Daily fantasy brings a breath of fresh air to the industry, with an emphasis on the excitement of drafting a new team every week. We all know that the late summer drafts and the thrill of analyzing the weekly matchups are the best part of playing fantasy football. FanDuel's daily game merges those two together to form the newest wave rocking the fantasy world.
Here in the weekly FanDuel Roundup column, we'll breakdown everything you need to know to pick the best plays on the sites' weekend slate. For Week 2, we don't have quite as many optimal plays as we did in Week 1. So we'll be more selective in who we're using this weekend.
Top quarterback plays and values
Drew Brees: Everything is lining up for the Saints to have a big bounce back in the second week of the NFL season. The Buccaneers fielded one of the worst pass defenses in Week 1, and gave up four touchdowns to a rookie in Marcus Mariota. Brees was inefficient in Week 1, averaging .35 fantasy points per pass attempt. However, he was on the road against a tough defense. Since 2013, Brees averages 6.9 more fantasy points at home than he does on the road, despite maintaining a similar rate of pass attempts. Back in his stadium against a poor defense, it's time to get Brees back in your daily lineups. I'll be stacking him with Brandin Cooks in plenty of lineups.
Matt Ryan: Despite carving through the Eagles defense, Matt Ryan's two interceptions held him back as a fantasy scorer. We're betting on that to get corrected. Even if it does not, Julio Jones' current ridiculous play gives Ryan such a safe, tangible floor. He draws a matchup against the Giants, who were fruitless in their attempts to stop Dallas on Monday night.
Tony Romo: The Dallas-Philadelphia Week 2 tilt will be one of the highest scoring games of the week. Thus, we'll consider both Romo and Sam Bradford in our lineups. The Eagles defensive upgrades don't seem up to the task of stopping anyone. Romo might be a solid contrarian play because the public will overreact to Dez missing this game. While that is a factor, Romo looked just fine without his star wideout against another poor defense Monday night.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: It was a pretty non-descript Jets debut for Ryan Fitzpatrick, with only 13 fantasy points scored. On Monday night, the Jets will face much stiffer competition when they travel to Indianapolis. The Colts will certainly keep the score tighter with New York than the Browns did. Targeting passers playing against the Colts could prove to be a season-long solid option. Their offense is too good for teams to get out far ahead on them, but their defense has enough holes to pick at. Sounds like the perfect marriage of volume and efficiency. He's a good bargain target for daily fantasy, and he has good wide receiver stack candidate with Eric Decker.
Top running back plays
Marshawn Lynch: Despite the addition of Fred Jackson, Lynch is still the horse of this offense. He played on early downs, and did work out of the backfield. He's completely impossible to take off the field. Last weekend, the Bears pulled off stretch and crease runs with ease against Green Bay leading to Matt Forte's big game. Lynch can function in the same way this week. I've noticed there's not much buzz on Lynch right now among the top tier running backs in DFS circles. Use that to your advantage.
Jeremy Hill: The big Bengals back rewarded us with two touchdowns last week against Oakland. We go right back to him in Week 2. The Bengals play at home this time, while still widely projected to beat the Chargers. Those are exactly the type of running backs we look for. If you're taking a high-flight back this week, it's Hill.
Mark Ingram: Of course, you may not want to assemble many lineups with Ingram and members of the Saints passing game together, but you need a steady dose of Ingram this week. The Saints will trounce the Buccaneers at home this week, and that means plenty of opportunities for Ingram to get back to the banger style we're used to him playing with. However, we are glad he played passing snaps for the Saints in Week 1. Making him game flow immune is a big boost to his stock.
Carlos Hyde: Yes, Hyde will be a popular player in DFS this week after a monster Week 1. However, I find it hard to fade him too much. 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.
Chris Ivory: We're not 100 percent exposure high on Ivory this week, but he's still in our good graces. 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. For one more week at least, Ivory is too much of a value to ignore.
Tevin Coleman: I wasn't the biggest fan of Coleman as a draft prospect, and he still hasn't answered all of those questions, but he looks good. He's put some of the issues he showed in college behind him. While he was economical in his Week 1 rushing, looking good in the outside stretch running game, this could be the week he busts a patented long run. The Giants got pushed back by the Cowboys plenty, but Dallas doesn't have the athletes in the backfield to finish the job. Atlanta has that, and an improved offensive line.
