4 Daily Fantasy Football Players to Avoid in Week 2
We have a lot of pieces on numberFire geared toward helping you figure out which players you should roster in your DFS contests on FanDuel, but an important aspect of the DFS process is figuring out who you shouldn't play.
Narrowing down your list of potential plays by avoiding those who are destined to underwhelm can go a long way toward helping you create winning lineups.
Zigging when the masses are zagging is part of giving yourself an edge in DFS, so you'll sometimes be able to make a case for using a player in this piece in an effort to be contrarian -- especially if said player is really good. Inevitably, some of the players I feature in this article will blow up and pop for a big game, but that just comes with the territory of doing a piece like this one -- unless I'm just going to tell you to avoid playing dudes like Andy Dalton. I'm not going to do that. I want this piece to be useful.
Here are four players I'm avoiding this week.
Tom Brady, QB, Buccaneers
FanDuel Salary: $8,200
Everything points to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense smashing on Sunday.
They're facing the Atlanta Falcons' defense, a unit that looked miserable in Week 1 as Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles racked up 32 points in Atlanta. The Bucs' offense, meanwhile, lit up the Dallas Cowboys for 31 points.
The reason I'm hesitant on Brady, however, is that I'm not sure he has the upside of some of the slate's other top quarterbacks -- and that's almost entirely due to his lack of rushing. We have Brady ranked as this slate's QB6. Of the five guys above him -- Josh Allen ($8,100), Dak Prescott ($8,000), Kyler Murray ($8,700), Russell Wilson ($8,500) and Justin Herbert ($7,600) -- four bring a lot to the table with their legs, and the one who is only a meh runner (Herbert) still offers a lot more on the ground than Brady does and is in the slate's most appealing game.
We have to go back just one week to see how much rushing matters for quarterbacks. Brady had a ceiling game in Week 1, torching Dallas for 379 yards and 4 tuds, and he finished as only the week's QB5 with 29.16 FanDuel points.
There's also a chance the Bucs lean on the run in the second half if Atlanta can't keep it close, and given the 11.5-point spread (and how bad Atlanta looked in their opener), the Falcons can't be trusted to do that.
Listed at the third-highest salary among Week 2 signal-callers, Brady is a tough sell due to the upside of the other high-salary passers. While you can make a case for Brady in tournaments if you think he'll slip through the cracks, I'd much rather roll with Allen, Prescott or Herbert -- all of whom are lower in salary -- or find the coin for Wilson or Murray. Among the aforementioned group of top-six quarterbacks, Brady is the worst point-per-dollar play, according to our model.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals
FanDuel Salary: $7,800
Joe Mixon started the season with a bang, totaling 23.0 FanDuel points via 127 rushing yards and a score along with 4 grabs for 23 yards. He was the week's RB2 and took advantage of a friendly matchup with a Minnesota Vikings defense that surrendered the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs in 2020 (24.1).
He has a much tougher matchup in Week 2.
Mixon and the Cincinnati Bengals are on the road at the Chicago Bears. A year ago, Chicago permitted the ninth-fewest FanDuel points per game to running backs (18.6). The strength of the Bears' D is the front seven, and the weakness of the Cincy offense is the O-Line, which PFF ranked 25th heading into the year. That makes this a rough spot for the Bengals' offense, especially their running game, and Cincy's 21.5-point implied total is the slate's seventh-lowest clip.
Our projections have Mixon as the RB9, so it's not like we're expecting him to completely crater. But among our top 18 running backs, Mixon is the worst point-per-dollar play. Don't chase his Week 1 outburst.
Damien Harris, RB, Patriots
FanDuel Salary: $6,200
Damien Harris checks a couple of boxes this week.
He's playing for a favorite -- with the New England Patriots favored by 5.5 points on the road versus the New York Jets -- and is likely to see a good number of carries in an offense that was the 2nd-most run-heavy attack in 2020 and the 13th-most run-heavy offense in Week 1.
That's the good stuff.
The negative is that Harris offers very little in the passing game. He hauled in 2 of 3 targets for 17 yards in Week 1, and that was a game in which the Pats were playing from behind for a bit. We project Harris for 0.9 targets, 0.7 receptions and 4.9 yards this week.
On top of that, Harris had a costly fumble last week. As you know, Bill Belichick really hates fumbles, so it wouldn't shock anyone if Harris was in the doghouse, leading to more work for the Pats' other backs.
But this really comes down to Harris' minimal role in the passing game. I'm chasing upside, and the lack of receiving work significantly dings Harris' ceiling. For him to flirt with 20 FanDuel points, he likely needs multiple touchdowns (unless he goes for a ton of yards). That's a hard thing to bet on.
As I said at the jump, there are some positives with Harris this week, and his projection of 14.0 FanDuel points -- per our numbers -- makes him a fine point-per-dollar play at his salary. I just don't see a clear path to the upside I crave.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Texans
FanDuel Salary: $6,600
The Houston Texans were one of the best stories from Week 1. Expected to be terrible this season, Houston looked impressive in a blowout win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. That may say more about the Jags than it does the Texans, but it was a really nice performance for Houston nonetheless.
Brandin Cooks was a huge part of the offense in Week 1, making 5 catches on 7 targets for 134 scoreless yards.
The good feels should come to a screeching halt this week.
Houston is a week-high 12.5-point road 'dog at the Cleveland Browns, and their 18.00-point implied total is the lowest mark on the slate.
Cooks is due for a battle with Cleveland corner Denzel Ward, who was excellent in 2020. Per PlayerProfiler, Ward finished last season ranked first among corners in all of yards allowed per target (4.4), catch rate allowed (45.0%) and coverage rating (72.0). He was also second in fantasy points allowed per target (1.19) and third in passer rating allowed (64.2).
Ward is an elite cornerback who should give Cooks fits, and Houston's offense is likely in for a long day. Among the 20 wideouts with a salary of at least $6,500, Cooks is the second-worst point-per-dollar option, according to our algorithm.