NFL Week 2 features a 12-game main slate starting at 1 p.m. ET.
In this article, I’ll be using various FantasyLabs tools and other industry metrics to break down the slate.
Finally, make sure to check out all the projections available for purchase within the FantasyLabs Models. Subscribers now have the option to purchase Derek Carty’s THE BLITZ from our Marketplace. Projections from One Week Season and Establish the Run are available if you’re a subscriber to those specific sites (our optimizer is a separate add-on feature).
You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
NFL DFS Quarterback Picks
This week’s slate isn’t particularly strong at the top of the quarterback position. Guys like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Jalen Hurts are unavailable, so DFS players will have to look at alternative options.
Lamar Jackson stands out as the top option if you can afford him. He owns the top median projection per THE BLITZ, and his ceiling is first on the slate by a wide margin: No other signal-caller is within 5.5 points of Jackson using THE BLITZ.
That’s not to say that Jackson is without risk. He’s expensive at $7,400 on DraftKings, so he’s more of a middling option from a value perspective. He also draws a tough matchup vs. the Dolphins, who were 10th in Football Outsiders pass defense DVOA last year. They did an excellent job against the Patriots in Week 1, limiting Mac Jones to just 9.52 DraftKings points.
Of course, Jackson is not Jones. His rushing upside gives him a great combination of floor and ceiling, and he managed 21.22 DraftKings points even in a down performance vs. the Jets last week. Jackson has averaged 21.0 DraftKings points over the past year, which ranks first among the main slate quarterbacks.
Most of the attention from last week’s Giants’ game landed on Saquon Barkley – and rightfully so – but Daniel Jones had a solid showing in his own right. He showed excellent efficiency as a passer, completing 17 of 21 throws for 188 yards and two touchdowns. He also showcased his athleticism as a runner, picking up 25 yards on six carries.
Jones remains priced at a massive discount heading into Week 2. He’s just $5,100 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 90%. No other quarterback is above even 56%, so he’s the clear top value at the position.
His matchup vs. the Panthers is also solid. They finished Week 1 ranked 24th in defensive DVOA, and they were 18th in pass defense DVOA last season. The Giants are also listed as slight home favorites, which is a situation they aren’t expected to be in often this season.
The Raiders own the top implied team total on the slate, which should make Derek Carr a popular option. He struggled a bit last week, finishing with 295 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions, but he draws an outstanding matchup vs. the Cardinals. Their defense has the potential to be one of the worst in football this season, and Patrick Mahomes shredded them for 360 yards and five touchdowns in Week 1. Carr is also underpriced at $6,200 on DraftKings.
Things couldn’t have gone much worse for Trey Lance in his 2022-23 debut. That said, there were some mitigating circumstances. The field conditions at Soldier Field were abysmal, which made it tough for both offenses to gain any traction. George Kittle was also sidelined, and there’s a chance he’s back in the lineup this week. He’ll take on Seattle at home this week, and the Seahawks were dominated by the Broncos’ offense in Week 1. Maybe Lance just isn’t an NFL-caliber quarterback, but this is a nice buy-low opportunity.
Russell Wilson didn’t have his best performance last week, but he stands out as one of the best values on FanDuel in Week 2. He owns a Bargain Rating of 99%, and the Broncos are expected to put up plenty of points vs. the Texans.
Was Marcus Mariota’s Week 1 performance legit? Matt Martin takes a look in this week’s Quarterback Breakdown.
NFL DFS Running Back Picks
Saquon Barkley is officially back. He was technically playing for the Giants last season, but he didn’t look anything like the explosive player we knew previously. He averaged just 3.7 yards per carry and was legitimately outplayed at times by Devontae Booker.
Barkley looked completely rejuvenated against the Titans. He racked up 164 yards on 18 carries – including a 69-yard run – and he added six catches for 30 receiving yards. His underlying metrics were also excellent. He played on 82% of the snaps, racked up 60% of the carries, and had a 74% route participation. He also averaged an absurd 6.8 yards per carry, and 22% of his carries went for at least 10 yards. Finally, Barkley also clocked the second-fastest sprint speed in Week 1 per Next Gen Stats, so there is literally nothing not to like about his performance.
