Week one wasn’t a total loss for my NFL DFS picks. I had some really bad plays at wide receiver (where I tried to save cash), but got great production out of Tom Brady, Alvin Kamara, Rob Gronkowski and my Cleveland Browns defense.
Christian McCaffrey and David Johnson didn’t meet expectations, but neither were bad plays necessarily.
Overall, it wasn’t a winning lineup, but it was far from a bad one. I tried to get cute by fading James Conner on this squad and that was my first mistake. Had I used him instead of the super pricey DJ, I could have paid up for a stud wide receiver instead of using three cheap options.
You live and you learn and it’s on to the next one. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite NFL DFS picks as I push out my top lineup for FanDuel GPPs in week two:
QB: Tyrod Taylor – Cleveland Browns ($6.6k)
This slate is bigger than last week’s by one game, so naturally there are a lot of arms I like. If you want to spend big, Drew Brees and Big Ben stand out the most. I think Jimmy G and Deshaun Watson could both be in for bounce-back weeks, too, while an injured (and low-owned) Aaron Rodgers is certainly worth a look.
I’m going to save with Taylor, who dropped nearly 25 fantasy points on the Steelers last week. He did this without completing even 50% of his passes and had to deal with rain and wind. The conditions weren’t great, yet Taylor still scored twice and once again put his dual threat ability on full display.
Last week we saw Ryan Fitzpatrick of all people come out and murder the New Orleans Saints. Most will assume that’s a fluke (and perhaps they’d be right), but I think that is something worth testing in tournaments. Despite the potentially awesome matchup, I’m not so sure everyone is willing to risk their week on Taylor and a sea of Browns.
I actually am. Taylor is in a great spot one way or another and unlike Fitzmagic, he’s a much bigger threat on the ground. The Saints couldn’t do anything right last week and Cleveland has some speed (specifically Josh Gordon) to hopefully attack them with.
Whether Taylor crushes early or plays catch-up all day, I think he can smash this price tag.
If you don’t want to dive with me, move funds around to get Ben Roethlisberger or eat the chalk and pay up for Drew Brees.
RB: Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams ($8.9k)
Everyone is going to be on Alvin Kamara this week. I can’t blame them, as he was a monster with three touchdowns and over 140 total yards in week one. In week two, he’ll be at home again and faces a Browns defense that got carved up by James Conner.
Kamara is a great play, but I like the idea of an elite pivot in GPPs. Todd Gurley may not necessarily be low-owned, but he’s probably the better overall player and he costs $100 less. He’ll have less ownership, almost certainly, so dropping to him still nets you an elite rusher and one that might match/exceed Kamara, yet you get him at far less exposure.
If I can get any kind of an edge on the field without taking a huge risk, I’m all for that.
Want an even bigger edge? Consider going right back to the well with David Johnson ($8.4k).
He was a big letdown in week one, but he’s talented enough to dominate in any matchup. I doubt he wrecks against the Rams, but at his current price he should be absurdly low-owned. He’s a fine roll of the dice as a pivot off of the top rushers this week.
RB: James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers ($7k)
Kamara is chalk I’ll gladly fade in tournaments (but eat in cash games), while Conner is probably still too cheap to ignore. He has fully taken over Le’Veon Bell’s old workload and going off of what he did in week one (31.7 fantasy points), that’s not a fact to be taken lightly.
Conner isn’t the talent Bell is, but he looked quite good against the Browns. He’s actually got just as good of a matchup this week, as the Chiefs will be on the road and come in ranking just 22nd against the run. Melvin Gordon dropped 23 fantasy points on them in week one, so I’m not seeing much risk here.
Want to pivot off of Conner? Trust in Adrian Peterson. He was a boss in week one and faces a Colts defense that gave up the 5th most rushing scores to running backs a year ago.
WR: Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns ($6.7k)
If I like Tyrod, I should probably stack him with 1-2 of his top options. The first is going to be Landry, as he targeted him relentlessly last week (15 times) and connected on 7 grabs for over 100 yards.
A similar line is absolutely within reach for a guy in Landry that has secured 100+ catches twice already in his career. It’s unclear if he’ll get that kind of volume on a consistent basis in Cleveland, but the returns in week one certainly don’t crush that dream.
Landry is mostly a possession guy, but he can rack up the catches and yardage and is also a threat once inside the red-zone. I think another 6-8 grabs with 90 yards and a touchdown is in order and would deliver nice value (18-20 points) at this price.
