Jimmy Garoppolo – DK 6,000 FD – 7,300
Jimmy G completed 72 percent of his passes at home last season and is in a pace up spot. The Lions are a pass first team and the 49ers run tempo offense. Look for this to be one of the games with the most plays on the entire slate.
Efficiency should match volume as Jimmy G gets a Lions team frustrated with their coaching staff. The team looked pedestrian against a rookie QB flying across the coast on a short week. He is the ninth most tagged QB on Fanshare and a strong pivot off the chalkier Mahomes (fourth most tagged) or Tyrod Taylor (second most tagged).
Matthew Stafford – DK 6,100 FD
The 18th most tagged QB this week Stafford is coming off a horrendous four-interception performance on national TV. This is the perfect bounce back spot against an attackable 49ers pass defense that allowed 19.94 DK points per game against last season, a 10th percentile score.
The 49ers also play with great pace, and as a road underdog, look for Stafford to be in catch-up mode. In 2017 the Lions averaged 35 attempts per game and Stafford has 40 plus pass attempt upside in this game.
Patrick Mahomes – DK 6,000 FD 7,500
Mahomes is the cash game QB play this week, but should also be stacked with his weapons in DFS. The highest total on the slate the Steelers and Chiefs are set to shoot out, with the total already rising to 53.5.
The Chiefs defense can’t stop anyone, and Mahomes averaged 9.48 yards per attempt in Week 1, which is a recipe for a lot of passing and a lot of big plays. While Mahomes will make mistakes, his big play upside (not to mention Tyreek Hill) puts him in play weekly.
The Chiefs will run a college style offense with read and even some triple option, looking to take advantage of Mahomes mobility. He has rushing touchdown upside, big-play ability, and will have increased volume due to having a defense that can’t stop anyone. Get him in your lineups.
James Conner DK – 6,700 FD – 7,000
Listen, James Conner got a massive price increase, but he is still too cheap. You are essentially playing Le’Veon Bell for a two thousand dollar discount in the highest total game on the slate. He saw 100 percent of the running back touches and 92 percent of the snaps last week. Scott Barrett showed just how close Bell’s backup role is to Bell. You need to play Conner this week.
Christian McCaffrey DK -7,000 FD 7,400
McCaffrey is above the range of value, but he is too cheap and needs to be mentioned. Go ahead and lock in McCaffrey. Without Olsen in 2017, his target share jumped to 24 percent from 19.5 percent.
In Week 1 McCaffrey saw 39.1 percent of his team targets and played 85 percent of the team’s snaps. The Falcons lost Deion Jones, one of the best cover linebackers, so Duke Riley and De’Vondre Campbell will have to pick up the slack. Over the last two seasons, no team has allowed more receptions to running backs than the Atlanta Falcons.
Kareem Hunt DK 6,200
While Hunt isn’t a value on Fanduel, he is severely underpriced on Draft Kings. Last year, Hunt was an 8k per week guy, and now in the highest total of the slate — he is only 6,200.
I understand the concerns about Hunt in the receiving game with Mahomes looking to go down the field as much as he does. However, Hunt is the perfect GPP pivot play this week.
He is cheap, low owned exposure in a high total and is a player who has shown a tremendous ceiling. Get him into some GPP lineups this week.
Tevin Coleman DK 5,300 FD 5,900
With Freeman out, meet Tevin Coleman chalk. While the matchup wouldn’t be fantastic, Coleman would assume a workhorse role without Freeman, and his last three spot starts has produced like an RB1.
James White DK 4,500 FD
White saw nine targets in Week 1, ran 10 routes at WR and played 26 snaps at running back. If Burkhead somehow misses this game, the Patriots may run out of backs after Hill’s season-ending injury.
White isn’t the kind of player who can handle a workhorse load, but in a PPR format with the Jaguars able to limit Gronk and Hogan, look for Brady to continue to attack underneath with White. The Patriots do an excellent job scheming him open in space and at 4.5k, he has a nice floor with solid upside.
Rex Burkhead DK 4,400 FD 6,300
Burkhead disappointed a lot of people, but he played 33 snaps in the backfield and five at receiver in Week 1, receiving 18 carries and three targets. That kind of volume in an explosive offense is a winning recipe.
While the Jaguars are likely the league’s best defense, they are a run funnel. They allowed 93.94 yards per game, which was a 34th percentile score. After disappointing people in Week 1, no one is going to play Burkhead, and that is a mistake.
Duke Johnson Jr. DK 4,200 FD 5,200
Carlos Hyde only played 53 percent of the snaps, while Duke Johnson saw 46 percent. In a game I expect the Browns to trail in, I look for Duke Johnson to see more playing time.
Last season the Saints allowed 7.69 targets a game to running backs. Johnson is a sneaky GPP play this week with only one catch in Week 1, but he saw 15 percent of the team targets. He is a contrarian pick to get exposure to a high totaled, chalk game.
Robert Woods DK 5,900 FD 6,500
Robert Woods will be avoided by box score hunters as he let people down on national TV. He did see nine targets and was fourth in the NFL in air yards (174) in Week 1. The Rams moved him around, and he should avoid Patrick Peterson for much of the game.
If the Rams are going to give him that kind of volume down the field, a spike week is soon to come. Tied for 114th in tags on Fanshare with a projected ownership of just 3.8 percent, he is a fantastic GPP play.
