Considering the salary-cap structure of daily fantasy sports (DFS) leagues, identifying underpriced values in DFS contests is the key to success.
With this post, I attempt to identify players that offer more value than their salaries in Week 2 DraftKings fantasy football leagues.
Here are some value plays for Week 2:
QB - Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. NYJ), $7,900
Typically, the guys listed in these posts will be cheap in absolute — and relative — terms. That said, it doesn't mean that higher-priced options can't be undervalued as is the case with Rodgers this week. While his Week 1 performance against the league's best secondary left quite a bit to be desired, Rodgers is a prime bounce-back candidate in Week 2.
The Seahawks have allowed just team to throw for 200-plus yards (and it was just 207) against them in their past 10 regular-season games, but the Jets secondary is far from the Legion of Boom. Considering how difficult it is to run against the Jets, the game plan will likely look to exploit their inferior secondary even if they get back Dee Milliner, as expected. Rodgers is my second-ranked fantasy quarterback for the week, but he's tied with Colin Kaepernick for the seventh-highest salary at the position.
QB - Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $7,100
At this point, I have Rodgers locked in as my every-lineup starter, but there are other values this week as well including Locker. Finishing as the QB6 in Week 1, Locker is my eighth-ranked fantasy quarterback and priced as the QB15 in DraftKings contests this week.
With Locker's durability concerns minimized in one-week leagues, Locker has posted a 10:4 TD-to-INT ratio in the eight games he has played over the past two seasons. One of the most athletic quarterbacks in the league, Locker only rushed for 14 yards on six carries in Week 1, but he has averaged 6.53 yards per carry over his career. Considering this week's matchup is against the league's worst defense, it's certainly possible he has another top-six performance (or better) at a fraction of the cost.
QB - Geno Smith, New York Jets (at GB), $6,200
More than a touchdown underdog (Week 2 NFL lines), the Jets may find themselves in position to throw more often than is typical for them. Inconsistent as a passer in his first 12 games (eight TDs, 19 INTs) as a rookie, Smith has been more consistent in his past five games (five TDs, three INTs). Over that most-recent five-game span, however, he has also run 41 times for 224 yards and three scores. That accounts to 8.08 fantasy points per game from his rushing numbers alone during that span. Smith is tied for the 23rd-highest salary among quarterbacks this week.
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RB - Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (vs. CHI), $4,900
While Carlos Hyde looked much better as a runner against the Cowboys on Sunday, another plus matchup and a cheaper salary ($300 less than last week) makes Gore an interesting play this week. Gore gained 66 yards on 16 carries, but last week's game was out of hand early due to Cowboys turnovers. The Bears allowed 193 rushing yards, third-most in league, and 5.8 YPC in the opener.
[One area where Gore won't help, however, is as a receiver and DraftKings uses full PPR scoring.]
RB - Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (vs. MIA), $4,000
Jackson (28) and C.J. Spiller (29) split snaps on Sunday. While Spiller got more touches (18) than Jackson (10) and scored the only touchdown out of the duo, Jackson is more likely to lead the tandem in touchdowns this season. In addition, Jackson (73) had more yards from scrimmage than Spiller (64) in Week 1.
Not only is F-Jax $2,000 cheaper than Spiller, but there are 39 running backs with a higher salary than Jackson this week. It's unlikely that 39 running backs score more fantasy points than Jackson this week.
RB - Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $3,300
Only $300 more than the position-minimum salary, Greene offers plenty of upside as the lead back and goal-line back in such a generous fantasy matchup. Like noted with Gore, Greene won't catch many passes, but the matchup and price is so favorable, it's hard to resist the $3,300 price tag.
RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (vs. NO), $3,300
With Ben Tate (knee) sidelined for a few weeks, it's going to be Terrance West and Crowell leading the team's ground attack and I actually like both backs this week. More expensive than Crowell, West ($4,800) will likely lead the tandem in touches, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's Crowell, who scored two TDs last week, gets the goal-line carries while also being mixed in on early downs.
WR - Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (vs. KC), $7,000
Like Rodgers, Thomas is a higher-priced bargain after last week's modest performance as six wide receivers carry a higher salary in DraftKings games this week. Like with Rodgers, I've pounced on the opportunity and Thomas is in all of my Week 2 lineups.
DT has been extremely consistent in both of his seasons with Peyton Manning throwing him the ball: 94-1,434-10 (2012) and 92-1,430-14 (2013). It's unlikely that Thomas is ever this cheap again this season and the Chiefs corners can certainly be exploited in what should be a bounce-back game for Thomas, my top-ranked fantasy wide receiver this week.
WR - Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $4,300
Along with teammate Nate Washington (only $3,400), Hunter is an excellent bargain at wideout this week. Essentially, it is never a bad thing starting offensive players against the Cowboys. An athletic freak (6-foot-4, 4.4 forty, 40+ vertical), Hunter is overflowing with big-play potential. Playing 52 snaps on Sunday, Hunter finished with three catches for 63 yards (21.0 Y/R) on a team-high eight targets.
If there is any reason to dislike Hunter, it's that everyone else will like him, too, which means the opportunity to gain an advantage over your fellow contestants won't be as large as you'd like. While I have Hunter in the majority of my leagues, that's one of the reasons I have gone with Washington in a few instead.
WR - Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers (vs. NYJ), $3,000
Boykin found himself in CenturyLink Field's version of Siberia — Richard Sherman's side — and had no catches, no targets, nada. As noted earlier, the Jets secondary is their defensive weak link and Rodgers certainly won't avoid any particular side (and as a result Boykin) this week. At the contest-minimum salary, Boykin carries plenty of value. In many of my contests, I'm loading up with a Rodgers, Jordy Nelson ($6,600) and Boykin stack.
WR - John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (at NYG), $3,000
Described as "uncoverable" in the offseason by the team's general manager, among others, Brown is an ultra-quick and dynamic playmaker in the open field. In Week 1, he had just two receptions for 29 yards but he did score a touchdown. That said, he was tied with Andre Ellington for the second-most targets behind Michael Floyd last week. I don't think he'll finish second in targets most weeks, but I think five targets or so per game seems reasonable. At the contest minimum, I'm willing to take a flier on him in some leagues.
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TE - Larry Donnell, New York Giants (vs. ARI), $3,000
Playing 54 of the team's 67 snaps in Week 1, Donnell finished with a 5/56/1 line on eight targets, all of which were team highs. Along with running back Rashad Jennings (50 yards), Donnell was one of only two Giants to finish with more than 25 receiving yards.
At the position-minimum salary, Donnell has one of the most fantasy-friendly matchups for a tight end this week. Last year, the Cardinals allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends and a position-high 17 touchdowns. Although they did not allow a tight end to score last week, they were one of three teams to allow 100-plus receiving yards to the position in Week 1.
TE - Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN), $3,000
While it's disappointing that he played only 19 snaps in Week 1, Kelce had three catches for 49 yards — just 12 tight ends had more last week — on five targets. The Chiefs are nearly two-TD underdogs this week and Andy Reid has indicated that Kelce's playing time could increase so he's worth a shot as a flier.
In addition, check out our site's sortable grid of all players ranked in relation to their DraftKings salary.
Also, check out my weekly fantasy football rankings:
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