With the NFL’s week one almost in the books, right now is a great time to take an early look at the Week 2 player costs, while the action we just witnessed is still fresh in our minds. Here are a few players at every position and my early thoughts on why they may, or may not, be worth their asking prices. Good luck.
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Drew Brees (vs. TB, $7,800) – I, for one, happened to be watching football yesterday. Did you see what Mariota and the ferocious Titans offense just did to the Bucs? Sure, Mariota threw four TDs, but he also threw for 209 yards… and HE THREW THE BALL SIXTEEN TIMES! 16. Brees will throw that many balls and then some in the first half, and apparently he’ll do it with all the time in the world and wide receivers running around wide open. The Saints might have lost yesterday, but Brees still went for 355 yards on 48 attempts. Coming into the season, the thinking was that Brees could see his TDs drop as the Saints decide to start running more in the red zone with no Graham. And that might be true, so next weekend, your biggest fear should be that the Bucs run defense is so bad Ingram blows up (see below) and Brees never has the chance. But it doesn’t have to be either/or, and furthermore, you won’t have to worry about the red zone if the Saints are continuously scoring from just inside midfield. Back in the comfort of the Superdome, he could carve up the Bucs next week no matter who he has catching passes for him.
Matt Ryan (@ NYG, $7,400) – It is a little strange to be writing about him here, before he gets out on the field for week 1. But here’s the thing: his week 2 price is already set. In other words, his week 2 price was set before he ever stepped onto a field this season, and this is me going on the record and saying you are not going to see anything tonight (barring injury) that will make you think his value should go down. I think that most weeks going forward, both Ryan and Tom Brady will end up being priced much closer to Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers than to Big Ben and Tony Romo. And further, when Ryan comes out firing against the Eagles and Julio is running around healthy looking like a slightly bigger version of Dez, I am convinced you will see why I feel this way. With prices coming out Sunday for week 2 there is some lag time on those sorts of market corrections, but they are coming. You should take advantage.
Carson Palmer (@ CHI, $6,700) – Palmer, in his last seven starts (all of last year + yesterday), has thrown for 14 touchdowns and only three picks. The Cardinals are 7-0 in those games. All of which makes you really hope we don’t have to watch any Drew Stanton at any point in this season. With 307 yards and 3 TDs yesterday, it also makes you wonder how long this pricing level is going to hold. After another great matchup next Sunday, the answer is: not much longer. Jump on board now.
Tyrod Taylor (vs. NE, $6,200) – Please note, this is a discussion of why you should NOT take Taylor next week. It is not easy coming up with players to discuss that I don’t like, for one very simple reason – if I don’t like them at all, chances are you don’t either. It is ESPECIALLY hard coming up with a player who I don’t like, who is also cheap, because the fact is, he’s cheap for a reason. But my thinking here was that Taylor is very cheap, but he also played pretty well in Week 1, and as such, maybe he’ll start attracting DFS owners looking for a value play for the QB slot. I wouldn’t do it, for a few reasons. One is that even though I thought Harvin would be an interesting value play in week 1, he’s anything but consistent, and the same goes for Sammy Watkins. And, as much as Antonio Brown was awesome in week 1 against the Pats, I actually though Malcolm Brown looked really good. The Pats were playing him in the Revis role, shifting him to either side to cover the main receiving weapon – and the Bills don’t have Antonio Brown. It is much more likely to me that this ends up being a low-scoring game in general, with depressed returns on investment for your Bills AND your Pats than that Taylor ends up being a good value play in back-to-back weeks.
Jeremy Hill (vs. San Diego, $7,400) – When you include the six catches, Gio actually only had five fewer touches than Hill. But that’s not a bad thing – they are probably the second and third best skill players on the Bengals (or two of the top three anyway), so any smart coach would want to get them both involved. But Hill is going to be the guy getting almost 20 carries every week, and doing work down by the goalline. And when I look at all of the matchups across the board for the most expensive running backs in Week 2, his is the one I like most. That might mean I spend my money on a different position, but you have to spend it somewhere, and for me, Hill’s almost guaranteed touches, the conservative offense he plays in, and his ability to pound it in down close make him a very intriguing option.
