’s best offenses in the league, which explains the high o/u at 54 (highest of the week). Give me a low-owned Kirk Cousins against a weak secondary at home, even as a 3 point underdog.

Value QB

Andy Dalton (DK $5,100, FD $6,800) – Andy Dalton has been terrible the first two weeks. In fact, the entire Bengals offense has as they are 1 of 2 teams (49ers) that have yet to find the end zone this season. That being said, Dalton has had two difficult matchups after facing the Ravens and the Texans on a short week. The Bengals opened the week as a 10 point underdog on the road against the Packers, but have since narrowed the line to +8.5. Aaron Rodgers is without a doubt looking to light up the scoreboard after getting run over by the Falcons (again) on national TV, so I expect Dalton to have plenty of garbage time opportunities to throw the ball.

Running Backs

Le’Veon Bell (DK $8,800, FD $8,700) – To say Bell has been disappointing the first two weeks is an understatement. He’s been so disappointing that Elliott eclipsed him as the most expensive running back on this week. But this week could be the week we get Bell at depressed ownership and in a bounce-back spot. He doesn’t quite check all the boxes going up against an improved front seven in Chicago, but the Steelers are 7 point favorites. We saw Bell get 27 rushes last week and also 4 targets, so the volume is much improved after that bizarre first week. We all know Big Ben’s struggles on the road, yet the Steelers are still are implied to score 26 points. This should be a get well spot for Bell.

CJ Anderson (DK $5,800, FD $6,900) – Anderson is way too cheap on DK at 5.8k. The Broncos have shown that Anderson is the feature back while Jamaal Charles has only found his way on the field in passing situations. Anderson owns 70% of the Broncos rushing attempts after two weeks and has produced just under 200 yards (199). He also has 4 catches on 6 targets, which adds to his value on DK. The Broncos are a 3 point favorite against the Bills in a game that could feature both running backs with their pedestrian passing games and minimal projections. Anderson is projected as the third best running pack (point per dollar) on LineupLabs.

Isaiah Crowell (DK $4,800, FD $6,600) – If you drafted Crowell as I did in season long or redraft leagues, you’re probably frustrated with the thought of playing him in DFS. But the truth is, if there is ever a spot to play Crowell, it might be this week. Crowell is facing a Colts defense whose defensive line may have more holes than swiss cheese. This game has one of the lowest totals on the week and rightfully so as both teams have young offenses. Crowell does have the luxury of running behind the best offensive line in the league per PFF.com, so this could be a breakout week for Crowell.

GPP Flyer

Mike Gillislee (DK $5,700, FD $6,800) – Probably the better site to play him is on FD since he’s so touchdown dependent, but that’s exactly why he’s a shot in the dark. Gillislee has scored 4 touchdowns in the first two weeks. He leads the league in rushes inside the 5-yard line, converting each 4 of his carries into touchdowns. Although Gillislee is touchdown dependent, he does own 59% of the market share of rushes out of the Patriots backfield. The Pats are the biggest favorite of the week (13.5), and at home so Gillislee should get a shot at a cheap TD.

Cash game plays not noted above: M. Gordon, K. Hunt, J. Ajayi, T. Montgomery.
GPP Flyers: L.McCoy, D. Freeman, C. McCaffrey

Wide Receivers:

AJ Green (DK $8,100, FD $ 7,500) – I talked about Green’s quarterback up top. I like the idea of targeting this game from the Bengals passing attack with the likelihood that they will be playing catch-up for the majority of the game. Green currently accounts for 30% of the Bengals’ targets through the first two games of the season. He’s seen 18 targets and has caught 10 of them for 141 yards. He has yet to find the end zone, but as I mentioned with Dalton, they have had two tough matchups. This week they go up against a Packers secondary that got torched by Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu in really what was only one-half of competitive football. The Packers rank 18th in the league in FP allowed to opposing WR by allowing 18 points through the first two weeks. I can see Green getting one, possibly two touchdowns in garbage time.

Michael Crabtree (DK $7,400, FD  $7,700) – I really thought that Amari Cooper was going to peak this season and Crabtree was going to begin declining. That clearly wasn’t the case last week when Crabtree scored 3 times on 6 targets, while Cooper only saw 5. I still think this may happen, but at least for this week, Crabtree might be the play over Cooper again. The big reason is that I expect Josh Norman to spend most of his time against Cooper, which would leave Crabtree lined up against Bashaud Breeland who currently has a PFF grade of 67.2. If Crabtree does face Breeland throughout the game, he should be able to find the end zone again.

Value

Rashard Higgins (DK $4,000, FD $5,100) – Higgins got a lot more playing time once the Brown’s top receiver Corey Coleman left the game. Coleman was eventually placed on IR and Higgins looks to be the biggest beneficiary from the move. Higgins got 11 targets from Kizer and caught 7 for 95 yards last week.

Devin Funchess (DK $4,200, FD $4,800) – With the injury to tight end Greg Olsen, Cam Newton will have to find someone over the middle of the field to dump the ball off. Per PFF.com, Funches is expected to lineup in 2 and 3 wide receiver sets against P.J. Williams. Williams is by far the Saints worst graded corner (42.7) in a secondary that has gotten torched by Brady and Bradford to begin the season. With Olsen out that’s going to open up more targets for the Panthers passing attack. I expect McCaffrey to see an uptick in targets but Funches should also benefit from Olsen’s absence.

** Devonte Adams is practically a free square if Nelson and Cobb are out ** 

GPP Flyer

DeAndre Hopkins (DK $6,200, FD $ 7,500) – Similar to Green’s situation, Hopkins is likely to find his team chasing a high-powered offense. Hopkins is currently third in the NFL in targets with 13 and also leads the NFL in team target market share 54.2%. It’s amazing how Watson just continues to chuck the ball Hopkins way. The Pats are currently 29th in the league against WR by allowing an average of 27.6 points to opposing wideouts. Hopkins is GPP only because Belichick is notorious for taking away the opposing team’s best weapon, which is Nuke.

Other Middle/Top Tier Options: M. Evans (GPP), K. Allen (Cash), D. Baldwin (GPP), T. Hill (Cash)

Tight End

For the first time this season there isn’t a clear-cut chalk tight end that will be heavily owned in cash games. At least for now. Below are a few of the best options when considering price per dollar spent.

Martellus Bennett (DK $4,400, FD $ 5,600) – Bennett is the tight end that I’m watching pretty closely. As I’m writing this Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb have missed practice early in the week after leaving last week’s game against the Falcons. If one or neither of these players play that leaves plenty of targets up for grabs for the Packers, pass catchers, and I expect Bennett to be a beneficiary. Last week Bennett saw 11 targets with both Nelson and Cobb out of the game. Bennett would face a Bengals defense that ranked 30th in the league against tight ends last season.

Jack Doyle (DK $ 3,600, FD $5,300) – Doyle may be the heaviest owned TE on the week considering many DFS players will stick to recency bias and save their money by using Doyle as their value play. Doyle is certainly cheap and is coming off of a nice outing with Colts’ new quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Brissett targeted Doyle 8 times last week and Doyle caught every one of those targets and gained 79 yards to lead the team in receiving.

GPP Flyer

Jordan Reed (DK $5,400, FD $ 6,700) – Reed is limited to a tournament play only because he has missed practice early this week. Reed is listed as questionable which is likely to drive down his ownership. I already expressed my interest in the ‘skins offense in the QB section and I think adding Reed to a game stack for this Sunday night hammer could lead to a big payoff. Reed is among the top 5 TE in targets this season accounting for 20% of the team’s targets.

Cash game plays not noted above: Z. Ertz, T. Kelce, E. Ebron

Gpp Flyer: R. Gronkowski, D. Allen (if Gronk is inactive)

Defense

With 10 home teams as current underdogs ownership is likely to be spread out at defense.

New England Patriots (DK $3,800, FD $4,900) – The Patriots are at home facing the Texans who are implied to score a slate low 15.25 points. According to Vegas, they seem like the safest play. The issue is that they’re the most expensive option on DK and 4th most expensive on FD. If you’re able to fit them in your lineups, you probably should. Belichick will without a doubt have a scheme to unravel rookie QB Deshaun Watson

Tennessee Titans (DK $ 2,700, FD $4,300) – If you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel on defense I won’t blame you. As we get deeper in the week, I find myself justifying using the Titans for a few reasons. They’re home favorites (-3), Russell Wilson’s terrible home/road splits, and the Seahawks’ team total has dropped from 20.25 to 19.75. The Seahawks haven’t got their offense going this season and were lucky to survive a home game against the 49ers. The Titans like to control the clock by running the ball which could limit possessions, which limits scoring

 

NFL Lineup Daily Fantasy Football: Week 2 Cash and GPP Plays

The NFL Week 2 slate kicks off with two games on the main slate that currently have Vegas over/under greater than 53. Per usual, these games will see the heaviest amount of ownership in cash games and tournaments. The difference this week from the first week is that these games actually consist of four high-powered offensive teams. Before I dive into this week’s positional breakdown, I’ll give a preview of the two games that could dictate the landscape of week 2.

NFL Lineup Daily Fantasy Football - Lineuplab.com - fanduel lineup advice nfl - perfect lineup draftkings
Put our picks into the optimizer and let us help crunch the numbers, or browse through the Week 2 studs and sleepers with NFL Player Lab.

Patriots (31) @ Saints (24.5) o/u 54 (open) 55.5 (live)

The Patriots come into week 2 0-1 for the first time since 2014. If you’re panicking as a Patriots fan, you really shouldn’t, the last three times the Patriots started 0-1 they went on to win the Super Bowl. Bill Belichick is 42-6 following a loss. The Vegas lined open with the Patriots as a 4.5 point favorite but has since moved to a 6.5 favorite over the Saints giving the Patriots the highest implied team total on the main slate. They are going up against a Saints defense that just got lit up by Sam Bradford on Monday night football. Last season the Saints ranked 27th in the league in Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA) and 23rd against opposing wide receivers. To say the Saints have a bad secondary is an understatement. So Tom Brady against the Saints after not throwing a touchdown pass in the first game of the season is in a great spot. The Patriots offense as a whole with 10 days to prepare for this week going up against a Saints defense that has had 5 days to prepare an irritated Belichick.

