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NFL: Let's talk about teasers (Week 5)

6-point Teasers

Our methodology for playing 6-point teasers is similar to Blackjack expert Stanford Wong's strategy:
The reasoning behind this methodology is that games are frequently decided by a final margin of 3, 6, or 7. So we play teasers in such a manner that we gain these numbers in the teaser movement.
In my week 1 post, I did a mathematical dive into whether we should be playing games at exactly +3, whether home teams are more reliable than road teams, and whether the total of the game matters.

Sweetheart Teasers

10-point teasers are often called "sweetheart" teasers. I'm grateful to u/hyperkinesis247 for inquiring if there's an edge regarding sweethearts. After looking at a small sample size in 2017-2019, I've decided to track 10-point teasers according to the following methodology:

Previous Results

The plays last week were:
Off-the-board spread 6 pt 10 pt
Chicago +3 Win
Denver +1½ Win Win
Detroit +3 Win
San Francisco -8 Loss
Tampa Bay -7½ Win
I've been using the closing line at Bovada to determine which games qualify as Wong bets. For example, Carolina and Las Vegas both closed at +3 with many books and both covered. But they're not included in the list above because Bovada closed them at +3½. (You can verify the lines at
I'm a Blackjack player. I didn't know the first thing about sports or sports betting when I started this tracking. In hindsight, I've learned that Bovada was a terrible choice. Nonetheless, Bovada was the choice and switching now seems statistically unethical.
Assuming a -120 payout for 2-team teasers, we must demonstrate better than 73.9% probability on each leg to show we have breakeven-or-better EV. For a -130 payout on 3-team sweethearts, that threshold is 82.7%. Including last week, the results since 2017 are listed below.
Teaser Year Team Record
6 pt 2017 +1½ thru +3 61-23 72.6%
6 pt 2018 +1½ thru +3 63-19 76.8%
6 pt 2019 +1½ thru +3 52-16 76.5%
6 pt 2020 +1½ thru +3 16-2 88.9%
6 pt 2017 -7½ thru -9 27-10 73.0%
6 pt 2018 -7½ thru -9 16-9 64.0%
6 pt 2019 -7½ thru -9 17-7 70.8%
6 pt 2020 -7½ thru -9 7-2 77.9%
10 pt 2017 +1½ thru +2½ 22-1 95.7%
10 pt 2018 +1½ thru +2½ 24-5 82.8%
10 pt 2019 +1½ thru +2½ 23-4 85.2%
10 pt 2020 +1½ thru +2½ 5-0 100.0%
The chart above counts pushes as losses. You should strongly consider betting at a book that has a "pushes reduce" rule instead.
The reason why my results only count the last three years (2017-2019) is because that's all the time I've had to look at so far. There's no real reason why I'm actively avoiding 2016. I'll be making an effort to look at the 2016 data soon.


Once upon a time, Wong's strategy was reliable. Bookmakers used to routinely pay -110 for teasers and games tended to be lower-scoring in the past.
But in 2020, the payouts are stingier and NFL offenses are stronger. It would be irresponsible to automatically assume Wong teasers are still a winning strategy today. This post is not a suggestion to bet. Merely, this is an experiment to see if this strategy is still favorable in today's environment.
Before last week, I expressed concern over the fact that our selections were 16-5-1 against the un-teased spread. This is good news if you had bet real money on these games in the past. However, it was a red flag in terms of sustainability moving forward. We have no reason to believe that our win percentage against the un-teased spread should be higher or lower than 50%.
Last week's results helped alleviate those concerns a little bit. The picks were 1-4 against the un-teased spread but still 4-1 in our teasers. It's a step in the right direction, but one week isn't enough of a sample size for me to consider flipping my advice.

This Week

As of the time of this post, the Bears number in today's game is all over the place depending on which book you look at. For my opinion on how I think this situation should be handled, see the Line Shopping section of my post last week. For the purposes of tracking the results, I remain steadfast in using Bovada's closing line.
As of now, the unofficial list of Wong teasers this week is:
  • Buffalo +1½
  • Arizona -7½
  • Los Angeles Rams -7½
  • New Orleans -8
My recommendation is to use the closing line whenever possible, but this is especially true for Buffalo. Changing the time of game doesn't usually cause any problems with your bets, but changing the day of game could create headaches. Without getting into the exact details of all of the possible scenarios, let me just succinctly say that betting the Bills game before you know the exact day of game could create controversy.
For the purposes of tracking, Bovada's final line according to will be used except in cases where that number is obviously and egregiously wrong.

Teasing Totals

There's two ways that a teaser bet can win:
  • Method X: you can beat the regular un-teased number, or
  • Method Y: the game lands among the range of 6 points you gained via line movement ("teaser window").
We've talked about needing a 73.9% hit rate on our teaser legs. This means that if your probability of X is around 50%, then your probability of Y needs to be about 24%. This means that 24% of the results need to fit inside your teaser window.
You can't use teasers as a security blanket. You can't use them defensively. A lot of people treat teasers in the sense that, "I like this pick but let me just give myself a few extra points of wiggle room in case things go wrong." With this logic, it's very hard to get your Y probability up to 24%.
You need to intentionally seek out games that will land in the teaser window. You need to make a deliberate effort to win some games via Method Y. Here is a histogram of all of the final margins in 2017-2019. You can clearly identify the peaks at 3 and 7. (And the numbers in between 3 and 7 are all not-too-shabby either.) If you're intentionally trying to win via Method Y, you'd do well to put 3 and 7 in your teaser window.
Now look at this histogram of all of the final totals in 2017-2019. Where's the peak? What's the "sweet spot" that you want in your teaser window? How are you going to aggressively attack that option?
People have been claiming that they've been successfully teasing totals with their method. Something like "tease the Over when both teams have an 0-2 record" or other equivalent bullshit. I encourage those people to provide real statistics instead of anecdotes. How often are you winning via Method X and how often are you winning via Method Y? First of all, I'm not convinced it's a winning strategy. But even if it was, I can guarantee the long-run results are because X is really large and Y is still rather small. If your X is really large, just bet it straight.
On a normal parlay, two different selections each at -283 parlayed together pays you -120 for the whole ticket. Let's understand that's what a teaser is: it's a parlay with each leg at a -283 price. So if you're going from the straight -110 price (un-teased number) to the new -283 price (teased number), you better make sure that the 6 points you're getting are damn well worth it.
Those interested in teasing totals should look at your book's alternate lines to see what the true cost of 6 points is. (Hint: it's not even close to -283.)
I never said don't play totals. I never said don't play alternate totals. But teasing them is unequivocally wrong.
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NFL: Let's talk about teasers (Week 4)

6-point Teasers

Our methodology for playing 6-point teasers is:
The strategy listed above is very similar to a strategy introduced by Blackjack expert Stanford Wong. There's debate in Wong teasers over whether we should play games at exactly +3, whether home teams are more reliable than road teams, and whether we should care about the total. I did a deep dive into the mathematical details of those debates in my week 1 post.

Sweetheart Teasers

10-point teasers are often called "sweetheart" teasers. I'm grateful to u/hyperkinesis247 for inquiring if there's an edge regarding sweethearts. After looking at a small sample size in 2017-2019, I've decided to track 10-point teasers according to the following methodology:

Previous Results

I'm using the closing line at Bovada to determine which games qualify as Wong bets. (You can use to verify I'm being honest.) The plays last week were:
Off-the-board spread 6 pt 10 pt
Chicago +3 Win
Green Bay +3 Win
Kansas City +3 Win
Los Angeles Rams +2 Win Win
Miami +3 Win
Minnesota +3 Win
New York Giants +3 Loss
Assuming a -120 payout for 2-team teasers, we must demonstrate better than 73.9% probability on each leg to show we have breakeven-or-better EV. For a -130 payout on 3-team sweethearts, that threshold is 82.7%. Including last week, the results since 2017 are listed below.
Teaser Year Team Record
6 pt 2017 +1½ thru +3 61-23 72.6%
6 pt 2018 +1½ thru +3 63-19 76.8%
6 pt 2019 +1½ thru +3 52-16 76.5%
6 pt 2020 +1½ thru +3 13-2 86.7%
6 pt 2017 -7½ thru -9 27-10 73.0%
6 pt 2018 -7½ thru -9 16-9 64.0%
6 pt 2019 -7½ thru -9 17-7 70.8%
6 pt 2020 -7½ thru -9 6-1 85.7%
10 pt 2017 +1½ thru +2½ 22-1 95.7%
10 pt 2018 +1½ thru +2½ 24-5 82.8%
10 pt 2019 +1½ thru +2½ 23-4 85.2%
10 pt 2020 +1½ thru +2½ 4-0 100.0%
The chart above counts pushes as losses. You should strongly consider betting at a book that has a "pushes reduce" rule instead.
The reason why my results only count the last three years (2017-2019) is because that's all the time I've had to look at so far. There's no real reason why I'm actively avoiding 2016. I'll be making an effort to look at the 2016 data soon.

Beating the Spread

The thought process behind this methodology is that we assume we will win half of our games against the regular un-teased spread. Then the hope is that we are able to "steal" another 23.9% (or more) via line movement. That'll get us to the required 73.9% win percentage.
Last week's Rams were a perfect example of this.
We believed that the Rams would cover the +2 spread about half of the time. (If you didn't believe this, you should've just bet that game against the regular un-teased spread.) But the reason we chose this game as a teaser candidate is because we realized that +2 would go through 3 and 7 when teased. We gain the most bang-for-the-buck if our teaser movement goes through 3 and 7. As it turned out, the Rams indeed lost by exactly 3.
There's no mathematical reason to believe that we should win against the un-teased spread more than half of the time (nor less than half, for that matter). The data in the three years prior (2017-2019) to this year show that all games fitting our methodology were a modest 155-147-18 against the un-teased spread. That comes out to 51.3% which is not a statistically significant departure from the half that we expect. More importantly, 51.3% is not good enough to beat the usual -110 vigorish.
In 22 games so far this year, the selections fitting the methodology were 16-5-1 against the un-teased spread! This pace is not sustainable. This bit of positive variance is also largely responsible for the astonishingly good 19-3 record in teaser legs. I expect a "regression to the mean" soon and strongly caution people against getting too giddy over three weeks of success. My official advice on Wong teasers remains the same as it has been in previous weeks: inconclusive, until we gather more research.

Line Shopping

However, I know that a lot of people are choosing to ignore my above advice and bet real money anyway. If you do, let me take a moment to talk about line shopping. At the very top of this post where my methodology says to "tease (this team) when the line is (this number)", that's shorthand for "when that team deserves to be at this spread". The reason why the suggestion is to use closing numbers is because it's thought that the closing number most accurately reflects the number of points that team deserves to be getting.
In terms of discussing when different books have slightly different point spreads: suppose that every book in the world has the Bears at +2½ but your book is listing the Bears at +3½ for no apparent reason. If you were intending to tease the Bears at +2½ all along, then of course you should tease them at +3½. Don't be this meme. If your book is giving you a free point, take it.
That's a different story than if every book agrees that Bears should be at +3½. In that case, that's probably what they deserve and an indication that maybe the quality of talent is not enough to justify the bet.
An analogy is that if I have a rule that says I'll only eat steak if it costs between $15-$50. The logic is that less than $15 would mean that the quality of the meat is unsatisfactory and more than $50 means that I can't afford it.
If a restaurant is offering to sell me a steak at a price of $10, but everyone else in the world thinks that $20 is the fair price for this steak, then I should purchase this steak at the incorrect price. Even though the actual price was outside my rule of $15-$50, the quality of the steak would be satisfactory enough.
On the other hand, if the restaurant is offering to sell me a steak at a price of $10, and everyone else in the world agrees that $10 is the fair price, then it means that the quality isn't to my liking.

This Week

I'm only going to post once per week. Normally, I try to make that post on Saturday evening but I'm forced to move up my timeline when the Thursday game is relevant. As of the time of this post, the Thursday game in Week 4 is not a tracked play but it's close. I'm making this post now to explicitly say that it might become a tracked play, so be aware.
In addition to tonight's game, the tentative list of tracked plays are:
  • Chicago +3
  • Jacksonville +3
  • Las Vegas +3
  • Tennessee +1½
  • Green Bay -7½
I emphasize that the list above is unofficial. Lines may move between the time of this post and kickoff, especially Tennessee! The determining factors are what says Bovada's line is at time of kickoff and the methodology laid out at the top of this post. If Bovada's spread happens to be a point or so off of the consensus or if they engage in line shading, then so be it.
However I reserve the right to reject Bovada's number in situations where it's obviously wrong, such as a typo causing -8 to turn into -80. In all of my data so far, I've yet to invoke this right. If I ever do in the future, I promise to disclose that information anytime I post tracking results.
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Drop your kicker week 4: Hold Andy Isabella, add Justin Jackson

