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After a chalk-filled Week 1, get ready for another fun week of fantasy football as we enjoy a packed slate of 13 games in the main Sunday afternoon contest. Last week, my value picks were boom or bust with a couple home runs and a few strikeouts — or in football terms, a couple Hail Mary completions and a few tackles for a loss. Hopefully this week’s picks will offer more balanced production while still hitting on a few players who go off. We have a little more data to work with in Week 2, so let’s take a look at what values were legit performers in Week 1 and set up for continued success this week.
QUARTERBACK($6,000 and under)
Tyrod Taylor, CLE at NO, $5,900 -– Taylor’s completion percentage was ugly in Week 1, as he completed just 15-of-40 pass attempts in rainy conditions in Cleveland. He did throw for a touchdown and 197 yards, but his main value came from his 77 rushing yards, which also included a touchdown. His ability to add rushing stats gives him a high floor and keeps him from being a major bust risk.
He and the Browns get a great matchup as they go on the road to New Orleans, where the Saints defense was shredded last week by my value pick, Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,500). I’m not looking for more magic from Fitzpatrick this week vs. Philadelphia, but I do think the matchup against the Saints should allow Taylor to be a great value and produce over 20 DKFP for the second straight week.
Case Keenum, DEN vs. OAK, $5,800 — After a rough preseason, Keenum looked good in Week 1, completing 25-of-39 passes for 329 yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions and 25.2 DKFP. He focused on Emmanuel Sanders ($6,200) and Demaryius Thomas ($5,600), and both produced big games similar to what Adam Thielen ($7,100) and Stefon Diggs ($6,900) were able to do last season with Keenum at QB in Minnesota. Keenum and the Broncos’ offense are set up for another big week as they host their division rivals from Oakland. The Raiders are on a short week after getting torched by the Rams on Monday Night Football, and their defense looks to be one to target all season, especially after trading Kahlil Mack.
RUNNING BACK($5,000 and under)
Isaiah Crowell, NYJ vs. MIA, $4,600 — The Jets got a huge game from Crowell in their Monday night win over the Dolphins. The former Brown ran for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns for 25.2 DKFP. Sixty-two of those yards came on his one breakaway touchdown run, and he seemed to be the team’s preferred goal line back, which is vital to his long-term production. Crowell will continue to share time with Bilal Powell ($5,100), but both backs should find room to work against the Dolphins, who allowed 26.1 DKFP to the Titans’ tandem of Dion Lewis ($5,000) and Derrick Henry ($5,200) in Week 1.
Jalen Richard, OAK at DEN, $3,400 — Everything went Richard’s way in Week 1. His teammate DeAndre Washington (knee) was out and the Raiders fell behind early, leading a pass-heavy approach as they tried to catch up. Richard finished with 16.9 DKFP even without a touchdown, because he caught nine passes for 55 yards in addition to his 24 yards on five carries. Richard clearly has the confidence of new coach Jon Gruden and QB Derek Carr ($5,500) in passing situations, and the Raiders’ defense is such a mess the team likely will spend much of the season playing from behind. Richard doesn’t have to do a lot to return good value at this salary, and he proved last week he can pile up enough catches and yards to offer a good return even if he doesn’t get into the end zone.
WIDE RECEIVER($5,000 and under)
Kenny Golladay, DET at SF, $4,800 — Another fantasy standout from Monday Night Football was Golladay, who started his second year in the NFL with a breakout game. He led the Lions with a career-high 114 receiving yards by catching seven of his 12 targets. He didn’t get a touchdown but still totaled 21.4 DKFP. Golladay’s big night should be just the start of a second-year leap, and it’s clear he’s a huge part of Detroit’s passing offense as the Lions head to San Francisco to try to erase an ugly start to their season.
