A wild Week 1 has led into a Week 2 that gave DFS players more questions than answers.
Between the highest implied game total being the game to play for Sunday’s main slate and two D/STs causing chaos in Showdown, Week 1 has big shoes to fill.
Thursday Night Football DFS: Vikings @ Eagles
Using Vegas Lines To Construct DFS Week 1 Lineups
You can track the full Vikings vs Eagles betting market up until kickoff.
The NFL lines I used for TNF are up to date as of September 13, 2023, at 10 p.m. ET., courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook:
- Spread: Eagles -6
- Total: 49 Points
It’s ‘Primetime’ Kirk Cousins against the defending NFC Champions in the first Thursday Night Football game that’s not the season opener.
Both teams had disappointing games in Week 1, but only Minnesota has a loss to accentuate the disappointment. Both teams look to bounce back on a short week, but not without question marks that could affect this DFS football Showdown contest.
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Kirk Cousins ($9,200) is not known for his night game production, but the Eagles are doing their best to make it easier for the veteran. The Eagles defense ($4,400) will be without CB James Bradberry, LB Nakobe Dean, and S Reed Blankenship, while the offense will be without Week 1’s lead running back Kenneth Gainwell.
Three defensive starters out, paired with five new starters entering the season, makes for a green defense against a pass-first Vikings offense. Cousins pumped targets to Justin Jefferson ($12,400), T.J. Hockenson ($6,800), Jordan Addison ($6,400), and K.J. Osborn ($5,000) in part because that’s how the offense works, but also because the running game averaged 2.4 yards per carry in their season opener.
That shouldn’t change because the Eagles are loaded on their front four.
The Eagles started okay and finished with a thud against a good Patriots defense. A short week is never advantageous, but the Vikings’ defense ($3,200) is devoid of talent and ripe for the picking.
The Buccaneers’ offense nickeled and dimed the Vikings’ defense because it’s not good enough to take consistent chances. The Eagles offense is, and Jalen Hurts ($11,400) should have time to air the ball out.
The running back situation is going to be interesting to parse out. With Gainwell out, Rashaad Penny ($1,600), D’Andre Swift ($4,000), and Boston Scott ($2,200) will run as a three-headed monster after seeing next to no work in Week 1.
Favorite Thursday Night DraftKings Showdown Plays
Showdown fantasy football lineups can hit with stacks that may or may not make sense. A weekly reminder - we want all the first-place winnings and not to be duped.
Captain Jalen Hurts with DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert
You and I scored as many points as Goedert in Week 1, but against the Vikes D on a short week, there is no reason for the TE not to make up for his bagel. Hurts and Smith are leverage off A.J. Brown ($10,600) against a defense that allowed 5.9 yards per play in 2022 with little improvement.
Captain T.J. Hockenson with Dallas Goedert
Both defenses are soft at linebacker and in Philly’s case, down a starting safety.
Captain Kirk Cousins with K.J. Osborn and Jordan Addison
This makes sense as leverage off Jefferson. Osborn ran a route on 94% of passing plays, and Addison saw the same amount of targets (six) as Osborn. All three Minnesota WRs had aDOTs under 13 yards but above 9, so it comes down to salary and ownership.
* Dart Throws/Cheap Options
TE Josh Oliver ($800)
The TE2 for the Vikings ran a route on 13 of 31 snaps and logged three catches for 31 yards. I also like that one of his targets was in the red zone.
RB Ty Chandler ($1,200)
It would have been nice to see Chandler play more than 25% of snaps, considering the pass-first nature of the offense, but three catches and four total touches on 11 snaps is an excellent ratio for Chandler getting the ball.
RB Rashaad Penny ($1,600)
A healthy scratch Week 1, Penny has a chance to take the early-down work with Kenneth Gainwell inactive. He is least likely to snag targets in the passing game, which would be his biggest knock. His 6.07 YPC before injury in 2022 is a reminder of his upside as a rusher, especially behind Philly’s line.
WR Quez Watkins ($3,000)
Watkins has straight-line speed to burn and shouldn’t have an issue getting past the Vikings’ secondary for a big play/touchdown.
* TNF Captain Picks
QB Jalen Hurts ($17,100)
Hurts not being the highest-priced player is great for Showdown players. His floor could be even higher this week because of Gainwell’s injury, and Philly’s patented QB sneak gives Hurts additional upside at the goal line.