If Barkley is going to continue to play that well, he’s undoubtedly too cheap on DraftKings. He’s -$1,600 cheaper than Christian McCaffrey and -$2,600 cheaper than Jonathan Taylor, and there’s not much separating those three players at the moment.
Head coach Sean McVay talked up Darrell Henderson in the offseason, and it turns out he undersold the fourth-year back out of Memphis. Most expected Henderson to split the work with Cam Akers, but Henderson served as the clear RB1 against Buffalo. After the game, McVay told reporters that Akers needed to play with “an increased level of urgency,” the job appears to be Henderson’s for the time being.
The timing couldn’t be better for him. The Rams are one of the largest favorites of the week against the Falcons, and big favorites tend to provide plenty of value at running back. Historically, players with comparable salaries and projected workloads have averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.35 when favored by more than a touchdown (per the Trends tool).
Henderson stands out as a clear value across the industry, and he should be a staple of cash-game lineups.
The Bucs were another team that talked about using more of a committee approach at running back this season, but Leonard Fournette dominated the workload in Week 1. He was effective too, turning his 21 carries into 127 yards. He also caught both of his targets, and the only thing he didn’t do was score a touchdown. He’ll have a chance to get in the end zone vs. the Saints, who were torched on the ground by the Falcons last week. He’s another excellent value on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 91%.
D’Andre Swift was insanely efficient in Week 1. He turned his 15 carries into 144 rushing yards, and he caught all three of his targets for 31 receiving yards. He also added a touchdown, and he could’ve had an even bigger day if not for Jamaal Williams scoring two touchdowns of his own. Williams should be a thorn in Swift’s side all year, but he has a chance to join the truly elite fantasy running backs this season. He’s also currently projected for less than 10% ownership, making him a strong GPP option.
Jonathan Taylor picked up right where he left off in Week 1, torching the Texans for 161 rushing yards and one touchdown. He also had seven targets, which is a new wrinkle for him: He had three targets or fewer in 11 of 17 games last year. Taylor’s massive price tag should keep his ownership reasonable, but he still possesses arguably the top ceiling at the position.
Melvin Gordon III isn’t going away. That may not be what the fantasy community was hoping for, but Gordon led the Broncos backfield with 12 carries in Week 1. He’s another massive favorite at the position, and his 98% Bargain Rating on FanDuel is one of the top marks of the week.
If you’d rather go with the other Broncos’ running back, Matt Martin makes the case for Javonte Williams in this week’s Running Back Breakdown.
NFL DFS Wide Receiver Picks
Davante Adams may be wearing a different uniform this season, but he looked like the same old guy in Week 1. He racked up a whopping 17 targets, which he parlayed into 10 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. Overall, he commanded 45.9% of the Raiders’ targets against the Chargers.
He’ll have another outstanding matchup this week vs. the Cardinals. None of their corners currently rank inside the top 50 in terms of Pro Football Focus grade, and they give him the biggest matchup edge of the week. Carr should also face much less pressure from the Cardinals’ front seven, so Adams could be looking at a monster week.
Adams is priced significantly cheaper than Cooper Kupp, but both players have very similar projections per THE BLITZ. That gives him the clear edge between the two.
The Cardinals are going to be extremely thin at receiver once again this week. DeAndre Hopkins is still serving a suspension, and Rondale Moore has been ruled out with an injury.
Their absences allowed Greg Dortch to step into a big role in Week 1. He led the team with nine targets, which he turned into seven catches for 63 yards. He also had a 96% route participation, which was tied with Marquise Brown for the top mark on the squad.
Most of Dortch’s damage was done around the line of scrimmage. He had an average depth of target (aDOT) of just 6.8 yards, which works to his favor in PPR leagues. He should be able to pick up another solid handful of catches vs. the Raiders, and he’s one of the easiest cash game plays of the week at $3,500.
Brandin Cooks was among the leaders in air yards and team target share last season, and he’s off to another good start in those categories this season. He racked up 12 targets in Week 1, which he turned into seven catches for 82 yards. What makes those numbers even more impressive is that the Texans led for most of that contest. There will be games where they’re in losing game scripts, and Cooks has very little competition for targets.
