By Donnie Dyce
We had a tough Week 1 in not getting much production from our DFS value plays that we recommended in last week's column, but that's the nature of the business, especially when you're playing in large field contests and looking for just the smallest of edges against the rest of the field. The important thing is to not overreact or get discouraged, and to overall just trust your analysis and your process. That said, let us now take a look at some value plays on DraftKings that could help give us some winning lineups in Week 2.
Baker Mayfield ($6,000) / Jarvis Landry ($6,300)
Baker Mayfield didn't exactly light the world on fire last week on the road vs. a not-so-great pass defense in the Kansas City Chiefs, as he only took to the air with 28 attempts and completing 21 of them for 321 yards and zero touchdowns. The Browns relied heavily on the ground game in their Week 1 contest with the Chiefs, which I believe will not be the case this week vs. the Houston Texans. Rookie QB Trevor Lawrence threw for 3 TD's and 332 yards last week vs. this secondary, and although Lawrence has the potential to be great in the near future, we can all mostly agree he's not near the level of experience that Mayfield has. I believe the Browns light it up through the air this week at home in a get-right spot, and with Mayfield letting a lot of fantasy owners down last week I believe you may get him at relatively low ownership in many contests. Also, with Odell Beckham ruled out for a second straight week, Jarvis Landry is in line to be the go-to guy again in Week 2. Landry led the team in targets last week with 5, and I expect those numbers to rise this week as he sees most of his coverage from Texans CB Desmond King. King gave up 7 receptions last week to slot receiver Laviska Shenault, most of which came in King's primary coverage. With an over/under of 48 in this contest, the Mayfield/Landry stack has a sneaky high ceiling and is most certainly a low-cost alternative to build a lineup around compared to the rest of the field.
Bounce Back Value Play
Ezekiel Elliott ($6,200)
Zeke slaughtered fantasy owners in week 1 (DFS showdown lineups and season-long rosters alike), but as I mentioned above, we never want to overreact to one-week samples in DFS and always want to take advantage of opportunity when we see it. Elliot rushed for 33 yards on 11 attempts and caught 2 passes for a grand total of 5.9 PPR fantasy points in last Thursday's season opener vs. the Tampa Bay Bucs. I see these pedestrian numbers as nothing more than a result of a gameplan that the Cowboys ran and had planned to run going into this game. Tampa Bay has one of the best, if not the best, defensive fronts in the NFL. Nobody has success on the ground vs. Tampa, which is why it's no surprise Dallas only ran the ball 14 times with its running backs (11 carries for Zeke and 3 for Pollard). Zeke is healthy and simply owns this backfield. Dallas knows that in order to win games they must get Elliot going more often than not, and with all-pro offensive lineman Zack Martin back this week off of COVID protocol I expect a much-improved rushing attack vs. a Chargers unit which gave up 107 yards on the ground in Week 1 against the Washington Football Team. I expect this to be a huge bounce back spot for Elliott in a situation.
D/ST Value Play
Philadelphia Eagles ($2,400)
DFS defenses are better served at home, and this is no exception. The Eagles, coming off a huge win last week, open up at home on Sunday vs. the 49ers. This Philadelphia crowd is going to be pumped and best believe this Eagles team is going to feed off of that energy. Although San Francisco put up some gaudy numbers last week vs. the lowly Detroit Lions, I expect a much more difficult challenge this week for Garoppolo and company. The Eagles did not give up a touchdown last week vs. a talented Falcons offense and sacked Matt Ryan 3 times, a defensive effort totaling 10 points on DK. Even that total would be a value at their current price of $2,400 alone, but I also believe there is definite possibility of an even better performance this week. The 49ers' Raheem Mostert is out for the season and everyone is rolling with this week's fantasy free agent sweetheart Elijah Mitchell. I do not, however, expect a repeat from Mitchell or the rest of the San Fran running back group who rushed for a total of 129 yards in Week 1. Philadelphia did give up 116 yards on the ground last week to Falcons backs, but most of that came in the first half before the Eagles coaching staff made halftime adjustments that stopped Atlanta all together. With a price tag near the bottom five on the board, I see minimal risk and high upside for the Eagles D/ST on this slate.