Welcome to the second edition of the FanDuel DFS mail bag. Every week I'll take questions on Twitter pertaining to daily fantasy strategy and particular players on FanDuel. If you'd like to have your question featured, just shoot it to me on twitter (@MattHarmon_BYB), and it may just find its way into the mailbag.
Carlos Hyde stunned the world, most of all me, on Monday night. I've always been a believer in his talent, but I thought his situation would bog him down. For one game at least, he looked like a star-caliber player able to transcend his situation. That's rare in the NFL.
However, my original evaluation of his fantasy stock this season does give me at least a few seconds pause when considering him. But I'll still recommend take the plunge with Hyde this week. Not only did he look too good to be ignored in Week 1, but he also faces a stellar matchup. The Patriots 195-pound running back, Dion Lewis, broke tackles at an eye-popping rate against the Steelers in the kickoff game. Now just imagine what the 230-plus pound Hyde can do when he gets to the second level.
Hyde's value is also too nice to pass up this week. He's listed behind DeAngelo Williams, Alfred Morris and Tre Mason on FanDuel for Week 2. I'd rather play Hyde, by far, over all of them. If he holds the pace he displayed on Monday night against the Vikings, we'll look back longingly at the times we could play him for this bargain level. Remember, in DFS we love guys with certifiable safe volume. With Reggie Bush on the shelf, Hyde is going to eat up all the carries and receptions out of the backfield. He's a bit of a chalky play this week, but a strong one I still recommend.
I'm not sure either player has qualifies as an upside bet. James Jones is a clear fade for me in DFS this week. While I like his season-long outlook with Aaron Rodgers and Jones clearly sharing a strong connection, too many will default to chasing his two touchdown game from Week 1. He's a long shot to repeat that line against the Seahawks secondary.
As for Andre Johnson, it hurts to come to terms with how bad he looked in Week 1. I'm not pulling the plug on him for 2015 just yet though. He and Andrew Luck still have some work to do on their chemistry, and things could conceivably get better in a few weeks. But I won't spend the time trying to find that out in DFS this Week against the Jets defense. Johnson could realistically get the Revis treatment if T.Y. Hilton misses this contest.
Ah, this is what we call #NarrativeStreet. When you stroll down Narrative Street, you base a play off a widely accepted anecdotal storyline, rather than statistical reality or game study. The revenge game is a perfect example, or (insert player) is a gamer and performs better "when the lights come on." While this can lead to some foolhardy traps, Steve Smith showed us the advantages of chasing the revenge game last year when he faced off against the Panthers and took five catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns. We've also benefitted from playing Peyton Manning in DFS when he's chasing a record in a certain game.
I for one, do tend to buy in just slightly to the revenge games. A lot of NFL players have a different mindset than most human beings, it's what makes them some of the best athletes in the world. We've seen plenty of players use a team bailing on them as motivation, and DeMarco Murray squaring off against his old Cowboys is a good example this week. Now, I won't use #NarrativeStreet as the sole motivation for using a player, but it might help me break a tie. If I'm weighing Murray against guys like Eddie Lacy or LeSean McCoy, Murray's faceoff with his old team helps me tip the scales. This is, of course, if him playing on a great offense in the game that should be the highest scoring of the weekend isn't enough.
I understand the logic, but this is an example of chasing value a little too hard. Of course, Isaiah Crowell is a value, but ask yourself, "why is this the case?" Sometimes players end up this way because they just aren't good for your lineups. Right now, I think Crowell and all Browns players fall under this umbrella. Even at home in what should be positive enough game script, don't go chasing Crowell in DFS until we see more reason to.
