Greetings and welcome to Week 2 of the 2018 NFL season! What follows is a weekly strategy guide covering the main slate of FanDuel guaranteed prize pools (GPPs). It will be available every Friday from now until the Super Bowl. Each section includes a short description, and to make things easier for those short on time, every player covered in this column will be listed directly below with full analysis found in their corresponding sections.
As you incorporate this information into your weekly decisions, keep in mind that winning large tournaments presents a difficult challenge. Chasing big payouts makes for fun Sundays, but if you want to be a profitable tournament player, you must branch out and play in smaller contests that have flatter payouts, even if the prize pool doesn’t have the same appeal.
For those that want nothing but the facts, here is every player covered in this column with a quick note on each. For those that want full analysis, keep reading.
- Patrick Mahomes II II – exciting option with triple-threat tournament upside that includes his strong arm, his ability to make plays as a runner, and Tyreek Hill.
- Alvin Kamara – once again, impossible to fade but most expensive player on the slate and may not be needed as much this week.
- James Conner – the Steelers can plug any running back into their system and find success. Conner’s value the best on the board.
- Antonio Brown – not necessarily a must-play, especially if Roethlisberger is hurt, but difficult to avoid.
- Tyrod Taylor – boom-bust with upside against a Saints’ defense that couldn’t pressure Ryan Fitzpatrick.
- Alex Smith – finished last year as QB4 in FanDuel scoring, great matchup on tap.
- Todd Gurley – the only difference between Gurley and Kamara is usage, which favors Gurley.
- Melvin Gordon III – overlooked by the crowd but not overlooked by the offense. Premium play.
- Dalvin Cook – Murray scares off the masses, but Cook’s usage as a receiver and price offer attractive possibilities.
- Julio Jones – maybe he’ll score a touchdown. Imagine that.
- DeAndre Hopkins – bounce-back game instore for Watson, despite offensive line tragedies.
- Jarvis Landry – ball hog with high-volume in the cards against the Saints whose defense looks vulnerable.
- Golden Tate – much like Landry but with a better matchup.
- Jonnu Smith – opportunity knocks. Has Travis Kelce upside if he takes advantage of his role.
- Jay Ajayi – the Eagles present Patriots-level frustration regarding running back usage, but Ajayi will float to the top.
- Dante Pettis – a steal at his price if he earns Goodwin’s role.
- Corey Davis – has earned the trust of coaches and his quarterback, so long as his quarterback is healthy.
- Ricky Seals-Jones – chasing Jared Cook’s points.
Week 2 Notes
It’s overreaction week in the NFL. The narrative that pours out of Week 1 tends to write off certain teams for the remainder of the season while placing others at the feet of a Super Bowl appearance. Do your best to avoid that mentality and keep in mind that we still have a lot to learn about the 2018 season. Don’t assume that certain players are must-starts and don’t blindly check off others just because they failed to meet expectations after one week of play (ahem, Alex Collins).
To that end, avoid chasing last week’s chalk, which hit hard to open the year. That happens sometimes. But remember that past success doesn’t always guarantee future success. Tarik Cohen, for example, finished as the third highest scoring running back in Week 1 of 2017. By season’s end, he finished with only three touchdowns and barely cracked the top-36.
Similarly, Kenny Golladay excited the fantasy world after he blew up for 69 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 last year. He finished Week 2 with one catch for eight yards. So, be smart with your bankroll and let the crowd chase fringe players (DeSean Jackson comes to mind).
With that said, let’s get this profit party started…
Chalk and Fade Considerations
Even though creating roster uniqueness has long been the default strategy for GPPs, there’s a reason why certain players hold the confidence of the public. Remember that fading a player simply because he’s popular checks in as one of the worst processes. You wouldn’t build a lineup full of chalk; nor should you ignore a great situation in the name of contrarianism. With that said, this section will be dedicated to finding reasons why you might consider fading the players listed below. Keep in mind that all of these players are expected to have big games, so outright fades are never recommended, and be sure to check out Steve Buzzard’s percent rostered projections.
