This is a weekly series where I break down my favorite tournament plays for the upcoming NFL week. I’m going to be focusing on high upside plays and pairings that could really pay off big for you in tournaments.
With Ben Roethlisberger – Antonio Brown, Drew Brees – Brandin Cooks and, of course, Eli Manning – Odell Beckham likely being popular stacks this week, I’m certainly interested in this Oakland duo. Both of these players had very solid Week 1’s but didn’t produce the “fireworks” that some of their counterparts did. That could change this week though as the Raiders will be back in Oakland for their home opener against what I’d call a very bad Atlanta Falcons team, a team who just allowed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to pick them apart through the air, at home. Fully healthy to start the year, Amari Cooper led his team in targets with 13 in Week 1, while no one else had more than 10, he looks poised for a huge year. I love the Raiders, and I really like this stack as an “under-the-radar” play.
Bonus: Trevor Siemian ($5,100) – Virgil Green ($2,800)
Philip Rivers ($6,400): Rivers had a slow week 1 for fantasy purposes, but, as you can probably tell by the number of San Diego players I have in this column, I actually think the Chargers passing game will pick up Week 2. Jacksonville’s strength is their front seven, and I’m not sold on Melvin Gordon being able to overcome this matchup for a big game. If the Jaguars offense gets up early you could see Rivers have to air it out 50 or so times here. At only $6,400, I think he makes for a great tournament play and is stackable with a few different cheap options (Woodhead, Gates, Williams).
Bonus: Trevor Siemian ($5,100)
Jonathan Stewart ($5,400): Stewart’s a player I would recommend using more in the beginning of the season, as opposed too late, as he’s a high volume running back who tends to get worn down as the season rolls on (and isn’t young anymore by RB standards). The Panthers are huge favorites this week agianst San Francisco, and while you always have to be scared of a Cam Newton TD with Stewart, I’m less scared of that this week after Cam got beat up by Denver Week 1. Expect Carolina to be up big at some point and to limit Cam’s running exposure, opening up the possibility for a massive game from Stewart.
Danny Woodhead ($5,200): One interesting Week 1 situation that is being overlooked by some is the fact Danny Woodhead significantly out-snapped Melvin Gordon 50-23. Woodhead was extremely efficient in the Chargers’ opening day loss, amassing for 89 yards on 16 carries and also gathering in five receptions on seven targets. With Keenan Allen out and a matchup against a good Jaguars run defense, I expect Woodhead to again lead the Chargers in snaps. He may not be as proficient on the ground in this matchup, but he could easily see 10 or more targets.
Bonus: Arian Foster ($6,000)
Michael Floyd ($5,900): Floyd shakes out as a perfect tournament option for me this week. He’s not super expensive, likely won’t be well-owned and carries great upside in a weaker matchup. After a slow Week 1 where he was matched up with the tough Malcom Butler all night, Floyd will now get to work against the Bucs’ weak secondary which allowed 2 TDs last week to Atlanta’s wide receivers. Floyd actually played 58 out of 61 snaps in Week 1, so he was basically an every down player. Even more encouraging is the fact the he saw three red zone targets Week 1. The Cards like to push the ball downfield in the pass game, and Floyd was 17th in the league last season in yards per catch and averaged over 20 yards per reception. He’s going to have a much better shot at landing a few deep balls and finding the end zone in week 2.
Tyrell Williams ($3,700): The injury to Keenan Allen has opened up a major hole in the San Diego pass offense, and Williams is the player who I expect to benefit the most. Williams has some impressive metrics which include being 6′3, 204 lbs and having a 4.43 sec 40m time, 39.5 vertical. He made strides with San Diego in the preseason, enough that he actually opened the year as their number three wide receiver. Williams played on 60% of the snaps Week 1, even with Allen in for the half the game, and I expect that total to rise here significantly against the Jags. He has the most upside of any San Diego receiver on the roster by far and is in a good matchup against a Jags defense whose strong front seven should funnel San Diego more towards the passing game.
Bonus: Jeremy Maclin ($6,300)
Virgil Green ($2,800): Green had a nice debut last Thursday and really should have had a TD in that game (he got wide open in the end zone but the pass was batted down at the line). If you’re not familiar with Green, he’s a physical freak with a 42.5 vertical who is finally getting his shot at being the main pass catching tight end for Denver. Indianapolis is beyond thin on defense and allowed Eric Ebron, who possesses far less raw talent than Green, to put up five receptions and a TD in Week 1. This is a great spot to take Green at less than $3k in price against a weak defense.
Bonus: Jimmy Graham ($3,200)
New York Giants ($2,600): A great way to gain leverage in big DFS tournaments is to play the opposite side of a popular pick. With everyone likely being in on the passing offenses in the Giants-Saints game this week, using the Giants defense could be a great way to flip the script, so to speak. Drew Brees famously threw for 7 TDs last year against the Giants, but that game was played in New Orleans, where Brees tends to shine. In fact, Brees’ career road stats are significantly worse across the board and most glaring is his TD-INT ratio which is a blazing 2.56 at home but only 1.67 on the road. The Giants improved defense played well on the road Week 1 and this week get a Saints team who just lost a heartbreaker and now has to travel across the country to take on a solid Giants squad. I love this play for tournaments and won’t be shocked if the Giants defense shocks everyone with a big fantasy game.
Bonus: Cardinals ($3,500)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) 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.