Now the Saints aren’t in a bad spot themselves. They are playing in what many of the DFS community call the Coors Field of the NFL, the Superdome. The Saints offense passed the ball on nearly 60% of their offensive plays in the first week against the Vikings. The fact that they are about a touchdown underdog shows that Vegas believes they could be trailing throughout the game and could lead to more of the same game script for the Saints offense. Drew Brees is notorious for his home and road splits, and this week he’s back at home, and the Saints offense has performed much better when playing at home.

We always got to remember that Vegas isn’t always 100 percent right, but they are often a good indicator of game scripts. Figuring out how to roster a few players in this game will be key having a successful week 2.

NFL Lineup Daily Fantasy Football - Green Bay Packers - Lineup Lab

Packers (25.5) @ Falcons (28) o/u 53.5

These two teams meet up for the first time since the NFC Championship in a highly anticipated rematch. These two teams are also coming off of a week 1 offensive let down where they had similar positive Vegas numbers. Both teams had their fair share of concerns back in week 1. The Falcons were on the road, and the Packers were going up against an improved Seahawks defense. But onward to this week!

The Falcons return home where they flat out dominated the league with their high-powered offense. The difference is that this season they have a new offensive coordinator in Steve Sarkisian who managed the Falcons to a 57-43 pass to run ratio. Matt Ryan is going up against the Packers defense that was 31st in passing yards allowed and 29th in quarterback touchdowns. Matt Ryan at home against a mediocre Packers secondary is just as must as a lock as a top quarterback could be.

While the Falcons are favored by just under a field goal, the Packers implied total is also top 10 in the week. The Packers offenses threw at a 60-40 percent ratio against a tough Seattle passing defense and were able to manage over 300 yards. Aaron Rodgers has lit up the Falcons in his first two meetings against them accumulating 7 touchdowns on 573 yards against the Falcons.

This game will be featured as the Sunday night game, and you’d want to construct your lineups to have some exposure to this game or else you could see yourself dropping on the leaderboards.

Now that we looked into the two games that could have the highest impact on this week’s slate let’s take a look at a few other options at the different positions.

NFL Lineup Daily Fantasy Football - Lineuplab - Derek Carr

Quarterbacks:

If week 1 taught us anything, it was that paying up for the premium quarterbacks is over rated. The average quarterback scored 15.5 points on DraftKings and 14.62 points on FanDuel. We saw plenty of lineups at the top of the leaderboards with Carson Wentz and Matthew Stafford, and there were plenty of bust in the higher tier (I’m talking about your Russell Wilson). This week it may be harder to get away from the top tier (Brady, Brees, Rodgers, and Ryan) but there are always a few options in the middle and lower tier we can consider.

Derek Carr (DK $7,200, FD $8,300)
There are two quarterbacks that I like this week as a pivot from the quarterbacks mentioned above and the first is Derek Carr. Carr is coming off a week 1 performance where the Raiders offense controlled the game against an improved Titans defense and Carr completed over 68% of his passes. This week the Raiders are a huge 14 point favorites (second biggest on the slate) with an implied total of 28.5 at home against the Jets. The Jets have among one of the worst defenses in the league and last year allowed 30 passing touchdowns, which ranked in the bottom 10 in the league. The Jets also have a funnel defense which could force the Raiders to more passing situations with the Jets ability to limit the run game.

Russell Wilson (DK $6,800, FD $8,100)
Similar to Carr, Wilson comes into week 2 with an implied total of 28 points at home against a 49ers team that also allowed 30 passing touchdowns last year. The 49ers front seven is much improved from last season but could be limited depending on the status of rookie linebacker Reuben Foster. In week 1 the Seahawks had a 60-40 pass to run ratio, and Pete Caroll could look to stick with that ratio as Seattle has a lot of question marks in their backfield. Wilson has traditionally performed better at home than on the road, and Wilson is averaging 2.83 DK points at home than on the road. Wilson has averaged 19.7 DK points against the 49ers at home in two meetings against them in his career. These two quarterbacks are likely to be the most popular pivot from the high priced guys.

Carson Palmer (DK $6,000, FD $7,500)
Palmer did not look good against the Lions last week. He completed just 56% of his passes and threw 3 bad interceptions that allowed the Lions to come from behind and steal a victory. The bright side is that Palmer did throw the ball 48 times. The Cardinals also lost their star running back, David Johnson and have a mess in the backfield. Although Johnson is a huge weapon for Palmer out of the backfield, this could force even more passing plays for Palmer. This week Palmer is going up against a Colts defense that just got exposed for a 300 yard game by Jared Goff and a mediocre Rams offense. The Cardinals are an 8.5 road favorite with a score of 25.75. Palmer doesn’t quite check all the boxes you’d like to see for a quarterback, but he’s worth a flyer in tournaments, especially if you stack him with Larry Fitzgerald.

Joe Flacco (DK $5,200, FD $7,000)
Recovering from back injury, Flacco was eased back into live action in week 1. The Ravens protected Flacco by running the ball 71% of their offensive plays, but Flacco has a juicy matchup against the Browns. With an implied total of 23.5 and an 8 point favorite, the Ravens could very well continue to run the ball, but Flacco could be a big part of getting the big league for the Ravens. The Browns cut Joe Haden this preseason and ranked 30th against the pass last season DVOA, so this could be a get well game for Flacco down at $5,200 on Draftkings.

NFL Lineup Daily Fantasy Football - Ty Montgomery - Green Bay Packers - Lineuplab.com

Running Backs:

Last week I was a part of #TeamJamEmIn and rostered both LeVeon Bell and David Johnson. It didn’t work so well last week, and we no longer have that option with DJ out until possibly December. This week there aren’t a lot of backs that fill the bill with situations I like (home favorites with a high team total), but I’ll give you a few that stand out.

Melvin Gordon (DK $7,000, FD $7,600)

Gordon is insanely cheap on FanDuel, but he’s also relatively cheap on DraftkKngs as well. Due to the amount of volume he receives, he could be a steal at that mid-tier price point. Last week, Gordon had a pretty solid showing on the road against a tough Broncos defense. He totaled 23 touches and 79 yards and a touchdown (16.4 FDp & 18.9 DKp). This week Gordon is one of the few running backs that check all the boxes for being a home favorite running back with a decent team total. Gordon is the 6th highest price running back on DraftKings and 10th on Fanduel so he could warrant lower than expected ownership on DK considering he’s $200 more than Kareem Hunt.

Ty Montgomery (DK $5,800, FD $6,500)

If you’re looking for another non-expensive running back look no further than Montgomery. Montgomery is the 15th most expensive back on DK and 20th on FD. When you look at Montgomery’s game log in week 1, the one thing that stands out was his pass catching ability. A former receiver converted to running back, Montgomery caught each of his 4 targets against the Seahawks and turned that into 19.3 DK points. Although Montgomery is a road underdog against, he does have a high team total (25.25) in a game that is projected to be a shootout (53.5 o/u) and faces a Falcons defense that ranked dead last this past season in allowing running backs receptions (109) and yards (870). Montgomery is a good way to get exposure to this game at a very cheap cost.

Kareem Hunt (DK $6,800, FD $7,800)
The rookie burst onto the scene last week with a huge night racking up 248 total yards and 3 TD’s in 23 touches against a much improved Patriots defense. Hunt is likely to be very popular this week as he’s up against the Eagles who rank 22nd in aFPA per 4for4. Hunt is one of those running backs that check all the boxes as he’s a home favorite (-4.5) with an implied total of 26 points. It’s important to note that he’s not as cheap on FanDuel, where he is the 7th highest priced back.

Jacquizz Rodgers (DK $4,400, FD $6,000)
Rodgers will get his first of three starts as the Bucs premier back with Doug Martin suspended for three games this season. Rodgers had over 17 touches per game in spot starts last season and could be in for a heavy workload as a home favorite against the Bears. The Bears do have an improved front 7, so I could see a game script where Dirk Koetter elects to test out Winston’s new weapons on offense. Rodgers is cheap and should get anywhere from 15-18 touches in the game.

Tarik Cohen (DK $4,1000, FD $7,000) – A road underdog that has the game script that will likely feature a pass-catching running back. The Bears showed that Cohen is their clear pass catching back.

Adam Thielen - Minnesota Vikings - NFL Lineup Daily Fantasy Football - Lineuplab.com

Wide Receivers

In a slate that features four high-powered offenses with great Vegas totals, all of the high-priced receivers are in good spots this week to have a monster year. Antonio Brown is a beneficiary of Big Ben’s home splits and the same goes for Julio Jones.

Julio Jones (DK $9,200, FD $8,800)
Julio is in a ridiculous matchup. We’ve already talked about his high team total and the fact that that game has shootout written all over it. On top of all that, Jones is going up against the Packers defense that ranked 29th in wide receiver fantasy points allowed last season. Even last week when they bottled up Wilson, Baldwin was still able to manage a decent 63 yards on 4 catches. Julio will go up against Damarious Randall who allowed the second-most fantasy points per snap on a per-route basis in week 1 per Mike Clay. Julio and Ryan at home are a dynamic duo and could be in line for a monster game.

Brandin Cooks (DK $8,200, FD $7,900)
Another wide receiver in a high over/under game. Naturally, Cooks would have to make this list. He’s returning to the Superdome to play against his former team #NarrativeStreet. The Patriots were already without Julian Edelman and are more than likely to be without Danny Amendola who has not practiced this week due to a concussion and knee injury sustained in week 1. The Patriots will likely have two healthy receivers who are familiar with the playbook and Cooks has the upside to have a huge game.

