Week 2 DFS Value Picks: UPDATED
September 17, 2016 | Ian Goldsmith
What a Week 1! Value abounded, and much of it came from unexpected sources (I’m looking at you, Jack Doyle). Some of the picks I wrote about went well, namely Tajae Sharpe, Theo Riddick, and–everybody’s fantasy darling–Spencer Ware. Others, well…not so much. Jared Cook definitely didn’t pan out, and we also got underwhelming performances from Clive Walford and Robert Griffin. I don’t even want to think about the Cleveland DST…what an abomination! Jesse James showed some solid potential, with a decent 5/31 line (on full PPR sites at least) on 7 targets…though he unfortunately failed to catch a TD. C’est la vie. For a more detailed look at how I did last week, please scroll down to the bottom of this article. If not, then let’s get started!
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Chalk Value Plays
Willie Snead (NO: WR) – After a massive 9/172/1 line in Week 1 against the Raiders, Snead cast any doubters aside. As a result, his salary jumped in a big way. I’d probably call him more of a mid-tier player price wise, but am including him here in this section as he could well be the top-owned WR of the week in what is expected to be an incredibly high scoring game against the Giants. As you are probably all aware, the Saints and Giants combined for a massive 101 points in their game last year, which left those stacking the teams high up in the money. Snead’s line in that game? A very solid 6/70/2, good enough for 25 FP on DraftKings and FantasyDraft. The Giants will, frankly, have to pick their poison…Do they defend Cooks? Ingram? Snead? Brees is so good at distributing the ball, that it is hard to stop the offense entire. Snead is still hovering around 10-11% of salary cap on a few sites, so he should afford both massive upside as well as room to afford more expensive players.
Sterling Shepard (NYG: WR) – The rookie started his NFL career with a bang, with a solid 3/43 line and one incredible TD grab. He’s off to an excellent start, which is good, because I drafted him in a few leagues! Along with Snead, Shepard should be one of the highest owned WRs this week if for no other reason than he is playing in the track meet that is the Giants/Saints game. Like Snead, his DFS salary saw a fairly healthy increase on a few sites. Still, he’s relatively inexpensive, hovering around 10% of salary on most sites (he’s only 8.5% of salary on Yahoo!). If I’m using a Giants receiver, I want Odell first. The Saints were especially bad at two things last week: stopping the WR1 in Cooper, and stopping the run game. Shepard is a solid pickup for sure, but for a cheaper price, I’d rather be using Tajae Sharpe this week as a value WR play.
Theo Riddick (DET: RB) – I’m not actually sure if I expect Riddick’s ownership levels to be really high or not this week, but they should be. After signing a contract extension last week, he proceeded to be a huge part of the Lions offense and rewarded fantasy players with a massive game (if only I had listened to myself and slotted him in instead of Christine Michael…gah!). His game is obviously suited to full PPR sites, but because his prices are still so deflated, you can use him across the board. It will be hard to match his explosive game from last week, but there is no reason that he cannot meet or exceed value given his pricing, which on DraftKings is still a measly $4,300.
OK, so now we’ve seen the cream of the chalk crop. Tasty, everlasting, chalk crop. Who else is out there that is worth using, but is not being talked about as much?
Other Value Plays
Marcus Mariota (TEN: QB) – Marcus is my favorite cheap QB play of the week. Though he got off to a rough start against a solid Vikings D in Week 1, he should have no problem bouncing back against a team that basically decided to let Andrew Luck do whatever he wanted. They offered little resistance, and it is only because the Indy defense was arguably worse that Detroit ended up winning. Tennessee offers one of the more intriguing, and likely underowned, stacks of the week. Mariota/Murray/Sharpe and Mariota/Sharpe/Walker are both well looking into; with everyone so focused on the NYG/NO game (for good reason), I think Mariota and co. (well, not Tajae) will be an afterthought. I think so highly of Marcus this week, that I have him as my #6 overall QB of the week. That may be asking a lot, but he certainly has the upside to make it happen. Only $6K on DraftKings, and $11,300 on FantasyDraft.
Dak Prescott (DAL: QB) – Dak got off to, shall we say, an underwhelming start in his NFL career. With 5.04 yards per attempt, he bettered only the fantasy quagmire that was the Week 1 QB play of Blaine Gabbert and Case Keenum. That’s not much to celebrate. I get that the Cowboys want to limit his mistakes by having him work underneath to Jason Witten and the now oddly relevant Cole Beasley, but part of Dak’s excitement in the preseason was that he was able to sling the ball at will. Here’s hoping that Jason Garrett and Co. open up the playbook a bit more and let Dak take some risks. Of course, this blurb may have had a slightly different tone if Dez Bryant knew how to hold onto a TD reception. Dak should be a bit more fantasy relevant this week, his ownership will plummet, and he’s still dirt cheap. Win-win-win.