JuJu Smith-Schuster DK 5,900 FD 7,200
Juju Smith-Schuster is in a position to have a monster game. While Brown is a fantastic play this week, the Chiefs one good secondary player, Kendall Fuller, will lineup against Brown. This leaves Orlando Scandrick on Juju Smith-Schuster, which spells bad news for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs run more man-to-man coverage than almost any team in the NFL. Juju was the league’s best receiver against man coverage, with a perfect WR rating of 158.3, and this week he gets one of the worst man-to-man defenses in the NFL. Fire up Juju!
Sammy Watkins DK 4,600 FD 5,800
After Week 1 victory laps were being taken on the grave of Sammy Watkins, people are going to want to pump the breaks after Week 2. Watkins is currently the 82nd most tagged player on Fanshare with a 4.4 percent ownership projection and 57 percent of people are suggesting you sit Sammy Watkins.
Watkins played 91 percent of the snaps in Week 1 and gets a Steelers team in Week 2 that played the second-most zone coverage of any team in the NFL in 2017.
How’d Sammy Watkins fair against zone, you asked? Over the last two seasons, Watkins has struggled versus all non-zone coverage. Against zone, he has 35 catches and five of his nine touchdowns, with a WR rating of 147.1 in 2017 and 133.1 2016.
No one is going to play Watkins, and he gets the ideal matchup for his skill set in the highest total game. Watkins could easily be the reason you take down a GPP this week.
Devin Funchess 4,700 – FD – 6,000
No Greg Olsen is good news for Devin Funchess. In 2017 when Olsen was out, Funchess target share jumped from 17.1 percent to 24 percent. TWENTY FOUR PERCENT OF TEAM TARGETS FOR 4,700! I don’t want to overthink this one too much. While Trufant is an intimidating name at cornerback, he allowed six touchdowns on 61 targets last season and a QB rating against of 106.5.
Chris Godwin DK 4,600 FD 6,100
If Jackson is out, Godwin may be a lock button play. Godwin saw 18 percent of the targets when Jackson was off the field last season and should see more of Jalen Mills with Ronald Darby on Mike Evans.
Last year, Mills was targeted 102 times — one of the highest rates in the league. Godwin’s talent is no secret, and in the last four games, he’s played at least 40 snaps.
WITH JACKSON LIKELY IN I AM OFF GODWIN
Kelvin Benjamin DK – 4,600 FD – 5,400
As I type this, I feel gross touting Kelvin Benjamin, who has a brutal matchup against Casey Hayward and struggled to do anything last week, but he did see 195 air yards and eight targets.
Josh Allen will chuck the ball down the field, and Benjamin’s air yards has a chance to go up.
Is Benjamin good? Nope.
is Josh Allen good? Come on now you don’t need me to answer that one.
However volume is volume, and the opportunity Benjamin is due to get down the field should put him on your radar.
Dante Pettis DK – 4,000 FD – 4,500
A Brad Kelly special right here, if Goodwin misses the game, Pettis should slide into the No. 2 wide receiver role for the 49ers.
With Slay on Garcon, look for Pettis to be in good matchups. While targeting rookie receivers is nerve-racking, Pettis’ route running and chemistry with Jimmy G has him playing beyond his years. Especially for the stone-cold minimum on Fanduel, Pettis is a guy to get in lineups if Goodwin is out.
George Kittle DK – 3,800 FD – 5,600
Tight end air yards, say it ain’t so. While Kittle is chalk, there is a good reason for it. He led all tight ends with 118 air yards on nine targets.
Kittle came into the league as an elite athlete and has chemistry with Jimmy GQ. Last season when Garoppolo came over, Kittle’s aDot jumped from 6.89 to 8.053. If he is under 5k on Draft Kings and 6.5k on Fanduel, he is too cheap.
Jonnu Smith DK – 3,100 FD 4,200
No Delanie Walker means more Jonnu Smith. Last season he saw a 12 percent target share without Walker, a seven percent increase. In 2017, the Texans were a tight end funnel defense, giving up 22 percent of total targets to tight ends. So far in 2018. it looks to be much of the same, granted it was against Gronk, but Smith is still in a good spot to see six-to-eight targets.
Ian Thomas DK – 2,900 FD – 4,000
While everyone will play Rickey Seals-Jones cthis week, I am not as eager to attack John Johnson as everyone else.
Meet your pivot, Ian Thomas.
When Olsen missed time last season, Ed Dickson saw 12 percent of the team targets. Look for Thomas to see that workload on Sunday. Thomas hooked up with Cam in the preseason for a touchdown and is an uber-athletic tight end from Indiana. He takes on a team missing Deion Jones and Keanu Neal. Thomas will carry no ownership, and he is taking on on a banged up, susceptible linebacking core. He has the athletic ability to maximize each target.
THIS IS A GPP DART THROW ONLY
Eliot Crist is the Sports Product Manager for The Quant Edge.He is a fantasy analyst with a background in scouting, analytics, and fantasy research. Formerly he has contributed at PFF, 4for4, Bleacher Report, Powerhour, and NDT Scouting. Eliot combines watching tape with analytics to try and take angles that other analysts aren’t to gain an edge for you.