Larry Fitzgerald (DK $6,500, FD $6,600)
Fitzgerald is a stud in the first six weeks of the season. Last week he received a team-high 13 targets and caught 6 of them for 74 yards. This week without David Johnson I expect the Cardinals to rely heavily on the passing game. We already talked about how the Colts got torn apart by a mediocre Rams offense. The savvy vet Fitzgerald is almost a sure bet to find the end zone.

Marqise Lee (DK $3,800, FD $5,900)
If you’re looking for value, unfortunately, it may lie on Marqise Lee. Lee could be the benefactor from the injury that causes Allen Robinson to miss the rest of the season. Lee is likely to move into the starting wide receiver spot and will play alongside Allen Hurns who caught under 50% of his targets last season. Lee was held without a catch last week against the Texans, but he should be in line to see more volume this week. Bortles leaves a lot to be desired, but Lee is very cheap and could help you fit in some of these top priced studs.

Adam Thielen (DK $ 5,000, FD $5,800)
Thielen had a breakout game 1 of the 2017 season on Monday night. He racked up 157 yards on 9 catches and out-targeted the Vikings number 1 receiver Diggs. He’s not a big red zone factor for Bradford, but his game script does indicate the Vikings could be playing catch up and throwing a lot as a 5.5 underdog against the Steelers on the road.

NFL Lineup For Daily Fantasy Football - Coby Fleener - Indianapolis Colts

Tight End

Tight End is a position I traditionally like to find value. This week is no different. While there are viable top-tier options that are worthy of rostering, I find that in this week it’s easier for roster construction to find value at tight end.

Coby Fleener (DK $3,100, FD $5,300)
Fleener will be the consensus chalk on DraftKings. As the 15th price tight end, Fleener opens up a lot of salary to afford a higher priced stud. Fleener looks to benefit from the absence of Willie Snead as in the two games without Snead, Fleener has averaged 8.5 targets for an average of 81 yards and a touchdown. The Saints are a home underdog, but Fleener has traditionally done better at home. Fleener is looking to be like the free square that Ertz was last week.

Jared Cook (DK $3,300, FD $5,100)
I like Jared Cook as a pivot off Fleener’s high ownership this week. Cook receiver 20% of the target market shares in an Oakland offense that is implied to score the second most points on the slate. He looked like a nice security blanket for Carr down the seems and is an excellent pivot from both Fleener and the popular Carr/Cooper or Carr/Crabtree stack. He’s up against a Jets funnel defense that allowed the third-most touchdowns to tight ends last season.

Gpp consideration
Carles Clay (DK $3,300, FD $5,100)
Another pivot from Fleener, Clay led the Bills with 9 targets in week 1. Clay is going up against the Panthers who allowed the second-most touchdowns last season.

NFL Lineup For Daily Fantasy Football - Oakland Raiders Defense - Lineup Lab Advice NFL

Defense

If week 2 is as crazy as week 1 was we better be ready to hit on defense. Last week we saw 4 different defense score over 20 DK points, and it was almost impossible to land atop the leaderboards without them.

Oakland Raiders (DK $3,500, FD $5,300)
There are a few chalk options this week, starting with the Raiders.They’re at home and face a Jets team that is implied for 15 points (second lowest on the slate). The Raiders are coming off of an impressive performance on the road against a much improved Titans offense. Playing the Raiders with Marshawn Lynch could be a nice way to get exposure to the game on both sides of the ball.

Baltimore Ravens (DK $3,700, FD $4,700)
A better play on FanDuel, the Ravens defense comes into week 2 in a great spot. After holding the Bengals to 0 points in week 1, the Ravens shift their focus to the Browns. Like the Raiders, the Ravens are a double-digit (10) favorite against a poor offense. Although the Brown showed some promise last week against the Steelers, the Ravens are at home and had a 71% run percentage last week, which suggest there could be very limited possessions in this game. The Browns are implied to score 15.5 points (third worst on the slate), so the Ravens could be a nice pivot for teams that want to save the $200 with the Raiders.

Other considerations;
Seattle Seahawks (DK $4,000, FD $5,400)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (DK $3,200, FD $4,500)






Daily Fantasy Football Recommendations for Week 2

*Mike Barner*

Daily Fantasy Football Recommendations – Week 2

Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books and not only were there some surprising outcomes to games, but the fantasy landscape changed due to some significant injuries. David Johnson will be out for most of the season while Allen Robinson has been lost for the entire 2017 campaign. That’s the beauty of DFS though as you get to start over with fresh lineups each and every week. Put your favorite daily fantasy football recommendations from the article below in our lineup optimizer and hit calculate. You can let it fill in the rest of the spots for you or choose your personal favorites from the NFL Player Lab.

**QUARTERBACKS**

Tom Brady vs. New Orleans Saints
Stadium – Mercedes-Benz Superdome
DraftKings: $7,900
FanDuel: $9,200

Yes, Tom Brady laid an egg Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs. He finished the game with 267 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. His 44.4% completion percentage was the first time since 2013 that he had a completion percentage of less than 50% in a game. Don’t panic though, Brady hasn’t lost his touch just yet. The Chiefs have a solid defense that can do things that many other teams can’t, such as Week 2 opponent New Orleans. Did you see how badly Sam Bradford and the Minnesota Vikings carved them up? Bradford finished with 346 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and an insane 84.4% completion percentage. Brady is leaps and bounds better than Bradford and the Patriots will be out to prove their Week 1 struggles were a fluke. Expect a big performance from Brady in this contest.

Russell Wilson vs. San Francisco 49ers
Stadium – CenturyLink Field
DraftKings: $6,800
FanDuel: $8,100

Like Brady, Wilson struggled Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers as he finished with 158 passing yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. The only positive was that he rushed for 40 yards on two carries. The Seahawks offensive line struggled mightily, which could be a big concern for the team this entire season. I like this match up Sunday at home though as the Seahawks are a much better team at CenturyLink Field. While his passing yards per game averages were pretty close on the road and at home last season, the big difference was he had 13 touchdowns and three interceptions at home compared to eight touchdowns and eight interceptions on the road. Look for a rebound performance from Wilson Sunday.

Carson Palmer vs. Indianapolis Colts
Stadium – Lucas Oil Stadium
DraftKings: $6,000
FanDuel: $7,500

As you can see, my trend this week is veteran quarterbacks are primed for bounce-back performances after Week 1 struggles. Palmer really played poorly against the Detroit Lions, throwing for 269 yards to go along with one touchdown and three interceptions. Entering 2017, he had thrown three or more interceptions in a game only once in the last three seasons combined. This is a favorable match up for him though as the Colts defense is terrible. Jared Goff tore them apart in Week 1, throwing for 306 yards and one touchdown. His 72.4% completion percentage marked the best performance of his career. Palmer and the passing attack are also going to be needed to carry more of the offensive load now with Johnson out, so he is going to see plenty of opportunities to succeed. This is a match up you want to take advantage of for Week 2.

**RUNNING BACKS**

Jay Ajayi vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Stadium – StubHub Center
DraftKings: $6,400
FanDuel: $7,900

Ajayi and the Dolphins play their first game of the season in Week 2, giving them an advantage over a Chargers team that is coming off of a short week after playing on Monday night against the Denver Broncos. Ajayi was a monster for the Dolphins last season as he rushed for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns over 15 games. Expect the Dolphins to lean heavily on Ajayi again this year with new quarterback Jay Cutler under center. The Chargers had a rough time with the Broncos rushing attack Monday as they allowed 140 yards on the ground. Ajayi is much better than the duo of C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles for Denver, so this has the makings of an excellent start to the season for him.

Terrance West vs. Cleveland Browns
Stadium – M&T Bank Stadium
DraftKings: $5,100
FanDuel: $6,600

The Ravens are another team who was dealt a significant injury in Week 1 as running back Danny Woodhead is expected to be out at least a month. In what was already a fairly thin running back group, West is now the main man in Baltimore. He had a solid performance against the Cincinnati Bengals last week as he rushed for 80 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. He’s not going to catch many balls out of the backfield, but he doesn’t need to in order to have value at this price. Don’t be surprised if he reaches the end zone again in this game.

Tarik Cohen vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Stadium – Raymond James Stadium
DraftKings: $4,100
FanDuel: $5,400

Cohen certainly made a splash in his first NFL game as he not only finished with 66 rushing yards, but he also caught eight passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. The Bears offense was not great overall, but it certainly was no fault of Cohen’s. Although Jordan Howard will continue to start at running back, Cohen is still going to have a significant role on this team. His ability to catch passes will be crucial as the Bears have been decimated by injuries at wide receiver already. While it will be difficult to match his Week 1 performance, he will still produce enough to make him a valuable part of your lineup at this bargain price.

**WIDE RECEIVERS**

Brandin Cooks vs. New Orleans Saints
Stadium – Mercedes-Benz Superdome
DraftKings: $8,200
FanDuel: $7,900

Cooks didn’t have a huge performance Week 1, but he still posted a very respectable 88 yards on three receptions in the contest. He did receive seven targets, which was an encouraging sign in his first game with the Patriots. I already mentioned I like Brady and the Patriots to rebound in this game, but I also expect Cooks to be one of the main beneficiaries of that improvement. He’ll be highly motivated facing the team that traded him away and he’s very comfortable playing in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. A Brady-Cooks stack is primed to put up big numbers in Week 2.

