Welcome back to FakePigskin weekly FanDuel Top Shelf picks and Value Plays. Week 1 was a good week and I hit on the majority of my picks highlighted by Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Eddie Lacy, Jeremy Hill, Chris Ivory, “Smokey” John Brown, and Tyrod Taylor. My misses were mostly at the tight end position with Greg Olsen and Ben Watson. In a week were a lot of tight ends exploded onto the scene, like Tyler Eifert and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, I find that quite ironic.
Moving forward, I’m excited about a few matchups starting with the NFC East divisional Cowboys/Eagles matchup. In my neck of the woods, the Bears are hosting the Arizona Cardinals which includes some players that interest me this week in DFS. I’ll also be targeting the Bengals-Chargers game in what figures to be a shootout in Cincinnati. I hope to build on last weeks success and continue bringing the heat for all my readers. Good luck this week in your cash and tournament games.
Fake Pigskin Exclusive: Join Monkey Knife Fight and Get an Instant 100% Deposit Match PLUS a Free $5 Game!
Top Shelf Picks
Drew Brees– New Orleans Saints $8900
vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We witnessed Marcus Mariota ball out week 1 vs the Tampa Bay defense, tossing the pigskin for 209 yards and 4 touchdowns. If Mariota can shred the Bucs cover 2 defense, one can only image what a seasoned vet like Drew Brees can do against them on Sunday at home in the Superdome. In week 1, Brees spread the ball around to eight different receivers and still managed to throw for 355 yards and a score. The running backs were very involved in the passing game and I expect that trend to continue vs the Bucs. Tampa Bay is going to struggle to defend the big bodies of Marques Colston and Brandon Coleman. All things considered and if week 1 is any indication, the Saints aren’t reinventing the wheel and will stick with the aerial attack evidenced by Drew Brees 48 pass attempts vs the Cardinals. If you’re going to pay up this week at quarterback Brees is a guy you want to lock in your DFS lineups.
Tony Romo– Dallas Cowboys $8500
at Philadelphia Eagles
The Cowboys claim to be committed to the run, but in week 1 Tony Romo had 45 pass attempts vs the Giants which was more than any start in 2014. In DFS, I prefer to target the games with the highest over-under and this divisional matchup is exactly that with the highest over-under of the week at 55 points. Tony Romo is a gunslinger and, even without Dez Bryant, I expect the Cowboys to air it out. Make no mistake, they’ll need Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley to step up big in Bryant’s absence. In addition, the Cowboys will run a lot of two tight end sets, meaning Romo’s main squeeze Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar will be heavily involved. The last time Romo played in Philly, he threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns. I’m not overreacting over the Dez Bryant injury because it’s all about the next man up in the NFL and we’ve seen it many times before. This game projects to be a divisional shootout, which means Romo will be forced to beat the Eagles with his arm.
Fantasy just got a whole lot better thanks to Monkey Knife Fight. With fast-paced games like Rapid Fire and Either/Or, it’s never been easier to play fantasy and win. New to MKF? Get Exclusive $100 Deposit Match + Free $5 Game
Carson Palmer– Arizona Cardinals $7800
at Chicago Bears
In week 1 Carson Palmer picked right up where he left off last year before his ACL injury. He shredded the depleted Saints secondary for 307 yards passing and three touchdowns. The Cards will be minus Andre Ellington, but that’s why they drafted an electric rookie David Johnson from Northern Iowa and invested in an insurance policy by signing veteran Chris Johnson. The Bears secondary is in shambles with the loss of Ryan Mundy, leaving Antrel Rolle and Kyle Fuller as the Bears only real threats to contain Palmer. They’ll have a tough task, and one that I expect them to fail miserably. Palmer never gets the love he deserves, but he’s proved time and time again to be a consistent option at the quarterback position. Quarterbacks who average 300 yards a game and at least two touchdowns don’t grow on trees. The Bears don’t have the personnel in their revamped 3-4 defense to cover a lightning fast “Smokey” Brown and one of the NFL’s best possession receivers in Larry Fitzgerald. Palmer is going to have a field day in the Windy City and rack up the fantasy points making him at value at his current FanDuel price tag of $7800.