First, I want to thank everyone for reading last week, and also for shouting me out in this sub when my Isabella take hit. I had a ton of fun screaming in my living room when Isabella scored twice as a 1% rostered player.
Before I get to this week’s pickup, I wanted to spend a moment to review where we’re at with players I recommended in previous weeks. So far, every player I’ve recommended has gone on to score a touchdown the week that I recommended them. That kind of success rate is unsustainable. I’m bound to hit regression at some point. What I hope I’ve demonstrated so far, is that if we find data to support our claims, we can find guys on the waiver wire that the hive mind has dismissed unfairly. That’s how we win. On most of my rosters, I try and keep one slot open to cycle through players who might break out soon. To me this is a better use of your bench spots than holding a player who will likely be just barely better than what is on the waiver wire anyway. We want to shoot for upside whenever we can. Even if we’re more skilled than our opponents, we can expect to lose most leagues we’re in. This is a game with a lot of variance, so we want to make moves that might give us enough upside to win the whole damn thing.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling is in line for a huge workload with the news that Allen Lazard went to IR. This one is interesting, because I was ultimately wrong about MVS overtaking Lazard for the WR2 role on the Packers, but now that doesn’t matter. Aaron Rodgers is throwing the ball well and we should have MVS in our lineups this week, since the Falcons pass defense is terrible. Someone might have dropped MVS after his dud last week. I would double check and see if he’s available.
Corey Davis has been meh, and now he’s unexpectedly on bye this week. In smaller leagues, I might consider dropping him, but if you have the room, I would hold for now. Adam Humphries is on the Covid list, so Davis is in line for more targets if the Titans are able to play week 5. Also, AJ Brown is set to return, which might leave Corey Davis a bit more open as he battles with lesser cornerbacks going forward.
Andy Isabella is still poised to break out. I think it’s clear at this point that he’s a better player than Christian Kirk. Last week, Isabella was used more in the slot and got 2 red zone targets, which he converted into two touchdowns on limited snaps. Christian Kirk and Deandre Hopkins are both questionable for week 4 right now, and I would certainly be willing to start Isabella if both Kirk and Hopkins were to sit this week. I added Isabella in every single league where I didn’t have him already, and I think you should too. If both Kirk and Hopkins play, I’m going to keep him on my bench.
On to this week’s “drop your kicker” player of the week… Justin Jackson. Now to get this out of the way, I’m not saying Justin Jackson is necessarily going to see playing time right away. I’m not saying to add him over guys like Brian Hill or Rex Burkhead who you’ve heard about all week. As a reminder, this column is intended for people who play in deeper leagues, with at least 12 teams, where you can start 3WR and a flex, and 6-8 bench spots. This advice is also primarily for people who play in FAAB leagues, where pickups become expensive after they break out. We want to add these players before they breakout so we don’t have to use our precious FAAB dollars on them later.
Justin Jackson is third on the depth chart right now, so why are we adding a guy who Numberfire predicts a workload of less than one touch for? Going into the season, it was unclear who the number 2 RB on the depth chart would be for Chargers. A lot of people started to hear buzz about Joshua Kelley this off season, and for managers who scooped him up, he’s been a good fantasy asset so far. He’s been getting a lot more work than your typical back up RB, and this whole offense is doing a lot better with Justin Herbert under center. Kelley is still a better add than Justin Jackson if for some reason he’s still available. I would also add guys like Brian Hill over Jackson. But that’s not why you’re here. This column is for people in deep leagues who have nothing left on the waiver wire.
Joshua Kelley lost a fumble last week. Rookie QB Justin Herbert also threw an interception and lost a fumble as well. The Chargers lost their second game in a row at least in part due to those turnovers. Coach Lynn has already publicly shared that he has plays ready for Justin Jackson if he is going to be active. I imagine Jackson will get at least a few touches, based on what Lynn is saying. But what happens if Kelley fumbles again? Lynn sounded pretty angry about the turnovers at the end of the game last week, and he did start using Ekeler way more after Kelley fumbled last week. Even if Jackson is not active for this game, he still has an out if there is an injury ahead of him, or Kelley fumbles the back up role away.
I’m not saying to start Justin Jackson this week. I’m not even saying to add him over Kelley. In the two leagues where I have Kelley, I added Justin Jackson also. We’ve seen that this backfield can accommodate two productive RBs at once. Both this year with Ekeler and Kelley, and in previous years with Ekeler and Melvin Gordon. Imagine if Ekeler has a season ending injury tomorrow. You might actually have not one but two starters on a weekly basis. At one point this season Kelley and Ekeler were both in the top ten RBs in terms of touches. That’s the kind of opportunity share we should be chasing. A lot of people were drafting Jackson early this off season, since it wasn’t clear that Kelley had secured the number 2 job until he broke out in week 1. Jackson was still getting work that game before he left with an injury.
Justin Jackson comes from Northwestern, which doesn’t necessarily have a history of producing great NFL running backs, but we already saw Jackson be productive at the NFL level, so I think we can throw our college evaluations out the window, now that he’s shown he can produce in the NFL. In 2018, he had two games with over 15 PPR points helping a lot of people dealing with RB injuries late in the season who grabbed him off the waiver wire. He didn’t do nearly as much last year, but he also just didn’t have nearly as much opportunity. On player profiler, we can see that Jackson has an 84th percentile burst score, which can be predictive of RB success in the NFL. He also had a high college target share of 12.8% which is in the 87th percentile. Running backs who have a good target share in college tend to do better than those RBs whose college team did not trust them in the passing game. Joshua Kelley has a low 23rd percentile burst score, and 9.2% percent target share at UCLA, which is in the 69th percentile.
All we can really do when looking at real deep league plays is find a player who has the talent to produce, who also has a route to more opportunity. The Chargers have the third lowest implied team total according to Vegas betting lines, and we saw last week that Kelley’s usage can be game flow dependent. I think they’re more comfortable using Jackson as a pass catcher than they are Kelley. So if the Chargers fall behind, and they don’t want to give Ekeler too much of a workload, we could definitely see them turn to Justin Jackson. And then we just wait and see if he produces. If he doesn’t we simply swap him out for next week’s top waiver claims.
Please don’t start Jackson over better options this week. And speaking of better options, you can find a player I would pick up instead if I needed a RB starter this week over on my Twitter. If you like my column, consider giving me a follow.
Thanks for reading, and remember, churn that roster!
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V1per's Week 5 Survivor/Eliminator Pick

Well week 4 was a bit closer than I would have liked. Rams were nearly 2 TD favorites and were only up by a point in the middle of the 4th quarter. Luckily for us, a win is all the same no matter what the score is. Unfortunately there weren't any major upsets and the Rams were a super popular pick so odds are not many people if any at all lost in your leagues.
I don't care about stupid math stuff, just give me the team I should pick
New Orleans Saints. Currently favored by more than a TD at home against a 1-3 Chargers team. Houston and Baltimore are also solid choices.
Top 4 Options:

Rank Team P(Win this week) P(Win Out) E(Wins)
1 NO 75% 5.1% 14.37
2 HOU 71% 4.9% 14.34
3 BAL 88% 4.8% 14.34
4 ARI 74% 4.8% 14.33


Rank Team P(Win this week) P(Win Out) E(Wins)
1 NO 77% 5.3% 14.40
2 ARI 74% 4.9% 14.35
3 HOU 70% 4.9% 14.34
4 BAL 86% 4.8% 14.33
NO is still the top choice as their line moved to -8, while the other three simply moved around a little bit.

Season so far
4-0. Let's keep rolling.

Rest of Season outlook
Teams in italics are changes from last week. This is simply to give some insight into why team X or Y aren't being picked this week. It's usually because they are better off being used later in the season, or it's because I've already used them.

Week Team Opponent P(Win)
1 BUF NYJ 100%
2 TB CAR 100%
3 CLE WSH 100%
4 LAR NYG 100%
5 NO LAC 75%
6 IND CIN 76%
7 PHI NYG 73%
8 KC NYJ 91%
9 ARI MIA 69%
10 GB JAX 87%
11 PIT JAX 76%
12 DAL WSH 76%
13 SEA NYG 87%
14 SF WSH 83%
15 TEN DET 75%
16 BAL NYG 87%
17 NE NYJ 81%
We have one single game under the 70% mark -- week 9 ARI vs MIA. We'll worry more when we get there, but now also have quite a few in the 80s which feels good. Just some slight shuffling from last week. Dropped Chicago, and added the Eagles as we are starting to see just how bad the Giants are.

Nerdy Math Stuff
P(Win Out) = 5.1% (+1.1pp)
E(Wins) = 14.37 (+0.22)
I get team win percentages from 538 for every game in the entire season. I update probabilities for the current week based on Vegas betting lines to better take into account current team situations that 538's computer models can't account for.
With all of these values, I run something called the Hungarian Algorithm which solves the best possible choices to maximize the total win percentage values. This makes sure to use each team when it's optimal to do so.
The method used for this maximizes your chance of making it through the whole season undefeated. This is ideal if you are in a very large (70+ person) league. If however, you are in a small league that is unlikely to have everyone make it to the end and the last person standing is the winner, than the above picks will be less than ideal. If you're in one of these smaller leagues, download the file below, enter your league size and get the team list specifically for your league.

I found an error where Monday night games were being selected even if you didn't want them to be. If this affects you, you might want to redownload.
I've tried to take into account every rule-set possible, but if you have a funky league rule that the workbook doesn't seem to work for let me know and I'll see if I can add the feature.
submitted by V1per41 to fantasyfootball [link] [comments]

V1per's Week 4 Survivor/Eliminator Pick

Week 3 had another nice upset for us with LAC losing, while Cleveland kept it close for most of the game before finally pulling away and giving us another comfortable win. For those of you who decided to overrule me and go with the Chargers... I got nothing for you. On to week 4.
I don't care about stupid math stuff, just give me the team I should pick?
Los Angeles Rams. Rams are home against an awful Giants team and are listed as 12.5 point favorites. No need to overthink this week.
The Ravens are also heavy favorites, but better to save them for later in the season.
Top 4 Options:

Rank Team P(Win this week) P(Win Out) E(Wins)
1 LAR 87% 4.0% 14.15
2 BAL 88% 3.8% 14.11
3 ARI 62% 3.2% 14.00
4 HOU 62% 3.2% 14.00

Sunday Morning Update

Rank Team P(Win this week) P(Win Out) E(Wins)
1 LAR 88% 3.9% 14.15
2 BAL 90% 3.7% 14.10
3 SF 80% 3.4% 14.04
4 HOU 62% 3.2% 14.00
Only real change is swapping out ARI for SF. With an 80% win probability SF actually adds a third reasonable pick this week. For those of you who hate going with the crowd, this gives you another option, but right now SF is better saved for week 14 against Washington.

Season so far
Cleveland gave a minor scare last week, but a win is a win and on we go.

Rest of Season Outlook
Teams in italics are changes from last week. This is simply to give some insight into why team X or Y aren't being picked this week. It's usually because they are better off being used later in the season, or it's because I've already used them.

Week Team Opponent P(Win)
1 BUF NYJ 100%
2 TB CAR 100%
3 CLE WSH 100%
4 LAR NYG 87%
5 NE DEN 81%
6 IND CIN 76%
7 NO CAR 77%
8 TEN CIN 75%
9 KC CAR 88%
10 GB JAX 84%
11 PIT JAX 75%
12 DAL WSH 78%
13 SEA NYG 85%
14 SF WSH 84%
15 BAL JAX 84%
16 CHI JAX 71%
17 PHI WSH 68%
As we get further into the season and teams start to separate themselves a little more we are starting to see those win percentages increase. We now have over a 75% win chance in every game up to the final 2 weeks, with most weeks over 80%.
We now have a fairly even mix of picking against Jacksonville, Washington, Cincinnati, and Carolina. I'm a little surprised the Jets aren't being picked against more often to be honest.

Nerdy Math Stuff
P(Win Out) = 4.0% (+1.8%) -- We now have a 1 in 25 chance of surviving the rest of the season.
E(Wins) = 14.15 (+0.53)
I get team win percentages from 538 for every game in the entire season. I update probabilities for the current week based on Vegas betting lines to better take into account current team situations that 538's computer models can't account for.
With all of these values, I run something called the Hungarian Algorithm which solves the best possible choices to maximize the total win percentage values. This makes sure to use each team when it's optimal to do so.
The method used for this maximizes your chance of making it through the whole season undefeated. This is ideal if you are in a very large (70+ person) league. If however, you are in a small league that is unlikely to have everyone make it to the end and the last person standing is the winner, than the above picks will be less than ideal. If you're in one of these smaller leagues, download the file below, enter your league size and get the team list specifically for your league.
Per a user request I added opponents to all of the future team picks.
I've tried to take into account every rule-set possible, but if you have a funky league rule that the workbook doesn't seem to work for let me know and I'll see if I can add the feature.
submitted by V1per41 to fantasyfootball [link] [comments]

V1per's Week 3 Survivor/Eliminator Pick

Well for better or worse all weeks can't be like week 1. We had no major upsets so most people in your survivor leagues likely won this week, on the plus side, that also includes you.

I don't care about stupid math stuff, just give me the team I should pick?
Cleveland Browns. Never thought I would say those words. The Colts and Chargers are also very good picks this week. The P(Win Out) value is what we're trying to maximize here and the difference between CLE (#1) and LAC (#3) is 0.03%. You're really good going with any one of the top 3 this week.
Indy has a much better chance of winning this week than the others, but picking them now puts you in a really tough spot week 6 where there will be almost no good options remaining.
Top 4 options:

Rank Team P(Win this week) P(Win Out) E(Wins)
1 CLE 74% 2.2% 13.65
2 IND 83% 2.2% 13.65
3 LAC 73% 2.2% 13.64
4 PHI 71% 2.1% 13.62

Season so far
TB had a comfortable win last week. This game is a lot more fun when you don't have to sweat it out each week.

Rest of Season Outlook
Teams in italics are changes from last week. This is simply to give some insight into why team X or Y aren't being picked this week. It's usually because they are better off being used later in the season, or it's because I've already used them.

Week Team Opp P(Win)
1 BUF NYJ 100%
2 TB CAR 100%
3 CLE WSH 74%
4 LAR NYG 80%
5 BAL CIN 87%
6 IND CIN 74%
7 NO CAR 82%
8 KC NYJ 85%
9 ARI MIA 73%
10 GB JAX 70%
11 PIT JAX 70%
12 DAL WSH 78%
13 SEA NYG 82%
14 SF WSH 81%
15 TEN DET 75%
16 LVR MIA 71%
17 NE NYJ 74%

As requested, I've added each teams opponent. It looks like a fairly even mix of picking on the Bengals, Jaguars, and Washington Football Team. Teams are still shaking out so we have a fair amount of new additions/movement in many of the weeks. Cleveland, Arizona, and Las Vegas are all new teams in the chart this week, while the Eagles, Washington, and Houston dropped out. Weeks 10 & 11 still looking like the biggest hurdles of the season right now.

