Welcome back for Week 2. We did a pretty great job of identifying the proper plays in Week 1 and everyone should have been quite profitable with the core of players offered. There was a point of emphasis in Week 1 of separating the great plays from just the good ones as early salaries created an overabundance of strong plays. Somewhat surprisingly, that will be a recurring theme in Week 2 as the salary pricing adjustments simply were not as severe as required, bringing a gaggle of value once again.
Before getting into the positional targets, the most important thing to dissect this week is the absolute and utter mispricing of the Oakland Raiders skill position players as a whole. A home spot against the Chiefs in the highest total game of the week, and their top three players aren’t just affordable, they’re grossly mispriced. Nevermind the fact that Derek Carr is just $5,100, let’s look at the weapons, their usage and small amount of history we have on these divisional foes under current coaching staffs.
Josh Jacobs ($4,700) – With exactly a one-game sample size to go off of in his career, we know he will see heavy volume in a favorable game script. What we don’t know is if that workload will remain in a game the Raiders are trailing. His performance was a brilliant debut on Monday, but the alarming part is he had just one target. This is the factor that leads me to land on him being a bit too thin for cash this week, but he remains a strong tournament play.
Tyrell Williams ($4,400) – Williams was dominant in his Raider debut and, as we assumed, he will operate as the true No. 1 wide receiver in Oakland. His efficient 7/6/105/1 line on Monday night was a fantastic performance, and the truth is there is room for volume growth, especially in games the Raiders aren’t leading. Queue up this week’s matchup with the Chiefs.
Wide Receivers Against KC: Last 5 Regular Season Games
As you can see, courtesy of the RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer tool, the Chiefs were quite friendly to wide receivers to close out 2018, and that friendliness increased markedly to open 2019. When these teams met twice in 2018, the acting No. 1 wide receiver on Oakland was a target hog. It happened to be the corpse of Jordy Nelson in both of those matchups. His lines in the two games were 11/10/97/0 and 12/9/78/0. Needless to say, the majority of the ability Nelson had for most of his career had left by the end of last season and there was meat left on the bone in those volume spots. Williams slides into that role in this iteration of the matchup and should be viewed as a WR1 this week but is priced at just $4,400. He will be popular but is necessary for cash and still should be a heavy tournament exposure.
Darren Waller ($3,300) – As if the pricing on Tyrell wasn’t enough, let’s double down with the Raiders top volume guy priced at $3,300. He played 100% of snaps and lead the team in targets and catches last week, and is a cinch TE1 moving forward — not just for DFS purposes, but in dynasty in redraft as well. On a weekly basis there are only four players that should be viewed with a higher neutral point expectation at the position, and Zach Ertz is no lock to remain above Waller. The matchup is also good, as the game in Oakland last season saw Jared Cook drop a line of 8/7/100/1. Anything similar from Waller would be the highest point-per-dollar outcome on the slate. He’s a cash lock for me, but I understand if playing two pass catchers on the same team is not a leap you want to take. He’s also a heavy tournament exposure.
The Raider pricing makes Patrick Mahomes ($7,500) a strong consideration for cash games as well, and there are many fun game stacks to be found here. Carr is also completely in play at the depressed pricing. The Mahomes stack options are many, but there is a head and shoulders best one for cash and tournaments. Sammy Watkins ($7,200) did not see his salary adjusted enough to account for his role with the absence of Tyreek Hill. In Week 1, he looked like he’d been drinking from the fountain of youth all summer, regaining his early career speed and burst. A combination of ability, opportunity, matchup and QB play places him as the best candidate to be the top wide receiver on the slate.
The next best stack with Mahomes is the league’s elite tight end, Travis Kelce ($7,200). I have a general rule that tight end does not go in the flex, but my word, if there’s ever a week to make an exception, it’s this one. The general consensus is Kelce had a slow game last week, but his line and narrative are totally different had Mahomes not missed him on the no-look pass that would have been a layup touchdown. Kelce is in cash consideration and should be a high tournament exposure. There are two other players to look to stack in tournaments. Mecole Hardman ($4,800) is one of the few players that saw his salary properly adjusted, but does get the valuable WR2 role on the Chiefs while Hill is out. That comes with ceiling if not floor. The other tournament stack is one not widely embraced by the community and is running back Damien Williams ($5,800). Everyone and their mother has been eager to anoint another top RB on the Chiefs, but the truth is he remained third on the team in targets in Week 1 and still carries a massive receiving and scoring ceiling, even in a time share.
The quarterback position offers at least eight really strong plays this week, and I’m going to attempt to put a hierarchy to them. After the two quarterbacks in the Oakland game, I think the next best two plays are a pair of guys with truly significant home-road splits. Those are Ben Roethlisberger ($5,800) and Jared Goff ($5,900).
As you can see courtesy of the RotoViz Game Splits app, there is a massive difference in every statistical category when these signal-callers are given the comfort of a home game.
