featured Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

One Week Fantasy Football Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings, DraftDay and Draftster Week 2, 2014

Week 1 is in the books, and it was great times here at DFSR central. Last week's picks worked out great, and we're energized that our projection system is pumping out winners. Want to peek behind the curtain and get a taste of this week's action? Read on!

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An eerily quiet week for Quarterbacks, with only 2 QBs throwing for even 3 touchdowns. I don't think this is any sort of indicator for the future, and I think a lot of QBs will feel like they have a lot to prove. All that said, I'm not taking toooooo much away from week 1 that we didn't already know. As a reminder, I like to spend more on QB in double ups and less in GPPs, simply because QBs tend to be less volatile on a week to week basis.

Tom Brady - FD 8500 DK 7000 DD 13200 DFSTR 7700
If you're spooked by Brady's week 1 performance, let me talk you down off the ledge for a second. First of all, Brady aired it out 56 times against a Dolphins defense that was better than league average last year defending against the pass. While he didn't convert that into a huge day, one has to figure that he'll round out his completion percentage back into reasonable form against a Vikings team who was one of the world's worst passing defenses last year. And sure, the Vikings had a nice defensive performance against the 3rd string QB for the Rams, but the speed of the Patriots' offense almost certainly has to catch them off guard. Coming off a loss, I have to think Brady and the Pats will be more than happy to put up some serious numbers against Minny, and I love him in both double ups and large tourneys with top heavy prize structures.

Jake Locker - FD 7400 DK 7100 DD 11700 DFSTR 5600
Locker quietly put together one of the nicer fantasy lines of Week 1 from the QB position - throwing for 266 yards on 22 of 33 passing. He looked very comfortable with Delanie Walker, and it was nice to see Kendall Wright get in the end zone as well. With the Cowboys and their 3rd worst passing defense last year, Locker makes a very enticing upside play in larger tournaments. Our projection system thinks the Cowboys are just going to be terrible this year, and their performance against the 49ers hasn't changed any of that for me.

Colin Kaepernick - FD 8400 DK 7900 DD 13350 DFSTR 7500
Kaepernick was headed for a huge day before his god damned defense snuck in and ruined everything by scoring a touch down. He looked great early, and the connection with Davis was encouraging. I'm a little concerned about Crabtree being banged up, but Boldin continued to provide underrated production. And Kaepernick's versatile fantasy game actually builds in as much safety as he has upside. The Bears allowed a pretty efficient game to EJ Manuel, and I am guessing their porous run defense will also help Kaepernick and company establish the pass.

Robert Griffin III - FD 7800 DK 7300 DD 12950 DFSTR 7700
Griffin actually looked pretty darned good considering the front seven he was facing last week, and while the lack of rushing yards is a concern, I have to think this will come together a lot more easily against the Jaguars. JJ Watt was collapsing the pocket constantly, and while the general consensus is that people are really worried, I think Griffin showed a great deal of maturity. The Jags D got off to a decent start against the Eagles, but tore apart at the seams. The Skins don't have the same offense that the Eagles do, but they shouldn't need it to go on a very nice run. Griffin looked incredibly comfortable with old standby Pierre Garcon, and seemed to mesh wonderfully with DeSean Jackson as well. A lot of people were concerned that Gruden didn't trust RGIII to throw downfield, but if you ask me, converting 21 targets to 18 receptions with one's two best receivers is a hell of a good sign. I'm not sure he's a conventional upside play until we figure that out, but for double ups, he's looking very safe from where I'm sitting.

Ryan Fitzpatrick - FD 6000 DK 5000 DD 10350 DFSTR 4600
I was a little discouraged at the lack of attempts for Fitzpatrick in week 1, but my guess is that he'll get a lot more trust as he proves he can handle this offense. The flow of this game should favor the Texans, and with a -3 spread in their favor, I am guessing that they'll have a positive game script against a Raiders team that allowed the 5th most passing yards of any defense last year. He gets a huge boost here simply on his price and weapons. If it turns out that he only has 22-24 attempts in this game as well, I'll probably be getting off the Fitz bandwagon - but he could easily provide his value on this low price, allowing you to spend big elsewhere.