Nerdy Math Stuff
P(Win Out) = 2.2% (+1.1%) -- Up to a 1 in 50 chance we make it the rest of the way.
E(Wins) = 13.62 (+0.54)

I get team win percentages from 538 for every game in the entire season. I update probabilities for the current week based on Vegas betting lines to better take into account current team situations that 538's computer models can't account for.
With all of these values, I run something called the Hungarian Algorithm which solves the best possible choices to maximize the total win percentage values. This makes sure to use each team when it's optimal to do so.
The method used for this maximizes your chance of making it through the whole season undefeated. This is ideal if you are in a very large (70+ person) league. If however, you are in a small league that is unlikely to have everyone make it to the end and the last person standing is the winner, than the above picks will be less than ideal. If you're in one of these smaller leagues, download the file below, enter your league size and get the team list specifically for your league.
Per a user request I added opponents to all of the future team picks.
I've tried to take into account every rule-set possible, but if you have a funky league rule that the workbook doesn't seem to work for let me know and I'll see if I can add the feature.
submitted by V1per41 to fantasyfootball [link] [comments]

Sports Gambling Turns into Blackjack Losing Frenzy

Today was the day I realized I am a degenerate gambler.
I opened a bovada account 2 weeks ago with the intention of betting on NFL games. I usually get all my work done so that I have Sundays open to chill and watch my favorite teams, and after being a pretty devoted Sunday football fan for 5-6 years, I decided it would be fun to start putting money on the games with a bet size between $25-$100
To open my account I deposited $1000, bet roughly $500 the first weekend and came out at around $1200 by the end of the weekend. Great. First signs of degeneracy occurred last Wednesday. I logged onto my bovada account to check the initial spreads/lines for this week's games, and curiously wandered into the blackjack section of bovada's website. Instant killer. Within 5 minutes all $1200 dollars were gone. I couldn't believe it.
Coming into this weekend, I felt that I was okay with losing more money so I deposited $1000 into my account Friday with the intention of betting on the games this weekend. I literally could not help myself and ended up playing blackjack that night and losing all $1000. If anything, this experience was worse than the first time as I actually got to play longer than 5 minutes and at one point was up well over $1000.
Finally comes this morning, and I again think to myself, okay, I have a $3000 contingency in my personal budget every year that I use to replace things that break, etc. I decide to put the last $1000 of this into my bovada account and bet $400 on this weeks games at 12:30pm. With the remaining $600, I start playing blackjack and go up a whopping $2000 dollars. I can literally feel the physiological changes in my body from the gambling. My insides are turning, I feel jittery, and hollowed out. I immediately blow all of it, leaving me simply with the $400 in bets outstanding. The NFL games in the early slot ended and I hit 100% on all my bets to get to a balance close $800. I go play blackjack and go down to $200. I yolo the balance ML on the eagles game acknowledging defeat to my impending -100% return
The blackjack was such an adrenaline rush, but it really wasn't fun. I much preferred putting my money on the NFL games and watching. What I realized was that with money in my account, I simply could not help myself going to blackjack. I normally would bet $25, would wait to get up, and then start betting $100 hands, sometimes $200 or $300.
I have been to Las Vegas once to gamble in person which I did alone coming back from a roadtrip in the mountains. I lost $900 dollars playing craps and blackjack, but had a really fun night, going up over $2000 at one point and being able to play for 5-6 hours. Overall, I did notice that as I got further up, my bets increased, and this ultimately brought me back down to principle and then some.
I keep a personal budget that I track each year and normally beat, with proceeds going to my investment account. With the $3000 hole in my contingency budget, I will definitely not be able to deposit money into my investment account this year given I am school and my budget is a bit tighter than when I was working and getting paid. The reason I am most scared is that I have $370k of money in my investment account, $250k of which is principle. My parents contributed $200k of principle to the portfolio and I contributed the other $50k.
The portfolio is split half between a passively managed 80% equity 20% bonds allocation, and an actively managed portfolio with individual stocks and options. This active account is 80% leveraged and has done pretty well, although I have noticed recently I have become less risk averse and am willing to buy long dated options on securities I think will outperform in the long term. Previously , I had just used options to hedge my long positions in the portfolio by selling calls or buying puts. Based on my recent tendencies to accepting more risk, I am heavily considering de-leveraging and moving all the money into the passive portfolio which has generated less returns over the past 5 years, but is obviously a safer place to keep my money.
Overall I am an unbelievably fortunate person, and in the grand scheme, $3000 is not alot, but it still hurts. What hurts the most is not the loss of capital, but rather this realization that I can easily spiral out of control with my money if not careful.
I went from $3000 to $200 betting on blackjack when what I really wanted to bet on was NFL football. Realized I am degenerate gambler that can't be trusted.
submitted by SnooHesitations4800 to gambling [link] [comments]

V1per's Week 2 Survivor/Eliminator Pick

What an exciting week 1! The Colts, 49ers, and Eagles were all big favorites heading into week 1 (8.5, 6.5, & 5.5) and all ended up losing. Your leagues likely saw some heavy casualties to start to the season. BUF and NE both survived, so we managed to avoid disaster and are moving on.
I don't care about stupid math stuff, just give me the team I should pick
Soooo.... Algorithm says that TB as a 9 point favorite is the top pick this week followed by Tennessee. I for one was not impressed with what I saw last week from TB (the team or the player), but a 9 point line is one of the largest you will ever see on a weekly basis, so maybe Vegas knows something I don't. TB it is.
Top 4 options:

Rank Team P(Win this week) P(Win Out) E(Wins)
1 TB 80% 1.1% 13.10
2 TEN 80% 1.0% 13.06
3 ARI 73% 1.0% 13.03
4 CLE 71% 1.0% 13.01

In case anyone is checking this on Sunday morning, here is the updated grid based on vegas betting line movement. Tennessee dropped out of the top 4, but TB is still the top pick:

Rank Team P(Win this week) P(Win Out) E(Wins)
1 TB 78% 1.0% 13.08
2 ARI 74% 1.0% 13.04
3 CLE 71% 1.0% 13.01
4 CHI 70% 1.0% 13.00

Season so far
Not much to talk about here, Buffalo won pretty easily and we're off to as good a start as we could hope for with many other popular picks losing.

Rest of Season Outlook
Teams in italics are changes from last week. This is simply to give some insight into why team X or Y aren't being picked this week. It's usually because they are better off being used later in the season, or it's because I've already used them.

Week Team P(Win)
1 BUF 100%
2 TB 80%
3 PHI 71%
4 LAR 75%
5 BAL 87%
6 IND 71%
7 NO 83%
8 TEN 73%
9 KC 84%
10 PIT 78%
11 WSH 59%
12 DAL 73%
13 SEA 78%
14 SF 77%
15 GB 78%
16 HOU 70%
17 NE 72%
As expected early in the season there is a lot of movement here as we start to see how good/bad teams really are. Every season there is always 1 or 2 weeks that are large hurdles without any obvious picks. Week 11 looks to be that week right now. Hopefully things improve before we get there.
Nerdy Math Stuff
P(Win Out) = 1.1% (+0.3%) -- Still only a 1 in a 100 chance that we can go undefeated the rest of the way.
E(Wins) = 13.10 (+0.28)

I get team win percentages from 538 for every game in the entire season. I update probabilities for the current week based on Vegas betting lines to better take into account current team situations that 538's computer models can't account for.
With all of these values, I run something called the Hungarian Algorithm which solves the best possible choices to maximize the total win percentage values. This makes sure to use each team when it's optimal to do so.
The method used for this maximizes your chance of making it through the whole season undefeated. This is ideal if you are in a very large (70+ person) league. If however, you are in a small league that is unlikely to have everyone make it to the end and the last person standing is the winner, than the above picks will be less than ideal. If you're in one of these smaller leagues, download the file below, enter your league size and get the team list specifically for your league.

I found a bug in last week's file, so if you are having issues, try re-downloading this one instead:
I've tried to take into account every rule-set possible, but if you have a funky league rule that the workbook doesn't seem to work for let me know and I'll see if I can add the feature.
submitted by V1per41 to fantasyfootball [link] [comments]

"But Here's some Two Cent Maneuvers" -- Week 0 Rankings: The Draft

Welcome back to another year of projections for D/ST and Kicker (and QB...and soon others too). This is an introductory post to explain what's new, what to expect-- and to give draft suggestions at the bottom.

TL;DR - Models are updated for reliability. I expect Kicker to be a difference maker, perhaps QB too in smaller leagues. D/ST accuracy should be safely up there with our #1 ranker, Reddit pal Seabruh. I will also release points-allowed for new positions: WR, TE, and RB1. I'll be trying out Patreon. Unless you get a top-6 option, don't necessarily draft a D/ST or kicker for another couple weeks. Expect a lot of surprises as always.


Scope of what I do / What's new / Recap of last year / Review of what's in the model / What to expect / Draft Suggestions

What I do

If you're new to my posts, what I do is try to generate fantasy point projections (1) with improved accuracy (2) for future week planning, (3) based on crunching hard numbers without opinion ("machine learning" if we're trying to sound sexy). I give special focus to fantasy positions which I think commonly have sub-optimal rankings: But Here's the Kicker, Defensive Maneuvers, and recently Two Cents for a Quarterback. From the countless hours invested developing content, here's what you see in the end:

What's new 2020

Re-cap of last year

Last year was defined by demonstrating that my week 6 updates could boost predictive value: Capability to reach #1 for weekly kicker and QB, and top 3 for D/ST. I'll refer to you to my week 15 accuracy post, since the final ordering didn't change in week 16. (It was just a surprise crappy week for all rankers). Some extra notes:
But Here's the Kicker: Kickers ended up being tougher in 2019 because many high scoring kickers had an unusually worse second half. Part of this was because good kickers started missing field goals; see here. I think that was fluky, so I'm still expecting my updated model to differentiate itself in 2020.
Defensive Maneuvers: Only 4 of us in my accuracy analysis could surpass plain/stupid streaming (the strategy of using just Vegas betting lines alone). u/Seabruh repeated as top accuracy source, and all of Reddit should be grateful to have this guy around. No matter what accuracy metric I look at, he had another great year:
Measuring the 95% confidence interval of predictable fantasy points: How much each source let you control the score from its bottom-ranked team to the top.
Two Cents for a Quarterback: QB rankings were intended to be in "test-mode"/ beta-release last year, and the model surprised by producing top accuracy after my week 6 revision. Since it seemed helpful, I'll launch it again. Probably this is where I'll also put projections for the other flex points-against positions.

Review of what's in the model

Although I heavily guide the process, I don't choose what ends up into each model. I test >100 variables for significance, and cross-validate, add/remove/iterate, cross-validate. The method is multiple linear regression with a couple interaction terms, and the data is all in weekly time-series (no in-sample data, all foreknowledge). Additionally, I have a data-processing engine to: especially account for past opponent strength, to treat outliers, and to include the right ramp-down of previous season data. The rest is small print:
Factors analyzed include things like: game scores, betting lines, total yards, rushing yards, passing yards, TDs, home/away, dome/outdoors, turf, weather -wind, temp, precipitation-, day of the week, post-bye, win-loss record, sacks/FINT, positional fantasy points --QB/RB/Wetc. and RB2/WR1/etc.--, division, and some sensible products or ratios of these. Data from both teams is tested. Also all "factors-allowed" to opposing teams --for example "points-allowed". Of course, most data gets excluded; usually only 10 variables survive to the final model. I have tested regularizing with modern Lasso regression, but the best lambda value is 0, which just means OLS is already optimal -- there are plenty more samples than variables; bias is low. I deal with team changes --like when entering a new season-- by adjusting "+/- 1 standard deviation" to the given factor, based on reports of the positive/negative expectations. I also account for secondary effects based on historical correlations. What do my models overlook? Mostly the weekly details that can affect lineups and usage. E.g. I might miss changes in the OL/DL for example, or all the effects of coaching changes. Also, my database could be more complete-- I only have 1440 games of data, and I miss factors like three-and-outs, yards-after-catch, time-of-possession, etc.

What to expect

It's gonna suck. I mean it. So let's set expectations from the start. Blame yourself though, since you're the one choosing to play fantasy, and every fantasy football model will always sucks. Correlation coefficients are all under 0.5, and my accuracy improvements can't change that. We just hope my models will suck significantly less than the other sources suck. But... among the other sucky models, I do expect my KickeDST/QB to perform near the top (meaning non-sucky). For a review of how predictable each fantasy position is, here's the chart (more information in this post).
Expectations for predictability levels of each position, based on the past 3 years of correlations
Some reminders about expectations at Kicker: (1) My recent post about kicker streaming supports that, on average, my model should get you 9 points-- about the same as holding a top kicker in hindsight. (2) But, using the 95% confidence interval for season kicker streaming: There will be some 2.5% of you who unfortunately average fewer than 7 kicker points per game. (Sorry in advance....) Then again, another 2.5% of you may manage to get double digit kicker scoring all season. (3) To demonstrate how there will always be surprises, I thought this graph I showed last year did a good job at showing how the top-ranked guy can easily end up 8 points lower than projected. Week 7 happened to demonstrate nicely:

Rankings and Draft Suggestions

I know it was cruel, I made you scroll all the way down here to find what you really wanted. These suggestions are based on: (1) Modeling all 16 weeks of scores, (2) weighting them towards the near-term, to find the most likely "hold" candidates, and then (3) assuming that you'll plan to stream, if you don't get one of these top hold-candidates.
EDIT 30Aug: Matt Gay might not remain the TB kicker. Stay tuned.
Draft options in tiered categories. For now, if your league doesn't hog these positions..., then you could count on streaming a kicker and D/ST later-- meaning you don't need to draft one now (instead, take a gamble drafting another flex). But if you can grab a top-6 option here, then you might as well do so. I know the QB information may not be so useful for week 1, but if you need a QB outside the top-12 (or your main QB has a tough week-- I'm thinking of Kyler Murray), then these should be decent streaming options.
Good luck! And I'll see you again soon with Week 1 projections, when we get there. (EDIT: just launched Patreon here for anyone who finds this stuff useful and feels like buying me a virtual beer.)
submitted by subvertadown to fantasyfootball [link] [comments]

V1per's Week 1 Survivor/Eliminator Pick

The last few days have been basically a constant stream of messages asking me when I would post my survivor pick. Well the answer is now.
In case you're new to these posts, I'm going to lead with the basic explanation, and have my picks at the bottom. For all weeks going forward, I'll have picks first, than the nerdy stuff.

What is this?
SurvivoEliminator is a type of fantasy football game where you pick a single team to win each week. Each team is only allowed to be picked once per season. Once a team you pick loses, you've been eliminated until next season. The game ends at the end of the regular season, or when there is only one person left.
My weekly posts dive into who you should pick each week based on a purely mathematical perspective.