Patrick Mahomes II II - $7,500
Mahomes has an absolute rocket launcher for an arm he put it on display last week. According to Pro Football Focus, over 22% of his passes were thrown deep (20 yards or more)—the second highest rate of all quarterbacks in Week 1. He completed half of them for 100 yards and a touchdown. In tournaments, we like quarterbacks that challenge defenses deep. Even if those low-percentage throws set the table for a dangerous floor, they also raise the ceiling for obvious reasons—especially when you have a speedster like Tyreek Hill.
But don’t get blinded by the final box score. One of Mahomes’ touchdowns was made possible by Hill, who caught the ball in traffic and blasted through the middle of the defense for a 59-yard score (to be fair, it was a good throw). Two of Mahomes’ touchdowns came via short shovel passes at the goal line—something the Steelers will likely notice on tape and game plan for should that situation present itself (it’s reasonable to think Kareem Hunt gets a crack at the goal line this week). And the fourth touchdown was a perfectly thrown ball to a fullback who wouldn’t have made it to the end zone had the middle linebacker not mistimed his jump (he went for the interception instead of making a play). Not that we should discredit what Mahomes did in his second career start. He made some great throws and showed veteran level tenacity against a defense that, on paper, looks tough. But there’s a lot more to his performance than final stats indicate.
Of course, given his arm talent, dual-threat abilities, and Hill’s could-score-on-any-play speed, Mahomes will register as an intriguing tournament play almost every week. It seemed clear that Andy Reid wanted to see what his young quarterback could handle last week and gave him the entire playbook. This week, a challenging matchup in Pittsburgh will likely push more work towards the running game, where the Steelers are most vulnerable. Mahomes won’t rank as the most popular quarterback of the week, but there will be no shortage of Mahomes/Hill stacks, so don’t assume you’re getting a sneaky pairing with those two. Most folks will be on this matchup because it has the highest over/under of the week and both quarterbacks offer solid value. Of the two, irrespective of exposure, we’re better off chasing Mahomes upside.
Alvin Kamara - $9,000
Sometimes the chalk hits. And sometimes it absolutely crushes. Kamara was one of the most popular players last week, and he swung tournaments. He ended up with a ridiculous nine red zone opportunities and cashed in three touchdowns on 141 total yards. How can we possibly fade him this week?
The truth is, we can’t. But you should at least consider the fact that he had only eight carries and he’s unlikely to be needed as a receiver against the Browns, who are 10-point underdogs. You should also be aware that the Browns’ defense is much better than the Buccaneers and their offense might set up shorter fields for New Orleans. All of this adds up to Kamara likely hitting 100-some yards again and a touchdown is always in the cards, but unlikely to come anywhere near 12 targets. He’s the safest player on the slate. But he’s also the most expensive and the most popular. As always, outright fades are never recommended, just be sure to diversify and pivot to the other top-tier running backs.
James Conner - $7,000
If there’s a reason to fade the Steelers’ passing attack, it’s Conner. No other Pittsburg running back even so much as logged a snap. He accounted for 62.1% of team touches—the highest of all players in Week 1—and logged 48.7% of team opportunities, which was second to only Joe Mixon. Now he gets a Chiefs’ defense that was battered by Chargers’ running backs last week to the tune of 292 yards, 189 of which came via the pass. The Steelers have proven year-after-year that they can drop any running back into their system and produce solid fantasy numbers for that running back (see DeAngelo Williams). Conner will be the second most popular player, but he has a great matchup, in a great situation, with a great price. Fade at your own peril.
