Games To Attack
This weekly piece is being submitted a little later than normal this week, and there is a news cycle reason for that. I wanted to be sure Cam Newton was ruled out and that the Panthers would have an upgrade at quarterback in Kyle Allen ($4,000). It’s no secret the Panthers have high-end skill-position weapons, and they now get a signal-caller to unlock that limitless potential. In his lone NFL start to close out last season, he showed some mobility and found a rushing score. More impressively he threw for a pair of scores and 228 yards on just 27 attempts. He is in as sweet of a spot as a quarterback can find himself this week, in a soft matchup with the Cardinals that will be dripping with pace. Both teams are top five in snaps per game through two weeks and the Cardinals are the best team to play in terms of snaps against.
Allen will have real opportunity to be a high-end QB1 at his tiny salary and has the best point per dollar floor we will see — he is the cash QB. The Panthers’ targets go to just four players, all of whom can be stacked with Allen. Those players are Christian McCaffrey ($8,700), DJ Moore ($5,900), Curtis Samuel ($4,800) and Greg Olsen ($3,700). The stacking should be spread among these pass catchers in tournaments with either one or two of them in each lineup. For cash, both McCaffrey and Olsen are extremely strong plays. If the first two weeks are any indication at all, Arizona will be a juicy spot for tight ends.
Tight Ends Against ARI: Last 5 Regular Season Games
|Year||Week||Team||VS.||PPR||PPR Rk||EP||EP Rk||FPOE||FPOE Rk|
As you can see, tight ends have had their way through two weeks. The actual line Arizona has allowed to the TE position so far is 17/273/3 on 20 targets.
With this furious pace, there will clearly be sound plays on the other side of the ball. Kyler Murray ($5,800), David Johnson ($6,800) and Christian Kirk ($5,000) are great for tournaments. Larry Fitzgerald ($5,100) is the best play on Arizona and is both a cash and tournament option.
The most popular game of the week will be the Ravens at Chiefs, and for good reason. Lamar Jackson ($7,000) has started the year scorching the Earth and is in a fantastic spot to continue doing so, albeit likely to see his first trailing game script. These are the types of games where the concerns on him can be proven valid, or we can see him just continue steamrolling forward. His targets have been extremely concentrated so far and the stacks to use with him are Mark Andrews ($4,600) and Marquise Brown ($5,900). If you want to go with a contrarian min priced option, Miles Boykin ($3,000) would be it.
Patrick Mahomes ($7,600) has picked up right where he left off last season and is matchup proof at this juncture. If you can’t stomach the idea of Allen in cash, go to the opposite end of the spectrum and grab Mahomes. There are many stack options with Mahomes, but after a bit of a dud last week, Sammy Watkins ($6,800) gets a price decrease and recent history dictates the best place to attack the Ravens is in the slot. Watkins is fifth in the NFL in slot targets through two weeks, and that will continue. Next up in strength of stack is TE Travis Kelce ($7,100) followed by Mecole Hardman ($5,000) and Demarcus Robinson ($5,200). Particularly at price, Robinson’s week 2 is best treated as a one-off. While the entire list is sound for tournaments, Watkins is the only one of this group with cash viability.
We covered most options at this position in the previous section, but there is one more great tournament play to look at this week. Josh Allen ($5,900) always brings a rushing floor and ceiling, and has a very soft matchup this week with the Bengals. With Devin Singletary sidelined, there will be no explosive plays from the running back position, and Allen should trigger all the excitement and scoring. We have a fun fact and some unexplored territory for Allen this week: the Bills having the highest implied team total of Allen’s young career.
As you can see, Allen’s performance is correlated to his team’s implied total, and we can truly be looking at a spike game. He can be played naked or stacked with John Brown ($5,500) and/or Cole Beasley ($4,400). Here’s how quarterbacks have performed against Cincinnati recently:
Quarterbacks Against CIN: Last 5 Regular Season Games
|Year||Week||Team||VS.||PPR||PPR Rk||EP||EP Rk||FPOE||FPOE Rk|
With McCaffrey already covered, we need to define our second and potentially third cash running backs, and find some tournament options. Austin Ekeler ($7,200) continues to play the Melvin Gordon role, with a pass-heavy workload and both floor and ceiling. He is the cash RB2 and a great tourney play. Dalvin Cook ($7,800) is in a spot where the matchup could dictate the passing game doing more damage than it has done thus far, but he will be popular and would be a reasonable cash play for defensive purposes. The ceiling fully remains and he is a great tournament play. Paying up at running back is the correct path this week but if looking for a contrarian option at a small salary, we could see a runaway game in Dallas and an early exit for Ezekiel Elliott. Even in a quarter to a quarter and a half of work, Tony Pollard ($3,800) could return on his salary in a big way for tournaments.
There are many strong wide receiver plays this week. I purposely did not mention Tyler Boyd ($6,500) in the Josh Allen section because I wanted to lead this section with him. The Bengals are almost certain to see a script where they are trailing, and there will be targets to be had. John Ross has been their go-to through two weeks, but this matchup is highly likely to see Ross taken away by elite corner Tre White. This could create a funnel to the slot — where Boyd will spend most of his time. Even if additional volume doesn’t show up, he brings the weekly floor for cash and is great in all formats.
Both Julio Jones ($7,300) and Keenan Allen ($7,000) might be a little pricey to fit for cash, particularly if playing Cook. Either is a fine pivot, and both are a lock for volume with heavy floors and real ceilings.
It’s likely we will see a useful score from a Tampa WR in all or most weeks this year. It will usually be Chris Godwin ($6,900), but the pricing has flipped to being correct this week and Mike Evans ($6,600) is quite in play for tournaments as well.
The Eagles are a team that can be smoked by the deep ball, and it’s a good bet at least one gets home in the hands of either Kenny Golladay ($6,600) or the more favorably priced Marvin Jones ($5,000). Both players carry a large ceiling with a shaky floor as Detroit plays slow. Speaking of the Eagles, with DeSean Jackson out and Alshon Jeffery banged up, Nelson Agholor ($3,600) is a fantastic cash play in a suddenly high-volume role. He can be used in tournaments as well but the play is for floor at cost.
The last player to touch on is one who is seemingly an afterthought, which is weird as he’s already had a 17-target game this season. Robby Anderson will be shadowed and taken away by Stephon Gillmore, and the last time this happened against the Bills and Tre White, Jamison Crowder ($4,800) was peppered with targets. He’s a great and sneaky tourney play.
With Olsen, Andrews and Kelce already covered, there are only a few players left to touch on this week. Zach Ertz ($5,700) and Evan Engram ($5,200) are likely to lead their respective teams in targets and are both long on ability. They are both necessary for tournament exposure. The last player to look into is Vance McDonald ($4,300) who benefited the most after the quarterback change in Week 2.
Wherever you can afford them, the Patriots ($3,800) and Cowboys ($4,300) are obviously the smash plays of the week. I want the Patriots in cash.
Where you can’t afford them, the Bills ($3,400) are the next best play. Cheaper yet, the Buccaneers ($2,900) get to welcome Daniel Jones to the league and are great for tournaments. The fully contrarian play is the Chiefs ($2,500), in case Lamar Jackson comes back to Earth.