It was a bit of a rough week for the Dr. when it comes to Daily Fantasy. I had teams finish in the money, but despite hitting some of the weeks biggest scorers, I was a bit off on my tight ends and some of my middle of the road picks.
Best Pick: I was spot on with Denver’s use of Emmanuel Sanders and Case Keenum continued to target his slot receiver. With 10 catches for 135 yards and a TD, he was a massive producer for a small price tag.
Worst Pick: Despite Chicago being ahead 20 – 0 at half time, Anthony Miller was no where to be found. His final stat line of 2 receptions for 14 yards was disappointing as the hyped rookie failed to make an impact.
Week 2 Targets
Philip Rivers, LAC ($6,700) – With a week 2 date against a Buffalo secondary that made Joe Flacco look like Joe Montana, this one may be the easiest pick of the week. With weapons on the outside, at the slot, and in the backfield, Rivers should easily put up great numbers, even if a blow out slows him down in the 2nd half.
Alvin Kamara, NO ($9,500) – We’ll go back to the well on this one as Kamara and the Saints draw a Cleveland defense that got gashed by James Conner in week 1. It may sound asinine, but projecting Kamara for 150 total yards, 8 receptions and a TD is a bit on the conservative side. There’s no better high price option in week 2 at the RB position.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU ($8,000) – While we admit week one was a bit underwhelming given that Hopkins was facing one of last seasons worst secondaries, but much of his lack of success can be attributed to a terrible offensive game plan that seemed to ignore it’s most talented players. With a match up against a bottom half defense in Tennesse in week 2, Houston, as well as Hopkins, should return the high flying ways that had fantasy owners licking their lips at the drafts this year.
Zach Ertz, PHI ($6,100) – Nick Foles looked every bit of a backup in a week one victory against the Atlanta Falcons, so it was no wonder that Zach Ertz was held to a moderate fantasy performance. Thursday night games may feature some entertaining games, but they play tricks on fantasy stats, and Ertz should bounce back just fine in week 2. Matching up against a Tampa defense that ranks in the bottom 10 of the league against tight ends, Ertz should be used heavily in what now looks like a higher scoring affair.
The Rest Of The Field
Kirk Cousins, MIN ($6,400) – With a chance for this division rivalry to turn into a bit of a shoot out, Cousins stands to produce big time against a Packers defense that sits middle of the pack against QB’s. With an impressive debut in Week one, Cousins should continue to perform as a top 5 fantasy QB.
Alex Smith, WAS ($6,000) – Alex Smith continued his high efficiency ways last week, completing 70 percent of his passes for 255 yards and 2 TDs against the Cardinals. While he continues to be one of the least exciting options in the NFL, Smith draws a Colts defense that continues to give up fantasy points to opposing QBs. With less chance of a beat down, I see Smith producing on at an even higher level in week 2.
Joe Flacco, BAL ($5,200) – While you may be skeptical after the Ravens week one beat down of the listless Buffalo Bills, it should be noted that this receiving corps may be the best Flacco has had to work with in years. With legitimate down field threats and a serviceable run game, Flacco looks like a solid QB option against a Cincinnati defense ranked 27th in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs. I don’t expect the monster out put in week 2 that we saw last week, but for the price, he’s a very safe option.
James Conner, PIT ($6,700) – It’s another cushy match up for the defacto starter as Conner draws a Kansas City team that ranks 30th against RBs in fantasy. With a Pittsburgh play book that will continue to rely heavily on its lead back, Conner should produce in spades for a second straight week as we wait for Le’Veon Bell to return from his self imposed lock out.
Adrian Peterson, WAS ($5,500) – While many will point to the below average 3.6 yard per carry in week one, I think the opportunity for 20-30 touches is too good to overlook considering the Redskins will play a terrible Colts front seven. If he sees 25 touches again, Peterson is a safe bet to out produce the weekly projections for a second straight week.
Matt Brieda, SF ($4,800) – The week one back field was split in San Francisco between Matt Brieda and Alfred Morris, but Brieda far outplayed the former Redskins back. With the passing downs to himself, and a growing share of attempts, Brieda, along with the entire 49ers defense, should be far better in week 2.
Golden Tate, DET ($6,500) – The Lions hope to put a dismal week 1 performance behind them when they take the field against San Francisco in week 2, and Golden Tate should be the focal point of the offense after being one of the only players in a Lions uniform who played well last week. While Golladay and Jones Jr should continue to be targeted, Richard Sherman and company will likely force Stafford to use his slot receiver heavily if they look to bounce back.
Josh Gordon, CLE ($5,800) – After being one what was described by the Browns coaching staff as a “pitch count” Gordon should be used far more heavily in week 2 as the Browns look for a spark to end their current winless streak. Still able to stretch the field (as was apparent after Gordon torched the defensive back only to suffer from an under thrown ball that was intercepted at the end of regulation), Gordon could be their best chance to combat the high flying offense New Orleans will feature on the other sideline.
