Matchup Risk/Against the Grain
Tough Matchup with Limited Upside
Playing Time Concern
Antonio Brown (DK – $9,400/FD – $9,400): The Browns had no answer for Brown in Week 1. He caught all 11 of his targets for 182 yards leading to a top WR score (32.2)) at DraftKings. In 2016, Antonio had three games with over 30 Fantasy points (Week 1 – 8/126/2, Week 10 – 14/154/1, and Week 12 – 5/91/3). The Vikings held the Saints’ WRs to 13 catches for 163 yards and no TDs on 19 targets. Last year WRs caught 184 of 328 targets for 2,184 yards and 14 TDs with only two WRs gaining over 100 yards receiving (Jordy Nelson – 9/154/2 and Marqise Lee – 5/113). The Vikings will try to matchup CB Xavier Rhodes on Brown on many plays. Rhodes has the size edge (6’1” and 218 Lbs.) with plenty of speed, but he’ll have to work to match the quickness and route running of Antonio over the short areas of the field. Brown can beat a top defense, which is highlighted by his success vs. the Broncos at home in 2015 (16/189/2). If Pittsburgh needs to throw a high volume of passes, Antonio will get his points. Scout has Brown projected for seven catches for 82 yards and a TD, which is short of his needed score at his salary.
Julio Jones (DK – $9,200/FD – $8,800): The Bears held Julio to four catches for 66 yards in Week 1 while receiving six targets. Last year Jones deliver a poor game (3/29 on five targets) at home against the Packers, which came a two years after he destroyed Green Bay on the road (11/259/1 on 17 targets). Julio was on the field for 48 of 59 plays run by the Falcons last week. In 2016, the Packers were the worst team in the league defending WRs (210/3017/24) while allowing four teams to score three TDs in a game from the WR position. Green Bay struggled with Stefon Diggs (9/182/1), Marvin Jones (6/205/2), and Adam Thielen (12/202/2) in the regular season plus Dez Bryant (9/132/2) and Julio Jones (9/180/2) in the playoffs. Jones will be an edge over every CB on the field. He had a top matchup this week with explosive upside helped by the Packers ability to score as well. He’s projected by Scout to catch seven passes for 123 yards and a TD.
Brandin Cooks (DK – $8,200/FD – $7,900): I’m not sure Cooks has the opportunity to have the third highest salary at WR in the daily games. In Week 1, he caught three of his seven targets for 88 yards while having the second highest WR snaps (67) on the Patriots’ roster. This matchup comes against his former team. Will New Orleans be motivated to limit his upside and chances? Or do they fear the explosiveness of Rob Gronkowski? The Saints looked lost in the secondary vs. the Vikings. Minnesota’s WRs collected 18 catches for 278 yards and two TDs on 21 targets. This is way too high of a completion rate (85.7) especially when you consider they gained 15.4 yards per catch. New Orleans is extremely young in the secondary so they will have a learning curve in 2017 with rookie CB Marshon Lattimore offering the most upside after getting drafted in the first round in 2017. Cooks will get his catches and he should be an edge over all CBs on the Saints, but he may need to score a long TD to pay off. New England will look for Gronk in the red zone while turning to the run game inside the ten-yard line. Seems overpriced at DraftKings, which is telling you he’s probably good play.
Amari Cooper (DK – $8,100/FD – $7,900): Amari plowed in an early TD vs. the Titans thanks to the push created by his offensive line. On one series at the goal line, Derek Carr looked for him on three plays. Cooper dropped at least two catchable balls while giving away another catch during that drive. In the end, he only caught five of his 13 targets for 62 yards and a TD. The Bills didn’t need to throw to beat the Jets in Week 1 leading to their WRs catching only four passes for 84 yards and a TD on eight targets. Buffalo had five different players gain over 20 yards on a catch. New York has risk in the secondary while many “experts” are leading toward the run game by the Raiders in Week 2. Oakland will throw the ball early, but game score does take away some of Amari’s second half upside. I don’t believe he’ll be a popular play while needing to build his point total in the first half. He just needs to hang onto the damn ball.
Jordy Nelson (DK – $7,900/FD – $8,100): Even with a tough matchup last week vs. Seattle, Nelson still finished with the 7th highest score (20.90) in PPR leagues. He caught seven of his eight targets for 79 yards and a TD. In 2016, he had four catches for 94 yards and a TD on nine targets against Atlanta in the regular season plus a 6/67/1 game in the playoffs. The Falcons finished 25th in the NFL defending WRs last year, which wasn’t helped by the injury to Desmond Trufant in Week 9. Jordy will move around in formations, but he’ll see a big share of Trufant in coverage. This will at least limit his explosiveness. I’ll put Nelson in the steady column this week even in what looks like a high scoring game.
Mike Evans (DK – $7,700/FD – $8,500): The lack of weapons in the passing game for Tampa gave Evans the second-best opportunity in the NFL for targets (173) in 2016. His catch rate (55.5) has been low in each season in the league (2014 – 55.3 and 2015 – 50.0). Mike had his second year with an edge in TDs (12) with regression in yards per catch (13.8). He now has over 1,000 yards receiving in each season in the NFL with a career high 96 catches. Evans scored eight of his TDs over the first eight games of the season while posting four games with over 100 yards receiving (10/132/1, 11/150/2, 6/105, and 8/104/2). Three of these games came at home. This year Winston will have more options in the passing game helping the offense move the ball, but also steal some looks for Mike. He’s the best scoring option on the roster, but Evans needs to improve his catch rate to offer repeatable impact with a dropdown in chances. Chicago kept Julio Jones in check in Week 1 (4/66), but they did allow Matt Ryan to gain 10.7 yards per pass attempt. The Bears will be wheeling out league average CBs at best. I don’t like this matchup as much as Week 1 while it is still favorable. Evans is projected to catch six passes for 82 yards with a TD. In play with his explosiveness tied to the ability of the Bears to score TDs.