WR Justin Jefferson ($18,600)
The only knock on Jefferson this week is his expected matchup against CB Darius Slay. The veteran defender shadowed Jefferson in their Week 2 game in 2022 and was limited to a 6/48/0 line on 12 targets.
If Jefferson avoids Slay for any extended period of time, it could be a tough day for a beleaguered Iggles secondary.
TE T.J. Hockenson ($10,200)
I don’t mind a TE CPT as much as others, especially with Hockenson seeing so much work in the Vikings’ offense (nine targets in Week 1). Nakobe Dean’s absence is a big factor in this decision; the Eagles allowed 23.2 DraftKings points to Patriots tight ends last week.
DFS Sunday Main Slate Week 2
The second week of the season gives us hope of the return of Travis Kelce, while potentially missing Austin Ekeler (ankle, out) Jakobi Meyers (concussion, out), and Aaron Jones (ankle, questionable).
Injuries create values in DFS, and Week 2 has some to target and avoid.
Week 2 Quarterbacks to Target
Patrick Mahomes (@JAX), Josh Allen (vs LVR), and Anthony Richardson (@HOU)
The threat of Kelce plus a ticked-off Chiefs offense is a great foundation for playing Mahomes. Richardson showed against the Jaguars in his NFL debut that his fantasy floor alone makes him enticing. Colts-Texans aren’t sexy and won’t carry rostership.
Week 2 Quarterbacks to Consider
Joe Burrow (vs BAL), Daniel Jones (@ ARI), and Brock Purdy (@ LAR)
Burrow stacks are appealing with a mediocre Ravens secondary, and the Browns defense is notably better than what the Ravens are running out. I expect the Bengals to pass more in neutral situations (52% Week 1) with players such as LB Roquan Smith excelling at stopping the run for Baltimore.
Week 2 Running Backs to Target
Derrick Henry (vs LAC), Josh Jacobs (@ BUF), Christian McCaffrey (@ LAR), and James Conner (vs NYG)
The Chargers are a run funnel (they are tougher against the pass), and after what Ryan Tannehill put on tape in Week 1, it’s a Henry week.
Conner was tackled at the 1-yard line against the Commanders, which would change a lot for his rostership this week.
All four backs are involved so much that they remain valued at almost any price tag.
Week 2 Running Backs to Consider
Rachaad White (vs CHI), A.J. Dillon (@ ATL), James Cook (vs LVR), and Travis Etienne (vs KC)
White could be a trap after flopping against the Vikings. That is also not entirely on him since the Buccaneers’ offensive line is subpar.
Cook sticks out after the Raiders allowed Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine to collect 8/42/0 on 10 targets. Allen will need to not implode for a second straight game, which means more occasional check-downs, in my humble opinion.
Week 2 Wide Receivers to Target
Calvin Ridley (vs KC), Tee Higgins (vs BAL), Nico Collins (vs IND), and Deebo Samuel (@ LAR)
A 49ers stack is live because Purdy is still priced down. He is not likely to hit the 300-yard bonus for passing yards, but a 225-yard, 3 TD performance is great with Christian McCaffrey and Samuel.
Collins played 75% of snaps, ran a route on 95% of those, and was targeted 11 times. Anything similar to that in Week 2 would make him a near-lock.
Week 2 Wide Receivers to Consider
Ja’Marr Chase (vs BAL), Josh Reynolds (vs SEA), Zay Jones (vs KC), and Stefon Diggs (vs LVR)
Chase and Diggs set up as top wideouts in bounce-back situations.
Reynolds and Jones are affordable targets that a more likely to underperform because of the target distribution hierarchy on their teams.
Week 2 Tight Ends to Target
Travis Kelce (@ JAX), Mark Andrews (@ CIN), and Chig Okonkwo (vs LAC)
Don’t be cute with tight end - play the best plays or punt the position.
An overthrow by Tannehill would have made Okonkwo a TE1 as he blew past a Saints defender on a deep route. If DeAndre Hopkins (ankle, questionable) misses Week 2, Okonkwo will be the cheap TE to roster.
Week 2 Tight Ends to Consider
Sam LaPorta (vs SEA), Luke Musgrave (@ ATL), and Adam Trautman (vs WAS)
Musgrave is mispriced at $3,200 after a 3/50/0 Week 1 against Chicago.