Antonio Brown - $8,900
Rain, wind, Ben Roethlisberger home/road splits… none of it matters. Brown’s afternoon looked like a bust with only 14 yards on six targets going into halftime. But he erupted in the second half and finished the day with 16 targets, nine catches, 93 yards, and a touchdown. Things get a lot easier as the Steelers take on a toothless Kansas City defense at home. Last week, Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen added evidence that Kansas City’s secondary is rife with vulnerabilities. Allen played the majority of his snaps from the slot, but most of his numbers came from the outside. Most of them also came with the Chargers attempting to overcome a deficit in the second half. In fact, he logged only 16 yards on three targets in the first half, all of which came in the first quarter.
We shouldn’t expect the Steelers to be in a similar situation at home, but game scripts are hardly worth considering when it comes to a player of Brown’s caliber and usage. While JuJu Smith-Schuster will get plenty of looks in this contest, Brown gets the best matchup. Hopefully, he spends a lot of his afternoon in Steven Nelson’s coverage, who last week allowed seven catches on 10 targets for 103 yards. Regardless of matchup, Brown offers tournament-winning upside and it may be wise to ignore his projected exposure. Caveat: the Steelers can beat the Chiefs in a multitude of ways and may end up spreading the ball around, so we should at least consider the possibility that Brown logs similar numbers to last week, which would be fine for cash but not necessarily for GPPs.
Core players need no explanation: they are the meat and potatoes of lineups. Developing a list and building around them is DFS Strategy 101.
Tyrod Taylor - $6,600
Perhaps Taylor is the quarterback the Browns deserve and the one it needs right now. As mentioned with Mahomes, we like it when offenses challenge defenses deep, even if it means sacrificing some floor. Taylor led all players in deep passing attempts last week with 10. Of course, throwing deep passes in formidable wind and rain creates a less-than-ideal result. Look no further than his 37.5% completion rate to find proof of that. His lone interception should have had some company as he badly misplaced a few throws that the defense failed to capitalize on. Regardless, Taylor saved his day on the back of eight carries for 77 yards and a rushing touchdown. That’s exactly why we can employ his services as a core GPP play.
It’s too early to assume the Saints’ defense has regressed to pre-2017 numbers—a time when they provided fantasy gold week in and week out for multiple positions. But the way they played against the Bucs makes us question how difficult it is to burn this unit. Eight of the seven passes aimed at Ken Crawley were completed for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Marshon Lattimore wasn’t much better as Mike Evans bullied him and forced a completion rate of 66%, resulting in 115 yards and one touchdown. And it’s not like these numbers came on the arm of an elite passer. We’re talking about Ryan Fitzpatrick here, who the Saints failed to pressure for most of the afternoon.
Taylor is a better quarterback than Fitzpatrick and enters Week 2 surrounded by a ton of talent. With Duke Johnson Jr, Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, and David Njoku on the field, Taylor has an array of weapons ranging from a dynamic running back who’s an excellent pass-catcher, an elite slot receiver, an elite deep threat, and an emerging tight end whose best comparable is Travis Kelce. Mix in Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb, and this offense should have no trouble moving the ball and scoring points. Oh, and currently Taylor ranks ninth in rushing yards among all players.
He’s a dangerous option due to his volatility and you just never know when the Browns are going to reopen the Factory of Sadness and manufacture a horrible loss, but that should keep the crowds shy, which provides us with a high-ceiling contrarian play for under $7k. The question isn’t whether you should roster him in tournaments, the question is who you should stack him with in tournaments (more on that later).
UPDATE 9/15 - Gordon has been ruled out with a hamstring injury. That's a small hit to Taylor's ceiling but not enough to matter.
Alex Smith - $7,100
Any concerns regarding Andrew Luck’s health and potential rust after so much time away can be discarded after he attempted 53 passes last week and completed 73.6% of them. He, once again, sets up as a contrarian play while the crowd chases other options. But our money might be the safest in the hands of Luck’s opponent.
