NFL Tournament Strategy- Week 2
Let’s start right at the top with the most obvious spot of the entire week with the Giants hosting the Saints. The Saints had a historically poor defense last year, were torched at home by Derek Carr and the Raiders in Week 1, and also lost their best defensive back in Delvin Breaux to injury. Last year, these two teams played in the Superdome in New Orleans where Brees and Manning combined for a staggering 13 touchdowns. Yeah.
Eli Manning is a virtual lock to be the most popular quarterback of the week across the DFS industry. He’s also fairly expensive, so this is a spot I’d normally like to avoid. Anything can happen over the course of one football game, and we see a number of games go a different way than we all expect every week. All that being said, it’s really difficult to see Eli failing in this spot. With his lack of mobility and inability to make plays on his own, Eli is one of the most matchup dependent quarterbacks in the NFL. If his receivers are closely covered or there is a strong pass rush, Eli can’t do much about it and can be prone to mistakes and, at times, terrible performances. But when he’s got a clean pocket and open receivers, he’ll absolutely dissect a defense on his way to monster performances, as we saw last year in New Orleans. I’m drinking the Giants Kool-Aid even with what will be heavy ownership and will be investing heavily in Eli and the Giants. I would be shocked if he fell short of 300 yards passing and multiple touchdowns should be a breeze as well.
Odell Beckham Jr. will be the most popular wide receiver in Week 2 despite his lackluster Week 1 performance. Beckham, like Eli, has performed well above expectation against bottom half pass defenses and the Saints certainly are overqualified for that designation. He’s almost certainly in for a big game here as I expect the Giants to run 70+ plays and Beckham to see 10+ targets, all of which will come against overmatched defensive backs. Don’t overthink this one, Beckham is the clear #1 wide receiver this week.
Look also to rookie Sterling Shepard, who caught a Week 1 touchdown and was on the field for nearly 100% of the snaps. He’s got just a good of an individual matchup as Beckham, is half of the cost, and should be vastly lower owned. He’s an extreme value in the mid range that is a great leverage play off of Beckham (or just roster both).
All in all I think this is a uniquely special spot for a Giants offense that projects to run among the fastest offenses in the league against the league’s worst defense missing their best defensive back. They are going to score a lot of points, and we have a pretty good idea where those points are going to come from. I’m a contrarian player, but I won’t be getting off this spot. It’s that good.
Josh McCown will take over as quarterback for the Browns in Week 2 after RG3 got injured. In a neutralish home matchup against the Ravens, I’m expecting big things from McCown here who is near minimum salary at most sites across the industry. He performed very well from a fantasy perspective last year with the Browns and has better weapons at his disposal this year in talented rookie Corey Coleman and stud athlete QB-turned-WR Terrelle Pryor (I’m a believer). The great thing about McCown and his receivers is that all are price at such exceptionally low price tags. Unless McCown is terrible, the McCown stack to either Gary Barnidge, Pryor, or Coleman is going to pay big dividends and I’ll have pieces of this team in several GPP teams.
Carson Palmer and the Arizona passing attack is going very overlooked this week, for reasons I don’t quite understand. They looked good in Week 1, and had trouble generating running room for David Johnson, a trend I expect to continue vs. the Buccaneers who have had a stout running defense last year and in Week 1, while being shredded by the pass. The Cardinals should be happy to air it out with Palmer and the multitude of weapons at his disposal, especially with Johnson being just as effective as a pass catcher as he is a runner. Palmer-DJ is a very sneaky option as are the more conventional Palmer-Larry Fitzgerald and Palmer-Floyd stacks.
Cam Newton is at home as a massive favorite with extra rest against an overrated 49ers defense. He’s delivered in a big way in these spots in the past as the entire offense runs though him. Some may be worried about a potential blow out situation here – and that may very well happen – but likely not before Cam had a lot to do with it.
Brock Osweiler looked solid in Week 1 vs. the Bears and now gets a better matchup than most are giving the Texans for against a beat up Chiefs defense that was being absolutely shredded at home by a mediocre Chargers offense until they lost Keenan Allen. Osweiler is cheap, and we know where the targets are going: DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Lamar Miller. I love stacking Osweiler with any one of these guys and Fuller is among my top-5 point per dollar options on most sites across the industry.
The Lions/Titans game has sneaky shootout potential in Detroit as the Lions love to throw the ball and the Titans secondary can certainly be exploited. Marvin Jones is my favorite pairing with Stafford here as he received 10 targets in Week 1 and is the clear downfield threat for the Lions. Just four were completed so he should be very overlooked here in Week 2 but a bounce back game should be in store. On the other side of the ball, Marcus Mariota has been a productive point-per-dropback QB over his young career and against a Lions defense that was lit up by Andrew Luck and the Colts and what is likely to be catch-up mode for the Titans, I wouldn’t be surprised to see 40+ drop backs for Mariota who can score with his legs as well with his arm. Pair up Mariota with clear #1 WR Tajae Sharpe or TE Delanie Walker who should be in for a big week.