WR: Josh Gordon – Cleveland Browns ($6.3k)
I’m tri-stacking the Browns. Despite the good spot in New Orleans against the Saints, I find it hard to believe this will be a popular three-man stack. Will some people use these guys? Sure, but stacking all three together won’t be done too much.
There is upside in it, as the Saints allowed for Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson to both have massive days and there was still enough pie to feed Chris Godwin. I’m not saying Cleveland will do what Tampa Bay did or that week one will repeat itself, but I expect the Browns to have to throw quite a bit and the majority of Taylor’s passes are going to these two guys.
Unlike Landry, Gordon can pay off this nice price tag in one play. He scored last week and while he only saw three targets, has to be in for a seriously expanded role. Due to the small role in week one, though, I’m hopeful he will continue to fly under the radar a bit.
Not a fan? Consider pivoting to Devin Funchess or Randall Cobb. Due to injuries, both could be looking at major work in week two.
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster – Pittsburgh Steelers ($7.2k)
Big Ben kills at Heinz Field, so people will gravitate toward a stack pairing him and Antonio Brown together. A fun strategy in GPPs could be to go cheaper at QB, fade Brown and stack Conner with JuJu, instead.
Smith-Schuster proved last year he’s got the goods to dominate in any setting, while Roethlisberger looked his way plenty in week one (5 catches on 8 targets). I think the Steelers let loose more with better weather conditions at home and they could blow up a bit. Brown is obviously a great play, but you can save $1.7k and potentially get equal production out of JuJu.
TE: Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins ($6.2k)
Tight end is actually pretty loaded this week, but I’m not paying for Rob Gronkowski against the Jags and Travis Kelce on the road against the Steelers doesn’t really call to me. Zach Ertz ($6.5k) against the Buccaneers is appealing, but the top guy for me is Jordan Reed.
Not only does Alex Smith love to go to his tight end, but the two already hooked up for a score in week one. They really didn’t need to work too hard in an easy win in Arizona, but with their week two battle against the Colts shaping up as a more competitive contest, I think Reed could be in for a bigger game.
Reed’s a nice price given his role and talent, but don’t forget Indy ranked just 23rd against fantasy tight ends in 2017.
If you want to punt at tight end this week, I can’t blame you. Injuries could open the door for monster production out of Jonnu Smith ($4.2k) and Ian Thomas ($4k).
Neither are safe plays, but they’re salary savers. If you pick the right one and they erupt, it could win you a GPP.
FLEX: Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers ($7.4k)
You can spend up for stud rushers, or you can locate value and take advantage of it. I’m trying to mix both philosophies this week, as McCaffrey was a bit of a bust in week one but still stands out as a nice value pick. He’s closing in on his first touchdown of the year and we all know he’s got a huge role, whether it’s as a runner or receiver.
The beauty here is the Panthers are going to need him in Atlanta, no matter how this game goes. Either he’ll wreck early and score or he’ll be used a ton during catch-up as a receiver out of the backfield.
The latter should happen, regardless, seeing as the Falcons struggled mightily against pass-catching backs last year (dead last in receptions allowed, 31st in receiving yards allowed).
The Falcons are also down two key run-stuffing bodies in safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones, so stopping the versatile McCaffrey just got a lot more difficult.
DEF: New York Jets ($3.7k)
The Los Angeles Chargers ($4.4k) face the Bills this week, so they’re the top defense. The problem is they’re not exactly cheap and they’ll be super chalky.
I’m still very much a fan of them this week, but I’m $700 away from them and I’m not pivoting off my favorite plays just to slide a preferred defense into my lineup.
Instead, I’ll buy the Jets not being a one-week fluke. The talent is certainly there for that to be the case, while the Jets picking off five passes and returning two defensive scores is definitely something to get excited about. They are also in their home opener against the Dolphins, who aren’t exactly an offense I’ve ever run away from.
I should point out that a lot of DFS folk will still be on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, while Michael Thomas, Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen and Tyreek Hill all stand out as fantastic (albeit likely chalky) plays. If you want to go contrarian, consider paying up for Julio Jones, David Johnson and/or Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers.
Some mixture of those names, my NFL DFS picks above and a sleeper or two of your own just might be what wins the Sunday Million at FanDuel this week.
Duh. The exact lineup to win that is going to be difficult to come to. That being said, the Browns are in a terrific spot and we still don’t know much about the 2018 NFL season. Hopefully things break my way and the Browns stack pays off, the Steelers go nuts at home and guys like McCaffrey and Gurley live up to their potential.
Use my lineup as it stands or mix and match as needed. Whatever you do, I wish you luck in your week two NFL DFS contests at FanDuel. Enjoy the games!