Starting in week two I will be piecing together one big daily fantasy football blog that should help you sort through the madness and build winning lineups.
Last week I touched on some NFL DFS players to avoid and for the most part, my advice was solid. I’m looking to expand that for each week, focusing on the top studs to target, the top players to avoid and the best sleepers to consider using – all at FanDuel.
Week two is always interesting, as you never fully know whether to trust last year’s data, what we saw in week one or simply start over and trust in the actual talent on hand.
Either way, we have to dive in to see who we should be using or avoiding. Let’s get to it:
Studs to Trust in Week 2
Every week there’s the obvious chalk that just shows itself and pretty much all of the DFS sharks agree are the main plays for cash games and usually even for tournaments.
While the top studs you can probably trust aren’t always necessarily going to be the chalkiest plays, they probably should be.
For week two, here are the plays that stand out he most:
- Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints ($8.8k)
- Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints ($9k)
- Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers ($8.9k)
- Los Angeles Chargers Defense ($4.4k)
Call these guys the chalk or not, but they’re all primed for big weeks.
Brees was a monster in week one and with a must-win home tilt against the Browns, I have to think he’s high-owned and wrecks again. You can stack him with Michael Thomas at will.
You can add Kamara to that stack or play him alone. He was also a total machine in week one (38.6 fantasy points!) and will face a Browns run defense that made James Conner (also likely to be chalky) look like a golden god last week.
Antonio Brown should be chalky, but even if he’s not I expect him to go ham against the Chiefs.
The Chargers are still down pass rusher Joey Bosa, but they’re too talented to not use against the sorry sack Buffalo Bills. Josh Allen gets his first start as a pro and it’s sure to be memorable – but not in the way he probably wants.
Players to Avoid in Week 2
Last week I told people to consider avoiding Big Ben, Russell Wilson and a handful of others (see the link above) and for the most part I was right.
Travis Kelce stood out as probably the best avoid call and going into week two you need to again be aware of which studs could easily be duds:
- Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots ($8.5k)
- Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs ($7.8k)
- T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts ($7.2k)
- Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots ($8.1k)
In season long fantasy football leagues, you have to play these guys. However, in NFL DFS circles, you get to pick (and pay) for whoever you want every single week.
Kareem Hunt was not good in week one and I don’t really expect him to be a whole lot better on the road in week two against the Steelers. Pittsburgh actually stopped the run pretty well last week and I expect them to be up in this one. Playing from behind, Hunt figures to struggle to get the touches he needs to be worth his current price tag.
I’m also not high on Hilton, who should see a lot of Josh Norman and a Redskins defense that looked quite impressive a week ago. Hilton does have the speed to pay off in on big play, but there are just so many other viable options that you don’t need to assume that risk.
Contrarian Studs to Consider
You can argue for a lot of contrarian options in any given week. Sometimes they’re guys at similar price points to chalky picks and other times they’re guys in bad spots that have the talent to succeed.
Going into week two, here’s some of my favorite contrarian plays that could pay off in a big way:
- Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers ($8.7k)
- David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals ($8.4k)
- Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons ($8.5k)
When everyone else zigs, sometimes it’s best to zag. I’m not saying you for sure need to play these guys, but they’re not going to be owned much at all.
A-Rod is going to be gimpy even if he does play and that’s against a very good Vikings defense. That being said, he’s still a bad, bad man and he’s at home against a team you know he wants to torch. He’s still pricey and makes for an awesome pivot off of the likely popular Drew Brees.
One other guy to possibly use this roster building strategy with is Julio Jones. He’s a potential stud regardless of matchup and it’s worth noting the Panthers weren’t even good at stopping fantasy receivers a year ago.
With everyone looking to pay up for Antonio Brown and/or Michael Thomas, a guy as nasty as Julio could actually go criminally overlooked.
One thing I like to consider from week to week is which players could be “due” to excel.
Everyone in the NFL has talent and the top players usually have a solid role, so it can often just depend on a variety of circumstances that can turn a bad week into a great week.
For whatever reason, the following guys didn’t do well in week one but could be fine picks to bounce back and tear it up in week two:
- Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions ($7.7k)
- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers ($7.4k)
- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans ($8.4k)
- Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles ($6.5k)
Stafford was abysmal in week one, tossing four picks and failing to generate much production. That was at home against the Jets, but apparently they’re good and could tell everything he was going to do before he did it.
Assuming the Niners aren’t as clued in on defense, Stafford figures to bounce back here. Kirk Cousins had his way with this defense and in what could be a bit of a shootout, I don’t hate Stafford’s chances of putting up decent numbers.
Nuk is too good to post modest numbers in back to back weeks to start the year. He’s a little banged up, but this week he gets a beatable Titans defense and not the Pats. Considering Kenny Stills destroyed Tennessee last week, I like Hopkins’ chances.
You can also go back to Zach Ertz, who had a fine role in week one (10 targets), but just couldn’t turn it into actual production against a solid ATL defense.
This week he faces the Buccaneers, who gave up 40 points in week one. With Alshon Jeffery still out with an injury, Ertz can’t help but get force-fed passes.
My look at the top week two NFL DFS sleepers isn’t necessarily pointing out guys that nobody is talking about or that can’t be chalky.
It does, however, touch on cheaper options that you may not want to “sleep” on this week:
- Tyrod Taylor, QB, Cleveland Browns ($6.6k)
- James White, RB, New England Patriots ($5.9k)
- Pierre Garcon, WR, San Francisco 49ers ($5.6k)
- Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans ($4.2k)
- New York Jets Defense ($3.7k)
Taylor played in bad conditions and still almost got to 25 fantasy points in week one. Now in a dome with no weather impact and facing a Saints defense that Ryan Fitzpatrick dominated, it’s hard not to love his upside.
White is just a pure role play. Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel may not suit up and the Pats just lost Jeremy Hill for the year due to a torn ACL. White has a tough matchup, but he should play most of the snaps and is a solid bet to score.
One other player I’ll look at is Jonnu Smith. Delanie Walker was knocked out of the year and the Titans love to use their tight ends. Smith isn’t guaranteed a thing, but he’s a good athlete and hypothetically sees a big increase in targets this week.
I’m also on the Jets. They picked of the Lions five times and returned two turnovers for scores last week. They remain pretty cheap as they host the Miami Dolphins, so let’s run that back and see if they can’t do something similar again.
I think you need to at least note chalky plays and consider using a handful in your week two daily fantasy football lineups. Going full chalk isn’t really suggested, of course, regardless of whether you play cash games or GPPs.
You also want to look for some sneaky sleepers nobody will be on, make a contrarian pivot or two and be sure to stay away from alluring studs that ultimately are going to leave you wanting for me.
It’s a bit of a process, but if you figure it all out in just the right way, it make lead to a huge GPP-winning lineup.
Whatever you do, hopefully I help you in some manner. Good luck in your week two daily fantasy football contests at FanDuel!