In this weekly piece we review a handful in inexpensive daily fantasy options, many of whom also happen to be available on most fantasy football league waiver wires.
Josh McCown is an ideal streamer for season-long owners in Week 2. He’s also going for the minimum salary of $5.0K on DraftKings and close to the min. on FanDuel. Last season in Week 5, McCown defeated the Ravens on the road by completing 36 of 51 passes for 457 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for an additional score. Unfortunately in the Week 12 rematch, McCown suffered a broken collarbone and was placed in IR. Since then, Baltimore returned some healthy bodies along the front seven, but the only addition to last year’s terrible secondary is 31-year-old safety Eric Weddle. He’s still a good player, but not a cure-all for this group. While a Browns stack would be super contrarian, playing naked McCown at home in cash games could be a popular move. There are a number of expensive wide receivers in great spots fueling a need to save salary somewhere.
There are two other cheap quarterbacks I prefer in DFS tournaments this week. Not only are they in good spots, but their targets are also inexpensive. That makes for very easy to build stacks. That savings also allows you to roster those elite wide receivers while staying contrarian.
The first is Joe Flacco, who’s also a very nice streaming option. He’ll tangle with McCown’s Browns, a defense that just made Nelson Agholor look good. Another deep shot or two should be headed in the direction of new deep threat Mike Wallace. On DraftKings, Blake Bortles is just 2K more than Flacco. Any Bortles lineup is going to pair him with Allen Robinson, and could be game stacking with Chargers as well. Consider mixing Flacco and Wallace into that lineup build.
Following a very sloppy performance in the opener against the Vikings, Marcus Maroita is priced in between Flacco and McCown on DK. He’ll travel to Detroit to face the Lions, fresh off allowing 385 yards and four touchdowns to Andrew Luck. You can play Maroita naked in hopes of rushing production and more odd touchdown distribution (like two scores to DeMarco Murray) or in a stack with Delanie Walker and/or Tajae Sharpe.
Making his Bengals debut, Brandon LaFell caught all four of his targets for 91 yards, including a 49-yard bomb that he nearly broke for a huge touchdown. Everyone is expecting a shootout on the road against the Steelers and will be looking to play A.J. Green he nuked Revis Island. Fingers crossed we don’t see an epic drop from LaFell, who’s playing ahead of rookie Tyler Boyd.
Victor Cruz is cheaper than Sterling Shepard in DFS and arguably a better play this week, if not for the entire season. In fact, taking Cruz versus Shepard sounds like a great play on No Halftime. In what has all the makings of a high-scoring affair, I’d expect Eli Manning to trust the savvy veteran Cruz over the rookie in the big spots.
I don’t like Kevin White. You don’t like Kevin White. Now the Bears don’t like Kevin White. He’s been demoted after playing poorly in the opener. That makes trusty Eddie Royal the No. 2 receiver in Chicago. Alshon Jeffery figures to be highly owned in the Monday night slates. While he went over 100 yards in Week 1 it was Royal that found the end zone.
Charles Sims is in a sneaky good spot this week. The Bucs are going on the road to face an extremely pissed off Cardinals squad. However, Doug Martin more than doubled Sims in snaps last week and caught five passes, something he only did twice all of last year. This is a game that could quickly get away from Tampa. Look for Sims, who scored on a ridiculous catch and run in Week 1, to wrestle back his pass catching and change of pace opportunities based on what we saw last year.
For both DFS and streaming purposes I’m looking at the cheap running backs in the Saints/Giants powder keg game. Travaris Cadet is the cheapest way to get into that contest. The Saints have made Cadet their pass catching back and targeted him seven times last week. Mark Ingram only played on 42 percent of the snaps after seeing more than 60 percent last year. If things get out of hand as expected, Cadet should see the field often once again. On the other side of the field is Shane Vereen. He’s a safer play in both formats after catching eight passes for 60 yards and a touchdown against these Saints last year.
Expect to see a lot of Coby Fleener in Saints/Giants game stacks. There is no question that this spot against the cement shoe wearing Giants linebackers is ideal. However, there’s value in getting Fleener out of that stack, assuming his reported struggles in this offense are legit.
There are a lot of signs pointing toward Julius Thomas going under-owned this week. First, T.J. Yeldon figures to be a popular option going against the Chargers. No one is pairing running back and tight end together. In the opener, Travis Kelce secured six of his seven targets for 74 yards against San Diego. Rather quietly, Thomas caught all five of his targets for 64 yards and a touchdown. Paying up at tight end this week should be contrarian with a number of reasonable options priced much lower than Thomas, or anyone else in his tier. One of those more pricey guys is Delanie Walker, who was only targeted five times in the opener. The opposing Lions allowed three touchdowns to tight ends in Week 1 and led the league in that category last year.
Among the more attractive cheap options is Eric Ebron. Another is Jesse James of the Steelers, who’s nearly identically priced on DraftKings. Last year, Heath Miller caught 10 passes in each game against the Bengals, who were otherwise solid against the tight end. Those looking to stay with a cheap tight end and want 1v1 leverage in tournaments against a possibly chalky Ebron should strongly consider plugging James into their lineup.
In the streamers section and DFS bargain bin we find Jacob Tamme, Dennis Pitta, and Virgil Green. Tamme was targeted eight times in the opener, equal to teammates Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Oakland got better against tight ends last year, but will be heavily tested against the position over the next several games. Pitta didn’t do much in the opener, but is clearly the TE1 for the Ravens and we aren’t afraid of the Browns defense. Finally, C.J. Anderson should run wild on the Colts and give the Broncos another chance for a short touchdown pass to Green.