Man what an opening week! FitzMagic came alive an shredded the Saints defense! James Conner showed he could be a workhorse, easing the concerns of Steeler Nation! Alvin Kamara starts the 2018 campaign proving his efficiency was no fluke! So much excitement that I feel like the 2018 NFL season said, “Welcome back Vernon!” as it embraced me with arms wide open. Like many of you, I’m so glad that football is back!
I’m digging the process so far as there was a hit at each position except RB2, D/ST, and Flex, but let’s trust the process and see if it gets better when working with current statistics. Let’s look at the backfield construction this week.
Todd Gurley – $9200 vs Arizona
Given the dismal week 1 performance of the Cardinals offense, I can imagine many 3-and-outs giving the Rams more overall possessions. Given that the Redskins running backs generated a combined 46 points against them, I could easily see a world where Gurley goes off for 30+ points. This selection is about as “free square” as it gets. Many will be tempted to pay up for Kamara, and while I could understand the draw, I do believe that the Cleveland defense could be a little better than believed by the general public. Additionally, Gurley’s COG is is over 100$ per opportunity lower than that of Kamara.
Christian McCaffrey – $7000 vs Atlanta
While McCaffrey falls outside the range of the criteria for RB1 selections (RB1 typically have 17+ touches per game), knowing that he could have easily qualified here with one more reception or carry last week I must consider him here. One of the things I will look for as a tiebreaker between RBs I see with equal big game opportunity is the opposing linebacker situation. It just so happens that the Falcons have two major injuries on defense, one of them being Deion Jones, Atlanta’s rising star at linebacker. Additionally, Cam Newton has lost one of his primary targets in Greg Olsen. Based on this same situation last season two players saw a major uptick in opportunities and production, one of them being McCaffrey.
James Conner – $6700 vs Kansas City
If you prefer to pinch pennies at this position, then James Conner could be you man. He had the heaviest workload of all running backs last week, which is sure to come back to earth. However, it is very possible that his efficiency goes up in a fair weather home game, especially with a better Big Ben and passing game. I can’t imagine how nasty Conner could be when defensive backs are pressured to play deeper. Frankly, I’m surprise his price is not over $7k considering this game has a 53 point over/under where the Steelers are favored by 5.5 points. Paying up at receiver makes him a must play in your GPP line ups. On the flip side, Conner could be paired with Gurley to provide a solid floor in Cash games.
Adrian Peterson – $5500 vs Indianapolis
I feel like I’m being tricked. “It’s A Trap!!!” as they would say in Star Wars, but it’s so hard to ignore the production from AP last week. Considering his price and assuming he get’s around the same amount of touches, AP has one of the lowest COGs in the group of RBs. He faces the Colts defense that just gave up 25 points to Mixon, and he appears capable of turning in a similar performance. At this price, I’ll take that chance.
Bilal Powell – $5100 vs Miami
Powell is going to be overlooked for two reasons: the game script got way away from him with all the defensive scores and Isaiah Crowell was carving up the Lions defense at 10 yards a carry. That is unlikely to happen against Miami which should move the game script more in favor of a pass catching back like Powell. Looking at another pass catching back that faced Miami last week, Dion Lewis was good for 22 points. If Powell can pull off a similar line then there is great return on investment for this pick.
Phillip Lindsay – $4400 vs Oakland
Lindsay exploded onto the scene out of the cloud of obscurity to turn in a solid 18 point performance. This guy, thought to be that change of pace receiving back to compliment Freeman, had a significant amount of runs between the tackles where he showed some quickness and agility. I can’t imagine anything keeps this guy off the field, even Freeman. If he converts this same amount of opportunities consistently, then we will be getting 4X per $1k return on this “pinching pennies” option.
Chargers $3600 @ Buffalo
I must apologize for underestimating Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. Now this week the Chargers are a no-brainer against the Bills who appear to be an absolute dumpster fire. With an implied total of 17 points for the Bills, I’m sure they won’t even come close. If Joey Bosa is back, this is going to be another rough outing for Peterman or Allen or whoever is under center. I love this selection as a stack with Melvin Gordon (a solid RB1 selection as well).
