Yahooooo! There are 13 games on the Yahoo main slate that begins at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
This piece highlights my top overall plays, values, and best tournament plays for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs) at each position while using our Player Models. I will specifically be referencing the Bales Model.
As news breaks throughout the week and we adjust our projections, player ratings in our Player Models will change. For updates, visit the models directly.
My top play is Kyler Murray. I was initially going to go with Justin Herbert, but my thinking is that most people will flock to that Cowboys-Chargers game, which has the highest over/under at 55.5. Murray is $4 more expensive than Herbert but has one of the highest floor/ceiling combos and the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus of +5.56 at the position.
The Cardinals are implied for 27.25 points, and the total is 51, so it’s not like the game environment isn’t a good one. He will likely still be one of the higher rostered quarterbacks on the slate, but hopefully, he goes a little overlooked.
Last week against the Titans, Murray threw 32 times for 289 yards and four touchdowns while rushing five times for 20 yards, in a game that the Cardinals dominated from the get-go. That was essentially a floor game from Murray. Since entering the league, he’s rushed at least five times in 25 out of 33 games, with nine of those with over 10 attempts.
The Vikings are implied for 23.75 points and boast a triumvirate of offensive weapons in Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen. There’s a good chance that this game goes back and forth and turns into a shootout. If so, then a Murray ceiling game is in play.
My top value is Jalen Hurts, who was priced at $26 last week and didn’t get a price nudge for Week 2. I get it as the 49ers boast a good defense and were seventh in pass defense DVOA last season. They held nine teams to fewer than 200 yards passing in a game last year.
Are they the Steel Curtain reincarnate? Hardly. They were 24th in adjusted sack rate last season and allowed Jared Goff to go 38-of-57 for 338 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1. Granted, much of that was with the game well in hand.
Against dual-threat quarterbacks last season, Kyler Murray rushed 13 times for 91 yards and a touchdown, Carson Wentz rushed seven times for 37 yards and a touchdown, Russell Wilson rushed six times for 23 yards (he threw four touchdowns), Josh Allen only rushed six times for 11 yards, but he threw 40 times for 375 yards and four touchdowns, Kyler Murray rushed eight times for 75 yards in the second meeting, and Russell Wilson rushed five times for 29 yards.
The 49ers are implied for 26.5 points while the Eagles are at 23.5. This game has sneaky shootout potential, and the price tag for Hurts is just too low to ignore, considering the floor/ceiling combo.
Top Tournament Play
Matt Ryan is my favorite GPP play. He’s priced at $28, so most will either go up or down the price ladder. He was also putrid in Week 1, going 21-of-35 for 164 yards with a 4.7 yards per attempt, so recency bias will keep most away from the stench. The Vegas Dashboard has the Falcons implied for 20 points, which is just above the likes of the Lions, Giants, and Jaguars. Yuck.
Here’s the thing. The Bucs are going to put up points as they are projected for a slate-high 32 points. Unless the Falcons turtle up and wave the white flag, they are going to be passing—a lot. The Bucs have one of the best defenses in the league, but they got torched by Dak Prescott in Week 1, and guess what? In two games against the Bucs last season, Ryan went 34-of-49 for 356 yards and three touchdowns and 29-of-44 for 265 yards and two touchdowns in the other.
There’s a higher probability that the Bucs smash the Falcons and smother them on defense, but there’s a chance this game shoots out. If so, then the Falcons pieces will likely be low-owned, especially since most will go to the Cowboys-Chargers game. If that game turns more into a slugfest and this one shoots out, we’ll vault up the leaderboard.
My top play is Alvin Kamara. Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook are $1 cheaper, so most will likely go there. Nick Chubb has one of the best matchups on the slate, and he’s $4 cheaper, so Kamara could see depressed ownership.
McCaffrey and Cook will score points, but the matchups are more difficult than the one for Kamara. They face the Saints and Cardinals while Kamara goes up against the Panthers. They did well shutting down the Jets in Week 1, but it was the Jets. Last season, they were 20th in rush defense DVOA and 29th against pass-catching running backs.
The Floor and Ceiling Projections are slightly higher for Cook and McCaffrey, but Kamara is not too far behind. He carried 20 times last week. He did that only once last year. The ceiling for Kamara is Week 15 of last year when he carried 22 times for 155 yards and scored six touchdowns.
My top value is Joe Mixon. I think everyone will be going to Najee Harris this week at $25. It makes sense since he was in on 100% of the snaps last week and faces a Raiders team that is still susceptible on defense. The Steelers Defense and Harris correlation play will be very popular.
What if Big Ben has a big game, and all the points are scored through the air? The Raiders defensive line and front seven are much improved, but the secondary is still shaky. If the projected ownership gets too high on Harris, which I suspect it will, it makes sense to pivot.
Mixon is $1 cheaper, and while he was in on “only 78%” of the snaps in Week 1, he rushed 29 times for 127 yards and received four targets in the passing game. With Gio Bernard in Tampa Bay now, he is getting many of the passing down situations. The matchup is a difficult one, as the Bears boast one of the best run-stuffing units in the league, but Mixon is just too cheap for the three-down role that he has.
