Well I was shocked by both Mahomes and Fitzpatrick last week. The odds of both of them being that good for a second week in a row had to be ridiculously slim. I whiffed on most of the receivers last week, and I apologize for that, but we did have a number of hits between the running back, tight end, and quarterback positions. Lesson learned: Don’t doubt Mahomes. But enough mulling over last week let’s focus on the week to come.
Alvin Kamara – $9500 @ Atlanta
Normally we want to focus on home running backs, but Kamara is just such a unique player with the explosiveness he offers on the field and your fantasy teams. This game is sure to be high scoring, given some of the struggles of the Saints defense and the missing pieces on the Falcons defense. Even though Cam and the Panthers were unable to take advantage of a weakened defense, Payton and Brees are sure to come up with some ways to exploit them. These plans surely involve Kamara, and he is the best option to ensure the floor of your roster in GPP and Cash games.
Melvin Gordon – $7400 @ Rams
Melvin Gordon is the 6th most expensive running back on the main slate, but he has produced the second highest average in fantasy points over the first two weeks of the 2018 season. Sure the Rams shutdown David Johnson last week, but we all know that running backs can easily be ruined for value when their signal caller can’t sustain offense. There is no worry for that with Rivers and we also have no reason to fear that game script affects Gordon’s touches. It makes sense to stick with relatively inexpensive consistency.
Jordan Howard – $6500 @ Arizona
This appears to be a juicy match up for Jordan Howard. We know Chicago is intent on turning Howard into a true workhorse back. Given what Gurley did last week, we should be able to look forward to a solid performance from him. Arizona is dead last in fantasy points per game to running backs, so this is probably a selection worth considering as a potential RB1 selection if you are looking to pinch pennies. Even more encouraging is that Matt Nagy admitted that they have to use Howard more than they did on Monday night.
Giovani Bernard – $5900 @ Carolina
Mixon encountered some issues with his knee last week that could cost him up to 4 weeks. This creates an opportunity vacuum for Bernard to fill. The great thing about this is that he has been able to handle an RB1 workload in the past, so this play has reasonable upside especially considering his skills in the receiving game. Carolina has been pretty solid against running backs for a fantasy point perspective (currently 11th), but Bernard’s pass catching prowess should come in very handy for this match up.
Matt Breida – $5400 @ Kansas City
Kansas City has yielded 51 points to running backs through the first two weeks, and last week Breida (currently the league’s leader in rushing) showed us how explosive he could potentially be when given the chance. This play is a little bit of a leap of faith that the coaching staff sees things the same way. For those worrying about Morris robbing Breida of snaps, Morris has been way less efficient with a few more touches.
Bears – $3500 @ Arizona
The price (outside of my normal parameters) is a little more than I like to spend, but if Arizona insists on keeping Bradford under center and only running David Johnson inside, this could be a long game for the Cardinals. This provides us an awesome stack option with Jordan Howard as I fully expect the Cardinals to get crushed facing Kalil Mack which means Howard should be killing the clock. The Cardinals have given up the 9th most points to D/STs after playing the Rams and Redskins. The Bears are probably closer to the Rams than the Redskins and this could land us some great points due to sacks and low scoring.
Cowboys – $2200 @ Seattle
We saw what the Bears were able to do against that horrible offensive line, and with the pressure that Dallas’ defensive line has been able to put a lot of pressure on suspect offensive lines in both contests so far. This is a little bit of a coin flip because the pressure could flush Wilson out of the pocket which is where he does magical things. However, this same pressure can also result in sacks and errant throws that become turnovers.
Julio Jones – $7900 vs Saints
Julio was somewhat of a let down last week, but what was shown is an ability of the Falcons to design plays that involve way more players than just Julio. This is the cheapest he has been all season, and he now faces a Saints defense that has given up the most points to receivers through 2 weeks. On top of that, he dropped 40 points on the Saint over their last two meetings, and that’s when the Saints defense was good. Julio’s targets should move back to the mean and his production should increase as well.
Brandin Cooks – $7000 vs Rams
Cooks had a nice outing against …… air last week? It seemed like the Cardinals didn’t even show up. He converted 9 targets into 7 receptions and 159 yards. He almost had a score too, but Goff tossed it a little low in the red zone and the ball was swatted as a consequence. Cooks performance so far should be pretty close to silencing off-season doubters. Being that the Chargers have yielded the 4th most points to receivers we could expect at least one of the Rams to put up points, and this week having one of the fastest players on the field may determine more big play looks.
Nelson Agholor – $6100 vs Colts
Nelson has been the only real receiving threat on the field other than Zach Ertz and the running backs. He has been highly targeted, and Wentz is back! Jordan Matthews is back, but we could probably assume his first game back will be somewhat limited in his former slot role. Agholor is tenth in targets and ninth in receptions. His yards per reception should go up if Wentz is truly 100%. Given that most people won’t even look Agholor’s way in what appears to be a tough match up, this could give you ownership upside.
Keelan Cole – $5600 vs Titans
Facing the second worst defense in fantasy points to receivers, I fully expect at least one of the receivers to eat. It is becoming less and less of a debate who the top dog is in that receiving core, and Bortles is proving to be less and less of a liability for the offense. This game could be low scoring with Fournette returning, but I believe that the Jaguars have proven that they have learned their lesson to keep on the gas until it’s truly over. When the game total is finally revealed it will likely scare many off of this game, providing a little bit of ownership upside with Cole whose hands look legit after last week.