Phillip Dorsett, NE at JAX, $4,500 — Without Julian Edelman (suspension), there are targets available in New England. Dorsett seized the opportunity in Week 1, catching all seven of his targets for 66 yards, a touchdown and 19.6 DKFP. Dorsett was targeted more than any other Pats WR, and the former first-round pick seems to be ready to live up to the summer hype he received for immersing himself and absorbing the New England playbook. In Week 2, he has a tough matchup against the Jaguars’ secondary, but he still has enough upside to be a good value play as it looks like he is running crisper routes, which makes him an underneath option instead of only being a big-play threat.
Ryan Grant, IND at WAS, $4,300 — While Andrew Luck ($6,200) looked good in his return, the Colts don’t want him to throw 53 passes per game like he did in Week 1. However, his high volume did give us a good look at his target distribution and how the Indy aerial attack will look this season. Grant didn’t get into the end zone, but he was targeted nine times and finished with eight catches for 59 yards and 13.9 DKFP. His possession-style game is perfectly suited for the dink-and-dunk offense the Colts are using to keep Luck out of harm’s way. Grant should be extra motivated this week as he heads to Washington D.C. to face his former team, the Redskins. Head on over to Narrative Street and check out Grant as a good value play.
Geronimo Allison, GB vs. MIN, $3,800 — In the Packers’ Week 1 comeback against the Bears, Allison was clearly Green Bay’s third receiver. He caught five passes for 69 yards, a touchdown and 17.9 DKFP against Chicago, and his eight targets matched Davante Adams’ ($6,800) and only trailed Randall Cobb’s ($4,600) team high by two. Allison is my favorite sub-$4K receiver as long as Aaron Rodgers ($6,800; knee) is able to start against Minnesota.
If Rodgers is out, Jakeem Grant ($3,900), Bruce Ellington ($3,800) and Cortland Sutton ($3,500) are other receivers under $4K to consider.
TIGHT END($4,000 and under)
George Kittle, SF vs. DET, $3,800 — Kittle led the 49ers with five catches on nine targets for 90 yards on his way to 14.0 DKFP, but he could have had so much more if not for a costly drop that would have been a long touchdown. Later in the game, Kittle was wide open down the seam for a huge gain and wide open in the end zone for a touchdown on two separate plays, but he couldn’t reel in errant throws. With Marquise Goodwin ($4,800) battling a deep thigh bruise, Kittle could again be a popular target for QB Jimmy Garoppolo ($6,000). Kittle looks ready to be an impact option at TE and make a second-year leap.
Jared Cook, OAK at DEN, $3,600 — Cook has been around much longer than Kittle, and fantasy owners have been waiting for him to become a consistent option with an established role. After time with the Titans, Rams and Packers, Cook had a career-high 54 catches for 688 yards last year in Oakland. He got off to a great start to better those numbers this season in Week 1, hauling in nine of his 12 targets for 180 yards and 30 DKFP. He probably won’t get a dozen targets each week, but the Raiders will have to throw a lot as mentioned above. He’s in a very favorable matchup against the Broncos in Week 2, who struggled last season with opposing tight ends and opened this season by being gashed by unknown rookie Will Dissly.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS($2,800 and under)
HOU at TEN, $2,600 — The Texans had two sacks and forced three turnovers to earn 8.0 DKFP against the Patriots’ mighty offense in Week 1. In Week 2, they’ll visit the Titans, who struggled throughout the preseason and in Week 1 in Miami. Marcus Mariota ($5,600; elbow) could miss the game, meaning J.J. Watt and company would get a tasty matchup with Blaine Gabbert ($4,700).
NYJ vs. MIA, $2,500 — The Jets had more fantasy points in Week 1 than any other defense, posting 26 on Monday night as they picked off Matthew Stafford ($6,100) four times and scored two defensive TDs. The Jets host the Dolphins in their home opener, and Miami gave up 11 DKFP in its weather-interrupted opener against the Titans. New York’s defense will be on a short week, but it should know Adam Gase’s offense being a divisional foe.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.