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DraftKings is offering up a new free-to-enter pool for the start of the 2022 NFL season. It runs for the first 17 weeks of the season, and users are allowed to pick their five favorite spreads each week. You’re also allowed one self-appointed bye week, meaning each player will pick 80 games by the end of Week 17. The players who do the best will have a chance to take home part of a $100,000 prize pool, plus millions in bonus prizes.
Let’s take a look at my five favorite picks for NFL Week 2.
The Pick: Dolphins +3.5
Mike McDaniel is one of my favorite new coaches, and he put that on full display in Week 1. He went for it on a controversial 4th-and-7, which his team converted into a touchdown. In the postgame interview, Tyreek Hill said McDaniel was going to need a wheelbarrow to carry around his… umm… confidence.
The Dolphins weren’t thoroughly dominant in their Week 1 win vs. the Patriots, but their offense showed plenty of promising signs. The defense was already good enough to win — they ranked 10th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA last year — so they only need the offense to be above average. If they can hold up their end of the bargain, they have a great shot of returning to the postseason.
The Ravens are a quality team, but I’m not sure they deserve to be favored by more than a field goal in this spot. Their offense managed just 274 total yards vs. the Jets, and they’ll face a large increase in competition this week. They are expected to get back a couple of key contributors, but I still like the idea of grabbing the Dolphins +3.5.
The Pick: 49ers -9.5
The 49ers were nothing short of a disaster last week. However, there were a few mitigating circumstances. For starters, the field conditions were absolutely dreadful in Chicago. It was hard for either team to get anything going offensively, but the Bears generated a few more big plays. Additionally, the 49ers were without one of their top offensive options in George Kittle. He’s one of the best tight ends in football — he’s elite in the run game and the pass game — and his absence was noticeable.
With Kittle expected to return this week, this feels like the perfect opportunity to buy low on the 49ers. Trey Lance is raw, but his upside is still off the charts. He’s one of the best rushing quarterbacks in football, and he’s previously displayed upside as a passer. The best game of his career was arguably in a relief appearance last year vs. the Seahawks. He racked up 157 passing yards and two touchdowns in essentially just one half of football, and he added 41 yards and a touchdown on the ground. There will undoubtedly be some growing pains with Lance, but this is an excellent spot for him to right the ship.
The Pick: Cardinals +5.5
The Cardinals got their doors blown off last week by the Chiefs, but that wasn’t all that surprising. They were without two of their top pass catchers in DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore, and the Chiefs are one of the two or three best teams in football.
Unfortunately, Hopkins and Moore remain out of the lineup, but the Cardinals should be able to put up better numbers vs. the Raiders. Kyler Murray is currently healthy, and his status is as important as anyone’s in the NFL. Before Murray got hurt last season, he led the Cardinals to a 7-0 record and was arguably the favorite for the MVP. After he got hurt, the Cardinals offense took a massive step back, and they stumbled to a 4-6 finish.
The defense remains a major question mark, but I like Murray’s chances of keeping this game competitive. I’ll take the points.
The Pick: Cowboys +7.5
This game featured one of the biggest line moves of the week. The Cowboys were initially listed as small home favorites vs. the Bengals, but they’ve fallen all the way to +7.5. That obviously is due to the Dak Prescott injury — he suffered a broken thumb Sunday night vs. the Buccaneers.
However, this line move feels way too extreme. Prescott is an excellent quarterback, but he’s not worth double-digit points on the spread. No quarterback in football is worth that much, with the top players adding roughly six or seven points of spread value.
Additionally, it’s not like the Bengals don’t have issues of their own. They suffered an embarrassing home loss vs. the Steelers in Week 1, and their “improved” offensive line surrendered seven sacks to Pittsburgh. That forced the team into five turnovers, and things don’t figure to get much easier vs. the Cowboys. They have a couple of excellent pass rushers in DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons, so they should be able to do some damage on defense.
The Pick: Eagles -2.5
The Eagles and Vikings both picked up wins in Week 1, but not all wins are created equal. The Eagles thoroughly dominated a frisky Lions squad, while the Vikings beat up on the depleted Packers. It feels weird to say that a win vs. the Lions is more impressive than a win vs. the Packers, but that’s how bad the Packers looked in Week 1.
The Eagles racked up 455 yards of total offense last week — the second-highest mark in the league — and they probably could’ve had more if they didn’t take their foot off the gas. They built up a 38-21 lead in the third quarter before the Lions scored twice in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the Packers simply had no chance of being competitive without Allen Lazard. After losing Davante Adams in the offseason, Lazard is the clear top receiver in Green Bay. Without him, Aaron Rodgers had to rely on a group of Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb and Romeo Doubs; that simply isn’t going to get the job done. They also had no answer for Justin Jefferson, who torched them for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles should be much better prepared for Jefferson, given their excellent group of corners. Darius Slay and James Bradberry are both quality options, so they should at least be able to slow him down.
Ultimately, I think the Eagles are the clear better team in this matchup. Factoring in home-field advantage, this line should be greater than just 2.5 points.
Year-to-Date Results: 4-1
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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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