Gridiron 3X: Top Projected DraftKings Plays Week 2
As much as the coronavirus has altered our daily way of life, the opening week to the NFL season was as wild and turbulent as ever. Hopefully, you were able to navigate through the carnage on your way to a successful daily fantasy week. Whatever the case may be, we are fully prepared to help you win big in Week 2.
One of the most effective ways to help you win big on Draft Kings is to project which players can score three times the amount of their weekly price. Determining which players can achieve that is the exact purpose of this weekly article that Gridiron Experts has titled, 3X.
What is 3X
If you are looking for an explanation as to what we mean by a player delivering three times their weekly salary, let’s use Melvin Gordon as an example.
Headed into his Week 2 matchup against the Steelers, Gordon carries a DraftKings’ price tag of $5,200. For Gordon to reach our 3X expectations, he will need to score 15.6 points (5200×3). Granted, I do not think Gordon will do that against the Steelers, but it is still an example.
One other thing I like to bring to your attention before we begin is explaining what we mean by saying that a player exceeds 3X expectations by a certain amount of points.
For example, Russell Wilson entered Week 1 with a DraftKings price tag of $7,000. Multiplying his price tag by three, Wilson would need to score 21 fantasy points to reach his 3X expectations. As we now know, Wilson crushed the Falcons secondary as he scored 34.78 fantasy points. All of this would mean that Wilson exceeded his 3X mark by 13.78 points (34.78-21).
Week 1 Recap
While there were multiple players selected that eclipsed their 3X mark, two of the more successful calls were Cam Newton and Jamison Crowder. In regards to Newton, the now Patriots quarterback had a productive return to the NFL. Highlighted by 75 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns, Newton would outscore his 3X expectations by 7.40 points.
As for Crowder, the Jets pass-catcher started slow but came through in the second half with a 69-yard touchdown reception. That touchdown helped Crowder to finish eighth in points scored at the position. As if finishing eighth wasn’t enough, Crowder also exceeded his 3X projection by 11.90 points.
With Week 1 in the rearview, let’s find out who can you win big in Week 2.
Mitch Trubisky ($5,500)
To quote Cher, if I could back time and if I told you back in April that Mitch Trubisky would be a player to invest in for Week 2, you would have thought I was crazy. That late eighties reference aside, it is Week 2, and I have projected Trubisky as a player who can exceed his 3X expectations. For the Bears signal-caller to do so, he will need to score 16.5 fantasy points.
This week, Trubisky and the Bears will welcome in a Giants team that allowed 22.06 points to Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1. While being under the direction of new head coach Joe Judge, this is a Giants defense that allowed 20 or more fantasy points to quarterbacks in all but three games last season. Trusbisky was one of those quarterbacks who scored more than 20 fantasy points against the Giants last season as he had 20.92 back in Week 12. For what is worth, Trubisky was priced $400 cheaper in that game as opposed to this upcoming week and exceeded his 3X expectations by 5.62 points.
Last Sunday against the Lions, a strong second-half performance by Trubisky would have him finishing as the eighth-best scoring quarterback. While Allen Robinson has been busy venting his current contract situation on social, he will still have an impact against this Giants defense that was torched by JuJu Smith-Schuster last week. Then there is Anthony Miller, who is going from the best-kept fantasy secret to must-have player who had 76-yards receiving and a touchdown in Week 1. Adding the promising weapons to a favorable upcoming schedule and Trubisky could be a viable daily fantasy option till at least Week 7.
Josh Allen ($6,700)
In Week 1, Josh Allen finished in second in quarterback scoring and was one of two quarterbacks to exceed his 3X expectations by double-digit points. Next for Allen and the Bills is a visit to Miami to take on a Dolphins defense that last week had issues with another running quarterback.
Last week, the Dolphins would allow the seventh-most points to the quarterback position, which was highlighted by Cam Newton rushing for 75-yards and two touchdowns. The Dolphins will need to solve the riddle that is the running quarterback like Josh Allen, who was one of three quarterbacks with more than ten rushing attempts. As if the rushing wasn’t enough, Allen also completed 71.7% of his passes for 312-yards and two touchdowns.
The DraftKings price tag for Allen this week will be the highest that it has ever been in his career, $6,700. That would mean, for Allen to reach his 3X expectations, he would need to score 20.1 fantasy points. Luckily for those looking to buy in on Allen, the Bills quarterback has averaged 32.58 points against his AFC East rival.