Tyrod Taylor– Buffalo Bills $6300
vs New England Patriots
Tyrod Taylor was the best DFS value play last week at the position and finished as the 14th highest scoring fantasy quarterback. His price tag is on the rise, but at $6300, he’s still a great value. Starting Taylor allows you the flexibility to load up on all the skill positions and still be under the cap. I know I cashed out in all my tournament lineups last week that included Taylor, so it’s a strategy that can pay off bigtime. I’m all in on Taylor and expect him to get better each week like a fine wine. He was very efficient in week 1 vs the Colts completing 14 of his 19 pass attempts, while totaling as many rushing yards as Shady McCoy. It’s only a matter of time before he starts connecting regularly with Sammy Watkins which will add to his appeal. Watkins was invisible week 1 seeing only three targets, but is primed to bust out against a weak Patriots secondary. It’s no secret that you can beat the Pats through the air, and the Bills have the weapons to keep up with the Pats. My gut says that Taylor will score a rushing touchdown this week while providing a safe floor of 20 fantasy points.
Top Shelf Picks
Matt Forte– Chicago Bears $8900
vs Arizona Cardinals
Matt Forte was the top scoring fantasy running back before Carlos Hyde ran over the Vikings on Monday Night Football. If you’re paying up at running back then Forte is a must start. He’s a weekly lock for 20 plus carries, and is still very much involved in the passing game. Adam Gase has shown that he’s going to make Forte the focal point of the Bears offense. Let’s not forget that Forte is in a contract year, and is more motivated than ever to produce big numbers. Arizona did a decent job defending the run last week, but Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson aren’t anywhere near as talented as Matt Forte. It’s worth noting that the Saints running backs combined for 13 receptions and 149 yard receiving against the Cards defense. This appears to be the blueprint for beating the them, so I’d expect Forte to be very involved in the aerial attack, only adding to his appeal this week.
Marshawn Lynch– Seattle Seahawks $8500
at Green Bay Packers
The last time Marshawn Lynch faced the Packers was in the NFC Championship game, where he trucked them for 157 yards rushing and a score. The Packers defense has some holes to fill after losing starting inside linebacker Sam Barrington for the season. Seattle will try and control the clock by keeping Rodgers and company off the field. This gameplan should work admirably considering that the Bears rushed for 189 yards against the Packers in week 1. Lynch will do all the heavy lifting this week at Lambeau Field, and could possibly be the highest scoring fantasy running back in week 2.
Jeremy Hill– Cincinnati Bengals $8400
vs San Diego Chargers
Jeremy Hill has a nose for the end zone and reached pay dirt twice in week 1. If you’re counting at home, that’s 11 touchdowns in 18 games as a pro for Hill. That’s pretty impressive when you think about the fact that Giovani Bernard was the starter the first half of last year. The Bengals offense was a well-oiled machine last week, and I expect the engine to keep running full throttle in Cincinnati. The Chargers should manage to keep pace with the Bengals meaning more snaps and carries for Hill this week.
Carlos Hyde– San Francisco 49ers $7000
@ Pittsburgh Steelers
Carlos Hyde showed the NFL why a lot of fantasy experts were so high on Hyde this year. He sure looked like the real deal as advertised, rumbling for 168 yards and two scores on Monday Night Football. The 49ers are committed to the running game and will stick to the script versus a weak Steelers defense. Hyde is criminally underpriced this week since FanDuel releases prices before MNF, so his monster performance wasn’t figured into his $7000 price tag. I’d play him over Tre Mason, Justin Forsett, Alfred Morris, Lamar Miller, Mark Ingram, and DeAngelo Williams. All of these options are higher priced than Hyde in week 2 so don’t miss out on the immense value Hyde offers on FanDuel this week.
Ameer Abdullah– Detroit Lions $6400
at Minnesota Vikings
It was pretty obvious last week who the best running back on the Lions, and it wasn’t Joique Bell. Ameer Abdullah made an instant impact in the Lions backfield and made the most of his 7 carries totaling 50 yards (7.1 AVG). Ameer is an explosive runner who can rack up the yardage. I was also impressed to see him catch all four of his targets for 44 yards. The fact that the Lions coaches are comfortable with Abdullah in pass-protection is a positive sign as well. In week 2, he gets a beaten up Vikings defense on a short week and I’m expecting an encore performance this Sunday.
Top Shelf Picks
Julio Jones– Atlanta Falcons $8800
at New York Giants
Julio Jones is a beast, and if you didn’t play him in DFS, then I guess you don’t want to win cash. Jones sure looked like the best wide receiver in the NFL under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. He feasted on the Eagles porous secondary, catching 11 balls for 141 yards and two scores. The Falcons travel to The Big Apple to take on a Giants team that just let Romo shred their secondary. Landon Collins is good, but he’s still just a rookie and will get tested by one of the game’s best.