I get team win percentages from 538 for every game in the entire season. I update probabilities for the current week based on Vegas betting lines to better take into account current team situations that 538's computer models can't account for.
With all of these values, I run something called the Hungarian Algorithm which solves the best possible choices to maximize the total win percentage values. This makes sure to use each team when it's optimal to do so.
The method used for this maximizes your chance of making it through the whole season undefeated. This is ideal if you are in a very large (70+ person) league. If however, you are in a small league that is unlikely to have everyone make it to the end and the last person standing is the winner, than the above picks will be less than ideal. If you're in one of these smaller leagues, download the file below, enter your league size and get the team list specifically for your league.

Last year I got a lot of "well what if I have to pick multiple teams in week X?" or "What if my league, you have to pick only losers?" or "What about team A, B, or C this week?"
I tried to make the file as all encompassing as possible, so if your survivor league has some weird quark or wrinkle in it download the file and give it a shot. If the file still doesn't answer your question, let me know and I might add the feature in.
You can download the file here from Mediafire

Week 1 suggestions
The top picks this week are the Bills and Patriots.

Rank Team P(Win this week) P(Win Out) E(Wins)
1 BUF 73% 0.8% 12.82
2 NE 73% 0.8% 12.82
3 IND 77% 0.7% 12.77
4 PIT 71% 0.7% 12.74

Full Season Outlook
The beauty of this model is that it looks at the entire season as a whole. Assuming you pick the Bills this week, this is what the rest of the season's picks would look like based on what we know right now.

Week Team P(Win)
1 BUF 73%
2 TEN 76%
3 CLE 71%
4 LAR 72%
5 BAL 84%
6 IND 73%
7 NO 81%
8 TB 70%
9 KC 82%
10 GB 77%
11 PIT 71%
12 DAL 79%
13 MIN 76%
14 SF 83%
15 SEA 68%
16 HOU 70%
17 PHI 77%
This early in the season there is a lot unknown about the quality of different teams, as things start to work their way out expect some of those P(Win) numbers to increase.
In case you aren't familiar with the notation, there is indeed a 0.8% chance of going the whole season undefeated. There are too many games and too many quality teams to reliably run deep every season. Last season I only made it to week 5 undefeated when a 2-2 Colts beat the 4-0 Chiefs at Arrowhead while being 10.5 point underdogs. These things happen, so don't blame me when I get a pick wrong.
Out of 17 weeks I only expect to get 13 games right. In the end, it's your team/league so pick who you like no matter what my algorithm says.
submitted by V1per41 to fantasyfootball [link] [comments]

I'm the guy who called Marquez Valdes-Scantling's week 1 breakout. This week I'm calling Corey Davis.

Some of you might remember me from what StraightBumSauce called a "Carolina Reaper Pepper level hot take." I posted last week that Marquez Valdes-Scantling would break out and become a top 24 WR in PPR this year. You can read my write up on that here:
MVS breakout article
and here:
This week I'm calling out the Corey Davis breakout. Yes, that Corey Davis (I know). Here's the thing, we know from last week that J.J. Zachariason's WR breakout model tells us that breakout WRs rarely come from nowhere and that they usually don't have a WR on their team picked in the first two rounds of fantasy drafts. Corey Davis fits both those criteria. When I bring up Corey Davis, a lot of people bring up the times in the past when he didn't break out. We shouldn't let these past bad experiences hold us back from making good decisions today. The moments when Corey Davis flashed in the past are actually a sign that a potential breakout could be coming, and yet fantasy managers are instead holding it against him. It's extremely rare for a rookie to break out right away in the way that AJ Brown did last year. It used to be that WR were expected to break out in year 3, but lately the fantasy community has been writing guys off who don't outperform their expectations in their rookie and sophomore seasons.
We have plenty of data indicating Davis's potential to break out. He played 81% of the snaps, the same amount as A.J. Brown. Pro Football Focus analyst Dwain Mcfarland shared some reasons for a Corey Davis breakout on a recent PFF fantasy podcast:
Corey Davis had 81% catchable targets, this is much better rate than he had with Marcus Mariota to begin his career.
Davis was open on 50% of his routes. It's not normal for a WR to be open this often, this should be read as a sign of good route running.
We also know that in week 1, the Titans played more up tempo than usual. The Titans breakout is real. Oftentimes we become too focused on regression. Analysts have been saying that the Titans can't possibly keep up their level of efficiency from last year all off season, but at a certain point we need to just realize that the Titans efficiency might be a sign of talent rather than randomness. And if their up tempo pace continues, there will be a lot more pass attempts to go around. In week 1 Ryan Tannehil had 43 pass attempts, and while that number could go down, it's an encouraging sign for his pass catchers.
Corey Davis is a great athlete who showed promise from a young age. We know from Player Profiler that Corey Davis had a high college dominator rating and a young breakout age, both strong predictors of future NFL success.
Finally we know from Bernie-Standards thats A.J. Brown's injury might be more serious than we were led to believe. Read is work from this sub reddit here
Corey Davis is currently rostered in 35% of Yahoo leagues. If you play on Yahoo, and you have your waiver settings as "Game-time-Tuesday." You can drop your kicker and pick up Corey Davis, wait and see how he performs in the early afternoon games, and then pick up a kicker after Davis plays. This move will cost you nothing, and it might have huge upside. This only works in Yahoo leagues with this setting to my knowledge. But in other leagues you might have a player with way less upside on your bench. You should drop them for Corey Davis. You don't need to start Davis this week if you have better options. I'm starting Davis in a league where I lost A.J. Brown to injury, but in leagues where I have better options, he's on the bench. The Titans have one of the highest implied team totals according to Vegas betting lines this week. Buying into high implied team totals is an effective strategy that DFS grinders have employed for years.
Last week I told readers to drop their kicker for Marquez-Valdes-Scantling. If you listened, you would currently have MVS, the WR12 in PPR scoring from week 1 on your roster.
I'll be back next Saturday with my new weekly column, "Drop Your Kicker" where I highlight breakout players that you should drop your kicker for.
Thanks for reading. If you like my work, consider giving me a follow, BillyPeters14 on Twitter. I'll also be revealing another hot taek there that you can't find in my Drop Your Kicker Column on reddit. Good luck this week, and remember, churn that roster.
submitted by billy_mcgee to fantasyfootball [link] [comments]

Studs & Duds: NFL Week 2 Fantasy Football Predictions

Originally posted here:
Every NFL week, we'll go game by game and name a Stud and a Dud for each contest. Studs and duds are relative to their consensus rankings and salaries on DraftKings and FanDuel. Meaning the Stud will not always be the player I expect to have the most fantasy points for a given game and the Dud will not always be a player I expect to get zero snaps.
Editor's Note: Optimal DFS is the #1 app for building fantasy lineups for DraftKings and FanDuel in Apple's App Store. Download Optimal DFS in the App Store to build customized optimized lineups and get breaking news before everyone else in your league.

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

Stud: Joe Mixon

The usage was there for Joe Mixon in Week 1. 19 rush attempts and 2 targets. Unfortunately for him, the game script was garbage. That will not be the case in Cleveland. I see them moving the ball down the field on the back of Mixon Week 2. He also has Joe Burrow who looked impressive for a rookie QB with no preseason action.

Dud: Odell Beckham, Jr.

There is still time to fade OBJ and be contrarian. People are going to look at his 10 targets from Week 1 and see potential, but it will end in frustration. There is zero chemistry between Baker and Beckham. I'm avoiding him in Week 2 even with his embarrassingly low salary on DK and FD.

New York Giants at Chicago Bears

Stud: Allen Robinson

Mitchell Trubisky attempted 36 passes and targeted 11 different receivers in Week 1. Allen Robinson scooped up 9 of those targets for 5 receptions and 74 yards. He's the best offensive talent the Bears have and I'm expecting more looks to go his way Week 2. I'll be surprised if he doesn't score a TD against the Giants.

Dud: Saquon Barkley

Saquan Barkley is an incredible talent, but he has not been living up to expectations. In Week 1 against the Steelers, he started the game with 8 rushes for -8 yards. 8 rushes for -8 yards. Figured I'd write it a 2nd time to let it sink because I had to check multiple sources to confirm that stat. He's really good, but his consensus ranking is higher than his production. The Giants offensive line needs help.

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys

Stud: Calvin Ridley

Which Atlanta Falcon WR had 9 receptions on 12 targets in Week 1? All of them, essentially... Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage all had 9 receptions and 12 targets! However, Ridley was the only player to score a TD and did so twice. There is potential in this game for another shootout. I'm a big fan of Ridley season long and love him Week 2.

Dud: Russell Gage

Yes, Gage is coming off a 12 tgt / 9 rec / 114 yrd showing. Although I think we're going to see another shootout here for the Falcons, I'm selling that he sees the same volume Week 2.

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Stud: Davante Adams

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams tore up the Minnesota Vikings defense. An absolute monster game for Adams tallying up 17 targets, 14 receptions, 156 yards, and 2 TDs. Aaron Rodgers looked as crisp as ever and Davante Adams will continue to benefit.

Dud: TJ Hockenson

I had high hopes for TJ Hockenson Week 1. Especially with Kenny Golladay out. 5 target, 5 receptions, 56 yards, and 1 TD. It's a good game on paper, but it felt to me like this was TJ's ceiling. I worry he's shaping up to be a touchdown-dependent TE start week in and week out. The targets went to the WRs Quintez Cephus (10), Marvin Jones Jr. (8), and Danny Amendola (7).

Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts

Stud: Jonathan Taylor

I was a seller on Jonathan Taylor coming into Week 1. I wasn't buying that he won the starting job from Marlon Mack, which did appear to be the case. Now that Mack is out with a torn Achilles, the backfield will be in the hands of Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor. Hines made the noise with 2 TDs, but they both got a lot of play. 9 carries and 6 targets for Jonathan Taylor and 7 carries and 8 targets for Nyheim Hines. I like both of them, but coming into Week 2 I like Taylor as the higher value play. Phil Rivers is truly proving to be Captain Dump-off. Bold prediction: Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor can turn out to be this year's Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon.

Dud: TY Hilton

The targets were there for TY Hilton, but he didn't do much with them. 9 targets, 4 receptions, and 53 yards for TY. I'm staying away from him until I see a little bit of chemistry with Captain Dump-off.

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

Stud: John Brown

John Brown is always overlooked and consistently produces. The new addition of Stefon Diggs to the receiving core added to the low valuation of John Brown. I see Diggs and Brown as 1A and 1B options for Josh Allen. 10 targets, 6 receptions, 70 yards, and 1 TD for John Brown in Week 1. He was wide open for a 2nd TD, but Josh Allen spazzed and could not hit him. Josh Allen did look good outside of that 1 pass and both fumbles.

Dud: Ryan Fitzpatrick

0 TDs and 3 INTs for Fitzmagic in Week 1 against the Patriots. The Pats are the Pats, but the Bills defense is pretty good too. A hammy issue for DeVante Parker isn't helping his cause. I'm waiting for the "Tuaaaaaa" chants before I take a chance on Fitz. He's always good to muddy the waters with a good game as soon as he's counted out.

San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets

Stud: Raheem Mostert

He's the best talent in the 49ers backfield and it's NOT EVEN CLOSE. The 49ers rode him through the playoffs and will continue to do so this season. He has the possibility for multi-touchdown 150+ all-purpose yardage week in and week out.

Dud: Jimmy Garoppolo

I like Jimmy G in general, but I think the 49ers run away with this one and don't have a need to pass the rock. He'll have to get his in during the 1st half if he wants to have any fantasy value.

Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

Stud: Jared Goff

This one is going to be a beat down and Jared Goff is going to be the benefactor. I see him spreading the football around and tallying up 3+ TD. Dwayne Haskins Jr. had what I consider to be a good game last week against the Eagles (for him). A win and 0 INT. This should be a piece of cake for the Rams and Goff.

Dud: Carson Wentz

The Los Angeles Rams just held Dak Prescott in check. This isn't going to go well for Carson Wentz. He's coming off of a 2 pick game against the Washington Football Team. The jury is still out if Washington's DEF is good or if the Eagles offense made them look good. Week 2 should shed some light on the answer.

Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers

Stud: Ben Roethlisberger

Big Ben was doing Big Ben things on MNF. He looks fully recovered from his surgery and has a lot of weapons to throw to. JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Chase Claypool, Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald, and Diontae Johnson. Good luck picking the WRs/TEs that will hit... Put Roethlisberger in your Week 2 lineup with confidence.

Dud: James Conner

I liked James Conner coming into the season and tried to steal him (unsuccessfully) in my draft. Turns out I'm happy I didn't get him. He looks stuck in the mud and now has an ankle injury he's nursing. Benny Snell looks Jr. spry. I'd think twice about firing him up in your Week 2 lineups against the Broncos if he gets clearance to play on the ankle.

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Stud: Christian McCaffrey

Alvin Kamara just ripped the Bucs for 2 TDs (should've been 3) in Week 1. Christian McCaffrey is prime for a monster game here. Anything less than triple-digit yardage and multiple TDs is a letdown.

Dud: Rob Gronkowski

This is a crowded receiving core in Tampa Bay. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, OJ Howard, Cameron Brate, and Rob Gronkowski. The chemistry between Brady and Gronk I'm sure is still there, but OJ Howard is the youngefresher talent. I liked him to lead Buc's TEs season long before Week 1. Week 1 that proved to be the case and I think the pattern continues.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans

Stud: Derrick Henry

He's unstoppable and Vrabel knows how to use him. The Titans are going to control this game on the ground. No TDs Week 1 was disappointing, but he'll get in the endzone in Week 2.

Dud: Gardner Minshew II

I caught a case of Minshew Mania, so it pains me to mark him as a Dud, but it's going to be extremely difficult to maintain his Week 1 efficiency. 19 completions on 20 attempts with 3 TDs and 0 INTs. With little help in the backfield, Minshew will most likely struggle to move the ball Week 2 against the Titans defense.