If you really want to spend

Drew Brees - FD 9400 DK 8300 DD 16150 DFSTR 9000
Of the big money guys this week, Brees seems to be a cut above the rest. The Browns showed signs of life against Pittsburgh, but Roethlisberger still had a fine day. And while Brees didn't run up a huge fantasy total, all the opportunities were there. Keep an eye on this game to see if the Saints keep running so much near the end zone, but I suspect that Brees will settle back into his role as the best or second best fantasy QB going. I take Brees over Manning for the primary reason that the Broncos are favored by 13.5 in their match up against the Chiefs. If that game gets out of hand, Peyton might not be able to run up his trademark stats.

The other big money dudes
For what it's worth, our projection system doesn't think you can go too wrong with Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning today, either. But since I generally focus on GPP lineup construction as opposed to double ups, I'll probably steer clear. That said, if you want to invest a lot of money with relative safety, either of those guys looks like a good play this week.


Running Backs

As a quick reminder, we like to play cheaper running backs in big top heavy tournaments, and more expensive ones in double up formats. Running backs tend to be less volatile on a week to week basis.

LeSean McCoy - FD 9200 DK 8200 DD 14450 DFSTR 8100
If you were worried about Sproles cutting into McCoy's workload, Shady's 27 touches should have eased your concerns just a little bit. Granted, he didn't go off on a YPC basis, like we mentioned in our free eBook, fantasy success is far more correlated with opportunity than anything else. Our projection system loves McCoy against a Colts team who gave up the 7th most rushing yards in the NFL last season. If you're worried about the lack of touch downs, I wouldn't tear your hair out. Sproles broke one long run, but the Eagles seem pretty committed to using both, and McCoy should get plenty of work inside the 10.

Alfred Morris - FD 7200 DK 5200 DD 10600 DFSTR 5500
Unlike McCoy, Morris had relatively little opportunity, but was very impressive when he was out there. The Redskins hardly ran the ball at all against the Texans since they trailed most of the game, but this shouldn't be as big an issue against the Jags. If the Skins can put together some kind of lead, Morris should be able to convert increased opportunities to a fine fantasy day, especially at these relatively bargain prices.

DeMarco Murray - FD 8500 DK 7500 DD 12150 DFSTR 6200
If Murray can grab 25 touches in a blow out, I love him in a game that rates to be a lot more competitive. Murray looked solid against a very tough 49ers D, and while the Titans did pretty well against a good KC rushing attack, I'm not ready to crown them this year, especially after their sub-par performance against the run last year. If this game is close, or if the Cowboys can grab a lead, Murray looks like one of the very safest options out there, with upside to boot.

Adrian Peterson - FD 8800 DK 7400 DD 13000 DFSTR 6700
It stands to reason that Peterson will be revealed as a normal human being at some point, but I think we're still just a little ways away. Peterson is still going to have plenty of opportunity, and watching the Pats "new look D" get torched by what's left of Knowshon Moreno leaves me salivating. Peterson also had a pretty lousy yards per carry performance, but the Rams' tough front 7 was clearly trying to make Matt Cassel beat them. The Pats simply don't have the same talent up there, and I think it could be a very nice day for Peterson owners.
Matt Asiata - FD 4500 DK 3000 DD 4000 DFSTR 3000
Indications are that, following Peterson's deactivation, Matt Asiata will carry the workload against the Pats. He instantly becomes an easy plug in at the back-up/minimum price points. He might not light the world on fire, but getting a feature back who also rates to get goal line carries at these prices will be hard for anyone to pass up on, me included.

Giovani Bernard - FD 7800 DK 6300 DD 11800 DFSTR 6400
You simply have to love a guy who gets 14 carries and gets targeted 10 times in the passing game. The Falcons rate to play a pretty uptempo game given their healthy offensive weapons, and if the Bengals can hang, Bernard could put together some serious upside with lots of safety in PPR formats.

Cheap upside guys:
Shonn Greene - FD 5000 DK 3300 DD 7400 DFSTR 3000
It's clearly a home run play, but if Greene keeps getting the lion's share of the Titans' RBBC, he could very well pay off for owners in week 2. He did well with the opportunities he was given, and should get even more run against a pretty lousy Cowboys defense. Playing him at these prices means you're going to be able to spend big at a higher upside position, and I know I'll be pulling the trigger early and often in the huge Sunday tourneys.

