Onto the next battle. Since we're still early in the season, here's a bullet point list of what you'll find in 'Value Plays' article each Friday ...
- Each position features three players that I believe are strong value selections for the upcoming weekend, plus the reasoning behind the choice.
- The price tag indicated in parentheses is what you will find over at DraftKings.com.
- Following a quick write-up of why each particular player is a solid value, I'll offer a suggestion on where you should then take your money savings. This works to provide a run-down of the more highly-priced guys that I do like for the upcoming weekend.
- At each position I will also list the highest-priced player in that spot, alongside a 1-10 score which references how confident I would be in that player earning back their cost (10 being a guarantee).
Of course, when you're dealing with a salary cap structure, a good portion of the players I recommend do not correlate to top-notch starting options in season-long play. About half the time, a DFS recommendation is not a thumbs' up for that same player in your season-long set-up (i.e. the NY Giants defense against Atlanta).
Before I jump into the Week 2 DFS value plays, here's a look at the Week 1 Report Card ...
- Hits all around at the QB spot with Sam Bradford, Carson Palmer, and Tyrod Taylor all paying off with big weeks, relative to cost.
- Danny Woodhead emerged as a massive hit at RB. Doug Martin and Alfred Blue, were mostly non-impact.
- All three receiver picks from last week (Terrance Williams, Eddie Royal, and Kamar Aiken) ended up as duds.
- In a week when there were big-time efforts from a variety of TEs, none of the 3 I suggested as value plays (Larry Donnell, Ben Watson, or Virgil Green) came through.
- I had a pair of big hits on DEF with both Tennessee and the New York Jets finishing in the top 4 among all team defensive units. Tampa Bay? Not so much.
Overall Week 1 Grade - C+
Colin Kaepernick ($6,600) @ PIT - Until noted otherwise, we have to treat Pittsburgh as one of the weaker team defenses out there. Anyone who watched them flail and grasp at air versus New England in Week 1 knows that they are a crew to target. They failed to force a turnover, allowed more than six yards on every snap, and let Tom Brady complete nearly 80% of his passes. They're also young all over the place. Now, of course, Kaepernick is never a certainty under center (for what it's worth, though, he looked much more like a real, NFL-level, pocket passer in Week 1), but at this price all you necessarily need is 200 yards passing, a TD, and maybe 40 yards of rushing. That's all do-able and there could be oh, so much more!
If you save here, spend here - DeMarco Murray ($7,000) vs. DAL
Joe Flacco ($6,400) @ OAK - I look at last week's utter offensive disaster between Baltimore and Denver last weekend and I just want to throw everything out the window. Offensively, who did well? Frankly, no one! It was a complete and thorough puke-fest in the Mile High City. Flacco couldn't escape the sinking ship. He managed a tiny 117 yards through the air and was picked off twice. So, why is he here? First off, he has consistently fooled us when we expect nothing. Last season, he had one two-game stretch where he failed to toss at least a pair of TDs. So, coming off his goose egg of last week, let's count on some recent history going his way. Secondly, he's up against the Raiders. This is a team that was ransacked by ... Andy Dalton ... for nearly 270 yards, a couple of passing scores, and no picks. Flacco is every bit the QB as Dalton, but without the weapons. I think that the Ravens have much too smart a coaching staff to settle for back-to-back awful offensive outings. Flacco won't go' big,' but he will go 'good enough' at this price tage.