Michael Thomas (DK – $7,500)/FD – $8,000): The Vikings did a nice job on Thomas in Week 1. He caught five of his eight targets for 45 yards while being on the field for 58 of 62 plays run by New Orleans. Last year four WRs had over 100 yards receiving against the Patriots (Jarvis Landry – 10/135, DeVante Parker – 8/106, Antonio Brown – 7/106, and Quincy Enunwa – 5/109/1). Three of these players saw some action out of the slot. If Tyreek Hill didn’t hit on a 75-yard TD, the Chiefs would have gained only 136 yards from their WRs with 13 catches. In 2016, New England ranked 5th in the league vs. WRs. Michael runs most of his route on the outside. He’s going to draw Malcolm Butler in coverage who will have some sort of support. Thomas will get his share of catches, but I can’t see him going off even with his elite upside. Bill Belichick will make Drew Brees use another receiving option to beat him.
Michael Crabtree (DK – $7,100/FD – $7,300): Crabtree doesn’t have the flash of Amari Cooper, but he does catch the ball when thrown his way. Last week he caught six of his seven targets for 83 yards, but he was only on the field for 48 of 66 plays compared to 61 by Cooper. This had to be the result of Oakland running the ball late to protect the lead. Oakland is favored by 14 points in this game pointing a lot of runs late. Just like Cooper, Crabtree may need to earn his value early in the game. His lack of big play ability would make him a tougher start in the daily games in this type of matchup. Overpriced for his projected chances in Week 2 (6/66/1).
Doug Baldwin (DK – $6,700/FD – $7,600): I tend to have a tough time picking the right games to play Baldwin over the last year. Doug caught all four of his targets for 63 yards. He continues to catch the ball at a high rate, but Seattle struggles to look his way. Last season he had a monster game (8/164/1) at home vs. the 49ers while coming up short in Week 16 on the road (2/44). In 2016, Baldwin had three games with over 100 yards receiving. They all came at home. For that matter, his last six games with over 100 yards receiving have come at home and six of his last eight have come vs. division opponents. The 49ers struggled against the run in 2016 leading to lower risk vs. the pass. WRs caught 183 of 312 passes against San Fran in 2016 with 2,623 yards and 21 TDs. The Panthers had chances to make plays in the passing game in Week 1, but Cam didn’t look sharp. Wilson will use Doug a lot in this game, but his offensive line needs to block better. Possible if you believe Baldwin’s resume at home vs. division opponents.
Dez Bryant (DK – $6,600/FD – $7,600): Dez and Dak struggled again to get on the same page against the Giants. He caught only two of his nine targets for 43 yards while being on the field for 67 of 74 plays. Bryant continues to play second fiddle to Elliott in the offense while showing downside beating double coverage. In his 13 full games in 2016, Dez had four games with over 100 yards receiving and eight TDs. The Broncos had the top WR defense in the league last year with no receiver gaining over 100 yards receiving. Denver only allowed seven TDs to WRs in 2016 and 13 passing TDs to all positions. It looks like another short score for Bryant in Week 2.
Larry Fitzgerald (DK – $6,500/FD – $6,600): With Johnson injured, Fitzgerald will need to step up his game. Carson Palmer looked his way 13 times in Week 1, but Larry only caught six balls for 74 yards. Fitzgerald was on the field for 74 for 75 plays. John Brown missed practice mid-week with a quad issue so the overall offense continues lose its upside. The Colts will be without their top CB Vontae Davis again this week, but Larry lines up most of the time in the slot. Indy has tons of risk in the secondary creating a winnable edge for all WRs on the Cardinals. In 2016, only two WRs gained over 100 yards vs. Indy (Cameron Meredith – 9/103/1 and Rishard Matthews – 9/122) while Antonio Brown did have an impactful game (5/91/3). The Rams’ WRs caught 13 of their 17 targets for 192 yards and a TD. Most will be off of Arizona’s players this week even with what looks like a favorable matchup. Fitzgerald will get his chances, but he only has one TD over his last 12 games.
Tyreek Hill (DK – $6,200/FD – $7,200): Hill hit the ground running in Week 1 vs. the Patriots. He caught seven of his eight targets for 133 yards and a TD while getting two rushes for five yards. The Chiefs had him on the field for 50 of 69 plays, which was second on the team at WR to Chris Conley (65). Tyreek gave Fantasy owners a scare when he left late in the fourth quarter with an injury. It ended up being a cramp. Despite elite speed, Hill only gained 9.7 yards per catch in 2016 while flashing his explosiveness as a runner (24/267/3). The Eagles allowed the 6th most Fantasy points to WRs in 2016 (192/2908/16 on 336 targets). Seven WRs gained over 100 yards against Philly last year (Antonio Brown – 12/140, Dez Bryant – 4/113/1, Julio Jones – 10/135, Doug Baldwin – 4/104, Davante Adams – 5/113/2, DeSean Jackson – 3/102/1, and Odell Beckham – 11/150). Volume WR with scoring ability plus an edge over his schedule defenders. Tyreek looks to be in line for 91 combined yards with five catches and 9.75 TDs.
Stefon Diggs (DK – $6,100/FD – $6,500): Diggs is a player with a great feel for the game. He finished last week as the second highest scoring WR in PPR leagues (28.3 – 3rd in DK scoring). Stefon caught seven of his eight targets with two TDs. Pittsburgh ended up 9th in the league defending WRs in 2016 with eight WRs gained over 100 yards receiving (DeSean Jackson – 6/102, Brandon Marshall – 8/114/1, Mike Wallace – 4/124/1, Dez Bryant – 6/116/1, Odell Beckham – 10/100, Jarvis Landry – 11/102, Chris Hogan – 9/180/2, and Julian Edelman – 8/118/1). The Steelers added CB Joe Haden just before the start of the season after the Browns sent him packing. Haden had talent when he came in to the league, but he’s no longer considered a top cornerback. Both teams can play defense so game flow and game score will be the key to the upside of the passing game for the Vikings. Fairly priced with a 60/40 chance of posting a useable score.