Smith looked solid in his first game with Washington in an offense designed to take advantage of his strengths (lots of RPOs). Per usual, short throws inflated his efficiency as a passer, which would be a concern if not for the talent around him. He wasn’t forced into a ton a volume (only 30 pass attempts), but that’s more the work of his opponent last week, who managed only six points. The Colts offer a much more challenging matchup offensively, and a much dreamier matchup defensively. Where the Cardinals were able to take away deep shots with soft zone coverage and effectively remove one wide receiver from every play thanks to Patrick Peterson, the Colts have no such talent in the secondary. Said secondary was the reason many touted Andy Dalton as a GPP play last week. He ended up with only 17.52 points—not exactly tournament numbers—so it’s fair to question whether or not Smith is a viable GPP play given his volume concerns. But his QB4 finish in FanDuel scoring last year suggests he’s most definitely a GPP candidate and Week 2 is a great time to take advantage of his salary.
As always, it’s better to chase efficiency than volume, and we certainly want quarterbacks who can make plays with their legs. Smith checks both boxes and might even be in for a high-volume afternoon if Luck and Co. can shake off whatever rust is left. Stack Smith with either Jordan Reed, Chris Thompson, or both.
Todd Gurley - $8,900
Gurley or Kamara? That’s the biggest question entering Week 2. They’re separated by only $100, and both will be uber popular, so there’s no tactical advantage in the form of exposure or salary for either. The tiebreaker is usage—where Gurley has a small edge. He accounted for 42.4% of his team’s total opportunities (carries + targets) vs. Kamara’s 35.1%, and Gurley’s seven red zone opportunities were only two fewer than Kamara’s league-leading nine. Obviously, Gurley didn’t get 12 targets like Kamara, but he did see five and turned them into 39 yards and a touchdown.
The Rams develop their weekly strategy around Gurley’s role, and they should have no trouble executing that strategy as 13-point home favorites against the Cardinals. Last week, Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson combined for 31 carries, eight catches, 294 total yards, two touchdowns and 43.4 FanDuel points against the Cardinals. This matchup has smash potential written all over it, and even though he won’t give us much of a discount in terms of salary or popularity, Gurley is as good of a play as Kamara (if not better). You could roster both of them and try to lock up a combined 50 points, but you would need near perfect accuracy in the tier of wide receivers you’d be forced into after spending almost 30% of your salary on two players. Doable, but difficult.
Melvin Gordon III - $8,200
Gordon offers a slight discount among the top-tier running backs after his price barely budged despite racking up 166 yards on his way to a top-four finish. The only thing missing from his stellar Week 1 performance was a touchdown. Red zone visits should come in waves against the Bills, who were pounded by the Ravens last week and allowed a touchdown to three different running backs. It was surprising to watch Baltimore quickly gain a large lead yet choose to run the ball only 24 times, and inefficiently so, averaging under 3.1 yards per attempt. Yards per attempt doesn’t qualify as a stat we care about, but considering the Ravens have an elite offensive line and were excellent at running the ball last year while the Bills were terrible at stopping the run, it was a little surprising (read: disappointing) to see. Perhaps a predictable game script muddied the outcome.
Nonetheless, Gordon looked fantastic last week both as a runner and receiver and will have no trouble moving the ball against the Bills. It’s reasonable to assume the crowd will be less likely to roster him after they see Austin Ekeler’s box score. But make no mistake about it, this backfield belongs to Gordon. He handled 68.2% of team carries, which ranked fifth among all running backs, and even better, his 26% market share of team targets and 62 total snaps both ranked second, and only Kamara ran more receiving routes. The Chargers, by the way, came out of Week 1 leading all teams in points scored by running backs. They take the road as 7.5-point favorites—easily the most among road teams in Week 2 and third most among all teams. They also have a funny way of losing games they should win, so an upset engineered by a rookie quarterback fielding his first start would surprise no one, but Gordon offers immunity to game scripts and deserves a spot in most of your lineups.