Corey Davis, TEN ($5,100) – It’s not an ideal match up as the Titans play the Houston Texans in week 2, but with Delanie Walker out for the year, Davis becomes the only real red zone target in the passing game worth drafting. I don’t see a monster receiving yard number, but a TD or two isn’t out of the question, and at a discount no less.
Trey Burton, CHI ($4,100) – Week one was a poor start to what was expected to be a borderline TE1 season, so it may shock you to see him here. Still, his 6 targets were an indication that Nagy and the Bears offense want to include Burton as a pass catcher. He should improve in all categories in week 2, and should feature in heavily in the red zone.
George Kittle, SF ($3,800) – San Francisco didn’t look like the juggernaut we expected but Kittle was a bright spot in week 1. With the trust of Jimmy G and the potential for Marquise Goodwin to be limited or miss the game, Kittle will be called upon as a receiver for a second straight week.
Jared Cook, OAK ($3,600) – Cook finally looked like the big play receiving option he’d been touted in years past in a week 1 loss to the Rams. His 9 receptions for 180 yards was a revelation, and Jon Gruden would be foolish to not feature Cook heavily in the passing game. For nearly nothing, this is one of the highest ceilings at the “inexpensive tight end” range in all of football.
Dr. Fantasy’s Daily Sports Lineup
- QB: Philip Rivers ($6,700)
- RB: James Conners ($6,700)
- RB: Alvin Kamara ($9,500)
- WR: Corey Davis ($5,100)
- WR: Josh Gordon ($5,800)
- WR: Philip Dorsett ($4,500)
- TE: Jared Cook ($3,600)
- WR: John Brown ($4,400)
- D/ST: Chargers ($3,600)
Russell Wilson got an extended look as he attempted 21 passes in preseason game #2, completing 13 of them for 193 yards. Secure in his role as a top 5 fantasy QB going into 2018, there’s little to be concern about despite only 1 rushing attempt.
The running back battle that was skewed with a Rashaad Penny injury seems to be centered firmly on Chris Carson as he took his 9 carries for 34 yards, a 3.8 yard per carry mark. While the sentiment is that he’ll be the starter come week one, he’ll need to improve slightly on his efficiency if he’s going to hold off the first round pick.
The receiving game looked a bit off as well as the Seahawks continue to play without injured WR Doug Baldwin. While he was seen doing sprints, it’s likely going to be a showcase for the depth receivers as guys like Jaron Brown try to ingratiate themselves to Wilson and the offensive coaches. Taking 2 receptions for 74 yards certainly doesn’t hurt his case for being a starter, especially considering how cheap he can be had on draft day (likely for free as a waiver add).
Still, it was the Chargers in the end who won the game on the effort of it’s run game. Not one signal caller ended the game with more than 8 passing attempts, as each Geno Smith and Philip Rivers only threw one incomplete pass. Instead it was Detrez Newsome who put on a clinic with 78 yards on 19 carries. While it was certainly impressive, there’s no real threat to Melvin Gordon’s starting gig as he turned his 10 rushes into 35 yards and a TD.
Despite his continued poor efficiency, Melvin Gordon made good in the passing game with 2 receptions for 18 yards. It’ll be something to consider at the end of the first as Gordon has put up decent receiving numbers despite being pegged as a standard league only option.
While the rest of the receiving game was surpressed due to the lack of attempts, it’s interesting to see Virgil Green excelling, as this Chargers offense should continue to use it’s TE’s in the passing game. With Hunter Henry out for the year, Green could be a late round target with plenty of value in redraft leagues.
Every year I run an article where I examine the what I consider to the be the most rewarding same team pairings in fantasy football. The idea, if you’re not familiar, is that by adding high tier quarterbacks with elite wide receivers or running backs you give yourself a larger share of the available points. Of course, this works best with high scoring offenses.
Last year I missed the mark a little bit with my go to; Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, as both disappointed. Luckily I planned well enough that it didn’t impact me too much (I won the league after all), but the same risks exist for any strategy as some guys just don’t show up.
But this year presents a different challenge, as the number of elite quarterbacks have dropped precipitously and the number of sure fire fantasy studs is at a questionable level. Let’s begin:
Earl Round Pairs ( Most Difficult To Manage)
Aaron Rodgers and Devante Adams: Adams is finally getting the respect he deserves, ranking 7th among wide receivers. Pairing the #7 WR with the #1 QB is a healthy strategy regardless of what team they play for, but getting extra point for yards and touchdowns shared has this pairing at the top of list. Still, it’ll cost you two of your first four picks to assemble this pairing.
Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown: While the jury seems to be out on Roethlisberger every year in the off season, Big Ben grinds his way to a top ten finish at the position. What’s NEVER a question is how good Brown will be when he’s on the field. The easy answer is that Brown is the safest pick in fantasy, but it will require you have a top 3 or 4 pick.
Drew Brees and Michael Thomas: Despite still playing at a high level, Brees has sort of slipped behind Thomas and Alvin Kamara as the top targets in the New Orleans offense. That in no way diminishes his ability to produce in fantasy, and I’d argue is a better option than both Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, but that’s a different article all together. Getting Michael Thomas, though, is the hard part. His ADP of 15 will mean drafting 1-5 will preclude you from drafting him unless you get lucky. If you do get lucky, a 6th or 7th round pick will land you Brees, who’s ADP of 69 is criminally low.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski: Draft Brady at your own risk, but if you’re confident that the off season malaise in New England won’t affect Brady’s ability to perform then have at it. The truth is that Rob Gronkowski could set records this year as the only reliable pair of hands left for Brady to chuck it up to. Sure, Edelman will be back in 4 games and Hogan has shown he can play with Brady, but Gronk should see the end zone 10-15 times this year on top of a ton of yards. Grabbing him in the 3rd round to pair with Brady in the 7th gives plenty of time to add skill players besides.
Middle Round Pairs (Easier To Coordinate)
Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin: This one isn’t as impactful in terms of fantasy because Wilson tends to supplement his passing stats with his legs. Unfortunately for this exercise, his rushing statistics can’t be taken into account. Still, Doug Baldwin is one of the leagues best slot receivers, and as a 4th round pick has a lot of value regardless. Without Jimmy Graham in the red one, he may even see a few more looks there. This one may not be the sexiest pair on the list, but they may be the most effective.
Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz: It may seem strange to see another WR/TE combo, but the fact is Wentz and Ertz seem to share a brain in the red zone, meaning a ton of points are up for grabs between the two of them. While Alshon Jeffrey may be the #1 wide out on the team’s depth chart, the true number one is Ertz. if you miss out on Gronk but you want a stud tight end, pair a 4th round Ertz with a 7th round Wentz and reap the benefits.
Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs: Wait, you say. This should be Thielen and Cousins! I’m here to tell you, not so fast. Now, I can see a scenario like in Denver years back with multiple 1,000 yard receivers, but the guy I’m targeting is Diggs in the late 4th round. He was excellent last year even though he wasn’t the top target for the Case Keenum led Vikings. Now, he has Cousins tossing the ball to him. A classic gunslinger, Cousins’ game best fits the strengths Diggs brings to the table. This is one of the least expensive pairings you can get as a 4th and a 10th gets you both players.
Matt Ryan and Julio Jones: You may have to spend a 2nd round pick on Jones, but the wait on Ryan is a bit longer than the other QB’s on this list. As the QB13, he’s being drafted in the 11th round, and I’d argue his value is sky high this year as a bounce back candidate. If you’re like me, and you see more value in grabbing high end skill players to pair with the later round QB, Matt Ryan is a slam dunk. Have him and Julio, and you’ll reap the rewards for all those yards.
Odell Beckham and Eli Manning: If you’re nervous about drafting either of these guys, I’d say you’re hardly alone. Beckham is an otherworldly talent when he’s right, but the combination of recent injury woes and an inability to stay level headed means he may fall towards the end of the first round. What I will say is that if you manage Beckham, Manning is a wonderful pairing if you waited a bit long on your QB. In the 16th round of drafts (current ADP is 152) Manning presents a conundrum. He was awful last year but much of it could be logically blamed on the terrible circumstances around him. With healthy weapons, an upgraded offensive line, and an elite RB to draw the attention, and Manning could be a surprise top 15 QB this year.
Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen: Allen proved last year that when he’s healthy, he’s every bit the stud we thought he was. Rivers remains one of the most under appreciated QB’s in fantasy, and his ADP of 112 presents tons of value. Without Hunter Henry, even more weight will be given to Allen, meaning these two could hook up for a ton of points.
Honorable Mentions: Derek Carr and Amari Cooper (a new coach could help get these two back on track). Jared Goff and Brandin Cooks (it’s a new look for Goff, but Cooks could be his go to early and often). Jameis Winston and Mike Evans (This requires a bounce back year for both, but not guaranteed). Marcus Mariota and Corey Davis (There’s so much talent between these two, it’s hard to imagine both of them laying duds this year).
So maybe I’ve beaten a dead horse a bit on the bounce back and sleeper picks for QB’s… after all how many are really going to get drafted? Still, there has to be a line in the sand for elite QB1 options and the rest of the group. Who (aside from Joe Flacco… who I will refrain from including in this article) has the potential for a breakout, top 10 season?
