RealTime DFS Strategy: Week 2

Fri Sep 18 10:40am ET
Contributing Writer

Ekeler could be busy this week

After a wild first week of the NFL season, we have another exciting slate of games for Week 2. Among the top matchups are the Texans hosting the Ravens and the Eagles taking on the Patriots. On the DFS front, we have plenty of options to wade through, so let’s get right to it and discuss some players to target at various price points, as well as a few to possibly avoid.


Josh Allen, BUF at MIA ($6,400): Allen averaged 28.8 pass attempts per game last season, so it was a surprise to see him attempt 46 passes in Week 1 against the Jets. He made the most of his added attempts, completing 33 of them for 312 yards and two touchdowns. The good news is that he remained busy on the ground, as well, rushing 14 times for 57 yards and another score. Look for him to take advantage of a bad Dolphins defense that allowed 75-rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to Cam Newton last week.

Tom Brady, TB vs. CAR ($6,000): Brady was faced with a tough matchup in his Buccaneers’ debut, playing the Saints in New Orleans. He wasn’t exactly great, but he wasn’t a total flop, either, with 239 passing yards, three total touchdowns and two interceptions. This is a much easier matchup for him at home against the Panthers, who allowed 34 points against a very average Raiders’ offense in Week 1.

Player to Avoid

Drew Lock, DEN at PIT ($5,900): This is a no-brainer considering Brady can be had for only $100 more. Lock has a much tougher matchup against the Steelers, who had one of the best defenses in the league last year and constantly put pressure on Daniel Jones and the Giants in Week 1. There might be weeks were Lock is a viable DFS target, but this isn’t one of them.

Running Backs

Austin Ekeler, LAC vs. KAN ($7,000): With new quarterback Tyrod Taylor under center, the Chargers offense didn’t look good against the Bengals. Surprisingly, Ekeler only received one target despite totaling 108 targets last season. On the plus side, he did receive 19 carries, which he turned into 84 yards. The Chargers are likely going to have to throw more to keep up with the Chiefs, so look for Ekeler to be much more involved in the passing game in this contest.

Zack Moss, BUF at MIA ($5,100): The Bills’ running back situation isn’t exactly appealing with Moss in a time share with Devin Singletary. They had a close to even split in Week 1 with Singletary on the field for 58.6 percent of the Bills’ offensive snaps and Moss on the field for 44.8 percent of them. However, at this cheap salary, Moss is worth considering in tournament play. The Dolphins were absolutely torched on the ground by the Patriots, who turned 42 carries into 217 yards and three touchdowns.

Player to Avoid

Christian McCaffrey, CAR at TB ($9,200): This might be one of the few weeks to avoid McCaffrey. The Bucs have a good run defense and held the Saints to 82 yards on 34 carries in Week 1. They were one of the few teams that McCaffrey struggled against last season. Across two meetings with them, he finished with only 110 total yards.

Wide Receivers

Davante Adams, GB vs. DET ($8,600): Adams couldn’t have looked any better Week 1. He received a whopping 17 targets, catching 14 of them for 156 yards and two touchdowns. With so little depth behind him at wide receiver, he should continue to be extremely busy moving forward. Don’t be surprised if he goes off again this week considering the Lions, a team that allowed Mitchell Trubisky to throw three touchdown passes against them last week.

Anthony Miller, CHI vs. NYG ($5,700): The Giants’ weakness on defense is their secondary. They did bring in James Bradberry during the offseason, but their overall depth at cornerback is extremely shallow. That could mean another productive performance is on the horizon for Trubisky, who led a shocking comeback against the Lions in Week 1. Miller was productive in that contest, catching four of six targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. He should continue to be one of their top pass-catching options moving forward.

Player to Avoid

Brandin Cooks, HOU vs. BAL ($6,000): The good news for Cooks is that he’s had some time off to rest his ailing quadriceps since the Texans played their first game of the season last Thursday night. The bad news is that he has to face the Ravens, who completely shut down the Browns in Week 1 and have one of the best defenses in the league. I’d much rather roll with Miller, especially since he comes at a cheaper salary.

Tight Ends

Mark Andrews, BAL at HOU ($6,000): With the ease at which the Ravens move the ball on offense, Andrews was able to cash in with 10 touchdown receptions last season. He started off this year with a strong performance in that department with two touchdowns against the Browns. Now he’ll face a Texans team that struggled against the pass last year and allowed a touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce in Week 1.

Jonnu Smith, TEN vs. JAC ($4,700): Smith was expected to take a leap forward in the Titans’ offense this season and he was busy with seven targets last week against the Broncos. He caught four of them, finishing with 36 yards and a touchdown. While the Titans should continue to be a run-heavy team, Smith should receive enough opportunities to provide value at this salary.