Dalvin Cook - $6,500
If there’s a reason to fade Conner, it’s Cook, who offers decent upside at a great price. He’s getting lost in the shuffle thanks Latavius Murray chewing up 11 carries last week and Cook failing to eclipse 100 yards. But he was a huge factor in the passing game, drawing seven targets and catching six of them for 55 yards, all while playing 80.3% of snaps—the sixth most among running backs. And if you’re worried about his 2.5 yards per carry:
Dalvin Cook had 40 rushing yards week 1.— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) September 13, 2018
He had 45 yards after contact.
He projects to see a strong workload in two different ways: 1) if Aaron Rodgers plays, the Vikings should be forced into more passing, which benefits Cook more so than Murray, and 2) if Rodgers doesn’t play, the Vikings defense is going to feast on backup DeShone Kizer, setting the offense up with short fields and eventually allowing them to grind out the clock. Of the two scenarios, we want the former since it guarantees a much higher scoring game. Either way, Cook’s outlook paired with his $6,500 salary and potentially low exposure makes him a solid play.
Julio Jones - $8,500
Jones exploded in the first game of the season with 10 catches on 19 targets for 169 yards. And that was against a team that fields a much better defense than what he’ll see on Sunday. Here’s what Jones has done against the Panthers since he joined the NFL:
Those numbers average out to 10.2 targets, 5.6 receptions, 103.7 yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game. Touchdowns, of course, have eluded Jones over his career and particularly against the Panthers where he has scored only three since his rookie season. The Falcons head-scratching tendencies in the red zone aren’t helping. And it’s also worth noting that over 26% of Jones’ yards against the Panthers came in Week 4 of 2016. But there’s no question that he will be the heartbeat of the offensive attack on Sunday, especially with Devonte Freeman nursing a knee injury and the defense losing its two leading tacklers from last season (Deion Jones and Keanu Neal).
Even though the over/under of this matchup doesn’t offer much appeal, the Falcons are six-point favorites at home and will benefit from extra time to prepare for Cam Newton and Co. If not for injuries on the defense, this would be a great week to fire up their D/ST as a GPP contrarian play. Instead, we should expect the Panthers to challenge the Falcons with a dink-and-dunk, run-option attack and keep the game close. That will force the Falcons’ hand, or more specifically, Matt Ryan’s arm. All signs point to Jones being a great pivot away from Brown if you want to spend up at wide receiver.
DeAndre Hopkins - $8,400
If Kenny Stills can do this…
Imagine what Hopkins can do. Maybe this is a good week to make room for a pair of elite, high-priced wide receivers. One or all three of Brown, Jones, and Hopkins will swing tournaments (as well as Michael Thomas). In two games against the Titans last year, one with Deshaun Watson and one without, Hopkins logged 18 catches on 26 targets for 187 yards. Over his career—which includes a laundry list of awful quarterbacks—Hopkins has averaged over 100 yards per game against the Titans, including seven games (out of 10) with at least 90 yards. The offensive line is a major question mark, but a Watson bounce-back game feels likely and Hopkins will be a big part of it. He’s a fine pivot from chalkier options such as Brown and Thomas.
Jarvis Landry - $6,700
The desire to tout Josh Gordon as a core play here is strong. Holding back that desire is the shadow coverage he figures to draw against Lattimore. Even though he was burned last week, there’s a reason why Lattimore won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2017. Gordon’s deep speed suggests he deserves GPP consideration. Unfortunately, his usage last week was discouraging and it’s hard to find confidence in any remarks that might come from Hue Jackson.
That leaves Landry, who ran the third most pass routes and saw the fourth most targets of all wide receivers in Week 1. Should the Saints somehow find a pass rush and somehow contain Gordon, we can expect Landry to once again be a target hog and once again flirt with triple-digit yardage numbers. A touchdown is all he needs to vault into top-five wide receiver status, and even if the Browns attempt a ground-and-pound approach with hopes of keeping Drew Brees on the sideline, that dream will be dashed when the Saints build their likely two-score lead. They are currently favored by 10 points and boast the highest implied team total of the week (29.75 points). Chasing quarterbacks who are massive underdogs isn’t as sharp as chasing quarterbacks who are massive favorites, but Taylor’s presence as a dual-threat player makes this situation intriguing, and Landry makes for the perfect stacking mate.
