Week one is behind us and gone are the days of mispricings. Salaries are much tighter this week, and roster construction is much more difficult. We have two games on the slate with gargantuan totals, which should be heavily targeted across all contest formats. I almost always pay down at quarterback, but it’s easy to see why the pricier options are the more enticing options in week two. Fair and balanced seems to be the flow for running back and spending up at wide out looks to be ideal. I’m looking for the highest floors possible this week, so let’s take a look at the options. Below are my top cash game core plays.
Philip Rivers – $5800
In a week where some of the best matchups belong to the highest priced quarterback options, I think you have to take a hard look at mid range Philip Rivers. Rivers is coming off what would be a respectable performance against any defense, made even more impressive by putting up these numbers against the daunting Denver D. Just under 200 yards and 3 touch downs put Rivers at QB 12 on the week. In week two, the Los Angeles’ Chargers get a much less difficult opponent in the Miami Dolphins, who ranked bottom four in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks in 2016. Rivers has a wealth of offensive options, both in his receiving core and rushing attack, and though the Dolphins will be well rested, they’re just no match for a healthy Charger’s squad. I don’t think Rivers has any issue paying off his sub $6k salary.
Tom Brady – $7900
If I’m paying up for a quarterback, I’m paying all the way up for the Great. Week two is aligning perfectly for a fantasy feast in NOLA, with a game carrying the highest points total of the week. Not only do we get a Brady scorned, but New England’s WR1, Brandin Cooks, is returning home to the Big Easy just months after being traded. When two narrative streets meet, the intersection is victory lane. Brady and the Pats get a match up with a Saints defense that allowed over 4300 yards through the air in 2016. Just last week they allowed Sam Bradford to torch them for 346 yards, two touch downs, and an 83% completion rate. Belichick has put together one of the most diverse offensive arsenals New England has had in years. This game will shoot out, and Brady is ready to fire.
Ty Montgomery – $5800
Last week TyMo saw 19 carries in Green Bay’s victory over Seattle. While he wasn’t tremendously efficient, averaging 2.8 yards per carry, you have to think that speaks more to the talent of Seattle’s run defense than it does to his ability. Where he WAS efficient, was the passing game, catching all four of his targets for 39 yards. Green Bay draws Atlanta this week, and you couldn’t ask for a more favorable opponent for this wide receiver turned running back. Not only did Atlanta give up the most receiving yards to running backs (870) in 2016, but they also gave up the most receiving touch downs (6) to the position. I expect a lot of points from these two offenses, and so does Vegas, with a 53.5 O/U. Montgomery should be heavily involved against this Falcons defense susceptible to pass catching backs.
Melvin Gordon – $7000
It is with great pleasure I get to remind you Melvin Gordon is good at football. I’ll try again. It is with great pleasure I get to remind you Melvin Gordon carries the football… a lot. Volume is key in fantasy football, and I’m not putting too much weight into his 3 yards per carry in week one. Even with the Charger’s trailing for the vast majority of Monday night’s showdown at Mile High, Gordon was still on the field for over 75% of the offensive snaps, rushing 18 times for 54 yards and tacking on 5 receptions for 25 yards and a touchdown. Week two’s matchup against the Miami Dolphins should be a much easier feat for Los Angeles’ bell cow. In 2016, Miami ranked bottom two in rushing yards allowed, giving up an average of 133 yards per game on the road. The Chargers are home favorites this week, and I expect a lot of points and a lot of scoring opportunities for number 28.
Ezekiel Elliot – $7800
Elliot is the highest I’m paying up for at running back in week two. With Le’Veon Bell’s $9800 price tag and no David Johnson for the next three months, I expect Zek’s ownership to be as high as it should be. The Cowboys are traveling to Sports Authority this week to take on the Denver Broncos and it’s steel laden secondary. While this means big trouble for Prescott, I expect Zek to have an all he can eat weekend in Denver. The Broncos are known for their reverse funnel, allowing almost nothing through the air, but giving up plenty of yardage on the ground, ranking bottom ten in yards allowed to running backs last year. The Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines in football, featuring three all pros, who should have no issue giving Zek the room he needs. The Cowboys opened up as 1.5 point road favorites, which means a close game where I believe Dallas will dominate time of possession and keep the ball in the hands of their star running back.
Keenan Allen – $5800
Not only did Allen escape Monday Night Football in one piece, but he also escaped without a price change. Priced incorrectly in the first place, due to the amount of missed time from injuries, a healthy Keenan Allen is a lock at $5800. On Monday night, Rivers was not scared off from targeting Allen, even against the most respected secondary in the NFL, targeting him 10 times. Though he only hauled in 50% of his targets, one went for a rare touchdown against Chris Harris Jr. In week two, he has a plus matchup against Miami’s Bobby McCain, who allowed a 73% completion rate in the slot in 2016. Allen is an elite wide out, on a powerful offense, in an awesome week two matchup. Wheels up.
Jordy Nelson $7900
$7900 is the second most expensive Jordy has been since week 7 of last year. The monstrous points total for Packer’s vs. Sea Hawks is inflating salaries for most of the team’s players, and for cash games, I like the discount Jordy provides over Julio ($9200). Nelson is coming off a 1257 yard season, where he had 14 touch downs (the most of any wide receiver in 2016.) His success should carry with this match up against with a Falcon’s secondary that ranked bottom ten in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers last year. He should see a matchup with Desmond Trufant, who was targeted 3 times last week, allowing three receptions and a touchdown. With this game’s projected points total at 54, Nelson has the floor and ceiling I want in cash this week.
Marquise Lee – $3800
In a week where the high flying matchups are also the high priced matchups, salary relief is going to be vital. Enter Marquise Lee. In week one, Allen Robinson suffered a season ending ACL tear in the Jaguars’ victory over the Texans. It’s now next man up in Jacksonville. Lee is set to see an uptick volume in 2017, becoming the de facto wide receiver two, alongside Allen Hurns. Though Lee has not been the most consistent fantasy wide out, the match up against the weak Tennessee secondary, ranking dead last in fantasy points to wide receivers in 2016, should help him pay off his $3800 salary.
Charles Clay – $3000
Though the Buffalo offense revolved heavily around work horse, LeSean McCoy, Clay led the team in targets with 9, the second most for a tight end in week one. His 4 receptions for 53 yards and a touch down were good enough to put Clay at tight end 6 on the week. With Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods finding new homes, it’s easy to see why Tyrod would lean on Clay in the passing game. Buffalo is now on the road to face a Carolina team who is a 7 point favorite. The Panthers are pretty stout against the run, so I expect if the Bills are going to move the ball, it should be through the air. I’m not expecting a monster week, but the price is right and the floor is there for cash games.
Coby Fleener – $3100
The cheapest piece of the Brady Brees Bowl, Fleener should continue to see increased usage while Willie Snead finishes his three game suspension. I don’t have to tell you about the Vegas totals again, its Brees and Brady, there will be points. It’s no secret that Belichick will sell out to cut you off at the neck, so I expect we’ll see heavy coverage on Michael Thomas. Fleener should flourish in the slot, where he hauled in 54 yards and a touchdown on Monday night. The $3100 price tag is too good to pass up for a piece of this game.