DeMarco Murray (vs. DAL, $7,000) – Here I am, recommending another guy for week 2 before I see him play in week 1. What’s more, with DeMarco, I recommended him as a Week 1 play too. Let’s just say I am confident. He will be priced among the very top running backs on the board before too long, assuming health, so to me, seeing him sitting there as the seventh back on the board just screams value. I think there might be some attention paid to this game over the course of the week by the media, and he will, of course, be motivated by the matchup (as if the divisional contest wasn’t enough motivation). So you will probably, at some point, wonder if he will be able to follow up that amazing week 1 game (that that guy from the Playbook predicted) with another solid performance in week 2. In other words, will he be worth the money, again? The answer: yes – in fact, he’ll be worth more. Just wait until the week 3 prices come out. You’ll see.
Mark Ingram (vs. TB, $5,800) – So he only had 24 yards rushing. Oh well – Arizona is a really good defense. But Ingram also had 98 receiving yards, on eight catches. C.J. Spiller owners everywhere are absolutely panicking. Next week, they aren’t playing Arizona again – they’re playing the Bucs. I’m just saying, yesterday against the Bucs, Bishop Sankey had a rushing and a receiving touchdown. So fetch.
Ameer Abdullah (@ MIN, $4,500) – Look, the Lions ran a total of 43 plays, and Adbullah got the ball eleven times. Between him and Ebron, after one week, it looks like the Lions might finally have some weapons to run out there who can complement Megatron, and, despite their years of searching, it’s not a second outside receiver. Bell is definitely still going to be in the mix, and might limit Abdullah’s upside by taking goalline opportunities away, but they are not going to keep giving him the ball between the twenties with Ameer continually showcasing his game-breaking talent (he averaged seven yards a carry and eleven yards a catch against the Chargers).
Antonio Brown (vs. SF, $8,800) – Antonio Brown looked amazing in Week 1. The late TD catch might have been garbage time, but it counted, and the fact was, he was getting open a lot. Malcolm Butler, Super Bowl hero, as I mentioned above, was on him all night and playing really well, but the receiver shook free a few times and seemed to be running around by himself out there. The 49ers haven’t shown us anything yet, but their secondary took some hits this offseason, and the expectation is that their defense is heading in the wrong direction. If that’s true, Brown is just the kind of player to exploit it.
DeAndre Hopkins (@ CAR, $7,400) – He and Antonio might honestly be the only two wide receivers I like for their price until I get down under the $6,000 mark on the salary list, and writing about guys you like is so much more fun than writing about guys you don’t like – so this was an easy choice for me. Two touchdowns yesterday, and not even both on deep balls. If he emerges as a red zone threat on top of his field-stretching capabilities, he could be in line for a tremendous year.
Jarvis Landry (@ JAX, $5,900) – Landry is going to be a target monster all season long. If this wasn’t a PPR format, he might not make my list, because while I think the Dolphins offense will be efficient this season, I don’t know that they will really put up huge scoring numbers. Tannehill is more likely, to me, to have 25-30 TDs than to approach 40, which will limit Landry’s upside. But he could easily come away from this season with 110+ catches, making him a legit consideration for DFS every week. The Jaguars defense also isn’t going to be a complete laughingstock, so I don’t think you should expect big scoring plays and quick strikes in this one. Long, sustained drives will be the key to success for Miami in this one, and that is right in Landry’s wheelhouse. 10+ catches for 100+ yards are both in play.
Terrance Williams (@ PHI, $4,200) – It’s obvious, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. You will be running to the waiver wire in your yearly leagues for him, but in DFS you can take your time, think it through, and use him if you want. After tonight, you can decide what you think of the Philly defense and go from there. But one way or the other, this price will be higher come week 3.
