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Daily Fantasy Football Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings, DraftDay and Draftster for Week 2
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A look back at week 1
Last week's column turned out to be very solid. As far as I know, we were one of the only outfits to give you Chad Henne, who could easily have been a part of winning lineups if paired with the right high priced stars. Chris Johnson was great as well. Marqise Lee was targeted 9 times. Kenny Britt and Shaun Hill were an abomination, and T-Rich didn't come through like he could of. But hey, it's a sleeper article! Not all of em will bring home the bacon!
A peek ahead at week 2
If you want our full slate of picks for week 2, click here. I go position by position and give you whom I believe to be the best plays, dollar for dollar, for Week 2's games. This article is going to be a little bit different. Instead, I'm going to focus on particular lineup formation strategies that might help you get some separation from the field and get those value plays and sleepers that will let you spend money elsewhere while cashing in for cheap.
The whole concept of a sleeper in one week fantasy football games needs to be adjusted. First of all, there's no real such thing as a "sleeper," in that you're not really going to sleep on a guy until he wakes up. What you're looking at with cheap plays are guys who are priced very reasonably who could go off if all things break right. Sniffing out the best cheap plays with upside is really the only way to have a chance in hell at taking down some of these utterly massive NFL tournaments. You'll pay up for the big names, and then hope your bargain plays pay off. That's where we come in - here are some sleepers that we love for Week 1.
Another quick note: When we're thinking about sleepers, the reason we want to play sleepers in football are to get in high priced studs with massive upside. Basically, we're trying to catch lightning in a bottle at a position with relatively low upside (like QB) so we can fit in the big dollar guys at high upside position (like TE or WR). To that end, I'm much more likely to play RB or QB sleepers than WRs. Makes sense? Awesome.
Terrance West - FD 5300 DK 4800 DD 7800 DFSTR 3700
He'll be a popular play this week after he dominated the Steelers' defense following Ben Tate's injury. There really isn't a whole heck of a lot to say here, honestly. He's a starting running back at back up running back prices. I would temper your enthusiasm just slightly if you're expecting him to be a YPC monster - he had 31 carries for 83 yards in the preseason - but at these prices you really only need him to show up and get the opportunity against a New Orleans defense that got lit up by the Falcons.
Isaiah Crowell - FD 5100 DK 3300 DD 6000
It would be negligent to not nod to Crowell, who managed pay dirt twice in this one. I consider him a more speculative play based on total opportunity, but I can't kill you if you are sucked in by the red zone looks.
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.
Bobby Rainey - FD 5000 DK 4800 DD 6850 DFSTR 3000
The Doug Martin situation bears watching - Rainey hasn't lit the world on fire in his limited looks, but again, opportunity is everything when it comes to playing running backs in big tournaments. If Martin can't go, Rainey instantly becomes a fantastic play in a game where the Bucs could actually have a positive game script (i.e., they get the lead and more rushing opportunities are afforded for TB).
Toby Gerhart - FD 5800 DK 5000 DD 9750 DFSTR 5200
If Gerhart plays, you're getting a starting running back for less than $6k on FanDuel. The Redskins were a middle of the pack run defense last year, but if the pundits are right and something is up with RGIII, the Jags could hang and ultimately give Gerhart some red zone opportunity as well.
Fred Jackson - FD 5700 DK 4000 DD 7950 DFSTR 3000
Jackson didn't pay his price last week, but he was more effective than Spiller on a YPC basis, and is ostensibly still the goal line back. It's a fairly risky play since he's clearly on the back side of a committee, but a 1-2 TD game is absolutely in play in the best case scenario.
Steve Smith - FD 6300 DK 5500 DD 5000 DFSTR 3700
It's hard to call it a sleeper pick, but the prices bear it out. Smith had 15 targets (and admittedly, this will be tough for Flacco to repeat given that he threw 62 times in week 1) and converted them into 118 yards and a score. He was Flacco's safety net in the possession game, and he seemed comfortable targeting Smith downfield. Is it possible that Smith has just never had a real QB before, and what's left of him at his old age is still a pretty nice fantasy WR? Time will tell.
DeAndre Hopkins - FD 6100 DK 4800 DD 9550 DFSTR 4500
Hopkins only saw 5 targets, but oh gypsy, did he make the most of them. He's going to be a boom or bust guy on a week to week basis, but that's kind of the whole point of picking sleepers, right? As Fitzpatrick gets more comfortable with him (and as the Texans trust Fitzpatrick more), Hopkins could wind up being considerably more expensive.
Donnie Avery - FD 5000 DK 4800 DD 6600 DFSTR 3200
Want to impress your friends with a savvy pick? How about Donnie Avery? Avery had a fairly modest game in an absolute sense - 7 catches for 84 yards isn't anything to write home about - but it certainly looks like Alex Smith wants to call his number. Dwayne Bowe's returns could limit Avery's looks, but even if he loses 5 of his 13 targets he's a huge upside play at these bargain prices.
Andrew Hawkins - FD 5200 DK 4900 DD 7800 DFSTR 3900
With Jordan Cameron being lost to the abyss, Hawks reeled in 8 catches on 10 targets for 84 yards. Going up against a Saints team that got absolutely annihilated by the passing game in week 1 could spell a ton of opportunity, and if Hoyer settles in with Hawkins, he could steadily turn into a very solid fantasy receiver in any format.
Dwayne Allen - FD 4800 DK 4100 DD 7450 DFSTR 3300
You don't love that Allen only saw 5 targets to Colby Fleener's 8, but you do love that he saw the red zone action. Allen makes for a very cheap TE play that has the opportunity to look very good - especially on the week when the Colts finally realize that he's the more talented pass catcher.
The Broncos feature one of the week's highest totals (as usual), and it looks like a great week to grab Manning and a receiver of your choice and hope that the Chiefs can keep it close enough to keep them tossing. If pinned down, I'd taking Manning and Demaryius - I highly doubt that Peyton will let his big #1 receiver go quietly two weeks in a row - but you can really be justified in grabbing him with Sanders, Julius Thomas, or perhaps even Montee Ball.
New England Patriots
You've probably heard after every single Patriots loss in the last 13 years the way I have that they never lose two games in a row. Yada yada yada. But here's the thing - Minnesota looked great against the Rams' third string QB and a bunch of nobody skill players. Brady and his arsenal are a totally different monster. Sure, Brady looked pretty lousy in week 1, but betting against him and his receiving corp here basically means you think he's done for good. Minnesota allowed the 2nd most passing yards of any defense last year. You could do a heck of a lot worse than grabbing Brady and Edelman or Gronk.
We gave you Locker in our Week 2 picks article, but it bears repeating here. Dallas was the 3rd most generous defense to opposing passers last year, and they did nothing to dispel that reputation in week 1 of 2014. The question, I suppose, will be whom to pair with Locker. My gut tells me Kendall Wright. He's a target magnet, and while his lack of scoring last year was actually due to legit lack of opportunity, his week 1 TD has to have you feeling a lot better. Can also make a case for Justin Hunter and Delanie Walker.
It's a sleeper/stack special! We gave you the Jags, Chad Henne, & Marqise Lee in our sleeper picks for last week, but we didn't manage to dig up Allen Hurns. The young rookie became the first rookie WR ever to rack up two touchdowns in the first quarter of his NFL debut, and while he and the Jags quieted down after that, they should have more opportunity this week against the Redskins. What you're falling in love here with is the price - the Redskins defense actually looked pretty feisty - but if you want big bang on few bucks, any of these three could pay handsomely.
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Thanks, and good luck!