Welcome to the weekly tournament plays article for Sunday’s main DraftKings fantasy football slate. I’m going to focus purely on upside plays, stacks and strategies to help tackle the largest tournaments on the slate. GPPs are not won by using all of the most popular players on the slate and finding some relatively lower-owned diamonds in the rough will be the goal of this article.
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Game Stack: Washington Commanders at Detroit Lions
Carson Wentz ($5,800) — Curtis Samuel ($4,600) — Terry McLaurin ($6,600) — D’Andre Swift ($7,000 - questionable)
It feels like the Lions may have bought themselves a regular spot in this section after their performance in Week 1. Their defense again placed bottom 10 in yards per play allowed and yards per attempt allowed, but their offense was also heavily centered around a couple of players, making them a very easy team to decipher for fantasy purposes. D’Andre Swift had elite usage in the passing game with a 66% route participation and went for four explosive runs (10 yards or more) on just 15 carries. On the other side, the Commanders allowed a running back in James Robinson ($5,600), who is coming off a blown Achilles, to average 6.0 YPC and bust off several explosive plays — including an 11-yard TD run.
Swift (ankle) didn’t practice early in the Week and will have to be monitored, but barring a poor injury outlook he should be a core play for Week 2.
Building game stacks around Swift is easy, too. The Commanders threw the ball more than expected in Week 1 and continued to throw the ball when ahead. That’s good news for both Carson Wentz’s fantasy outlook and his receivers. Wentz worked the short pass game a ton and Curtis Samuel came from the clouds to take a figurehead role in that regard, demanding a 26% target share from Wentz — while also adding in four additional touches as a rusher.
With an affordable salary and a great matchup, Samuel needs to be rostered in any DET-WAS game stack, but Washington’s pass-first tendencies and the Lions’ weak outside corners make this a great breakout spot for Terry McLaurin as well. AJ Brown demanded a massive 45% team target share in Week 1 and toyed with corners Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye like a cat does with his prey. McLaurin should do the same. Don’t be afraid to use him and Wentz together here, along with the incredibly cheap Samuel, as Detroit figures to let loose big fantasy numbers to pass heavy attacks across the board in 2022.
QB/WR Stack: Trevor Lawrence ($5,300) — Christian Kirk ($5,700) Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Doug Pederson era in Jacksonville may have started with a loss, but for fantasy purposes, we got a good look at an offense that should be more passing-focused and much more fantasy relevant in 2022. The Jaguars threw the ball 42 times and dropped Trevor Lawrence back 45 times in Week 1, and it’s hard to project them for much less volume in Week 2 in a game where they’re currently set as 4-point underdogs. The conversion and efficiency rates with Lawrence remain frustrating but we should also expect more rushing from him in the future (he averaged over 20 yards per game last year) and it’s notable that one of his rushes from last week came in the red zone.
Lawrence also showed his hand in terms of favorite targets last week. Christian Kirk ($5,700) demanded a 30% target share from the second-year QB in Week 1 and a healthy 12.4 ADOT considering nearly every one of his snaps was from the slot. Houston exposed this Colts secondary at times last week as well. Chris Moore — Houston’s primary slot receiver — went 3-3 on his targets and Kenny Moore, the Colts’ primary slot defender, allowed five receptions for 63 yards and a TD when defending the slot. Look to the Kirk-Lawrence connection to produce with more efficiency in Week 2 and don’t be afraid to use them as a cheap QB/WR option in big fields.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas Raiders ($7,500)
Derek Carr ($6,200) is currently projecting as a popular play for Week 2 at quarterback, so for leverage purposes in big field GPPs, we should want to look at the other side of this game, if possible, for a QB. The fact we have Kyler Murray projecting with much lower ownership should also get our attention — especially considering the Cardinals’ +5.5 spread is again calling for Murray and the Cardinals to be down for the majority of the game.
There are certainly concerns about the stability of the Cardinals’ offense — and their lack of talent at WR — but one big plus out of Week 1 was the fact that Murray was utilized in multiple designed rushes. Ultimately, with the game out of reach by the fourth quarter, the Cardinals dialed Murray’s rushes back. However, the designed rushes call to attention the fact that the Cardinals may realize they have no choice but to utilize Murray’s legs early in the season — or at least until their receiving core is back to full health. The Cardinals seem like good bets to trail a lot in this game but avoiding an absolute blowout will be an easier task with no Mahomes on the other side. Target Murray as a high-end QB play whose rushing ability means he can be used with or without one of his receivers.