Terrelle Pryor (DK – $6,000/FD – $6,800): Cousins looked Pryor’s way 11 times against the Eagles leading to six catches for 66 yards. Terrelle dropped an easy long bomb that would have been an easy TD. The Rams ranked 30th in the league in Fantasy points allowed to WRs in 2016 (241/2729/21 on 380 targets). Seven WRs had over 100 yards receiving vs. LA last year (Mike Evans – 10/132/1, Adam Humphries – 9/100, John Brown – 10/144, Golden Tate – 8/165/1, Michael Thomas – 9/108/2, Julian Edelman – 8/101, and Tyler Lockett – 7/130/1). Terrelle will draw CB Trumaine Johnson on about half of his plays, which looks like a below average matchup. The Redskins should try to shift him to the other side of the field where Pryor will have an edge over CB Kayvon Webster. More steady than explosive.
Demaryius Thomas (DK – $5,900/FD – $7,000): Thomas had WR1 snaps (60 of 69 plays) for Denver vs. the Chargers. He caught five of his eight targets for 67 yards. The Cowboys were about league average defending WRs in 2016 with only two WRs gaining over 100 yards receiving (Antonio Brown – 14/154/1 and DeSean Jackson – 4/118/1). Last week Dallas forced Eli Manning to make quick throws leading to minimal production at WR (12 catches for 108 yards on 18 targets). Demaryius hasn’t scored a TD in his last seven games. I don’t respect either CB on the outside for the Cowboys so Thomas may breakthrough with an impact game if the Broncos can pass block. Darkhorse in Week 2.
Randall Cobb (DK – $5,900/FD – $6,300): Do I dare say than Cobb is back to being a top option in the Packers’ passing attack? He finished with a team high 13 targets leading to nine catches for 85 yards. Even with his success, Randall had WR3 snaps (63) compared to Jordy Nelson (76) and Davante Adams (67). Last year he missed Gr game vs. the Falcons, which saw Jeff Janis, Trevor Davis, and Geronimo Allison combine for nine catches for 75 yards and three TDs on 12 targets. Cobb should have an edge over slot CB Brian Poole. Fully priced so he’ll need over 20 Fantasy points to be viable. Best WR/CB matchup on the team so Randall is viable at this price point.
Keenan Allen (DK – $5,800/FD – $7,100): Rivers didn’t have a lot of time to throw last week, which led to some quick throws. Allen caught five of his ten targets for only 35 yards and a TD. LA had him on the field for 53 of 59 plays. Miami ranked 22nd in the NFL vs. WRs in 2016 with six WRs gaining over 100 yards (Terrelle Pryor – 8/144, A.J. Green – 10/173/1, Tyrell Williams – 5/125/1, Sammy Watkins – 7/154/1, Julian Edelman – 8/151/1, and Antonio Brown (5/124/2). Keenan will have an edge over slot CB Bobby McCain. Miami has the talent to rush the QB so Rivers will look Allen’s way early and often. Possible double-digit catches with a TD.
Alshon Jeffery (DK – $5,700/FD – $6,900): As expected, Alshon had tough sledding vs. Josh Norman in Week 1. He caught three of his seven targets for 38 yards while adding a two-point conversion to bump his score slightly. I’m sure the Chiefs would like to get CB Marcus Peters against Jeffery on many plays, but Marcus lines up most of the time on the left side of the field allowing the Eagles to move Alshon to the other side of the field where he’ll have a bigger edge. Typically, Jeffery sees about one-third of his snaps on the Peter’s side of the formation. Last year WRs caught 222 of 379 targets for 2,832 yards and 15 TDs vs. Kansas City. They allowed only four of those TDs to WRs at home. Nine WRs had over 100 yards receiving vs. the Chiefs in 2016 (DeAndre Hopkins – 7/113/1, Will Fuller – 4/104, Amari Cooper – 10/129, Michael Thomas – 10/130, Mike Evans – 6/105, Emmanuel Sanders – 7/162/1, Julio Jones – 7/113, Rishard Matthews – 4/105, and Antonio Brown – 6/108). Lots of top WRs on this list with size and speed so Alshon should have a very good chance of reaching 100+ yards while Kansas City does tighten up their pass coverage in the red zone. Getting to be a value, but we need to see the impact Jeffery produce before taking a gamble on the road. On the positive side, the Chiefs did lose their impact safety Eric Berry last week. If you must…
Kelvin Benjamin (DK – $5,600/FD – $6,600): If Week 1 is any indication, Benjamin could be mispriced again in 2017. He caught only one of his five targets for 25 yards while Cam struggled to find his rhythm passing the ball. Kelvin was on the field for 43 of 67 plays run by the Panthers. Game score didn’t warrant a high volume of passes (25 By Newton with only 14 completion) so his poor outing may not be his fault. Without a doubt, Benjamin will be a top two option in this passing game and I do believe in his talent. The Bills weren’t challenged in the secondary in Week 1 by the Jets’ weak wide receivers. Kelvin will have an edge in size over all of Buffalo’s CBs while drawing CB E.J Gaines in coverage on the most plays. Only three WRs gained over 100 yards receiving vs. the Bills in 2016 (Eric Decker – 6/126/1, Brandon Marshall – 6/101, and Kenny Stills – 5/100/1), but this is a completely new core of defenders in the secondary. Their best player will be Tre’Davious White after he was drafted in the first round in 2017. Sometimes the ugly duckling ended up being the players that payoff as they are tougher to submit on Sunday. Scoring player with a chance to check all the boxes based on his low salary.
