FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 2
Welcome to our weekly FanDuel NFL primer, where we give you an overview of the Sunday main slate to help you get started on your research.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values, while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's run through some of the top plays in Week 2.
Although he rushed for only 20 yards on 5 attempts, he added a 2-yard rushing score, once again demonstrating his added upside on the ground. Even more encouraging was how much damage Murray did through the air, which included four passing scores, the first time he's ever achieved that in his career.
The Cardinals are just 3.5-point home favorites versus the Vikings in a game with a promising 50.5 total. Minnesota and Cincinnati combined for 51 points in Week 1, as the Bengals got out to a lead, resulting in Kirk Cousins throwing it 49 times. If Cincinnati can force Minnesota's hand, we can surely expect Murray and friends to do the same, potentially giving us a fantasy-friendly shootout.
In Week 1, Seattle would ultimately take the foot off the gas once they got out to a comfortable lead over Indianapolis, leading to Wilson dropping back to pass just 23 times. Although he still efficiently converted 4 passing touchdowns himself, finishing with an excellent 27.06 FanDuel points, we're obviously hoping for more volume from Wilson this week if he's going to hit a tournament-winning ceiling.
Perhaps that could be a concern again considering how the Titans face-planted in their opener, but their offense has far too many weapons to stay dormant. Oddsmakers certainly seem to agree with Tennessee's offense bouncing back, as this game's looking at the slate's second-highest total (54.5), with the home Seahawks favored by just 5.5 points.
Dak Prescott ($8,000) and Justin Herbert ($7,600): In addition to Murray and Wilson, Prescott, Herbert, and Josh Allen ($8,100) are the five signal-callers projected for 22-plus points in numberFire's projections. It's actually Allen who tops our model, and despite an underwhelming Week 1, I'm not sure he'll see much of a dip in popularity on Sunday.
Jalen Hurts ($7,800) also remains a quarterback of great interest after finishing Week 1 with the second-most rushing yards at the position.
Prescott aired it out a ridiculous 58 times against Tampa Bay, and he chucked it 39, 47, 57, and 58 times in his four full games in 2020, so the Cowboys aren't afraid to let Dak do his thing. Even if we include the game he got injured in last year, Prescott averaged 27.8 FanDuel points over his five starts last year, which was more than any other quarterback.
And considering Dallas just let Tom Brady throw all over them last week without recording a single sack -- and they just lost Demarcus Lawrence for the foreseeable future -- Prescott may very well find himself chucking it early and often yet again to keep pace with the Chargers.
Of course, this should also mean a big day for Herbert, who projects as the best point-per-dollar play in our model. Herbert may not have put up a gaudy fantasy score in Week 1, but he still threw for 337 yards and averaged 0.26 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, which was actually slightly better than Prescott (0.25). Both are excellent marks that well exceeded last year's league average (0.13).
Christian McCaffrey ($10,000): The big three of McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook ($9,200), and Alvin Kamara ($8,800) all predictably earned elite workloads in Week 1, recording 39, 34, and 28 adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets). All of them are projected for 20 or more FanDuel points this week, and it's difficult to match the high floors all three bring.
But McCaffrey's workload remains unmatched, with all those opportunities including 9 targets for a fantastic 25.7% target share. He racked up an obscene 187 yards from scrimmage in the opening week, meaning he scored 23.2 FanDuel points without even scoring a touchdown. While Carolina has a middling 20.50 implied total, McCaffrey is one of the few backs where that shouldn't affect his ceiling.
Ezekiel Elliott ($7,500) and Austin Ekeler ($7,000): Both Elliott and Ekeler enter the week with concerns about their roles. Both players saw just 15 adjusted opportunities apiece, which isn't exactly moving the needle for DFS.
But they're on either side of this potentially lucrative Cowboys-Chargers contest, and there's some room for optimism. Elliott's usage almost certainly had to do in part with Dallas' game plan against a tough Tampa Bay run defense, and he still played 83% of the snaps.
Meanwhile, Ekeler's issue was that he surprisingly saw zero targets despite being a mainstay in the passing game in prior seasons. This may be a new coaching staff, but they compared Ekeler to Kamara over the offseason, so it appears very unlikely that Ekeler will continue to be a zero in the receiving department. He also notably received 7 red-zone carries, including 2 inside the 5-yard line -- he received 17 red-zone carries and 2 carries inside the 5-yard line for all of 2020.
There's uncertainty in using either back, yet we shouldn't let one week deter us from including them in stacks. Ekeler's lower salary and status as a lead back on a home favorite could lead to some popularity, but Elliott figures to see a low roster percentage after an Island Game dud.
Chris Carson ($6,700): Carson is another back who should benefit from what should be a high-scoring contest. Seattle is at home with a 30.00 implied total, and if Tennessee falls flat and gets trucked again, Carson ought to be the one to flourish in the positive game script.
