If it’s easy for the casual football fan to overreact to the results of Opening Day, then we must be careful to not do the same. After all, the fantasy football community might be a little more savvy than the typical fan, and we cannot fall into the traps that sixty minutes of game action could provide.
Thankfully, the game flow analysis for Week 2 follows suit with our picks article, in which a heavy focus is directed toward teams looking to rebound. The same could be said about their key players.
Sporfolio’s NFL Daily Fantasy Sports game-by-game analysis columns are driven by expected game flow. Based on a combination of our Week 2 NFL picks against the spread and our expectations for a given game, we project the actions necessary to make these picks come to fruition. We aim to pinpoint players integral to our predicted game flow for each game of the week.
Luke May is Sporfolio’s NFL DFS expert, and Mario Mergola operates Sporfolio as the expert for NFL Picks Against the Spread.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
Luke’s DFS Take: These two teams delivered two of the biggest surprises of Week 1 as Miami ‘upset’ the Titans in a game that took all of Sunday to complete due to weather delays, and after his first career pass being intercepted and returned for a touchdown, Sam Darnold led a blowout victory over the Lions. While the Week 1 wins were nice, I’m not completely sold on either team, and their fantasy status is still up for debate. The Jets had five different skill position players contribute in some significant way last week, and will be adding Jermaine Kearse back into the lineup this week. With me not completely sold on the offense yet, it will be difficult to try to dig through that whole group and find excitement in any of their position players. Sam Darnold clearly showed he has potential, but expectations need to be tempered with the Jets confusing offensive unit. The Dolphins’ offense seems a bit easier to predict and thus has slightly more fantasy appeal. For as long as DeVante Parker is out, or limited, Kenny Stills will be worth taking a gamble on. He established himself as one Ryan Tannehill’s favorite targets and reminded everyone he is one of the better deep ball threats around. The Jets’ defense made some big plays against the Lions, but will likely still experience some growing pains. The other guy I like in Miami is Kenyon Drake. He ceded more work to Frank Gore than we would’ve liked to see last week, but he will get enough carries to be relevant on the ground, is the far superior pass-catching back, and being much younger will allow him to be used more and more as the year goes on as opposed to Gore. Drake had 17 touches last week while seeing four targets as a receiver. I’d say that should be somewhere around his weekly average, and for a guy who is carrying a mid-tier price tag and has shown an ability to rip off huge plays, he’s worth a look.
Mario’s DFS Take: Two of my biggest ‘upset’ picks from last week meet on Sunday, and one has significantly more hype than the other. Naturally, this level of excitement is unsustainable in my eyes, and I’ll be looking to step away from the New York Jets in Week 2. Do I believe in Sam Darnold? Undoubtedly. But do I expect Miami to be ready for him? Just as ready as they were, last week, when facing a rookie head coach. The only disappointment that came from Miami’s approach to its Opening Day win is that it actually did stick to its dual running back attack. This knocks both Kenyan Drake or Frank Gore down my list of players to use, where I can only justify it if price becomes a major concern. Where we did receive clarity was wide receiver Kenny Stills, who was the only player to break 40 receiving yards with 106. His high output should be sustainable as Miami has a tendency to lean on a singular player when everything is moving smoothly.
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
Luke’s DFS Take: This game is being considered one of the safest fantasy games of the week, and it is hard to argue against that. The Steelers are back at home, where they historically fare much better, coming off a disappointing tie to open their season, and they get to face off with a Chiefs’ defense that is lacking in major talent. It is hard for me to picture a world in which Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t come on slinging the ball all over the field to Antonio Brown, leading to a huge game. That stack will be popular, but with good reason. James Conner showed tremendously well in his first game as the starting back and carries solid value even at his inflated price tag this week. Patrick Mahomes showed off his flashy talents in Week 1 and also managed to play with great control and avoided making any turnovers which was impressive given his aggressive nature. Tyreek Hill reaped all the rewards of Mahomes’ big arm and will likely have many more big plays like we saw last week. The Chiefs also have another receiver that has had a solid history of making big plays: Sammy Watkins. Watkins has had a bumpy past couple years, but has shown before that has posses elite talent, and when given the opportunity he can still shine. He should have plenty of opportunities with the Chiefs and having Mahomes throwing ball should provide a ton of big play chances for him. He is firmly a top-three target for the Chiefs, and in a game that should have plenty of scoring, this could be a prime situation for him to remind everyone he still has something to offer.
Mario’s DFS Take: You can’t look at the spread between Kansas City and Pittsburgh and not raise an eyebrow. One team just tied the Cleveland Browns, while the other looked nearly perfect in a road victory. But of course, the Steelers played a sloppy game against a weak, division opponent, and underwhelmed. It happens too often with Pittsburgh, but it’s not uncommon. What is uncommon would be another dud against an increase in talent. That doesn’t happen often, and it’s why I’m buying heavily into the Steelers and their offense. Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are both on my radar, and I fully expect the team to keep giving James Conner touches in the absence of Le’Veon Bell. I’m with with all three. Surely, I can’t ignore Tyreek Hill, as he was one of my favorite plays of last week, but are we to expect Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin to not devise a gameplan solely around stopping Hill? For that reason, the Chiefs’ running game might be a sneaky play, led by Kareem Hunt.
Photo Credit: Keith Allison Flickr C.C. 2.0