Other 3X Options: Ben Roethlisberger ($6,300), Aaron Rodgers ($6,900), Philip Rivers ($5,900)
Jonathan Taylor ($5,700)
Jonathan Taylor entered his NFL debut priced the same as this week, $5,700. After finishing that game with 14.9 fantasy points, the Colts rookie finished below his 3X expectation by -2.20 points. However, reaching his 3X expectations of 17.1 points seems probable now with the news that Marlon Mack is out for the season.
One of the most encouraging things to come out of last week’s game for Taylor was his work in the passing game. Given the track record of his difficulties in the passing game in college, catching all six of his targets in Week 1, and averaging 11 yards per reception in the process, is a plus.
Opposing the Taylor and the Colts this weekend will be Minnesota Vikings. While all of the talk out of the Packers and Vikings matchup last week was Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams putting on a clinic, the Vikings also had their troubles against the running back position. When the dust settled on Week 1, the Vikings allowed the seventh-most points to the running back position. Lastly and always worth mentioning when discussing the backfield in Indianapolis is the offensive line. Rated as one of the best lines entering this season, Pro Football Focus has the Colts line over the Vikings listed as the best matchup of the week by 42%.
Nyheim Hines ($5,300)
Yes, I’m double-dipping on the running back position with Indianapolis. Even with mentioning that Jonathan Taylor caught all six of his targets this past weekend, there were still more than enough targets for Nyheim Hines to be fantasy relevant.
Hines led all running backs in Week 1 as he hauled in all eight of his targets for 45 yards. On top of that, Hines was also one of just two running backs to finish the week with a rushing and receiving touchdown. It was that performance that had Hines finishing Week 1 fourth in scoring at the position.
In regards to 3X expectations, Hines joined Josh Jacobs as one of two backs to crush their 3X mark by 15 points or more. Even with Hines’ price tag jumping up by $1,300 this week, I still have confidence in the Colts back to score at least 15.9 points in Week 2 (5300×3).
Antonio Gibson ($4,300)
Despite Peyton Barber scoring two touchdowns this past week, he only averaged 1.7 yards on 17 carries. That sort of number is not sustainable throughout a 16-game season. Instead, I would like to nominate a Washington running back who, from a yardage standpoint, was more effective with his touches, Antonio Gibson.
In Gibson’s NFL debut, he averaged four yards per rushing attempt and caught both of his targets, and he now enters a matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. For Gibson to reach his 3X expectations, he will need to score at least 12.9 points. Luckily for potential Gibson investors, the Cardinals defense allowed 47.7 points to the running back position last week. What is most encouraging about that number for Gibson is that the Cardinals were one of just two teams to allowed multiple touchdown receptions for backs. Delving into the Cardinals a little more, trouble against the running back position is a trend that dates back to last season when they were sixth in most receiving yards allowed and twelfth in total points allowed.
To reiterate, we are talking about a rookie running back who played in 26% of his team’s offensive snaps but still led his team in rushing. Like most depth charts, the cream will rise to the top. While the Cardinals might be a few weeks away from challenging opposing backfields, there is no better time for Gibson to break out.
Other 3X Options: Miles Sanders ($6,000), Derrick Henry ($7,900), Todd Gurley ($6,100)
Parris Campbell ($4,500)
In case you haven’t gotten the hint, this week’s column might as well be brought to you by the Indianapolis Colts. Parris Campbell’s first game with Philip Rivers turned out to be a promising start. Campbell would receive a career-high nine targets and would finish with 14 fantasy points. For those keeping score at home, Campbell’s 3X number in Week 1 was 11.7 fantasy points.
The prediction is that for the second week in a row, and for the third time in his brief NFL career, Campbell will score double-digit fantasy points. For the sake of this article, he will also exceed his 3X expectations of 13.5 or more fantasy points.
The opportunity will certainly be there as the Colts prepare to take on a Vikings team that was tuned up last week. In their Week 1 matchup against the Packers, the Vikings allowed 82.4 to the wide receiver position. That was the second-highest number on the week and the most that the Vikings have allowed since Week 4 of 2018.
On top of the Vikings allowing a boatload of fantasy points, they also allowed three different wide receivers to score touchdowns. Given the fact that TY Hilton is still the number one wide receiver for the Colts, that is an encouraging sign. With a reckless abandon, Philip Rivers is going to throw the ball a lot this season. Coupling those things with Campbell’s 4.31 40-speed, and it is hard to not buy-in.
