This is part II of a weekly review of all the important DFS news and notes from all 16 games. I give my thoughts on the relevant fantasy performances and future daily fantasy impact from each game. You can find part I here.
Panthers v Jaguars
Nothing has changed in Jacksonville. This offense is fantasy football bad and should be avoided most weeks. There was a ton of talk about Allen Robinson (1 rec. on 6 targets) getting a lot of targets in this game and even that didn’t transpire. I might consider Robinson—who is a decent talent—against stronger opponents where I knew a lot of garbage time would potentially happen but that’s about it. Most of the problem with Robinson is that Blake Bortles (22-40, 183 yards, TD and 2 INTs) just has zero touch on passes that go over 10 yards. Some of his red zone throws in this game were so off the mark you’d swear he was throwing the ball away.
I also dislike TJ Yeldon (12 car. 51 yards) for fantasy. He’s got zero big play ability and with Jacksonville being behind a lot the game flow most weeks will affect him negatively. The better play at RB will likely be Denard Robinson (5 car. 19 yards and 2 rec. 26 yards) who is probably going to min priced most weeks. He turned some catches into decent gains and could do a lot more of this in future weeks.
The biggest surprise in this game was the inability of Cam Newton (18-31, 175 yards, TD and INT) to get Greg Olsen (1 rec. 16 yards, 3 targets) the ball. With Kelvin Benjamin out and no legit number 1 WR Olsen is going to get all of the attention from opposing teams. No Benjamin could actually be a bad thing for Olsen’s fantasy prospects, and with so many options emerging at TE week 1 Olsen might also end up being a contrarian play week 2. I’m not writing him off yet and think he will be well under owned in week 2 for DFS.
I think when push comes to shove against better teams you’ll see a lot more running from Cam Newton this year. With his WRs dropping sure-fire TDs (looking at you Ted Ginn!) the passing game is not going to save Carolina and when they actually need to score (they didn’t in this game) you’ll see Cam rack up some huge totals eventually.
Studs: Carolina D
Duds: Everyone else
Ravens v Broncos
Neither team deserved to win this game, but truth be told the Bronco’s probably deserved to lose more. Peyton Manning (24-40, INT) looks D O N E. I have no doubt he might have a good game or two this year against weak pass rushes but his inability to get rid of the ball quickly with any pace on it makes him extremely limited and quite frankly a good target for fantasy defenses. I am personally downgrading all Bronco’s WRs and upgrading all Bronco RBs.
Speaking of Bronco RBs, it should be noted that both Ronnie Hillman (12 car. 41 yards) and CJ Anderson (12 car. 21 yards) played almost exactly the same number of snaps. Anderson is dealing with some kind of toe issue and any foot problem is a scary injury for a running back. He’s slated to play Thursday but I want no part of him on short rest and not 100%, Hillman might be a viable play for Thursday.
I don’t know what to tell you about the Ravens. I mostly want nothing to do with their pass game until Breshad Perriman comes back. They had a tough matchup against a really good secondary in this game and were completely overmatched. I do think that eventually you’ll see some big games from Justin Forsett (14 car. 43 yards, 4 rec. 14 yards). He was mostly stuffed by a good defense and just awful execution but should see more room to run against softer teams. Beware of the fact RB Lorenzo Taliaferro is due back next week though, he was involved and worked with the first team in preseason. He’s more of a power back and if he looks effective in that role he could start to steal snaps.
Browns v Jets
If you thought the Ravens were bad week 1 well let me tell you about the Browns offense. Don’t play anyone from them ever in fantasy. It doesn’t matter who the Browns start at QB because of Johnny Manziel and Josh McCown are equally bad. I’d say it brings down the value of their WRs but honestly there’s no talent there either. They have a few speedsters on the roster but no one getting enough targets to play for fantasy, and certainly not a QB who can get them the ball consistently enough in space. If one of the RBs ever got hurt I guess you consider one of them against a weak run defense, but there’s just limited upside, teams will be stacking the box daring these horrid QBs to beat them all year.
I like the Jet’s offense much more this year with Ryan Fitzpatrick (15-24, 179 yards, 2 TDs, INT) at the helm. He knows who his best receivers are and will try and get them the ball at all costs. Brandon Marshall (6 rec. 61 yards TD) had a decent game despite having a tough matchup against Joe Hayden and I think that bodes well for him going forward. Even if the Jets will never be a high octane offense, I expect Marshall to be decent most of the year on full point PPR scoring sites.
