Making A Millionaire: Top DFS Value Plays For NFL Week 2
Tiebreaker.com brings you the top NFL Daily Fantasy value plays at each skill position each week through the regular season and into the playoffs, all the way to Super Bowl LIII. While the primary focus of this weekly article is the DraftKings Millionaire Maker, we will provide FanDuel pricing for each of our recommendations, and also share thoughts on the best players to use from Thursday, Sunday and Monday night games in other big-dollar tournaments. As for who should be in your Millionaire lineups, here are the top value plays for Week 2, with an eye toward low ownership and high upside. But first, a look back at how we did in Week 1:
Courtland Sutton underwhelmed, even at $3,600, but Denver’s Case Keenum and Emmanuel Sanders crushed at their low salaries, and top-end plays Antonio Brown, Michael Thomas and Rob Gronkowski all delivered big games. Until DraftKings adjusts, attack the Seattle defense with passing games. The Legion of Boom is dead. My quarterbacks all came through (except for Big Ben), with Drew Brees and Philip Rivers posting big games. And don’t sleep on Eric Ebron. He came through with a touchdown.
One of my personal mantras as a Millionaire Maker contestant has always been to avoid the chalk. This actually carries through all my DraftKings play – NBA, MLB, Golf – I never want to have players with huge ownership. I want those big plays at low ownership while hoping the chalk falters, creating massive payout opportunities. But sometimes, you just have to eat.
I did not hype Alvin Kamara (33-percent ownership) – in fact, I proposed the pivot with Ezekiel Elliott – and I paid for it. I did not recommend James Conner (25 percent), instead opting for Peyton Barber, and I paid for it. Had I stacked Kamara and Thomas along with Conner to go with my Denver stack of Keenum-Sanders-Sutton, I’d have smashed this weekend. Sometimes chalk really helps avoid heartburn.
Oh, Leonard Fournette. He was in line for a really nice game before he hurt his hamstring. You just can’t account for things like that. On a day without 30-mph winds and rain, Ben Roethlisberger would have been a good play. Hopefully everyone made the weather pivot there. But the Ezekiel Elliott call, in lieu of Alvin Kamara – sorry about that. I will use chalk to write about using chalk 100 times on the chalkboard. Also, no more Matt Stafford recommendations for a while.
Now, it’s on to Week 2.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs ($6,900 DK, $7,600 FD)
Recency bias is a thing in DFS and considering his awful performance last week and his elevated salary, second only at the position to Drew Brees, Big Ben’s ownership should be artificially deflated this week, and that is sensational news for savvy players. Roethlisberger is always far better at home and on the road, and if the winds aren’t blowing 30 mph – check that hurricane forecast, to be sure – he should have little trouble carving up a weak Kansas City secondary. Everyone will be on James Conner here. Ben and the passing game is a primo pivot.
Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints ($5,900 DK, $6,600 FD)
Is TyGod back? Well, maybe pump the brakes a little bit, but Taylor showed flashes of his dual-threat goodness last week, and as we say all the time, the Superdome turns everyone into a DFS hero. You cannot tell me Taylor can’t put up two-thirds of what Ryan Fitzpatrick did last week. If he does, he hits the magic 5X mark – points that equal five times his salary. Fitzpatrick ran for 36 yards and a score last week. Taylor ran for 77 yards. Dial up TyGod and let his toes do the walking for you.
Discount Darling: Sam Darnold, New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins ($5,100 DK, $6,600 FD)
Here we are probably eating the chalk, but after his poised performance over the last 59 minutes, 40 seconds of Monday night’s rout of the Lions, he is pretty much a free square at this price. Case Keenum was $5,100 last week and scored five times his salary, which is the gold-standard result. If the Jets cool it with the defensive/special teams touchdowns, a 300-yard, 3 TD game is well within reach here.
Avoid: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings ($6,800 DK, $8,700 FD)
The Packers medical staff might make this decision for us before Sunday, but Rodgers’ second-half heroics aside, he looked totally immobile and while Khalil Mack made the Bears defense look good, they’re not at the Vikings’ level, especially in the secondary. Rodgers’ salary is reasonable, but it’s just too dicey to consider, given the solid options just below him.