Adam Thielen ($7,200)
Based on the small sample size that we have this season, I love Adam Thielen’s odds to exceed his 3X expectations of 21.6 fantasy points. Last week, Thielen was one of two wide receivers to be priced at $6,500 or more that finished in the top-5 in positional scoring. Headed into Week 2, you would be hard-pressed to not bet large on Thielen again. One of the biggest reasons is the players on his team. With Stefon Diggs traded to the Bills and Justin Jefferson’s slow-start in training camp, Thielen is the number one target for Kirk Cousins.
As if that is not enough, as previously mentioned, this Vikings defense is as bad as advertised, so no matter how bad Mike Zimmer wants to run the ball, the Vikings will be in a situation to pass. The best example of this is that 56% of Cousins’ pass attempts were in the fourth quarter. Then there is the opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, who gave up the tenth-most points to wide receivers last week, and the ninth-most in 2019. Even with Thielen playing away from the slot position, the position that made him famous, on 66% of his plays last week, he was still able to produce. Until one of Thielen’s teammates becomes reliable, expect Thielen to look more like the Thielen of 2018.
JuJu Smith-Schuster ($6,500)
For JuJu Smith-Schuster to hit his 3X mark in Week 2, he will need to score at least 19.5 fantasy points. Judging by Week 1, with Ben Roethlisberger back in the fold, scoring more than 20 points in consecutive weeks for the first since 2017 doesn’t seem that far fetched.
Week 1 would be a breath of fresh air for Smith-Schuster. Against a poor Giants secondary and for just the second time in his career, the Steelers wideout would score two touchdowns in a game. The truth of it is, I could dazzle you with stats all day, but the simple fact is that a healthy Ben Roethlisberger makes top tier production possible for Smith-Schuster.
Shifting the focus from the Steelers themselves, their opponents this week will be a Broncos team playing on a short week and making the long-distance trip to Pittsburgh. While the Broncos were only fourteenth in points allowed to the wide receiver position in Week 1, that was against a Titans offense who’s number one receiver, A.J. Brown, had been playing injured. Roethlisberger represents a taller task for Ryan Tannehill for a Broncos secondary who will be playing without A.J Bouye.
While the running game in Pittsburgh is becoming a fantasy headache, the passing game is far from it. Feel free to buy into Smith-Schuster and or Diontae Johnson ($4,500).
Other 3X Options: Davante Adams ($8,100), Scotty Miller ($4,100), Michael Gallup ($5,600)
Chris Herndon ($3,400)
Some thought that Chris Herndon was an immediate play in Week 1. The Buffalo Bills debunked that as they held Herndon to just 8.7 points, which was eighteenth among tight ends. Week 2 was the week that optimists were waiting for as the Jets will welcome in the 49ers.
Before getting to the Jets opponent, there are injuries to one of Herndon’s teammates that could have his target share increasing. As of this writing, Jamison Crowder continues to deal with hamstring issues, which forced him to miss practice on Thursday. Even if Crowder can play, it is hard to envision him being able to handle 32% of the team’s targets. That injury will likely have Sam Darnold leaning on Breshad Perriman ($3,800) and Herndon.
As previously mentioned, Herndon was not able to produce much against the Bills in Week 1. While that is true, Herndon tied for third at his position with seven targets. The Jets’ tight end will take those targets into a matchup versus the 49ers. With less than five fantasy points allowed to tight ends last week, the 49ers might seem like a tough matchup. Looking closer to their Week 1 opponent, the Cardinals only targeted two tight ends a total of four times out of 40 pass attempts. The end of last season paints a more appropriate picture of how the 49ers play tight ends. In the final five games of the regular season last year, the 49ers had three games in which they gave up 20+ points to tight ends. Unlike Week 1, this is the week to roster Herndon.
Evan Engram ($5,300)
For just the eighth time in thirty-five games, last week, Evan Engram failed to score more than five fantasy points. With Daniel Jones targeting Engram seven times, the effort was there. The Week 1 woes were due in large part to the Giants opponent, the Steelers. Luckily, Engram has a more promising matchup in Week 2 in the Bears. Last season, the Bears allowed the ninth-most points to tight ends, and they picked up right where they left off in Week 1 as they allowed the ninth-most points again.
For Engram to reach his 3X expectations, he will need to score 15.9 fantasy points. With Engram hitting that number or higher in 34.2% of his games, you should feel encouraged. Another stat that might make you feel comfortable betting on Engram is that there have only been two occasions in which the Giants tight end has had back-to-back games with single-digit fantasy points.
Other 3X Options: Tyler Higbee ($4,700), Dallas Goedert ($5,000), Hayden Hurst ($4,600)