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Fantasy Football: The post-David Johnson era begins

Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell will be here all season delivering the edge you need to dominate your fantasy football league. Visit each Wednesday for a new column and a new episode of the Fantasy Football Party podcast.

A disaster struck fantasy football in Week 1 – one that had nothing to do with Hurricanes. David Johnson – the consensus top fantasy player overall entering the season – suffered a wrist injury that will require surgery and sideline him most of the rest of the season. He might return around Christmas but that would likely be too late to help crestfallen Cardinals fans or fantasy owners.

My condolences to those owners in year-long leagues who are left to scramble for a running back in the wake of Johnson’s injury. Continue listening to our podcast for tips each week on running backs to take fliers on in his stead. In the meantime, DFS was made for just such an occasion, as your “team” only lasts one week. That makes it easy to turn the page and move on… which we will do now with some bargain-bin players for Week 2.

DFS Week 02 Values

For you DFS players, we’ll provide the best values at QB/RB/WR/TE on a weekly basis. We’ll show you pricing from Fanball, DraftKings and FanDuel. Good luck!

QB: Philip Rivers vs. Miami

Fanball: $7,000
DraftKings: $5,800
FanDuel: $7,000

Rivers predictably had his hands full Monday night on the road at Mile High, but he was only sacked once, only intercepted once and managed three touchdown passes. We’ll call that a “win” considering he was facing one of the top pass rushes and pass defenses in the league. Week 2 brings a softer matchup at home against an overly rested, perhaps rusty, Dolphins squad; yet you can still insert Rivers into your DFS lineup for less than about half the NFL quarterbacks. Only five teams allowed more touchdown passes than Miami last season.

QB: Jared Goff vs. Washington

Fanball: $5,400
DraftKings: $5,100
FanDuel: $6,500

We’re going Hollywood in Week 2 with yet another Los Angeles quarterback. Goff is coming off the most impressive game of his young career, but considering his body of work to this point that’s not saying much. That’s why his DFS value remains so low – close to the bottom of the barrel among NFL starters. He’s basically a free quarterback play. As such, putting him in your lineup allows room for chalk plays at other positions. 

RB: Terrance West vs. Cleveland

Fanball: $5,800
DraftKings: $5,100
FanDuel: $6,600

David Johnson wasn’t the only significant running back loss in Week 1. The Ravens lost Danny Woodhead to a leg injury that could sideline him two months. Javorius Allen will pick up most of the slack in terms of receptions while Woodhead is out but West remains the more featured back on first and second downs, as well as at the goal line in an offense that is striving to run more this season than last. I wrote about West this preseason as a boring running back sleeper. Last week, he posted a solid 80 yards and a touchdown, and this week he faces a Browns defense that remains without disruptive rookie Myles Garrett.

RB: Alvin Kamara vs. New England

Fanball: $6,000
DraftKings: $3,800
FanDuel: $4,700

Did anyone else notice the Saints’ most impressive running back on Monday night wasn’t Mark Ingram or that other guy? Kamara out-snapped Ingram and far out-snapped the sulking Adrian Peterson. His DFS values have not caught up to this apparent changing of the guard – as much as there can be one in a committee backfield – making Kamara a tantalizing play against a New England defense that got thoroughly destroyed by another dual-threat rookie running back in the opener.

RB: Chris Carson vs. San Francisco

Fanball: $3,000
DraftKings: $4,100
FanDuel: $5,200

Sometimes what you see in the preseason isn’t a mirage. Sometimes a no-name running back that goes off during the fake games — looking far better than the well-known veterans he’s behind on the depth chart — really is the best running back on the team. Right now, it sure looks that way. Carson appears fast and strong while Eddie Lacy looks slothful, C.J. Prosise spins his wheels and Thomas Rawls tries to return from his latest malady. Regardless of Rawls’ status, Carson is an intriguing play against last year’s worst defense against running backs. Picking up where they left off, the Niners allowed Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey to pile up 168 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown last week. You’ll have to scroll quite far down the running back list to get Carson in your DFS lineup, but the flexibility he’ll afford you might make it worth the finger workout.