Keenan Allen vs. Miami Dolphins
Stadium – StubHub Center
DraftKings: $5,800
FanDuel: $7,100

Allen was stuck facing the vaunted Denver secondary Week 1, which limited him to five receptions and 35 yards. However, he salvaged the outing with a touchdown and received 10 targets in the game. The key you want to look for is volume and that’s something you will get with Allen. The only concern with Allen has been his injury issues the past two seasons, but you don’t have to worry about that in DFS as he’s healthy heading into Week 2. His yardage total should be much higher against a weaker secondary Sunday.

Cooper Kupp vs. Washington Redskins
Stadium – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
DraftKings: $4,100
FanDuel: $5,400

Kupp made a strong impression in his first NFL game Week 1 as he hauled in four receptions on six targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. The Rams have a lot more weapons on offense this season and Kupp could play a key role in their overall improvement. While his performance did come against the bad Colts defense, the Redskins secondary didn’t fair a whole lot better against the Philadelphia Eagles Week 1 either as quarterback Carson Wentz threw for 307 yards. At this price, I’m taking a chance on another solid outing from Kupp in Week 2.

Jermaine Kearse vs. Oakland Raiders
Stadium – Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
DraftKings: $3,900
FanDuel: $5,400

The Jets have one of the worst wide receiving groups in the league, but they did receive a slight boost when the team traded for Kearse before the start of the season. He wasted no time being involved in the offense, recording seven receptions on nine targets for 59 yards in Week 1. The nine targets are key as he should continue to get plenty of passes thrown his way with the lack of talent on the roster. With the Jets likely to be down big against a much better Oakland team Sunday, expect Kearse to see plenty of opportunities to haul in passes as they attempt to play catch up.

**TIGHT ENDS**

Rob Gronkowski vs. New Orleans Saints
Stadium – Mercedes-Benz Superdome
DraftKings: $6,900
FanDuel: $8,100

Gronk did not play well in Week 1 as he was limited to two catches on six targets for only 33 yards. He looked a little slow on the field and may have been shaking off some rust after dealing with injuries last season. Another big factor was that he was covered by Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry who did an excellent job shadowing him throughout the game. No such worries in Week 2 though against a porous Saints secondary, look for big numbers from him in this one.

Austin Hooper vs. Green Bay Packers
Stadium – Mercedes-Benz Stadium
DraftKings: $3,500
FanDuel: $5,500

Hooper made his two receptions count Week 1 against the Bears as he came away with 128 yards and a touchdown. While the yardage is certainly impressive, that’s not what you should be expecting from Hooper. His value is as a red zone target who can haul in touchdown receptions. The tight end position can be volatile, so I like going with a cheaper option in Hooper who has the ability to find the end zone more often than not.

**DEFENSES/SPECIAL TEAMS**

Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers
Stadium – CenturyLink Field
DraftKings: $4,000
FanDuel: $5,400

Seattle had a tough match up Week 1 on the road against the Packers, but still managed to hold them to 17 points. That’s no small feat against star quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a deep wide receiver group. Sunday brings a much easier match up against quarterback Brian Hoyer and the 49ers, especially with this being a home game. If you want to pay up for a defense, the Seahawks are the one to use in Week 2.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns
Stadium – M&T Bank Stadium
DraftKings: $3,700
FanDuel: $4,700

The Ravens defense was excellent Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals as they recorded four interceptions and five sacks. They were solid against the run as well as they only allowed 3.5 yards per carry. While the Browns showed signs of improvement at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, playing on the road in Baltimore will be a tough task. If you don’t want to spend the money on the Seahawks, go with Baltimore for Week 2.

 

Daily Fantasy Football: NFL DFS Week 1 Cash and GPP Picks

Quarterbacks:

Daily Fantasy Football - Marcus Mariota - Lineuplab.com

Quarterback is the most underpriced position in both Draftkings and Fanduel. The main reason why the quarterback position is wildly underpriced is that there isn’t a large gap between the top scoring QB opposed to the 12th scoring QB. It also has to due in large part with the fact that their scoring is weighted lower than other positions. QB’s receive 4 points per touchdown and 1 point for every 25 yards gained. If you play on Draftkings they give a bonus for quarterbacks that throw over 300 yards. That may alter your decision making because it makes quarterbacks more reliant on touchdowns in FanDuel than in Draftkings. Now that we broke down the scoring discrepancies, let’s take a look at a few quarterbacks you should be targeting for both cash and gpp games.

Cash:

Marcus Mariota (DK $6,700, FD $7,700)
Mariota comes into week 1 as the consensus chalk quarterback. The 6th highest priced QB on DK and 7th highest priced QB on FD, Mariota won’t be heavily owned because of his bargain price. Instead, Mariota will likely be the highest owned QB in cash games because of his favorable Vegas totals. The Titans come into week one as a 3.5 point favorite against the Raiders in a game that features the highest over/under 50.5. This high over/under gives the Titans an implied total of 26.5 points, good enough for second on this slate only behind the Steelers. Quarterbacks with similar Vegas totals have gone on to perform well in the past. Mariota has had the best red zone touchdown efficiency rating since joining the league in 2015. When you add up all that and include that the Raiders had one of the worst secondaries in the league last season, you can see why Mariota is expected to be the highest owned quarterback.

GPP:

Russell Wilson (DK $ 6,900, FD $8,000)
After a let down 2016 season, Wilson finds himself looking to hit the refresh button. His fantasy production last season took a dip because he only rushed for 259 yards on the season with one rushing touchdown. It’s been heavily reported that Wilson changed his workout routine over the offseason and is looking to recapture his 2015 form this season. Well, week 1 is a nice opportunity for Wilson to put his new offseason regime to the test against the Packers. The Packers allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game last season and did hardly anything to improve their secondary in the offseason. This game opened up with an over/under just under 50 but has since increased to 51, giving this game the highest over/under on the slate. The Seahawks are on road underdogs, and that generally isn’t a recipe for success, but the Packers secondary is bad enough for you to consider taking a flier on Wilson in tournaments.

Plays worth considering in Cash & GPP:

Matt Ryan (DK $6,900, FD $8,500) – The Falcons are tied for 1st on the slate for implied team points with 27.5. Matt Ryan is going up against a Bears defense that is significantly improved in the front seven and new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian could look to air it out in their first game to get Falcon’s fans over their 28-3 blown Super Bowl win. However, Ryan does come with some red flags as he is playing on the road and there truly is no way of telling how the offense will function without Kyle Shanahan.

Ben Roethlisberger ($DK 7,300, FD $8,200) – Big Ben comes in with the same implied team total as the Falcons. He’s playing an abysmal Browns team and is an 8.5 point favorite. Ben will have his full assortment of weapons to his use with the return of LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant. The concern here is Ben’s home and road splits.

Running Backs

Daily Fantasy Football - Carlos Hyde - San Francisco 49ers

The running back position is almost always dominated by Le’Veon Bell (DK $9,800, FD $9,300) and David Johnson (DK $9,400, FD $9,400). This week is no different. Both are elite plays and expect to be the highest owned backs in this slate. Now the question is if you can play both of them. The answer is yes. There’s certainly enough value in other positions that allow you to make your lineup construction with these two elite backs. But if you have to choose one over the other I like Johnson over Bell because of the simple fact that the game has a closer spread and David Johnson plays for a Cardinal team that has fewer mouths to feed than the Steelers.

Chalk

Todd Gurley (DK $6,000, FD $7,300)
If you’re looking for a chalk alternative from the two safe, elite backs look no further than Todd Gurley. More of a value on Draftkings than Fanduel, Gurley comes into week 1 in an elite spot. The Rams are currently home favorite against the Andrew Luck-less Colts and have seen the Vegas line shift them from 3 point underdogs to 4 point favorites. With a poor offensive line and Jeff Fisher calling the plays last season, Gurley had a letdown year after being selected as the number 1 RB in most season-long drafts last season. This year the Rams have made some moves to improve their offensive line and also brought in Sean McVay to jumpstart their offense. Gurley should have an ample amount of opportunities to get to the 100 yard DK bonus and could even fall into the endzone.

GPP

Carlos Hyde (DK $4,600, FD $6,800)
If you’re looking for a cheap running back in your roster construction, Carlos Hyde is your answer. With Joe William landing on the IR and Tim Hightower being a surprise cut out of the 49ers camp, Hyde only has to share targets with undrafted rookie Matt Breida. Hyde should be a lock for 25 touches with Kyle Shanahan calling the plays now and his price on both sites could help open up salary in other roster spots.

 

Wide Receivers

Daily Fantasy Football - Amari Cooper - Lineuplab.com

Depending on lineup construction, wide receiver could be where you really differentiate yourself from the field. The top 3 studs are all in strong positions. Antonio Brown (DK $ 8,800, FD $9,100), Julio Jones (DK $8,500, FD $9,000), and AJ Green (DK $8,000, FD $ 8,400) are all in spots where we can see them have a big game. But let’s take an audible into some plays that people may be overlooking

Doug Baldwin (DK $6,700, FD $7,500)
I mentioned how the Seahawks passing offense was in a good spot against the Packers. The game flow looks to be in Baldwin’s favor as the Packers had the worst secondary in the league last season, and quite frankly their cornerbacks don’t scare any passing attack. Baldwin will face either Quinten Rollins, Davon House, or Damarious Randall neither was graded higher than top 50 of Pro Football Focus Cornerback Rankings.

Kendall Wright (DK $3,200, FD $5,200)
Kendall Wright looks poised to take advantage of a Bears receiving corp that is extremely depleted after losing Cameron Meredith for the season. Although Wright is not listed as the number two receiver behind Kevin White, Wright will be on the field in three wide receiver sets. That may sound concerning, but during preseason the first-team Bears offense ran three wide receiver sets 14 out of their 15 plays, so Wright is a sneaky cheap option to get some much volume. Wright was signed by the Bears after his previous work with offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. Under Loggains, Wright saw and an average of 8.7 targets per game back in 2013. In a game that the Bears are heavy underdogs against the Falcons, the offense could be throwing the ball more than 40 times opening up cheap targets for Wright to snag.