Victor Cruz (NYG: WR) – With all the hoopla surrounding Snead, Shepard, and OBJ this week, the salsa man is being somewhat overlooked. After nearly two full years away from the game, he stepped in last week and posted a solid 4/34/1 line. There is no reason to think that Cruz can’t at least come close to matching those numbers in a game which currently has an O/U of 53 and could very well end up with many more points scored. Plus, he’s much more reasonably priced than even the rookie Shepard. At only 6.5% of salary on Yahoo!, he is a screaming steal for tournaments. He’s not much more expensive on other sites, where he is 8.4%, 8.6%, and 9.5% of salary on FantasyDraft, DraftKings, and FanDuel, respectively.
Jesse James (PIT: TE) – Jesse James had an encouraging Week 1 from a fantasy perspective. Though he didn’t get that TD we were all hoping for, he was on the field for every offensive play, one of only three TEs in the league to do so this week, the others being two guys games Greg Olsen and Jason Witten. Oh, and he played 11 snaps on special teams. It’s almost as if the Steelers like what they have in the former Penn State player. Last year, the Bengals actually slowed down Antonio Brown to somewhat pedestrian levels, at least by his meteoric standards. As a result, Heath Miller had two massive games, catching 20 passes on 23 targets.
Tyrell Williams (SD: WR) – While Danny Woodhead is arguably the biggest fantasy beneficiary of Keenan Allen’s unfortunate season ending injury, Tyrell Williams will certainly see a big uptick in targets and should be taken into consideration for your lineups in Week 2. He led the Chargers in receiving with 71 yards against the Chiefs, albeit on only 2 catches. If he can up his targets to 8-10 per week, then he could very well become fantasy relevant beyond the boundaries of DFS. He gets a high scoring affair this week to showcase those Western Oregon skills, and is dirt cheap across the industry. At Yahoo!, you can have him for the minimum salary of $10, an absolute steal.
Tajae Sharpe (TEN: WR) – Yes, Sharpe is in here once again! After a fantastic Week 1 in which he delivred a 7/76 line on 11 targets, Sharpe gets to match up against a Detroit Lions team that gave up the 4th most FPs to WRs in full PPR leagues in Week 1. With an O/U of 47.5, Vegas is expecting a relatively high scoring affair this week. I’m keen on using a stack of Titans, either going Mariota/Sharpe/Walker or Mariota/Sharpe/Murray. Given so many people stacking the Giants and Saints this week, these stacks afford a ton of upside whilst providing salary cap relief so you can pull in a David Johnson or Odell Beckham. You’ll find the most value for Sharpe on Yahoo, where he is only 7.5% of your salary cap. This is followed in order by FantasyDraft (8%), DraftKings (8.2%), and FanDuel (10%).
Jason Myers/Nick Folk/Roberto Aguayo (JAX/NYJ/TB: K) – I don’t like paying up for kickers. If you have extra cash, you can pay up for Gostowski. That’s it. Otherwise, there are always plenty of viable options on the cheap. Myers and Aguayo are both in games with high expected point totals, which is always a plus when choosing a kicker. I particularly like Aguayo this week, as I think Tampa will be able to move the ball, but could be stalled by the ‘Zona defense in the red zone. Folk, in that offense, is generally one of the safer picks on the board. He was on pace for a 133 point season last year before injury did him in. He’s a fairly safe bet for a floor of 7-8 FP, with upside. UPDATE: Folk once again paid off in a big way on Thursday, again proving paying up for kickers is a pointless endeavour. And yes, I use a u when I spell endeavour.
Travis Benjamin and Dontrelle Inman (SD: WR) – With all of the hype surrounding Tyrell Williams, somewhat lost in the shuffle are the two starters: Travis Benjamin and Dontrelle Inman. Williams will still see the field a ton this week, but there is no doubt that Benjamin and Inman should see their fair share of targets. At only $4,400 and $3,600, respectively, you could do a lot worse than taking a flier on either of these guys on Sunday afternoon.
Josh McCown and Joe Flacco (CLE/BAL: QB) – So, let’s put McCown in context a bit. You remember how everyone and their mother had Dak Prescott last week based off of a few preseason games and a rock bottom salary? Well, McCown has that same rock bottom salary, but is at least a known commodity. He knows the Browns offense well, and has a go-to big man in Gary Barnidge, who will come to life this week. In his seven games started last year for Cleveland, he had multiple TDs five times. Additionally, against this same Ravens team he went bonkers for 457 yards, and three total TDs. Granted, Baltimore’s DST is much better than last season with Terrell Suggs back from injury and the addition of Eric Weddle. Still, given his price, I’ll definitely consider taking a flier on him in a division game. With everyone else on the NO/NYG game, a stack with him and Barnidge could be a sneaky play (don’t get me wrong…you should have A LOT of exposure to the Saints/Giants!). On the other side of the ball, Flacco actually has quite a few weapons to throw to, and is facing a defense that just made a rookie in his first game look like a veteran signal caller. He isn’t minimum salary everywhere, but on a site like DraftKings where he is $6,500, he is still a steal and has 25-30 FP upside.
