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The Gauntlet: DFS week 2 top plays

DFS week 2 top plays

DFS week 2 top plays

Welcome to The Gauntlet.  We are going to break down each and every game on what is considered the main slate on DraftKings and Fanduel to bring you the DFS Week 2 top plays. This consists of the games only on Sundays. If you are playing other slates, such as the primetime slates, be sure to check out our other DFS content for plays in those games. In this breakdown, we are going to dive deeply into each matchup which is why we are going to stick to just the main slate of games. All of the stats in this breakdown are from Football Outsiders, while all of the player grades are from Pro Football Focus. Next to each team’s name is their implied Vegas total, followed by the overall game total.

For the first couple of weeks, we are going to use last season as a crash course for the approach to take with our research. With the exception of notable coaching changes and top free agent additions in the offseason, playbook schemes are going to be pretty similar to last season, but we won’t focus too much on that just yet. Instead, what I like to look for in the first couple weeks of the season is which team is going to dominate the trenches on either side of the ball and use last year’s stats and grades as a starting point. A dominant offensive line means more room for a running back to operate, and less pressure on a QB. Two things we definitely prefer while teams are trying to knock the rust off.  On the defensive side of the ball, we want to look for the exact opposite. We want to see which teams are going to cause chaos in the backfield and force the QB to make throws under duress, while also preventing open running lanes for the RB. With that in mind, let’s get to the DFS week 2 top plays!

Eagles (21) at Chiefs (26.5) – Vegas Total: 47.5

Eagles:

Last week we saw Wentz light up the Redskins secondary to the tune of 307 yards and 2 TDs. If you read The Gauntlet last week, you noted Wentz was an all-around great option last week in that juicy matchup. Especially with the help of his new deep threats. However, traveling to FedEx Field is a little different than traveling to Arrowhead Stadium to visit the Chiefs. The Eagles are in the bottom 1/3rd this week in implied totals and I have to agree with Vegas here. The Chiefs have some great corners, such as Marcus Peters, but they just operate as a whole at a very efficient level. They ranked 6th in overall DVOA last year, however, they were 25th against the run. This is a good sign for the Chiefs because they can shut down passing attacks and limit an ineffective run game, which the Eagles possess. Blount does not scare me one bit if I am the Chiefs and I have no desire to play him here in DFS. The one spot the Chiefs were weak last year was the TE, which they ranked 20th against. But Ertz doesn’t even excite me here, especially with how much the general public loves him this year. TE is an ugly position this week, but I still think you can do better than Ertz especially since he is the 3rd highest priced TE on DK and 7th highest on FD. I am going to pass on the Eagles in total as DFS week 2 top plays here.

Chiefs:

Oh boy did the Chiefs put on a show during opening night. They walked into Gillette like they had never heard of Brady and Co. Between Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt, they completely dominated the offensive side of the ball. Because of that, we have seen a well-deserved price hike on the Chiefs this week. However, I wouldn’t expect a repeat performance. The rookie RB Hunt had 246 yards from scrimmage (!!!). If he did that every game, he would be the greatest running back to ever live. So we need to temper expectations here. The reason Hunt had a ton of room to work within this one is mainly because of the play of Alex Smith. In the 137 games where Alex Smith has thrown at least 15 passes (meaning he likely played most of the game), he has gone over 300 yards seven times. SEVEN. His 7th time just happened to be on Thursday night football against the defending champions, on the road, for the whole world to witness. So I am going to reserve judgment on this “new high-powered offense” until we see some consistency here. Alex Smith is actually a great game manager. He doesn’t make many mistakes, mainly because he has rarely thrown the deep ball in his career. But with Hunt and Hill on his side, he is starting to air it out more it seems. But believing Alex Smith can become the next great gunslinger is a dangerous road to trek down. The one upside for the Chiefs this week is the Eagles ranked 2nd to last in open field yards to running backs. This means if Hill and Hunt get into space on short throws, they won’t need Smith to be a gunslinger this week. This is a spot where I would use Hill or Hunt, but not both in the same lineup and hope the Eagles give up a big play or two for a long TD.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Hill, Hunt