Chris Hogan (DK – $5,600/FD – $6,200): A lot has change in the Patriots’ WR core in just two weeks. They lost Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell even before the season started. This created a bidding frenzy on the waiver wire for Hogan just before the start of Week 1. New England won’t have Danny Amendola in Week 2 due to a concussion and knee issue if you read between the lines. This creates more snaps and chances for Chris going forward. In his 15 games played in 2016, Hogan only caught 38 passes for 680 yards and four TDs on 58 targets. The Patriots have a similar WR structure this year with Cooks just being the new version of Edelman plus Gronkowski is healthy. During the regular season last year, Chris had five targets or fewer in 13 of his 15 games. He did flash in three different games (4/114, 4/91/1, and 5/129/2) while receiving only 16 combined targets. Maybe the attraction to Fantasy owners was his success in the playoff (17/332/2 on 23 targets) highlighted by his play against Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game (9/180/2 on 12 targets). The bottom line this week is the Saints have risk in the secondary and they will do their best to double Gronk and Cooks forcing Brady to beat them with Hogan and the RBs. Worth a swing for sure if you decide to stack the Patriot’s offense.
Davante Adams (DK – $5,600/FD – $6,700): Adams settled into the third wheel at WR in the Packer’s passing game in Week 1. He caught only three of his seven targets for 47 yards while being on the field for 67 plays (second most at WR on GB). In 2016, he caught 12 balls for 74 yards on 14 targets against the Falcons with Cobb injured. His matchup vs. CB Robert Alford looks to be neutral. Davante has the edge in size while Alford has more speed. Rodgers is going to throw TDs to his WRs so Adams is a live underdog in Week 2.
Martavis Bryant (DK – $5,500/FD – $6,200): I own Bryant on a ton of teams in the season long games and he let me down in Week 1. He caught only two of his six targets for 14 yards while watching Antonio Bryant get open on just about every play. I get the disappointment with his game, but I’m still riding this train to the payoff window. Martavis has big play and multi TD scoring ability. In his 11 games played in 2015, Bryant had three impact games (6/137/2, 6/178/1, and 4/114/1). In his rookie season over 10 games with limited targets, he has two impact games (4/143/1 and 4/109/1). If a defense decides to double and triple Brown, Martavis has the talent to make them pay. CB Trae Waynes is former first round draft pick with elite speed. He grades at neutral corner at this point of his career. His challenge will be matching the physical aspect of Bryant’s game. This week Le’Veon Bell or Martavis will have a good game. He just needs to break 20 Fantasy points to be in play. Don’t be afraid to double down as he’ll be a lower percentage own.
Jarvis Landry (DK – $5,500/FD – $6,500): After posting 110 catches for 1157 yards and four TDs on 166 targets, Fantasy owners wanted more growth from Landry in 2016. They had visions of a lower version of Antonio Brown. He finished 35 less targets, but only 16 fewer catches and 21 less yards. His finals stats (94/1136/4) led to him finishing 16th in WR scoring in PPR leagues. His season started with two plus games in Week 2 (10/135) and Week 3 (7/120/1), but Miami struggled to get him the ball over the last nine weeks. Jarvis had six targets or fewer in seven of those games leading to five games with 55 yards receiving or fewer. He bailed out in Week 14 (4/103) and Week 15 (3/108/3), but Landry only had 10 combined targets in those games. When comparing 2015 to 2016 in the passing game, the Dolphins attempted 111 fewer passing. This was a drop of about 18.9 percent in chances and 12.2 percent in passing yards. On the positive side, he did set a career high in yards per catch (12.1). Jarvis is a 100-catch WR with more big play ability than most believe. Miami has a chance to be improved offensively and Cutler will make deeper throws in the passing game. His slide is drafts is partly due to his second half and fade in targets plus an off the field incident that he’s trying to sweep under the rug. At some point, Jarvis could get suspended. More steady than explosive in most weeks with his downside coming with success of Jay Ajayi in the run game. In 2016, the Chargers ranked 6th in the league defending WRs (189/2594/12) despite losing CB Jason Verrett for 12 games. Four WRs has over 100 yards receiving against LA last year (T.Y. Hilton – 8/174/1, Julio Jones – 9/174, Amari Cooper – 6/138/1, and DeVante Parker (5/103). Jarvis had six catches for 53 yards vs. the Chargers in 2016. Of all the Dolphins’ WRs, he should have the best matchup when he lines up in the slot. The key is the play of Jay Cutler and we know his resume so I’ll wait a week before investing in Landry in the daily games.
DeVante Parker ($5,400/FD – $6,400): Parker missed Week 1 in 2016 with a hamstring injury and he played through a back issue late in the season. His best game in catches (8) and yards (106) came in Week 2 leading to Fantasy owners expecting more upside. Over his next 14 games, DeVante had nine games three catches or less and eight games with fewer than 50 yards receiving. He was a frustrating player to start with only four games of playable value over the last 14 games of the season (3/51/1, 5/103, 8/79/1, and 4/85/1). DeVante had two games with double digit targets. On the year, he averaged 5.8 targets per game with a 64.3 percent catch rate. The direction of the Dolphins’ offense suggests a more controlled passing attack, but Parker does offer more upside in his third year in the league. The addition of Jay Cutler has ignited his draft value where he’s going before Jarvis Landry in just every draft despite a much weaker resume. He’s been compared to Alshon Jeffery by Cutler who stated DeVante had more speed. Parker had four catches for 99 yards including a 70-yarder from Jay in the preseason. Interesting player this year, but game score will be the key to his upside in the daily games. No matter how you slice it, he’s still the WR2 in this offense. Last year he had five catches for 103 yards on eight targets in his game in San Diego. DeVante will face top CB coverage on the outside vs. the Chargers so I don’t expect him to have an impactful game.