Washington Football Team at Arizona Cardinals

Stud: Washington DEF

I'm a buyer of this Washington defense. Chase Young came out of the gates hot Week 1 and lead The Football Team to a big win. I'm not expecting Washington to shut down the Cardinals, but I am expecting them to keep this game close and cover the 6.5 point Vegas spread.

Dud: Antonio Gibson

Later this season Antonio Gibson will be the guy, but Washington isn't ready to give him that role yet. I fired up Antonio Gibson Week 1 in my 14-team season-long league after Miles Sanders was ruled out. It started off promising as he was getting the early work. Then after 1 goalline series, it all went downhill. Gibson got stuffed on the 1st goalline carry. In came Peyton Barber who eventually pooonded it in. Barber finished with 2 TDs and appeared to the main RB for the latter half of the game. Barber is the safer play heading into Week 2.

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans

Stud: Marquise Brown

This game will be a little more competitive for the Baltimore Ravens compared to their Week 1 beatdown on the miz Cleveland Browns. Lamar Jackson only had to throw the ball 25 times, but Hollywood Brown was still able to tally 6 targets, 5 receptions, and 101 yards. Mark Andrews and Willie Snead took the 3 TDs thrown. I'm expecting a big week from Brown here in Week 2.

Dud: JK Dobbins

A lot of excitement after Week 1 for season-long JK Dobbins. Yours truly is a Dobbins owner. Unfortunately for me, I only felt pain Week 1 because I am also a Mark Ingram owner and had Ingram locked in as the starter. 4 total TDs vultured from my Week 1 starters Mark Ingram and Antonio Gibson. Dobbins is the future for the Ravens, but I think his 2 TDs were flukey in this blowout game. When push comes to shove I'm betting on Ingram over Dobbins and will keep Ingram in my Week 2 lineup.

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers

Stud: Clyde Edwards-Helaire

CEH is a lethal weapon for the Chiefs and they know it. He put up big fantasy points in the opener without catching a pass and while getting stopped multiple times on the goalline. I'm not worried about his goalline abilities. Week 2 he'll continue to smash. It'll be tough to compete with McCaffrey season-long, but I can see CEH as the #2 overall RB when it's all said and done.

Dud: Austin Ekeler

The fantasy world is panicking about Austin Ekeler's usage in the passing game Week 1. He only saw a single target. He did have a respectable game on the ground picking up 84 yards on 19 carries. I am indeed pressing the panic button as well. Austin Ekeler is not a ground and pound RB. He's a scatback and Captain Dump-off is no longer in town. Maybe things change when Justin Herbert inevitably takes control. We're looking at a lot of 3 and outs with Tyrod trying to force the ball down the field as the Chargers play from behind in this one.

New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks

Stud: Julian Edelman

Cam Newton only threw 19 passes Week 1. Julian Edelman was targeted on 37% of those pass attempts and put together an OK game in PPR. He was also used once on a successful end-around. The game script Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks will be different and the Patriots will need to pass to keep up.

Dud: Sony Michel

(See thoughts above on Julian Edelman). The Patriots came in against the Dolphins wanting to pooond the rock. And Sony Michel was still lackluster. He had a fantasy saving TD, but only registered 10 carries for 37 yards. This is a low-floor low-ceiling touchdown-dependent situation for Michel.

New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders

Stud: Latavius Murray

Alvin Kamara stole all the TDs, but Latavius Murray lead the team in carries Week 1. 15 carries for Murray compared to 12 for Kamara. The game script here calls for a Saints blowout. I'm expecting Latavius Murray to put the finishing touches on this one with a lot of pooonding the rock in the 2nd half.

Dud: Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs is no dud, but his Week 1 numbers are going to be hard to replicate. Especially against a New Orleans Saints team that held the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to under 100 yards rushing and only 1 rushing TD (Tom Brady). I see the Raiders playing from behind in this one making it difficult for Jacobs to perform for fantasy purposes.
Editor's Note: Optimal DFS is not responsible for any decisions made, financial or otherwise, based on information provided by this application or blog. Optimal DFS cannot guarantee the correctness of the information contained within our application or blog.
submitted by pozzy-app to dfsports [link] [comments]

2020 Lions Fan Guide to Bandwagoning

After last season/the Bears loss/the Packers loss, it’s become clear to all of us that the 2020 Lions are a completely unsalvageable pit of despair from which there is no escape.
Patricia should have been fired at the 50 yard line of Lambeau and then beheaded for his crimes against humanity.
Quin should be exiled from the land by a pack of ravenous hounds that chase him back east across Lake Huron.
Hopefully Stafford can catch a ride on a ship to the Undying Lands and get a fat contract from a QB-needy team before he retires. Killing Barry and Calvin AND Stafford is more than I can handle as a fan, let somebody be happy for the love of god.
That said, what to do for the rest of the 2020 season? Time to pick a team to bandwagon! It’s important to pick a good bandwagon team now if you want to have a chance at riding another team’s coattails all the way to the playoffs. Let’s go through the list (by last week’s power ranking) and discuss.
The Top 5
Here’s where you go for your best bet at sure-fire contenders. This section is for bandwagoners who want to see their team go to the Super Bowl in order to get some semblance of the shine of the Lombardi trophy on your face, even if you know in your heart you cheated to get there by becoming an imposter in the fanbase of a foreign team from foreign lands.
  1. Chiefs – Last year’s super bowl winners with the new hotness Patrick Mahomes at QB and lovable BBQ-eating Andy Reid at HC, plus Travis Kelce. Historic underdogs finally having their moment in the sun is a perfect fit for a Lions fan to root for. This is bandwagoning on easy mode, the clear pick in my opinion. Number one in the rankings, number one in my cold dead 2020 heart.
  2. Ravens – The only better pick than the Chiefs is the Ravens. Lamar Jackson playing QB is probably the most fun thing you can watch on television right now period. I bandwagoned the Ravens all through last season while dreaming that Stafford’s back healing up might make a difference in 2020 (oh how young and naïve I was) and it was a great time! They imploded a little bit in the playoffs but hey, this could be their year!
  3. Seahawks – This is a nice pick for some history, familiarity, and stability. The Seahawks are always in it as long as they have Russ and Pete Carroll, and last night we watched them go 2-0 against the Pats in a serious nail-biter finish. You know you’re at least going on a deep playoff run if you bandwagon the Seahawks.
  4. Saints – Watching Brees continue to cement himself as a top all-time QB, potentially in his final year, with an actual defense, Michael Thomas, and Kamara? It’s sure to be a fun ride! Plus, the Saints are another team that knows a lot about long droughts of success, hanging around the bottom of the league, kicked while they’re down, nobody ever believing in them. They’re soul mates in pain, and it’s fun to watch those teams succeed.
  5. Packers – No. Never.
The Middle of the Pack
So you’re not looking for a sure thing, you’re interested in a bumpier bandwagon ride. The middle of the pack of is for you! These teams will have ups and they’ll have downs, and if they make it to the Super Bowl, or even the deep playoffs, the victory will be all the sweeter.
  1. 49ers – After Sunday I believe every single player on the 49ers has a torn ACL or something like that, but hey, they made it to the SB last year and they could do it again! 49ers are historic and who doesn’t like to root for a classic franchise?
  2. Bills – A true sister-ship team of the Lions. Forever frustrated and disappointed fans now getting their chance to root for a QB who throws over 400. I like Josh Allen because to hear his bio it really sounds like he just found himself in the NFL by accident and is somehow pulling it off. Plus now he’s got Stefon Diggs, who is no longer our divisional problem. Classic underdog pick, go Bills.
  3. Steelers – Roethlisberger is back, JuJu is great, and the Steelers are always in it. If you want that authentic “we’re more blue collar than you” experience, Steelers are a solid pick. Bonus: revisit the days of Ebron and watch him brick-hand pass after pass, and feel some semblance of relief that out of all the problems the Lions have this year, he’s not one of them.
  4. Titans – A great pick for the Lions fan who wants a long-shot with good odds. If Tannehill keeps his breakout alive and Derrick Henry keeps trucking people, they’re a tough team to stop. Plus now they have Clowney (how could Patricia not go after Clowney Jesus Christ are you kidding me he had a chance to grab an elite DE in free agency and shore up in pathetic pass rushers and we didn’t even hear about him trying to land him how fucking pathetic can you believe this guy… wait no don’t think about that!) Titans are a sleeper for the SB and I think they’ll continue to surprise everybody this year.
  5. Patriots – No Brady, no problem. Patriots still look great as always, plus Cam Newton is way more fun to root for than Brady ever was. Watch Belichik potentially use his evil powers for good and get Cam a ring. Patriots can feel dirty to root for but it’s also like eating a whole chocolate cake after you’ve been on a years-long diet. Sometimes it feels good just to give in.
  6. Rams – This is the team you want to root for if you’re a big NFL conspiracy theorist and think hidden capitalists are pulling the strings behind the scenes to rig games. “The NFL wants LA to succeed because it’s a huge and largely untapped market of a city. For that to work, either the Rams or the Chargers have to go deep every year until LA is turning out their pockets for that sweet football merch.” Maybe it’s true, maybe not, maybe who cares! Also a great team to watch if you want to see Aaron Donald wreck people every single play. Remember, Donald could have been ours but instead we drafted Ebron. I’m just kidding, I know you didn’t forget. How could you?
  7. Cardinals – Kyler “Calamari” Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald pulling this team out of the depths and into something respectable would be a fun ride to watch. Another franchise with historic pain, a dark horse long-shot, it speaks to my Detroit-hardened heart.
  8. Cowboys – Rooting Cowboys is like going after the dumb hot girl. She’s not going to amount to much but she sure does get a lot of attention. If you want to watch a lot of primetime games and hear about your bandwagon team in sports media constantly, may as well pick the Boys. Win, lose or draw, for some reason we all have to talk about them all the time. Also, it’s fun to root for Kellen Moore, and it’s fun to watch Zeke be a wrecking ball. Successful run game teams actually exist!
  9. Vikings – Ew. I guess. Kirk Cousins can play football and Dalvin Cook is a running back. Riley Reiff used to live here. Kyle Rudolph has a fun name if you’re a big Christmas person. I don’t know. This seems like a pointless bandwagon unless you really like the color purple.
  10. Buccaneers – Never count Brady out. Love him or hate him (hate him) Brady is historic and worth watching. If you want to watch Belichick-less Brady in his final year(s), reunited with Gronkowski, tearing up the ground with Fournette, this is a solid band wagon pick.
  11. Texans – Another great fit for the Lions: watch an incredibly talented QB get hamstrung by his incompetent coaching staff and wasted in his scheme, all while his good-on-paper defense continues to let him down on the field. JJ Watt is still fun to watch, and moreso if you close your eyes and pretend is 2013 and we all still love him.
The Bottom Half
Bandwagoning to win is for pussies, you’re here to bandwagon a team that is either an extra-super long-shot, or another team with no chance to pair with your Lions heartbreak. You sick son of a bitch, I respect it, but I don’t think it’s good for you.
  1. Eagles – Good pick for It’s Always Sunny fans who want to root for Jim Schwartz.
  2. Raiders – Cool uniforms, cool fans, another chance at an NFL conspiracy team due to the move to Vegas
  3. Falcons – If you can’t watch Stafford succeed, you may as well watch his buddy Matt Ryan also not succeed.
  4. Bears – Chicago is cool and nearby, and the Bears haven’t been successful in a long time, so it doesn’t feel completely gross. Any win they can get with Trubisky at the helm they damn sure deserve.
  5. Chargers – Actually looked legit good against the Chiefs with their new QB Justin Herbert, plus you got Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram on defense. This is probably as far down the list as you can go and find an actual contender. This is your longest long shot for the true masochist who still wants hope involved.
  6. Broncos – Good pick for big South Park fans. Also I guess if you’re still high on Von Miller.
  7. Colts – Their colors are similar to ours and Indiana is pretty close. This strikes me as a particularly hopeless bandwagon pick, but they do have a running back, which could be fun to watch.
  8. Jaguars – Minshew Mania makes this a solid pick. Plus it’s another cat team.
  9. Washington – Chase Young, oh what could have been.
  10. Lions – "Bandwagon? Bandwagon?! We don't need no stinking bandwagon!" Ride or die motherfucker, it's Lions Only for your fandom. You're a captain going down with the ship, you're gonna sit here and watch Patricia waste another year of Stafford's career, fail at the run game, fail to adjust, fail on defense, fail at everything all season long. Because when we go 0-16 again, you'll be able to look back and say you were there. You'll bear witness to our heroic Tank for Trevor Lawrence, and the pride that comes before the fall of the house of Quintricia. And when we see flashes of greatness from Stafford, 100 yard rushers from AD, interceptions from Okudah, and long-yard FGs from Prater, you'll be there to cheer on the Lions as always. Win or lose, rain or shine, Detroit vs. Everybody.
  11. Bengals – Root for Joe Burrow. Plus it’s another cat team.
  12. Panthers – Blue cat team.
  13. Dolphins – Tank for Tua actually happened and honestly good for them. Plus a little dose of Fitzmagic in your life.
  14. Giants – Daniel Jones is an Eli clone and honestly that kind of science should be studied. Might be worth checking out.
  15. Browns – Great pick if you’re done with the Lions but don’t want to improve through bandwagoning in any way shape or form. A true historic and present lateral move, a decision forged in Midwest hopelessness and gallons of beer. Godspeed to anyone choosing to bandwagon the Browns this season.
  16. Jets – The "just let the pain flow through me" option.
Comments analysis after 24 hours
The names I'm seeing the most after 24 hours and 48 comments are Seattle, Buffalo, Arizona, and Chargers. So 3 outta 4 you guys are goddamn gluttons for punishment! Lions fans through and through, you won't even bandwagon a sure thing, it's gotta be a long-shot underdog story of a long-suffering franchise that MIGHT have some success this year. Goddamn, never change guys.
submitted by livingthedream666 to detroitlions [link] [comments]

Thoughts on Week 2??