If you save here, spend here - Matt Forte ($7,700) vs. ARZ
Andy Dalton ($5,800) vs. SD - Hey, I was just mentioning this guy! Dalton still can't crack the six-grand barrier at DraftKings this week. But, that's a good thing as he has been just fine in his career at home ... when the sun is out. His defense should shine in this one (they always do when playing in front of the home support) and I expect some short fields to favor Dalton. When you go this cheaply at the QB spot, you're not banking on 20 points. You're banking on the money saved allowing you to go with the powerhouse players at other spots. Really, all you need from an investment like Dalton is to get 15-17 points. That works out to 225 yards and a couple of scores. In 32 career home appearances, Dalton averages 225 yards (!) and 1.63 TDs
If you save here, spend here - Antonio Brown ($8,800) vs. SF
Top of the Chart - Aaron Rodgers ($8,300) @ SEA - 8.5
Gio Bernard ($4,500) vs. SD - Just seven days ago, the feelings on Bernard were mostly soft. Many had gone 'all-in' on Jeremy Hill being set for 20 touches per week, with Bernard as a caddy, set for maybe 10-12 touches per week. He did handle just 14 touches last week in the win over Oakland, but the key is that nearly half of those touches were on receptions (and, yes, we are playing in PPR leagues!). Racking up those cheap points should be there most of the year for Bernard. It's casually forgotten that he's been averaged 50 catches over two NFL seasons. He could see his pass catching total hit 60 this year. For such a consistent pass-catching threat, Bernard's price will usually come in as a bargain.
If you save here, spend here - Jason Witten ($4,300) @ PHI
Danny Woodhead ($4,000) @ CIN - Woodhead works much the same territory as Bernard. He's a pass-catching monster in an offense that needs him. A week ago, we saw the Chargers not only give their running vet plenty of snap action, but also plenty of red-zone snap action. The surprising development led to an unlikely two rushing TDs (Woodhead had 12 career rushing scores in seven seasons before the coming out party). I'm not telling you to count on that, but for now, San Diego is more intent on winning than developing rookie, Melvin Gordon. That means that 12-15 touches should be an early-season given for Woodhead and paying just 4K is a steal when that's the case.
If you save here, spend here - Mark Ingram ($5,900) vs. TB
Chris Johnson ($3,800) @ CHI - Unlike his coaching brethren, Arizona head coach, Bruce Arians, is a straight shooter. As such, earlier in the week, Arians publically noted that he doesn't like to trust rookies and, even if he was wired differently, rookie runner, David Johnson, just isn't ready for prime time, yet. Now, is the other and more elder Johnson a great bet in this matchup? Not really. But, remember, we're talking value here. Johnson figures to get at least 10 carries and maybe even a few receptions. I think that Arizona will move up the field on the Bears and can find their way to 30 points. Surely, Johnson can be a part of that, right??
If you save here, spend here - Justin Forsett ($6,400) @ OAK
Top of the Chart - Adrian Peterson ($7,700) vs. DET - 8.0 and Matt Forte ($7,700) vs. ARZ - 8.1
Tyler Lockett ($3,400) @ GB - Lost in the fallout of the upset loss in St. Louis is that Lockett performed like a vet in his NFL debut. As a returner, he was spectacular with a total of four kick and punt returns that led to a touchdown and 119 yards. And, he wasn't shabby in the actual offense, either, pulling in all four targets that came his way, ending up with 34 yards. In all actuality, I liked what I saw from the two guys ahead of Lockett, too. Both Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse had fine moments, as well, against the Rams. Still, Lockett is my favorite big-play threat in this offense and in the match-up with Green Bay, he's up against a secondary that will again be without starting safety, Morgan Burnett, and features a ton of youth at cornerback.
If you save here, spend here - Jordan Matthews ($7,100) vs. DAL
Brandon Coleman ($3,300) vs. TB - If you're a top three reception target in a Drew Brees-led offense, you end up on this list when the price lands near the bottom of the barrel. That's where Coleman stands after posting four pass catches (on seven targets) and a score while waging battle with Arizona's secondary last weekend. This weekend he faces a Buccaneers outfit that had all sorts of communication let-downs against Marcus Mariota and the Titans last week. You think Brees is licking his chops? I do and Coleman is a downright cheap shot in the dark.
If you save here, spend here - Brandin Cooks ($7,100) vs. TB
Cole Beasley ($3,300) @ PHI - Beasley is not a difference-making talent. He's not a superior athlete. He's not an 'upside' play or a guy who has a lot of growth in him. What he's become is a man who has to step-up and fill-in for the missing Dez Bryant. Dallas will be in desperation mode versus Philly this week and with little time to get any new pieces up to speed, a guy with system experience like Beasley becomes tempting for PPR-players. You're likely not looking at any major yardage or even a score, but a half-dozen receptions wouldn't surprise me.