Cardinals (25.75) at Colts (18.25) Vegas Total 44

Cardinals:

Last week I was against using Carson Palmer and this Cardinals air attack in Detroit because I am not sold on Palmer being able to get the ball down the field in an offensive system that requires throwing deep.  He has the speed and possession receivers on his side to be able to stretch the field, I just don’t think he can physically do it as well anymore.  He was struggling last season with arm strength, and until he shows us that he can continuously throw the deep ball, I don’t want a piece of Palmer. However, I don’t mind playing a guy like Fitzgerald who makes the DFS week 2 top plays list. Even with a weaker arm, Fitz is a possession receiver and not a deep threat. Palmer can still get him the ball constantly and this is the best matchup they will have all year. We have no clue what the running back snap count is going to be here between Williams, Ellington and newly re-signed Chris Johnson and I want no part of that as well. The Cardinals should be playing from in front in this one, which doesn’t scream pass game, but instead, means more touches for the muddy running back situation. If you want to take a GPP flier on one of the RBs I don’t mind it, and I prefer Williams if I had to choose one because of his goal-line duties. But this is a fade situation for me this week.

Colts:

I said it last week and I will say it again this week. No, no, no, no, no. Don’t play any Colts. Fire up the Cardinals D, even on the road. Tolzien is brutally awful.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Fitzgerald, Cards D

Vikings (20) at Steelers (25.5) Vegas Total 45.5

Vikings:

This is an identical situation as the Chiefs this week in my eyes. We were gifted a dream matchup for the Vikings against the lowly Saints defense last week. In Bradford’s 79 games in his career, he has only thrown for 300 yards 15 times. He has also only thrown for 3 TDs 10 times. These are not gunslinger numbers like the general public thinks he currently is after watching him thread the needle on every throw on Monday night. Don’t get me wrong. Just like the Chiefs, the Vikings weapons are legit. Diggs, Thielen, Cook, and Rudolph are all extremely talented. We have to take a step back though and analyze the situation as a whole. Bradford may not throw for 346 yards and 3 scores again this season like he did on Monday. That doesn’t mean his weapons aren’t usable, I just would reserve full stacking the Vikings, especially on the road in Pittsburgh. You can pick and choose Vikings here, solely because of how talented they all are, and the Steelers don’t have any shutdown corners, but again I would refrain from stacking this Vikings team.

Steelers:

You do not play Big Ben on the road. You play Big Ben at home. He is a completely different player at home for whatever reason. Because of that, there are a lot of Steelers on the DFS week 2 top plays. Leveon Bell got his first game action and only played on 71% of snaps last week. Look for that number to increase significantly in the 90-95% range this week. If you read The Gauntlet last week, we faded Bell together because of the concern of him not being in game shape yet. The Steelers were actually smart and played it cautious with their star RB and instead leaned on Antonio Brown. Don’t forget about the athletic freak Martavis Bryant here either. The Vikings have a respectable defense, but these weapons are among the most talented in the league. You can likely get a low owned Steelers stack here and I don’t mind it at all this week. Again, Big Ben at home is a monster.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Diggs, Cook, Thielen, Rudolph (not stackable), Bell, Ben, Brown, Bryant (stackable)

Browns (15.5) at Ravens (23.5) Vegas Total 39

Browns:

This is the lowest total game of the week, and the Browns have the lowest team total at 15.5. This offense is a complete fade for me. Ravens D firmly in play.

Ravens:

With a low-scoring game like this, game flow will never be an issue, but Flacco is dealing with some serious back issues and the Ravens game plan showed that last week. The Ravens ran the ball 42 times, while Flacco only threw 17. West and Allen are going to split the work in the backfield which creates a mess for fantasy purposes. West is the goal line back while Allen is the pass catcher. Last week Allen saw 21 carries while West saw 19. So it is looking like an even split down the middle here to take the pressure off Flacco and not overloading one guy with touches. This is a gross situation to deal with and the Browns D actually looked like a solid defense last Sunday, so I would hesitate automatically targeting the Browns D here. This is going to be a low scoring defensive game, making any offensive players a tough DFS week 2 top plays candidate.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Ravens D

