Another week of NFL action is upon us and with it, Collin Hulbert’s expert picks and analysis to get you through another week of daily fantasy football.
Week 1 is over and I’m thrilled with the outcome. We entered two lineups consisting of players from the Week 1 pick slate and entered in three different contests. We chose one tournament (did not cash) and two 50/50 contests (cashed in both). Our scores were 149.4 and 130.96 on FanDuel. We also entered one 50/50 contest in DraftKings and scored 168 (Cashed in a 50/50 as well). Just a heads-up, we won’t be running back the recap of the Draftkings scores each week. We are just using the FanDuel scores for continuity.
Week 2 preview
Week 2 has some interesting matchups and should help to cleanse our pallets of some ugly performances from some teams out there from Week 1. The opening week usually has to be taken with a grain of salt but I can’t help but feel like it may take a few weeks to shake off the rust since starters nowadays hardly play at all in the preseason.
This week has some deep value plays, due to some injuries and surprising Week 1 involvement. Some players on DraftKings are unusually cheap and yet much more expensive on FanDuel and vice versa. As it is set every week, the prices on FanDuel and DraftKings are listed next to every player in parentheses.[table “87” not found /]
Tom Brady (DK-$6,400/FD-$7,800)
Tom Brady is fresh and equipped now with one of the greatest receiver trios of all time. He likely has the best defense he’s ever had. The Dolphins are the worst team in the NFL and I can say that definitively. The Dolphins shipped off two great young players before the season started and got eviscerated last week, surrendering 42 points in the first half to a team not know for their offensive prowess. This week, Brady and company will cruise and there’s little doubt about it. The only question is, is this one of those Sony Michel games or will Brady put up 315 yards and 3 touchdowns before they call off the dogs? Oddsmakers have Brady at the highest line this week. It’s best to take their player prop line and use it to your advantage.
Josh Allen (DK-$5,300/FD-$7,500)
In the 90s cult classic film, PCU, there a theory called the “Caine-Hackman Theory”. The theory states that at any point in time, there’s always either a Michael Caine or Gene Hackman film playing on cable at the same time. Over the course of this 2019 DFS system, I plan on establishing the basis for my own DFS theory, the “Jackson-Allen Theory”. Every week I’m likely going to recommend either Lamar Jackson or Josh Allen as a top-three quarterback play.
After seeing last week’s spiritless performance against the Cowboys, I’m pretty confident the Bills and Allen can open up this Giants defense. Don’t get me wrong, Kellen Moore should get plenty of credit for destroying the Giants, but at some point, you have to weigh credit and blame and there was plenty of the latter to be attributed to the Giants. Josh Allen offers an immense challenge for the Giants as he was able to put things together in the second half against the Jets and lead his team from a 16 point deficit on the road to snag a victory in Week 1. I think Allen will take what the defense gives him and make the Giants pay on the ground. I’d expect at least one or two big pass plays from Buffalo in this game.
Ben Roethlisberger (DK-$5,800/FD-$7,400)
Ben doesn’t have a huge line in this one. Oddsmakers have him throwing for around 295 yards and 2.5 touchdowns. For that price, on both DraftKings and FanDuel, that’s the best value for the expected production. It’s that simple. The Seahawks were shredded for 418 yards by Andy Dalton the week prior and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say if Dalton could do that in Seattle, what’s Ben going to do at home against Seattle? I think this could be a huge performance for Ben and the Steelers offense.
Alvin Kamara (DK-$8,200/FD-$8,700)
In three career games against the Rams, Kamara has five total touchdowns and has averaged 138 scrimmage yards per game. His line this week is 117 yards and around 1.5 touchdowns. After seeing what Christian McCaffrey did to the Rams last week, I’m confident the Rams are going to have all kinds of trouble slowing Kamara down. Roster him in all contests.
Josh Jacobs (DK-$4,700/FD-$6,500)
Josh Jacobs kicked off his NFL career with a solid, two-touchdown performance. This week, the Raiders will host their division rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs defense was spotty last week, allowing Gardner Minshew to come in and carve up their defense with eleven straight completions to kick off his career. If the Raiders can stick around in this, I think Jacobs will have plenty of opportunities. His line is 65 yards rushing and around 20 yards receiving, so you’ll get good value on FanDuel with his price but tremendous value for him on DraftKings. Roll with him on DraftKings and I’ll be sure to double back in the Flex section to cover FanDuel.
Matt Breida (DK-$5,200/FD-$5,600)
Matt Breida is an actual wolverine. The guy doesn’t miss time, despite the flurry of injuries he seems to accumulate throughout the course of games. His line is 60 yards rushing this week and his DraftKings and FanDuel salary is under market value on each. Breida is the starter this week and we saw plenty of him in 2018, as Breida is certainly capable of having big games. I expect Mostert to get some work but Breida should get the lion’s share of the work and for 12-plus touches, you won’t get much better value there.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (DK-$7,500/FD-$8,100)
Juju was limited to a very modest output in Week 1 (6 receptions for 73 yards) but the good news is, going forward, Juju will be clear of facing any corners as amazing as Gilmore from here out. This week, Juju will get the Seahawks at home, who were burned for a total of 418 passing yards via Andy Dalton. It was an atrocious display of pass defense last week for the Seahawks at home. Ben and Juju have an even better connection than Dalton and any receiver from last week, so I’m expecting big things here and the oddsmakers are too. His line this week is just over 90 yards.
