September 15, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football: Week 3 Waiver Wire Pickups

Unlike many weeks we have ever seen, Week 2 was a bloodbath as high-profile fantasy stars left games with serious and minor injuries left and right.

In many cases, owners will need to find Week 3 (or longer) injury replacements.

If you have a glass-half-full outlook, the good news, I suppose, is that there are more players available on the waiver wire with increased and improved outlooks.

With the goal of providing you with options that are available in your fantasy league(s), players that appear on this list are all available in a minimum of 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Without further ado, here are some players to consider adding to your fantasy roster(s) (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

QB - Geno Smith, New York Jets (nine percent)

Well, Geno finished yesterday's game with a 50-percent completion rate, 176 yards and one touchdown, but a called timeout negated a fourth-down 36-yard touchdown throw in the fourth quarter. Even so, Smith finished with 17.64 fantasy points (QB9 with the Monday Night matchup still to go).

In his most-recent six-game span going back to last season, Smith has a total of 48 rush attempts for 250 yards and four rushing scores. That production is equivalent to 49 fantasy points (or 8.17 fantasy points per game) from his rushing stats alone.

QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (41 percent)

Through two games, Tannehill has finished as the QB23 and QB18 with modest production: total of 419 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. I do think better days/production are ahead for Tannehill and that could start in Week 3 when the Dolphins face the Chiefs, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game (20.81) to opposing quarterbacks through Sunday's games. While one of those games was against Peyton Manning, the other was against Jake Locker and both of those QBs finished as top-six weekly performers.

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (nine percent)

While Griffin III may not need surgery and may be able to return later in the season, Cousins played well in relief yesterday by completing two thirds of his pass attempts for 250 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. In addition, it wouldn't necessarily be a complete shock if he retains the job once/when RG3 is healthy assuming Cousins plays well in his place. That said, Cousins is going to be a QB2 in the majority of weeks.

QB - E.J. Manuel, Buffalo Bills (eight percent)

Manuel has led the Bills to a surprise 2-0 start and has played reasonably well although he has finished outside the top 12 in quarterback fantasy points both weeks. That said, Manuel finds himself with a favorable matchup this week (like Tannehill).

Along with Tannehill's matchup (Chiefs), the Chargers are one of four teams that have allowed both opposing quarterbacks to finish as a QB1 for the week. (The Colts could be a fifth if they allow Nick Foles to finish as a QB1 tonight.) San Diego has allowed 19.47 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and Manuel could be a better option than usual for someone looking to fill the void of an injured RG3 (or Carson Palmer).

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RB - Knile Davis, Kansas City Chiefs (19 percent)

With Jamaal Charles suffering a high-ankle sprain early in yesterday's loss to the Broncos, the Chiefs gave Davis 28 touches as he racked up 105 scrimmage yards and two scores. Over the team's last four games counting the playoffs, Davis has 29, 25, two and 28 touches. Despite an average of only 3.38 yards per carry on this 68 rush attempts, Davis has 16 receptions over that span and should be in store for another heavy workload with Charles expected to miss this week's game.

RB - Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (49 percent)

It's unclear whether A.J. Green will play in Week 3 with his turf toe injury, but it appears more likely that he sits out considering the Bengals have a Week 4 bye (2014 NFL bye weeks grid). With numerous injuries to their group of pass catchers, the Bengals will likely lean heavily on their ground game this week as they did yesterday. With Green out for the majority of the game, the 1-2 punch of Giovani Bernard (27 carries) and Hill (15) ran the ball a combined 42 times and added seven receptions. The second running back selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, Hill is a powerful downhill runner that I liked a lot in the preseason and his role will only continue to expand in Cincinnati's run-heavy attack.

RB - Khiry Robinson, New Orleans Saints (18 percent)

With an average of 5.96 YPC, fifth-best in the NFL, and a league-high three rushing touchdowns, Mark Ingram had become the fantasy running back that many had expected when the Saints used a first-round pick on him four years ago. Unfortunately, Ingram will miss the next month with a broken hand, which opens up an expanded opportunity for Robinson. Once (famously) compared to Curtis Martin by Bill Parcells, Robinson has 14 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown through two weeks.

RB - Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers (nine percent)

With Ryan Mathews sidelined for a month or so with an MCL sprain, Brown will see his role expand significantly over the next month. The Chargers have had difficult matchups in back-to-back weeks with the Cardinals and Chargers and this week's matchup against the Bills isn't great. That said, Brown will then get a great matchup (Jaguars) followed by horrible matchup (Jets) and another great matchup (Raiders). In other words, Brown could be a viable RB2 in at least two of the next four weeks.

RB - Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts (40 percent)

Rightfully so, few have faith in Trent Richardson. Similar to the Mendoza Line in baseball (.200 batting average), there could be a T-Rich Line in football (3.0 YPC). His preseason struggles have carried over to the regular season even though he's above, albeit barely, the T-Rich Line through Week 1 (3.33 YPC). That said, it was Bradshaw that was much more productive in Week 1 (85 YFS to T-Rich's 51) and I expect Bradshaw to be more effective for as long as he's healthy.