Amari Cooper (DK $7,200, FD $7,600)
Amari Cooper should be another popular play. Playing in the game with the highest over/under on the slate, Cooper is going to have an ample of opportunities to bring in targets. The Titans last season ranked in the bottom of the league in points per game allowed to wide receiver, and with a duel of Cooper and Crabtree, the Raiders passing game could be in store for a big game.

Larry Fitzgerald (DK $5,900, FD $6,400)
Fitz is a veteran that could be heavily owned in this first few weeks. The one thing about the vet is that he has some drastic splits from the first half of the season and the second. Fitzgerald has averaged 13.9 points in the first 6 games of the season compared to 11.3 games in the second half. The Cardinals passing offense faces the Lions who were 32nd in DVOA.

** Fanduel only ** Terrelle Pryor (FD $6,200) is extremely underpriced in Fanduel. Although his preseason action with Kirk Cousins left a lot to be desired, Pryor should see a massive target amount.

Tight End

Daily Fantasy Football - Zach Ertz - Philadelphia Eagles

Drafting a tight end in DFS is often dependent on the site you play. In Draftkings touchdowns become less important than targets, while on Fanduel touchdowns valued higher than targets/receptions.

Chalk

Draftkings – Zach Ertz (DK $4,300, FD $6,100)
Ertz is the uber chalk on Draftkings. With the Eagles getting rid of Jordan Matthews and Alshon Jeffery expecting to be shadowed by Josh Norman, Ertz becomes the immediate beneficiary of targets from Carson Wentz. Ertz doesn’t have the touchdown upside that others like Jared Cook or Tyler Eifert may have, but his price and volume make him a nice cash play on Draftkings.

Fanduel – Tyler Eifert (DK $4,600, FD $6,100)
Eifert is an example of how site determines what would be the better player. With Green sucking up most of the targets, Eifert is left with minimal targets. Fortunately for Eifert, he scored on over 40% of his targets last season. Although that number is likely to regress, Eifert is at a good price for such a volatile position.

Defense

Daily Fantasy Football - Los Angeles Rams - Lineuplab.com

Los Angeles Rams (DK $3,200, FD $4,600)
The Rams’ defense is in a good spot as a 4 point home favorite against a team that doesn’t have their starting quarterback. The Colts could very much be a train wreck come Sunday, and although the Rams will likely be without their All-Pro Aaron Donald, their defense should be able to handle Scott Tolzien and Frank Gore.

Houston Texans (DK $3,800, FD 5,100)
The Texans are the chalkiest defense with the highest upside. Aside from the fact that they are with the most talented defense in a prime matchup, they get to face Blake Bortles. Bortles looked dreadful this preseason and last year ranked in the bottom-10 in interception rate (3.7%). They are the most expensive defensive option out of the other chalk defense.

 

 

Daily Fantasy Football Recommendations for Week 1

*Mike Barner*

Daily Fantasy Football Recommendations – Week 1

The long wait is finally over, the NFL is back! By now you’re likely done with your season long fantasy drafts, but that’s only the beginning. Now is the time to kick it into gear for DFS and bring home some cash. Put your favorite daily fantasy football recommendations from the article below in our lineup optimizer and hit calculate. You can let it fill in the rest of the spots for you or choose your personal favorites from the NFL Player Lab.

**QUARTERBACKS**

Matt Ryan vs. Chicago Bears
Stadium – Soldier Field

Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons will be looking to rebound from their crushing loss in the Super Bowl by coming out of the gates hot against the Bears. The Bears are in rebuilding mode and are going to find wins hard to come by this season. Their secondary lacks elite talent and only intercepted eight passes last year, tied for second fewest in the NFL. Ryan was a monster in 2016 as he reached career-highs in passing yards (4,944), touchdowns (38) and completion percentage (69.9%). He’s not cheap, but Ryan is going to have a big game Sunday.

Marcus Mariota vs. Oakland Raiders
Stadium – Nissan Stadium

Mariota made solid progress during his second season in the NFL and finished last year with 3,426 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 349 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. He will have even more weapons at his disposal this season as the Titans selected wide receiver Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick in the draft and also signed veteran receiver Eric Decker. Combine those two with hold overs Rishard Matthews and tight end Delanie Walker and Mariota could be primed to take his game to the next level. The Raiders have a potent offense as well, so this game could be a high scoring affair. Mariota should produce big stats at a mid-tier price in this contest.

Jared Goff vs. Indianapolis Colts
Stadium – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Goff’s rookie campaign was one to forget as he threw for 1,089 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions in seven starts. The Rams took measures to upgrade their offense this for season by bringing in wide receivers Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. If you are playing in a tournament, Goff is a cheap option who might be worth a shot Sunday as he gets a favorable match up against a bad Colts secondary who will be missing their best cornerback in Vontae Davis due to injury. The Colts also allowed 27 passing touchdowns and only recorded eight interceptions in 2016.

**RUNNING BACKS**

LeSean McCoy vs. New York Jets
Stadium – New Era Field

McCoy is coming off of another excellent season with the Bills as he rushed for 1,267 yards to go along with 13 rushing touchdowns. He was also a threat in the passing game, hauling in 50 receptions for 356 yards and one touchdown. The Bills don’t have much depth behind McCoy, so expect him to see a heavy work load again this year. McCoy gets a favorable opponent Week 1 in the Jets as they just traded away stellar defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. He was also excellent at home last season as he rushed for 102.9 yards per game at home compared to 68.4 yards per game on the road. Even more staggering is that 11 of his 13 rushing touchdowns came at New Era Field. Start McCoy and enjoy the production.

Christian McCaffrey vs. San Francisco 49ers
Stadium – Levi’s Stadium

The Panthers drafted McCaffrey eighth overall and he has certainly brought excitement and high expectations to their offense. The Panthers lacked explosiveness on offense last year, so a player with McCaffrey’s ability to catch passes out of the backfield and overall explosiveness are certainly a welcomed addition. The 49ers allowed 2,654 rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns last season, both the worst in the NFL. The price is right to take a shot on McCaffrey even in his first game in the league.

Bilal Powell vs. Buffalo Bills
Stadium – New Era Field

Although running back Matt Forte has the more impressive career resume, Powell is on the rise while Forte is in the midst of the twilight of his career. Powell is coming off the best season of his career in 2016 when he posted 722 rushing yards, 388 receiving yards and five total touchdowns. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season compared to only 3.7 yards per carry for Forte. While the two are expected to split carries, don’t be surprised if Powell sees more action Sunday. He won’t cost much, making him a nice value play.

**WIDE RECEIVERS**

Julio Jones vs. Chicago Bears
Stadium – Soldier Field

Jones was limited to 14 games last season, but he still put up big numbers as he finished with 83 receptions, 1,409 yards and six touchdowns. He is clearly Ryan’s favorite receiver as he saw at least seven targets 11 times last year. That volume is excellent, especially when you consider Jones averaged a whopping 17.0 yards per receptions last season. A Ryan-Jones stack will be costly in Week 1, but they could put up elite numbers.

Brandon Marshall vs. Dallas Cowboys
Stadium – AT&T Stadium

Marshall joins the New York Giants after a down year with the Jets as he recorded only 59 receptions for 788 yards and three touchdowns. I’m largely throwing that out the window though as the Jets had some of the worst quarterback play in the league. Marshall now gets Eli Manning throwing passes his way who is a major upgrade even at this stage of Manning’s career. Manning has not had big receiver like Marshall since the days of Plaxico Burress, who was one of his favorite targets. Marshall has three inches on the tallest member of the Cowboys’ secondary, so defending him is going to be a problem. He is a mid-tier price option who has the potential for a big performance.

Pierre Garcon vs. Carolina Panthers
Stadium – Levi’s Stadium

While he didn’t get a ton of publicity, Garcon had a productive season with the Washington Redskins last year as he hauled in 79 receptions for 1,041 yards and three touchdowns. It marked the second time in his career that he posted at least 1,000 receiving yards and the first time since he had 1,346 yards in 2013. New 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was on the Redskins staff in 2013, something that should not go unnoticed. With the 49ers lacking talent at the receiver position, expect Garcon to get a ton of targets. Even if he struggles to find the end zone, the volume alone makes Garcon a solid play in Week 1, especially considering his price.

Kevin White vs. Atlanta Falcons
Stadium Soldier Field

The Bears were dealt a crushing blow in the preseason when they lost receiver Cameron Meredith for the year with a knee injury. Already lacking talent at receiver, White is now the best option they have. White was limited to only four games last season due to injury, finishing with 19 receptions for 187 yards. He’s healthy heading into the season, which is all that matters for DFS in Week 1. With the Bears likely to be down big in this game, they should have to throw the ball a lot, meaning White could put up big numbers even at a bargain basement price.

**TIGHT ENDS**

Greg Olsen vs. San Francisco 49ers
Stadium – Levi’s Stadium

If you look up the word consistent in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Olsen. Olsen has started all 16 games and received at least 100 targets in each of the last five seasons, posting at least 1,000 receiving yards in three straight seasons. Although the Panthers brought in McCaffrey, they still don’t have a strong wide receiver group. Olsen also torched the 49ers last season as he had 5 receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. Roll with him again Sunday.

Austin Hooper vs. Chicago Bears
Stadium – Soldier Field

All aboard, this is your captain on the Austin Hooper hype train. I’m a big fan of him heading into this season as he will be taking over as the starting tight end for the Falcons. Their tight ends combined for 10 touchdowns last season, so their is some upside for Hooper. I’ve already mentioned I like the Falcons offense in this game, so giving Hooper a shot at his dirt cheap price is something I’m willing to do. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds the end zone in this game.

