What a crazy start to the year last week was, dominated by the speedsters Sammy Watkins, Marquise Brown, and John Ross III. I’d like to maintain transparency, and quickly go over what went right, and what went wrong in Week 1. Christian McCaffrey was the only fantasy option that came through in the Rams and Panthers game. The biggest wrench thrown into the mix was Malcolm Brown and his two touchdown dives, which took away from both Todd Gurley and the entire passing games totals. Unfortunately, with it only being one week, we will have no idea whether this becomes the norm, or not. Going back to the Ram’s passing attack this week, in what could be a shootout, may very well be a great contrarian play, considering people who were burned most likely will not go back to the passing game. As for Gurley, I will be having no shares in the foreseeable future, as the only evidence we have from last week is that of a full blown committee, with Brown as the Red Zone back.
The other area where things have clearly changed is the defensive side of the ball for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Todd Bowles is not a great head coach, but clearly a great defensive coordinator, and led the charge in slowing the 49ers offense (as well as the Panthers offense this past Thursday night). Fear not, there is a new Florida team to stack against – the Miami Dolphins. Clearly this team is in full tanking mode, and will repeatedly be getting points put up on them fast and often throughout the season.
One final thought from last week that I need to apologize for is my Dalvin Cook take, as he proceeded to put up 29 DK points. I am not apologizing because I was wrong, but because I strayed away from the proven formula and “got cute”. Knowing chalk is the proven successful method at the position, backs such as Gurley was the mistake. Now that we’re good in the Week 1 department, let’s move on to our Week 2 Stacks and Backs.
Remember just a little bit ago, when I mentioned stacking the Rams passing attack might be a good idea this week? Yeah, I’m going back there. One week of Malcolm Brown vulturing two touchdowns isn’t enough to scare me away from this proven offense. Especially this week, as the Saints come to town for an NFC championship rematch. For those who watched the first Monday Night game of the season, we saw all three of Houston’s receivers get behind that Saints defense plenty of times. Will Fuller caught a 54 yard bomb; DeAndre Hopkins longest catch was for 38 yards; and Kenny Stills caught, what was the go-ahead touchdown at the time, for 37 yards. All three were almost entirely air yards as well. This deep play vulnerability of the Saints defense makes Brandin Cooks, at a projected 8.9% ownership, a prime candidate for a potential big game this coming week. With P.J. Williams still struggling, and being targeted covering the slot, Robert Woods at 6.1% also looks to be an excellent play. This game also has a lot of shootout potential making me more than happy to run it back with Alvin Kamara who is at 29.5% ownership. One of the aspects I discovered in the MM series is running it back with chalk is an excellent way to go. After seeing Christian McCaffrey put up 45.9 DK Points against this same Rams defense last week, I’m more than happy to use Kamara in this stack. So, to quickly recap, my favorite stack of this week has to be Jared Goff (projected 7.4% ownership), Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and running it back with Alvin Kamara.
I’m flipping on over to the other side of this one, just like last week. I know this didn’t work out well, even with the score ending at 30-27 in the Rams favor, but I think that changes this week. The Saints offense is highly concentrated between both Kamara and Michael Thomas. If this game blows up, which I believe it will, both of these guys should have monster games. This should be another shootout in LA, and I want all the big pieces. Although Kamara is at projected 29.5% ownership, and Thomas is at projected 18.2% owned, Drew Brees is only a projected 2.9% ownership, making him one of the best contrarian plays on the slate. This is most likely due to the “dreaded” home/road splits by Brees, which I don’t quite buy into. The Saints should, and will most likely have to, put up a lot of points in this highly anticipated rematch. As for this stack’s bottom line, give me Brees, Kamara, and Thomas, with either Cooks or Woods running it back. This also means you’ll have to go cheap elsewhere. Luckily there are a few good options that will be mentioned a bit further down the page.
The final stack I want to mention is going to be Josh Allen and John “Smokey” Brown. Last week the two clearly had a connection, as Allen hit Brown 7 times out of 10 targets for 123 yards and a touchdown. This was also against what should be a respectable Jets defense with some real talent on the defensive side of the ball. Imagine the possibilities these two can accomplish against a woeful Giants defense that we saw give up 35 points to the Cowboys in the opener. This included allowing Dak Prescott to throw for 405 yards and 4 TDs, and Amari Cooper to go for 106 yards and a touchdown on 6 receptions. Janoris Jenkins was an excellent corner in his prime, but it seems those days are over. Josh Allen with his athleticism should be able to scamper about the field as well. With Josh Allen at a projected 8.4% ownership, and John Brown at a projected 10.2% ownership mark, neither are very contrarian, but I also wouldn’t consider them chalk. Either way, both should have big games once again this week, and are great cheaper options to start your lineup construction.
Although this week is filled with excellent cheap running backs, I really love James Conner. He is the ultimate contrarian play, as Ben Roethlisberger (projected 9.0% ownership) and Juju Smith-Schuster (projected 24.0% ownership) are some of the chalkiest. At a price point of only $6,800, it seems as though DraftKings is daring us to use Conner. He is at a projected 15.9% ownership, which isn’t exactly contrarian either, but at his price point I’d much rather go with him over the Big Ben and Juju stack.
Now to the chalkiest Running Back of the week, and rightfully so. Josh Jacobs surprised many, having a fantastic debut against what should be a great Broncos defense. This week he has a great matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, who foiled Leonard Fournette last week, but are still one of the weakest front seven groups in the league. Factor in Jacobs price point of only $4,700, and he is essentially a must play. Remember, don’t get cute – go with the chalk! There’s a reason Jacobs is at 34.8% ownership. Eat this chalk, and differentiate elsewhere.
Austin Ekeler is another chalky option, yet I am staying away. The reason being his very tough matchup against the Detroit Lions, who know how to clog running lanes, and won’t allow crazy 50+ yard plays like the Colts were last week. Ekeler is at a price point of $6,100, which doesn’t make sense to me how Ekeler is chalk. James Conner at only $700 more is in a much better situation, not to mention Jacobs, Kamara, and the next back I’m about to get into. I just don’t see the reasoning for Ekeler being so highly owned, besides people looking at his monster game last week. Sorry Ekeler truthers, but he won’t have another three-touchdown game in Week 2.
I saved the cheapest for last, and that is Chris Thompson, who at a price point of $3,900 supplies an excellent floor for such a cheap price. The Derius Guice injury probably won’t change Thompson’s usage much, simply because Adrian Peterson will serve a similar role to what Guice was to provide. Seeing that Thompson had ten targets last week, and knowing the Redskins have such a young and not so stellar receiving corps, it’s hard to not think he’ll continue to be a focal point of this passing attack throughout the season. Again, at a price point of $3,900, it’s really hard not to think Thompson will pay that price tag off, especially in a PPR format like DraftKings. For those who are curious, Thompson is projected at a 10.1% ownership mark.