RB - Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (49 percent)

While Brown benefits the most from Mathews' absence, Woodhead had five more touches in Week 2 (12) than he had in Week 1 (seven). While Mathews is out, I think 12 touches or so will be his floor and he is a solid flex option in PPR formats. With 12 touches this week, Woodhead is currently the RB29 in PPR formats for the week.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (21 percent)

While he didn't find the end zone this week after two scores in Week 1, Crowell had another productive outing with 54 yards on 11 carries and a reception for three yards. Through two games, Crowell is averaging 5.38 YPC and Ben Tate (knee) should miss another week as well. Perhaps Tate returns after Cleveland's Week 4 bye, as is expected, but Tate has always struggled with durability. Although he went undrafted in May due to character concerns, Crowell is a former five-star recruit with tons of talent that will be worth stashing even when Tate and Terrance West are both healthy.

RB - Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22 percent)

With Doug Martin out on Sunday, Rainey (144) finished second to only DeMarco Murray (167) for most rushing yards this week. Rainey won't have those type of games when The Muscle Hamster returns (or when he's out for that matter as well). But he could have some productive outings in games with Martin sidelined.

The Bucs play on Thursday Night Football, which means that Martin may not be ready although it appears he will return. If Martin does not play this week, however, Rainey will at least be a viable RB2 option as the Bucs face a Falcons defense that has allowed 154.5 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns through two weeks.

WR - Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams (16 percent)

A former 33rd overall pick out of Appalachian State, Quick has taken a huge step (or multiple steps) forward in his third season. Quick has seven receptions for 74-plus yards in each of the team's first two games and actually has four more receptions than the rest of the team's wide receivers combined (10). Excluding Monday's game, Quick has been a WR2 in both standard and PPR formats in both Weeks 1 and 2.

WR - Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals (nine percent)

Assuming Green doesn't play in Week 3, which seems to be a real possibility, Sanu will be the team's top option aside from their running backs. While Sanu has been generating positive reviews since the offseason, he entered the offseason as the fourth-best option (outside of their running backs). With Green out for most of yesterday's game, Sanu is currently Week 2's WR5 (16.4 fantasy points).

That said, the Bengals don't have a great matchup next week against the Titans, who have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season through yesterday's games. And then they have their bye in Week 4.

WR - Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland Browns (32 percent)

Better in PPR formats, Hawkins has a total of 14 receptions for 157 yards on 22 targets through two weeks. Coincidentally, he has finished as the WR24 in PPR leagues for both Week 1 and Week 2 (although some Colts and Eagles receivers will likely bump him down this week). Part of those targets are due to Jordan Cameron leaving Week 1 early and missing Week 2's game, but no other Browns wide receiver has more than 13 targets this season.

WR - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (zero percent)

Injuries and deficits could mean big things for Robinson. Or at least more weeks like Week 2 where ARob had four receptions for a team-high 75 yards. A talented receiver out of Penn State, Robinson was one of two receivers selected in the second round by the Jags along with Marqise Lee.

While Cecil Shorts has missed the team's first two games with a hamstring injury and is expected to return this week, he has struggled with durability and UDFA Allen Hurns left yesterday's game on crutches. In addition, Marcedes Lewis will miss the next 6-8 weeks with a high-ankle sprain. The team's top pass catchers have struggled with health and the Jags have been outscored 75-10 in the final six quarters.

WR - Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (one percent)

At some point this season, it's possible that Adams moves ahead of Jarrett Boykin in the wide receiver pecking order and he did so for at least part of Sunday's game. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote that "Adams started to take off in the final weeks" of training camp. On Sunday, Adams saw more looks than Boykin as he finished with a 5/50 line on seven targets.

TE - Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (37 percent)

One week after his solid (yet underutilized) regular-season debut with a 3/49 line on five targets, Kelce had four catches for 81 yards on six targets against the Broncos yesterday. Although he only played on 37.2 percent of the snaps (compared to 32.8 percent in Week 1), his snap totals increased from 19 to 32. As the season progresses, his usage should continue to increase as the Chiefs lack play makers outside of their backfield (and Kelce).

TE - Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts (38 percent)

Allen had a productive Week 1 (4/64/1) and the Colts offense will look to feature both of their tight ends in Pep Hamilton's offense. Although the Colts play later tonight, Allen has a great matchup for those looking ahead to Week 3 against the Jags, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends so far this season.

TE - Larry Donnell, New York Giants (21 percent)

Although he was listed as NYG's first-team tight end since they first had to create a depth chart, Donnell has been a pleasant surprise in an otherwise ineffective and lackluster offense. Donnell has finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end in back-to-back weeks and ranks seventh among tight ends in both receptions (17) and yards (137) with a touchdown.

TE - Niles Paul, Washington Redskins (five percent)

The Jordan Reed injury has allowed Paul to flourish as only Jimmy Graham (200 yards) has more yards than Paul (185) among tight ends so far this season. Paul's role will likely diminish, at least some, when Reed returns, but it's unclear if he'll return this week and Reed's durability is by far his biggest knock.

Later tonight, I will update my Rest-of-Season (ROS) fantasy football rankings. Additionally, I will post my Week 3 fantasy football rankings at some point on Tuesday.

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DeSean Jackson "day to day" with shoulder sprain

Sunday was an unfortunate day on the injury front across the NFL with numerous high-profile players exiting games early and Washington lost a couple of offensive starters in yesterday's game.

While RG3 will miss a significant amount of time with his ankle dislocation, things are looking positive for wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who sustained a sprained AC joint (shoulder).

Coach Jay Gruden said in today's press conference that Jackson is "day to day" and it's a Grade 1 sprain.

Through a little more than one game, Jackson has nine receptions for 81 yards and one rush for minus nine yards.

Assuming that he can play, D-Jax will be highly motivated to face his former team at Lincoln Field in Philadelphia.

