Welcome back to The A List, your guide to NFL DFS Week 2 Cash lineups. I’ll be breaking down players to target each week in 50/50 DFS lineups. Last week, I introduced the column and explained each segment. This week is an introduction to myself and how I go about writing these articles.
I’m an analytics person through and through. That isn’t to say I don’t watch film or attempt to understand it’s importance. I appreciate the role of film and am building that skill over time. That said, my background is in math and physics. My day job revolves around data analysis, and because of that, my primary lens for understanding football comes from numbers. I’ll sprinkle in some film talk here and there, but I’ll primarily discuss trends and metrics.
To that end, you’ll find I consistently refer to the betting lines when determining which players to target. My basic assumption is that Vegas has a pretty good sense of how each game will go. So, I’m going to use that to my advantage to make money on DFS lineups.
In particular, I focus heavily on the over/under (or total line) and spreads. I often target the games with the highest total lines. These games are predicted to have plenty of scoring and, thus, lots of fantasy points. Additionally, spread lines provide insight into the potential game script. See a small spread? The game will most likely be competitive and lean more towards passing. A larger spread tends towards one team running the ball a lot and the other passing it to try and make up ground.
You’ll also see me use these two lines together. For example, some games will have a high total line and a small spread. Combining this information communicates a close game with relatively high scoring. This would suggest lots of passing as the game hits crunch time.
Lastly, I will discuss matchups ad nauseam. Currently, I’ve been using defensive trends since Week 10 of last season to assess matchups. So, for now, it’s safe to assume that when I’m referring to matchups, I’m looking at data back to last November.
Don’t worry. I’m not so baked into the numbers that I haven’t noticed that the Baltimore Ravens had a year of historically bad injuries and therefore are unlikely the fourth-worst defense against receivers. So for the first several weeks, I’ll work to be intentional and not to make too much of a correlation between last season and this season.
But each week, I’ll be adding new data from 2022 and averaging it with last season until we are four games in and can more reliably use 2022 data for matchups.
Before jumping into my player picks, I’ve added two new segments this week. First is In Detention, which are players I’m avoiding in cash lineups this week. Additionally, I provide a Report Card at the end to assess my picks from the previous week.
With that, Cash is in Session.
NFL DFS Week 2
Davante Adams (DraftKings: $8,600 / FanDuel: $8,800)
I could easily make a case for Davante Adams as a chalk play this week, but I have someone else in mind there. This feels oddly cheap for Adams, especially on FanDuel. He is a full $1,300 cheaper than Cooper Kupp this week, despite only scoring 1.7 DraftKings points fewer than him last week.
Coming off a 10-reception, 141-yard performance, Adams has a favorable matchup against an Arizona defense that is the fourth-worst against receivers since Week 10 of last season. Additionally, they gave up 38.6 DraftKings points to receivers against Kansas City, which is middle of the road, but that does not account for the incredible numbers Travis Kelce recorded.
This matchup is the highest on the slate at 51.5 points, suggesting there will be plenty of scoring as well. I’m getting Adams everywhere I can this week. I would also consider Hunter Renfrow, particularly in lineups where I pay up at running back.
Derek Carr (DraftKings: $6,200 / FanDuel: $7,300)
Is it any surprise to find Derek Carr here, given what I just said about Davante Adams? If you don’t want to pay up to get Adams but still want exposure to the highest matchup on the slate, look no further than Carr. Arizona has given up the second-most points to opposing quarterbacks, averaging 21.41 DraftKings and 20.75 FanDuel points per game. Carr could easily throw for 300 yards and two touchdowns against an Arizona defense that just got torn up by Patrick Mahomes. That’s plenty to return at value.
Javonte Williams (DraftKings: $6,500 / FanDuel: $7,300)
You may have been disappointed if you tuned in Monday night to watch Russ Cook. Instead, Javonte Williams looked like the best offensive player on the field. He also pulled in a massive 11 catches on 12 targets. While Williams likely gets fewer targets this week, he is the 11th-most expensive running back on the slate, despite finishing Top 10 in DraftKings scoring last week. Even more impressive, he did so without scoring a touchdown.
I prefer Williams more in DraftKings scoring, as the full-PPR system allows him to rack up points without depending on a touchdown. That said, Houston’s lackluster defense increases the chance he makes his way into the endzone. Houston is the fourth-worst defense against opposing running backs. Additionally, Denver is favored by ten points, so they will be playing from ahead and running out the clock.
Allen Robinson (DraftKings: $5,500 / FanDuel: $5,700)
Why yes, I am nervous about this pick. But I’m sticking to my guns on Allen Robinson this year and not holding him to a poor Week 1 performance against perhaps the best defense in the league. In fact, the Buffalo Bills have been the third-best defense against receivers since Week 10 of 2021.
The Falcons? The sixth-worst. They allow nearly 14 more points per game to opposing receivers than the Bills. The Rams will be motivated to bounce back this week. I want exposure to that offense.
In particular, I’m avoiding Cooper Kupp this week because LA could get up big and not need to feed Kupp. Plus, A.J. Terrel is one of the best cornerbacks in the league. He could make enough of an impact on Kupp to prevent him from returning at cost. So instead, take Robinson, the cheaper LA receiver who should match up against the remainder of Atlanta’s secondary.