49ers $2800 vs Detroit
I am so worried about the Lions offense after the Jets, ….. The Jets!, dominated them on the national stage. Are they just bad now? The line actually looked worse than last year as Stafford was getting beat to a pulp. This is a gamble worth taking in my opinion as Patricia’s handle on his team is going to take time. The Lions will not be the new Patriots anytime soon, and the process of getting there may require them to take a step back before moving forward. The 49ers don’t have the greatest defense, but then again neither did the Jets. This could be a good stack to go with Morris as he did get a lot of goal line carries against Minnesota and would make sense as a game-in-hand kill-the-clock grinder.
Julio Jones – $8400 vs Carolina
With options out there like Antonio Brown against Kansas City and Keenan Allen facing the dumpster fire that is Buffalo, I could see Julio being overlooked quite easily. Sarkisian has to know he either is on the hot seat, or will be, if this Red Zone problem doesn’t get corrected quickly. Given this, Julio should see plays designed to take advantage of his unique blend of skills and athleticism to dominate in this area of the field like we would expect. Statistically, he is #1 in air yards and targets (tied). He also has the best COG of this group at $420 per opportunity. I’ve heard some smart people talk about how good Carolina’s defense looked last week, and perhaps we should consider fading Julio as a DFS option. This would be a mistake. Dallas (Panther’s week 1 opponent) is just not a good offense so the Carolina defense was hardly tested.
Keenan Allen – $7800 @ Buffalo
A less expensive option than Julio, Keenan provides the consistent upside of high target volume and solid efficiency. Buffalo was shredded by Flacco who I consider to be a lesser passer, so I have full confidence Rivers will find his favorite target often. This feels like a layup given what happened last week, and then consider that Josh Allen will be starting. This should result in more possessions, or at least the same as if Peterman were playing. This should be a pretty good chalk play.
Juju Smith-Schuster – $6400 vs Kansas City
Juju had 119 yards on 5 receptions in the rain …… while Antonio Brown was also playing! This was a constant question last season as to his ceiling when Brown shares the field with him. A 53-point over/under leaves plenty of room for Brown, Conner, and Smith-Schuster. I’m looking at this as a pivot play away from Brown for this weekend.
Jarvis Landry – $6300 @ New Orleans
Some of the performances in that Steelers@Browns game were impressive considering the weather. Eight receptions for 116 yards is solid enough, but consider the potential of the 223 air yards and an average depth of target at 13.9. Landry has great hands, route running ability, and separation so it’s conceivable that he could turn in a much better line in better conditions. Oh wait…. he will be playing in perfect conditions in the Superdome this weekend and there is a 50-point total in this game. Landry could be a steal at this price!
Emmanuel Sanders – $6200 vs Oakland
Many analysts have suggested that Sanders would benefit more from Keenum joining the Broncos than Thomas, and so far that has held up. He is receiving more looks, converting them at a higher rate, and more YAC than Thomas. It is only one game, but Oakland is definitely a worse defense than the Rams, so we should be able to reasonably expect a good outing by Keenum with Sanders as a benefactor.
Cooper Kupp – $5500 vs Arizona
The Rams offense is everything that I thought it would be. Cooks, Roberts, and Kupp were all pretty evenly targeted, and if this trend continues it makes sense to look for efficiencies where you can find them. For me, I just want to buy into this offensive goodness as cheap as possible and that’s what Kupp provides. Against Oakland Kupp converted 5 of 9 for 52 and a TD. Kupp also had two of the Rams’ seven red zone passes and was the only receiver to convert a red zone target into a TD. Sign me up for more Kupp!
Quincy Enunwa – $4700 vs Miami
That absolute beating of the Lions by the Jets last week revealed some interesting nuggets. Enunwa has the look of a high volume possession receiver. Better yet three of his ten looks accounted for 75% of the Jets red zone targets. Sam Darnold looks like he has ice in his veins so we can be hopeful in this connection continuing to develop.
Devin Funchess – $4800 @ Atlanta
Funchess benefits from the same Atlanta injuries that McCaffrey now enjoys. Funchess should enjoy some extra opportunities with Olsen out. Additionally, Atlanta is missing their primary strong safety in addition to their best linebacker which can make it easier to convert these extra opportunities into fantasy production. Funchess provides a big target for Cam and we can hope for one of those two score games from Funchess that he put up twice in Olsen’s absence last season.