MRI shows no fracture in RG3's dislocated ankle

Leaving yesterday's game with a dislocated ankle, it's still unclear how much time Washington's Robert Griffin III will miss, but it's clear he will miss a huge portion of the season.

Bleacher Report's Jason Cole tweeted that it could be 4-5 weeks while NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted that it could be 6-8 weeks.

One positive is that his MRI has shown there is no fracture in his ankle and it appears he won't need surgery.

In RG3's absence, Kirk Cousins played well as he completed 22 of 33 pass attempts for 250 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Assuming that Griffin will miss at least eight weeks (and perhaps more) and he has not played great in Jay Gruden's offense before that, I'd be comfortable dropping him.

Available in 92 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Cousins is worth adding by RG3 owners, but he will be a QB2 in most weeks.

Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles has a high-ankle sprain

Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in his press conference today that running back Jamaal Charles' injury is a high-ankle sprain.

In the press conference, Reid later said of the injury in response to a question that it "doesn't appear to be a real severe one."

With Charles leaving yesterday's game in the first quarter, Knile Davis ended up with 28 touches (22 carries and six receptions) for 105 total yards and two touchdowns.

Owned in only 18 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Davis becomes a must-add this week as I'd expect Charles to at least miss Week 3 and possibly/probably more.

If Charles misses Week 3 (at Miami) and Week 4 (vs. New England), I wouldn't be surprised if the Chiefs kept him out in Week 5 (at San Francisco) considering their bye is Week 6 (bye week grid).

Saints RB Mark Ingram (hand) to miss a month

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram broke his hand in Sunday's game and he is expected to miss a month, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Missing five games last season, Ingram had his best season on a per-carry basis with a 4.9 yards-per-carry average after two seasons of 3.9 YPC.

Aside from this injury, he was building upon last year's success and was off to the best start of his career. Through two games this season, Ingram has 24 carries for 143 yards and a league-high three rushing scores as well as four receptions for 22 yards.

Only four running backs have averaged more YPC so far this season than Ingram (5.96): Justin Forsett (6.63), Darren Sproles (6.45), Chris Ivory (6.30) and Bobby Rainey (6.00).

With Ingram to miss multiple games (for the third time in his four seasons), Khiry Robinson will get the biggest boost among the team's running backs and Pierre Thomas should also see more work.

Robinson, who has 14 carries for 59 yards (4.21 YPC) and a score, is owned in only 17 percent of Yahoo! leagues and should be added, where possible.

Ryan Mathews expected to miss 4-5 weeks with MCL sprain

San Diego Chargers Ryan Mathews left yesterday's game early with a knee injury and he had an MRI today.

Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Mathews is expected to miss 4-5 weeks with his MCL sprain, but the team hopes that he can return sooner.

With Mathews out for the next several games, Donald Brown should see a huge spike in work on early downs and Danny Woodhead should also be more involved overall.

Over the next four weeks, the Chargers face the Bills, Jaguars, Jets and Raiders.

Through Week 2 (excluding tonight's MNF matchup), two of those four matchups — Jaguars (second-most fantasy points to RBs) and Raiders (third-most) — are extremely favorable. The other two matchups — Bills (10th-fewest) and Jets (fewest) — are not.

Vikings reinstate Adrian Peterson

Shortly after news broke of Adrian Peterson's indictment, the Minnesota Vikings deactivated him for their Week 2 matchup against the Patriots.

With Peterson out, Matt Asiata (47 snaps) had slightly more than double the snaps of Jerick McKinnon (23) and paid off for fantasy owners that added (and started) him this week.

Although he averaged just 2.8 yards per carry with a long of seven yards, Asiata had 84 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on 18 touches. Through the first 15 games this week, Asiata is the RB11 and RB7 in standard-scoring and PPR formats, respectively.

That said, the team announced today that they have reinstated Peterson and he's expected to play on Sunday against the Saints as the Wilfs write "this is a matter of due process."

With one matchup still to go this week, the Saints have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs through the first 31 games of the NFL season.

September 14, 2014

Week 2 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Hanson

Here are my Week 2 picks against the spread:

Cincinnati Bengals -5.5 over Atlanta Falcons (2 units)

With a franchise-record 448 passing yards from Matt Ryan, the Falcons went toe to toe with the Saints' high-powered offense and escaped with an overtime win. Perhaps I'm a glass-half-empty guy, but some times those type of wins can be emotionally draining and lead to a flat performance in their next outing.

Ryan has historically been much better in the Georgia Dome than he has on the road. Here are his 2013 road splits: 62.4 completion percentage (72.6% at home), 6.59 yards per attempt (7.29 Y/A) and 13:14 TD-to-INT ratio (13:3). Not only has Ryan struggled on the road, but Jake Matthews is out on Sunday and it will be up to Gabe Carimi to protect Ryan's blind side. In addition, the Bengals have one of the NFL's best all-around defenses as they were the only team in the league to rank in the top five against both the run and pass in 2013.

In their past nine home games, the Bengals are 8-1 against the spread. Expect the Bengals to hit Ryan early and often as his road struggles continue and lay the points.

Miami Dolphins pick'em over Buffalo Bills (2 units)

An unplanned theme this week (apparently) is going against overtime-winning teams as the Bills pulled off a surprising upset on the road in Soldier Field. E.J. Manuel played well in that game — 16/22 passing for 173 yards and two scores including a rushing touchdown. While he threw an interception, he played efficiently and I'm not sure that I trust his ability to do that consistently.