Greg Dulcich (hamstring) is out in Week 2, making Trautman the de facto TE1 for the Broncos. Arizona traveled to Washington and targeted their tight ends 12 times. The Commanders are getting Chase Young back, so don’t be surprised if Russell Wilson looks for Trautman close to the line of scrimmage.
Week 2 DST to Target
Buccaneers (vs CHI), Rams (vs 49ers), Cowboys (vs NYJ), and Broncos (vs WAS)
The Bears’ offensive line did little to keep Justin Fields from being pressured and have an offense with the imagination of a sponge.
Zach Wilson may go on his own ayahuasca trip after traveling to Jerry World.
Home favorites are good targets for DST.
Week 2 DST to Consider
Jets (@ DAL), Giants (@ ARI), and Raiders (@ BUF)
Paying all the way down for the Raiders may not be the breakout performance that the Cardinals were in Week 1, but saving salary at the least predictable position in DFS is rarely a bad idea.
Favorite Dart Throws
QB: Baker Mayfield vs CHI
RB: Tank Bigsby vs KC
WR: Tank Dell vs IND
TE: Daniel Bellinger @ ARI
Week 2 Main Slate DFS Showdown
No featured Main Slate Showdown contest this week, but we get the extra Monday night game to make up for it.
Week 2 Sunday Night Football DFS Showdown: Dolphins @ Patriots
- Spread: Dolphins -2.5
- Total: 46.5 Points
Can Tyreek Hill ($12,600 on DraftKings) break the Week 2 SNF slate?
One week after running circles around the Chargers defense, Hill and the Dolphins head to Foxboro for an AFC East contest. The Patriots are coming off a close loss to the Eagles at home but limited a potent Philly offense to 251 total yards. Bill Belichick has his work cut out for him once again.
Five Dolphins saw at least five targets from Tua Tagovailoa ($11,200) as he completed 28 of 45 pass attempts for 466 yards. A repeat performance may not be expected, but it has a non-zero chance with Mike McDaniel operating an efficient offense with players he wants at each skill position.
Tua was efficient in his lone start against the Pats in 2022 in the McDaniel offense, totaling 270 pass yards and one score through the air. That score went to Jaylen Waddle ($10,200), who was “quiet" to open the 2023 season (4/78/0 stat line).
The question that we have few answers to is who is going to catch the ball for New England. JuJu Smith-Schuster ($6,200, chronic knee concerns) and DeVante Parker ($5,000, knee) are from from guaranteed to play, let alone be effective if they do suit up.
We do know that Rhamondre Stevenson ($9,400) is THE guy in the Patriots offense. He dominated Ezekiel Elliott ($5,800) in snaps on the field in every situation. Both will play, but there is no reason to shy away from rostering Stevenson.
Favorite Sunday Night DraftKings Showdown Plays
Captain Tyreek Hill with Tua Tagovailoa and Raheem Mostert
A Dolphins passing stack is going to be popular with play-down options the other way for the Patriots. I like inserting Raheem Mostert ($8,000) after the Patriots allowed five receptions to Eagles running backs in Week 1.
Captain Jaylen Waddle
The easiest way to pivot off Hill is by using the other WR1 on the Dolphins. It has been noted that Belichick can scheme a game plan to remove an opponent’s top offensive weapon. It’s okay to take a drive down #NarrativeStreet.
Captain Rhamondre Stevenson with Ezekiel Elliott
The easiest way to keep the Dolphins offense off the field is to not let them get the ball. The Patriots could run the ball 30 times to capture time of possession and allow both backs to do their best to bully a strong Dolphins pass rush. Miami allowed 6.5 yards per carry to the Chargers.
Captain Tua Tagovailoa with two Dolphins pass catchers
There are numerous ways to save salary in this game, and the majority will be with Patriots options. Braxton Berrios ($2,000) and Durham Smythe ($3,800) are options without paying all the way down, like River Cracraft ($800).
* Dart Throws/Cheap Options
WR River Cracraft ($800)
He ran a route on 33% of snaps and secured a score in Week 1. Being the cheapest pass catcher with expected usage will draw rostership.
RB Alec Ingold ($200)
A 2/34/0 stat line is enough to get a blurb from me. Those 34 receiving yards equate to one-third of his 2022 production.
WR Kayshon Boutte ($600)
The rookie goose-egged Week 1, but has a shot to run routes in two-receiver sets should Parker miss Week 2.