WR: Keenan Allen vs. Miami

Fanball: $6,300
DraftKings: $5,800
FanDuel: $7,100

You remember that stuff above about Rivers? The same thinking applies here. Allen was suffocated by Broncos corners Monday night but still caught five passes and corralled a touchdown. His price tag remains low as DFS value-setters take a wait-and-see approach, bracing for his next injury. Might I suggest, since he’s healthy now, why not stack him with Rivers while both their salaries are very reasonable and the load up on higher-priced studs at other lineup spots?

WR: Cooper Kupp vs. Washington

Fanball: $3,300
DraftKings: $4,100
FanDuel: $5,400

Here we go again. Our second suggested quarterback-wide receiver stack of the week. I’m definitely going to have a decent amount of exposure on both duos. DFS sites are basically giving Kupp away at these prices so take advantage while you can before his (ahem) Kupp runneth over with receptions. We were all over Kupp at the Fantasy Football Party this preseason and I personally grabbed him in several leagues. He was also in some of my more successful Week 1 DFS lineups, as his 76 yards and a touchdown made for a great ROI. His price might not be this low again this season. Even better, his Week 2 matchup against Washington looks promising, as their shut-down corner Josh Norman will be covering either Sammy Watkins or Robert Woods on the outside while Kupp runs free out of the slot – much like Eagles slot receiver Nelson Agholor did in Week 1, finishing with six receptions for 86 yards and a score.

WR: Chris Hogan at New Orleans

Fanball: $3,800
DraftKings: $5,600
FanDuel: $6,200

The Patriots are going through wide receivers faster than Lambeau Field goes through kegs. Okay, maybe not quite that fast, but still. Hogan is one of three Pats primary receivers left standing entering Week 2 (assuming Danny Amendola is sidelined by the concussion he suffered last Thursday against the Chiefs). Phillip Dorsett is still learning the new offense and the entire Saints secondary will be tracking Brandin Cooks in his homecoming to the Big Easy. This is setting up beautifully for a big, easy game for Hogan, who was limited to one catch in Week 1. The Saints’ young defense got obliterated by the Vikings receivers on Monday night, making Hogan a potential steal at these price-points.

TE: Charles Clay at Carolina

Fanball: $4,100
DraftKings: $3,000
FanDuel: $5,200

If your DFS roster construction leaves you looking for value at tight end, you’re not going to wind up with a top-tier player. What you can only hope for is a tight end who’s active in the passing game and available dirt cheap. That sounds like Clay. Bills wide receivers were invisible in Week 1. LeSean McCoy did all the heavy lifting while Clay scored a touchdown and led the Bills with nine targets – more than Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones combined.

TE: Cameron Brate vs. Chicago

Fanball: $3,600
DraftKings: $3,000
FanDuel: $5,300

Listeners of the podcast heard us talking about Brate virtually every week last season as he remained unowned in more than half of fantasy leagues yet finished as a top-10 tight end. Apparently DFS value-setters are playing into the fantasy industry’s assumption that Brate’s contributions will regress severely due to the addition of rookie O.J. Howard. Thus, his ownership levels and DFS price remain embarrassingly low. From our vantage point, however, Brate is still the primary pass-catching tight end in the Buccaneers offense. Oh, and their season-opener comes against a Bears team that was humiliated by Falcons tight end Austin Hooper this past Sunday.

Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell co-host the 1500ESPN Fantasy Football Party podcast. Bookmark the podcast page for upcoming episodes and subscribe to the podcast now! Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

Maggio hosted Fantasy Football Sunday on 1500ESPN from 2012-2013 and is the Fantasy Football Editor at Mitchell is Vice President of Content for Sportradar. And Tuvey is Senior NFL Analyst and Director of Content for Fanball, a SportsHub Technologies company. All three men are kind of big deals, enjoy leather-bound books and have homes that smell of rich mahogany.

Follow Maggio @MPLSMaggio
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Follow the Fantasy Football Party @TheFFParty


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