He earned a solid 22 adjusted opportunities in Week 1 (16 carries and 3 targets) with a 78% snap rate, and if any of the Seahawks' touchdowns flow his way, he could flirt with 20 FanDuel points. Backup running back Rashaad Penny will miss this game, as well. Carson projects as one of the best point-per-dollar plays at the position.
Najee Harris ($6,100): By now you've probably gathered that Harris played 100% of the snaps despite his lackluster fantasy output, which is why he also fares well as a value in our projections.
There are some upside concerns in an offense with a suspect offensive line and aging quarterback, but the Steelers are 5.5-point home favorites over the Raiders, so Harris might be able to do more with his opportunities in Week 2. True bell-cow backs don't come around at $6,100 very often.
But at a full $1,000 discount, we can get just as much upside out of Diggs, who just barely trails Hopkins in our model. Though the Bills didn't get off to the roaring start as many hoped last week, Diggs' usage was as strong as ever: a 27.5% target share and 31.3% air yards share.
Miami held New England to just 16 points in Week 1, but that was against a revamped offense with a rookie quarterback. This will be a far tougher test versus a Bills team that's a 3.5-point favorite despite being on the road.
Keenan Allen ($7,400): Whether he's being paired with Herbert or being used as a bring-back option with Prescott, Allen should be a fixture in plenty of your Cowboys-Chargers game stacks.
Allen led the team with 13 targets (27.7%) in Week 1, and the scoring upside in this game is obvious after what we saw what the Bucs did to this Dallas defense last Thursday. Mike Williams ($5,600) was right behind Allen with 12 targets (25.5%), too, so he's also very much in the mix as a value play.
D.K. Metcalf ($7,000): We often see one of either Metcalf or Tyler Lockett ($7,200) explode in a given week, and it was Lockett's turn in Week 1, leaving Metcalf as the one with the lower salary against Tennessee. Metcalf is a no-brainer buy at this discount, as he and Lockett each saw the same number of targets, and it's Metcalf who should see more air yards over the long haul.
Even at the mid-range salary, Metcalf is the second-best value in numberFire's projections.
Along the same lines, A.J. Brown ($7,100) isn't likely to see a salary this low most weeks and brings plenty of upside on the other side of this matchup.
CeeDee Lamb ($6,800): Lamb and Amari Cooper ($7,800) are our core receiving targets on the Cowboys' side, but Lamb is $1,000 below Cooper, making him the obvious value, albeit one who will presumably be popular.
Both players were target hogs last week, and while Cooper had the bigger day in the box score, Lamb still scored 19.9 FanDuel points off 15 targets with a 25.9% target share and 43.0% air yards share.
Ja'Marr Chase ($5,500): There were some doubts over how Chase would perform out of the gate following a shaky offseason, but he sure looked like the Bengals' top wide receiver in Week 1. He led the team in targets, receptions, yards, and air yards, yet his salary remains in the bargain bin below both Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
This week's matchup against the Bears doesn't exactly scream shootout, but it might not be a bad call to bet on Chase's talent coming through when the salary remains this low. He's the top value in our wideout projections.
Tyler Higbee ($5,600): With no Travis Kelce on the slate, George Kittle ($6,700) and Darren Waller ($7,000) are the obvious top dogs, and they beat out the field in our projections by a good chunk. But we're not always going to be able to spend that kind of salary to piece together some of the week's high-upside stacks, so we need to pick out some values, as well.
It was actually Higbee who was second in targets (6) for the Rams last week, sandwiched between Cooper Kupp (10) and Robert Woods (4). I'm not expecting Higbee to see more looks than Woods every week, but this is a positive early sign from those who were expecting a breakout from Higbee this season.
The Rams' offense appears to be in good hands, too. Matthew Stafford was incredibly efficient in his first start with the Rams, ranking second in Passing NEP per drop back among starters behind only Jameis Winston.
Los Angeles is favored over an Indianapolis team that allowed four passing scores to Russell Wilson in Week 1.
There's always the chance Atlanta gets squashed by Tampa Bay as double-digit underdogs, but at least we know they'll be passing a lot. The drop in salary makes Pitts an easy point-per-dollar value once you get past the top two at the position.
The Browns are 12.5-point home favorites, so we're not expecting another game with Mark Ingram inexplicably getting 26 rushes again. Instead, the Texans will likely have to rely on Tyrod Taylor to throw, and perhaps the team's lack of talent shows this time around.
This Cleveland defense checks in as the best value in our defense projections.
Cincinnati D/ST ($3,600): If you want to take a shot on a low-salaried defense, it might as well be in a matchup against one of the NFL's weakest starting quarterbacks in Andy Dalton. Dalton averaged a rough -0.18 Passing NEP per drop back against the Rams -- one of the week's worst marks -- getting sacked 3 times while throwing no touchdowns and 1 interception.
While the Bengals obviously aren't the same caliber of defense as the Rams and will have to face the Bears on the road, Chicago isn't getting a ton of love from oddsmakers as mere 1.5-point favorites. The Bengals have the offensive talent to get out to a lead in this one and force Dalton into doing more than he may be capable of at this point.