As everyone knows, it's a trip out west against the Arizona Cardinals with a late kickoff of 4:05pm EST.
Vegas has initial line at Arizona -7 with the moneyline at Washington +250 (roughly the same as last week). Not too surprising considering the Cardinals took down the 49ers last week in a bit of a shocking upset.
Perhaps more shocking was how electric Kyler Murray looked against a stout 49ers front posting an impressive 91yds rushing with a TD. The 49ers had some success, however, sacking the QB twice, forcing him into an INT, and holding him to just 5.8yds per completion (for perspective, he had 7yds per rush attempt).
I think it's clear that the Washington D-Line needs to show up in a big way and the secondary (Kendall Fuller) has their work cut out for them with Hopkins... What are your thought on our first road game?
Personal opinion: I think it's going to be tough to get a win. The Arizona offense is next level and I think it's clear they know how to draw up a gameplan to diminish the pass rush (for the most part). Add on top of that the Washington offense needs some work, some of the drives on Sunday were downright horrendous. If I were a betting man, AND I AM, I would say we likely lose and do not cover the spread. I think this is one of those games where you take a necessary step back and learn from your team weaknesses. But who knows.... if the D-Line dominates, 5' 9" Kyler Murray could be thrown around like a rag doll. Remember... Montez Sweat 6'6" 260lbs 4.41 40yd dash
submitted by Ryankinsey1 to washingtonNFL [link] [comments]

The Rookie Report: Week 2 Starts & Sits

Welcome back to the Rookie Report! How great was it to finally have football back last weekend? The NFL season’s opening week went off without a hitch (assuming you didn’t have Mike Evans or Michael Thomas on your team), and hopefully you managed to get off to a 1-0 start. The rookies got off to an interesting start and plenty of them acquitted themselves well considering they didn’t get to play any preseason games. In a reversal of expected roles Jonathan Taylor put on a show as a receiver out of the backfield but struggled as a runner, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire had an impressive debut running between the tackles but didn’t catch a single pass. Both should be every-week starters going forward. Laviska Shenault, Joshua Kelley and Zack Moss all got in the end zone in week 1, and D’Andre Swift nearly did as well. Some other rookies like Michael Pittman, Cam Akers and Bryan Edwards had less successful debuts. Overall, we now have a much better picture of how these guys are going to be deployed and should have a better handle on which ones to consider for your lineups. Let’s dive into week 2…

Rookies to Start:

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC (Wk. 2: @ LAC): Obviously you don’t need me to tell you to start CEH if you have him. He was fantastic as a runner in week 1 and made people who drafted him feel great about that decision. It was strange to see him do so much of his work running between the tackles though. It would have been nice to see him catch a few passes, and it would’ve been nice to see him cash in one of his 6 carries from the 3-yard line or closer for a TD (4 carries from the 1), but overall it was a strong debut and the fact that he got 6 carries in close should be seen as a good thing. Houston’s D-line dominated in those short yardage situations, but not every defense KC faces will do the same. The Chiefs are comfortably favored in week 2 and face a defense that ranked 25th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA stat last season. I’d also expect the team to make an effort to get CEH more involved in the passing game, even if only to prove a point. Edwards-Helaire is a fine play in all DFS formats as well as a locked-in RB1 for season-long leagues this week.
RB Jonathan Taylor, IND (Wk. 2: vs. Min.): Like CEH, you don’t need me to tell you to start Taylor. He didn’t really fill up the stat sheet as a runner last week (9 carries for 22 yards), but Philip Rivers utilized him a bunch in the passing game (6-67 on 6 targets). With Marlon Mack going down for the year, this backfield figures to be a 2-man tandem with Taylor and Hines. Taylor should dominate the early down work, and while the matchup against the Vikings isn’t that favorable – they allowed the 12th-fewest RB points per game last year, Taylor will see plenty of volume to make him a solid RB2 this week. With a price tag of just $5,700 on DraftKings, I would expect you’ll see Taylor in a high percentage of DFS cash game lineups this week.
RB JK Dobbins, BAL (Wk. 2: @ Hou): I know starting a backup running back in week 2 is a risky proposition. I list Dobbins here just to emphasize how much I like his matchup this week. Houston had a bottom half run defense a year ago and looked overmatched in the opener by CEH and the Chiefs run game (at least away from the goal line). Baltimore is a touchdown favorite this weekend, and I expect them to win the game easily. Houston just didn’t look right in week one, and I don’t think the Ravens are the antidote to what ails them. Dobbins already looked better than Mark Ingram in the opener, and I expect him to get plenty of run as the Ravens open up the lead. This may be me getting ahead of myself on Dobbins, but I like him to go for 80+ yards and a score in this one and finish as an RB2. The Ravens have the highest projected point total of the week at 29.25,
WR CeeDee Lamb, DAL (Wk. 2: vs. Atl.): The Falcons have had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL for two years running, and they looked as bad as ever in week 1 against Seattle. Russ Wilson can make a lot of defenses look bad, but the Falcons’ pass defense looked non-existent. This game figures to be a shoot-out with Dallas’ implied total of 28.5, so all 3 Cowboy receivers are in play, especially with tight end Blake Jarwin done for the year. It appeared that Dak was force-feeding the ball to Amari last Sunday, but I’d expect the targets to be more evenly divided in this one. Zeke Elliott should have a big game as well, but we could see all 3 Dallas receivers end up as top-30 WRs this week. Lamb was targeted 6 times in the opener. I’d expect that number to be higher in this one.

Borderline Rookies:

QB Joe Burrow, CIN (Wk. 2: @ Cle): Burrow is only worth considering in 2-quarterback or Superflex formats, but this should be a better matchup for him than the Chargers. The Browns ranked just 18th in pass defense DVOA last season and were absolutely shredded by Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in week 1. Burrow proved that he’s capable of running the ball himself a bit in the opener, and only Cincinnati allowed more QB rushing yards in 2019 than the Browns. The Vegas sharps don’t expect a big output from Cincy’s offense, giving them an implied total of just 18.75 points, but I think they overperform in this one. I like Burrow’s chances at a top-15 week.
RB James Robinson, JAX (Wk. 2: @ Ten): Robinson’s performance and usage in week 1 may have been even more of a surprise than the outcome of the game. The Jaguars were heavy underdogs and came out with a win, and they may have found their feature back in the process. Most people expected a heavy dose of Chris Thompson on passing downs, but Thompson played just 12 snaps to Robinson’s 36. The Jaguars are heavy underdogs again this week, so temper expectations a bit, but this matchup has about the same degree of difficulty for Robinson as the last one with Indy. Robinson will be heavily involved and should be a solid RB3 this week.
RB D’Andre Swift, DET (Wk. 2: @ GB): Week one did not end on a high note for Swift, as he dropped what would’ve been a game-winning touchdown pass in the closing seconds as the Lions blew a 17-point lead in losing to the Bears. Here’s the positive – Swift led the Lions running backs in snaps, playing 10 more than Adrian Peterson and 14 more than Kerryon Johnson. He was battling an injury in practice last week and still was on the field a lot. You’d like to see more production come out of those snaps, but that should be coming. Green Bay fielded one of the worst run defenses in the NFL a year ago, and while AP still figures to see a lot of the rushing load, I’d count on Swift being more involved in this one as he gets closer to health. He’ll be a boom-or-bust upside flex option this week with more value in PPR formats.
RB Zack Moss, BUF (Wk. 2: @ Mia): Moss didn’t pile up a lot of yards in week 1 (27 yards on 12 touches), but his usage is encouraging for fantasy players. He was targeted 4 times in the passing game, and 8 of his 12 touches came in the red zone with one of them ending in a touchdown. The other half of the Bills’ backfield duo, Devin Singletary, had zero red zone touches among his 9 carries and 5 catches. Moss was on the field for the vast majority of red zone snaps. Miami gave up 1.2 running back scores per game a year ago and gave up another one in the opener this year. Moss is a solid bet to score a touchdown for the second straight week, which gives him some flex appeal in most formats. The Dolphins ranked 29th in run defense DVOA last season, and were 32nd in that stat in week 1.
WR Brandon Aiyuk, SF (Wk. 2: @ NYJ): Aiyuk looks likely to return this week, and he’ll do so in a matchup against one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Jets do have a stout run defense up front, but they can’t cover on the back end. Buffalo attacked them through the air a ton last week with Josh Allen tallying 33 completions for 312 yards and 2 TDs. Buffalo is typically one of the run-heaviest offenses in the league. George Kittle is fighting through an injury this week and Deebo Samuel will be out again. That puts Aiyuk in line for probably 6-8 targets, and against this defense that could be fantasy gold. He could be a huge value this week if you have the stones to play him. Just make sure he’s active on game day.
WR Henry Ruggs, LV (Wk. 2: vs. NO): Ruggs got off to a hot start in week 1 before being sidelined for a bit with a knee injury. He was able to return and finish the game but did most of his damage before getting hurt. The Raiders clearly focused on trying to get the ball in his hands as you’d expect for a first round pick, and this week he faces off against a Saints team that allowed the 5th-most WR points per game last year. The Saints did revamp the secondary in the offseason adding Janoris Jenkins and Malcolm Jenkins and played a respectable game against Tampa last week, but the best part of that pass defense is top corner Marshon Lattimore. Lattimore doesn’t typically follow receivers into the slot, and that’s where Ruggs played more than 50% of his snaps in week 1. Getting away from Lattimore that often should help Ruggs to a 60+ yard outing this week, and he’s always a threat to take one to the house. If you’re in a deep league or trying to replace an injured starter like Godwin, Golladay or Michael Thomas, Ruggs should be in consideration.
WR Jalen Reagor, PHI (Wk. 2: vs. LAR): Reagor had the longest play of any rookie in week 1 with a 55-yard catch, but it was his only catch of the week. The Eagles had a clear game plan to use Reagor and DeSean Jackson as deep threats, but those tend to be low-percentage throws and neither guy put up a great fantasy day. Reagor and Jackson combined for 11 targets, and both had an average target depth of more than 30 yards. No other receiver on the team was even at 10. It was a good sign that Reagor was involved, but I’d like to see the Eagles diversify the way he’s used and not limit him only to deep shots. He was coming off an injury and played just 59% of the snaps. That was the team-high among the WRs, but I think it will go up this week. I expect Jalen Ramsey will shadow D-Jax, so there is some upside for Reagor on the opposite side. Even if he doesn’t see more short targets this week, it only takes 1 or two deep balls to post a nice fantasy day if he finds the end zone.
WR Jerry Jeudy, DEN (Wk. 2: @ PIT): Courland Sutton seems like a long shot to play again this week, which gives Jeudy another opportunity as the lead wide receiver. Jeudy actually played fewer snaps than either Tim Patrick or DaeSean Hamilton in week 1 but had as many targets (8) as the two of them combined. The Broncos want to get the ball in his hands. The matchup this week is much tougher. The Steelers ranked 3rd in pass defense DVOA a year ago and did a good job limiting everyone other than Darius Slayton in the opener. I’d lean against playing Jeudy this week unless you have to, but his role in the offense gives him enough upside to consider here.

Rookies to Sit:

RB Cam Akers, LAR (Wk. 2: @ Phi): Akers struggled in his debut while teammate Malcolm Brown got the hot hand, and as a result Brown got the lion’s share of the backfield work. Things don’t get much easier for Akers to make a splash this week with Darrell Henderson a week healthier and a tough visit to the Eagles coming up. Philly allowed the 7th-fewest RB points per game last season and ranked 3rd in run defense DVOA a season ago. Peyton Barber found paydirt twice last Sunday against Philly, but the Washington backs combined for just 72 scrimmage yards on 32 touches. If Akers gets the hot hand early he may get more run than last week, but against this defense I wouldn’t bet on it.
RB Josh Kelley, LAC (Wk. 2: vs. KC): Kelly had an impressive debut tallying 12 carries for 60 yards and a score in the opener. The reports that he was going to have a big role alongside Austin Ekeler in this backfield were clearly accurate. He wasn’t targeted in the opener, but Ekeler was only targeted once himself. I think a lot of that has to do with the QB change the franchise went through in the offseason. Philip Rivers was heavily targeting his backs in his Colts debut, but Tyrod has typically not thrown to the running backs at nearly the same clip. The rushing usage should remain strong for both Ekeler and Kelley all year though. The matchup this week doesn’t favor Kelley. The Chiefs did let David Johnson get loose a little bit in the season opener, but this game has obvious blowout potential, and if that happens it’ll be Ekeler handling most of the work. Kansas City is favored by 8.5 points, but I expect them to cover that without much trouble. With no receiving usage to boost his totals, Kelley will need to get in the end zone to return value. I don’t have a lot of faith that he scores one.
RB AJ Dillon, GB (Wk. 2: vs. Det.): Dillon was mostly an afterthought in the Packers’ offense in week one, finishing the game with just 5 offensive snaps and 2 carries for 14 yards. Head coach Matt LaFleur expressed an interest in getting him more involved in week two, and with Green Bay favored by nearly a touchdown there is some chance at some extra run late if the Packers get out in front of Detroit. I still wouldn’t expect him to be used much as a receiver, and the red zone work still belongs to Aaron Jones. Jones handled 3 of the team’s 4 carries inside the 10, and he also had 4 red zone targets. Dillon isn’t worth consideration for fantasy lineups this week unless you expect a blowout win for Green Bay.
WR Laviska Shenault, JAX (Wk. 2: @ Ten): Viska didn’t approach the 10 touches that I was hoping for in the opener. He only got halfway there but did cash in a touchdown. The Jaguars will clearly be a slow tempo offense again this year despite a change in head coach and offensive scheme. That is going to limit Shenault’s weekly upside. They’re going to be creative in getting the ball into his hands each week, but if he’s only handling 5 or 6 weekly touches it’s going to be hard for him to return value in weeks where he doesn’t get into the end zone. He’ll have weekly fantasy starter upside, but he’ll be hard to rely on until he jumps ahead of Keelan Cole on the depth chart. I’d leave him on the pine this week.
WR Bryan Edwards, LV (Wk. 2: vs. NO): Edwards’ stat line in week 1 left a LOT to be desired, as he pulled in just one pass on one target for 9 yards. What you may not know is that Edwards led the Raiders’ receivers with 75% of the snaps played. The targets are going to come. Edwards and Ruggs are clearly the top two receivers in Vegas and they’re going to make an effort to get Edwards more involved. This week could be a rough one though as Edwards may be squaring off with the Saints’ best corner Marshon Lattimore. Lattimore doesn’t follow the opposing number one receiver into the slot, and Ruggs played more than half of his snaps last weekend in the slot. That means plenty of snaps where he’ll be facing off with Edwards. We’ve already seen a week where the ball didn’t find Edwards very much, so I’d be hesitant to trust him this week in a tougher matchup.
WR Chase Claypool, PIT (Wk. 2: vs. Den.): Claypool is the WR4 in this offense, but Pittsburgh did look for ways to get him involved in week 1. He was targeted twice and also got a rushing attempt on a gadget play. With AJ Bouye out for Denver there should be plenty of opportunities for the Steelers’ receivers to produce, but Claypool’s limited snaps will make him a touchdown dart throw for the foreseeable future.
WR Michael Pittman, Jr., IND (Wk. 2: vs. Min.): I wouldn’t be panicking too much just yet if you drafted Pittman in a deep league, but it’s going to take him a few weeks to work his way into a useful role. He’s still running behind Zach Pascal for the WR3 role in the offense. He did play more than half of the offensive snaps but was targeted just twice and ended with 2 catches for 10 yards. There will be better days ahead, but you’ll need to see more from the rookie before giving him flex consideration.
WR Van Jefferson, LAR (Wk. 2: @ PHI): Reports out of Rams camp had Jefferson pegged to be the team WR3 ahead of Josh Reynolds, but it was pretty clear on Sunday night that they’ll share the role early on this season. Neither was a big target priority though, with Jefferson seeing 3 targets and Reynolds just 1 on Sunday night. There could be some sneaky upside for one of those guys this week with Darius Slay likely to be shadowing Robert Woods, but I’d look for Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee to be the bigger beneficiaries of the matchup. I’d hold off on trying my luck with Jefferson.
WR Justin Jefferson, MIN (Wk. 2: @ IND): Jefferson and Bisi Johnson seemed to be on about the same footing in the WR pecking order for the Vikings in week 1, but they’re both still a distant second behind Adam Thielen. The Vikings were behind on the scoreboard for all but two of their offensive snaps Sunday, and they still threw only 25 times. This is going to be a run-heavy attack all year, and Jefferson is probably going to have to move clearly ahead of Bisi to be a weekly consideration for fantasy lineups. Keep him sidelined for now.
WR Devin Duvernay, BAL (Wk. 2: @ HOU): Duvernay played just 11 snaps in week one and is clearly behind Hollywood Brown, Miles Boykin and Willie Snead on the depth chart. Baltimore is favored by a touchdown and has a chance to pull away again and get some extra run for their backups, but that is more likely to help their backup running backs than Duvernay. Keep him benched this week.
WR John Hightower, PHI (Wk. 2: vs. LAR): Hightower played a healthy amount in week one, handling just 13 fewer snaps than Jalen Reagor’s team high 40, but he wasn’t used in ways that will give him fantasy value. He isn’t going to see a ton of targets, so he has to be used on deep balls to provide much value. In week 1, Hightower’s average target traveled just 8 yards in the air. I also expect DeSean Jackson and Reagor to see their snaps increase as they get closer to full strength. Hightower is a low-upside dart throw option this week unless something changes in his usage.
WR Tee Higgins, CIN (Wk. 2: @ CLE): Higgins was on the field for just 15 snaps with a big crowd of receivers in front of him on the depth chart. I don’t see a lot of reason why that will change in week 2 without injuries in front of him, and with the Bengals coming into this one with an implied total of 18.75 it’s hard to imagine him making a fantasy impact on so few snaps. Keep him sidelined in your lineups.
TE Cole Kmet, CHI (Wk. 2: vs. NYG): Kmet was targeted just once in the opener and served as the TE3 behind Jimmy Graham and Demetrius Harris. He’s nothing more than a long-shot weekly TD dart throw for now. The Bears are much more likely to look for Jimmy Graham in the red zone than Kmet.

Deep League Sleepers, Stashes, and Cheap DFS Options:

QB Tua Tagovailoa, MIA (Wk. 2: vs. Buf.): I told you last week that if you’re in a 2-QB league you should be picking up Tua as your QB3 off the waiver wire, and after Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 3 interceptions in week one, I want to reiterate it. Fitzmagic will start again in week 2, but the Bills allowed the 3rd-fewest QB points per game last year and picked up right where they left off in week 1. With another poor start by Fitzpatrick, it may be time for the Tua era to start in Miami. There could be some growing pains in his first couple starts if DeVante Parker is out, but he’s going be an asset in the back half of the season.
RB Antonio Gibson, WAS (Wk. 2: @ ARI): Gibson didn’t play nearly as much as I would’ve liked to see in week 1 and it was a bummer that the team didn’t try to use him at all as a slot receiver, but Gibson led the Washington Football Team’s running backs with 44 scrimmage yards on 11 touches. It was tough sledding against a very good Eagles’ run defense for all 3 backs. Aside from a 20-yard carry by Gibson, the top three backs combined for 28 carries and 43 yards. The matchup gets easier this week and Washington will undoubtedly look to get Gibson involved. He touched the ball on 11 of his 18 snaps a week ago. Peyton Barber will still be the best bet for a touchdown in this offense, but I like Gibson’s chance at a better performance this week than what he did in the opener. He’s worth looking at if you need a flex in really deep league.
RB Anthony McFarland, PIT (Wk. 2: vs. Den.): James Conner is questionable to play this week after leaving Monday night’s game with an ankle injury, which could open the door for McFarland to make his NFL debut this week. He was a healthy scratch last week with Conner, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels serving as the 3 active backs. If Conner sits, I’d expect Snell to handle a lot of the rushing load and Samuels to serve as the 3rd down back, but I’d expect the Steelers the try and get the ball in the hands of the speedy McFarland a handful of times. The Broncos aren’t exactly an easy matchup, so McFarland is mostly just a shoot the moon sort of DFS play this week. If Conner plays, ignore all of this.
WR Quintez Cephus, DET (Wk. 2: @ GB): Kenny Golladay looks likely to sit again this week, and Cephus saw a whopping TEN targets in the opener and played 79% of the offensive snaps. He only turned 3 of the targets into catches, but he clearly has some trust from Matt Stafford. He’ll avoid Jaire Alexander’s coverage this week, which makes him a nice play in a game where the Lions figure to be throwing a fair amount. The Packers are favored by 6. A repeat of the 10 targets might be asking a lot, but he’ll be involved enough to warrant flex consideration in deeper leagues, and his $3,800 DraftKings price tag could be a steal in DFS tournaments this week.
WR Gabriel Davis, BUF (Wk. 2: @ MIA): Davis is a guy you should be looking at if you’re in a dynasty league where he’s available. Buffalo’s offense looked different in week one. They played with a lot of tempo and played with a lot of receivers on the field. They went 4-wide on 20 of their offensive snaps. They had that many on the field for just 5 snaps in ALL of 2019. If this continues, Davis is going to be on the field a decent amount this year. He played more than 50% of the offensive snaps in week one, and while he’ll remain low on the target priority list for now, his high snap count is strong evidence that Davis is a part of Buffalo’s plans. He probably doesn’t belong on the waiver wire in most dynasty leagues.
WR Darnell Mooney, CHI (Wk. 2: vs. NYG): Mooney saw limited opportunity in the opener but made the most of his chances. He posted 3 catches for 38 yards on 3 targets in just 21 snaps. He’s already on equal footing with Javon Wims on the depth chart and is ahead of Riley Ridley. With the rumors that Allen Robinson may be on his way out of Chicago, now is the time to scoop up Mooney off the waiver wire, especially in dynasty formats. I can’t imagine Robinson is in Chicago beyond 2020, and if Mooney shows well he could be a big part of the Bears’ future plans at the position. Mooney didn’t put up gaudy receiving stats at Tulane, but he played in a low volume passing attack. He accounted for 41% of the team receiving yards as a junior in 2018 before seeing a dip last year.
TE Harrison Bryant, CLE (Wk. 2: vs. Cin.): New Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski clearly wants to recreate the offense he ran for the Vikings a year ago, and that means a ton of 2-tight end sets. Only the Eagles spent more time with two tight ends on the field than Minnesota did last year, and in week one only the Eagles played more snaps with two tight ends than the Browns did. David Njoku was placed on IR after the game and will miss at least the next 3 weeks. The Bengals coughed up 5 catches for 73 yards to Hunter Henry in the opener, and Bryant was a dynamic receiver in college who posted a 65-1004-7 line a year ago at FAU. With Austin Hooper around, it’ll be tough to trust Bryant in normal lineups this week, but he’ll cost the minimum in DFS and is a nice stash for dynasty leagues, two tight end leagues, and deeper TE-premium formats.

That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully it helps you make some tough lineup decisions involving rookies this week. Keep in mind that any players at the same position listed at under the same header are listed in the order that I would play them this week. Keep a close eye on the injury report and make sure you don’t end up playing an inactive player unexpectedly. As always: Good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game. Original article at
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The Rookie Report: Week 1 Starts & Sits

Welcome back to the Rookie Report! We’re on the brink of a new season, albeit a strange one. Stadiums with no fans, the Raiders in Vegas, 14 playoff spots, and no Tom Brady in New England are just a few of the things that will feel strange this year – but football will go on. Of course, there’s always the looming threat of a Covid-19 outbreak derailing things, but I’m going to operate from the optimistic point of view that things will go on as scheduled. If you’re new to the Rookie Report, each week I’ll be breaking down the matchups that the rookie class will be facing and letting you know which ones are good fantasy options and which ones should be avoided. I’ll throw in some sleepers and guys to stash on the bench as well, and I try to cover all of the fantasy relevant rookies each week (kickers excluded). Make sure to read the details on each player and not just what header they’re under since some of these may be format specific. Any players under the same header that play the same position are listed in the order that I would play them this week.
The rookies are always a tough group to predict for fantasy production, but week 1 is always tough since we don’t have any on field production to go off of when making decisions. This year we don’t even have preseason games. For some of these predictions you have to read the tea leaves a bit and read between the lines of the coachspeak, and sometimes you just have to trust the talent of the player to win out. With all that in mind, let’s dive in and talk about week 1…

Rookies to Start:

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC (Wk. 1: vs. Hou.): If you have CEH, you likely took him in the first round, so you don’t need me to tell you that you’re starting him every week unless he gives you a reason not to. The Chiefs have the highest projected point total in the league this week at 31.75, and the Texans were in the bottom-6 in the league last year at limiting RB fantasy points. They were especially vulnerable to receiving backs, allowing more receptions per game to backs than every team other than the Colts. There’s no reason to shy away from CEH in DFS lineups despite a $7,000 price tag in DraftKings. Editor's Note: this article was posted here on /fantasyfootball after TNF aired, although it was composed earlier. Sheesh. :)
RB Jonathan Taylor, IND (Wk. 1: @ Jax.): Taylor will be in a prime spot to make a splash in his NFL debut. You likely drafted him as your RB2 unless you started with 3 straight running backs, so you’re probably going to play him regardless of what I write here. I won’t try to stop you. He’ll likely be splitting the backfield work with Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines this week, but the Jaguars were one of the worst defenses in the league against opposing running backs last year and lost Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue and AJ Bouye from that defense in the offseason. They’re projected to be one of the worst teams in the league and are an 8-point home underdog in week one. The Colts should be able to run plenty in this one, and I expect Taylor’s talent to show through even if his opportunities are limited. He’s a solid RB2 option this week.
WR CeeDee Lamb, DAL (Wk. 1: @ LAR): Lamb is the best of the rookie receiver crop in my opinion, and he gets a great opportunity to start proving me right in week 1. The Rams consistently use Jalen Ramsey to shadow the opposing team’s #1 receiver, and with Dallas that means Ramsey will be chasing around Amari Cooper. This will be good news for both Lamb and Michael Gallup who get to face off with Troy Hill and Darious Williams instead. Advantage Cowboys. Despite Zeke Elliott racking up plenty of carries last season, the Cowboys ranked 10th in pass attempts, 2nd in passing yards and 5th in passing TDs in 2019, so there is plenty of volume to go around, and this week that volume should be finding Lamb and Gallup. The Cowboys also have the 3rd-highest implied point total of the week at 27.5. You may not have drafted Lamb as one of your top 3 wide receivers this season, but this could be a week to get him in the lineup over someone you drafted before him. At just $4,100 in DraftKings, he’s a screaming value for tournaments.