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals ($9,200 DK, $8,900 FD)
Remember when the NFC West had two lockdown defenses in Seattle and Arizona? Those days appear to be over. Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson went off against the Cardinals last week. Gurley went off against an inspired Raiders team on Monday night. That’s probably a deadly combo this week. Alvin Kamara is always a legit option, obviously, but Gurley saves you $300 in salary and might be a little less owned. See that? Two categories in, and already not following my own advice. No matter. Trust Gurley.
Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins vs. Indianapolis Colts ($5,900 DK, $6,200 FD)
Did we mention Chris Thompson? We saw last week that the Bengals were able to get Joe Mixon going by targeting him seven times in the passing game against the Colts. That’s Thompson’s bread and butter and he abused the Cardinals last week. Alex Smith looked for Thompson seven times as well. Expect at least the same number of targets in the dome against the leaky Colts defense.
Discount Darling: Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills ($4,400 DK, $5,600 FD)
Melvin Gordon is still clearly the man here, but Ekeler is apparently going to be the new Danny Woodhead for this offense and he found the end zone again last week. His salary is still dirt cheap for the amount of usage he’s likely to get in a game that might get out of hand very early. The Chargers will not risk an injury to Gordon if they blow the Bills out early, which could make Ekeler that smash value at all positions.
Avoid: Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots ($6,800 DK, $7,700 FD)
Let’s assume Fournette plays despite his hamstring injury, we saw a different kind of Patriots defense this past week, one that might make life difficult for the Jaguars. Christian McCaffrey is only $200 more and Melvin Gordon, who has a real chance to pile up points against the Bills, is only $600 more. If Tom Brady puts the Jags in an early hole – are you betting against the GOAT? – Fournette’s usage could take a hit. He’s a little too volatile to trust this week.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers ($8,400 DK, $8,500 FD)
I absolutely love the spot that Jones finds himself in this week. He’s got Antonio Brown and Michael Thomas just above him in salary and DeAndre Hopkins and Keenan Allen just below him. He’s also the only receiver with a red number next to his name in the queue. People are going to pivot up and down away from him, leaving him a dream ownership spot where he is going to command the ball against the Carolina defense. I loved what I saw in the Thursday night game last week and there was definitely room to be even better. I think he gets better on Sunday.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs ($6,400 DK, $7,200 FD)
Chargers receivers not named Keenan Allen accounted for 16 targets against the Chiefs last week. The Steelers don’t have the same depth at receiver as the Chargers, so you can bet JuJu is going to soak up a good amount of those non-Antonio targets. JuJu topped 100 yards on eight targets last week. He could see upwards of 12 this week in far better playing conditions against a much worse secondary.
Discount Darling: Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccanners; Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers ($4,600 DK, $6,100/6,200 FD)
My first lean here is for Cobb, with Davante Adams almost assured to draw Xavier Rhodes. But this pick all depends on Aaron Rodgers’ availability. If Rodgers plays, Cobb is a terrific option, as DraftKings released their Week 2 salaries before Cobb went off against the Bears. If Rodgers sits, then Godwin became a terrific option with DeSean Jackson isn’t cleared from concussion protocol. Check your Twitter feed for updates on Rodgers and Jackson this week.
Avoid: Devante Adams, Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings ($6,800 DK, $8,100 FD)
I just don’t like playing the receivers that go against Patrick Peterson and Xavier Rhodes. These are the top lockdown defenders in the game, and if Rodgers is out, then the decision to fade Adams becomes really easy.
Jared Cook, Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals ($3,600 DK, $5,000 FD)
Wow, Jared Cook! If you stayed up to see it Monday night (and hopefully watched the game with the TV on mute), you saw a Gronk-like performance from the former Rams TE. Revenge game? Maybe. But also maybe a new favorite target for Derek Carr. If Cook is going to be in the 12-target range again, he’s a must play.
Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts vs. Washington Redskins ($3,500 DK, $5,500 FD)
The Andrew Luck-Eric Erbon Bromance carried over into the regular season last week, with Ebron finding the end zone in his official Colts debut. In the early going Jack Doyle is going to be the more highly-owned of the two Colts tight ends, but Ebron is looking like he might be the more active of the two. He’s a terrific pivot play.
Discount Darling: Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans ($3,100 DK, $4,200 FD)
The Titans drafted Smith for the day he replaced Delanie Walker, but they didn’t expect that day so soon. That day is here, like it or not, and it’s time for Smith to get the full treatment in the offense. He has the talent to succeed. It’s up to the team to believe in him and give him the same looks that made Walker such a valuable fantasy option.