If you save here, spend here - Andrew Luck ($8,200) vs. NYJ
Top of the Chart - Julio Jones ($8,900) @ NYG - 9.2
Jordan Reed ($3,700) vs. STL - Understand that as I type this on Thursday night, there is still loads of time for Reed to do what he does best ... come up lame. He was limping around at the last Washington practice with what the coaching staff termed a 'minor' quad issue. Of course, if you've followed Reed's time at all, you understand that there is no such thing as 'minor' injuries with this tight end. For now, we'll call him a play and we'll slot him out there against the Rams. He's kind of a like the Bradford of TEs ... if he's out there and playing, you can take a shot. Kirk Cousins appears to be a big fan (a massive 11 targets in Week 1) and the 'Skins figure to use him just as much with DeSean Jackson out.
If you save here, spend here - Carolina Defense ($3,100) vs. HOU
Zach Ertz ($3,600) vs. DAL - Ertz was a question mark leading up to Monday Night's loss in Atlanta, but when it was all said and done, he played and he played a lot. He was on the field for 70% of the Eagles' snaps. Of course, they were behind early and were throwing the ball on more than 50 of their passes. If you believe that will continue against Dallas, then Ertz has to be an option. It's hard to say that any single Eagle pass-catcher, outside of Jordan Matthews, can be a consistent week-to-week threat, but Ertz is a solid pass-target that works within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. And, as we saw last week in Atlanta, that's where so many of Sam Bradford's tosses are going.
If you save here, spend here - Julian Edelman ($6,700) @ BUF
Vernon Davis ($3,000) @ PIT - Admittedly, it's not the strongest endorsement, but Davis looked as good in Week 1 as he had for four-fifths' of 2014's disaster. Still, that meant he was good for only three catches and 47 yards. As I posited earlier in the column, you have to be minimally excited about San Francisco's chances to move the ball on Pittsburgh. And, at such a tiny investment of three grand, Davis allows you an incredible amount of wiggle room with your other positions.
If you save here, spend here - Eli Manning ($7,100) vs. ATL
Top of the Chart - Rob Gronkowski ($7,300) @ BUF - 7.8
Baltimore ($2,900) @ OAK - Derek Carr's hand is less than perfect and for a guy who, so far, has needed everything to be near-perfect, it's not a recipe for success. Enter a Raven defense that was sharp and violent on the road in Denver last week. They are without Terrell Suggs, but many believe the Courtney Upshaw can step in and give the squad 90% of their missing starter. There aren't a load of good, value-based defensive options this week, but Baltimore would be the safest choice.
If you save here, spend here - Pierre Garcon ($5,000) vs. STL
New Orleans ($2,800) vs. TB - It figures to be a very noisy Superdome when Jameis Winston makes his first road start in the Saints' home opener. That's good for the New Orleans' D, but it gets even better if Mike Evans is not on the field. The Bucs do provide some threats, of course, but if your signal-caller is getting flummoxed - and, that's very possible in Winston's case - all bets are off. Of note ... last season the Saints defense was a different beast in front of the home house - picking off three times as many passes, upping their sacked by 65%, holding QBs to a QB rate 20% - against what they did on the road.
If you save here, spend here - Mike Wallace ($5,400) vs. DET
New York Giants ($2,600) vs. ATL - Earlier, I made mention that nothing stood out very well on the value-front at defense. Kudos to DraftKings. Looking for a third decent value grab left me with the Giants. And, mostly, it's a gut call. They'll be home, which I always consider a bonus for most any defense. They'll be facing an Atlanta team that has a short week of prep and will be traveling to face New York. And, the Giants were actually an OK unit against Dallas for three quarters last Sunday night, before self-destructing in the 4th quarter. Also, they should be able to do some damage against Atlanta's O-line ... they got nothing rolling against the Dallas powerhouse unit last week.
If you save here, spend here - Anquan Boldin ($5,700) @ PIT
Top of the Chart - Miami ($3,300) @ JAC - 7.4
You can hear Kyle, Monday-Thursday from 8-10 ET and Friday's from 10-midnight ET, on 'The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive', on Sirius 210, XM 87.