Rob Gronkowski (@ BUF, $7,300) – This covers Jimmy Graham as well: this week doesn’t seem like the one to spend up on a top two tight end. Gronk is $1,500 more than Graham, who is another $1,300 more than Bennett, who comes in at the #4 most expensive TE. Gronk gets that respect because he produces like a WR, and Graham did secure a touchdown in week 1. But the Bills defense is legit – like, scary legit. They always play Tom Brady and the Pats well (even if they do usually lose), and this season, opposing teams are going to learn to dread heading to Orchard Park for a road game. Gronk might be the most productive receiver on his team next week, and he might even be among the top tight ends – but I do not believe he will be so far in front of the field that he’ll live up to this price tag. As for Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks are coming off a loss and travelling to Green Bay. They do not want to start this season off 0-2, which to me means a renewed focus on the running game, both in attempt to get back to their own roots and to keep a certain Mr. Rodgers and his crew off the field as much as possible. The Packers did just give up 141 yards to Matt Forte in week 1.
Martellus Bennett (vs. ARI, $4,500) – The Cardinals defense looked good in week 1, but they have always seemed to have a blind spot for tight ends. The Saints aren’t the team to show whether that’s still true, as they no longer have a real threat at the position, but Bennett just might be the best receiver on the Bears until Alshon is back at 100%. He had five catches for 55 yards and a TD in Week 1, and while there were bigger games out there from other TEs, his floor seems a lot higher than it does for some of the less-proven guys who went off on Sunday. It’s hard to imagine him not having 5 or 6 catches a game in this offense, which makes him a great option for cash games rather than for the big tournaments.
Tyler Eifert (vs. SD, $4,200) – The two TDs were great, but the nine catches on twelve targets were even better. This guy was a first-round pick a couple of years ago, and has the skill-set to be beast, helping out in the run game and the passing game for the Bengals, and providing an actual reliable tight end option for fantasy owners. He’s almost certainly the second most talented receiver on the Bengals, so if Andy Dalton is going to continue attempting 30+ passes in games where the Bengals are up 20, the potential is real and this price will likely keep ticking upwards.
Eric Ebron (@ MIN, $3,300) – A few weeks ago, leading up to Week 1, this is what I wrote about Ebron: “The 10th overall pick in the draft just a year ago, he is the kind of player who, at his best, creates mismatches no matter how the defense tries to prepare for him, especially if they are also rolling coverage to the outside to account for Calvin. There is no doubt that an underneath target COULD thrive in an offense featuring an outside threat of that magnitude – we’ve seen that before. We have a chance of seeing it again in Detroit this season.” On Sunday, he had four catches, which tied for the team lead, he had 53 yards to lead the team, and he had this athletic touchdown catch to close out the first half and (seemingly) put the Lions in control. Call me intrigued.
Miami Dolphins (@ JAX, $3,300) – The most expensive play on the board, this price isn’t quite high enough. I know, last week, I said I usually like to lean on home teams for my defenses in DFS, but the Dolphins looked legit, and the Jags looked like the Jags. Right now, there isn’t much of a swing between the most expensive and the least expensive defenses, which makes them much more palatable than they’ve been in the past. I don’t know about you, but I usually start building a lineup with a cheap defense and then if there are a few hundred bucks leftover at the end, I consider upgrading. But a few hundred bucks is enough to jump up the whole list right now, and the Dolphins looked good yesterday. The AFC East is turning out to be a veritable murderer’s row of defenses this year – apologies to the NFC East, who have to face the Jets, the Bills and the Dolphins, who could legitimately all be top-5 defenses this year. Oh, and then there’s the Pats, too. Fun slate.
Minnesota Vikings (vs. DET $2,800) – I know, I know – let’s see what the Vikings do tonight. But I did not love what I saw out of Matthew Stafford yesterday, and even if the Lions have added weapons, there is a solid chance they all don’t amount to what Calvin was by himself at the height of his powers. I think there is a chance we see the propensity for turnovers that’s always been lurking in the background rear it’s ugly head more often this year, but more importantly, this is just a chance for me to point out that 27 defenses are separated by only $600 in Week 2 – just take who you want. Don’t feel like you have to be constrained by the top of the list or you’re missing out on upside – because that’s not necessarily true. Plus, the Vikes are home, and of all the home teams, I like their combination of talent and week 2 matchup the most. Just like I wrote about the Jets last weekend, a team like this at this price is just proof that buying into the top defenses is, more often than not, a complete waste of money.