Borderline Rookies:

RB Cam Akers, LAR (Wk. 1: vs. Dal.): Akers enters week 1 listed as the number 3 running back on the depth chart with Malcolm Brown as the starter and Darrell Henderson at #2, but I see ‘starter’ as a nominal title for Brown. He’s a guy the team trusts to do the job if the others don’t step up, but he’s not a feature back that you build around. Darrell Henderson is playing catch-up a little bit after being banged up in camp, and I think Akers has a real chance to take over the lead role in week 1. I expect the team will ride whoever gets the hot hand this week, but this is an offense that creates plenty of fantasy production for the running back position. We know that Todd Gurley was an otherworldly talent at his peak, but McVay has also gotten productive fantasy seasons from Alfred Morris and Rob Kelley when he was in Washington, and an incredible 3-game stretch from a seemingly washed up CJ Anderson in LA. Dallas was a middling run defense last season, so if Akers is able to get the bulk of the work this week, he’s got obvious RB2 upside.
RB Zack Moss, BUF (Wk. 1: vs. NYJ): The Jets boasted one of the best run defenses in the league a year ago, but in the offseason they lost two of the guys that were big reasons why they were so effective. CJ Mosley opted out of 2020, and Jamal Adams was dealt to Seattle. Even if the Jets are able to be a solid run defense again without those guys, they’re likely going to be playing from behind so much that the RB counting stats are still going to add up. Moss enters the season expected to be the Bills’ early down running back. The Bills had the 7th-highest rushing percentage in the league last year, running on 47.5% of their offensive snaps, and they figure to be run-heavy again. I’d expect Moss to finish week 1 around 15 touches, and he’d be first in line for any goal line carries. That puts him firmly on the flex radar in 12-team leagues and is a better play in non-PPR formats.
WR Henry Ruggs, LVR (Wk. 1: @ Car.): Ruggs was the first receiver off the board in April, and he’ll open the season as the team’s WR1 with Tyrell Williams out for the year. Ruggs has the speed to be a dangerous deep threat, but with Derek Carr at QB he’ll likely have to make his living on schemed touches in the short part of the field where he creates yards after the catch. As the WR1, I’m sure Jon Gruden will make sure Carr is getting the ball to Ruggs, but the group of pass catchers that thrives in the short part of the field is crowded in Vegas. Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller, and Jalen Richard are all good receivers in that area, so I don’t see Ruggs being a target hog early on. His road to being a fantasy standout will be through creating big plays. He’ll get a chance to do that against a Carolina defense that isn’t terrible against the pass but isn’t imposing either. Ruggs is a boom-or-bust option who is capable of a Marquise Brown style week 1 breakout (Brown went 4-147-2 in week 1 last year), but is also capable of falling short of 40 yards.
WR Jerry Jeudy, DEN (Wk. 1: vs. Ten.): Jeudy is an outstanding talent and landed on a team where he’ll walk right into the WR2 role in the offense, but it’s not a high volume passing offense and he’ll likely start the year behind both Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant in the pecking order. That outlook may have changed on Thursday with Sutton suffering a shoulder injury in practice. If Sutton sits, Jeudy could be the WR1 in week 1. No cornerback on the Titans should be capable of stopping Sutton, but they probably won’t be quite as overmatched by Jeudy. Fant should be in line for a nice day as the Titans struggled to contain tight ends last year, allowing the 6th-most points per game to the position. Keep an eye on the Sutton updates. If Sutton sits or is going to be limited, Jeudy should see enough volume to be a playable WR3 option. If it seems like Sutton is going to be fine, I would probably keep Jeudy benched until we see what his target share looks like as the WR2.
WR Brandon Aiyuk, SF (Wk. 1: vs. Ari.): Aiyuk’s status is still up in the air this week, as is Deebo Samuel’s. If Aiyuk plays and Deebo doesn’t, there should be some consideration for getting Aiyuk in your lineup as a flex option. He may be facing off with Patrick Peterson in that scenario, but Peterson was anything but his typical self after returning from a 6-game suspension to open the 2019 season. He rounded into form late in the year, but Peterson is on the wrong side of 30 and Aiyuk is the type of receiver that can win at all levels of the field. The 49ers’ offense is going to run through George Kittle and their running backs, but they do have an implied point total of 27.25, so it’s likely that *some* receiver puts up a nice fantasy game Sunday. If he plays, Aiyuk is likely to lead the wide receiver group in targets, giving him the best shot of being that guy.

Rookies to Sit:

QB Joe Burrow, CIN (Wk. 1: vs. LAC): I like Burrow’s upside over the course of the year as a QB2, but I think there will be some growing pains in the early part of the season. The Chargers are not an inviting matchup for an NFL debut. They’ve got a solid pass rush anchored by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. No team blitzed less than the Chargers in 2019, and yet they ranked 13th in the league in QB pressure percentage. It didn’t translate into a lot of sacks, but the addition of Linval Joseph to the middle of the line should help free up the edge rushers to be more disruptive this season. The team will be hurt by the loss of Derwin James to injury, but they still boast one of the best starting pairs of corners in the league in Casey Heyward and Chris Harris. I think there is a good chance the Chargers make Burrow look like a rookie in his debut and would be hesitant to play him in 2 QB leagues if I didn’t have to.
RB JK Dobbins, BAL (Wk. 1: vs. Cle.): If I drafted Dobbins as my RB3 this season, I’d be tempted to play him this week. The Browns ranked 30th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA stat last year, and the Ravens are favored by 8 in the opener. There could be some garbage time for Dobbins once the Ravens get out in front, but Baltimore may still try and keep Gus Edwards and/or Justice Hill involved in the run game as well. The official team depth chart listed Dobbins as the 4th-string back. I expect he’ll work as the number 2 guy behind Mark Ingram but would like to see how the rotation plays out before putting Dobbins in my lineups. I
RB Antonio Gibson, WAS (Wk. 1: vs. Phi.): Gibson has had a ton of buzz around him during camp after Washington cut Adrian Peterson. He’s a versatile player who has drawn comparisons from the coaching staff to Christian McCaffrey. That’s obviously a pretty big stretch, but the head coach and offensive coordinator making the comparison were both in Carolina last year. I think Gibson will be the best fantasy back on the team this year, but I don’t love him for week 1. The Eagles ranked third in run defense DVOA last season, and I expect we’ll see Peyton Barber handle most of the early down work early in the season for Washington. Gibson will also be competing with JD McKissic and Bryce Love for 3rd-down work. The team is thin at wide receiver, so you could even see Gibson line up in the slot a bit since he played a lot of wide receiver in college. All in all, there’s just too much uncertainty about what his week 1 role will look like to trust him in fantasy lineups.
RB D’Andre Swift, DET (Wk. 1: vs. Chi.): Swift has been working through a couple injuries in camp but should be able to suit up on Sunday. The problem is that with the signing of Adrian Peterson this backfield figures to be a three-headed monster, and that’ll be a headache for fantasy players. Swift may get the valuable 3rd down passing work, but I’d like to see how the workload is divided before relying on any Lions running back in my fantasy lineups. I’d take a wait and see approach with Swift.
RB AJ Dillon, GB (Wk. 1: @ Min): Dillon enters week 1 listed as the 3rd running back on the depth chart in Green Bay, and while I would normally tell you to ignore the official team depth charts at this point, this one feels like how it’ll actually play out on the field. I’d expect Aaron Jones to be the clear lead back with a mix of Jamaal Williams and Dillon spelling him for some early down work. The best bet for Dillon getting a healthy workload would be garbage time in a blowout win, but that seems unlikely with the Vikings favored by 3. I’d keep Dillon away from your lineups.
RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn, TB (Wk. 1: @ NO): In case you drafted Vaughn early and have been living under a rock in recent weeks, the signings of Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy will make Vaughn mostly useless for now in fantasy leagues. He’ll likely be limited to special teams early in the season and won’t have much value without injuries in front of him. Feel free to drop him outside of dynasty leagues.
WR Michael Pittman Jr., IND (Wk. 1: @ Jax): Pittman should see the field quite a bit in week 1, but I don’t expect it to translate into fantasy production just yet. The Colts played 61% of their snaps last season in 11 personnel (3 WR), and their 3-WR sets to open the year should feature Pittman, TY Hilton and Parris Campbell, but the bulk of the passing volume should go through Hilton and Campbell (along with Jack Doyle and Nyheim Hines). The Colts are an 8-point road favorite this week, and I’d expect them to lean heavily on the running game which will limit how many targets there are to go around. If Pittman makes it to even 5 targets, I’d consider his week 1 to be a successful one.
WR Chase Claypool, PIT (Wk. 1: @ NYG): The Steelers have spent much of the summer talking up Claypool, but this is an offense with a lot of mouths to feed. The return of Ben Roethlisberger should make this a much more fantasy-friendly offense than it was last year, but Claypool enters the season as no higher than 4th in the target pecking order. The Steelers do have a favorable matchup this week and have the 5th-highest implied total of the week, and Big Ben hasn’t really played much with James Washington or Diontae Johnson, so if you want to roll the dice on Claypool in a DFS tournament (just a $3,000 price tag in DraftKings) I wouldn’t fault you for it. For season-long leagues you should have safer options for week 1.
WR Denzel Mims, NYJ (Wk. 1: @ BUF): It sounds like Mims is going to play this week, but after missing much of camp with a hamstring injury, I wouldn’t count on him getting a full workload in this one. It also remains to be seen which outside receiver will tangle with standout corner Tre’Davious White. Breshad Perriman is coming off an injury of his own, and both players make for poor options against a tough Bills defense with the Jets having an implied point total of just 16.5 points.
WR Justin Jefferson, MIN (Wk. 1: vs. GB): Jefferson is a very talented receiver, and the Vikings obviously believe in him after drafting him in the first round in April, but he’ll likely open the season splitting WR2 snaps with Bisi Johnson. The Vikings play with 3 WRs less often than any other team in the league. They consistently operate out of a 2 tight end base set with Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. Jefferson will eventually work his way past Bisi, but I’d want to see what kind of opportunities he gets early on before trusting him in my fantasy lineup. His week one matchup isn’t all that appealing either. Green Bay is one of just 2 teams in the league that allowed less than 10 receptions per game to opposing wide receivers last year.
WR Tee Higgins, CIN (Wk. 1: vs. LAC): With AJ Green expected to play week 1, it’ll be hard for Higgins to get on the field much. It looks like Green, Tyler Boyd and Auden Tate will be the trio on the field in 3 wide receiver sets, and Higgins will be competing with John Ross for any leftover reps. There’s no reason to consider Higgins for week 1.
TE Cole Kmet, CHI (Wk. 1: @ DET: Kmet was the first tight end drafted in April, but he doesn’t figure to play a large role early in his rookie season. He’ll open the season behind at least Jimmy Graham on the depth chart, and possibly Demetrius Harris as well. The Lions were a middle of the pack defense against tight ends a year ago, but Kmet shouldn’t be a consideration in any formats this week.

Deep League Sleepers, Stashes, and Cheap DFS Options:

QB Tua Tagovailoa, MIA (Wk. 1: @ NE): I don’t list Tua here with any thoughts of you using him in week 1. I mention him in case you’re in a 2-QB league where he’s sitting on the waiver wire. He’s going to take over for Fitzpatrick at some point this season, and when he does he’s going to have big-time upside. He’s worth stashing if you have the roster spot in superflex and 2-QB leagues. I would rather have Tua than fellow rookie Justin Herbert.
RB Josh Kelley, LAC (Wk. 1: @ CIN): Kelley enters week 1 as the likely backup to Austin Ekeler, but that role will probably come with 10-12 touches and possibly more if the Chargers pull away. Ekeler isn’t built to be a 20+ touch per game kind of back and the Chargers are shifting to a more run-heavy approach this season with Philip Rivers gone. Kelley looks like the back who will pick up the slack the Melvin Gordon left behind. Only 4 teams allowed more rushing yards last season than the Bengals, and while Cincy could be improved with the addition of DJ Reader to their D-line, I expect they’ll still find themselves in a lot of negative game scripts. For week 1, Ekeler has RB1 upside, but Kelley isn’t a terrible option as a flex in deep leagues. He’s someone you should be picking up everywhere if he’s on the waiver wire. I expect his role will grow as the season progresses.
RB James Robinson, JAX (Wk. 1: vs. Ind.): What a difference a week makes for Robinson. A week ago Robinson looked like he was going the be the number 4 or 5 running back on the depth chart, but since then Leonard Fournette was cut, Ryquell Armstead went back on the Covid-reserve list, and Devine Ozigbo landed on IR. Robinson is suddenly the projected starter this week. Chris Thompson will handle most of the 3rd down work, but Robinson is going to be on the field a lot. The Colts didn’t give up many running back touchdowns last season (6), but they gave up plenty of yards to them, both on the ground and through the air. The Jaguars project to be playing from behind in this one, so Chris Thompson is probably the guy that will lead this backfield in fantasy scoring this week, but in deep leagues a starting running back is hard to ignore. Robinson certainly shouldn’t be on your waiver wire and he has 10+ point upside this week.
WR Bryan Edwards, LVR (Wk. 1: @ Car): Ruggs is the guy with the draft capital, but Bryan Edwards may emerge as the alpha receiver on this Vegas team. He excels in the intermediate part of the field where few other receivers on the team do, and he’s easily the most physical of their receivers, which will serve him well in the red zone. His QB has compared him to former teammates Davante Adams and James Jones, both of whom excel at getting in the end zone. The Raiders have a reasonable implied point total of 25.25 this week, and if I had to bet on any Vegas pass catcher getting in the end zone it would be Edwards. He costs just $4,200 in DraftKings and is very likely to outperform that price tag. He may not get as many targets as Ruggs, but don’t be surprised if he outscores the first rounder in week 1.
WR Laviska Shenault, JAX (Wk. 1: vs. Ind.): After all of the changes and injuries that have come up for the Jaguars over the last week or 2, about the only thing that seems clear with this offense is that DJ Chark is going to be targeted a lot. I’ll add a second thing here – Laviska Shenault is going to be very involved in this offense. Reports out of camp this week are that the Jaguars are getting VERY creative with the ways they’re using him. He’s a versatile player that lined up all over the field in college and is dynamic with the ball in the open field. I expect Jacksonville to make it a point to get the ball into his hands any way they can, even if it means handing it to him out of the backfield. Viska has a higher DraftKings price tag than some of the other rookies at $4,400, but he could be a really interesting option in limited slate contests. 10 touches isn’t out of the question in week 1.
WR Van Jefferson, LAR (Wk. 1: vs. GB): I wasn’t high on Jefferson coming into camp, but he’s been impressive. He’s not an explosive athlete, but his football IQ and feel for the game are off the charts. He’s a route running technician who was a tough cover for Jalen Ramsey in camp. It remains to be seen if he’s fully overtaken Josh Reynolds for the WR3 role in the offense, but if he has he’ll be on the field a lot. The Rams like to line up with 3 wide receivers on the field as much as anyone. Dallas was stingy against wide receivers a year ago, but they said goodbye to their number one corner Byron Jones in the offseason. Jefferson is more of a stash right now, but if he’s on the field as the WR3 a 4-60 kind of game wouldn’t be that crazy for him this week.
WR John Hightower, PHI (Wk. 1: @ Was): Hightower has a chance to benefit from a couple of injuries ahead of him this week, and also from the extra attention the Washington secondary will give to DeSean Jackson. D-Jax burned them in the opener last year with 2 TDs of 50+ yards. They’re going to do everything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen again. That means less attention for JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, and Hightower. Of that trio, Hightower is the only one with the burner speed to hurt Washington deep. He’s a DFS tournament dart throw who will cost the minimum in DraftKings, and can have a nice NFL debut with just one or two deep balls.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully it helps you as you try to figure out what to do with the rookies on your team for week 1. Keep a close eye on the injury report this week to make sure you don’t end up playing anyone inactive. Feel free to hit me up on twitter (@Shawn_Foss) if you have any questions or want to yell at me about anything written above. As always: Good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game. Original article from
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