Chris Ivory (20 car. 91 yards, 2 TDs) looks like the undisputed lead back in New York and ran fine, but just remember that the game flow really benefited him in this matchup (which made him a great play also). Against better teams he could be shut down and see less snaps, something to remember.
Studs: Chris Ivory
Duds: Browns Front Office
Colts v Buffalo
I wasn’t completely shocked by the result of this game to be honest. The Bills defense is going to rival the Seahawks for the best in the NFL this year. They have a vicious front 7 and Stephon Gilmore looks more like a legit shutdown corner every game. I am avoiding team’s offenses like the plague when they play the Bills this year.
The Colts lost WR TY Hilton (7 rec. 88 yards) in this game although it doesn’t look like he’ll miss a ton of time and might even play next week. If he does miss time it looks like Donte Moncrief (6 rec. 46 yards TD) would get the start. My opinion is that rookie Phillip Dorsett (2 rec. 45 yards) is the better player and play for fantasy, but a lot depends on playing time. If Hilton is a go then it’s probably an avoid on both of them. Andre Johnson (4 rec. 24 yards) looked bad in this game. I know the Colts will get going soon but I might have to see a little more from Andre before I roster him for fantasy. Dwayne Allen (3 rec. 17 yards TD) continues to be the better pass catching option at TE for the Colts over Coby Fleener. He lost some weight this summer and might push for more targets if Johnson continues to be ineffective.
Tyrod Taylor (14-19 195 TD, 9 car. 41 yards) had a great game, not just from a fantasy perspective but a real life one too. He’s mobile, strong-armed and a lot more accurate than I’ve ever seen him be when he played for the Ravens. The Bills are still a conservative offense but in higher scoring games where Taylor might be forced into more running situations he could be in for some Russell Wilson type days. As far as WRs go this is a low volume passing offense and probably won’t ever be enough to support both Sammy Watkins (0 rec.) and Percy Harvin (5 rec. 79 yards TD). Harvin looked great in this game and should be the safer bet between the two for fantasy points given his usage as an RB and in the short passing game. If he’s healthy you have to respect him for fantasy, but don’t expect huge production every week.
Studs: Tyrod Taylor, Percy Harvin
Duds: all the Colts
Lions v Chargers
This was a strange game momentum wise but really showed how good Phillip Rivers (35-42, 404 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) can for fantasy be when he has to pass. Rivers has always handled good competition well and is brilliant at getting the ball to his receivers in space. He consistently found Stevie Johnson (6 rec. 82 yards TD) and Keenan Allen (15 rec. 166 yards) open in the flats and on screens and let them do the rest. It was brilliant game planning and execution. I’d be careful with the San Diego pass game though, the game script favoured throwing since San Diego got down by 18 early, when San Diego is ahead or its close they will be more conservative and be more run based.
Speaking of which RB Danny Woodhead (12 car. 42 yards 2 TDs) got almost all the red zone carries in this game and had success scoring two TDs. The Detroit D looks very gettable and not as ferocious with the loss of Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh.
As for Detroit’s offense they had a slow day and only ran 46 plays… total. Ameer Abdullah (7 car. 50 yards, TD, 4 rec. 44 yards) looked great in this game but is still splitting carries and time with both Theo Riddick and Joique Bell. He should get more snaps as the season progresses but it’s still a situation to monitor, when Detroit is ahead expect Bell to get a lot of carries. I don’t know about Calvin Johnson (4 targets, 2 rec. 39 yards), he’s fine physically (I think) but the lack of targeting on both him and Golden Tate was disturbing. As I mentioned, game flow was part of the issue but I don’t know how you can trust him in DFS as a high priced weekly option, especially if Detroit isn’t committed to getting him the ball any way possible anymore. Both Detroit WR’s are strictly tournament options until we see more consistent targeting.
Studs: Phillip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson, Ladarius Green, Danny Woodhead, Ameer Abdullah
Duds: Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Golden Tate
Chiefs v Texans
The Chiefs offense looked like a well-oiled passing machine in this game. Alex Smith (22-33, 243 yards, 2 TDs) might not have a huge arm but his weapons are all so good running after the catch it doesn’t matter. Smith’s accuracy is going to pay off for KC and TE Travis Kelce (6 rec. 106 yards, 2 TDs), who he hit over the middle early and often in this game. Smith’s savvy and Kelce’s athleticism mean he might be the new number two TE for fantasy (behind Gronk). I also wouldn’t sleep on Jeremy Maclin (5 rec. 52 yards). Maclin was beating corners short and long all day and only had a muted performance due to the fact KC got up big early and essentially ran clock all second half. It will be tough predicting between Kelce and Maclin but Maclin will be the lower-owned of the two most weeks for DFS.
