Have you ever noticed when you’re driving and all the cars pile into one lane when there are actually two lanes going the same direction? Why is this? Well, honestly I have no clue. But my best guess is that, aside from being glued to their phones and not paying attention, people are brainwashed to ‘stay in their lane.’
It is this exact herd behavior that we sometimes fall victim to in relation to daily fantasy sports. There is a huge edge to be had by straying from the herd if you will or switching to the lane with less cars.
For example, this past week all we heard about was how the Saints and Giants score X amount of points every time they play and highest Over/Under and blah blah blah…. And yet the Panthers who had the highest TEAM total had about half the ownership of the Giants players. The Cardinals who had just .2 less points implied than the Giants saw merely a quarter % of ownership on their key players.
I am not going to sit here and tell you that I completely faded the Giants Saints game because then I would be lying. All I’m saying is that sometimes we need to look at situations from a different angle and don’t be afraid to zig from the herd every once in awhile. Week 2 is proof that you don’t have to be super contrarian and you can still take down a big score by capitalizing on ownership.
This will include notable targets, snaps, injuries and any other bits of information that I think are useful for any season long and daily fantasy football player.
Jets vs Bills
So much for fading the Thursday game right? While Thursday night games are generally low scoring, this game was not. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a nice Fitzpatrick type line with 374 yards and one touchdown. Eric Decker caught his second TD of the season as him and Brandon Marshall both went over 100 yards in this one. Quincy Enunwa continued to impress as he caught all six of his targets for 92 yards. The main thing to take away from the Jets is that Matt Forte is the absolute work horse in that backfield. Forte rushed 30 times for 100 yards and three touchdowns. For Buffalo, it really wasn’t that pretty. Tyrod had a nice game with three touchdowns but other than that, there wasn’t much to take away. Sammy Watkins is merely a shadow of what he was last season and I would continue to be skeptical playing from week to week.
Bengals vs Steelers
This game was wet and ugly. Dalton threw for 366 yards but the only real beneficiary was Giovani Bernard who had 11 targets and caught nine of them for 100 yards and a score. For the Steelers, DeAngelo Williams had 36 touches which resulted in 132 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Brandon LaFell led the NFL this week in redzone targets with four but failed to catch any of them. Both Antonio Brown and A.J. Green were massively disappointing but I would not be worried one bit moving forward.
Lions vs Titans
The main takeaway from this game is that Ameer Abdullah suffered a sprained foot and did not return. This is likely to keep him out for at least week 3 depending on the severity. With him out, Theo Riddick is the back to own moving forward, especially in PPR leagues. Golden Tate is simply not the value he was last season with Calvin Johnson on the field. Through two games, Tate has just nine catches for 54 yards and no touchdowns. He is getting the targets but so far hasn’t been able to produce. Marvin Jones Jr. had 11 targets this week and once again led the team in that category. Eric Ebron had seven targets, two of which were in the redzone. He caught a touchdown that was called back to due to penalty.
For the Titans, Mariota was ‘meh’ but Delanie Walker had a great game with a 6-83-1 line off just six targets. Tajae Sharpe was extremely disappointing with just four catches for 33 yards. Sharpe isn’t their redzone guy so that is worrisome in leagues that aren’t full point PPR and on FanDuel with half point PPR. Murray had 145 yards from scrimmage. I do want to point out that the Lions are a tough run defense. Take away Murray’s 67 yard run and he was averaging just 2 YPC. I have not been and will not be targeting the Lions run defense this season.
Browns vs Ravens
Josh McCown played through a separated left shoulder but is now expected to miss the next few weeks. This is an obvious downgrade for the entire Cleveland offense as rookie Cody Kessler is expected to start in his place. Corey Coleman had a monster game with over 100 yards and two touchdowns but with Kessler under center, I would not consider Coleman in play this week unless you have multiple lineups. The Ravens backfield is still an absolute timeshare that you should want no part of. Dennis Pitta had a team-high 12 targets as he caught nine balls for 102 yards. Mike Wallace also scored twice but do not get too excited as he should still be considered a boom or bust player from week to week.
Cowboys vs Redskins
Rookie RB, Ezekiel Elliott has now seen at least 20 carries in both regular season games for the Cowboys. He has also scored a touchdown in each of them. Despite Dak saying “I’m not forcing the ball to Dez” he sent 12 targets Dez way this week which was twice as much as anyone else on the team. That is a good sign for Dez owners moving forward. Through the first two games for the Skins, Kirk Cousins has thrown just one touchdown and three interceptions. The good thing from a fantasy perspective, is that he is averaging just under 45 passing attempts and nearly 350 yards per game. This is mainly due to them being behind in both games but the Redskins are not nearly as good as people seem to think and they will play from behind plenty this season. It is tough to predict when but at some point Cousins is going to have a monster game.
Saints vs Giants
The game that let everybody down….Road Brees was truly a thing this week as Brees failed to hit the 300 mark even with 44 passing attempts. Mark Ingram simply can no longer be trusted as we cannot rely on a back that gets less than 15 touches every week and loses snaps to Travaris Cadet. For the Giants, the only real takeaway is that Sterling Shepard is the real deal. He caught all eight of his targets for 117 yards. Well, I don’t want to beat a dead horse on this game – it really sucked.
