Week 2 DFS NFL Matchups to Avoid and Exploit
Last week we shoved out some analysis on some daily fantasy football matchups to avoid or exploit and the results were mixed. For the avoid side, we were right to steer clear from Jeremy Hill, Dolphins and for the most part, any Bears players.
We whiffed badly on fading the Tampa Bay passing game and the Chargers ended up being a mixed bag. You were thrilled if you used their running backs, but their passing game wasn’t overly impressive.
The Bucs weren’t nearly as surprising, but San Diego initially dominating on the road against the Chiefs came out of nowhere.
We’ll take the mild 3-2 win on the week.
As for our matchups to exploit, we went a miserable 1-4. Christine Michael didn’t do nearly enough against Miami in what should have been an easy home game, the Bills fell completely flat against the Ravens in Baltimore, Coby Fleener was a total waste in a game where the Saints put up 34 points and the Cleveland Browns did virtually nothing in a blowout loss to the Eagles.
Our lone win on the week was exploiting the Oakland Raiders, who saw all of their key offensive players crush. The Raiders/Saints game in general got the thumbs up, so hopefully you took advantage of it in your DFS NFL contests.
Week one can be a bit tricky, so moving forward we probably won’t trust in guys like Michael or Fleener and we also might respect San Diego’s offense and Miami’s defense a bit more.
While the first week of our DFS NFL matchups column didn’t go quite as planned, we still remain transparent as we march into week two with more situations to avoid and target. Let’s get to work:
5 Matchups to Avoid
Andrew Luck vs. Broncos Secondary
Luck was a force to be reckoned with in week one, but there’s no way we can trust him to be elite in week two when he faces an elite Denver defense in Colorado. Not only is it tough in general to play in the higher altitude, but the Broncos looked as good as ever in the second half of their week one win over the Panthers.
Luck certainly has the ability to go off in the second half even if he’s playing from behind, but we wouldn’t bet on that happening. Instead of a huge blow up game, we’re probably looking at 250 yards, two scores and 2-3 turnovers. It may not end up being his worst game of the year, but it’s not the ideal situation to have him carry you to new DFS heights.
Todd Gurley vs. Seahawks Run Defense
Gurley saw the rock 18 times in week one and mustered just 42 total yards and no scores. The offensive state in Los Angeles is brutal and in week two they get to try to turn things around against the Seattle Seahawks.
It’s probably true that the Rams’ only chance to remain in this game is Gurley going nuts, but Seattle has a stout front seven and will almost surely stack the box. There is no logical reason to pay up for Gurley this week, other than trying to be ultra contrarian.
Bills vs. Jets (Entire Game)
We aren’t big fans of Thursday Night Football games in general, as teams are on short weeks, can come out flat and if they’re banged up they have fewer days to rest up. Add in two talented defenses and two teams that are desperate for a win after 0-1 starts, and we’re in for a bare knuckle brawl here.
If anything is worth targeting, it’s the air game, as the Jets got torched in week one through the air and Buffalo gave up a long touchdown pass to Mike Wallace. That could put guys like Sammy Watkins, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker in play, but even they might be shaky bets in this setting.
Melvin Gordon vs. Jaguars Run Defense
A lot of people could be on Gordon this week, following his first two career scores in a crazy game with the Chiefs. He could thrive yet again and is pretty cheap at DraftKings, but we wouldn’t suggest the dive.
For one, Danny Woodhead is actually seeing more time and touches on the field, while the Jags aren’t really slouches defensively. They wrapped up Eddie Lacy pretty well in week one and after an 0-1 start, may be focused on making the Chargers one-dimensional. Taking Gordon out of the game will probably be their top focus.
Lions RBs vs. Titans Defense
Detroit running backs destroyed the Colts in week one, but it’s going to be tough to buy into them going into week two. The biggest reason why is Tennessee’s impressive defensive play against the run in week one, when they completely shut down Adrian Peterson and really held Minnesota’s offense as a hole in check.
Ameer Abdullah was already hard to trust and Theo Riddick is quite catch dependent, so these guys were shaky DFS plays to begin with. Of the two, Riddick has the most upside and is probably safer, but the Titans are at home and it’s tough to see Detroit murdering two straight games on the road. This one may be more of a defensive battle for them.
5 Matchups to Exploit
Blake Bortles vs. Chargers Secondary
Blake Bortles was held largely in check in a tight week one loss to the Packers, so we’re looking for him to blow up in a week two clash with San Diego. The Bolts gave up the third most fantasy points to the quarterback position last week and with stud safety Eric Weddle now in Baltimore, it looks like that could be something that continues.
Bortles is just too good to stay down for long, too, while he has a deadly arsenal with Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas at his disposal. A shootout looms this week and Bortles figures to be one of the best plays at the quarterback position because of it.
Saints vs. Giants (Entire Game)
While we’re avoiding the Jets/Bills game entirely, this Saints/Giants clash is one we want our hands all over. The Giants didn’t explode in week one, but New Orleans surely did and these two teams combined last year for easily the biggest two-way DFS performance.
A trash Saints defense offers up endless possibilities in this one, while an improved Giants defense probably still won’t be able to stifle New Orleans too much. Expect a lot of points and some DFS stars out of this game in week two.
C.J. Anderson vs. Colts Run Defense
Indianapolis was brutal against running backs in week one, leading the way with 46 fantasy points given up to the position. Cue C.J. Anderson, who dominated a good Panthers defense last week and will once again have a huge role at home.
The matchup, role and talent are all there for Anderson, while his price ($6.8k at DK) really isn’t so bad considering all he has to offer.
Delanie Walker vs. Detroit Lions
Walker and most of the Titans were fairly quiet last week, but there’s a good chance he and the rest of the Titans liven up a bit this week. They are at home again in week two and draw a Lions defense that just got ravaged through the air by the Indianapolis Colts.
This game can’t be expected to be as high-scoring or as productive, but it could be for Walker. Not only should he rebound from a so-so week one, but Detroit got slapped around by tight ends in week one. It’s worth testing to see if the trend continues.
Jay Cutler vs. Eagles Secondary
Some of our picks have been fairly chalk, so here’s a contrarian one to chew on: play Jay Cutler against the Eagles. Some may shy away from this matchup after Philly dominated the Browns in week one, but consider who they put the clamps down on: Robert Griffin III.
In week two the Eagles get a slightly harder test on the road against a pretty talented Bears offense. Cutler actually looked terrific in the first half against a good Texans defense last week and could be in for a nice night in a Monday Night Football home contest. Philly was a trash pass defense in 2015, after all, so if that is to continue in 2016, it may be worth trying out a discounted Cutler ($5.7k at DK) to cap the week.
Hopefully our week two matchup analysis fares better than it did in week one. Regardless of whether you use/avoid our picks, we wish you luck in your daily fantasy football leagues this week!
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