The Texans have a pretty solid defense, with lots of big play capability but are 100% beatable by good passing offenses. They also have trouble moving the ball consistently on offense meaning field position will be an issue, I’d only target their D against struggling pass units.
I know DeAndre Hopkins (9 rec. 98 yards, 2 TDs) was targeted 13 times and scored twice but almost all of that was due to game flow. Hopkins is a really underrated talent who will be frustrating for DFS because for every massive week he’ll likely have two or three muted-poor ones—due only to a conservative offense and head coach. The good news for Nuke is that it appears as if the Brian Hoyer era is already over. Ryan Mallet is a much better, more aggressive downfield passer and will probably look to give Hopkins more “jumpball” type opportunities every game. If Mallet does get the starting job I’m much more interested in Hopkins going forward.
Studs:Travis Kelce, Alex Smith, DeAndre Hopkins
Duds: Houston D
Eagles v Falcons
This game was fast paced, exciting and great for fantasy. That being said I don’t know how you roster Demarco Murray (8 car. 9 yards TD, 4 rec. 11 yards TD), ever again in DFS this year. The usage of the backs in this game were close to an exact split and with Darren Sproles (5 car. 50 yards, 7 rec 76 yards) taking up passing snaps and Ryan Mathews looking like the preferred red zone back, it almost looked like Demarco was 3rd in the pecking order. The fact he scored two TDs was irrelevant, he could have easily ended up with 3 points in this game considering how little he was used. Sproles was easily the best value play this week on PPR sites. In high scoring back and forth games he should almost always be your option.
Sam Bradford (36-52, 336 yards TD, INT) threw a ton in this game but only threw one TD, although he actually had two (the Eagles failed to challenge a clear TD). Bradford should be as safe as they come many weeks, he might not always throw 50 times but he will be more efficient in the red zone eventually. You saw why everyone loves Jordan Matthews (10 rec. 102 yards). He is a beast for opposing corners to matchup with and an awesome runner after the catch. The Eagles use him perfectly on both short and long routes and for as much as the Eagles rotate personnel he stays on the field for a lot of the game.
The biggest fantasy takeaway for the Falcons was the usage and ability of Tevin Coleman (20 car. 80 yards). I loved Coleman as a prospect and he impressed me even more in this game. Coleman isn’t just fast, he’s powerful, and there were numerous times in this game he turned a 2-3 yard gain into a 5-6 yard gain. This is the Falcons lead RB and he will have some monster days against weak opponents.
Studs: Julio Jones, Jordan Matthews, Darren Sproles
Duds: Roddy White
Vikings v 49ers
Wow the Vikings looked bad in this game, a complete reversal from preseason. I like Teddy Bridgewater (23-32, 232 yards INT) as a quarterback and he settled down in the second half but the offense was pretty much completely ineffective. He’ll have better days ahead but the upside with him is probably always going to be minimal and I don’t know when I’ll consider him again for fantasy in 2015. The Vikings gave Adrian Peterson (10 car. 31 yards, 3 rec. 21 yards) the ball ten times which they should probably be arrested for. I don’t know if OC Norv Turner plans to continue this kind of usage but I guess if the Vikings are behind it will limit his carries. I expect Peterson to get the ball 25+ times next week but honestly Norv Turner is crazy. It was pretty strange to see Matt Asiata out there in the fourth quarter instead of Peterson when the Vikings were playing catch-up.
Carlos Hyde (26 car. 168 yards, 2 rec. 14 yards 2 TDs) ran wild in this game and that continues a trend from last season where the Vikings were incredibly easy to run against. I’d definitely target RBs against them going forward.
You saw the 49ers use Bruce Ellington (2 rec. 6 yards) a bit in this game on offense, and he also had an incredible 85 yard return TD called back due to a penalty. He’s definitely someone I might consider as a cheap punt play in high scoring games and also would consider using him with the 49ers defense for a positive correlation play. Don’t think I’ll be using the 49ers D next week though, they get Antonio Brown and the Steelers.
Studs: Carlos Hyde
Duds: Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson, Charles Johnson