Jack Doyle – $4000 @ Washington
If Washington is able to score at the same pace they did against Arizona in week 1, this game has the potential to exceed the 45.5-point game total. Jack Doyle is tied for second in targets with Zach Ertz, and would have had a decent day if it wasn’t for that fumble last week toward the end of the match up. Sure Ebron, who saw half the targets, got the touchdown, but that was on a busted play. It’s apparent that Luck prefers Doyle among the two of them especially considering that Doyle had 33% of the teams red zone targets. Since he is the second most targeted player on the team, it makes sense to chase the opportunity here.
George Kittle – $3800 vs Detroit
Kittle had nine total targets including two in the red zone last week. His air yards indicate he has that 100+ yard upside. He has the third highest team target share among tight ends at 26%. Garoppolo seems to trust him and that old worry about how Garret Celek was going to take away from his volume appears to be a non-issue. The 49ers did just play one of the tougher defenses in the NFL and Detroit watch Sam Darnold move the ball on them pretty well. In this projected high-scoring affair, we should be able to trust Kittle to get us some solid tight end points. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is a top-5 tight end by the end of the season. May as well capitalize on those points now!
Jesse James – $2800 vs Kansas City
Jesse James is not even registering on the FanShare radar for tight ends. At $2800, this could be a sneaky play. Through week 1, Kansas City was second best in defending the tight end, but this can be taken with a grain of salt since we are only working with one week worth of data and Antonio Gates seems like a shell of himself. This “pinch your pennies” option, may give your GPP lineups the extra spice you need. Gotta put some cayenne in it! Let’s go!
Jimmy Garoppolo – $6000 vs Detroit
Detroit’s defense is clearly adjusting to Matt Patricia. Coordinating 11 players to perform as a cohesive unit is a tall task that takes time. It’s possible it could take at least a few weeks before we see them gel together. San Francisco was able to stay within a single possession of Minnesota which is encouraging for this match up this week. Garoppolo is undefeated at home since arriving in San Francisco and now he faces the 8th worst defense against the pass. Jimmy G is getting some buzz this week, but not enough to scare me off of him as a tournament play, especially when stacking him with George Kittle for that edge!
Matt Ryan – $5700 vs Carolina
Who?!?!? Yes, you heard me right. I’m stacking all my Julio picks with Matt Ryan because for Julio to succeed someone has to throw it too him. Again, if Sarkisian wants to save his job he is going to have to figure out how to use Julio in the red zone. I will bet on that motivation, because I know the ability is there and the players involved surely have a chip on their shoulder to remind everyone why they are a duo to be feared. Enough of the drama, let’s look at the stats. It’s undeniable the amount of targets Julio got last week and we have already discussed the air yards. Carolina ranks 11th against the pass in DVOA, but remember the competition was the Cowboys in week one and I am still not convinced that their offense will threaten too many teams this season. Fire up Ryan for a relatively cheap stack compliment.
Kenny Golladay – $4800 @ San Francisco
Adversity builds character, and Detroit experienced a good amount of that when the Jets stomped them on Monday Night Football. In this case, not only is character built, but relationships also, and we saw perhaps the beginnings of a productive relationship between Golladay and Stafford. In the flex spot we all want inexpensive upside, and that is exactly what Golladay provides. Last week he converted 7 of 12 targets for 114 yards, good for 18 points in Draft Kings. One of those targets included a one in the red zone which he is totally built for compared to Tate and Jones. This becomes important since the Lions still seem intent on passing in the red zone with 9 passing attempts last week. Here’s to hoping the smooth routes of Kenny G yield us some fantasy points.
Dante Pettis – $4000 – vs Detroit
Review the injury reports before deciding on this play, but if Goodwin is out for sure, then Pettis has some serious potential on this slate. That fingertip touchdown catch he had last week was amazing. He had an average depth of target at 19.5 yards and 115 air yards on 6 targets against Minnesota. Detroit’s secondary shouldn’t scare anyone past Darius Slay and he is sure to be matched up on Garcon for the majority of this game. The high total of 47.5 in this game is what has me investing heavily into its players, and I’m sure to take a chance here when there is a need to pinch pennies on this final roster spot.