If you’re one of the tens of millions of people who will be participating in fantasy football this season, you’re going to have some decisions to make each and every week. While I’m no Condia, I have done fairly well in the daily fantasy sports realm over the past few years and I’ll now be providing my recommendations on a regular basis here at The Social Gambler.
We had more hits than misses last week, though recommending you start Owen Daniels and sit Travis Kelce was certainly a lowlight. Here are a few suggestions for Week 2:
*Note- as always with columns of this nature, each player will be evaluated based on his cost. In other words, if I list Adrian Peterson as a “sit” and Joique Bell as a “start”, that doesn’t mean I expect Bell to score more points than Peterson, only that he’s a better play in relation to his cost.
QB Ryan Tannehill (FanDuel price- $8,000)- Tannehill threw the ball fairly well last week against a Washington defense that I believe will be better than most expect in 2015, completing 8 of his 13 passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield. On Sunday he’ll face a Jacksonville defense that has surrendered more than 15 fantasy points per game (standard scoring) to opposing quarterbacks since the beginning of last season. With 10 quarterbacks costing more than him at FanDuel, Tannehill is a great value this week.
RB Carlos Hyde (FanDuel price- $7,000)- I cannot for the life of me figure out why Carlos Hyde cost just $7,000 this week, but at that price he’s an absolute must-start against a Pittsburgh defense that struggled against the run in 2014 and looked bad again in the opener, surrendering 4.6 yards per carry to unheralded New England running back Dion Lewis. The only worry here is that the 49ers will fall behind early and be forced into catch-up mode, but even if that happens I don’t think the San Francisco offense, the way it’s currently configured, will abandon the running game. Start Hyde with confidence.
WR Brandin Cooks (FanDuel price- $7,400)- Cooks disappointed his owners in Week 1 with just 4 catches for 49 yards, but he’s primed for a huge day on Sunday against the porous Tampa defense, a unit that just surrendered 4 touchdown passes to a rookie making his first career start. What’s going to happen, then, when they face Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense in the Superdome? Hint: there’s a reason the Saints are 10-point favorites. Cooks is the number 1 option in the passing game now that Jimmy Graham is gone (he was targeted 8 times last week) and he should put up some big numbers against the Bucs.
TE Ladarius Green (FanDuel price- $5,600)- While he may not be as useful once Antonio Gates returns from his 4-game suspension, Green is one of the primary cogs in an excellent San Diego passing attack right now and he’s an absolute bargain at just $5,600. Last week he caught 5 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown despite facing a Detroit defense that was one of the league’s best last season. The Bengals, this week’s opponent, were only average in defending tight ends last year, surrendering better than 6 points per game to the position. I’m starting Green in several lineups.
D/ST Houston Texans (FanDuel price- $4,600)- The Texans have plenty of playmakers on their defense, most notably All-Pro end J.J. Watt, and this week they face a Carolina offense that is decidedly lacking in the “playmaker” department. We all thought it might get ugly when the Panthers lost leading receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the preseason, and seeing them stumble around against Jacksonville last week just confirmed it. I expect the Houston defense to totally dominate the game on Sunday, and remember– ball security has never been one of Cam Newton’s strengths, which is why the Panthers surrendered the 11th-most points to opposing defenses in 2014. The Texans are a sensible play this week.
QB Matt Stafford (FanDuel price- $7,700)- Stafford threw for 246 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week but he also threw two interceptions, an issue that has plagued him throughout his career. Even more concerning is the fact that he sustained some sort of upper arm injury after being hit by San Diego linebacker Melvin Ingram, an injury that limited him at practice this week. Stafford will play on Sunday, but he’ll be on the road against a tough Minnesota defense that laid an egg in a Week 1 loss to San Francisco. Keep him out of your lineups.
RB Frank Gore (FanDuel price- $7,000)- This feels a bit like piling on since Gore was so terrible in Week 1 (8 car, 31 yds, zero rec. yds), but based on the fact that he cost $7,000 at FanDuel– same price as Carlos Hayde, more expensive than the likes of Jonathan Stewart, Chris Ivory, and Joseph Randle– he deserves to be on the “sit” list. Gore is facing the excellent Jets defense on Monday night, a unit that held Cleveland’s three running backs to 46 combined yards last week. Tough matchup.
WR Julian Edelman (FanDuel price- $7,600)- Edelman is coming off a monster game against Pittsburgh, but things will be significantly more difficult for him on Sunday in Buffalo. The Bills have one of the NFL’s best defenses this season and a sure-tackling secondary that will focus on limiting Edelman’s yards after catch, his greatest weapon. The Pats won’t be totally shut down but I have a feeling that yards and points are going to be tough to come by, and Edelman is clearly far below Rob Gronkowski in Tom Brady’s red-zone pecking order. He’ll get a few balls, but I don’t think Edelman will live up to his lofty price tag this week.
TE Tyler Eifert (FanDuel price- $5,900)- Eifert is a good-looking young player who is coming off a career-best performance, hauling in 9 receptions for 104 yards and 2 TDs against Oakland last week. That has vaulted him all the way up to being the sixth-most expensive tight end at FanDuel this week, and at that price I think his owners are setting themselves up for disappointment. Look, Eifert had just two career touchdowns heading into last week’s game. He isn’t Jimmy Graham. And his quarterback, Andy Dalton, most definitely isn’t Drew Brees. The San Diego defense is better than people realize, and I’m sure they’ll be paying extra attention to Eifert after watching last week’s game tape. I’d look elsewhere for your tight end.
D/ST Arizona Cardinals (FanDuel price- $4,600)- At $4,600, the Cardinals are the sixth-most expensive defense at FanDuel right now and I don’t like that at all. They travel to Chicago to face the Bears on Sunday, a team that moved the ball up and down the field on Green Bay last week. The Bears have one of the more balanced offenses in the league, as Matt Forte is a true bell-cow running back and Jay Cutler certainly isn’t afraid to let it rip (for better or worse), and I’d be surprised if the Cardinals were able to hold them below 24-28 points. My No. 1 rule when picking a defense is AVOID POTENTIAL DISASTERS, and the Arizona D on the road in Chicago this week feels like a potential disaster to me.