Week 1 of the NFL season saw relatively quiet wide receiver performances, with Calvin Johnson and his 164 yards leading the field by 33 yards. Some of the usual suspects found themselves atop the charts, with A.J. Green, Antonio Brown, Michael Floyd, Julio Jones, and Marques Colston all in the top seven.
The No. 8 wide receiver in terms of yards, though, was the low-usage Allen Hurns. One of the most valuable players to DraftKings users on Sunday, Hurns erupted in Philly for 110 yards and two scores.
Hurns’ performance highlighted the importance of hitting on not only cheap players, but specifically cheap wide receivers. With the ability to start up to four wide receivers on DraftKings each week, you’re rarely going to have access to all of the studs atop the salaries. You’ll need to dig deep, identifying unheralded talent like Hurns to really boost your win probability.
Let’s take a look at the top wide receivers in all price ranges for Week 2.
- Top Five Wide Receivers
Having said that, Johnson is probably again a really smart GPP play because 1) he can always go nuts and 2) he has a perceived poor matchup, which will at least partially drive down usage (although the price tag could change that, perhaps). For lack of a better phrase, I will have “all the Johnson” this week.
Now wait, what?
A.J. Green, Cincinnati vs Atlanta, $8300 – This is a really juicy matchup for Green, as Atlanta was the fourth-worst defense against WR1s in 2013. This has the makings of a shootout, with the initial line at 48—one of the highest for the week.
Like I said, I think Johnson’s matchup might get people off of him, but it could also be the case that the fact that he’s only $200 more expensive than Green drives down the Cincy receiver’s usage. Either way, I think Green is a fine play in all league types.
Brandon Marshall, Chicago at San Francisco, $8000 – Of the top five wide receivers in salary, I could see Marshall’s usage being the lowest. He’s expensive—$900 more than Dez Bryant—and has a difficult matchup against the Niners in San Fran. Marshall is a tournament consideration, especially since he pairs so nicely with Cutler, but he won’t be in my cash games.
Julio Jones, Atlanta at Cincinnati, $7500 – This is the type of scenario in which you really need to monitor price tags. A lot of DraftKings users will view players in terms of how they’re ranked at their position, seeing that Jones is just behind Marshall, for example.
However, there’s a semi-significant drop of $500 here—money that could really upgrade your lineup elsewhere. The difference between Jones and Marshall is the same as between Marshall and Megatron (we see a similar situation with Dez Bryant below). It might be one of those times when you want to consider Jones just because his value is greater than it first appears, which might make him less-utilized than he should be.
Dez Bryant, Dallas at Tennessee, $7100 – Simply put, Bryant’s price is too cheap in Week 2. Tennessee was really good against No. 1 wide receivers last year, but there are approximately 1,000 reasons to love Bryant this week. I’ll give you four.
2) Scoring Ability
3) Increased Usage Over Week 1
4) He’s Dez Bryant
Five Other Top Wide Receivers to ConsiderDemaryius Thomas, Denver vs Kansas City, $7000
- Well holy crap this is a cheap price. You can expect Thomas’s usage to be among the top at the wide receiver position in Week 2 GPPs, but he’s in play everywhere.
Andre Johnson, Houston at Oakland, $6400
Percy Harvin, Seattle at San Diego, $6400
Pierre Garcon, Washington vs Jacksonville, $6400
- Five Mid-Priced Wide Receivers
The obvious choice is AP, but you could make an argument that the Vikings are underdogs to take down New England unless they secure some big plays. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Belichick play the run, but with increased attention on Patterson as well.
For as secretive as Belichick can be, we often get a decent idea of his plans from the Patriots’ beat writers each week, so monitor that news up until kickoff to help determine what type of coverage CP will see.
**UPDATE: The Pats could shadow Patterson with Revis. Downgrade Patterson and bump up Greg Jennings.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona at NY Giants, $6200 – Fitz was almost held catch-less against a weak Chargers defense on Monday night. This would be a pure contrarian play because you can bet that most people who are on the Cardinals will buy in on Michael Floyd at $200 cheaper. Because of that alone, you could argue Fitz is the better tournament option.