Ameer Abdullah: He's almost certainly headed for an over-owned week after his exciting first game, but given the value, I can't pivot away from Abdullah just yet. He's listed in the same range as Todd Gurley, Devonta Freeman and Darren McFadden. Abdullah might well outscore all three of those players combined this week. He's facing off against the Vikings who, despite high expectations, floundered against Carlos Hyde and the 49ers. The insanely agile rookie running back should make them pay for poor gap discipline and second level gaffes as Hyde did.
Top wide receiver plays
Julio Jones and Antonio Brown: Both players have a good shot to duel each other for the rights to finish the season as the WR1 in fantasy. We want to take the ride with each every week in DFS. Regardless of matchup, both Jones and Brown have the perfect combination of the highest floor and ceiling among wide receivers. I won't make DFS lineups without a little of each every week of the season.
DeAndre Hopkins: It's time to accept the reality that DeAndre Hopkins is not only one of the best young wideouts in the game, but a player you can never bench in fantasy. Despite a quarterback carousel going down in the course of one game, Hopkins still managed to catch two touchdowns, one from each passer. He saw 12 targets and caught nine of them. In Week 2, he'll face a secondary that shut down the Jaguars, and has an emerging lockdown corner in Josh Norman. The Panthers did not use Norman to shadow any players in Week 1, and he primarily plays left cornerback. DeAndre Hopkins moves around the formation, playing some split end, flanker and slot receiver. He'll get his chances to do battle against other members of the Panthers secondary. People will fade Nuk because of the quarterback situation, and the Norman narrative, but he's proving more and more that that's nearly impossible to consider doing.
Mike Evans: After missing Week 1, it sounds like Evans is back and practicing fully for Week 2. He'll return to the lineup just in time to take advantage of one of the NFL's most beat up secondaries. The Cardinals racked up over 300 passing yards on New Orleans. We don't have a ton of confidence in Jameis Winston, but there's a chance he could be better with his top weapon in tow. Expect Evans to have an explosive debut for the 2015 season.
Brandin Cooks:Patrick Peterson took the Saints top receiver away in Week 1. Cooks couldn't get off the big corner's press attempts. He's a matchup dependent DFS play going forward. Luckily, this is one of those good matchup weeks. The Bucs gave up 25.6 fantasy point to the Titans wide receivers last week. Cooks can beat the defenders in a similar fashion to what Kendall Wright did in Week 1. He's a great stacking candidate with Drew Brees.
Terrance Williams: While I don't follow the assumption that Williams will all of the sudden become a target hog in this offense, he does get an uptick in DFS with Dez Bryant out. He goes against an Eagles secondary that was the worst at allowing fantasy points to wide receivers in Week 1. Williams is a good value this week, and presents good upside in a high scoring game.
Donte Moncrief: With T.Y. Hilton not healthy, and Andre Johnson potentially fading, Moncrief is on the rise. He played 74 percent of the offensive snaps in Week 1, and is clearly the third receiver. He's an athletic marvel, and had big games as a rookie. He's not one to go all in on this week, in case he gets the Darrelle Revis treatment, but his value is too sweet to pass on much.
Top tight end plays
Jimmy Graham: It was encouraging to see that as soon as the Seahawks got into the red zone in Week 1, they went straight to Graham. Seattle got bumped off their game plan against the Rams, but they'll once again need to pass a lot when they travel to play Green Bay. Graham is a strong touchdown candidate, and could see more than one in what should be competitive game between two familiar teams. The public is currently smitten with young tight ends who went nuts last week, Tyler Eifert and Austin Seferian-Jenkins for example. You should be the high-named contrarian and go back to a potentially under-owned Graham.
Greg Olsen: DFS players were stunned and disappointed with Greg Olsen's one catch for 11 yards 2015 debut. He was said to be a target monster in the wake of the Kelvin Benjamin injury, but only saw three looks all day. However, bear in mind that he had a touchdown called back on a questionable offensive pass interference penalty. I'm sure you joined me in writhing around on the floor drying when that call held up. Better days are ahead for the Panthers tight end, starting this week when he faces off against the same Texans who allowed over 100 yards and two touchdowns to Travis Kelce last week.
Heath Miller:Markus Wheaton still is not the No. 2 target, because Heath Miller secured that job. Ben Roethlisberger's longtime favorite is a good option at tight end this week. He's a value, and caught eight passes in Week 1. The 49ers had trouble defending Kyle Rudolph, and Miller is a similar style of player.