Last year, the Bills led the NFL in rush attempts by a large margin (546 to 509) over the Seahawks, but the Dolphins have a new-found ground attack as they ran the ball a league-high 38 times in Week 1 and no running back had more yards than Knowshon Moreno. But Lamar Miller also ran the ball well (5.4 yards per carry).

Both teams should be able to run the ball well this week and this game could come down to a costly turnover; my money is on Manuel making it.

Jacksonville Jaguars +5.5 over Washington Redskins (3 units)

If you watched only one half of the Jaguars-Eagles game, your opinion would vary greatly depending on which half it was. The Jags jumped out to a 17-0 lead on two Chad Henne-to-Allen Hurns scores and they forced Nick Foles to turn the ball over three times in the first half. Then, Chip Kelly must have given the world's greatest half-time speech as the Eagles rattled off 34 unanswered points to win by 17.

While they may not jump out to a large early lead, this game should be closer throughout the contest. The Jags will want to run the ball with Toby Gerhart, who had 20 touches (18 carries and two receptions) last week but was relatively ineffective in part to an ankle injury. I think we see a better week from Gerhart against a Washington defense that allowed 103 rushing yards to Arian Foster last week.

I'm not sure that the Jags will pull off the "upset," but I expect this game to be close and the Jags to cover.

Note: NFL lines are from

-> All of our 2014 NFL Weekly Picks Against the Spread will be tracked here.

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September 13, 2014

Week 2 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Beazley

Here are my Week 2 picks against the spread:

Indianapolis Colts -3 over Philadelphia Eagles (4 units)
Colts vs. Eagles — Over 54.5 (2 units)

I love the Colts at home this week. I think the momentum they had in the 2nd half of last week's game at Denver carries over this Monday night. These teams only play once every four years now, but in the past five meetings, it's been the Colts and the over. I like the trend to continue.

Load up your DFS leagues with players from both teams as I think this game has the potential to be a shootout. I think Andrew Luck and Nick Foles combine for 600 yards and six TDs this week. Indy 38, Philly 28.

Dallas Cowboys +3.5 over Tennessee Titans (2 units)

I'd love to be wrong on this one, but I really think the Titans will have their hands full with Tony Romo and the Dallas offense. Their defense looked pretty good last week shutting down Alex Smith, and a no-name bunch of WRs with Dwayne Bowe suspended, but Romo has one of the best wideouts in the game. I think Dez Bryant is the difference in this one.

The Cowboys defense is pretty bad on paper, but Jake Locker is still learning a new system and I think he makes a few costly mistakes. Dallas wins in a small upset, 24-20.

San Diego Chargers +6 over Seattle Seahawks (2 units)

The Super Bowl champs looked unbeatable in their opener, but I do think they will struggle at times. I think this game will be a big test for them on the road. I think San Diego blows another fourth quarter lead in this one. Russell Wilson with some fourth-quarter magic as the Seahawks win 23-20.

Note: NFL lines are from

-> All of our 2014 NFL Weekly Picks Against the Spread will be tracked here.

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Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Week 2 FanDuel Fantasy Football Values

Yesterday I posted some players that I think are Week 2 fantasy football values for DraftKings contests.

If you're like me, then you play in both DraftKings and FanDuel contests. In some cases, players that are values on one site are also values on the other, but that is not necessarily the case as both sites independently set the player salaries for their games.

So, in other words, you will find some common names from the other post here as well as some new names that are values in Week 2 FanDuel fantasy football leagues.

Here are some value plays for Week 2:

QB - Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $7,400

You probably don't need me (or any fantasy football analyst) to tell you to start offensive players facing the Cowboys defense, but Locker is one of those guys that appears on both lists of DFS value guys. As I noted earlier, Locker finished as Week 1's QB6 and is my eighth-ranked fantasy QB this week. That said, he is even cheaper on relative terms in FanDuel as he's priced as QB17 this week (vs. QB15 in DraftKings).

One other difference that makes Locker a better play in FanDuel formats is DraftKings awards three bonus points for 300 passing yards; FanDuel does not. In my fantasy quarterback projections, which will be updated later today, I have Locker projected for 283 passing yards.

QB - Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN), $6,700

Last week, the Chiefs inexplicably abandoned the run as Jamaal Charles had only seven carries, but there is certainly the possibility the Chiefs will find themselves in catch-up mode as they are nearly two-TD underdogs to the Broncos in Week 2. Twenty quarterbacks have a higher salary than Smith, but Smith is currently the QB11 in my rankings. While I don't expect Smith to throw 53 times and for 370 yards like Andrew Luck did against the Broncos last week, he figures to rank near the leaders in pass attempts this week if the game plays out as Vegas expects.

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RB - Shane Vereen, New England Patriots (at MIN), $6,800

With 19 running backs more expensive, Vereen is a nice value within that middle tier of running back salaries. A talented receiver out of the backfield, which helps in half-PPR contests like those on FanDuel, Vereen got nearly three times as many snaps as Stevan Ridley in the opener. ESPN's Mike Reiss wrote yesterday, "Players were impressed with how Vereen performed in early-down and short-yardage situations in the opener. Look for him to get more opportunities in those situations this week ..." With the potential for increased opportunities near the goal line, Vereen has a lot of upside this week and going forward.

RB - Terrance West, Cleveland Browns (vs. NO), $5,300

The salary gap between West and Isaiah Crowell is $1,500 at DraftKings, but the gap is much narrower ($200) at FanDuel. With Ben Tate (knee) sidelined for a few weeks, I expect West to get the larger portion of the workload on Sunday against the Saints. Like Tate and Crowell, West averaged more than six yards per carry last week as he rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries against the Steelers. West has the 45th-highest running back salary on FanDuel this week. It's unlikely that 44 running backs outpace him this week.