Patriots (31) at Saints (25) Vegas Total 56

Patriots:

Man, did we do a complete 180 here going from the lowest total to the highest total. This matchup is extremely juicy on both sides of the ball and features a ton of DFS week 2 top plays. The last time the Patriots got blown out before last week was also in Primetime against the Chiefs when they lost by almost 30 points. The Patriots then proceeded to win 3 championships after that beating. So assuming the Patriots D is going to be the second worst D in the league like we saw on Thursday is just an overreaction. Belichick is going to get his guys right and they are going to make plays.  I am not saying they are going to shut down the Saints because they aren’t. Not in the Superdome. The point I am making is we can expect this game to be extremely competitive throughout and both teams knowing the other team can score quickly. With that being said, look for Brady to want to keep his foot on the gas in this one. James White is becoming one of the most useful pieces of this offense, especially with no Amendola and Edelman. White assumes the short passing role and is only $4100 on DK and $5700 on FD. I am considering using White in cash games on DK this week at this price in the highest total of the week. DK is a full PPR site, so if White catches 6 passes and gets in the end zone, you’re going to be printing money on Sunday. Cooks is obviously in play here for a revenge game and we saw Brady repeatedly take shots deep to him on Thursday. This game flow does not favor Gillislee. It is a White game for me. Gronk is Gronk. The best red zone TE in the game. The Patriots didn’t seem to want to involve him too much until they got in the red zone last week though, so I’m not sure what is up with that. Gronk is talented enough to go for 100 yards and 2 scores in this matchup though.

Saints:

As previously mentioned, Belichick is going to have a game plan for the Saints, but won’t be able to stop them completely in the Superdome. Last week we saw how the Saints are making up for not having Snead. They are rotating their RBs and using Kamara in the passing game a ton, while also targeting Fleener more often than last year. Kamara has big play GPP upside and should catch a few passes here at a cheap price of $3500 and $4700 on DK and FD respectively. Just like White, he is a better play on DK because of the full PPR bonus and is less likely to score a TD unless he breaks a long one. The TD is more valuable on FD. Michael Thomas is always in play with Brees as his QB. This whole game is stackable.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Brady, White, Cooks, Gronk (stackable) Brees, Thomas, Fleener (stackable)

Bears (18.5) at Bucs (25.5) Vegas Total 44

Bears:

At first glance this week, I was absolutely considering Tarik Cohen in cash. However, after a heated discussion with the other TFA DFS analysts, they knocked some sense into me and convinced me White was the better play because of his TD upside. Both guys have a very similar floor, but White has more upside with his TD scoring ability and is going to be 1/1oth of the ownership. Cohen is going to be the mega chalk this week, and that is not chalk I want to eat. If you read my Game Theory article, I talk about good chalk and bad chalk. Cohen is bad chalk this week. Sure his floor is there, but the lack of upside really limits your ability to cash big, especially in tournaments. I want no other piece of this Bears offense. The Bucs D is actually in play here.

Bucs:

This is the Bucs first game of the season because of the Hurricane. We saw a ton of rusty offenses last week, but I don’t think that will be the case for the Bucs. They were one of the handful of teams to play their starters extensive minutes in the preseason. They are also in one of the best offensive spots this weekend, especially one guy in particular. At an ugly TE position, my 2nd favorite play of the whole slate comes from this game. Enter Cameron Brate. He is $3000 on DK and $5300 on FD. His DK price is way too cheap. The Bears were abysmal against the TE last year. They ranked 28th last year and allowed 48 yards per game to the position. Not only that, but Brate had his best game of the year last year against the Bears. He went for 7 catches 84 yards and a score which was good for 21 DK points. At $3K, sign me up!! I am not worried about OJ Howard here yet. The Bucs have him primarily blocking, and it should be that way for the near future. Brate is the pass catching TE, especially in the red zone. Mike Evans is too good to ignore here as well and I don’t mind a Winston, Brate, Evans stack here at all. Just play all the Brate and win all the money.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Bucs D, Winston, Evans, Brate (stackable)

Bills (18) at Panthers (25) Vegas Total 43

Bills:

This Vegas total and team total scares me for the Bills. This year, the only two Bills I want to play are Mccoy and Clay. Neither of them looks appealing here. If paying up at RB I would rather play Zeke, who I will touch on later. I don’t know if the Panthers D will cause enough chaos and force turnovers here to make them playable, I think it is more of an inefficient offense issue for the Bills.