Antonio Brown– Pittsburgh Steelers $9200
vs San Francisco 49ers
Antonio Brown managed to produce on Thursday Night Football despite the Steelers struggling on offense and missing the services of the best running back in the NFL. Brown corralled 9 of 11 targets for 133 yards and a touchdown. Only Julio Jones, Keenan Allen, and DeAndre Hopkins scored more fantasy points at the wide receiver position in week 1. The Steelers have had a lot of time to game plan for the 49ers and Brown is going to be focal point of the aerial attack. I would recommend going cheap at quarterback with Tyrod Taylor and pairing Brown with Julio.
AJ Green- Cincinnati Bengals $8100
vs San Diego Chargers
AJ Green was relatively quiet in week 1 vs the Raiders, catching only five balls for 63 yards. Don’t be fooled by this though, this was more the result of game flow than anything else. The Bengals got off to an early lead and never looked behind. Tyler Eifert busted out with a monster game, giving opposing offenses another player that they have to scheme to contain. I think this bodes well for Green moving forward and should help take some attention off him. This game could turn into a shootout and the “Red Rifle” Andy Dalton will need to take some shots downfield to Green early and often.
Terrance Williams– Dallas Cowboys $6300
at Philadelphia Eagles
The Cowboys will miss Dez Bryant, but this injury opens the door for Terrance Williams to become Romo’s top passing option. While he may be inconsistent, Williams offers big play capability and major upside in a very potent high-powered Cowboys offense. Last year Williams scored eight touchdowns in the regular season and added another three scores in the playoffs. This will be a heated division matchup and offers the highest over-under of the week at 55 ½ points. I’m predicting Williams finishes with 7 catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns.
Brandon Coleman– New Orleans Saints $5000
vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brandon Coleman was a standout in preseason for the Saints and is still flying under the radar in fantasy circles. The Saints lost Jimmy Graham, Kenny Stills, and Pierre Thomas in the offseason, so there are a lot of targets to go around in The Big Easy. It makes sense to use Brandin Cooks between the 20’s to move the chains and target 6-foot-six Brandon Coleman in the red zone. Drew Brees looks comfortable throwing the ball to Coleman, and with opposing defenses keying in on Cooks, they’ll force Coleman to beat them. This is an excellent matchup considering the Bucs cover 2 defense just allowed Marcus Mariota to throw four touchdowns. Coleman stands out this week as one of the best values at wide receiver at $5000.
Top Shelf Pick
Rob Gronkowski– New England Patriots $8300
at Buffalo Bills
If you paid up for Gronk in week 1 you most likely cashed in on his monster game. While I’m hearing a lot of people saying they’re fading Gronk this week versus a stout Bills defense, I think that’s a huge mistake. Gronk is on a tier all by himself at his position and outscores wide receivers in his price range like AJ Green, TY Hilton, Calvin Johnson, and Randall Cobb. If you construct your lineup with a value play quarterback and a couple of value play wide receivers you can still stay under budget and afford Gronk.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins– Tampa Bay Buccaneers $4500
at New Orleans Saints
Austin Seferian-Jenkins blew up last week with five catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns. While it would be insane to expect this type of line every week, its obvious ASJ is breaking out just like Tyler Eifert. He has a few things working in his favor, most notably the absence of Mike Evans, allowing him to soak up targets. With a rookie quarterback under center, I expect him to target ASJ as his safety blanket. The matchup is prime for ASJ considering they’re facing a weak Saints secondary that’s minus Jarius Byrd and Keenan Lewis.
Defenses to target
Baltimore Ravens- $5000
at Oakland Raiders
The Baltimore Ravens defense get one of the more favorable matchups traveling to The Black Hole to face the Oakland Raiders. They’ll be minus Terrell Suggs, but with Derek Carr questionable and the possibility of Matt McGloin starting, I’m all over the Ravens defense this week. The secondary made some big plays last week highlighted by Jimmy Smith‘s pick six.
St. Louis Rams- $4900
at Washington Redskins
The Rams defense is very underrated but one that is borderline match-up proof after last week’s performance vs the Seahawks. The Rams travel to the Nation’s Capital to take on the dysfunctional Redskins. Things can’t get much worse for the Redskins, with the news that DeSean Jackson will be on the shelf for a month or longer. Kirk Cousins is going to be running for his life from the nasty interior that includes Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, and Nick Fairley. I’m expecting at least a couple turnovers and the possibility of a pick six or defensive touchdown is very much in play.
I’ll leave you with a couple of my FanDuel lineups. Good luck this week setting your lineups and hopefully you can cash out in the majority of your cash and tournament entries.