RB - Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars (at WAS), $5,000

Gerhart struggled in Week 1 with a 2.3 YPC average, but at least part of that can be attributed to the ankle injury that forced him out of the game early. That said, he returned within the game and is listed as probable on the injury report so it shouldn't slow him down this week. Even though the Jags eventually blew a 17-point lead and Gerhart missed a portion of the game, he still finished with 20 touches — 18 carries and two receptions. I like this week's matchup and expect it to be a closer game from start to finish, which should lead to another heavy workload for Gerhart, who is priced lower than 35 running backs this week.

RB - Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NE), $4,500

Rookie Jerick McKinnon is a far superior athlete (obviously) and I would prefer him over Asiata for the rest of the season, but I would expect Asiata to get a far larger share of the touches on Sunday with Adrian Peterson deactivated. And Asiata should be first in line for goal-line carries. Remember Week 15 last year? 30-51-3? While I don't expect 30 carries or three touchdowns, the Dolphins ran at will against the Patriots last week and 50 yards and a few shots at a TD is not out of the question for the minimum-salary running back.

WR - Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $5,700

Not only do I like Hunter a lot this week, but I like Kendall Wright ($6,100) and Nate Washington ($5,100) as well. A physically-gifted deep threat (6-foot-4, 4.4 forty, 40-inch (plus) vertical), Hunter led the team in receiving yards (63) and targets (eight) in Week 1. With such a favorable matchup, few receivers have as much upside as the big-play Hunter this week.

WR - Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NE), $5,700

What's not to like about Cordarrelle Patterson, who's still undervalued at $7,100? For obvious reasons, I have Patterson ranked much higher than Jennings, but there's a lot to like about Jennings at $5,700 as well. The Patriots defensive game plan will certainly center around keeping the versatile and dynamic Patterson from going off. With AP out, the Vikings immediately became bigger underdogs and Matt Cassel could be forced to throw more often than he did in last week's blowout win over the Rams. The Cassel-Jennings duo has demonstrated solid chemistry both last year and so far this season. Jennings, who had a 6/58/1 line on seven targets in Week 1, is only the 42nd-costliest receiver this week.

WR - Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (at CLE), $5,600

Perhaps he draws Joe Haden and the Saints offense has historically been less impressive on the road, but there are 44 wide receivers with a higher cost than Colston this week. Colston was much better in the second half of last season and despite a lost fumble, he picked up where he left off statistically in Week 1 (five catches for 110 yards).

WR - Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (at CAR), $5,000

While he does not have a particularly good matchup, Tate is a modestly-priced option that should exceed his Week 2 salary — 57 wideouts have a higher salary. There is no reason for Tate to be priced as the WR58 in any week. In Week 1 against the Giants, Tate caught all six of his targets for 93 yards and added a four-yard run and a 5/65 or so week should be in the cards for Tate this week.

* Interested in giving FanDuel a try? Join my free 20-team FanDuel league for Week 2 and try it out for free.

TE - Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN), $4,600

While it's disappointing that he played only 19 snaps in Week 1, Kelce still had three catches for 49 yards — just 12 tight ends had more last week — on five targets. Considering the Chiefs are nearly two-TD underdogs this week and Andy Reid has indicated that Kelce's playing time could increase, he's worth a shot as a flier.

TE - Larry Donnell, New York Giants (vs. ARI), $4,500

Playing 54 of the team's 67 snaps in Week 1, Donnell finished with a 5/56/1 line on eight targets, all of which were team highs. At the position-minimum salary, Donnell has one of the most fantasy-friendly matchups for a tight end this week. The Cardinals allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends last year including a position-high 17 touchdowns. Although they did not allow a tight end to score last week, they were one of three teams to allow 100-plus receiving yards to the position in Week 1.

In addition, check out our site's sortable grid of all players ranked in relation to their FanDuel salary.

Also, check out my weekly fantasy football rankings:

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Week 2 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Yanotchko

Here are my Week 2 picks against the spread:

Atlanta Falcons +5.5 over Cincinnati Bengals (3 units)

Okay, so maybe the Falcons were a lot better than we thought they would be, and the Bengals certainly put on an impressive performance against Baltimore last week. I love this matchup for one simple reason, and that is Matt Ryan going against a Bengals defense that doesn't have Mike Zimmer anymore. Last week, Ryan was able to torch the Rob Ryan, 2.0 Saints defense for 448 yards, and an amazing 72-percent completion rate.

The Bengals were tremendous slouches themselves, allowing 329 yards through the air, and an 80-yard TD bomb to Steve Smith, Sr. The Falcons can certainly hit the homerun ball with Julio Jones looking like his old self and Roddy White and Harry Douglas only complicate matters.

I am making this one a three-unit play, as the Bengals are certainly a great team, but there is no way they should be giving 5.5 points to Atlanta.

Green Bay Packers -8 over New York Jets (3 units)

These two teams, certainly played much different caliber opponents last week, as Green Bay got beat up by the defending champs on the road, and the Jets opened up with a college-style cupcake in the Raiders at home. The Packers had trouble with Seattle's offense and they were also just bludgeoned into submission by Marshawn Lynch.