T.Y. Hilton (DK – $5,300/FD – $7,200): Hilton now has a salary at DraftKings with the poor kids thanks to the questionable QB play in Indy. At half time last week, T.Y. had three catches for 57 yards that put him on pace to reach a reasonable number in PPR leagues. He didn’t catch a ball in the season half while seeing only seven targets for the game. Clearly, Scott Tolzien wasn’t the answer at quarterback. The switch to Jacoby Brissett should help Hilton over the long haul especially if Andrew Luck can’t play in 2017. This week Brissett may only have a limited playbook while T.Y. remains the top option in the passing game. He’s scheduled to face Patrick Peterson in coverage, which is bad matchup when receiving ball from an inaccurate QB. Last year four WRs had over 100 yards receiving against the Cardinals (Jeremy Kerley – 8/102/1, Jarvis Landry – 4/103, Brandon Cooks – 7/186/2, and Doug Baldwin – 13/171/1). Sometimes a value isn’t a value after all. Need to see improved QB play before taking his baited salary.
Emmanuel Sanders (DK – $5,200/FD – $6,400): Trevor Siemen struggled to get the ball to Sanders in Week 1. He caught only three of his seven targets for 26 yards while being on the field for 53 of 69 plays run by the Broncos. Just like Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel should have an edge over all CBs of the Cowboys. Last season Sanders had six games with double digit targets leading to three games with over 100 yards receiving (9/117/2, 7/162/1, and 11/100/1). Before each big game, he posted a relatively short game (3/39, 5/54, and 3/28). If you believe the Cowboys have a strong defense with strength in the secondary, by all means, avoid Emmanuel this week. I don’t respect their CBs, which can be exposed with solid pass protection. Volume type WR with a fair salary. Scout has him projected for six catches for 72 yards and about a half of a TD.
Sammy Watkins (DK – $5,200/FD – $6,700): In his first game in LA, Sammy caught all five of his targets for 58 yards. The Rams used a three-wide receiver rotation with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp on most plays with each player seeing similar snaps (Woods – 43, Kupp – 39, and Watkins – 38). Last year Washington ranked 11th in the NFL defending WRs (208/2727/14) with six WRs gaining over 100 yards receiving (Antonio Brown – 8/126/2, Dez Bryant – 7/102, Odell Beckham – 7/121, A.J. Green – 9/121, Stefon Diggs – 13/164, and Cameron Meredith – 9/135/1). There’s a chance Sammy is shadowed by Josh Norman who is a top CB. Sometimes single coverage vs. a top WR is actually a good thing after facing double coverage on many plays in most games. He looks like an against the grain type play due to confidence issues with his starting QB. The Rams’ offense looked improved and Watkins has the talent to hit on a big play and score TDs so I’d keep him in your WR mix at this price point while hoping to gain an edge in a lower percentage play.
Jeremy Maclin (DK – $5,000/FD – $6,300): It was good to see Maclin hit on his 46-yard TD in Week 1 after struggling in 2016. Game score led to short pass attempts (17) by the Ravens. Jeremy caught two of his four targets for 56 yards and a TD while Joe Flacco did show some rust. Maclin finished with WR1 snaps (48). The Browns struggled to defend Antonio Brown in Week 1 (11/182) while holding Martavis Bryant to a short game (2/24). Jeremy will operate out of the slot on many plays leading him to draw CB Jamar Taylor in coverage most of the time. Last season six WRs gained over 100 yards receiving against Cleveland (Jordan Matthews – 7/114/1, Jarvis Landry – 7/120/1, Chris Hogan – 4/114, Kendall Wright – 8/133/1, and A.J. Green – 8/169/1). The key to Maclin’s upside is game score. If the Browns struggle offensively (which is expected), Baltimore won’t need to throw a lot of passes to win the game. Favorable matchup, but below par chances leads to mid-tier finish in Fantasy points in Week 2.
John Brown (DK – $5,000/FD – $5,800): Brown has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride over the last two months for Fantasy owners due to his battle with injuries. He had nine targets in Week 1, but he only caught four passes for 32 yards while maintaining his WR2 status. John missed practice late in the week due to a quad issue, which is a concern. He has the sickle-cell trait that slows down his recovery from soft tissue injuries. If he plays, Brown will have a solid edge over his expected CB coverage. Really need more info, but it’s tough to trust his health in the daily games when you have the option of playing anyone in the player pool.
Adam Thielen (DK – $5,000/FD – $5,800): For those who don’t follow the games closely, Thielen is the Vikings version of Jordy Nelson. He catches the ball well while having enough speed to beat a defense deep. Last week he caught nine of his ten targets for 157 yards with four of his catches gaining over 20 yards. Pittsburgh has two league average CBs with the slot option still in flux. The last three times Adam posted over 100 yards receiving in a game, he came up empty the following week (2/52, 0/0 on one target, and 1/7). I like his direction, but he needs to develop more consistency in his game. Worth a flier for the multiple ticket guys.
DeSean Jackson (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,700): For the fifth time in his nine years in his career, Jackson gained over 1,000 yards receiving while finishing with 100 targets or fewer for the third season. He led the league in yards per catch (17.9) for the third time in his career with regression in his catch rate (56.0). In his career, DeSean has 46 TDs in 127 games. His presence will draw some attention away from Mike Evans, but it will also lead to Jackson being singled covered on a high percentage of plays. In 2016, the Bucs completed 211 passes for 2,792 yards and 17 TDs on 361 targets to the WR position. This is a new toy in the Bucs’ offense. DeSean has both big play and scoring ability while offering a wide range of outcomes over the long season. The Bears have only league average CBs so DeSean may hit on a long scoring TD.