Before signing off on Taylor/Landry stacks, note that a power stack of Taylor/Landry/Gordon absorbs under 33% of the salary cap. In fact, Taylor/Landry/Gordon/Kamara is possible with enough salary left over for an elite wide receiver and a super cheap tight end (Jonnu Smith, perhaps). That’s a lot of weight on one offense whose overall projections aren’t so hot and it’s the same blueprint that swung tournaments last week where Fitzpatrick/Jackson/Thomas/Kamara stacks ruled them all. Still, that type of roster construction separates you from the crowd and oozes with upside (and downside).
UPDATE 9/15 - Gordon has been ruled out thanks to a hamstring injury. Landry will most likely end up playing more snaps on the perimeter and less time in the slot, but he's still the favorite to lead the team in targets. Additionally, Rashard Higgins becomes an interesting option at site-minimum pricing, and Njoku deserves serious consideration as a value tight end.
Golden Tate - $7,100
It’s hard to say who will rank higher in the crowd’s mind between Tate and Kenny Golladay. Steve Buzzard projects the latter to see double-digit exposure, while Tate gets overlooked. That’s great news considering he saw the fourth most targets of all wide receivers last week and now gets to match up against 49ers’ slot corner K'Waun Williams, who was just torched by Adam Thielen.
This game offers the third highest over/under of the week at 48 points and serves as a get-right for both teams. The Lions have a lot prove after getting embarrassed by the Jets last Monday night. Vegas favors the 49ers by six points, which, if they’re right, it means another heavy pass attack from the Lions, who last year pushed Matthew Stafford into the fourth most passing attempts, the fourth most passing touchdowns, and the third most passing yards. Tate managed a WR15 finish in 2017 despite scoring only five touchdowns. He’s already off to big start in 2018, and even though he’s a better play in full PPR formats, the volume should be there for him again this week.
Jordan Reed - $6,200
No one will ever question if Reed changes the way opposing defenses handle their respective game plans. Unfortunately, as horrible as it sounds, the time to play him is now when he’s healthy. He saw only five targets last week and still managed a top-five finish. His ceiling is obvious and the matchup against the Colts provides plenty of comfort. He stands to benefit the most from Washington’s dink-and-dunk style offense even if his involvement in the first week of the season didn’t offer much encouragement. His price feels a tad high—just high enough to keep the crowds away. Make room for him if you can.
Jonnu Smith - $4,200
Smith projects to be one of the most popular tight ends of the week. That’s what happens when a player of his skill set steps into a role prioritized by the offense. Considering he has logged all of 18 catches for 157 yards in his career, and given the low ceiling attached to his offense, Smith’s overall expectations should be kept in check. But we have a great opportunity to completely punt this position at a low cost of only $4,200, which does wonders for the rest of the roster. As far as his matchup is concerned, it’s difficult to judge the Texans’ defense based on one meeting Rob Gronkowski. For the record, he crushed them with seven catches on eight targets for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Los Angeles Rams - $4,800
Much like last week when the chalky Baltimore Ravens paid dividends, the Rams set up as a great play regardless of their price or popularity. They’re massive home favorites with a 13.5-points spread and get to take on a Cardinals team that hosts one of the worst offensive lines in football and an overall offense that barely scored six points last week. All signs point the Rams making good on their price. Gurley/Rams defense stacks will be in high demand and rightfully so.
Philadelphia Eagles - $4,400
It’ll be interesting to see how many people chase Fitzpatrick’s stats from Week 1. Meanwhile, the Eagles defense ranks as one of the best in the league which includes a ferocious pass rush that’s sure to give Fitzpatrick a rough time and lead to turnovers. They started their season with four sacks and allowed only 12 points, albeit in a sloppy game. Fire them up with confidence.
