As DraftKings reacts to Week 1 along with all other daily fantasy football enthusiasts, fewer mouth-watering bargains will hide deep down the player listings.
During a wild opening Sunday, Tyrod Taylor, Danny Woodhead and Stevie Johnson all proved why they should have cost much more heading into Sunday. Davante Adams provided a solid game, but the majority of contestants received that same contribution.
After spending weeks of preseason time studying the opening prices, players must adapt to altered costs. Not every Week 1 stud will stay hot, and some Week 1 duds will heat up as soon as this weekend. With that said, let’s take a look at players who bolstered or diminished their DraftKings stock heading into Week 2.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans ($6,000)
What was that about Marcus Mariota being no more than a system quarterback?
Anyone who rolled the dice on the Tennessee Titans rookie probably left Week 1 a little richer. During a 42-14 blowout over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he went 13-of-16 with 209 yards and four touchdowns. ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted the historical significance of his sensational start:
According to ESPN.com’s Tristan H. Cockcroft, Mariota‘s 24 fantasy points (under standard ESPN scoring) ranks as the fourth-most prolific quarterback debut. His tally ties Robert Griffin III, who ascended into a fantasy stud during his 2012 rookie campaign.
Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner didn’t even need to run his way to fantasy brilliance. After averaging 745 rushing yards per season at Oregon, he’s likely good for more than six yards going forward. If that happens, look out.
Heading into Week 2’s bout with the Cleveland Browns, 21 signal-callers cost more than Mariota. Affordability and recency bias will make him a very popular play, so beware of riding a crowded bandwagon. Then again, gamers could look back and laugh about the time they paid $6,000 for a budding star.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Indianapolis Colts ($4,600)
Last year, fantasy gamers clamored for the Indianapolis Colts to prominently feature Donte Moncrief. Despite flashing glimpses of star upside during his rookie campaign, he would then promptly vanish.
As a result of his inconsistent opportunities and growing buzz around rookie Phillip Dorsett, everyone tempered their expectations. Instead, Moncrief caught six passes on 11 targets for 46 yards and a score against a fierce Buffalo Bills defense.
Moncrief could receive another big role during Monday night’s clash with the New York Jets. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, T.Y. Hilton is in danger of missing time after sustaining a knee injury on Sunday:
On the other side, Antonio Cromartie also left with a knee injury. Per the team’s Twitter page, New York avoided a catastrophe, as its cornerback could suit up for Week 2. If he can’t play, Moncrief is looking at a heavy plate of targets with Darrelle Revis shadowing Andre Johnson, who didn’t look his best against Buffalo.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington ($3,700)
Jordan Reed got away with pushing off Reshad Jones during his Week 1 touchdown. Even if the referee made the call, the Washington tight end would still deserve recognition as a post-hype stud.
After going the entire 2014 season without a score, let him have this break. He made his presence felt all afternoon, registering seven receptions for 63 yards on a team-high 11 targets. As DraftKings‘ Adam Levitan pointed out before Sunday’s showing, Reed had previously played well with Kirk Cousins under center:
They’re about to develop an even tighter rapport. As reported by NFL Network’s Rand Getlin, Washington will play its next couple of games without top wide receiver DeSean Jackson:
Reed will get the workload to dominate under point-per-reception scoring. But he’s still cheaper than fellow Week 1 breakouts Tyler Eifert ($4,200) and Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($4,100). Facing the St. Louis Rams limits his upside, but he’s a safe bet for points at a widely volatile position.
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($5,600)
As Mariota dazzled, fellow Heisman winner Jameis Winston faltered. The No. 1 pick finished with an inefficient 210 yards and two touchdowns on 33 pass attempts, beginning his career with a pick-six captured by NFL’s Twitter page:
Let’s not go overboard and declare him a bust. He played without Mike Evans, and Tampa Bay’s defense gave a far worse showing. But after throwing 28 interceptions though two seasons at Florida State, nobody should have envisioned an accurate passer out of the gate.
To deliver fantasy goodness, Winston will need to shine as a garbage-time hero. For now, he’s a high-risk quarterback punt for daring tournament gamers, preferably when provided a healthy Evans.
This could be the week to roll the dice. The Buccaneers head into the Superdome to face the New Orleans Saints, whose depleted secondary surrendered 307 yards and three touchdowns. Winston could generate enough big plays to mitigate his mistakes.
Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions ($4,600)
The good news? Ameer Abdullah received only one more carry than Joique Bell. Perhaps the Detroit Lions running backs can split the load in harmony.
Now the bad part. While the rookie made the most of his seven runs, turning his first career carry into a 24-yard score, the veteran converted his six handoffs into 14 yards. Per Pro Football Focus, Bell also participated in fewer plays than the neophyte:
While Bell has spent three years with the Lions, he averaged a lackluster 3.9 yards per rush over each of the past two seasons. NFL teams don’t often remain loyal to running backs, especially 29-year-olds with declining productivity.
Meanwhile, Abdullah is embarrassing All-Pro safety Eric Weddle in open space and catching more passes from the backfield. The talented newcomer can derive flex value from a committee situation. Bell, however, needs stable touches to matter.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,900)
Every year, a popular breakout pick falls flat on his face, leaving everyone to wonder what they were thinking. After starting the season with one catch, is Allen Robinson this year’s Cordarrelle Patterson?
For a Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver to shine, he needs a high dosage of targets, something that seemed inevitable for the sophomore wideout. But Rashad Greene and Allen Hurns received more looks and made more of those opportunities:
Greene’s busy NFL debut is especially terrifying for Robinson, as Jacksonville doesn’t have a high-powered offense to support multiple productive receivers. Unless Blake Bortles evolves from erratic, turnover-prone quarterback to top gunslinger overnight, these three guys could drag each other out of week-to-week relevancy.
But let’s take a little more time before burying Robinson’s breakout candidacy. Pro Football Focus’ Mike Clay noted an especially soothing sign of how close he came to scoring a touchdown:
At $4,900, DraftKings now prices Robinson as a low-end No. 3 wide receiver or flex option. The luster has faded from a once-popular option, which could make him an intriguing bounce-back candidate for Week 2.
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