Jamison Crowder (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,200): Crowder has been battling a hip issue, but he was removed from the injury report this week. He struggled in Week 1 (3/14 on seven targets) while receiving WR2 snaps (49) in Washington. In 2016, Jamison had three games with over 100 yards receiving (7/108, 9/107/1, and 3/102/1) with all three coming over a four-game stretch mid-season. I expect him to hold an edge over CB Nickell Robey-Coleman. The Rams top CB will be on Terrelle Pryor so Crowder will be a two option in the passing game this week. I like his price and he projects to be a high-volume targets going forward. I expect him or Jordan Reed to post a playable score in Week 2.
Pierre Garcon (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,500): The improved 49ers’ offense in the preseason was a losing investment in Week 1. Pierre did see plenty of targets (10) leading to six catches for 81 yards. Garcon will see plenty of targets with minimal competition on the roster. Last year the Seahawks lost their luster defending WRs (15th – 204/2627/13). CB Richard Sherman missed practice this week with a hamstring issue. If he can’t play, it would be an upgrade for Garcon. Steady catches while a TD may be tough to come by.
Ted Ginn (DK – $4,800/FD – $6,100): The Saints gave Brandon Coleman WR2 snaps (48) over Ginn (42) in Week 1 while Ted ended up being the better play (4/53 on five targets). In the right matchup, Ginn is going to posted a couple of big games especially if New Orleans has success running the ball. This week he’ll draw CB Stephon Gilmore in coverage who has matching speed. Not the best backup and the Patriots’ defense has to be motivated to bounce back from their mistakes in Week 1.
Corey Coleman (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,000): The Kizer to Coleman hookup now has one TD on the resume. Corey caught five of his six targets for 53 yards and a TD. He has the most WR snaps (53) on the Browns’ roster at WR. Last season Coleman had a huge game vs. the Ravens at home (5/104/2) while coming up empty on the road (3/17 on five targets). Baltimore did struggle at times in 2016 defending WRs (203/2510/21). The Raiders’ WRs had 15 catches for 148 yards and four TDs, which was close to the success by the Cowboys (14/199/3). The Ravens struggled the most against the Giants (16/302/3). Baltimore will pressure the QB so Kizer may not have a big passing window to make plays. This hurts the upside of Corey.
Tyrell Williams (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,300): All in all, Williams had a decent showing in Week 1 (5/54 on seven targets) vs. top Broncos’ pass defense. He had the most WR snaps (55) on the Chargers. In 2016, Tyrell had three games with over 100 yards receiving (5/117/1, 7/140, and 5/125/1) while receiving nine targets or more in six games. This year he’ll be the second option in the passing game behind Keenan Allen while the TE position will see plenty of targets. Travis Benjamin did look better in Week 1, which will cut into Williams’ targets if he repeats his success. I expect Philip Rivers to pick on CB Byron Maxwell leading to at least on long TD. I don’t trust his targets while respecting his ability to make big plays. More of a play in a Chargers’ stack.
Rishard Matthews (DK – $4,600/FD – $6,300): Watching the Titans’ WRs unfold in 2017 will very interesting. Rishard ended up with WR2 snaps (52) in Week 1 with Eric Decker (60) looking like the top wide receiving option as far as playing time. The best WR on the team against the Raiders was Corey Davis (6/69 on 10 targets). Mathews did catch five of his nine targets for 71 yards while Decker appeared to be slow (3/10 on nine targets). In 2016, Rishard had seven catches for 68 yards and two TDs on 13 targets in two games against the Jaguars. Jacksonville finished 9th in the league defending WRs in 2016 (196/2384/13 on 322 targets) with only three WRs gaining over 100 yards (Travis Benjamin – 6/115/2, Cameron Meredith – 11/113, and Adam Thielen – 4/101). The Jaguars dominated the line of scrimmage in Week 1 vs. the Texans (10 sacks). With repeated success, Marcus Mariota will have a short passing window. A three-way split as WR leads to a no play for me in the daily games plus this isn’t the type matchup a daily owner should be looking for.
Mohamed Sanu (DK – $4,500/FD – $5,300): Sanu is a clear drop off from the WRs ranked ahead of him in salary. In his 73 games played in the NFL, Mohamed only has two games with over 100 yards receiving (10/120/1 and 5/125) with both coming in the 2014 season with the Bengals. His streak of 100 yards receiving or less extended to 26 games last week. Ryan did look his way nine times in Week 1 leading to six catches for 47 yards. Last year he had one of his better games of the season vs. the Packers (9/84/1). His matchup vs. CB looks favorable. In the mix due to this game expected to be high scoring and the Packers having downside in their CB play. Viable option if tied to Matt Ryan.
Eric Decker (DK – $4,400/FD – $6,100): Eric didn’t give Fantasy owners a lot of confidence in submitting him in their starting lineups in Week 2 after looking like a shell of himself vs. the Raiders (three catches for 10 yards on nine targets). Over a five-year span covering 78 games, Decker did score 49 TDs with three seasons with over 1,000 yards receiving. He had the WR1 snaps (60) in Week1 for the Titans, but he does have a tough matchup this week. He’s priced low enough where a 6/60 game with a TD does payoff.
Nelson Agholor (DK – $4,400/FD – $5,500): Nelson could be a third-year breakout player based on his success in Week 1 (6/68/1 on eight targets). Over his first two seasons in the league, he caught only 59 passes for 648 yards and three TDs on 113 targets over 28 games. In 2016, Agholor played well in Week 1 (4/57/1) only to fade off into the Fantasy sunset. Last week was the first time he had over seven targets in a game and over 65 yards receiving. CB Phillip Gaines can match his speed so I would temper my expectations in Week 2.