I have mixed feelings on Williams for the foreseeable future. I don't think he sees the kind of uptick in targets many are assuming, and everything we've seen in his career thus far indicates he'll be a volatile asset regardless. However, for this week, he's a good DFS play. He's outside the top 20 wide receivers on FanDuel, but I'm with you in thinking he could sneak into that range. Julio Jones just torched Byron Maxwell for nine catches 141 yards and two touchdowns. While Williams is no Jones, he is a big-play threat with a career yards per target figure of 9.6. He's not one to rely on if you need safe bankable production, but makes for a strong upside play in a high scoring game.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is my value quarterback of the week. I'll limit my exposure, because there are just better options at the position this week, but I'll concoct a few lineups with a Fitzpatrick/Decker stack. He did next to nothing in his first game in a green uniform, but the second act sets up as a much better outlook for Fitzpatrick. The tilt with the Colts won't be an easy win, and Chris Ivory can't be the sole catalyst for the victory as he was in Week 1. Fitzpatrick's 24 pass attempts were the fourth fewest among quarterback starters who played throughout the entirety of their Week 1 games. You can expect that to reverse. While Vontae Davis should lock down Brandon Marshall most of the day, that just leaves more chances for Decker out of the slot against sub-par defenders. They make for a good bargain stack that will help you stock the rest of your lineup.
Justin is referring to the Johnson and Johnson running back duo in Arizona. While this situation intrigues me, I'll probably be limiting my exposure to them for now. For one, playing Chris Johnson just goes against everything I stand for as a fantasy owner. He might end the day with seven points, and look like a solid flex play, but I'll never wake up on Sunday and be excited with him in my lineup. While the matchup is flexible, I imagine Arizona wins this game through the air. David Johnson piques my interest, but he's also the player the site bumped up the most in the wake of Andre Ellington's injury. He only saw one touch in Week 1, and while he took it to the house, Bruce Arians has repeatedly said he won't just turn the reigns over to the rookie. I'd advise waiting for clarity on this backfield before approaching with vigor in DFS.
Danny Woodhead is an every week start in redraft leagues, and someone I'll consider in every lineup until the DFS sites properly react to his role. Look, you should have known from even before the preseason that Woodhead was set for a big role in the Chargers offense. While Melvin Gordon won't disappear, it's the diminutive veteran back who gets the high value touches. Woodhead had seven red zone touches in Week 1 to Gordon's zero. Don't fade him this week, or any weeks until further notice.
Last week, Ivory was my "near 100 percent exposure player" in the DFS Roundup. That said, I won't go all in on him for the second consecutive week. His Week 1 tilt was the perfect storm for him reaching his maximum weekly value; playing at home with a lead over an inferior team. And while that was ever so sweet, he's in nearly the opposite game script this week.
That being said, I'll still have Ivory in shades this week. The Jets-Colts game should be a high scoring matchup, and we know to target players in those contests for DFS. Ivory is also a three-down back, he saw just one less target than Bilal Powell despite only out-snapping him by three plays. Add in the Colts' issues stopping the run, they allowed the sixth most fantasy points to running backs last week facing the Bills three-pronged attack, and you have some nice upside. Ivory isn't the slam-dunk he was in Week 1, but he's far from a fade at his value in my eyes.
These are probably two of my favorite stacks of this week. I'm not the biggest Brandin Cooks fan, but there's no big press corner on Tampa Bay to shut him down like Patrick Peterson did in Week 1. He and Drew Brees should have a bounce-back week now that they'll be back at home, and the odds on favorites in their Week 2 game. Carson Palmer only hit John Brown for one touchdown and 46 yards, but he wanted more. There was a long potential score that Palmer tried to thread to Brown, but there was a pass interference call on the defense. Brown played the most snaps of any Cardinals receivers in Week 1, and is firmly entrenched as Palmer's guy. Going against the Bears, who allowed 8.2 yards per attempt and a 78.3 competition percentage to Aaron Rodgers last week, these two are a must play.
I also love both of these two stacks because you can form some interesting and unique triple stacks with the bargain second receivers on both teams. But more on that in tomorrow's DFS Roundup.
I like to think I have the emotional fortitude to handle such a daunting task, but at the same time, three hours is a tall order, Mr. Miglio. Without knowing the environment placed in, it's hard to say. If I'm at home, game over; too much control and I have a demanding dog. But even in a neutral room, when factoring in all the needed components (my attention span, my own lack of grit, my distaste for repetition, desire for nourishment), I still say I make it about thirty minutes at most. I'm a weak man.