Zach Ertz (DraftKings: $4,500 / FanDuel: $5,200)
This is one we’ll need to track through the 1:00 games. While Zach Ertz played in Week 1, he was a non-participant in Wednesday’s practice, dealing with a calf issue. But if he plays, I’m smashing Ertz in my lineups. Again, Las Vegas is in the bottom ten against tight ends, and again, this is the highest over/under on the slate.
Additionally, Arizona is expected to play from behind, as the Raiders are six-points favorites. Ertz is just too cheap to pass on this week. He only needs three catches, 40 yards, and a touchdown to return at cost.
Check the Chalkboard
Christian McCaffrey (DraftKings: $8,900 / FanDuel: $9,000)
This pick is very similar to my Davante Adams pick. Christian McCaffrey is the second-most expensive running back on the slate but is a full $1,000 cheaper than Jonathan Taylor on both DraftKings and FanDuel. While CMC had a slow start in Week 1, Carolina will be looking to get their best player going.
McCaffrey has a favorable matchup against the Giants, who have been a bottom-five defense against running backs since Week 10 of last season. They were tenth-worst in Week 1. Even more importantly, the Giants are favored by 2.5 points. This is usually a bad sign for opposing running backs, but McCaffrey makes his money in the passing game and will be targeted heavily if playing from behind.
Logan Thomas (DraftKings: $3,400 / FanDuel: $5,200)
The next three picks will feel very similar. Spoiler alert: They all play for Washington. And you know what? I’m comfortable rostering all three of them. Despite the Hard Knocks love, Detroit’s defense still has some work to do. Detroit is the third-worst defense against tight ends. If Logan Thomas scores a touchdown, he’s aced the assignment for you.
Additionally, this matchup has a 49.5-point total and a two-point spread. So, there will be points to go around for the Washington offense. Plus, by punting at tight end, you’ll have plenty of room to roster studs at other positions.
Back of the Classroom Studs
Carson Wentz (DraftKings: $5,800 / FanDuel: $7,400)
Carson Wentz was phenomenal in Week 1, and this will be a close battle with plenty of scoring. And again, it’s Detroit.
Curtis Samuel (DraftKings: $4,600 / FanDuel: $5,700)
Ditto to everything said above. Detroit’s secondary has been middle of the pack against opposing receivers, but that’s partially because opposing offenses often play from ahead and run the ball. Save some money with the Washington Commanders’ players and pay up elsewhere.
Darrell Henderson (DraftKings: $5,700 / FanDuel: $6,200)
I hate to root against my Falcons, but the Rams are favored by 10.5 points. Also, the Falcons’ defense leaves plenty to be desired. Darrell Henderson is currently valued as an RB2, despite being the number one running back in this Rams offense. He’s a great play, especially if you’re looking to make room for players like Davante Adams or Christian McCaffrey.
Dalton Schultz (DraftKings: $5,200 / FanDuel: $5,600)
It feels wrong sending Dalton Schultz to the back of the classroom, but it’s not about him. It’s about Cooper Rush. Despite that, I still like Schultz this week, as Dallas will likely play from behind. Rush will be looking for short, easy throws, where Schultz excels.
Cincinnati (DraftKings: $2,200 / FanDuel: $3,900)
Contrary to my previous point, Cincinnati gets a favorable matchup against Cooper Rush, opening the opportunity for turnovers. Additionally, the Dallas offensive line is struggling and could potentially give up a few sacks.
New Orleans Saints (DraftKings: $2,400 / FanDuel: $4,000)
The Saints are less valued because they face Tom Brady, but they’ve shut down Brady in the past. Additionally, the Tampa Bay offensive line struggled against Dallas and could continue to do so against New Orleans.
New England Patriots (DraftKings: $2,800 / FanDuel: $3,700)
Did you watch the Steelers’ offense last week? If so, you can stop reading now. You get it. They struggled to move the ball, and that offensive line is struggling. This game could easily be a defensive battle, and I’d be fine playing either defense in my cash lineups this week.
Players in Detention
Tom Brady (DraftKings: $6,400 / FanDuel: $8,000)
I will not have a Player in Detention every week, but come on, $8,000 for Tom Brady in FanDuel? Tom Brady has often struggled against the Saints. Plus, Tampa Bay is dealing with a slew of offensive injuries and still learning its 2022 identity. Therefore, Brady is too expensive to be rostering, particularly with the other options out there.
Before you set your lineups, be sure to check out Austin and Ryan’s weekly rankings!
When selecting DFS lineups, I’m looking for players to return three times the value of their price. To calculate this, I divide the player’s price by $1,000 and multiply that value by three to get their target score. If they manage that, a player gets an A. If they only manage twice that score, they get a B, and so on.
- A: Scored over three times their price
- B: Scored over two times their price
- C: Matched their price
- F: Scored lower than their price
*Left early due to injury
*Left early due to injury
Looking for the DFS plays with the best possible matchups? Our Weekly Matchup Report gives you that info every Wednesday.