Top End: Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals @ Dallas Cowboys ($7,200)
With a lot of discussion about how bad the Cowboys looked in Week 1, (and how much worse they are going to be without Dak Prescott), it’s interesting that Joe Mixon’s hype level for Week 2 hasn’t reached a fever pitch. Mixon was on the field for most of the game against Pittsburgh and encouragingly saw usage in hurry-up and two-minute drills — which led to nine targets (second on the team). Even if the passing game work comes down a bit, the game script this week calls for the Bengals to be ahead for the majority of the game. The Cowboys’ defense allowed 4.6 yards per carry last week and had to face 27 carries by Tampa Bay RBs. Thanks to an inept offense, expect opposing offenses to rush a ton against Dallas this year. Look to Mixon as a prime pay-up candidate and potential multi-TD scorer in Week 2.
Value: Chase Edmonds Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens ($5,200)
In Week 1, Edmonds ended with just 10.5 DKFP, but his usage was highly encouraging. Edmonds led the Miami RB core in snaps by a wide margin (63%), took the majority of rush attempts, and had a 13% team target share in the passing game — where he converted four targets into 4 receptions and 40 yards receiving. An elite receiver out of the backfield, he now takes on a Ravens linebacker core who struggles defending the mid-range pass game and got blown up for 13 catches (on 19 targets) by the Jets’ RBs. With Baltimore having elite outside cover corners, Edmonds should be a big part of the game plan for Miami in Week 2. Don’t be shocked if he breaks out.
Top end: Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars ($6,700)
The Michael Pittman Jr. train may be about to leave the station. Pittman had a near 30% team target share in Week 1 and could be playing on a team with a weaker-than-projected defense. The Colts threw the ball 50 times Week 1 (admittedly mostly out of necessity) but Pittman’s dominance could lead to heavier passing volume than initially planned for this team. The Jaguars also project as a solid funnel defense again, allowing just 3.0 yards per carry in Week 1 (8th best), but 7.4 yards per pass attempt (7th worst). The up-tempo nature of the new Jaguars offense could also push Pittman to big targets again against a weaker secondary crew. Keep riding him in a great matchup for Week 2.
Value: Robbie Anderson, Carolina Panthers at New York Giants ($5,300)
Talk about being born again. Anderson showed up in a big way for the Panthers in their Week 2 loss, taking 32% of the targets on the day — and ultimately posting 5 receptions for 102 yards and a TD. Given Baker Mayfield’s issues targeting higher profile receivers downfield, it’s not outlandish to think this shift to Anderson is at least somewhat permanent — and that we get a Twitter rant by one of DJ Moore’s parents in 2022. The Panthers also showed a faster pace of play under Ben McAdoo in Week 1 and take on a Giants team in Week 2 who allowed 8.1 yards per pass attempt against the Titans (fifth worst in the league) and a 105 passer rating to Ryan Tannehill. Don’t be afraid to buy into the Anderson hype against a weak Giants defense.
Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas Raiders ($4,500)
The Cardinals just don’t have the bodies to not throw the ball to Zach Ertz if he plays. Even at less than 100% and on limited snaps, Ertz still grabbed a 10% target share against the Chiefs and looks primed for a bigger role in Week 2. It’s been declared early in the week that Ertz will be practicing in full at some point before the game against Vegas, but it’s a situation that bears monitoring. If he does shed the practice limitations, expect him to dominate the shorter passing game. It’s easy to forget after how bad the Cardinals looked in Week 1 but Ertz averaged 8.2 targets in the final six games of 2021 and there’s a much higher likelihood that this week’s game stays close. If we get good injury news, buying in at these levels before a volume breakout makes sense this week.
David Njoku, Cleveland Browns vs. New York Jets ($3,700)
Njoku faceplanted in Week 1, posting just one catch for seven yards on one target. The encouraging news was that he had the highest snap count of any Browns receiver and that QB Jacoby Brissett ($5,400) did target his TE group five times in that game (or about 16% of the time). Njoku’s target levels should level out somewhat over time, and we also have a matchup against a Jets team in Week 2 who allowed the eighth-most receptions to the TE position last season. Njoku will likely be a boom or bust kind of target in DFS all year, but given the opponent and the low sentiment his Week 1 created, buying into Njoku this week as a cheap TE target makes sense in big fields.
New Orleans Saints ($2,400) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We saw last week with the Pittsburgh DST that taking small ownership on elite DSTs — who are going up against elite quarterbacks — can pay off. The Buccaneers have an injury report that reads like a CVS receipt right now and it includes two offensive linemen in Tristan Wirfs (limited) and LT Donovan Smith (DNP). The Saints’ defense didn’t get the pressure they wanted against Marcus Mariota in Week 1 but now find themselves up against a banged-up O-Line, a statuesque QB (albeit a handsome one), and at home in Week 2. New Orleans dropped Tom Brady ($6,400) four times in Week 15 last year and Dallas’ D-Line did manage four hits and two sacks last week. With no Godwin, and Julio Jones ($5,500) and Mike Evans ($6,800) already on the injury report, the Buccaneers could again find themselves with issues moving the ball against an elite defense in New Orleans. Play the variance at DST and use the cheap salary on the Saints to your advantage.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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