**DEFENSES/SPECIAL TEAMS**

Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Stadium – NRG Stadium

This almost seems too easy. The Texans enter this season with one of the better defenses in the league as they only allowed 301.3 yards per game in 2016, the fewest in the NFL. In step the Jaguars with Blake Bortles “winning” the quarterback job over Chad Henne in the preseason. Bortles was awful on the road against the Texans last season, throwing for only 92 yards to go along with one interception and no touchdowns. While he might not be that bad again, the Texans should still be able to put the clamps on Jacksonville.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Indianapolis Colts
Stadium – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

The Rams luck out (sorry, I couldn’t resist) in Week 1 against the Colts as quarterback Andrew Luck will miss the game due to injury. In steps Scott Tolzien who has two touchdowns compared to seven interceptions over his career. He made one start against the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, finishing with 205 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. It’s going to be hard for the Colts to score with Tolzien at the helm, making the Rams an interesting option at a cheap price.

 

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Fantasy Football Season Preview: Tight Ends and Defenses/Special Teams 2017

**Mike Barner**

Fantasy Football Season Preview Tight Ends and Defenses/Special Teams 2017

The long journey through the NFL season is rapidly approaching, meaning it’s one of the most exciting times of the year: drafting your fantasy football team. While you need your players to stay healthy and have a little luck go your way, having a strong draft can go a long way to determining the fate of your season.

Lineup Lab is here to help you come away a winner. In the fourth and final of our season previews, we’ll break down tight ends and defenses/special teams. Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers get most of the attention, but having a quality tight end on your roster can help elevate your squad to a championship level.

While most owners wait to select defenses/special teams until the final rounds of your draft, that doesn’t mean it’s a throwaway position. Finding one that can create turnovers, accumulate sacks and throw in the occasional return touchdown can provide plenty of valuable points for your team.

Let’s examine some tight ends and defenses/special teams to target and avoid as you navigate your way through your draft.

Martellus Bennett - Fantasy Football Season Preview Tight Ends 2017

Old Faces In New Places

Martellus Bennett – Green Bay Packers

You can put Bennett into this category just about every season as the Packers will be his fifth different team in the last seven seasons. He had the best season of his career in 2014 as a member of the Chicago Bears as he recorded 90 receptions for 916 yards and six touchdowns. The Patriots signed him to be their second tight end last season, but he ended up with a larger role than expected as Rob Gronkowski was injured yet again. Bennett played all 16 games and finished with 55 receptions, 701 yards and seven touchdowns.

Bennett will be the undisputed starter in Green Bay, becoming possibly the most talented tight end that quarterback Aaron Rodgers has had the pleasure of playing with. Last season’s tight end duo of Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers combined for 60 receptions, 648 yards and three touchdowns.

Bennett is certainly a better player than either Cook or Rodgers and should present a better red zone target as well. The Packers have a great receiving trio of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams as well Ty Montgomery to catch passes out of the backfield, which could limit Bennett’s receptions a bit. With that being said, Bennett is still likely to be a top-10 fantasy option at tight end.

Julius Thomas – Miami Dolphins

Thomas had his breakout campaign as a member of the Denver Broncos in 2013 when he posted 65 receptions, 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. Although he only had 43 receptions and 489 yards in 2014, he still provided a ton of value as he again scored 12 touchdowns. It appeared he was going to be one of the elite red zone targets among tight ends in all of football for years to come.

His success was short lived though as he moved on to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015. Injuries limited him during his tenure with the team as he missed 11 games over the last two seasons. 2016 was a complete disaster as he only had 30 receptions, 281 yards and four touchdowns.

Now a member of the Dolphins, Thomas is looking to rejuvenate his career under the eye of coach Adam Gase. It’s important to note that Gase was on the Broncos’ staff when Thomas was playing at his best. Even though that would appear to be in Thomas’ favor, I’d still stay away from making him your starting tight end.

Tyler Eifert - Fantasy Football Season Preview Tight Ends 2017

Overrated Players

Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals

Eifert’s best season came in 2015 when he had 52 receptions, 615 yards and an impressive 13 touchdowns in only 13 games. To put that into perspective, Gronk had 11 touchdowns that same season despite playing in two more games and Eifert. That excellent season vaulted Eifert towards the top of the tight end position for fantasy owners last season, but he couldn’t cash in as he was limited to only eight games due to injury.

Eifert supporters will point to the fact that he has 20 touchdowns in 37 career games. That is certainly elite production, but what is more important to note is that those 37 games have come over four seasons. Playing less than 10 games a year on average is a killer for his fantasy value. While he could be a top-5 tight end when healthy, the odds of him staying healthy for an entire season are not great. If you want to take a risk and draft him based on his upside, be sure to not overpay for him on draft day. Based on his current ADP though, you’ll likely have to.

Denver Broncos

To make this clear right off the bat, the Broncos are an excellent defensive team. They allowed the fewest passing yards in the NFL last season and had more interceptions (14) than passing touchdowns allowed (13). Their 42 sacks were tied for third most in the league. Even though they weren’t as impressive against the run, they were still around the middle of the pack in rushing touchdowns allowed at 15.

The reason I believe the Broncos defense/special teams is overrated is because it’s likely going to cost you a pick that is higher than either of your last two selections, which is where you should be selecting your defense/special teams and kicker. Looking at ESPN standard scoring last season, the Broncos actually scored the second most fantasy points behind the Minnesota Vikings. The difference between the highest scoring defense/special teams and the tenth highest was only an average of three fantasy points per game.

A difference of three fantasy points per game is not worth reaching for the Broncos. I’d rather take a running back or wide receiver with upside at that point in the draft and worse case scenario, stream my defense/special team throughout the season based on weekly match ups.

Fantasy Football Season Preview Tight Ends 2017 - Zach Ertz

Undervalued Players

Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles

On an Eagles team that lacked talented wide receivers last season, Ertz played a major role in their passing attack as he had 78 receptions for 816 yards and four touchdowns. He caught 74% of the passes thrown his way and averaged 10.5 yards per reception. Among fellow tight ends, Ertz ranked fifth in both receptions and receiving yards.

Ertz has been very consistent in his career, recording at least 702 receiving yards in each of the last three seasons. The last two seasons have been even better as he has at least 106 targets and 75 receptions in both years. He has also averaged at least 10.5 yards per reception in all four of his seasons in the league.

Although the Eagles are much improved this season with the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, Ertz is still going to be a very important part of their offense. Quarterback Carson Wentz also looks primed to improve his game, which could provide a boost for Ertz. He might not score a ton of touchdowns, but his consistency and yardage provides a lot of value.

Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons

Hooper was selected in the third round of the 2016 draft, but he had a quiet rookie season last year as he had 19 receptions for 271 yards and three touchdowns. He only received 27 targets, so he really wasn’t that involved in the offense in general. One of his best games of the season though actually came in the Super Bowl as he had three receptions on six targets for 32 yards and a touchdown.

Hooper didn’t have great numbers last year partially because he was in a time share with Jacob Tamme. Tamme finished the season with 22 receptions, 210 yards and three touchdowns. As a unit, Falcons tight ends finished the season with 788 yards and 10 touchdowns. With Tamme now gone, Hooper is lined up to take over the starting job in only his second season in the league.

The Falcons passing offense was one of the best in the league last year, finishing third in passing yards, tied for second in passing touchdowns and first in yards per pass attempt. With a more prominent role in the offense, Hooper is going to have a chance to establish himself as a viable fantasy option this year. I think at worse he is a top-15 tight end who has the potential to finish in the top-10. Considering how late he is going in drafts, he could be one of the best value picks at the tight end position.

Fantasy Football Season Preview Tight Ends 2017 - Houston Texans

A Look At The Fantasy Playoff Schedule

Another key part of your research is to know who has favorable match ups during the fantasy football playoffs, generally weeks 15 and 16 in most leagues. Let’s dive in and see where you can gain that edge.

Favorable Schedules

Houston Texans

The Texans defense/special team starts off the fantasy playoffs by taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road in Week 15. While the Jaguars drafted promising running back Leonard Fournette, they are just a mess at quarterback as Blake Bortles has regressed significantly. They certainly do not have the makings of a potent offense. Week 16 brings a match up against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which would appear difficult on the surface, but is more favorable when you consider the game is being played in Houston. As noted in our quarterbacks season preview, Ben Roethlisberger struggles significantly on the road. Things are looking up for the Texans fantasy value at the right time this year.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs face the Los Angeles Charges in Week 15, a team that does have some fire power. However, this is a home game for Kansas City and they allowed only 16 points per game at home last season. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is prone to throwing interceptions as well as he has at least 18 in two of the last three seasons. Week 16 brings another home game, this time against the Miami Dolphins. Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler also turns the ball over a lot as he has thrown 34 interceptions in his last 35 games. Getting two turnover-prone quarterbacks at home is a major win for the Chiefs during the fantasy playoffs.

Difficult Schedules

Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins

I mentioned this before when talking about Tyrelle Pryor in the wide receivers preview, but the Redskins have a brutal schedule when it matters the most. Week 15 brings a contest against the Arizona Cardinals who allowed the fourth fewest passing yards and were tied for the eighth fewest passing touchdowns allowed. Week 16 brings the stingy Broncos who allowed the fewest passing yards and fewest passing touchdowns last season. Reed certainly has his work cut out for him.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons are faced with two road games during the fantasy playoffs. Week 15 will be against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have added wide receiver DeSean Jackson and tight end O.J. Howard to go along with Mike Evans and Cameron Brate. Entering his third season in the NFL, quarterback Jameis Winston is poised to take the Bucs offense to the next level. Week 16 brings the nightmare match up against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans. Last season, the Saints scored 32 points against the Falcons when they met them at home as Drew Brees threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns. While I’m not high on the Falcons defense to begin with, you definitely want to avoid them down the stretch.

