Michael Dubner highlights the players he’s considering for his core FanDuel lineup in Week 2.
Week 1 Recap
Week 1 was as crazy as we could have expected with a ton of fantasy points. In addition to the added flex increasing the normal score on FanDuel, a lot of the chalk went ham, which further inflated the cash line. Before we dive into Week 2, here are some of the lessons I learned in Week 1, and how I can improve my process moving forward.
Where my process was good:
- I correctly pegged Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Thomas as target hogs in plus matchups.
- James Conner further emphasizes to never fade near-minimum priced RBs who are projected to see a massive workload, especially in a good offense.
- I avoided some bad chalk, such as Keelan Cole.
- Although Andy Dalton wasn’t the optimal QB, he still hit 2.6x salary. I’m fine with the process of targeting the Colts’ secondary as they also have a bad pass rush.
- We got unlucky with Leonard Fournette’s injury, but he was on his way to a voluminous game, as he already had nine carries and three targets when he left the game midway through the second quarter. If Fournette played the entire game, I don’t think there would’ve been a big difference between him and Melvin Gordon.
- Baltimore predictably steamrolled the Bills, which should have led to a massive workload for Alex Collins. While Alex Collins only had seven rushing attempts and saved us with a touchdown, Collins was still the primary back when the game was still in reach, it just got out of hand so quickly. If we knew the Ravens would score 47 points, I’d play Collins every time.
- Chris Hogan certainly saw the bottom of his range of his outcomes. I still don’t know how he only had one reception despite playing on a #nice 69 of 75 snaps (92 percent) and Tom Brady having 39 pass attempts. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Where my process should improve:
- Besides Conner, Alvin Kamara was the chalk at RB. He was clearly the best high-priced RB play, and with all of the value in Week 1, it was easy to pay up for him. Still, I should’ve mentioned him in last week’s article.
- While Austin Seferian-Jenkins was in a plus-matchup against the Giants and he did have a touchdown nullified, it’s tough to have any confidence in a player who will see 3-5 targets per game.
Creating Your FanDuel Core – Week 2
I’m primarily a cash game and single-entry tournament player, and have the vast majority of my money (80 percent) on one lineup. Playing one team forces me to make the optimal lineup. Below are the primary players I’m considering for my core lineup on FanDuel in Week 2.
James Conner ($7,000)
Everyone and their mother is aware of Conner after last week’s performance. Even with the $2,000 price increase that we need to consider, Conner is underpriced given his usage of an $8,000-plus RB. Besides the production, most eye popping were Conner’s expected fantasy points (ruEP and reEP) based on his Le’Veon Bell-esque usage (stats per Dave Caban’s Weekly Stat Explorer).
Conner was second among RBs in expected fantasy points (EP) in Week 1. As for his matchup, while the Chiefs were middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to RBs last season (17th), they just got stomped for 104 ruYDS on 20 carries and 14 receptions for 194 yards and a TD last week to Chargers backs — Melvin Gordon was the only RB who had more EP than Conner. Don’t overthink the price hike, and lock Conner in again.
Dalvin Cook ($6,500)
There was no price change for Cook due to last week’s results (10.5 fantasy points), yet he had the usage (22 touches) that suggests he’s at least $1,000 too cheap. Perhaps most comforting with Cook were his seven Week 1 targets, allowing us to place the game-script-proof tag on Cook. Even though I think Latavius Murray still has a chance to vulture goal line touchdowns, we have to still remember Cook is priced in the range of committee backs who are also less talented. Minnesota’s elite defense will always keep the Vikings in close games, and if Aaron Rodgers is inactive, then play Cook with that much more confidence.
George Kittle ($5,600)
Despite going up against an elite Vikings defense, Kittle converted nine targets into 90 yards. Even more promising for future confidence is Kittle was only able to secure five receptions on those nine targets, presumably due to the Vikings stingy defense, so in a more favorable matchup he should be more efficient with his targets. Using the RotoViz AYA App, we also see Kittle is Jimmy Garoppolo’s most efficient pass-catcher.
Kittle’s impressive 118 air yards were the most among all TEs in Week 1. The Lions vs 49ers game has underrated shoot out potential (48 total) with the Lions motivated after an embarrassing blow out loss and the 49ers also trying to capture their first win against a defense that just got thrashed by the Jets (48 points).
I also like Jack Doyle ($5,600) and Jonnu Smith ($4,200) as core considerations at tight end.
Quincy Enunwa ($5,000)
Despite Sam Darnold having just 21 pass attempts, Enunwa saw 10 targets come his way — 47.6 percent! Sure, Enunwa is a low aDOT receiver, averaging 6.0 yards at the point of the target, but that volume is tough to pass on at his price, especially if you want to pay up for the high-priced studs (later in this article).
Emmanuel Sanders ($6,800)
Sanders saw a small price increase (+$500) after we called his massive 11 target, 135 reYDS, one touchdown performance. I still think he’s underpriced considering the certainty of his role with the condensed target share in Denver. It’s hard to ignore Denver’s success early in the season at home.
Path of Least Resistance:
Christian McCaffrey ($7,500)
Pre-season usage suggested the Panthers were planning to use McCaffrey as a feature back, and that came to fruition in Week 1, as he played on 85 percent of the snaps. While McCaffrey might remain an inefficient runner, he’ll consistently see seven-plus targets, and Greg Olsen’s injury further boosts McCaffrey’s usage, as he averages two targets more per game without Olsen in the lineup.
He also saw three red zone opportunities last week, so he now carries a more tangible ceiling. Not even to mention he has an awesome matchup with the Falcons who annually hemorrhage receptions to running backs (32nd last year) and lost two key defensive players to injury last week.
Nelson Agholor ($6,100)
Agholor fits both categories of “underpriced” and the “path of least resistance.” After seeing 10 targets last week, Agholor’s role will remain expanded with no Alshon Jeffrey. While he was inefficient with his targets, turning eight receptions into just 33 yards (4.13 yards per reception), we should expect improved efficiency against this atrocious Buccaneers secondary that we specifically targeted last week with Michael Thomas. He’s probably underpriced by at least $500.
Pick Your Favorites of these High Priced Options
RB: Alvin Kamara ($9,000), Todd Gurley ($8,900), and Melvin Gordon ($8,200) WR: Antonio Brown ($8,900), Michael Thomas (8,800), Julio Jones ($8,500), and DeAndre Hopkins ($8,400)
It’s difficult to really differentiate between these high-end options, as they’re all really strong choices. I truly can’t separate Kamara and Gurley, who I both like a little more than Gordon. Brown is my favorite WR on the slate, and I will likely play Jones in only GPPs, but they’re all firmly in core consideration. My recommendation would be to have exposure to all of them, whether it be on your main roster or in GPPs. You can make a strong case for any of them being the “can’t win without them” player this week. I provided enough strong value plays in the rest of the article that you should be able to choose your favorites of this group, based on how your roster construction shapes up.
- FanDuel was able to correct some egregiously mispriced players from Week 1, but there remains substantial value.
- With only one week to prepare for Week 2, rather than all of August like Week 1, there’s less time for groupthink. Therefore, I think there will be less chalk on this slate than last week, making it easier to differentiate your roster.
- I didn’t list any quarterbacks this week because I don’t feel like any are truly worth building your roster around or are a glaring value. Remember, this article is designed to build your core, not fill out ancillary pieces of your roster.
Good luck everyone, I hope to see you all at the top of the leaderboards. You can follow me @Michael_Dubner, where I’ll provide any changes as they may arise through the weekend.