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The NFL prime time slates have massive guaranteed prize pools again in Week 2. DraftKings is offering the $600K Sunday Night Special with a $5 entry fee and top prize of $50,000, while FanDuel has the $300K NFL Primetime Showdown with a $4 entry fee and identical $50,000 top prize.
Matt Ryan, Falcons
In a rematch of epic proportions, Matt Ryan will face a familiar Packers team in Week 2 that he bested in the NFC Championship Game in January. Last year the Packers were 31st in yards and 29th in touchdowns allowed through the air, and they haven’t done much to fix the secondary. Atlanta’s implied total of 29.75 points is the highest in the slate, and the Falcons are currently 3.0-point home favorites. Fantasy players usually undervalue game stacks, but with an over/under that is 14 points higher than that of the Monday night game the Packers-Falcons affair will be popular.
The 2016 Most Valuable Player, Ryan balled out last year. Per Pro Football Focus (PFF), he was third in quarterback rating under pressure (87.2) and first when not under pressure (128.9) and on passes traveling 20-plus yards (136.1). With the 13th-most hurries last season, the Packers still surrendered the sixth-highest quarterback rating (97.2) last season. Ryan has the highest median and ceiling projections in our Models.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers
The Packers have the second-highest implied total (26.75), and Aaron Rodgers has a strong matchup against the Falcons, who last year were top-three in points per game (PPG) allowed to quarterbacks PPG (20.8 DraftKings, 19.9 FanDuel). The Falcons can get after the quarterback — they were third in the NFL last season with 122 team defensive hurries — but they are facing a Green Bay offensive line that in 2016 was 11th with a 5.5 percent adjusted sack rate (Football Outsiders) and Rodgers led the NFL with a 93.8 quarterback rating under pressure (PFF). Rodgers has 22.99 DraftKings PPG as a road underdog over the past three seasons with a +2.30 Plus/Minus and 66.7 percent Consistency Rating.
Ty Montgomery, Packers
The majority of the fantasy relevance in this game should come through the air. Earlier this week I mentioned how much I like Ty Montgomery. The Falcons ranked 25th in pass defense against running backs in FO’s Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) in 2016 and just gave up 11 receptions to Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Montgomery will likely be the chalkiest player of the week — but his popularity is warranted.
Shane Vereen, Giants
If you’re looking to jam in some studs at quarterback and wide receiver, then you might consider Vereen as a salary saver at running back. From 2013 to 2015, only Matt Forte (220), Darren Sproles (166), and Danny Woodhead (161) had more than Shane Vereen’s 158 receptions. With Odell Beckham out in Week 1, Vereen led the Giants with 10 targets, a 26.32 percent target market share. The Lions ranked 29th in pass DVOA against the running back position in 2016.
Mohamed Sanu, Falcons
This could be an eruption spot for Julio Jones — and everyone knows it. Let’s look at another Atlanta receiver. Mohamed Sanu as a Falcon has been negatively correlated with Jones (-0.24), which makes him an excellent leverage play for those who dare to fade Julio, and he also makes sense as someone to stack with Ryan and even Rodgers: In Week 1 he led the Falcons with 30.0 percent of the target share. Additionally, Sanu has a great matchup against cornerback Quinten Rollins in the slot, and last year the Packers allowed the most touchdowns (26) and second-most yards (3,017) to wide receivers.
Odell Beckham, Giants
As of writing, Odell Beckham is officially questionable. If active. OBJ could be an ideal Monday Night hammer against a Lions defense that ranked dead last in pass DVOA last season, when he garnered 28 percent of the Giants’ target share and 39 percent of their air yards — the fifth-highest mark in the league. Only Randy Moss has more yards and touchdowns through his first three seasons than OBJ’s 4,122 and 35.
Austin Hooper, Falcons
The position is pretty thin — but tight ends provide far more value and consistency at home — and Austin Hooper is in consideration after his 88-yard score in Week 1. He had just two targets but an impressive 21 percent of the team’s air yards, presenting himself as a significant downfield threat. His 22.5 average depth of target last week is the type of number normally reserved for wide receivers. Last year, Hooper played on 65.5 percent of the offensive snaps in his final seven games after Jacob Tamme was lost to injury and he was a top-12 PPF tight end in both run and pass blocking. Last week he played on one less snap (47) than Julio (48) and Sanu (48). He’s a full member of the Falcons offense.
Good luck this week and be sure to research for yourself with our entire suite of Tools.
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