Julian Edelman, New England at Minnesota, $6200 – Edelman is the type of player I love to play in cash games. I’ve done research suggesting that players who see short targets have more week-to-week consistency than those who have a deeper average depth of target. Edelman’s low-risk targets give him a high floor on a PPR site like DraftKings. I’m bullish on him this week as a value play in head-to-head and 50/50 leagues.
In tournaments, it’s generally preferable to side with more high-upside options. Edelman’s inability to score with consistency limits his ceiling a bit. You could potentially still use him in GPPs if you go very high-variance elsewhere.
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago at San Francisco, $6200 – In terms of a pure talent-to-cost comparison, you could argue that Jeffery is the best value on DraftKings this week. At $6200, there are 14 wide receivers who cost more than him. This is a player who was getting drafted as the No. 6 wide receiver in fantasy drafts this year, sometimes ahead of teammate Brandon Marshall. I’d consider Jeffery at this price even if he were facing the Seattle defense, so he should be a strong consideration in all league types.
Be sure to monitor Jeffery’s hamstring issue throughout the week, but he should be good to go.
Roddy White, Atlanta at Cincinnati, $6100 – There’s a very good chance that the Bengals are going to double-team Julio Jones. I still think he’s probably a stronger play than White, even with a salary that’s $1400 higher, but White is certainly in play this week. Note that the Bengals have historically been worse against WR2s than WR1s.
Five Other Mid-Priced Wide Receivers to Consider
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia at Indianapolis, $6100
Mike Wallace, Buffalo vs Miami, $6100
Victor Cruz, NY Giants vs Arizona, $6000
Michael Floyd, Arizona at NY Giants, $6000Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina vs Detroit, $5900
- Benjamin offers two things this week: projected high usage in the passing game and projected low usage on DraftKings. As a rookie, it’s right to be skeptical of Benjamin’s skill set at this point. But he’s the clear WR1 on a team that’s likely to air it out this weekend against the Lions. Benjamin isn’t a great value at his current price tag—he’s $600 more than Eric Decker—but he’s a contrarian option for you to create a unique tournament lineup while still getting WR1 targets.
- Five Value Wide Receivers
Eric Decker, NY Jets at Green Bay, $5300 – Remember what I said about Decker last week? He’s big. He’s red-zone efficient. He’s been really good his entire career, dating back to college. Yes, he’s succeeded without Peyton Manning. He’s a true No. 1 who is going to see a workload that’s simply too large to pass up at this price. Shall I go on? I love Decker as an option in all formats.
DeSean Jackson, Washington vs Jacksonville, $5300 – I’m not a huge fan of Jackson, but I might start being one at this price. The only concern here is that Jackson might not be utilized heavily in the second half if the Redskins get up on the Jags, although it isn’t like Washington is a dominant football team.
Also note that Jackson’s average target length probably makes him a weak cash-game play. He doesn’t normally record a high catch rate, which lowers his floor (and increases his ceiling relative to his overall production) from week to week.
Greg Jennings, Minnesota vs New England, $5100 – Patterson is the man in the Vikes’ passing game, but remember that we’re not entirely sure how Belichick will play this one. If he decides to place extra attention on Patterson—news we should be able to determine at some point this week—Jennings might see heavier usage.
I don’t like Jennings in tournaments because of his body type and the fact that I’m skeptical of Minnesota’s Week 1 outburst against the Rams, but I like him as a nice value play in cash games.
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay vs St. Louis, $5000 – Tell me where else you can find three-touchdown upside for $5000. I normally would never play Jackson in cash games because he’s the definition of high-variance, but I think he’s in play there this week just because the cost is so low. Yes, the quarterback situation is crap, but it was last year, too, and Jackson still found ways to get into the end zone.
Five Other Value Wide Receivers to Consider
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis vs Philadelphia, $5000Brian Quick, St. Louis at Tampa Bay, $4800
- This is basically a cheaper (albeit less talented) version of Kelvin Benjamin. You’re getting what appears to be a WR1 for next to nothing in a good matchup. Regardless of the situation in St. Louis, you have to at least consider Quick if you think the usage will be there.
Rueben Randle, NY Giants vs Arizona, $4300
Tavon Austin, St. Louis at Tampa Bay, $3700