Player to Avoid

Mike Gesicki, MIA vs. BUF ($5,000): The Bills allowed the fourth-fewest passing yards per game last year (195.2) and started off well in that department this year by holding the Jets to 202-passing yards in Week 1. Gesicki had a quiet performance against the Patriots last week, catching three of five targets for 30 yards. Points will likely be difficult to come by for the Dolphins here, which should limit Gesicki’s upside.

Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.

Player Notes
Dallas Cowboys Oct 20 12:50am ET

The Dallas Cowboys Defense struggled once again in Week 6, allowing 38 points and recording just one sack with no turnovers. They ended up with -3.0 points in standard scoring formats, their third time in six games winding up with negative points. They've totaled seven fantasy points this season. Seven. Even with a seemingly good matchup next week against the struggling Washington Football Team's offense, the Cowboys will not be a recommended fantasy defense.

From RotoBaller

Dalton Schultz Oct 20 12:40am ET

Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz made four catches in a Week 6 loss, gaining 35 yards. He was targeted five times, mostly running short routes in a game where Andy Dalton threw the ball 54 times but struggled seemingly every time he threw. Schultz flashed in his first post-Blake Jarwin start, but he's settled into a decent floor but low-ceiling tight end option. He'll come down with a touchdown now and then, but is more of a high-end TE2 in most matchups.

From RotoBaller

Greg Zuerlein Oct 20 12:40am ET

Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein made one field goal and missed another in Week 6. He made his one extra point attempt. Zuerlein's made field goal came from 34 yards out and his miss came from 58 yards. With the huge downgrade in the Cowboys offense in going from Dak Prescott (ankle) to Andy Dalton, Zuerlein's time as a top-12 kicker this season may have come to an end.

From RotoBaller

Michael Gallup Oct 20 12:30am ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup caught only two passes in a Week 6 trouncing by the Arizona Cardinals. Gallup was targeted six times and dropped a potential first half touchdown, ending up with just 23 yards on the night. Gallup has become very much a boom-or-bust wide receiver, and with Andy Dalton under center in place of Dak Prescott (ankle), there are likely much more bust than boom weeks coming up.

From RotoBaller

Cedrick Wilson Oct 20 12:30am ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cedrick Wilson made just two catches in a Week 6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Wilson was targeted three times, gaining 10 yards on his two catches. Andy Dalton threw the ball 54 times and showed that even though the Dallas defense will make him keep throwing the ball plenty, he likely won't be able to push the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart into fantasy relevance. Wilson won't be a recommended starter in most formats as long as the rest of the Cowboys receivers remain healthy.

From RotoBaller

Tony Pollard Oct 20 12:20am ET

Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard ran the ball 10 times in a Week 6 loss, gaining 31 yards. He was targeted four times in the passing game, catching two passes for nine yards. Pollard came into this one with a total of 13 rush attempts, so his 10 runs were a bit of a surprise. Starter Ezekiel Elliott lost two fumbles and cost the Cowboys a competitive first half, likely leading to an increased role for Pollard. Still, Elliott is in no danger of losing his role on offense, leaving Pollard as a huge difference-maker only if Elliott misses time due to injury, illness, or suspension.

From RotoBaller

Amari Cooper Oct 20 12:20am ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper bounced back from his rough Week 5 performance. He was targeted 10 times in the passing game, catching seven passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. This was very much a garbage time performance, as Cooper wasn't even targeted until late in the first half. His touchdown came from one yard out and made it a 31-10 game with about six minutes left in the game. Cooper will take a hit with the loss of Dak Prescott (ankle) for the season, but based on his talent and the fact that the Cowboys Defense will make sure the offense has to throw the ball a lot, Cooper will remain a high-end WR2.

From RotoBaller

CeeDee Lamb Oct 20 12:20am ET

Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb made seven catches in Week 6, gaining 64 yards. He was targeted 10 times in the passing game, tying for second with Amari Cooper behind running back Ezekiel Elliott. Lamb will continue to see plenty of targets every week, but the drop off from Dak Prescott (ankle) to Andy Dalton is looking like a much bigger drop than originally expected. Lamb will retain WR3 value in standard leagues with a bonus in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Andy Dalton Oct 20 12:10am ET

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton did not play well in his first start. Dalton took over in Week 5 after Dak Prescott (ankle) was forced to leave the game and looked decent, but looked almost the complete opposite in his Week 6 start. Dalton completed 34 of his 54 pass attempts for 266 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He added four yards on two carries. Dalton missed some throws by high school margins and checked down to running backs 15 times despite having three elite wide receivers running on the field. Some of it was probably rust and Dalton should look better than this at most points this season, but he proved that the drop off from Prescott to Dalton for the rest of the season may be a lot more significant than originally expected. Dalton will be a QB2 for a matchup against the Washington Football Team in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Ezekiel Elliott Oct 20 12:10am ET

