By now we have all finally gotten over the emotional roller-coaster that was NFL Week #1, just in time to do it all over again in a few days. Okay, maybe that is a partial lie and some of us (yours truly included) are still reliving the seemingly endless ups-and-downs from a crazy NFL Sunday. Whether you are relishing your opening week triumphs or helplessly staring at the computer screen in search of answers, it’s time to look forward to week #2. With it comes a clean slate for one-week fantasy leagues at FanDuel, and a new crop of “must plays” to serve as fixtures in your lineups.
Rotoworld's partner FanDuel.com is hosting a one-week $250,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 2's games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts this Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.
The following recommendations are categorized by price, as each player is classified as “must play” status or “borderline” in that regard. The primary motivation behind these endorsements stems from an elite combination of matchup potential, expected supply, and corresponding salary (marked next to the players name). In other words, these are the top plays to consider on FanDuel, and if you don’t have some assortment of these heralded players, you may find yourself behind the proverbial eight-ball come Sunday.
Top-dollar options who will justify their hefty price tag.
MUST PLAY: Aaron Rodgers (QB) - GB - $9,100
Judging by twitter interactions, message boards, and various articles, it seems like the daily fantasy community is split between Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck as the best “per $” QB on FanDuel. They both have favorable matchups, but I’m siding with Team Rodgers this week, and here’s why: The Jets have an excellent front seven and a suspect secondary, so expect Green Bay to attack that weakness early and often. The extra prep time following last Thursday’s disappointment should serve the Packers’ offense well, leaving Rodgers as the preeminent “bounce-back” candidate of the week.
BORDERLINE: Adrian Peterson (RB) - MIN - $8,800
Peterson was good, but not great in Minnesota’s runaway victory last Sunday, at least from a fantasy perspective. His services weren’t really required vs the Rams, but I’m fully expecting Minnesota to feature Peterson “all day” in an effort to keep pace with New England. The Patriots disclosed a major susceptibility to the run last week, making Knowshon Moreno’s tough 134 yards look like an Adrian Peterson highlight reel; seriously. Imagine what the real AD is capable of in this matchup.
Players priced in the “second-tier”, but could easily boast top flight numbers.
MUST PLAY: Jimmy Graham (TE) - NO - $8,000
Even after Julius Thomas’ 3 TD performance, Jimmy Graham still reigns supreme as the top fantasy tight end, at least for this week. He’s virtually the same price as Thomas, with a much better matchup to boot. Ben Roethlisberger dismantled the Cleveland secondary for 365 yards last week, so Drew Brees figures to have plenty of room to operate in this contest. By association, that makes Graham a premium play as his favorite target. Like most teams, the Browns simply don’t have an answer for the TE/WR hybrid.
BORDERLINE: Giovani Bernard (RB) - CIN - $7,800
Gio’s stock is certainly trending up after last week’s performance, and rightfully so. The Bengals appear adamant to utilize him in the passing game, something that fantasy enthusiasts aren’t going to complain about. He totaled 48 yards rushing and 62 through the air vs a formidable Ravens defense, and the ground game should pick up more steam in a cushy draw vs Atlanta (31st in rush yards allowed for 2013).
Mid-range picks with favorable prices and situations.
MUST PLAY: Andre Johnson (WR) - HOU - $7,100
This is strictly a “salary point” play. Johnson is sitting around the bottom of the second-tier options (Percy Harvin and Vincent Jackson are marked higher), priced at a substantial bargain to the elite players of the position. Still, it’s plausible to believe that Andre can perform like a WR1 this weekend, given the matchup against an Oakland team that ranked 27th against the pass last season. Ryan Fitzpatrick gave AJ a healthy amount of targets last week, even though the Texans played with a lead the entire second half. Johnson’s fantasy projections provide a comfortable floor with a potentially inflated ceiling if the Texans find themselves in a tight battle down the stretch.
BORDERLINE: Rashad Jennings (RB) - NYG - $6,700
Just as a real estate agents’ mantra is “location, location, location”, the fantasy football equivalent is “supply, supply, supply”. Jennings undoubtedly feeds that expression, as the Giants will render his services heavily on Sunday. New York displayed their fondness for Jennings last week, giving him a full complement of touches, looks in the passing game, and goal-line carries en route to 96 total yards vs a stout Detroit defensive line. The matchup against Arizona isn’t much easier, but the workload/price combination vaults Jennings into lineup consideration for a mid-range salary.
The best of the bargain bin.
MUST PLAY: Golden Tate (WR) - DET - $5,000
Golden Tate gets an upgrade this week from participation ribbon to “bronze” status following a nice 6 reception 93 yard outing on Monday night. That performance came despite Calvin Johnson shredding the Giants’ secondary, so it’s rational to assume that Tate could see an even larger slice of Detroit’s passing pie if Carolina decides to blanket Megatron. On top of that situational positive, Tate’s price didn’t increase from last week, so now is the time to “buy low” and plug him into your WR3 spot.
BORDERLINE: Terrance West (RB) - CLE - $5,300
Not surprising: Ben Tate got hurt in the season opener and will miss 2-4 weeks. Surprising: Terrance West took 16 carries for 100 yards in Tate’s absence.
Hardly a sure-fire commodity, West is now the bell cow for Cleveland’s offense, and he should see around 20+ touches in this game. Third string RB, Isaiah Crowell, ended up siphoning two goal-line TD’s last week, but make no mistake, West is the featured back in Cleveland. A combination of his expected workload and near-minimum price tag makes him an intriguing salary cap relief play.
Kicker, Defense, and a few honorable mentions.
KICKER: Nate Freese – DET - $4,500
Freese is a serviceable kicker for this bare minimum price, given the Lions pass-happy offense could set him up with multiple attempts at Carolina.
DEFENSE: Green Bay Packers - $4,700
The Packers defense is reasonably priced, enjoying a pleasant home matchup against a sputtering Jets’ offense and their turnover-prone quarterback.
BEST OF THE REST: Andrew Luck (QB) – IND - $9,400 … A.J. Green (WR) – CIN - $8,500 … Montee Ball (RB) – DEN - $8,100 … Jordy Nelson (WR) – GB - $7,900 ... Jake Locker (QB) – TEN $7,400 … Martellus Bennett (TE) – CHI - $6,100 … Marques Colston – NO - $5,600