The Buccaneers are dealing with a host of injuries at receiver this week. Chris Godwin has been ruled out, while Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Russell Gage, and Breshad Perriman are all questionable. That said, all four of those players practiced on Friday, so they’re trending in the right direction. Of the group, Jones is the most interesting. He led the team in air yards last week, and he trailed only Evans in targets. He’s still priced very affordably across the industry, and his $5,700 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%.
The Washington Commanders’ passing attack looked lively in Week 1, with Curtis Samuel, Jahan Dotson, and Terry McLaurin all making contributions. All three players are viable this week vs. the Lions in what is expected to be one of the highest-scoring games of the week.
D.J. Moore was quiet in Week 1, but he has been one of the most consistent receivers in fantasy over the past few years. He’s racked up at least 1,150 yards in each of the past three seasons, and Matt Martin highlights him as a buy-low target in this week’s Wide Receiver Breakdown.
NFL DFS Tight End Picks
Tight end is another underwhelming position this week. There are some players to choose from – Mark Andrews, George Kittle, Darren Waller – but none stands out from a projected Plus/Minus perspective.
If you are going to pay up, Waller seems like the best option. Not only is he the cheapest of the trio, but his matchup vs. the Cardinals is clearly the best. Adams gobbled up the vast majority of the targets last week, but Waller still had a respectable 80% route participation. His 24% air yards share was also the second-highest mark on the squad, and he was the only player besides Adams to record an end zone target.
Juwan Johnson is priced at the absolute minimum on DraftKings, but he was surprisingly involved in the Saints’ passing attack last year. He had a 79% route participation, while Taysom Hill and Adam Trautman were both at just 10%. He also had a 16% target share and a 21% air yards share, and he saw an end zone target.
There aren’t a ton of great value options this week, so plugging in Johnson at the minimum is extremely appealing. Pairing Johnson and Dortch allows you to load up the rest of your lineup.
Tyler Higbee was routinely among the leaders in snaps and routes run at tight end last year, but that didn’t result in much fantasy value. He had a minimal target share, and he had 48 yards or fewer in 11 of 15 contests. However, Higbee had a vastly improved role in Week 1. He had 11 targets in Week 1, albeit in a game where the Rams trailed throughout. I wouldn’t count on double-digit targets for Higbee each week, but he seems underpriced at $4,200.
Logan Thomas is another pass-catcher worth considering for the Commanders. He was second on the team in targets per route run, and his role only figures to grow moving forward. He suffered a torn ACL back in December, so he’s still working his way back to full strength.
Kyle Pitts has had a string of disappointing games to start his career, but his arrow remains pointing up. He was tied for the team lead in target share in Week 1, and he ran a route on 72% of the Falcons’ dropbacks. Pitts remains one of the most promising prospects at the history of the position, so better things should be coming in the future.
The first three players I’m locking into my DraftKings’ lineup this week are Dortch, Johnson, and the Bengals D. I don’t often talk about defenses – trying to predict them is a fool’s errand – but the Bengals are a free square for cash games. They’re $2,200 against Cooper Rush and a banged-up Cowboys offensive line. They’re likely going to be over-owned in tournaments but eat the chalk in cash.
After that, you can pretty much go in whatever direction you want. Barkley stands out as the best option at running back, while Adams is a must at receiver.
I definitely think it’s a week to go with a running back in the flex. Fournette, Henderson, Swift, and Najee Harris are all viable targets.
The running backs you target will impact how much you have to spend at quarterback and WR2. Carr and Cooks are strong midrange options, but you could go down to Jones at QB or Dotson at receiver if you need the extra savings.
My initial lineup build on FanDuel is very similar. The one big difference is that Dortch doesn’t provide nearly as much value, and we don’t need to go down to Johnson at tight end. Julio Jones stands out as the preferred value wide receiver, while Jerry Jeudy is also underpriced.
As far as GPPs, you can utilize our NFL Models to identify some potentially overlooked targets. We do ownership projections for every player, and our Leverage Rating compares those projected ownerships to each player’s projected ceiling. If a player has a high ceiling but low projected ownership, they will have a strong Leverage Rating. Those types of players are ideal in tournaments.
Make sure to also take advantage of all the excellent written content that will be produced prior to kickoff.
Good luck this week!