Some big name inactives today that you might have had in your lineups last week include Dez Bryant, T.Y. Hilton, Andre Ellington, and Delanie Walker. These injuries create opportunities for other players at discounted rates, and some of these scenarios are highlighted below. A couple last cuts to the list include Terrence Williams and David Johnson, who also have appeal this week in more prominent roles.
These players are perceived to be great plays regardless of price, great values, or both.
Aaron Rodgers, SEA @ GB, $8,300 – The ultra-competitive Rodgers will be fired up in this prime time rematch of the NFC Championship, that slipped away from the Packers after a botched onside kick. The Seahawks defense looked vulnerable last week surrendering 34 points to the Rams, and appear much less intimidating without 2014 Captain Kam Chancellor patrolling the secondary. Since 2011, Rodgers has averaged an remarkable 2.5 passing TDs per game and should continue lighting up the scoreboard on Sunday night. Rodgers is an obvious nod as a top QB option each week, but the timing of this matchup seems pretty ideal for big things to happen. You will pay a premium to start him as the top QB salary of Week 2, but it could pay serious dividends.
Joseph Randle, DAL @ PHI, $5,600 – The Cowboys were mum on how they planned to divvy up carries entering the year, but Week 1 offered more clarity about the split. Against the Giants, Randle toted it 16 times compared to just 6 for Darren McFadden, effectively rushing for over 4 yards per carry. With the loss of Dez Bryant for at least the next month or two, it’s fair to assume Dallas will play to their strengths and focus on running the ball behind their highly touted offensive line. Facing a divisional opponent who ranked in the bottom third of the league last year in rush yards allowed (105 YPG), along with an increased workload, he will get the volume to be productive. Randle’s price is an affordable one, at a $300 discount from last week.
Frank Gore, NYJ @ IND, $4,800 – The Colts have not had a 100-yard rusher in the past 41 games, and that ridiculous streak cannot last forever. Gore is the most talented RB they have had over that span and has the numbers to prove it. He’s rushed for over a $1,000 rushing yards in 8 of the last 9 seasons (an average of 1,163 yards per year). The Indianapolis offense was stymied in Buffalo Week 1, and should be plenty fired up hosting the Jets on Monday night. Gore tallied just 8 carries in Week 1, but should see more work if they can get into any type of rhythm. The fact that he comes at a $600 discount from last week is also a major plus. On paper the Colts have one of the NFL’s top offenses, so it will be interesting to see if that finally materializes. Gore is a key piece of the attack, and at a price outside of the Top 20 RBs, could be a nice value play this week.
Zach Ertz, DAL @ PHI, $3,600 – With all signs pointing to Ertz being inactive or limited in Week 1 recovering from surgery on a core muscle, this did not turn out to be the case. He was targeted 8 times, behind only Jordan Matthews (13) and Darren Sproles (9). He significantly outsnapped fellow TE Brent Celek 52-to-27 as well, suggesting the Eagles are comfortable with his health moving forward. This is a great sign for Ertz who figures to be a key cog in Philadelphia’s passing attack, with a nice home matchup on tap against the Cowboys, who ranked 26th against the pass a year ago (252 YPG). If Ertz can continue to log this percentage of snaps, he will play a major role in replacing the 143 targets left behind by Jeremy Maclin’s departure. His price remains unchanged from last week, and with much more certainty around his volume of touches he could emerge as a strong value play.
Tyler Lockett, SEA @ GB, $3,400 – Lockett exploded onto the scene with a 57-yard punt return TD on his first career NFL touch. He finished the day with a catch on all 4 targets and 34 yards receiving. Modest totals in the passing game, but the 3rd rounder is an electric player with more playmaking ability than incumbents Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. Facing a hostile Packers crowd at Lambeau, the Seahawks offense will likely need at least a few scores to keep pace with Green Bay. Lockett brings excitement to Seattle who lost a stunner in Week 1, and it’s hard to imagine a gameplan that doesn’t figure to get him out in space and let him run free. Priced outside of the Top 50 WRs, he is worthy of a flier on Sunday night.
Phillip Dorsett, NYJ @ IND, $3,300 – With T.Y. Hilton expected to miss time from a knee injury suffered last week, the Colts will look to fill this void with a blend of Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, and Dorsett at the WR position. It was a debut of mixed results for the burner out of Miami, who fumbled 2 punts but also added 3 catches for 45 yards. Rookie growing pains are expected, but to focus on the positive, Dorsett seems to be the most electric playmaker in the bunch. The Colts would not have ignored defensive needs to draft him 29th overall if they didn’t believe this to be the case. Facing a Jets secondary that just lost Antonio Cromartie, Dorsett has a prime opportunity to make some plays on the big stage Monday night. Coming off a tough loss in Buffalo, Andrew Luck and company will look to rebound in their home opener with a more aggressive approach in the passing game. With Dorsett priced just $300 above the position minimum, he offers significant upside at a low cost this week.
More to Consider
Russell Wilson, SEA @ GB, $7,300
Demarco Murray, DAL @ PHI, $7,000
Davante Adams, SEA @ GB, $4,900
Allen Robinson, NYJ @ JAX, $4,900
Chris Ivory, NYJ @ IND, $4,700
Jason Witten, DAL @ PHI, $4,300