Cole Beasley (DK – $4,300/FD – $5,500): Cole had only three catches for 32 yards on five targets in Week 1 as Dallas tried to get Terrance Williams involved in the offense. This week Beasley will draw CB Chris Harris in coverage. He’s one of the best CBs in the league so Cole has no value in any format in Week 2.
Paul Richardson (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,200): Seattle gave Richardson WR2 snaps (41) in Week 1 with Tyler Lockett being brought along slowly with his recovery from offseason knee surgery. Paul caught four of his seven targets for 59 yards, which may point to more upside. Lockett had a minimal role in Week 1, but he did come out of the game healthy. Richardson could fall into the area of being a low value hookup with Russell Wilson. I don’t expect a ton of targets with the running game being the focus of Seattle in Week 2. Only a flier with plenty of failure risk.
Corey Davis (DK – $4,100/FD – $5,700): After missing all of the preseason games with a hamstring injury, Davis was able to be on the field for 42 plays as the WR3 in the Titans’ offense. Mariota looked his way ten times leading to a 6/69 game. Corey is a big WR (6’3”) who will bring a physical presence to the passing game. Love his upside and I would start him in Week 2 over Eric Decker in the season long games. This matchup isn’t ideal, but his salary is low enough where he doesn’t need a huge game to help a Fantasy team in the daily games. Player to watch as he is going to deliver a couple of impactful games in 2016.
Cooper Kupp (DK – $4,100/FD – $5,400): This shining young star has a low salary while owning high upside. In his first NFL game, Cooper caught four of his six targets for 76 yards and a TD. This followed up a solid game in the preseason (6/70/1). His chances were limited in Week 1 due to game score. His skill set is very intriguing and one that may warrant starting WR value in the season long games from jump street. With Josh Norman expected to cover Sammy Watkins, Cooper should be the top option in the passing game in Week 2. He lined up over 50 percent of the time in the slot vs. the Colts. He’ll face CB Kendall Fuller in coverage on many plays where Kupp should have an edge. One of the better backend WR options on the board. This week he should have more targets with the Redskins at least being competitive on the scoreboard.
Kenny Britt (DK – $4,000/FD – $5,700): In his first game in Cleveland, Britt caught one of three targets for 13 yards. He had WR2 snaps (52) behind Corey Coleman. The Brown’s coaching staff already has a negative tone toward him for a drop vs. the Steelers. It’s been reported that he may not start this week, which is surprising since they gave him $32.5 million in the offseason. Kenny has the talent to beat most CBs one-on-one, but he can’t make the QB throw him the ball. This looks like a tough matchup plus Britt may have less playing time. I think it’s just motivational speaking so he may surprise. If you want to throw a dart, a Kizer to Britt combo may lead to a low value combo.
Donte Moncrief (DK – $4,000/FD – $5,600); If Andrew Luck was behind center, Moncrief would be a live value play in Week 2. He only had one catch for 50 yards on four targets against the Rams, which came when Jacoby Brissett took over at QB. Donte was able to be on the field for 45 of 50 plays run by the Colts. His matchup with CB Justin Bethel does look favorable, but Indy probably won’t open up the playbook with Brissett only being on the roster for a couple of weeks. Game score will be key and the Cardinals will have one less bullet in the gun with David Johnson injured. Not dead in the water at this level while still having disaster downside.
Tyler Lockett (DK – $4,000/FD – $5,700): Seattle gave Lockett 26 plays in Week 1 while assuming all the kick return duties. He did flash on one catch that was called by a penalty. Overall, he only had one catch for eight yards on three targets. His snaps will rise going forward, but his opportunity falls well short of a daily game ride at this point of the season.
Tyler Gabriel (DK – $4,000/FD – $4,900): Tyler resumed his role as the WR3 in the Falcons’ offense in Week 1. Atlanta had him on the field for about half of their plays. He caught three of his four targets for 36 yards. In 2016, he had three catches for 68 yards and a TD vs. the Packers. Possible low value hookup for a Matt Ryan stack.
Mike Wallace (DK – $3,900/FD – $5,500): It’s good thing that Wallace was drafted as WR4 in the high stakes leagues. This left him on the bench for most owners, which was the right call after he delivered only one catch for eight yards. Mike was on the field for starting snaps (47), but game score deemed him irrelevant vs. the Bengals. Last season he had eight catches for 100 yards and two TDs on 11 targets in two games vs. the Browns. I don’t fear his CB coverage while his upside is again pinned to the scoring ability of his opponent. Certainly worth of scoring 15 Fantasy points while his targets won’t be impactful.
Jordan Matthews (DK – $3,900/FD – $6,400): Jordan outperform Zay Jones in Week 1 while both players fell short of being playable in any Fantasy format. Matthews caught two of his three targets for 61 yards. The Bills had him on the field for 67 of 77 plays, which is good sign after his summer battle with a chest injury. Last year with the Eagles, Jordan had seven games with double digit targets. His only game with over 100 yards receiving came in Week 1 (7/114/1). Carolina struggled in the secondary in 2016 (230/2903/14 on 347 targets) with four players gaining over 100 yards receiving (Julio Jones – 12/300/1, Brandin Cooks – 7/173/1, Michael Crabtree – 8/110, and DeSean Jackson – 7/111). The Panthers held the 49ers’ WRs to 117 yards and 11 catches on 19 targets in Week 1. Jordan should see Captain Munnerlyn in coverage on most plays. Undervalued WR1 in a game where the Bills will need to throw to win. In the mix as a backend WR option.
Devin Funchess (DK – $3,900/FD – $5,200): Devin added more boring to his career resume after catching both of his targets in Week 1 for 20 yards. On the positive side, Funchess did have starting snaps (45). Over his last 17 games, Devin has two catches or fewer in 15 games while never gaining over 60 yards receiving. He has some scoring ability and his role should improve in 2017, but there is a whole lot of emptiness in his stat line in most weeks.