Panthers vs Niners
I don’t have much for the Niners side… I really wouldn’t touch anyone on that roster. As for the Panthers, Cam Newton went nuts, throwing for 350 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for another 37 yards. Kelvin Benjamin led the team in targets once again with nine and he scored two touchdowns. Greg Olsen had an impressive 5-122-1 line as well. Fozzy Whittaker had a career game rushing for 100 yards on 16 carries. Moving forward, I do expect Cameron Artis-Payne to be the guy to own with Stewart sidelined, assuming he can go this week.
Dolphins vs Patriots
Arian Foster is sidelined again and that surprises nobody. If you want a piece of the Miami backfield, Jay Ajayi is the one to own but I wouldn’t recommend playing him in DFS. Landry had a great week with 10 catches off 13 targets for 137 yards. DeVante Parker also went over 100 yards with his 13 targets. Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a shoulder injury on his throwing arm but recent reports from Pats camp suggest he may be able to suit up Thursday. Julian Edelman had 11 targets and LeGarrette Blount saw 29 carries that resulted in 123 yards and a score.
Chiefs vs Texans
Spencer Ware out-touched Charcandrick West 12 to seven and Jeremy maclin had a game-high 15 targets. Lamar Miller had 27 touches this week after having 32 touches in week 1. He is going to get a minimum of 25 touches every single week – bank on it. In last week’s ICYMI column, we talked about how Fuller’s 11 targets in week 1 and DeAndre Hopkins eight targets were likely to reverse in week 2. They did just that as Hopkins led the team with 11 targets and Will Fuller had seven. Both WRs went over 100 yards and managed to score. This is not the last time you will see that.
Seahawks vs Rams
I briefly touched on Tyler Lockett’s upside in last week’s column but he showed flashes of it this week with 99 yards off just four targets. Doug Baldwin suffered a knee injury but results of the MRI came back negative and he is considered questionable for Sunday’s game. If he is unable to go, Lockett could be an extremely valuable play at home versus San Francisco. He is listed at just $4200 on DraftKings and $6100 on FanDuel. Not much for the Rams side, Gurley was disappointing again and Tavon Austin was ‘meh’ with another nine targets. He now has 21 targets through the first two weeks.
Bucs vs Cardinals
Another injured RB this week, Doug Martin tweaked his hamstring against the Cardinals. We are still waiting on updated reports regarding the severity but I am willing to bet that he will not play in week 3 against the Rams. Hamstring injury are nothing to mess around with – Just ask Foster….Mike Evans had 17 targets resulting in a 6-70-1 line. Carson Palmer threw for three touchdowns and three scores this week. Chris Johnson had four more carries than David Johnson but I think it is safe to say this was only because of the blowout and I would not be worried about DJ’s workload moving forward. Larry Fitz once again led the team in targets with 11.
Jaguars vs Chargers
This game had a ton of fantasy implications as most Jaguars and Chargers games will this season. Bortles threw for 329 and two touchdowns but also had two turnovers. The Jags rushing game is still nonexistent until Chris Ivory returns which should be this week. Allen Hurns led the team in targets with 10 while Julius Thomas and Marqise Lee each had seven. Allen Robinson was held to just three catches off five targets. I would not be worried about Arob moving forward as he is going to be one of the most heavily targeted WRs this season much like week 1. I expect him to bounce back in a big way this week against Baltimore. Phillip Rivers tossed four touchdowns this week, connecting with Travis Benjamin on two of them. The Chargers lost Danny Woodhead to a season ending ACL injury so it will be all Melvin Gordon moving forward. Gordon rushed for over 100 yards and scored his third TD of the season against the Jags. Tyrell Williams and Antonio Gates also scored a touchdown.
Falcons vs Raiders
Matty Ice threw for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns. He is averaged 365 yards through the first two weeks but these have both been great matchups. Julio Jones found the endzone again while he caught all five of his targets for 106 yards. For the Raiders, Derek Carr threw for 299 and three touchdowns. One thing that I wanted to point out is that the Raiders defense has now given up over 800 yards to opposing QBs. Everyone expected their defense to be better this season and it is but that secondary is still very shaky. It would be wise to target them all season long. Amari Cooper led the team with nine targets that resulting in five catches for 71 yards and he also had a long TD that was called back.
Broncos vs Colts
T.Y. Hilton led the team with 11 targets and Donte Moncrief suffered a shoulder injury that is expected to keep him out some time. In his absence, Phillip Dorsett is the WR to target for the Colts. The Colts play the Chargers this week in what is expected to be a very high scoring game. Phillip Dorsett is severely underpriced across all DFS sites. For the Broncos, Sanders led the team in targets with eight while DT had seven. Their defense along with their run game did most of the damage as expected.
Packers vs Vikings
I’ll be honest this is the one game that I watched zero snaps of so I don’t have much here. I heard Stefon Diggs had a monster game with nine catches for 182 yards and a touchdown. Adrian Peterson suffered a torn meniscus and is expected to miss a couple weeks minimum. Jerick McKinnon would be the RB to own moving forward but you should expect Matt Asiata to vulture a bit of the workload especially around the goal-line.
Eagles vs Bears
If you watched this game, it seemed like Wentz should have had three or four touchdowns. What was also interesting is the usage of Philly’s backfield. Sproles outsnapped Ryan Mathews 41 to 21 but Mathews had two touchdowns, both from redzone carries. Jay Cutler injured his hand for the Bears and Brian Hoyer had to finish the game. Cutler is expected to miss some time but it is worth mentioning that Hoyer looked pretty good in relief of Cutler.