Least Risk: Philip Rivers – Los Angelas Chargers – Rivers slots in on my ranks around the 14th spot, meaning he only has to leap four of the QB’s ahead of him. While age is certainly a concern amongst gunslinger type QB’s like Rivers, there’s little evidence that he’s slowing down. It’s clear that, despite the return of Keenan Allen and excpected return of Travis Benjami, LA is committed to giving Rivers more weapons as they drafted one of the best wide outs in the 2017 draft in Mike Williams. Coupled with a capable run game, Rivers is locked and loaded for a massive year.
A Little Risk: Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans – If you’re convinced that the Titans are going to ease Mariota back into the playbook following his season ending injury, then by all means, pass on the talented QB. Adding Corey Davis doesn’t seem like they’re committed fully to a run-first scheme, although they certainly want to remain balanced. The upside through the air is modest at best as Mariota still conforms to the NFL game, but his ability to make yards on the ground keep defenses honest and give him space to work. Don’t be alarmed if he starts slow, he’ll be well worth the pick by the end of the season.
Most Risk: Andy Dalton – Cincinnatti Bengals – We’ve heard this one before; Andy Dalton is poised to break out. It certainly doesn’t help having to play fantastic defenses in the ACF North but with John Ross and AJ Green, Dalton has two exceptional burners, and newly aquired RB (via the draft) Joe Mixon rounds out an already formidable backfield capable of catching passes. It may be a bit of a stretch as we can expect a boring, balanced offense in Cincy, but I won’t be surprised if he catches lightning in a bottle to push that top 10 group.
In preperation for my personal position rankings, I’ll be taking a look at the top of the list at each offensive fantasy position.
- Cam Newton – Newton was a Fantasy stud last year, owning the feild with his arm as well as his legs. Adding a top teir WR back into the fold with the returning Kelvin Benjamin
will mean good things for Super Cam this year.
- Aaron Rodgers – His 60% completion percentage was his career low as a starter, and much of that can be attributed to a lackluster run game and losing his number 1 receiver in Jordy Nelson for the entire year. He still managed nearly 4,000 yards and 30+ TDs in 15 games. If Nelson is ready to go and Lacy is even remotely the player he has been in the past, expect a return to greatness.
- Russell Wilson – If you believe the loss of Marshawn Lynch will make this offense a bit too one dimensional, then you’d be wrong. When he’s called on to make plays, all Wilson does is produce. He may not break records, but his ability to add 500-800 yards on the ground make him elite in terms of Fantasy.
- Drew Brees – A model of consistency, Brees again led the league in yards while completing nearly 70% of his passes. Another year with animproving O-line and 4 capable receivers means Brees can be counted on again to win Fantasy games.
- Andrew Luck – It’s not secret that Luck struggled mightily last year, missing significant time due to a plethora of injuries. Still, Luck has the goods – and the weapons – to produce at a high level. If they can keep him healthy, theres no reason to believe he’ll return to the elite signal caller we know he is.
- Ben Roethlisberger – The ceiling was raised a few years ago, and with Antonio Brown lining up to catch passes, you can’t expect too sharp a decline even as father time inches up behind Big Ben. He’s fallen a bit on my list with the news that Bryant will miss the entire season and his saftey blank in Le’Veon Bell will miss 4 games, and he may fall farther still.
- Carson Palmer – Old age seems to be an antiquated reason to skip on NFL QB’s in your fantasy leagues as Carson Palmer returns to the top 10 as a 36 year old. He’s got three fantasic receivers, a very good line, and a running game to help take off the pressure. Did we mention he takes care of the football? He may not be a flashy name, but he’ll get the job done.
- Philip Rivers – Rivers seems to never get the love that he deserves, but in the end he’ll throw the ball a ton which will mitigate any issues that may surround this offense. They’ll likely continue to easy Melvin Gordon into a larger roll, so expect games with 35+ attempts early on.
- Blake Bortles – I hear that we shouldn’t expect a repeat of the fantastic year we saw out of Bortles last year. I disagree. Hurns and Robinson are both great weapons and adding a successful down hill running in Chris Ivory will free up some plays over the middle. His legs can help him add another 250+ yards to what will likely be a 4,000 yard 30 TD campaign.
- Eli Manning – I’ll preface my inclusion in my top ten by saying I don’t really like Eli Manning. Not in the least, but he manages to find a way to put up fantasy numbers even while he’s managing ways to lose real NFL games. OBJ is Elite, Cruz (even at 50% of what he was) will attract some of the defense, and the kid they drafted, Sterling Shephard should give him more weapons to work with.
Missed the Cut
Tom Brady (his supension moved him from the top 10), Matt Ryan (so much hate for no reason. Has a top 3 WR catching the football), David Carr (close, but not there yet. Another up year in Oakland and he’ll be tough to deny), Tony Romo (he’s Eli Manning if Eli Manning got hurt every year. He’ll put up massive numbers when he’s healthy… which is likely less than 12 games).