Fantasy Football Season Preview: Wide Receivers 2017

**Mike Barner**

Fantasy Football Season Preview Wide Receivers 2017

The long journey through the NFL season is rapidly approaching, meaning it’s one of the most exciting times of the year: drafting your fantasy football team. While you need your players to stay healthy and have a little luck go your way, having a strong draft can go a long way to determining the fate of your season.

Lineup Lab is here to help you come away a winner. In the third of our season previews, we’ll break down the wide receiver position. With the creation of PPR scoring, wide receivers are more valuable now than ever before. Even in standard scoring, creating a stable of quality receivers can help separate you from your competition. Teams are throwing the ball a lot now and using three-receiver sets more often, creating tremendous depth at the position for fantasy owners.

Whether you want to draft elite wide receivers early or select a sleeper or two in the later rounds, we’ll examine some players to target and avoid as you navigate your way through your draft.

Brandin Cooks - New England Patriots - Fantasy Football Season Preview Wide Receivers 2017

Old Faces In New Places

Brandin Cooks – New England Patriots

Cooks is coming off back-to-back seasons with at least 1,138 receiving yards and at least eight receiving touchdowns. He has increased his yards per reception in each season of his career, culminating in 15 yards per reception last season. The Saints threw plenty of passes his way as he had 78 receptions on 117 targets last season.

He moves on to the defending champion Patriots this year after being acquired for a first round draft pick. The Patriots are now loaded at wide receiver with Cooks joining the returning cast of Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell. Throw in tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen to go along with running backs who can also catch the ball out of the back field and the result is one scary offense.

While quarterback Tom Brady must be excited about all the talent around him, the move to New England did not helps Cooks fantasy value. Edelman had 98 receptions last season, but the receiver with the next most catches was Hogan with only 38. While Edelman might lose some of his workload to Cooks, it’s hard to imagine Cooks getting the same amount of targets he did in New Orleans. He can still have a valuable season, but don’t expect him to be more than a WR2 this season.

Brandon Marshall – New York Giants

The Giants now have a scary wide receiver trio consisting of Marshall, Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. While Victor Cruz carried significant name recognition, he didn’t fit well with the Giants scheme last season. Cruz is better suited to play in the slot, a position that was occupied by Shepard the majority of the time.

While Cruz wasn’t able to produce on the outside, that is where Marshall has thrived over the course of his career. He had a down year with the New York Jets last season as he only recorded 59 receptions for 788 yards and three touchdowns. However, it’s no secret that the Jets had some of the worst quarterback play in the league.

One stat that jumps out is that Marshall only had a 46.1 catch percentage last season. That was by far the worst percentage of his career and was more than 10 percent worse than every season outside of his rookie campaign.

Marshall’s fantasy prospects have improved with the Giants as although he is clearly their number two receiver, he should see plenty of red zone targets. The Giants use a lot of three-receiver sets and attempted 598 passes last season, good for eighth most in the NFL.

Marshall hold’s more value in standard leagues than in PPR, but expect him to bounce back and  be in the WR2 discussion with Big Blue.

Allen Robinson - Fantasy Football Season Preview Wide Receivers 2017 - Jacksonville Jaguars

Overrated Players

Allen Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars

Robinson took the fantasy world by storm in 2015 when he had 80 receptions for 1,400 yards and a whopping 14 touchdowns. He averaged 87.5 yards per game and an impressive 17.5 yards per reception. Big things were expected from Robinson again in 2016, making him a selection among the first group of wide receivers taken in most fantasy drafts.

Unfortunately for those who drafted Robinson early, he took a significant step back in 2016. He finished the season with 73 receptions for 883 yards and six touchdowns. His targets were identical in both 2015 and 2016 at 151, but the big difference was his yardage and touchdown totals. Players taken far later than him in most drafts who had more receiving yards last season include Mike Wallace (1,017 yards), Michael Crabtree (1,003 yards)and Rishard Matthews (945 yards).

The main reason for Robinson’s regression was the struggles of quarterback Blake Bortles. Bortles had 35 touchdowns and averaged 12.5 yards per completion in 2015, but only had 23 touchdowns and averaged 10.6 yards per completion in 2016. Things have been so bad for him during the preseason that he could possibly lose the starting job to Chad Henne.

While some owners still remember Robinson’s insane 2015 season and think he could bounce back in a major way this season, I’m not one of them. The struggles at the quarterback position will continue to limit his value, making him a low end WR2 at best. Don’t be surprised is Marshall has a better season than Robinson.

Sammy Watkins – Los Angeles Rams

Watkins got off to a great start to his career, hauling in 65 receptions for 982 yards and six touchdowns in his rookie season in 2014. He followed that up with 60 receptions, 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns while playing in only 13 games in 2015. However, injuries limited him even more in 2016 as he played only eight games. The end result was only 28 receptions, 430 yards and two touchdowns.

The Buffalo Bills have moved on from Watkins, sending him to the Rams as Los Angeles attempts to surround Jared Goff with some talent. Kenny Britt lead the team with 68 receptions for 1,002 yards last season, but he has moved on to the Cleveland Browns. Goff struggled in his seven starts last season, completing only 54.6 percent of his passes and throwing only five touchdowns compared to seven interceptions.

The problem with Watkins from a fantasy perspective is his name still carries more value than his numbers. He has a lot of talent, but injuries have put a major damper on the start of his career. It should not be overlooked that he also had a very solid quarterback with the Bills in Tyrod Taylor. Taylor had a 61.7 percent completion percentage and 17 passing touchdowns compared to only six interceptions in 15 games last year.

When you factor in his injury history and having Goff as his QB, Watkins becomes a risky fantasy option. Let someone else take the risk.

Fantasy Football Season Preview Wide Receivers 2017 - Cameron Meredith - Chicago Bears

Undervalued Players

Cameron Meredith – Chicago Bears

Meredith broke out in 2016 as he hauled in 66 receptions for 888 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 13.5 yards per reception and caught 68 percent of the passes thrown his way. All this production came in only 14 games as he did not play until Week 3. Meredith finished last season on a high note as he had at least 104 yards in two of his last three games and at least 61 yards in each of his last five games.

The Bears lost Alshon Jeffery to the Philadelphia Eagles this off season, dealing a significant blow to their receiving unit. They did bring in Victor Cruz and Kendall Wright, but neither player is in the same class as Jeffery. Their other main receiver is Kevin White, who can’t seem to stay healthy during his young career. He was limited to only four games last year, recording 19 receptions for 187 yards.

The Bears should also have improved quarterback play this season. They used the trio of Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley last year, which combined for 18 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. This season they signed Mike Glennon away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and draft Mitchell Trubisky with the second overall pick. Although Glennon is the presumed starter for at least the beginning of the season, you would have to figure either he or Trubisky can’t do much worse than last season’s quarterbacks.

Meredith is going far too late in drafts based on his potential. A 1,000 yard season is not out of the question, making him someone to keep your eye on for the later rounds of your draft.

Willie Snead – New Orleans Saints

Snead is coming off a very solid 2016 campaign as he posted 72 receptions for 895 yards and four touchdowns in only his second season in the NFL. He has had at least 100 targets and averaged at least 12.4 yards per catch in both seasons of his career.

The most significant loss for the Saints this off season was trading Cooks to the Patriots, leaving his 117 targets up for grabs. Some of those targets will be taken by Michael Thomas, but he already had 121 targets and 92 receptions in his rookie campaign last year. They also signed Ted Ginn Jr., but he has never had more than 56 receptions in any season of his career.

Drew Brees continues to put up big numbers as the Saints were first in passing yards, second in completion percentage and tied for second in passing touchdowns in the NFL last year. With Brees showing no signs of slowing down and Cooks gone, this has the makings of a big season for Snead. While he may not be a big contributor in the touchdown department, look for him to reach 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career.

Fantasy Football Season Preview Wide Receivers 2017 - Julio Jones - Atlanta Falcons - Lineuplab

A Look At The Fantasy Playoff Schedule

Another key part of your research is to know who has favorable match ups during the fantasy football playoffs, generally weeks 15 and 16 in most leagues. Let’s dive in and see where you can gain that edge.

Favorable Schedules

Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons

There is no question that Jones is one of the best wide receivers in the league. He finished last season with 83 receptions, 1,409 yards and six touchdowns in only 14 games. Big things are expected from him again this season and he has great match ups during the fantasy playoffs. Week 15 brings a match up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who he had 12 receptions, 177 yards and two touchdowns against in two games last season. Week 16 brings the Saints who allowed the most passing yards in the league last season. Jones is primed to put up some of his best numbers when it matters the most this year.

Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos

Thomas may not have great quarterbacks throwing him the ball, but that didn’t stop him from recording his fifth straight season with at least 1,000 receiving yards last year. He gets an excellent match up in Week 15 against the Indianapolis Colts who allowed the sixth most passing yards and tied for the second fewest interceptions last season. Week 16 isn’t that difficult either as he gets to face the Washington Redskins. The Redskins allowed the eighth most receiving yards and were in the bottom four in completion percentage last year. Look for Thomas to cash in during these two games.

Difficult Schedules

Terrelle Pryor – Washington Redskins

Although big things are expected from Pryor his season, his fantasy playoff schedule is a nightmare. Week 15 brings a contest against the Arizona Cardinals who allowed the fourth fewest passing yards and were tied for the eighth fewest passing touchdowns allowed. Week 16 brings the worst match up of them all against the Broncos as they allowed the fewest passing yards and fewest passing touchdowns last season. If you are lucky enough to make your fantasy playoffs, your hopes better not rest on Pryor or you are bound to be disappointed.

T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts

While Pryor gets the Broncos in Week 16, Hilton has to face them in Week 15. One more great stat for the Broncos defense is they only allowed 5.8 yards per reception last year. Known for his big play ability, that’s not good news for Hilton. He will play the Baltimore Ravens on the road in Week 16 who allowed the ninth fewest passing yards and tied for the most interceptions in the league last season. Hilton is an elite talent, but his value could be significantly limited in the final two games of the fantasy season.