Allen Robinson – $5400 vs Cardinals
A piece of advice: Watch Monday Night Football closely because most weeks the prices for the following week become available before kickoff. This affords us these opportunities where we can identify value. Before MNF we would have been still on the fence as to Robinson’s value. Now I do think we the answer. While it will be volatile at times due to Trubisky’s growing pains, Robinson appears to be a target hog in this offense. The Bears defense should give the offense more possessions in this game which should translate to more targets for Robinson. For this price, it’s hard to pass up on his potential.
Tyler Boyd – $3700 @ Panthers
It seems like the Bengals receivers are starting to show their synergy. A.J. Green is obviously the fast, big bodied, skilled route-runner while Ross threatens with elite speed. This allows Boyd to be in a nice position as a possession receiver. For these less expensive receivers we want to find a defense that is solid defending primary wide receivers. Carolina is 7th against WR1s in fantasy points so there should be some opportunity for Boyd to continue showing why they cut Brandon LaFell. If he can repeat the work he did against Baltimore (currently 7th in pass DVOA compared to Carolina’s 26th) then he will return 4X value.
Calvin Ridley – $3700 vs Saints
The Saints are looking like they did two years ago against the pass…..terrible. On the other hand the Falcons seem to be finding their way on offense once again. They took steps to look for players other than Julio to get involved which included Ridley. This is one of the highest totals of the week, indicating a lot of points scored. The really encouraging thing about last week’s game is that Sarkisian was scheming Ridley open. Scheme + route running should equal many more looks for Ridley in space. I’ll continue to take the upside of that at this price against the second worst pass defense in DVOA.
George Kittle – $4500 @ Chiefs
Kansas City has the worst overall defense in the league (3rd most points to tight ends) which should allow a balanced attack from San Francisco. Jesse James just got done beating up this defense last week and Kittle is much more talented than he is. Some may fade Kittle after last week’s performance, but this should be a bounce back week for him. He’s a little expensive, but he isn’t in that Gronk-Ertz-Kelce tier yet. Kittle can provide that tier 1 – 2 tight end upside we all want, and that includes the upside of 4 red zone targets in the last two games plus the 5th most air yards among tight ends. Keep in mind, the 49ers have passed the second most in the red zone so far this season. Not a trend we should expect to slow down.
Jimmy Garoppolo – $6500 @ Chiefs
Who’s defense is worse? Kansas City or Detroit? We may be able to get a gauge this week as Garoppolo visits the Chiefs. His stats have not been comepelling, but we must keep in mind that it’s early in the season and the sample size is smaller than the sample we were using to anoint Jimmy G in the offseason. Looking at his two games so far we saw a 24% completion rate increase and 5 yards per attempt along with that. Give me Jimmy G against a defense allowing 34 points to QBs, 37 to RBs, 52 to WRs, and 20 to TEs on average over the last two weeks. He has weapons at his disposal and one of the better playcallers in the game behind him. People will assume that Mahomes and the Chiefs will be mostly responsible for contributing points to this 55.5 over/under, but with the 49ers being underdogs by a full touchdown this would indicate more passing for Jimmy G.
Drew Brees – $6400 @ Falcons
Somehow the Saints are underdogs by 3 in this high scoring contest (53.5 O/U), but its hard to doubt Brees in any high scoring game especially when its close like this. He has the third most passing yards and he faces a defense that has lost two significant pieces of their defense in week 1. Brees price is probably a little low because the Falcons haven’t allowed too many points to passers, but they did face a struggling Nick Foles in week 1. This is Drew Brees. Don’t sweat week two’s performance too much. Cleveland’s front seven is significantly underrated. Take him at this price, stack him with Kamara and Thomas if you can find some way to do it!
Matt Ryan – $5700 vs Saints
On the flip side of that game, it’s hard to believe that Matt Ryan is this price. At the same time, after looking at the stat line it is a little easier to swallow. But the Saints have given up the 3rd most points to passers, and as mentioned above when discussing Ridley Sarkisian is figuring out how to leverage the other weapons he has on the field. Stacking Falcons in this match up is juicy and Ryan’s price facilitates droppin’ stacks elsewhere. This has to be the week Ryan and Julio connect for a touchdown….. or two.
Corey Clement – $4300 vs Colts
The Eagles are back home. Carson Wentz has returned. Sproles and Ajayi could both be out or significantly limited. Concerns about Ajayi’s playing status are a little heightened with the Eagles bringing up Josh Adams from the practice squad. Some may look at his usage from last season and feel kinda “meh” about it. But this is about the touches he could be walking into. Here’s the deal: while FanShare data shows him as the most talked about RB this week, watch the news regarding Ajayi’s playing status. If Ajayi is a “go” for Sunday, this could be a shot at some sneaky low-ownership opportunity due to people reacting. In that little window of Ajayi’s absence last week Clement averaged 5 yards per carry, had a score on the ground and he caught 5 of 6 targets for 55 yards for a total of 85 scrimmage yards. Imagine what he could do on twice the opportunities.
Cooper Kupp – $4900 vs Chargers
Kupp is cheap and has averaged 8.5 targets per game through the first two weeks. Add to that 5 red zone targets (T-4th) and we can begin to see some upside. Brandin Cooks has had a few big performances so far which will distract many from a significant exposure to scoring upside. The Chargers are 20th in DVOA against the pass and 19th in fantasy points to receivers. The Rams have favored the run in the red zone 23 – 13, but being that McVay is an offensive genius, I wouldn’t be surprise to see him mix it up a little more to keep defenses guessing.