Jordan Reed: As long as Jordan Reed is healthy and a bargain on FanDuel, I'll give him a look every week. He caught seven passes and scored one touchdown against the Dolphins in Week 1. We shouldn't be so surprised, as Reed historically performs better when Kirk Cousins plays. Reed averages seven receptions and 112 yards in games with Cousins, as opposed to four catches for 70 yards in games he does not. The way each plays the game jives well with the other. The Rams historically defend the tight end well, but gave up a few big plays to Jimmy Graham. Either way, Reed will get peppered with targets in Jackson's absence.
Top defense plays
Rams DEF: The best defensive line in the league goes up against one of the league's most turnover prone quarterbacks.
Titans DEF: Many will not expect the Titans defense to repeat their Week 1 heroics, but have you seen Johnny Manziel play football? While he looks better than last year, he turns the ball over at an alarming enough rate that a defense facing him is a must-play. This is a good DEF to play if you're trying to pivot away from the popular Rams.
Stack of the week
Carson Palmer, John Brown and Larry Fitzgerald: That's right the same one as last week, but with an added flavor. The Cardinals trio brought us plenty of points in Week 1, but Brown only got 46 yards and a touchdown. We're willing to bet there is more in store this week. There was a pass interference call on a defender covering Brown that could have really boosted the receiver's day. The trust and feel between Palmer and Brown was still evident. When they travel to Chicago, the duo will find a ton of passing room. Veteran cornerback Alan Ball got worked by James Jones in Week 1. He'll have his hands full with the younger, faster and superior Brown.
The Bears-Cardinals game should be a bit more back and forth and competitive than Chicago's loss to Green Bay. That will lead to another big passing game for Palmer and company. Which brings us to Larry Fitzgerald. The veteran receiver took most of his snaps in the slot. The Bears nickel corner is currently Sherrick McManis, a fifth-round pick of the Houston Texans from 2010. Since then he's bounced around the league, never earning much playing time. Fitzgerald will expose him as a liability. With a lack of clarity in their backfield, Arizona will take to the air to win this game. These are the contests we go with the fabled triple stack.
Best contrarian play
Best contrarian play
Rob Gronkowski: Remember what we discussed with Julio Jones and Antonio Brown? Same thing with Gronk. He's in weekly consideration, and never a full fade. His value isn't great this week, so it's fine if you want to pursue other options ... at your own risk. The Patriots will have a bit of a tough time moving the ball on the road against the Bills. This defense chases after ball carriers like a pack of hungry dogs. They are unlikely to establish a running game, and Julian Edelman won't be as much of a factor after the catch as we're used to. That leaves but one mighty option to default to.
My near 100 percent exposure player
Jordan Matthews: The Eagles top targeted player of Week 1 should have ended up with an even better stat line than he posted from Monday night. Matthews clearly crossed the plane on a would-be second half touchdown, but Chip Kelly elected not challenge and called for Ryan Mathews to just punch it in the very next play. Had he not let a pass slip through his hands causing the game-clinching interception, he could have racked up more stats on the next drive. Even with all that, he still amassed 10 catches for over 100 yards. I have a feeling that big drop on national television will cause some owners to fade him, but that would be a mistake. Matthews is the Eagles slot receiver, and the Cowboys slot corner Orlando Scandrick is out for the season. Matchup meets talent. Matthews is one of the few receivers outside of the elite tier that combines high upside with a bankable floor. He's a must-play in all formats this week.
Cheat code of the week
Brandon Coleman: His status as a bargain may be waning soon. It's surprising he's still such a value after he caught a touchdown in Week 1. He was one of the top waiver-wire targets of the week in redraft, and is a cheat-code level steal in DFS. He's listed in the same range on FanDuel as Dwayne Bowe and Breshad Perriman. It's clear the public is underselling just how large of a role Coleman is set to inherit in this offense. Despite Marques Colston's starting status, Coleman out-snapped him 58 to 46. He also outscored the rapidly declining veteran in fantasy points. In Week 1, all the other Saints weapons saw soft coverage with the defense primarily gearing up against Brandin Cooks. Coleman was able to take advantage of that, and should be able to again this weekend. The Buccaneers showed us nothing against the Titans to convince us that they've made any strides towards improving their defense. I mentioned the Arizona triple stack earlier, but I'll also look to compile some Brees/Cooks/Coleman stacks, as well. If they light up the Bucs defense, that could be a DFS week winner. Stick Coleman in your lineup right away, and watch how many other stars you can squeeze in.