Toby Gerhart - FD 5800 DK 5000 DD 9750 DFSTR 5200
The case for Gerhart comes down to opportunity. While he did a whole lot of nothing with what he was given against the Eagles, a sprained ankle early on could be a major reason why. Now, Gerhart is listed as questionable for week 2's tilt, but if we get positive news, you're going to have a tough time finding a guy who's slated to get 20+ touches for cheaper. If Gerhart can't go, it looks like Denard Robinson will be in line as the early down and goal line back - if that's the case, he could make for a true deep sleeper punt option.


Wide Receivers

Andre Johnson - FD 7100 DK 6400 DD 11100 DFSTR 6600
Johnson saw 9 targets from Fitzpatrick, and while he didn't convert any of those into scores, he should theoretically have a much better chance to do so against the Raiders. #80 remains the Texans' most dynamic offensive weapon, and should get a ton of opportunity to turn in a huge performance at a pretty affordable price in week 2.

Kendall Wright - FD 6100 DK 5800 DD 10600 DFSTR 5400
Wright continued to be Locker's most prolific pass catching partner, but what we're most excited about is the touch down. It was lack of red zone targets that kept Wright's value down in the past, and if he can start converting some of that huge workload to end zone performance, his price could climb by 30% by season's end. Wright makes for a fantastic double up play, and a solid GPP play as well.

Demaryius Thomas - FD 8700 DK 7000 DD 13800 DFSTR 8000
Of the true #1 receivers, our projection system likes Thomas best. Now, I understand if you're discouraged (or mad as hell) by Thomas' lackluster week 1 performance. I know he cost me a couple thousand bucks personally. But Manning did track him down for 11 targets, including several in the red zone. His lack of conversion on those targets is troublesome, but I'm wagering that it was more fluke than pattern. The Chiefs allowed a big day to the Titans' passing offense, so I'm guessing Thomas and Co. put up some decent numbers before the blow out sets in. Plus, I think Peyton will want to get his big #1 back on track.

Reggie Wayne - FD 6200 DK 5300 DD 9850 DFSTR 4400
Back from his ACL injury, Wayne was clearly the target du jour for Andrew Luck, and he converted better than the comparably targeted Hilton as well (9 catches on 13 targets as opposed to 5 on 11 for Hilton). You don't need Wayne to do much to have a huge day against the Eagles, whose incredible fast pace allows lots of opportunity for opposing offenses to put numbers on the board. One could argue that Hilton has more upside just on his current athleticism, but for TD ability and general stability, I think Wayne makes a great cheap WR play while he stays healthy.

Calvin Johnson - FD 9200 DK 8500 DD 14450 DFSTR 8300
The sites might try and price you out of Megatron, but don't let them. If you're following our advice and saving elsewhere, you'll hopefully have money to spend at wide receiver. If you do, Calvin's week 1 performance should be a reminder that authentic one week fantasy football upside comes from the best of the best wide receivers. I hesitate to call anyone match up proof, but with 11 targets, big play ability, yards after catch potential, and red zone targeting, Calvin reminds the king of the NFL in terms of sheer upside.

A.J. Green - FD 8500 DK 8200 DD 13650 DFSTR 7500
AJ Green is definitely a guy who can give you a heart attack as a one week fantasy football owner, but the big play ability puts him right there beside Johnson as one of the most exciting WR to own in the game. The Falcons should be airing it out against the Bengals as well, which will likely lead to a lot of situations where Andy Dalton wants to take a shot on his big man down field. I personally prefer Thomas and Johnson, but if you've really gone nuts saving elsewhere, don't be surprised if Green turns in another monster game.

Also considered: TY Hilton, Julian Edelman, Pierre Garcon, Randall Cobb, Victor Cruz


Tight Ends

Jimmy Graham - FD 8000 DK 7000 DD 13600 DFSTR 6800
When Graham is going, he'll be one of the highest upside plays you can possible track down for large tournaments. He was Brees' favorite red zone target by a mile last year (25 targets - the next closest had 10), and while it didn't play out for him that way on Sunday, it shouldn't spook us going forward. Graham still converted 8 of his 10 targets into catches, and the presence of Joe Haden should drive more passes towards the TE spot and away from WRs.

Greg Olsen - FD 6400 DK 5900 DD 9950 DFSTR 4700
Olsen is an intriguing TE play, because it was clear from his 11 targets that Derek Anderson to great solace in the big fella. Now, Cam coming back might reduce that number a little bit - but targets like that from a non-premium priced TE have to leave you drooling just a little bit, and I imagine Olsen will be a big start in top heavy tournament formats this week against the Lions.