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott ran the ball 12 times in a Week 6 loss, gaining 49 yards. He saw a team-high 11 targets in the passing game, catching eight of them for 31 yards. It was a rough game for Elliott, who lost two fumbles in the first half and was one of the key reasons this was not even a competitive game. Elliott saw backup Tony Pollard carry the ball 10 times in this one as well. "Zeke" will have better games, but with Andy Dalton under center, opposing teams won't be as concerned with the passing game and will be able to focus on shutting down the running game. Based on volume alone, Elliott will remain a weekly RB1, but he won't be the top-tier option he was with Dak Prescott (ankle) calling the shots.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Oct 19 11:40pm ET

Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin (concussion) left the Monday night game against the Cardinals in the first quarter after suffering a concussion. Martin was ruled out to begin the second half with the team trailing 21-3. The Cowboys above-average offensive line has been decimated by injuries this year. Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick retired in the offseason. Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith had season-ending neck surgery last week, while right tackle La'el Collins is on Injured Reserve after having hip surgery. Joe Looney, who replaced Frederick at center, is on Injured Reserve as well. With quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) also out for the year, the offense struggled against Arizona. The injuries to the offensive line have been more bad news for the offense, especially for running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Andy Dalton.

From RotoBaller

John Brown Oct 19 9:40pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown returned after a one game absence, but it looks like he took this game off as well. Brown failed to haul in all of his four targets during the Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Quarterback Josh Allen had a tough time connecting with his receivers in this one. However, both Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley found the end zone. Brown should have WR4 upside against the New York Jets next week.

From RotoBaller

Gabriel Davis Oct 19 9:40pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis was not able to do much damage against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He finished with one reception on his lone target of the game for seven yards in the loss. Quarterback Josh Allen did not have a good game throwing the ball, so that was part of the problem as well. Davis is likely going to get lost in the shuffle with the Bills receivers healthy at the moment. He might have desperation deep league appeal against the awful New York Jets Defense in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Cole Beasley Oct 19 9:30pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has been reliable all season long and that continued against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He hauled in four of his seven targets for 45 yards and one touchdown. The Bills weren't able to get the air attack going well in this game. However, that should change next week against the horrendous New York Jets Defense. Beasley continues to be a reliable PPR option and that should be the case next week as well.

From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Oct 19 9:20pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs had a fairly quiet game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He hauled in six of his eight targets for 46 yards and one touchdown in the loss. He led the Bills in all receiving categories, but quarterback Josh Allen finished with a total of 122 passing yards in this game. Diggs salvaged his fantasy value with the touchdown, but he should rebound nicely next week. He'll get a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on him as a WR1 for that game.

From RotoBaller

Mecole Hardman Oct 19 9:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman only received one target on Monday and recorded zero yards against the Buffalo Bills. Hardman is a weekly boom or bust candidate and he had some potential in Week 6 with Sammy Watkins (hamstring) sidelined, but it was Demarcus Robinson who took advantage on Monday. Due to inconsistent performances, Hardman is only WR4/WR5 with upside most weeks. Hardman will look to pick up some stats against the Denver Broncos in a Week 7 matchup.

From RotoBaller

Devin Singletary Oct 19 9:10pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary was the lead back once again, but failed to do much damage on the ground. He rushed 10 times for 32 yards on the ground in the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Singletary also hauled in one of two targets for 13 yards through the air. Rookie Zack Moss did return in this game, but Singletary still managed to get double digit carries. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on Singletary as a low-end RB2 against the New York Jets next week.

From RotoBaller

Zack Moss Oct 19 9:10pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss (toe) was able to suit up for the Week 6 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. He missed each of the last three games due to a toe issue, but honestly he could've missed this one too and it wouldn't have changed anything. Moss finished with 10 yards on five carries in the loss to the Chiefs. Devin Singletary remained the lead back and that will probably be the case going forward. Moss should have increased value against the New York Jets next week. He could be worth a stash for that matchup.

From RotoBaller

Josh Allen Oct 19 9:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had arguably his worst game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He completed 14 of 27 passing attempts for 122 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the loss. He also added 42 yards on the ground with eight rushing attempts. Allen started off red-hot to begin the season, but hasn't looked the same over the last two weeks. He should be a top tier QB1 for the Week 7 matchup against the New York Jets.

From RotoBaller

Darrel Williams Oct 19 9:00pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams rushed six times for 26 yards and a touchdown on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Williams also snagged one reception for 15 yards. The Chiefs ran the ball 46 times and part of that could be because of the bad forecast throughout the game. Despite the nice night, Williams is likely to be demoted to the third running back on the roster with the recent addition of LeVeon Bell. Williams should be avoided in all formats and should only have value if Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Bell were to get hurt.

From RotoBaller