While the Jets have a great defense, they still have a weak link in their secondary, as they will get Dee Milliner back, but if Kyle Wilson is your number one corner, then it will be a huge day for Aaron Rodgers stat wise. Although the Jets only allowed 175 yards through the air last week, they still let a rookie QB finish with a 94.7 passer rating in his NFL debut and he was throwing to Raider receivers.

I love the Packers needing a win already in Week 2, opening at home in Lambeau, so much so that I will make it another three-unit play.

Indianapolis Colts -3 over Philadelphia Eagles (2 units)
Colts vs. Eagles — Over 54.5 (2 units)

While this game has the potential to be the highest-scoring game of the week, and I can't wait for Monday night to get here already. The Colts had a rough time in Denver, and sadly have lost Robert Mathis for the year, but Andrew Luck just always brings the Colts back to having a shot at victory.

The Eagles started poorly against the Jags, but finally found their stride in the second half as they hit some explosive plays. The Eagles defense, which is still suspect gave up 242 yards in the air, and also Luck was able to compete 66 percenet of his passes for 354 yards against a defense that featured Demarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, and Von Miller.

I love the Colts at home in the dome in this game, as they have the firepower to outduel Chip Kelley, and I am going with a bonus play here. I will take the Colts at two units and also the over for two units.

Note: NFL lines are from

-> All of our 2014 NFL Weekly Picks Against the Spread will be tracked here.

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Fantasy Football Weekly Podcast: Week 2 DFS Values

Tonight, or I guess it's last night, Dan Yanotchko and I recorded another episode of our Fantasy Football Weekly podcast.

Like last week and in future weeks throughout the season, we discuss players that we believe are undervalued this week in daily fantasy sports contests.

Some of the players we discussed were Jake Locker, Terrance West, Giovani Bernard, Demaryius Thomas, Justin Hunter, Zach Ertz, Larry Donnell, among others.

You can listen to our latest podcast below:

Check Out Football Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with EDSFootball on BlogTalkRadio

Good luck in Week 2!

September 12, 2014

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Week 2 DraftKings Fantasy Football Values

Considering the salary-cap structure of daily fantasy sports (DFS) leagues, identifying underpriced values in DFS contests is the key to success.

With this post, I attempt to identify players that offer more value than their salaries in Week 2 DraftKings fantasy football leagues.

Here are some value plays for Week 2:

QB - Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. NYJ), $7,900

Typically, the guys listed in these posts will be cheap in absolute — and relative — terms. That said, it doesn't mean that higher-priced options can't be undervalued as is the case with Rodgers this week. While his Week 1 performance against the league's best secondary left quite a bit to be desired, Rodgers is a prime bounce-back candidate in Week 2.

The Seahawks have allowed just team to throw for 200-plus yards (and it was just 207) against them in their past 10 regular-season games, but the Jets secondary is far from the Legion of Boom. Considering how difficult it is to run against the Jets, the game plan will likely look to exploit their inferior secondary even if they get back Dee Milliner, as expected. Rodgers is my second-ranked fantasy quarterback for the week, but he's tied with Colin Kaepernick for the seventh-highest salary at the position.

QB - Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $7,100

At this point, I have Rodgers locked in as my every-lineup starter, but there are other values this week as well including Locker. Finishing as the QB6 in Week 1, Locker is my eighth-ranked fantasy quarterback and priced as the QB15 in DraftKings contests this week.

With Locker's durability concerns minimized in one-week leagues, Locker has posted a 10:4 TD-to-INT ratio in the eight games he has played over the past two seasons. One of the most athletic quarterbacks in the league, Locker only rushed for 14 yards on six carries in Week 1, but he has averaged 6.53 yards per carry over his career. Considering this week's matchup is against the league's worst defense, it's certainly possible he has another top-six performance (or better) at a fraction of the cost.

QB - Geno Smith, New York Jets (at GB), $6,200

More than a touchdown underdog (Week 2 NFL lines), the Jets may find themselves in position to throw more often than is typical for them. Inconsistent as a passer in his first 12 games (eight TDs, 19 INTs) as a rookie, Smith has been more consistent in his past five games (five TDs, three INTs). Over that most-recent five-game span, however, he has also run 41 times for 224 yards and three scores. That accounts to 8.08 fantasy points per game from his rushing numbers alone during that span. Smith is tied for the 23rd-highest salary among quarterbacks this week.

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RB - Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (vs. CHI), $4,900

While Carlos Hyde looked much better as a runner against the Cowboys on Sunday, another plus matchup and a cheaper salary ($300 less than last week) makes Gore an interesting play this week. Gore gained 66 yards on 16 carries, but last week's game was out of hand early due to Cowboys turnovers. The Bears allowed 193 rushing yards, third-most in league, and 5.8 YPC in the opener.

[One area where Gore won't help, however, is as a receiver and DraftKings uses full PPR scoring.]

RB - Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (vs. MIA), $4,000

Jackson (28) and C.J. Spiller (29) split snaps on Sunday. While Spiller got more touches (18) than Jackson (10) and scored the only touchdown out of the duo, Jackson is more likely to lead the tandem in touchdowns this season. In addition, Jackson (73) had more yards from scrimmage than Spiller (64) in Week 1.

Not only is F-Jax $2,000 cheaper than Spiller, but there are 39 running backs with a higher salary than Jackson this week. It's unlikely that 39 running backs score more fantasy points than Jackson this week.

RB - Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $3,300

Only $300 more than the position-minimum salary, Greene offers plenty of upside as the lead back and goal-line back in such a generous fantasy matchup. Like noted with Gore, Greene won't catch many passes, but the matchup and price is so favorable, it's hard to resist the $3,300 price tag.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (vs. NO), $3,300

With Ben Tate (knee) sidelined for a few weeks, it's going to be Terrance West and Crowell leading the team's ground attack and I actually like both backs this week. More expensive than Crowell, West ($4,800) will likely lead the tandem in touches, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's Crowell, who scored two TDs last week, gets the goal-line carries while also being mixed in on early downs.

WR - Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (vs. KC), $7,000

Like Rodgers, Thomas is a higher-priced bargain after last week's modest performance as six wide receivers carry a higher salary in DraftKings games this week. Like with Rodgers, I've pounced on the opportunity and Thomas is in all of my Week 2 lineups.

DT has been extremely consistent in both of his seasons with Peyton Manning throwing him the ball: 94-1,434-10 (2012) and 92-1,430-14 (2013). It's unlikely that Thomas is ever this cheap again this season and the Chiefs corners can certainly be exploited in what should be a bounce-back game for Thomas, my top-ranked fantasy wide receiver this week.

WR - Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $4,300

Along with teammate Nate Washington (only $3,400), Hunter is an excellent bargain at wideout this week. Essentially, it is never a bad thing starting offensive players against the Cowboys. An athletic freak (6-foot-4, 4.4 forty, 40+ vertical), Hunter is overflowing with big-play potential. Playing 52 snaps on Sunday, Hunter finished with three catches for 63 yards (21.0 Y/R) on a team-high eight targets.

If there is any reason to dislike Hunter, it's that everyone else will like him, too, which means the opportunity to gain an advantage over your fellow contestants won't be as large as you'd like. While I have Hunter in the majority of my leagues, that's one of the reasons I have gone with Washington in a few instead.

WR - Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers (vs. NYJ), $3,000

Boykin found himself in CenturyLink Field's version of Siberia — Richard Sherman's side — and had no catches, no targets, nada. As noted earlier, the Jets secondary is their defensive weak link and Rodgers certainly won't avoid any particular side (and as a result Boykin) this week. At the contest-minimum salary, Boykin carries plenty of value. In many of my contests, I'm loading up with a Rodgers, Jordy Nelson ($6,600) and Boykin stack.

WR - John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (at NYG), $3,000

Described as "uncoverable" in the offseason by the team's general manager, among others, Brown is an ultra-quick and dynamic playmaker in the open field. In Week 1, he had just two receptions for 29 yards but he did score a touchdown. That said, he was tied with Andre Ellington for the second-most targets behind Michael Floyd last week. I don't think he'll finish second in targets most weeks, but I think five targets or so per game seems reasonable. At the contest minimum, I'm willing to take a flier on him in some leagues.

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TE - Larry Donnell, New York Giants (vs. ARI), $3,000

Playing 54 of the team's 67 snaps in Week 1, Donnell finished with a 5/56/1 line on eight targets, all of which were team highs. Along with running back Rashad Jennings (50 yards), Donnell was one of only two Giants to finish with more than 25 receiving yards.

At the position-minimum salary, Donnell has one of the most fantasy-friendly matchups for a tight end this week. Last year, the Cardinals allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends and a position-high 17 touchdowns. Although they did not allow a tight end to score last week, they were one of three teams to allow 100-plus receiving yards to the position in Week 1.

TE - Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN), $3,000

While it's disappointing that he played only 19 snaps in Week 1, Kelce had three catches for 49 yards — just 12 tight ends had more last week — on five targets. The Chiefs are nearly two-TD underdogs this week and Andy Reid has indicated that Kelce's playing time could increase so he's worth a shot as a flier.

In addition, check out our site's sortable grid of all players ranked in relation to their DraftKings salary.

Also, check out my weekly fantasy football rankings:

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Week 2 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Trifone

Here are my Week 2 picks against the spread:

Miami Dolphins pick'em over Buffalo Bills (4 units)

The Dolphins upsetting the Patriots at home in Week 1 was one of the surprises to the start of the NFL season. Perhaps an even bigger surprise, though, was Buffalo going into Chicago and getting the win. While both teams were impressive enough to win, the Dolphins really showed that they might be much better than expected.

A new offensive line was their biggest concern coming into the year, and Knowshon Moreno led the league in rushing against a pretty good New England defense. It's tough to look better than Miami did in the second half of Week 1, and I expect they'll keep it rolling against what should be an easier opponent in Week 2.

Jacksonville Jaguars +5.5 over Washington (3 units)

The way that Washington's offense has looked in the preseason and in Week 1 of the regular season, it's hard to believe that they are pushing a touchdown favorite over anyone in the league. Jacksonville was all over the Eagles in the first half, but clearly tired later in the game, and ended up getting beat by 17. Still, they had some positive takeaways from the effort, and I like them to keep this one close.

St. Louis Rams +6 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5 units)

I was one of the people that bought into the Bucs this season, expecting a big turnaround from last year. I'm not totally abandoning them after one week, but they clearly have some work to do offensively. The Rams didn't look good in their first game, but their defense is their strong point, and I think they will make it tough for Tampa to score. I think this game could go either way, but I think the St. Louis defense will keep the game close.

New York Giants vs. Arizona Cardinals — Under 42.5 (4 units)

The Cardinals have one of the better defenses in the league, and the Giants offense was uninspired and looked in disarray this past week. The Giants lone bright spot was their run defense, which might keep this one relatively close. Still, I expect points to be at a premium with defense dominating the game.

Note: NFL lines are from

-> All of our 2014 NFL Weekly Picks Against the Spread will be tracked here.

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September 11, 2014

2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 2

While I'm posting this a little later in the week than usual as the Thursday Night Football matchup is in progress, here are our Week 2 2014 NFL power rankings:

1. Seattle Seahawks - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 1

The Seahawks kicked off the 2014 season as defending Super Bowl champions by beating one of the best teams in the league by 20 points. With 110 yards and two TDs, Marshawn Lynch was in "beast mode" and Russell Wilson was efficent, as usual. I was surprised by the Packers decision to completely avoid Richard Sherman's side, but they have now held nine of their past 10 regular-season opponents to less than 200 passing yards. (The exception was still only 207.)

2. Denver Broncos - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 2

The Broncos jumped out to a huge 24-0 lead against the Colts as Peyton Manning and Julius Thomas connected on three second-quarter touchdowns. While they allowed the Colts to eventually cut the lead to a touchdown, the Broncos appear to be the class of the AFC through Week 1.

3. San Francisco 49ers - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 5

With the help of multiple turnovers, the 49ers easily beat the Cowboys on the road. Lacking several key defensive players that they will get back in the second half of the season, their defense looked good against what should be a high-powered offense.

4. Cincinnati Bengals - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 7

The Bengals continue to lose pass catchers as Tyler Eifert was placed on short-term IR with a dislocated elbow, but A.J. Green continues to dominate the opposition. The defense is one of the league's best and although the Bengals failed to use Jeremy Hill much in Week 1, Giovani Bernard and Hill form what could become one of the league's better running back duos.

5. Green Bay Packers - Record: 0-1, Last Update: No. 4

Regardless of the quality of an opponent, a 20-point loss is never good, but I think the Packers will ultimately be much better than what we saw in Week 1. While Aaron Rodgers avoided Sherman's side in the opener, the Jets secondary is ready to be exploited this week. If there's a concern, it's that they struggle to stop the Jets ground game after letting the Seahawks run all over them last week.

6. New England Patriots - Record: 0-1, Last Update: No. 3

Even if an 0-1 start may create "quality of life" problems for some, there is no need to panic in New England. As a starting quarterback, Tom Brady has yet to lose two games in a row to start a season and the team has won double-digit games since 2001. The Dolphins ran at will on them last week and one big concern for Week 2 will be trying to slow down Adrian Peterson.

7. Philadelphia Eagles - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 9

If you're a glass-half-empty guy, you'll point to the Eagles getting outscored 17-0 against the Jags and Nick Foles committing three turnovers in the first half of Week 1. If you're a glass-half-full guy, however, you'll point to their 34 unanswered second-half points. With a tougher matchup on Sunday Night Football, the Eagles will need to put together two solid halves to come out victorious.

8. New Orleans Saints - Record: 0-1, Last Update: No. 6

New Orleans lost a shootout in overtime to division-rival Atlanta. Their offense will be as explosive as ever this year as Mark Ingram and their rushing attack should be as good as it has been in recent years and Brandin Cooks is a dynamic chess piece for this offense. The defense is better than we saw in Week 1.

9. Indianapolis Colts - Record: 0-1, Last Update: No. 8

With the best young quarterback (Andrew Luck) in football, you can never count the Colts out of games and they nearly pulled off a comeback after trailing big in the first half. Their defense could struggle this year, however, with the loss of pass-rusher Robert Mathis (Achilles) for the season.

10. Carolina Panthers - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 13

Although Cam Newton sat out Week 1, Derek Anderson was able to lead the Panthers to a win on the road against the Bucs in Week 1. Newton will be back in Week 2 to face Ndamukong (or as Cam called him, Donkey Kong) Suh and the Lions. Newton's new weapon, Kelvin Benjamin, had a strong NFL debut (6/92/1) and gives the Panthers a huge red-zone target at receiver that they have long lacked.

11. Arizona Cardinals - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 14

The Cardinals got off to a slow start against the Chargers, but they managed to make the fourth-quarter comeback to win by a point. The Cardinals have plenty of talented skill-position players: Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, Andre Ellington, etc. Although Ellington is battling a foot injury, he managed to play well with it on MNF.

12. Atlanta Falcons - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 16

Not only did Matt Ryan throw for a franchise-record 448 yards last week, but he spread the ball around as five different receivers finished with at least 50 yards. The Falcons have one of the league's top wide receiver duos with Julio Jones and Roddy White.

13. Detroit Lions - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 18

A more mobile Matthew Stafford looked good in the opener as he and Megatron connected for 7/164/2. The Lions offense and defensive line are elite, but their secondary is the team's weak link and they lost nickel cornerback Bill Bentley in the opener.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 15

The Steelers run defense remains a problem (21st in NFL last year, 6.1 YPC allowed in Week 1) as they allowed the Browns back into last week's win. That said, the Steelers racked up more than 500 yards of offense led by Le'Veon Bell's 197 scrimmage yards.

15. Miami Dolphins - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 24

The Dolphins have some question marks in the linebacking corps, but their rushing attack looked great in their upset over the Patriots led by Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller. Ryan Tannehill completed only 56.3 percent of his pass attempts, but the important stat perhaps is one. One sack, that is, after getting sacked a league-worst 58 times last year.

16. Minnesota Vikings - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 28

I feel like I should move the Vikings up even more and I will if they pull off the upset against the Patriots this week, but they thoroughly beat down the Rams in every facet of the game. There was no bigger shock this week.

-> Continue to Teams 17-32

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