Rob Gronkowski - FD 7900 DK 6000 DD 12650 DFSTR 5600
Gronk played fewer than half of the Pats' offensive snaps, but that didn't stop Brady from targeting him 11 times against the Dolphins. Now, Gronk only converted 4 of those targets into catches, but the Vikings' defense should be considerably worse than the Dolphins D that gave the Pats and Gronk problems in week 1. More importantly, Gronk was in there in all red zone opportunities and 3rd downs, which is where TE upside comes from anyway. He's a considerably riskier play than Graham, but the TD and upside potential remains huge.

Cheaper punt plays
Kyle Rudolph - FD 5500 DK 3900 DD 8350 DFSTR 3900
If you're looking to go a little cheaper at tight end, you could take a worse shot than Kyle Rudolph. He got 4 looks from Cassel in a game with only 25 passes thrown, and as he showed by hauling in a TD pass, he remains a favored red zone option. I'm not head over heels for him or anything, but in a game that should feature considerably more passing AND either Jennings or Patterson getting stranded on Revis Island, Rudolph could see increased run.

Delanie Walker - FD 5000 DK 3700 DD 7850 DFSTR 3300
Our projection system liked Walker coming into the season, and like Rudolph, it was nice to see him remaining a featured end zone target for his young QB. Tennessee has a lot of weapons, but if you're looking for a cheap TE with upside, Walker could be a very nice play.

A quick Martellus Bennett note - while we love the 10 targets in week 1, facing Patrick Willis and co. is going to be a heck of a lot different than lining up against the Bills. With the increased price, it's a "no thanks" for me. Pitts was also considered, but it's awfully tough to imagine Flacco airing out the ball 62 times again. Kind of in a wait and see mode there, for me.

Also considered: Dennis Pitta



Frankly, ranking kickers is sort of beneath me. So what I'm going to do, instead of give you a long and drawn out explanation for each, is give you a little insight into our kicker strategy, and give your our top plays on a points per dollar basis.

Here's brass tacks: I rarely stack a kicker with my offensive players because that limits their collective upside. I try to take kickers in good weather in games where they are a favorite with high totals. Cool? Here's who our system likes:

Stephen Gostkowski - 5300 FD
Mason Crosby - 5000 FD
Shayne Graham - 4700 FD
Robbie Gould - 4600 FD
Nate Freese - 4500 FD



Arizona Cardinals
If you're thinking about paying for D this week, look no further than the Arizona Cardinals. They played fantastically against an actual real NFL offense, and now they get the lowly Giants. And by lowly I mean LOW-LEE. Eli Manning looked utterly lost, racking up 2 picks against 1 TD and a wretched 54.5% completion rate and 4.9 yards per attempt. Peterson should be able to lock down Cruz, and the Giants don't really have a tight end option to poke at the Cards' Achilles heel. The one thing the Giants did reasonably well at - running the ball - happens to be the area of defense where the Cards are the best in the league. All the makings of a blood bath here.

Washington Redskins
If you want to think about going cheap at D this week, I like the 'Skins against the Jaguars. While the Jags showed signs of life, it was clear that they missed Cecil Shorts, and Gerhart's potential injury leaves them without any real running back. The Redskins allowed just 321 total yards to a Texans offense that actually has some offensive weapons, and the mistake prone Jaguars could lead to a big payoff at a low price.

Green Bay Packers
So the Packers got absolutely boat raced against Seattle. But it's Seattle.. Right? The Jets actually showed a surprising amount of spunk against the Raiders, but against the Packers' high flying offense, they should be forced into something of a more predictable approach. This pick might not totally be for the weak of heart, but against the Jets' young pieces, the Pack could be a nice separation play.

Also considered: St. Louis Rams & Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Gulp. Let's get real - the Rams definitely were the mess of week 1, but there was a lot to like about the defensive performance. They bottled up Adrian Peterson, and aside from a couple of monster plays, really kept it together considering how much work they were asked to do given the ineptitude of the offense. Now, not a lot has changed for this week's offensive scheme - but the Rams' D is in position to take serious advantage of a Bucs team that had a heck of a time staying out of its own way. On the flip side, you can also make a great case against the Rams. Really, nobody looked worse against on offense last week, and while the Bucs have fewer play makers than the Rams do, the Rams' offense is arguably worse.


Haven't had enough? Check out our Sleepers and Stacks for Week 2

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