Brandin Cooks (DK-$6,300/FD-$7,000)
Brandin Cooks has the capacity to explode this week. The Saints passing defense was frustrating last week and most of last year. Last season, the Rams carved up the Saints passing defense and I’m anticipating more of this same this round. Cooks is riding a line of 74 yards this week. He’s got decent value on FanDuel this week but even better value on DraftKings.
Mecole Hardman (DK-$4,800/FD-$4,700)
Hardman is a discount play on both DraftKings and FanDuel this week. He will apparently split snaps with De’Anthony Thomas in Tyreek Hill’s role until Hill returns later in the season. Though Hardman drew a 78% snap rate in Week 1, he failed to record a reception. I think we saw enough of the electric ability of Hardman in the preseason, but it may take some time to get him acclimated with the first-team offense. I’m anticipating four or five targets this week but for the price, his speed and explosive ability offers upside worthy of a much higher salary.
George Kittle (DK-$6,800/FD-$7,100)
Kittle is back in the lineup this week, again. Last week, he had two touchdowns called back and still finished with eight receptions for 54 yards. This week, Kittle gets the Bengals and their questionable defense. His line this week is around 80-85 yards, so you can expect a heavy usage rate. For the price on both DraftKings and FanDuel, it’s going to be hard to find a better value anywhere near the price.
T.J. Hockenson (DK-$3,000/FD-$6,000)
Six receptions and 131 yards later, TJ Hockenson is in the record books as the first rookie to amass that amount of yardage as a tight end. His sports betting line this week is around 49 yards and he’s got a matchup against the Chargers that’s hard to predict. Teams with balanced offenses like Detroit are often the best types of teams to feature breakout tight end performances because of the element of disguise and surprise.
Play action opens up some favorable schemes and coverages for tight ends as well. Hockenson was also graded by Pro Football Focus (PFF) as the top blocking tight end in Week 1, so his ridiculous snap rate can continue, seeing as how he’s not a liability in certain plays. Hockenson ran 37 routes in Week 1, which was among the leaders for tight ends. Expect more heavy usage this week. He’s a steal on DraftKings this week.
Darren Waller (DK-$3,300/FD-$5,400)
Waller, like Hockenson, emerged last week as another young and talented player who could potentially be a top 7 tight end. Waller’s usage rates were high and his eight targets, which translated to seven receptions for 70 yards, were the most targets and receptions among anyone on the team. Waller actually has a higher line than Hockenson this week with 54 yards and is cheaper on FanDuel than Hockenson.
Patriots D (DK-$3,700/FD-$4,900)
We went over the Dolphins already, so I don’t think it’s necessary to go over this again, given what all we know about each team. The spread here is 18.5 points and the quarterback for the Dolphins is notorious journeyman, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Bills D (DK-$3,400/FD-$4,600)
The Bills have a legitimately great defense, so don’t get the impression I’m picking them because the quarterback at the helm for the Giants is a zombie at this point in his career. It definitely aided in my decision, but I like this matchup for Buffalo and believe the offense will be successful enough to warrant more risks downfield from the Giants to keep pace and beat the certain stacked box Saquan is going to face here.
John Brown (DK-$5,200/FD-$6,300)
A cheap DraftKings flex option here is John Brown. Brown seems to have some good chemistry with Josh Allen and the speedster should get good enough separation this week to exploit a weak Giants secondary. Brown’s line is 60 yards this week, which is great value for his DraftKings price.
Tyler Boyd (DK-$6,500/FD-$6,300)
Contrary to Brown, Tyler Boyd is a better value for FanDuel this week as he is carrying an expected yardage total of 75 in this contest. Compare their identical salaries on FanDuel with the expected output of Boyd vs Brown and you have a great option here as a flex.
Gio Bernard (DK-$5,300/FD-$5,700)
Monitor Joe Mixon’s health all weekend because if he fails to suit up, Bernard is going to be a DFS steal on both FanDuel and DraftKings this week. His expected yardage will be around 90-100 yards combined if Mixon is a no-go, so keep your eyes open this weekend.
Austin Ekeler (DK-$6,100/FD-$7,500)
I’m not sure why Ekeler is so dirt cheap on DraftKings this week but he is. If you’re looking to flex on DraftKings this week, keep in mind Ekeler’s yardage expected is around 100 yards. Similar to Bernard, he’s going to be an incredible value play this week. Suit him up in your DraftKings rosters.
Sony Michel (DK-$6,200/FD-$6,800)
Given the fact the Patriots will likely be in a positive game script the entire game, this could end up being one of those Sony Michel games where the man gets 90 yards and three touchdowns. The Dolphins were destroyed last week, so I feel as if Michel is going to get plenty of work and stands a good chance to score a few touchdowns this week. Moderate risk, but a very high ceiling.
Collin is a former Army Intelligence and Logistics officer who got a little too into Football analysis. Since leaving the Army, he’s practically the Jack Ryan of football analysts. But he spends most of his days with his wife and two daughters, so he is clearly a better father than Jack Ryan.
Follow Collin on Twitter @CollinHulbert