Allen Hurns (DK – $3,900/FD – $5,600): I chased Hurns around all last season as a backend filler to my daily lineups. In the season long drafts, Allen was left in the free agent pool in many leagues. The injury to Allen Robinson does create a nice window for Hurns to prove his worth. He caught three of his four targets in Week 1 for 42 yards while just missing a TD due to a shoe string tackle. The battle for the number one WR in this offense 2017 will come down to Allen or Marqise Lee. Hurns flashed big play and scoring ability in 2015 (64/1031/10) so I’d give a shot on him. Last year he had his best game of the season against the Titans (7/98/1 with 11 targets. Tennessee does plays well vs. the run, but they had a tough time defending WRs (241/3066/16 on 405 targets). He’s face CB Logan Ryan in coverage who is a league average CB. At this level, a player with a chance at double digit targets owning big play and scoring ability feels like a good investment.
Phillip Dorsett (DK – $3,900/FD – $4,800): Dorsett won’t look like much on paper, but he does have the speed and quickness to work out of the slot. He’s been on the Patriots’ roster for a couple of weeks so he shouldn’t be ready to be on the same page with Tom Brady in this game. I mention him because he could surprise as low value option in a New England stack.
Kendall Wright (DK – $3,900/FD – $5,400): Wright played great in Week 1, but he was wearing a Tarik Cohen jersey😉. The Bears decided to take their advantage with speed by focusing on the Cohen out of the backfield in Week 1 leading all of Chicago’s WRs having no Fantasy value. Wright had the third most WR snaps (39) on the roster while receiving four targets leading to three catches for 34 yards. Too many ifs in this decision so I would look elsewhere for upside.
Jermaine Kearse (DK – $3,900/FD – $5,400): The wide receiving core is so bad on the Jets that Kearse came off the street to become the WR1 in Week 1. Jermaine caught seven of his nine targets for 59 yards. New York gave him WR2 snaps (55) behind Robby Anderson (57). Over 70 games in his career, Kearse only has over 100 yards receiving once (7/110 in 2015). It was only the fourth time in his career with seven catches or more. The Raiders have one top CB in Sean Smith. He’ll cover the Jets’ receiver who lines up on the left side of the field. This may lead to Jermaine drawing the worst matchup while New York tries to get the ball to Robby Anderson on the other side of the field. Not in play for me due to his low resume and success in Week 1.
Marqise Lee (DK – $3,800/FD – $5,900): Lee suffered an ankle injury in August that appeared bad enough to keep him out of some games in the regular season. He surprisingly played in Week 1, but he failed to catch any of his four targets. His high number of snaps (53) suggests he’s fully healthy. In 2016, Marqise had only four catches for 58 yards and a TD on 10 targets in two games vs. the Titans. Lee showed growth in 2016 (63/851/3) while the injury to Allen Robinson should create the best opportunity of his career if he can stay healthy. Viable, but he may need another game to find his rhythm in the Jaguars’ offense.
Terrance Williams (DK – $3,600/FD – $4,900): The Cowboys tried to be creative in their pass plays in Week 1 to get Williams more involved in the offense. I thought he looked improved leading to six catches for 68 yards on seven targets. Unfortunately, he suffered some sort of ankle injury. He has a tough matchup against Denver so Terrance would already fall into the avoid column. Need more info, but it won’t matter to me. Avoid.
Zay Jones (DK – $3,500/FD – $4,900): Jones wasn’t anything special in Week 1. He caught one of his four targets for 21 yards while being on the field for WR2 snaps (66). I’d love to say give him a ride, but I don’t have enough info about his opportunity leading to too much failure risk. Maybe next week.
Russell Shepard (DK – $3,500/FD – $4,900) – Shepard only make the list because he scored a TD last week. Russell was on the field for only 20 plays leading to two catches for 53 yards and a TD. Lots of moving parts at the backend of the Panthers’ WR core so it’s no on Shepard in any format.
Travis Benjamin (DK – $3,500/FD – $5,500): Week 1 ended up pretty good for Benjamin. He drew a tough matchup vs. the Broncos, but he was able to catch three of his four targets for 43 yards and a TD. The Chargers gave him WR3 snaps (39) while using him as a deep threat. I like the matchup for Rivers this week and Travis at least has a strong season on his resume (68/966/5). Possible follow through, but his targets may fall in a short area.
Marquise Goodwin (DK – $3,500/FD – $5,500): Last week there was a play where Goodwin beat the Panthers’ defense for a long TD, but Brian Hoyer overthrew the ball. Marquise ended up with only three catches for 21 yards on six targets. The 49ers gave him starting snaps (50), which helps his value. This week he’ll face the Seahawks’ defense so I don’t expect much. His success is built on a homerun swing.
Robby Anderson (DK – $3,400/FD – $5,100): I have to believe Anderson will draw a lot of attention at the backend of the WR pool. Many Fantasy owners drafted him as WR4 in the season long games, which just shows he’s undervalued in the daily games. The Jets are huge underdogs and they will need to throw in this game. In Week 1, Robby had four catches for 22 yards on eight targets as the WR1 for the Jets. Late in 2016, he had a three-game stretch where he caught 14 passes for 240 yards and two TDs on 29 targets. This works out to about 15 Fantasy points per game, which plenty for a player at this level. If he can avoid Sean Smith in coverage, Anderson could surprise in this game. The higher catch total will draw interest toward Jermaine Kearse while Robby should be the better play. Backend filler with upside in a chaser game.
Chris Conley (DK – $3,200/FD – $4,900): Just based on playing time, Conley could be worth a look. Last week he had the most wide receiver snaps (65) on the Chiefs, but he was only able to get four targets. Chris finished with two catches for 43 yards. In 2016, he didn’t score a TD while only having one game with more than four catches and no games with over 70 yards receiving. Deep threat with a low volume opportunity.