Panthers:

Newton is playing hurt. His throwing shoulder is bothering him. He is missing on throws and is notably grabbing at his throwing shoulder after taking hits. That scares me. The Bills D is actually solid too. There are too many unknowns in this offense that I want no part outside of the TD machine Benjamin. I am not even that high on him either. This is a fade-able game for me.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: none

Titans (20.75) at Jaguars (20.75) Vegas Total 41.5

Titans:

The Titans have so much talent on offense, but I don’t think this is a spot to go crazy because we don’t know how good this Jags defense is just yet. They played the Texans in week 1, which is arguably one of the worst offenses in the NFL. So I don’t want to place too much emphasis on their week one matchup. However, they did make those key signings in the offseason. The defense as a whole has definitely gotten better. Where the Jags could be attacked last year was on the ground, and I don’t think that changes too much here this year. The bulk of the signings were made in the secondary, so if Murray can figure himself out this week, he should be in for a big game. The air attack is a stay away from me. I suppose you could play Corey Davis due to his insanely cheap price and his talent level. He saw 10 targets in week 1 also which led the team. He is going to quickly become Mariota’s favorite target, so if you want to roster Davis in this spot I won’t argue with you.

Jaguars:

The way to attack the Titans is through the air and that is the exact opposite of what the Jags are trying to do this season. They want Bortles to throw as little as possible and they want Fournette to run as much as possible. That is going to be their offensive recipe. I expect the Titans to load the box in this one and force Bortles to beat them. Especially with Allen Robinson being done for the year due to injury. The Titans D is a sneaky good play here.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Murray, Davis, Titans D

Jets (15) at Raiders (28.5) Vegas Total 43.5

Jets:

No.

Raiders:

Beast mode. Marshawn Lynch is going to see a ton of work in this one. Last Sunday he looked like he hadn’t been gone for a year. He resumed to running dudes over to the tune of over 70 yards. The Raiders should be playing comfortably in front in this one and I think they make it a point to get Marshawn a couple hometown TDs here. The passing game is in a great spot too, but if you’re playing Lynch you likely don’t want to load up on the air attack here also because there are better spots to do so.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Raiders D, Lynch

Dolphins (21) at Chargers (24.5) Vegas Total 45.5

Dolphins:

Jay Cutler didn’t get many preseason reps, and the Dolphins already had their bye in week one. We have seen over half the offenses come out rusty already to start the year and I expect that to be the case again here. The Chargers D is a defense I have a ton of respect for. They have 2 extremely good cornerbacks, and they rarely give up a ton of points. If you are playing on a PPR site, you have to assume the Dolphins will be trailing in this one and hope that Cutler continues to pepper Jarvis Landry and Devante Parker with targets. Landry is more of the possession receiver while Parker can stretch the field. We know Cutler likes to take shots deep often, so I think I prefer Parker over Landry here. Again, it is more of a volume play for me and not a great matchup.

Chargers:

Melvin Gordon is the king of 1 yard TD runs. He only had three 100 yard games last year, but he did have 10 TDs. So he is strictly TD dependent and makes for a better play on FD than DK for that reason. What he does have going for him is a home favorite in Vegas’ eyes. Home favorites are usually great spots to play RBs. Gordon is a solid play here, but I think you can do better with point per dollar with two guys we haven’t gotten to yet. Keenan Allen also returned in a big way last week finding the end zone against a tough Broncos pass D. He will continue to be the top target in the offense, but there are other weapons here for Rivers such as Tyrell Williams. The Chargers also keep saying they want to phase Gates out of the offense in favor of Henry but that isn’t happening. Gates played over 65% of the offensive snaps on Sunday, which is concerning for Henry moving forward. I would take a wait and see approach at TE here, but with Gates logging that many snaps, he is bound to steal a receiving TD from one of those receivers. Game flow suggests this to be a Melvin Gordon game more than a Rivers chuck it around the field game.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Chargers D, Gordon, Allen