Justin Forsett (BAL: RB) – Sticking in that Baltimore/Cleveland game, I believe Forsett offers solid upside given his low price everywhere. Though he is clearly in an RBBC, the matchup bodes well for him. In last year’s shootout in Week 5, Forsett went crazy for 170 total yards and a score on 25 touches (4 receptions). At roughly 9% of salary on DraftKings, Yahoo!, and FantasyDraft, he’s worth a look in tournaments.
Good luck in Week 2, everybody!!!
OK, enough jibber-jabber. Below you’ll see four tables with my picks for the week. If you have any questions at all, hit me up in the comments or, preferably, on Twitter @ianrgold. I respond more quickly there.
Value Pick Tables
Picks are provided for DraftKings, FanDuel, FantasyDraft and Yahoo!. There are two picks for each position, and one DST. Yes, I’ll even throw in kickers for FanDuel (well, ONE kicker). Why? Because I want to lose brain cells. The prices for each pick are loosely capped at 50% above the minimum value for that position. So, for instance, I’ll try to limit prices for running backs on DraftKings to $4,500. For QB’s, I’m limiting picks a bit further to 40% (if I didn’t, then this week I’d have my pick of 19 QBs!). Of course, there may be some weeks that few usable players fall under these thresholds, in which case I’ll up the limit a bit. These are arbitrary numbers of course. Everyone has their own idea of what a value pick is.
In the tables below, you’ll see a few columns. The basics are Player, Team, Opponent, Type of Game (Cash, GPP, or both), and Salary. In addition to these, you’ll see the following columns:
% of Total $: This is simply the percentage of your salary cap that a particular player takes.
Cash Points: This is a loose estimate of how many points a player needs to hit a value multiple for cash games. This varies from site to site. On DraftKings, for instance, you will generally want your team to score at lease 3 FP per $1,000 in salary (on Yahoo!, it’s FP/$1, not per $1,000). We’d call this a 3X multiple.
GPP Points: This is a loose estimate of how many points a player needs to hit a multiple in GPP games. On DraftKings, for instance, I generally aim for a multiple of 4.
Of course, it is always better to aim for more than these multiples. You don’t always need 4X value in order to cash on DraftKings, but you usually need more than that if you want to win one of the huge tournaments. Yes, there are some weeks where you can win tournaments with under 200 FP, but those weeks are few and far between. If everything goes right, players can score 300 fantasy points – a multiple of 6! So, aim for more. The economist in me always screams “more is better” (Also, doesn’t The Economist in Me sound like a terrible title for a porno? “Hey baby, want to come back to my place and see my demand curve?”). Good luck this week!!!
|Player||Team||Opponent||Position||Type||Price||% of Total $||50/50 Pts||GPP Pts|
|Player||Team||Opponent||Position||Type||Price||% of Total $||50/50 Pts||GPP Pts|
|Player||Team||OPP||Position||Type||Price||% of Total $||Cash FP||GPP FP|
|Player||Team||Opponent||Position||TYPE||Price||% of Total $||50/50 Pts||GPP Pts|
Quick Week 1 Recap
In the image below, you can see how my picks did on each of the different websites. Although I wrote about Theo Riddick in my update last week, I failed to update the tables, and the results ended up showing that. Still, average multiples were acceptable for three of four sites. DraftKings was just under my cash lineup threshold of 3X value. There was a lot of inconsistency, as should be expected in Week 1. For every Spencer Ware and Tajae Sharpe, there was a Jared Cook and Cleveland DST to pull the average back down.
Top 3 Picks of Week 1
- Spencer Ware – Because of some talk from Andy Reid later in the week, Ware’s ownership was a bit lower than expected. He gave those who stuck with him a massive game.
- Alex Smith – I rolled with Smith in FanDuel picks, and he came through in a big way, throwing for over 300 yards and 2TDs, and running another in for the game winner.
- Tajae Sharpe – The rookie was as solid as one could expect in his first game, with an impressive 7/76 line on 11 targets.
Worst 3 Picks of Week 1
- Jared Cook – I bought into his preseason Week 3 performance and now regret it. What a terrible fantasy outing.
- Cleveland DST – Yuck. I was hoping they’d be able to get the rookie Carson Wentz into some trouble. They did not…at all.
- Robert Griffin III – While he was a tournament only pick, I was expecting a lot more. The Browns did not look good at all, though they should benefit with McCown under center now that Griffin is out for much of the season with an injury.
Week 1 Results