There’s nothing better than meticulous matchup research paying off on the field.
Something surprising will inevitably happen every week. Chances are nobody played Travis Benjamin in Week 1’s NFL slate. Several popular picks, however, met the hype.
Carson Palmer torched a depleted New Orleans Saints secondary, finding breaking candidate John Brown for a touchdown. Julio Jones demolished the Philadelphia Eagles, reaching the end zone twice in a rout over the Oakland Raiders. Nobody can brag about nailing any of these predictable outcomes.
In a game loaded with uncertainty, it’s nice when all the studying shows up on the final tally. Entering Week 2’s slate, these guys have golden matchups for DraftKings contestants to exploit.
QB Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals ($6,700) at Chicago Bears
Gifted the Saints in his first game back from a torn ACL, Palmer responded with 307 passing yards and three touchdowns. Treated to another tasty tilt with the Chicago Bears, the Arizona Cardinals quarterback once again is an optimal value pick.
The 35-year-old has blossomed under head coach Bruce Arian’s tutelage. Take a look at his last 16 games under center, dating back to 2013, provided by NFL Network’s Rand Getlin:
Without Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers turned 23 pass attempts into 189 passing yards and three scores against Chicago. Palmer is no Rodgers, but Chicago placed No. 29 in Football Outsiders‘ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) against the pass last year.
Also, the Cardinals are no Green Bay Packers in terms of running the ball. According to AZCentral.com’s Kent Somers, injured running back Andre Ellington is unlikely to play this weekend:
Expect a heavy dose of passing from Palmer, who should make more use of rookie David Johnson as a pass-catcher after turning his only touch into a 55-yard score. DraftKings kept the signal-caller at $6,700 despite an incredible Week 1, but he won’t stay this cheap the next time.
RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks ($7,200) at Green Bay Packers
In a losing effort to Green Bay, Chicago enacted a blueprint the Seattle Seahawks are likely to follow. Run, run and run some more to keep Rodgers off the field as long as possible.
Matt Forte deposited 141 rushing yards and a score on 24 carries, carving up a Packers defense that yielded 4.3 yards per carry last season. Meanwhile, Marshawn Lynch managed 104 total yards in a dull game for his standards against the tougher St. Louis Rams.
Forte isn’t the first one to run down Green Bay’s throat. In two games against the Packers last year, including the NFC Championship Game, Lynch topped 100 yards and scored each time:
Having generated at least a dozen touchdowns in each of the past four seasons, make nothing of Lynch’s Week 1 exclusion from the end zone. He’s the safest stud running back while also carrying high upside on Sunday, making him the ideal building block in cash contests.
WR Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys ($4,200) at Philadelphia Eagles
No Dez Bryant makes Terrance Williams the Dallas Cowboys’ No. 1 wide receiver for a Sunday shootout with the Philadelphia Eagles, last year’s No. 31 passing defense.
“These are the moments you train for,” Williams told ESPN.com’s Todd Archer. “I don’t have any pressure. I’ve just got to go out there and run the plays that Coach calls and Tony [Romo] gives me. Stick to my fundamentals and play fast, that’s what got me here.”
According to Odds Shark, the Cowboys are currently five-point underdogs without Bryant. DraftKings Pro Jonathan Bales examined the fantasy significance of the spread, adding to Williams’ Week 2 appeal:
The 26-year-old wide receiver has collected 86 career passes in 33 games, underwhelming productivity in a point-per-reception (PPR) format. He also, however, spent both seasons tucked behind Bryant. Now he could easily receive a dozen targets in a high-scoring affair.
For now, the circumstances and matchup offset any risks of Jason Witten, Cole Beasley or Dallas’ run game outshining Williams, who only costs $4,200. Although he enters the week as this slate’s version of Davante Adams, let’s hope he finishes more like James Jones.
TE Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles ($3,600) vs. Dallas Cowboys
All the hoopla around Zach Ertz dissipated before the season began, cooled by worries about his health and playing time after missing training camp. While he hauled in a humdrum three catches on 46 yards against the Atlanta Falcons, he at least received a prominent role.
Head coach Chip Kelly frustrated Ertz‘ owners last year by giving Brent Celek more snaps. Yet on Monday night, the veteran renowned for his superior blocking played less reps than the fantasy darling, as noted by DraftKings‘ Adam Levitan:
According to ESPN.com, Dallas allowed an NFL-high 109 receptions to tight ends last season. Larry Donnell didn’t get anything going last Sunday night, but that likely says more about a maddeningly inconsistent New York Giants offense sleepwalking out of the gate.
A strong crop of tight ends (Travis Kelce, Witten, Tyler Eifert, Austin Seferian-Jenkins) received price hikes after incredible Week 1 outings, but Ertz remains a manageable $3,600.
Baltimore Ravens D/ST ($2,900) at Oakland Raiders
Peyton Manning is no longer playing like the greatest football player of all time, but he’s still better than Derek Carr. In a Week 1 battle of defenses, the Baltimore Ravens limited the Denver Broncos to 219 total yards and zero offensive touchdowns, forcing four sacks and an interception against the future Hall of Famer.
They’ll now face the Oakland Raiders, last year’s worst offense. Little changed last weekend, when they needed two garbage-time scores to avoid a shutout. Derek Carr and Matt McGloin combined for 183 passing yards on 43 attempts against the Cincinnati Bengals.
A healthy Jimmy Smith, who returned with a pick-six last Sunday, can derail Amari Cooper, Oakland’s only true receiving threat. A stout rushing defense will contain Latavius Murray, making Baltimore a comfortable choice at defense. The Raiders will be lucky to tack on two meaningless scores this Sunday.
DraftKings is giving away over $10 million in Week 2 of the NFL season. Use this knowledge to help you win some of that cash. The biggest first-place prize ever at $2 million will be awarded. Play now for free at DraftKings.com.
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