Fantasy Football Season Preview: Running Backs 2017

**Mike Barner**

Fantasy Football Season Preview Running Backs 2017

The long journey through the NFL season is rapidly approaching, meaning it’s one of the most exciting times of the year: drafting your fantasy football team. While you need your players to stay healthy and have a little luck go your way, having a strong draft can go a long way to determining the fate of your season.

Lineup Lab is here to help you come away a winner. In the second of our season previews, we’ll break down the running back position. Wide Receivers have been the darlings of fantasy drafts in recent years, but the running back position is making a claim to dominate the first few spots in many drafts this season. Even in leagues where PPR scoring would appear to favor the receivers, running backs who can also catch passes out of the backfield can carry tremendous value.

Whether you want to draft elite running backs early or select a sleeper or two in the later rounds, we’ll examine some players to target and avoid as you navigate your way through your draft.

Adrian Peterson - Fantasy Football Season Preview Running Backs 2017 - New Orleans Saints - Lineup Lab

Old Faces In New Places

Adrian Peterson – New Orleans Saints

Peterson joins the Saints after spending a decade with the Minnesota Vikings. To say he posted some impressive stats with the Vikings is an understatement. He rushed for at least 1,266 yards and scored at least ten rushing touchdowns in each season where he played in at least 14 games. His best season was in 2012 when he had 2,097 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 217 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown.

Peterson has seen his career take a turn for the worse due to injury as he has played three games or less in two of the last three seasons. He only played three games in 2016, rushing a meager 37 times for 72 yards total while failing to reach the end zone.

While he was the undisputed number one back in Minnesota, he doesn’t have a clear path for a significant workload with the Saints. He joins a backfield that already has talented hold over Mark Ingram. Ingram had the best season of his career last year as he had 1,043 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns, 319 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. The Saints also drafted Alvin Kamara in the third round, adding further talent to their squad.

It’s highly unlikely that Peterson is going to match his significant production years because not only will he be sharing the workload, but he’s not the same physically that he once was. That being said, he could still provide touchdowns as their power back when they get towards the goal line. Best case scenario for him from a fantasy perspective though is probably to finish as a low-end RB2.

Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders

Lynch returns to the NFL after a brief one-year retirement. He had an excellent stretch from 2011 through 2014 with the Seattle Seahawks where he rushed for at least 1,200 yards and scored at least 11 rushing touchdowns in each season. Known for being a power runner, he’s no slouch in the passing game either as he has recorded at least 300 receiving yards three times in his career.

The 2015 season was a struggle for Lynch as he was limited to only seven games due to injury. He only averaged 3.8 yards per carry, his lowest average since 2010. While he decided to retire after that season, he couldn’t resist coming back to play in his hometown for the Raiders this season.

Due to his style of play, the year off may actually benefit Lynch. He also has the benefit of playing behind a very good offensive line. The Raiders finished sixth in the NFL last season with 1,922 rushing yards as a team and tied for sixth in rushing touchdowns with 17. Throw in talented offensive players like quarterback Derek Carr and wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree and you get a potentially potent offense.

Lynch will have to share some of the workload with DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, but he is still going to get the majority of the carries. It would not be surprising if he finishes the season with close to 1,000 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns.

Fantasy Football Season Preview Running Backs 2017 - Spencer Ware - Kansas City Chiefs - Lineup Lab

Overrated Players

Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs

Ware showed plenty of promise in 2015 in limited action as he averaged 5.6 yards per carry and scored six rushing touchdowns on only 72 rushing attempts. Jamaal Charles was limited to only three games and 12 carries in 2016, opening the door for Ware to become the feature back in Kansas City.

Ware’s overall 2016 stats are impressive as he recorded 921 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, 447 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. He finished with averages of 4.3 yards per carry and 13.5 yards per reception.

A closer look at his numbers though show that he did most of his damage in the beginning of the season, then tailed off dramatically. In the first five games of the season, he averaged at least 5.5 yards per carry in four games and had two of his three rushing touchdowns for the season. Over the last eight games he played for the season, he failed to rush for more than 69 yards in any game and finished with an average of 3.8 yards per carry or less in five of the final six games.

While he enters this season as the starting running back, his work load is expected to be threatened by rookie Kareem Hunt, who should at least take away some opportunities in the passing game. Hunt rushed for 1,475 yards and had 403 receiving yards in college last season, showing he can be a dual-threat in the backfield. Ware can still provide valuable fantasy contributions, but don’t expect him to be anything more than a low-end RB2. If you are playing in a PPR format, Hunt’s presence creates an even bigger threat to Ware’s value.

Paul Perkins – New York Giants

Perkins had a solid rookie campaign for the Giants as he rushed for 456 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. He also contributed to the passing attack with 15 receptions and 162 receiving yards. He is expected to be the starting running back this season after the Giants moved on from Rashad Jennings.

Perkins is a trendy pick to have a breakout campaign this season, but I’m not buying it. He had 127 total touches last season, but failed to reach the end zone even once. The Giants offensive line was terrible last season as the team only averaged 3.5 yards per carry, good for third worst in the NFL. They did nothing to improve the line heading into this season either, so there isn’t much reason to believe they will be any better.

The Giants are a pass heavy team as they will likely throw the ball as much (if not more) this season since they brought in both Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram during the off season. It’s also important to remember that Shane Vereen missed most of last season due to injury. He’s going to play a lot when the Giants are looking to throw the ball and he had 59 receptions on 81 targets when he was last healthy for them in 2015.

While it’s going to be hard for Perkins to not at least record a few touchdowns this season, don’t believe the hype. I would not want him to be one of the starting running backs on my fantasy squad.

Fantasy Football Season Preview Running Backs 2017 - LaGarrette Blount - Lineuplab - Philadelphia Eagles

Undervalued Players

LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia Eagles

Blount is coming off of the best season of his career as he had 1,161 rushing yards and a whopping 18 rushing touchdowns for the New England Patriots last year. To put that into perspective, he had a total of 18 rushing touchdowns in his previous three seasons combined.

Blount is now a member of the Eagles and could thrive yet again. Don’t worry about him not being involved in the passing game because of Darren Sproles as Blount has never caught more than 15 passes in a season anyways. Ryan Mathews played the same role last season that Blount will this year. He came away with 8 touchdowns and 661 yards in only 13 games last year.

The Eagles are going to be much improved offensively this season with quarterback Carson Wentz entering his second season and adding receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, meaning Blount could have plenty of red zone opportunities. He’s not going to score 18 touchdowns again, but I don’t think 10 touchdowns and 750 yards is out of the question. That’s a valuable contributor that can be had in the middle rounds of many drafts.

Samaje Perine – Washington Redskins

Perine had an excellent college career with Oklahoma as he rushed for at least 1,060 yards and had at least 12 rushing touchdowns in all three seasons. While those numbers are great, his 6.0 yards per carry average over those three seasons is exceptional.

He joins a Redskins offense that was known as more of a passing unit last season as only five other teams had fewer rushing attempts. Rob Kelley was their most prominent running back, finishing with 704 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. Although the Redskins didn’t run much, their average of 4.5 yards per carry was good for ninth best in the NFL.

While Kelley is the projected starter this season, don’t be surprised if Perine passes him at some point. Kelley showed flashes last season, but had 37 rushing yards or less in three of his last six games. You have to take some chances and hit on some late-round picks to have a real shot at winning your league. I think Perine is one of those late-round players who could provide a nice return on investment.

Fantasy Football Season Preview Running Backs 2017 - Jordan Howard - Chicago Bears - Lineuplab

A Look At The Fantasy Playoff Schedule

Another key part of your research is to know who has favorable match ups during the fantasy football playoffs, generally weeks 15 and 16 in most leagues. Let’s dive in and see where you can gain that edge.

Favorable Schedules

Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears

Howard has one of the best fantasy playoff schedules as he gets to face the Detroit Lions on the road in Week 15 and the Cleveland Browns at home in Week 16. Although the Lions only allowed eight rushing touchdowns last season, they did allow an average of 4.4 yards per carry. Howard played well against them last year, rushing for 197 yards total in two games. The Browns were terrible against the run last season as only three times had a higher average than their 4.6 yards per carry allowed. They also allowed 18 rushing touchdowns, a total surpassed by only five other teams. Howard is a great fantasy option on the season overall, but he could really cash in during the playoffs.

Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins

Ajayi had a breakout season in 2016 and could be in for an even bigger role in the offense this season with Ryan Tannehill out for the year. He gets to face the Buffalo Bills in Week 15, a team that allowed the fourth most rushing yards and second most rushing touchdowns last season. Week 16 brings a match up with the Chiefs who allowed 121.1 rushing yards per game last season, good for seventh most in the NFL.  Expect big things from Ajayi when it matters the most.

Difficult Schedules

Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams

Gurley faces an extremely difficult task in Week 15 as he squares off against the Seattle Seahawks on the road. The Seahawks allowed only 3.4 yards per carry last season, which was the best in the NFL. Gurley did not perform well against them last year either as he rushed for only 89 yards against them in two games combined. Week 16 is no cake walk either as he will take on the Tennessee Titans, a team who actually allowed less rushing yards than the Seahawks did.

Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers

Hyde also has the dubious task of facing the Titans as they take on the 49ers in Week 15. Not only did the Titans not allow many rushing yards, but their 10 rushing touchdowns allowed was tied for fifth best in the league. It doesn’t get much easier for Hyde and the 49ers in Week 16 as they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, who only allowed an average of 3.8 yards per carry last season. Taking into consideration Hyde’s injury history, this fantasy playoff schedule doesn’t do his fantasy value any favors either.