The matchup for Roethlisberger is a sneaky good one. It’s largely overlooked that the Seattle secondary was smoked for 418 passing yards at home by the Bengals last week while they only allowed 31 rushing yards. This might be a symptom of the Bengals but it could also be a massive sign in flashing lights that we could have a true pass funnel in Seattle. After last week’s dud in New England, the Pittsburgh passing game is likely to be one without the ownership level it should have. The stack options with Roethlisberger are many. It goes without saying JuJu Smith-Schuster (7500) will see heavy volume and is a sound play. There are however three more tournament options, and their strength of play is listed in order: Donte Moncrief ($4,000), Vance McDonald ($3,900) and James Washington ($3,600). Moncrief and Washington profile most similarly to John Ross, who owned the Seahawks last week and are nice boom or bust tournament options. If Moncrief sees 10 targets like he did in Week 1, we’re likely looking at 25-30 DK output. The comeback in the game stack for tournaments is DK Metcalf ($4,300) who is a boom or bust option at this early point in his career, but did dominate Seahawks WR targets in week 1. This game has much more shootout potential than the total would suggest.
Goff doesn’t have quite the extreme level of splits as Roethlisberger, and the sample size is obviously smaller, but the matchup in and of itself has a favorable history for Goff. In 2018, Goff had exactly one road game where he hit either three passing TDs or 350 passing yards. Both of those markers were hit in the same game and that game was, you guessed it, at New Orleans. All signs point to a smash spot for Goff in the only game that rivals the Chiefs game in betting total. The proper stacks with Goff are any one or two of the three Rams wide receivers with Alvin Kamara (8200) being the comeback game stack.
There are a handful of other quarterbacks with ceilings in large-field tournaments. None of them bring the floors of the players already discussed, but they all have real ceilings at favorable cost and are worth a look.
Dak Prescott ($6,300)
Andy Dalton ($5,400)
Josh Allen ($5,300)
Case Keenum ($5,000)
Running back is much thinner as far as high-end options go compared to week 1. We already discussed Jacobs and his uncertainty for cash viability but also that he’s a must use in tournaments. With that being the case, our cash running backs to look to are Alvin Kamara ($8,200) and Austin Ekeler ($6,100). Kamara is obviously a high end running back option in any matchup, but it appears the Rams might be exploitable, particularly by high-end options after Christian McCaffrey gouged them to the tune of 45.9 DK points in week 1. Ekeler had his best game as a pro in Week 1 and will continue to have a receiving heavy role at running back. That role only figures to grow with the loss of Hunter Henry and with Mike Williams being at least hobbled, if not unavailable. He is simply another case of a pricing adjustment not being large enough.
There are multiple other backs very in play for tournaments. Dalvin Cook ($7,200) is likely game script proof under Kubiak but it remains to be seen if that happens in a game they are trailing in. Fortunately, we will likely have to wait another week to see that as the lowly Packer offense isn’t one to force the Vikings into playing from behind. Saquon Barkley ($9,200), needless to say, is very in play if he can be afforded. After that, we have a list of running backs that likely need a favorable game script but bring real ceilings with a positive script. Those backs are:
Leonard Fournette ($6,300) – Script is highly questionable but receiving work likely in the cards anyway.
Sony Michel ($6,200) – He will get the script — volume is the question mark.
Mark Ingram ($6,000)
Derrick Henry ($6,000)
Marlon Mack ($5,800) – Either Mack or Henry will hit if one team establishes any sort of lead.
With Tyrell Williams and Watkins already being established as the top two wide receiver plays on the slate, the next step is to identify our last cash receiver. The mispricing of Terry McLaurin ($3,800) is the best candidate for that in a sound matchup. Despite the Cowboys dominant win in week 1, they allowed Eli Manning to eclipse 30 passing yards and a 60% catch percentage to wide receivers. The players mentioned as stacks in the quarterback section are all sound for tournament use, but the list doesn’t end there.
For tournaments, the elite roles and skillsets of Deandre Hopkins ($8,100) and Michael Thomas ($8,000) are very in play, even in poor individual matchups. Keenan Allen ($7,600) will remain a volume-based great play until further notice. Josh Allen was mentioned in the quarterback section, and stacking him with John Brown ($5,200) is the highest ceiling play. Both Allen and Brown can be played naked in lineups, but there’s another sneaky volume play on the Bills, and that is Cole Beasley ($3,800). He didn’t do a ton with his nine targets in week 1, but the volume will remain and the price is favorable. Marquez Valdez- Scantling ($4,600) was used as the clear second option in week 1 and is the most likely beneficiary of the targets funneled away from the Xavier Rhodes shadow on Davante Adams.
With two of the top tight end plays on the slate covered in the Chiefs game, there’s only one other player even in the same ballpark. That player is arguably the top TE play overall, Evan Engram ($5,200). We are going to continue to mash his high volume role in all formats until the pricing dictates not to, and we might still at that point.
For tournament use only, both George Kittle ($6,800) and the still incorrectly priced Mark Andrews ($3,800) have weekly TE1 ceiling and should certainly be included in builds.
The Bears ($3,900) are the week’s head and shoulders best defensive play, and my choice for cash. The other high ceiling options are: