Week 2 Daily Fantasy Football: Picking the Optimal Lineup
Everyone wants to know what the winning lineup is going to be in fantasy football ahead of time. It’s like knowing all of the numbers for the winning Powerball ticket.
Unfortunately, there is no magic 8 ball and we can’t predict the future. All we can do is reflect on what has happened and project based on statistics, matchups and player ability.
Last week tells us some pretty key things, though. The top winner over at DraftKings ($2 million, son) had 228 total fantasy points and won the top prize by one freaking point.
Clue number one? Ya gotta have the perfect team, and even if you do, you have pretty much no room for error. Don’t let that scare you off, though, because having a near-perfect team might not be as hard as it seems. After all, you don’t have to look at it as competing against 500,000 other people to win the dream prize, you just have to competing with your own dueling perspectives.
Just look at BALLAH’s winning squad from week one:
What stands out? Only three of his guys truly “crushed it” with 30+ fantasy points. More importantly, they weren’t even random sleepers or tough calls. Julio Jones is a total beast and the Eagles/Falcons game had a super high Total, Tyler Eifert was cheap and one of the best tight end values going into week one and Carlos Hyde had a good matchup by the numbers and also was a strong value.
There isn’t a whole lot of blind luck across this roster, either, as Tony Romo was a great play against a weak Giants defense, Chris Ivory might have been the best pure value for the entire week, Eddie Lacy is a known beast, the Jets had a dream matchup and both Jarvis Landry and John Brown were solid week one sleepers with good matchups.
Truly, BALLAH just pieced together the perfect team using solid to elite players that had awesome matchups. The kicker? They didn’t disappoint.
Guys like Davante Adams, Odell Beckham Jr. and Doug Martin probably seemed just as sneaky and even reliable going into the first week, yet they totally bombed.
So, really, this guy won all of the money because he just built a really solid, balanced and smart team. Nothing crazy, nothing that felt like dumb luck. At all.
The guy that finished one point behind him? A big bowl of dumb luck. That guy still one $1 million with the likes of Marcus Mariota (4 touchdowns), Benny Cunningham and Darren Sproles producing suitable lines, while Keenan Allen caught 15 freaking passes. Let’s be honest, no one saw that coming. A big whatever on that one. In addition, this dude got away with playing the Vikings defense (6 points).
So, we learned three important things as we prepare to win it all in week two: A smart team can win it all, a random team just might as well, and having one bad play doesn’t necessarily cripple your team.
More importantly, a closer look suggests that who you play at quarterback probably doesn’t matter at DK, as long as they produce in the end. Mariota was a risky play, but he killed and got 24 points. Then again, the 3rd place team had Sam Bradford (18 points) and the fourth place team had Matt Ryan (another 18 points). Another top team had Andy Dalton (again, 18 points).
The point? Quarterback isn’t necessarily the be all, end all in daily fantasy football – at least not on DraftKings. Here, you just need a quarterback that doesn’t bury you ala Rex Grossman back when he was a thing. If you can get a cheap quarterback that gets 18-20 fantasy points (provided everyone doesn’t draft the guy who ends up throwing 5 TDs), you can spend your money elsewhere and make a beautiful team.
Anyways, let’s put this in action by making two teams for week two: one that is just flat out smart and balanced, and one that rolls the dice a little bit. I’ll throw both into a tournament and we’ll see how they did next week:
Team 1 – Smart and Balanced
QB: Drew Brees ($7.8k) – Brees wasn’t great last week and he still got 20 fantasy points. This week he’s at home and faces a Bucs defense that let Marcus Mariots score four times. If he doesn’t crush this week, it’s whatever man.
RB: Carlos Hyde ($5.1k) – Not expecting 168 yards and 2 TDs again, but the Steelers defense is weak and he has a monster role. He’s also an incredible value and a pretty solid talent.
RB: Chris Ivory ($4.7k) – Hyde and Ivory should spike quite a bit in price after week two, so using them now makes a lot of sense. It’s tough to expect either one to score twice again this week, but both are capable of 100+ total yards and a score. Ivory specifically gets the Colts, who are awful against the run.
WR: Antonio Brown ($8.8k) – You can go Julio, ODB or Brown here. The point is you’re getting an elite WR1 and I’m not sure any player in all of daily fantasy football is more reliable week-to-week than Brown.
WR: Brandin Cooks ($7k) – Solid value and a nice pairing with Brees, Cooks was spare in week one and is primed to go nuts at home this week. He’s a strong WR2 in every sense and allows you to pay up for your one true stud at the WR1 spot.
WR: Eric Decker ($5.1k) – A fine WR3 in any fantasy football format, Decker scored last week and could again on MNF with the Colts draping Vontae Davis all over Brandon Marshall. As long as he gets 10+ fantasy points, its a win.
TE: Jordan Cameron ($4k) – Jax shut down Greg Olsen last week but that’s because he’s all the Panthers had. Miami has too many weapons to stop and Cameron at least has a great shot at a TD, while he had a great role last week. Plus he’s $3.3k cheaper than Rob Gronkowski, who has a brutal road date with the Bills.
Flex: Ameer Abdullah ($4.5k) – Detroit has been mum on his role but they already know they got away from the ground game last week and the dude scored a TD on his first NFL carry. Now he gets a Vikings defense that let Carlos Hyde abuse them in week one. He’s a terrific value and as good as it gets at the Flex spot.
DEF: Ravens Defense ($2.9k) – Why get cute? They’re $400 cheaper than the most expensive defense, stifled the Broncos last week and get the Raiders this week. If they don’t wreck, I’ll be baffled.
Team 2 – All of the Upside
QB: Joe Flacco ($6.4k) – We’ve learned that quarterback is both tough to predict and you don’t necessarily need to pay up to get results. Why not try Flacco, who was so awful last week he can’t help but be better in week two? Flacco is usually not the guy you want to lean on, but in week two he gets the Raiders and will have plenty of upside to go with his nice price tag.
RB: Jeremy Hill ($7.4k) – Hill scored twice and crushed overall last week, yet he didn’t even rush for that much yardage. He’s at home and is a total beast though, so this is solid value for such a reliable running back.
RB: Marshawn Lynch ($7.2k) – The Packers can’t defend the run and Beast Mode owns Green Bay. A score or two with 100+ yards is pretty much a lock with the Hawks facing an 0-2 hole.
WR: Odell Beckham Jr. ($8.8k) – Still gotta get that elite WR1, right? Not only is ODB going up against a weak Falcons pass defense that let Jordan Matthews catch 10 passes last week, but it’s awfully hard to imagine him cratering for the second week in a row.
WR: Cole Beasley ($3.3k) – Dez Bryant (foot) is down for a while, which is going to open up targets. Terrance Williams and Jason Witten both make plenty of sense, but Beasley is cheaper and should be plenty active. He had 7.9 fantasy points last week even though he fumbled and Dez was there. He should top 10 points this week.
WR: Brandon Coleman ($3.3k) – The Saints are at home and versus the Bucs, so you know the drill. Coleman is a size/athleticism freak and already scored last week. There is potential for a mammoth-sized performance here, while the risk is small at this price. Three cheap wide receivers may seem scary, but week one only saw a few stud WRs live up to their hype AND we saw Stevie Johnson, Jarvis Landry, John Brown and even our boy Coleman here (all priced under $6k) pay off. There’s little reason to deny that possibility again this week.
TE: Richard Rodgers ($2.5k) – Sure, you could pay up for Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, but why? They’re really the only two guys you’d want to spend money on, but Gronk has a bad matchup and Graham is going to be hit or miss in his new offense. Just go with the minimum play, as Rodgers is starting in a good system, and is at home against a Seattle defense that allowed a Rams TE to score last week.
Flex: Adrian Peterson ($7.7k) – Aim high, right? Peterson still has the talent and upside to go nuts, and this week he draws a Lions defense that got abused last week. He’s also back at home and the Vikings have to know 10 carries wasn’t enough last week. The jitters are gone and Peterson shook some rust off. It will be a shock if he doesn’t perform much better, plus he might be a contrarian play with so many people scared of his week one showing.
DEF: Miami Dolphins Defense ($3.3k) – Why take chances? You’re saving everywhere else, just grab the top defense for the week. Miami takes on the Jaguars, who they should have no trouble containing in a win.
Which route is the path to success and possible greatness? That’s for you to decide, or you can join me and just drop both of these teams into a GPP and cross your fingers.
These exact teams aren’t the point, though. Playing matchups and player talent and building a team out isn’t an exact science, as both strategies CAN work. Find what works best for you and pull the trigger. After all, you can’t win if you don’t put anything in. Good luck in daily fantasy football this week!
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