NFL DFS Week 2: It’s A Trap! September 11, 2014  |  Renee Miller


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Well, now that Week 1 is in the books, we finally know everything there is to know about the 2014 NFL. All our preseason questions were answered over the course of three glorious days of football. OK, OK, I know I’m not fooling anyone here. The new question is how much of what happened in Week 1 do we believe?

Do we trust the things that happened as we predicted? Rationalize and discard the performances that went awry? Or do we swing the other way, and assume that we were just wrong about certain things? What are we supposed to do?? We need reliable data to base our future decisions on!!! Like our Thursday night DFS lineups to start.

I certainly don’t have all the answers. My general approach is to try to stay the course I believed in preseason with respect to talent evaluation, and capitalize on the fear and jubilee my opponents are exhibiting over Week 1 outcomes. In this column, my aim is to help you avoid what I see as a trap that many DFS players could fall into. In that spirit, my advice for something you should avoid this week is over-reacting to Week 1. Specifically, don’t fail to take advantage of the reduced price tags of Jamaal Charles ($7.4K) and Demaryius Thomas ($7K) on DraftKings.

Jamaal Charles

The NFL’s leading TD scorer with 19 last year had a bad Week 1. There’s no denying it. He touched the ball only 11 times (7 carries, 4 targets) for 34 total yards. It was bleak for the entire Chiefs offense Sunday vs Tennessee. In my opinion, Charles’ disappointing fantasy day was due to a combination of poor game planning/calling by Andy Reid and an under-appreciated Titans defense. ProFootballFocus graded the Titans positively in all defensive categories (run, pass coverage, pass rush) for Week 1 (3rd overall), and had the Titans finishing 8th overall in 2013.

When you picked Jamaal Charles in the first three overall in your seasonal leagues you did so intending to start him every single week. You believe he is matchup proof, as all top picks should be. That doesn’t change on the basis of one week’s results. In DFS we do have the luxury of cherry picking our favorite matchups, and Denver definitely presents a challenge to the running game. Last year in the teams’ two meetings, Charles averaged 85 RuYds, 10 ReYds, and 0.5 TD (13 DK pts). In Week 1, the Colts struggled to run the ball, but I’m giving Trent Richardson, Ahmad Bradshaw, and the Indy game plan more of the credit for that than the Denver D. It won’t be easy, but the Chiefs have to come out with an improved offensive attack for Week 2 and any such plan MUST include a heavy dose of their best player. I like Charles to bounce back this week and think he makes for a strong contrarian GPP play at DK.

Demaryius Thomas

On the other side of this game, we have the most disappointing Week 1 WR. While Peyton Manning and Julius Thomas sliced through the Colts’ defense, DT was good for only 4/48. The fact that he had a team high 11 targets could be interpreted two ways. One, positively, because we know how talented he is and how much Manning trusts him. On the other hand, what happened to the seven missed passes? Three can be laid squarely at Thomas’ feet-just one shy of his 2013 total for drops. This will be as narrative driven as I get, but my take is everyone has off nights, and Peyton Manning is famous for making up for them the following week. I may be biased in this belief because I used the same logic to roster Eric Decker in his 4TD game last season. I’m using DT in all formats and so should you.

Other Plays to Avoid

These are obvious, but I’m steering clear of the Carolina and Indianapolis running games again. At WR, Bills, Cowboys, Patriots, and Chiefs are fadeable for obvious reasons related to strength of their opponents and/or lack of clarity on health, usage, or talent. The QBs I want to avoid are Stafford, Manuel, Carr, Rivers, and Romo.

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