Avoid: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers ($5,900 DK, $6,800 FD)
Kelce was not part of the offense in Week 1 against the Chargers, and we don’t want to draw too much of a conclusion about that, considering how insane Tyreek Hill was last week, but still, we don’t know if Pat Mahomes is going to have the same chemistry with Kelce that Alex Smith had. And add to that, the Steelers are still stingy against tight ends. I’d rather go up $200 to Zach Ertz if I’m spending here.
Each week we’ll look to identify good plays based on anticipated game flow. If you think one team will take a big lead on the other, you might reach for that team’s running back, while using the QB/WR1 of the team playing from behind. Or, as we’ll highlight often, a top RB with his team’s defense, as the RB is often used to close out blowouts created by great defensive play. Let’s look at some Week 2 correlation plays:
Todd Gurley-Rams defense
Even with David Johnson back on the field, the Cardinals’ offense left everything to be desired against Washington. If the Rams are able to apply the same pressure and keep the Cards off the field, Gurley could have a field day pounding out the clock.
Tyrod Taylor-Jarvis Landry-Alvin Kamara
We’re expecting the Saints to bounce back in a big way after such a dreadful Week 1 performance. Alvin Kamara was solid in defeat and will be solid in victory. He should be the focal point of the offense after James Conner went wild against the Browns last week. That should force the Browns to throw often, and Jarvis Landry is Tyrod Taylor’s top target.
Ben Roethlisberger-Antonio Brown-JuJu Smith-Schuster
The Chiefs’ defense did not stop the Chargers as much as the Chargers, per usual, stopped themselves with dropped passes. The Pittsburgh offense at Heinz Field is like the Colorado Rockies’ offense at Coors Field – a total 180 from how they play on the road. Expect a shootout here, and for both Steelers WRs to hit 100 yards receiving.
Alex Smith-Chris Thompson
The Smith-Thompson combo worked like magic last week and that should continue indoors against a weak Colts defense that allowed Joe Mixon to have a big day as a receiver out of the backfield. Jordan Reed is a nice add to this stack, as well.
THURSDAY, SUNDAY-MONDAY NIGHT PLAYS
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears ($6,000 DK, $7,800 FD)
If a completely immobile quarterback can torch this defense in one half, what do we think a mobile QB can do for a whole game? Not much according to the DraftKings algorithm, since Wilson is priced so low, but that salary was released before Aaron Rodgers torched the Bears in the second half. If Wilson had thrown for two more yards last week, he’d have finished with 25 DK points. I’d gladly take that at a salary of 6K. He’s an ideal Monday night hammer play.
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys ($7,300 DK, $7,900 FD)
Barkley sure looked like the real deal against a real-deal defense. Now he gets to face a Dallas defense that didn’t have a lot of answers for Christian McCaffrey last week, other than forcing a key goal-line fumble. We’re guessing Barkley holds onto the ball and repeats his 100-yard effort from Week 1. This is a chalk alert, but darn it, we’re going to eat!
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears vs. Seattle Seahawks ($,00 DK, $6,500 FD)
He didn’t get hurt, so that’s a major victory right out of the box. We saw the success the Broncos had throwing the ball against the former Boomers, and we think Mitch Trubisky can have similar success on Monday night. Robinson will be in the Emmanuel Sanders role at a similarly cheap price. I’m all about attacking the Seahakws defense until it proves its not a shell of its former self.
Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears ($3,300 DK, $4,600 FD)
All the Dissly! The rookie looked Graham-esque in Week 1 and is now the main man at the position for the Seahawks. Evan Engram is going to garner a lot of ownership in the Sunday-Monday slate, so Dissly might get dissed. Don’t be that disser!
Discount Darling: Willie Snead IV ($3,900 DK, $5,400 FD)
I wonder how many people realized Snead isn’t playing for the Saints anymore when they saw he was catching touchdown passes in Baltimore on Sunday. I am loathe to recommend players in the Thursday game on the Thursday slate – they are almost always over-owned in games that often produce offensive duds. But I like Snead to sneak under the radar after a solid game against the Bills and make an impact at a bargain price.
Avoid: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants ($5,600 DK, $6,800 FD)
The 2016 season looks like a long, long time ago now. We can’t chalk it up to Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension anymore, either. Maybe the Cowboys should have stuck with Romo, after all.