Top Tournament Play
Ronald Jones is the ideal tournament play this weekend. I’m curious to see where his projected ownership number comes in at. He only carried the ball four times last week because he fumbled. The majority of the ownership in this Falcons-Buccaneers game will be focused on the passing game, and rightfully so. That said, Jones received at least 15 carries six times last season with three games over 20. He went over 100 yards four times.
What if Mike Evans gets tackled at the one-yard line, and Jones punches it in? What if the game gets out of hand and Jones racks up extra carries? There are a ton of scenarios in which Jones bounces back and has a good game. He will likely be low-owned and would provide direct leverage to those who stack the Tampa Bay passing game.
My top play is Stefon Diggs. He didn’t have a big game last week but still garnered 13 targets. Last season, he had a 29.7% target share, which was second only to Davante Adams. We cannot predict touchdowns, but we can take targets and opportunities to the bank.
The Steelers play a ton of zone defense which neutered the Bills passing game to a degree. The Dolphins are like to play more man-to-man, and Diggs is one of the best route runners in the league and feasts in those scenarios. In two games against Miami last year, he caught eight passes on 13 targets for 153 yards and a touchdown in the first game, then hauled in seven of eight targets for 76 in the other one.
That was the final game of the season, and the Bills routed the Dolphins, 56-26, so Diggs wasn’t needed much. This should be a much more competitive game.
My top value is Dionte Johnson. He’s priced at $19 and has an 89% Bargain Rating. He only caught five passes for 35 yards last week, but that was on 10 targets, and he hauled in a touchdown. Last season, Johnson had a 24.1% targets share, which was the 13th-best in the NFL. He received at least 10 targets in 10 of his 15 games last year.
The Raiders showed improvement on defense against the Ravens, but they still have holes, especially in the secondary. Johnson should feast in this matchup. While the price tag is cheap, he also provides leverage against Najee Harris owners.
Top Tournament Play
My top GPP play is Jarvis Landry. He’s priced at $22, so he’s not a value. There are a ton of other wide receivers that are more appealing in the price range. That said, he provides direct leverage off Nick Chubb, who will likely be one of the highest-rostered running backs on the slate.
Landry caught all five of his targets for 71 yards last week against the Chiefs. Odell Beckham Jr. has already been ruled out, so Landry will be the top wide receiving option for Baker Mayfield. He got at least 10 targets in three games last season, so there is a modicum of upside on one of the run-heaviest teams in the league.
Houston was 30th in pass defense DVOA last year and didn’t do much to improve the unit. Chubb is going to get his because, well, the Texans were 29th in run defense DVOA. That said, what if the Browns choose to attack the Texans via the air? What if the Texans stack the box and leave Landry one on one? What if play-action allows Landry to run free? What if Landry scores the touchdowns?
These are lower probability events, but in GPPs, this is how you can get leverage.
My top play is Kyle Pitts. Yes, he didn’t have a fantastic Week 1, but no one on the Falcons offense did. He still received eight targets and was the No. 2 receiver.
The matchup is a tough one, but, as mentioned in the Matt Ryan section above, Ryan had success against this Bucs defense last year. Pitts is priced at $18, so many will go up to Darren Waller and George Kittle or go down to Tyler Higbee. The ownership should be suppressed for Pitts, and I went over why stacking the Falcons could be juicy this weekend.
My top value play is Jared Cook. I’m trying to stay away from the Cowboys-Chargers game due to the expected massive ownership. That said, I don’t mind the ancillary pieces that could go a little under the radar. Cook could be that piece. He’s priced at only $13 and received eight targets last week.
Last season, the Cowboys were 29th in DVOA against tight ends. With Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler getting much of the attention from defenses, Cook could run free in the seams.
Top Tournament Play
My top GPP play is Gerald Everett. The Titans-Seahawks game has the second-highest total on the slate and most of the focus will likely be on Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, and Chris Carson. It’s possible Everett falls through the cracks, especially since he only received two targets last week.
That said, he did score a touchdown in Week 1, and this game could go back and forth if the Titans offense bounces back from their Week 1 debacle. The Titans were dead-last in DVOA to tight ends last season, so the matchup is ideal for Everett.
My top play is the New England Patriots. They are expensive at $19, but that should make them low-owned. The Steelers will likely be the most popular defense.
The Jets’ offensive line struggled with the Panthers last week, a Panthers defense that was 21st in adjusted sack rate last season. Now, Mekhi Becton is injured, so the Jets’ offensive line will weaken.
Bill Belichick feasts on rookie quarterbacks, and the Patriots defense should cause havoc this Sunday.
My top value is the Chicago Bears. I’m not crazy about any of the value defenses this week, so the Bears it is. The Bengals have weapons on the offensive side of the ball, but the line is still a question mark. Joe Burrow was sacked five times last week by a Vikings defense that was 28th in adjusted sack rate last season.
Granted, they made some improvements to that side of the ball, but the Bears arguably have a better front seven and apply pressure at a better rate. The Bears were also 12th in pass-defense DVOA, and this game is in Chicago, so the Bengals could find life difficult on offense.
My top GPP play is the Las Vegas Raiders. What if the pressure they applied in Week 1 is for real? PFF graded the Raiders as the top pass-rushing unit. What if they sack Ben Roethlisberger a few times, maybe get an interception or two, or strip-sack fumble to the house? The Raiders are only $10.