WR Demario Douglas ($1,800)
Douglas earned a target on just over 20% of his snaps played against the Eagles. If things break Douglas’ way, it could mean a lower rostership than Boutte with more opportunity.
*SNF Captain Picks
Jaylen Waddle ($15,300)
The $3,600 salary difference between Hill and Waddle at CPT offers some relief from depending on numerous low-priced players who are expected to be rostered a lot. I want to solo-win my DFS contests, and Waddle gives me a better chance of that than Hill.
Rhamondre Stevenson ($14,100)
The usage king in this game will push for 20-plus total touches and getting him started could be the difference between a win or loss for New England.
Raheem Mostert ($12,000)
It hasn’t been uncommon early in this season for weird things to happen. If the Dolphins get turnovers and their passing attack stalls, Mostert will be in an ideal spot to kickstart the offense. It’s also a way to stack RB-DST with leverage at CPT.
Week 2 Monday Night Football DFS Slate
Changing things up with the rare two-game slate for Week 2 this Monday night.
Injuries have put a bullseye on the Pittsburgh Steelers. The biggest loss is DE Cam Heyward, who helped anchor the Steelers’ pass rush. The offensive line was also a major concern, but it appears as if RT Chukwuma Okorafor (concussion protocol) and RG James Daniels (after) will play.
It does not inspire a lot of confidence after the Browns front four got to Joe Burrow twice and limited the Bengals offense to 142 total yards. Cincy clearly has more talent than the Steelers, so look for a big push in the run game behind Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.
The rostership will lean heavily towards Browns-Steelers because there are few players that even the sharpest DFS players feel comfortable putting in a lineup aside from Chris Olave and Miles Sanders.
I say it as a broken record, but you want to win and not split the top prizes.
D.J. Chark (hamstring) is expected to give it a go for Carolina, which needed a deeper WR threat after Bryce Young had a 7.39 aDOT. That was worse than Sam Howell, Baker Mayfield, C.J. Stroud, and a dozen other quarterbacks.
Derek Carr didn’t need that jolt, leading Week 1 signal callers with an 11.45 aDOT. His connection with Olave and Rashid Shaheed changed the landscape of a narrow win against Tennessee. The Saints did the opposite running the ball and will need to do something after the Panthers run defense held their own against Atlanta’s two-headed RB monster.
Favorite Week 2 Monday Night Plays
Derek Carr ($6,000)
The former Raider may be under duress after the Panthers got to Desmond Ridder four times, but the Falcons offensive line is considered a better run-blocking unit than passing.
That means I want the guy throwing bombs to Shaheed and Olave, as well as hopefully getting more from Jamaal Williams (2.4 YPC) and Taysom Hill to contribute more as secondary pass catchers with Juwan Johnson.
Nick Chubb ($8,500), Miles Sanders ($5,700), and Chuba Hubbard ($5,000)
Nick Chubb is going to come with the most rostership on the slate (and the Browns defense).
Miles Sanders is the easier click than Chuba Hubbard because he doubled his backup’s workload. I want to roster both in a 3-RB lineup build because the Panthers duo can make plays after Derrick Henry collected 119 yards on 17 total touches (58 receiving yards) last week.
Chris Olave ($7,200), Elijah Moore ($4,500), and Calvin Austin III ($3,500)
Elijah Moore steps into the WR1 role if/when Amari Cooper (hamstring) is ruled out. The former Jet finished with the lowest aDOT (9.14) of the top three receiver options, and the Browns may not have to stretch the defense as often as they did in Week 1.
Calvin Austin III is the cheapest wideout who is expected to see a major run for Pittsburgh. He saw six targets in Week 1 and should asked to catch the ball quickly and work in space.
Hayden Hurst ($4,000) and Pat Freiermuth ($4,500)
A dependable tight end may not exist on the slate, but the two that have established or are establishing a strong connection are the targets. Hayden Hurst‘s strong Week 1 may inflate his rostership more than you may feel comfortable with, so “paying up" for Pat Freiermuth is more than fine.
The Steelers tight ends - Freiermuth and Connor Heyward - combined for eight targets even if it only resulted in three receptions. It also didn’t help that Kenny Pickett‘s second-year TE missed a chunk of Week 1 with a chest injury.
Browns ($3,300) and Panthers ($2,900)
The Browns come with a great price considering Pitt’s injuries combined with their ferocious pass rush.
The Panthers could be shredded, but also could pick off Carr three times with the veteran’s willingness to air the ball out.