49ers (14) at Seahawks (28) Vegas Total 42

49ers:

14 points is an extremely low Vegas total to have for one team. The 9ers are accomplishing that feat here. Whenever Seattle plays at home, the defense is always in play. Couple that with Brian Hoyer being the QB, and the most notable receiver being Pierre Garcon and you have a situation you can exploit. For whatever reason last week, Carlos Hyde was not fed the ball over and over again like we imagined. He was efficient, but Shanahan abandoned the run completely. If the 49ers are going to have any shot at being in this game they are going to have to run the ball. Tough task to do in Seattle.

Seahawks:

The Seahawks looked really bad on offense last week in Green Bay. I had Russ, Baldwin, and Graham as my top stack last week and they were brutal. The main issue with Seattle though is their offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL currently. Russ seemed to be running for his life on almost every play, causing him to be sacked or make a ton of rushed throws. The good thing about the 49ers, however, is their D Line is bad at getting pressure on the QB. They were ranked 20th in adjusted sack rate last year and were also at the bottom of every run defense metric there is. Chris Carson has forced his way onto the field and is actually a sneaky GPP play this week. If you think Eddie Lacy is the better RB here, you’re wrong. We also have no idea how much work Rawls is going to get. He already missed week 1, and if the injury is that serious and carrying 2 other RBs on the roster, I can’t imagine they throw him into the fire. His snaps are likely to be monitored. On the other hand, the Seahawks may want to build some chemistry in their pass game this week in a home matchup they feel good about. If that happens, Russ will be looking for Baldwin early and often and he becomes one of the top plays on the slate. Jimmy Graham is likely to have a big year, as he is their second best weapon behind Baldwin. The Seahawks are actually stackable here in an interesting spot. They could very well burn you again like they burned me last week, so I would reserve the stack for GPPs while considering Baldwin for cash.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Seahawks D, Baldwin (cash), Russ and Graham (tourney)

Redskins (21.5) at Rams (24.5) Vegas Total 46

Redskins:

Cousins didn’t look great last week at home against the Eagles, and he is traditionally much better at home than on the road. Now he gets a tough spot traveling to LA to face the Rams who are a very solid defense and should be returning Aaron Donald this week. With the Skins likely to be trailing in this one, Cousins will be throwing a ton. I prefer Pryor if playing a receiver here because he saw double-digit targets last week, but the matchup is not ideal. The Rams defense makes for a good tourney defense here.

Rams:

Load up on the passing attack here in tourneys. Yes, really. The Redskins did nothing but routinely give up 300-yard games last year. See Carson Wentz last week: 307 yards, 2TDs. This Rams offense is new and improved with Sean Mcvay at the helm as Head Coach. Goff is $5100 on DK and $6500 on FD. That is robbery. He just lit up the Colts on Sunday for 306 yards and a score and he gets basically the same matchup on paper here. Cooper Kupp is quickly turning into one of his favorite targets, and the Rams are also involving Gurley more in the passing game as he saw 6 targets last week. I really like the Rams offense this year with the upgrades they have made. Don’t be afraid of Josh Norman. He isn’t as good as advertised and Sammy Watkins will still get his share of passes. I’m one of the few who believes in the Rams this year, and you can make a lot of money with them in tournaments on Sunday when they explode.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Rams D, Goff, Kupp, Watkins, Gurley (stackable)

Dallas (21.75) at Denver (20.25) Vegas Total 42

Dallas:

You have been waiting for me to mention my top 2 RBs on the slate. Here is #1. Zeke is going to eat in Denver this weekend and is going to be unowned because he is playing Denver. Let’s break down the stats.