Similar to sleepers, contrarian players are those the crowd has completely mispriced and undervalued. In some cases, it’s a player coming off an injury or facing a difficult matchup but still carries a heavy price tag. In other cases, it could be a player that has struggled recently and therefore deemed untrustworthy. In all cases, guard your exposure to players listed in this section but get them in at least a few lineups.
Jay Ajayi - $6,800
The backfield rotation of the Eagles feels similar to what the Patriots have frustrated fantasy players with for years. The only clear role is that of Darren Sproles, who benefits from elite pass-catching skills and as such, provides the team with a ton of value in the red zone. But Ajayi looked solid in the season opener, particularly in the second half after he earned the trust of coaches and logged 12 of his 15 carries. Going forward, he should lay claim to the big-back role and most goal-line duties.
That’s a fine place to be against the Buccaneers this week, who were crushed by Kamara a week ago, albeit in the passing game. If we could guarantee that Tampa Bay forces a game script that favors a passing attack, then Sproles deserves our attention as a long-shot GPP dart. There’s a chance Nick Foles makes that situation a reality by turning the ball over and forcing short fields on his defense. So consider that reality as you finalize lineups. But there’s a greater chance that the Eagles, who are road favorites, dig their heels in and grind the game down with hardnose running. The latter case is worth chasing, even if Ajayi doesn’t check all of the requisite usage and metrics boxes.
UPDATE 9/14 - Sproles has been ruled out. That's better news for Corey Clement than Ajayi but it at least means he'll see a few more touches and should cement his status as the goal line back.
Corey Davis - $6,300
Let’s hope he plays and let’s hope the loss of Delanie Walker means more work for Davis. He draws a decent matchup against the Texans’ vulnerable secondary a week after seeing 13 targets, three of which came in the red zone. If Watson can push the Titans into a pass-heavy situation, Davis should, once again, lead the offense in targets and has a decent chance at satisfying his $6,300 salary. His three red zone opportunities were the most among his teammates and tied the likes of T.Y. Hilton, Michael Thomas, and Odell Beckham Jr Jr.
Dante Pettis - $4,500
If Marquise Goodwin fails to suit up, a likely scenario, Pettis immediately steps in as the deep threat and the No. 2 option among the 49ers’ wide receivers. He took over for Goodwin last week against Minnesota and turned five targets into two receptions for 61 yards and a long touchdown. No guarantee to produce, Pettis offers a ton of salary relief and has the speed to stretch the Lions defense à la Robby Anderson.
Ricky Seals-Jones - $5,200
Seals-Jones made an appearance in this space last week and failed to deliver hard numbers. He did, however, fall right into the role we expected with Sam Bradford under center. The matchup for Week 2 looks even better after Jared Cook highlighted a weakness in the Rams’ defense as he punched his way to 180 yards on 12 targets and nine receptions. Seals-Jones managed six targets, which ranked third most on the team and he’ll see at least that many again as Bradford is pressured into quick throws.
Jaguars Defense - $4.300
The last time the Jaguars met the Patriots, they allowed 24 points and generated zero turnovers. This time, Tom Brady doesn’t have Brandin Cooks, who accounted for six catches and 100 yards, he doesn’t have Danny Amendola, who accounted for seven catches and 84 yards, he doesn’t have Dion Lewis, who accounted for seven catches and 32 yards, and he doesn’t have home field advantage. Maybe Brady can rely on Gronkowski and others to move the ball, but this sets up as a low-scoring game that favors the league’s best defense. Play the revenge narrative and take advantage of the Jaguars’ secondary while their price and exposure levels are suppressed.
Jets Defense - $3,700
It could have been a fluke. It could have been great defense. And no matter what, it’s a situation worth chasing against the Dolphins, who handed the Titans 11 points mostly thanks to a touchdown from the special teams unit. The Jets don’t boast much of a pass rush but they have a decent secondary are worth a shot in Week 2 thanks in part to their price, their Week 1 performance, and their Week 2 opponent.