Dal O – Adjusted line yards rank 4th

Den D – Adjusted line yards rank 28th

Dal O – Power run rank 3rd

Den D – Power run rank 20th

Dal 47% of runs up the middle or off the guard and rank 2nd in adjusted line yards in this area

Den D – 28th in adjusted line yards against runs up the middle or off the guard

So what does this info tell me? This tells me the Dallas line is going to have its way with the Denver D Line. In turn, that means there are going to be big holes for Zeke to run through all afternoon. He may not have any huge 30-40 yard runs, but I expect him to consistently chip away with 5-10 yard runs regularly. I like him to reach the 100-yard mark here and he always has TD upside in every game. You are going to get him unowned because of the general public’s respect for Denver D. Dak and Co. are good enough to where Denver can’t just load the box to stop Zeke either. Zeke is also underpriced on DK at $7800. Just play the man.

Denver:

We don’t know if this Dallas defense is actually good or if the Giants were just that bad on Sunday night. It could very well be a combination of both. This Broncos offense is a little more functional than the Giants offense, but I still don’t see anything I am falling in love with here. This Denver side is a fade for me.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Zeke

Packers (25.5) at Falcons (25.5) Vegas Total 54

Packers:

When these two teams met in the NFC championship, the Vegas total was at an all-time high for a championship game. It opened around 57 and closed near 60-61. That’s a ton of points. 54 is not too far off that total mark either. There is going to be tons of scoring here on Sunday night football, and I like to call that the late night hammer. While everyone else has their lineups done for the day, you still have the guys from the late game to come in and vault you up the standings. Ty Montgomery is going to be the main guy to do this for you. He is my #2 RB play this week behind Zeke and is a lock in all formats. He is way too cheap on both sites for the workload and matchup here. The Falcons just gave up over 20 fantasy points to Tarik Cohen on 13 touches. They are the worst defense at defending pass catching RBs and that is exactly what TyMo is. Sure, they are running him between the tackles more. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a pass catching back though. He rushed 19 times last week and only had 4 targets but I expect those to even out this week. We can expect to see something more along the lines of 15 rushes and 8-10 targets here in a more uptempo game than facing the Seahawks. That kind of volume makes TyMo a DFS week 2 top plays lock. Rodgers loves these shootout type games and threw 38 times and 45 times in their two meetings last year for a combined 7 TDs. Rodgers is a top play this week and can even be paired with Montgomery. Of course, Cobb and Nelson are in play as well. We know Rodgers will find the open man.

Falcons:

Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are going to feast on this weak Packers secondary. The Seahawks weren’t able to do anything on Sunday because Russ never had enough time due to his O Line being awful. The Falcons will protect Ryan and he will pick apart this leaky secondary. I love how high-priced Julio is this week as I am hoping it lowers his ownership some. He is my #1 receiver on the board this week and it isn’t close. He torched this secondary for 180 yards and 2 TDs in the Championship game, while Ryan threw 4 TDs. This game is just as juicy as Saints/Patriots and it is the late night hammer.

DFS week 2 top plays from this game: Rodgers, Montgomery, Cobb, Nelson (stackable) Ryan, Julio, Sanu (stackable)

 

Thanks for reading DFS week 2 top plays. Don’t forget to check out our other TFA content, including the week 2 cash game core and see you guys at the top of the leaderboards!

Sports have always been my #1 passion. I have been playing fantasy football since I was 15 years old. At the age of 5 I was known for reading box scores in the newspaper instead of watching cartoons like the 'normal' kids. I played professional baseball in an independent league. Even though I played baseball for over 20 years of my life, fantasy football is by far my biggest passion among fantasy sports. I provide insight regarding Redraft leagues and DFS here at The Fantasy Authority.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Joe

    September 16, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Loving The Gauntlet as my new hub for DFS insight. Last week’s article helped me greatly and I’m loving a lot of the arguments made here again this week. A lot of sites and articles stick strictly to the numbers, which does help in the most obvious sense, but this weekly stream offers some good outside the box, intangible type arguments that could be real difference makers. Just nice to finally have a hub that allows for more in depth analysis, not just the same old boring numbers game. I’ll be back next week for more!

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