NFL DFS Picks & Strategy, Week 2 Main Slate
This is the Sunday Main Slate NFL Daily Plug! Occupy Fantasy’s Chris Rooney has written up a guide to the slate using the Occupy Model, betting line movements, and news updates. Keep an eye on this page, updates will be made IN BLUE on Sunday mornings if anything changes.
NFL DFS Plug is posted for Main Slates, and is fully updated by 8:00pm on Fridays.
Follow Occupy Fantasy on Twitter for updates through lock.
Keep an eye on this page, updates will be made IN BLUE on Sunday mornings if anything changes. For NFL Inactives, visit this link to the NFL.com page - updates roughly 90 minutes before kickoff for each game.
Consider the Plug an in-depth road map for the main slate. Let’s get to it!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, -9.5
Kansas City Chiefs, -8.5
Tennessee Titans, -7.5
Pittsburgh Steelers, -7.5
San Francisco, -7
Highest Game Totals:
Highest Implied Team Totals:
Dallas Cowboys, 29.25
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 28.75
Baltimore Ravens, 28.5
Kansas City Chiefs, 28
Green Bay Packers, 27.75
Lowest Implied Team Totals:
Denver Broncos, 16.5
New York Jets, 17.25
Miami Dolphins, 17.5
Jacksonville Jaguars, 18.25
Carolina Panthers, 19.25
GAMES TO STACK
Each week, we’ll point out three games to stack based on the Occupy Model, betting line information such as game totals, implied team totals, line movements, and more.
The Ravens fly south to take on the Texans in Week 2, and they’re flying high after their 38-6 drubbing of the Browns in Week 1. After Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs threw the ball all over the yard against these Texans in Week 1, expect big things from Baltimore’s aerial assault - Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, and Mark Andrews all have top 10 matchups by Football Outsiders’ DVOA this week, and they led Baltimore in routes run per QB dropback last time out. Expect Willie Snead to be involved to a lesser degree, but still be viable in tournaments. Mark Ingram and JK Dobbins dominated the opportunities at RB for Baltimore in the first half, so expect them to be the best bets in the backfield with the Ravens. Might want to consider avoiding the RBs here, however - the Texans are the 3rd best rushing defense in the NFL by DVOA at this early juncture.
For Houston, the rushing matchup is surprisingly strong. David Johnson gets to tote the rock behind the 5th best run blocking line in the NFL through one week of action, and Baltimore did allow 138 yards on just 27 carries last time out. DeShaun Watson loves Will Fuller, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. His 10 targets in Week 1 doubled the highest total for any other Texan WR against the Chiefs. Fuller’s matchup with Marcus Peters will be a fun one to watch, and it’s one we think he can win. If Houston is playing from behind yet again in Week 2, Fuller is the best bet to compile stats on pure volume. Randall Cobb and Jordan Akins are the other players who ran a high percentage of routes on Watson’s dropbacks, so consider them in your game stacks if building multiple lineups.
The good chalk stack of the week? Falcons and Cowboys down at Jerry World. This game has the highest total on the slate at 54 points, and features a Falcons offense that box score scouts will be high on after their shootout with Seattle last weekend.
Atlanta’s pass defense was torched by Russell Wilson in Week 1, so it should be no surprise that each of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb have strong projected matchups. Ezekiel Elliott should feast, and even new TE1 Dalton Schultz warrants at least some consideration - the Falcons did concede a TD to SEA TE Greg Olsen last week, and rank 26th by DVOA against the position now as a result.
For the Falcons, each of Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and even Russell Gage saw 12 targets, good for ~22% share of Ryan’s targets in their high volume passing attack. Ridley and Jones run more downfield routes, while Gage looks to be more of a slot specialist based on the raw air yard totals through one week. Todd Gurley’s usage was impressive, and he’s clearly the top dog on his new squad - his matchup here is difficult, as the Falcons rank 10th by DVOA through one week of action. Don’t sleep on Hayden Hurst at TE, either - he ran a route on 80% of Ryan’s dropbacks.
Last but certainly not least, one of our favorite game stacks of the week:
Already our second time going with the Packers as a stack - the reality is, the concentrated volume for Aaron Jones and Davante Adams gives them a high ceiling every single week. Adams’ 17 Week 1 targets were good for an absurd 38.6% share, while Jones’ 16 carries and 6 targets amounted to an elite 32.98 weighted opportunities to touch the football. This week, we project Jones for 24.4 w-opp in the Model, inside the top 15 on this slate. Jones will be low owned while running behind the 3rd best run blocking line in the NFL by DVOA. Slot man Allen Lazard ran the 2nd most routes for GB last week, while Marquez Valdes-Scantling continues to be a boom-or-bust downfield threat we should consider in game stack environments.
With no Kenny Golladay once again, Quintez Cephus is in line for another monster workload. The 5th round rookie out of Wisconsin was amongst the raw air yards leaders in Week 1, but didn’t do much with the opportunities. Expect that to change against a Packers secondary that allowed Kirk Cousins to throw for 10.4 yards per attempt (Y/A) in Week 1. Marvin Jones, 2nd year man TJ Hockenson, and even Danny Amendola could all find their way into the optimal DET stacks. While it was Adrian Peterson who led DET RBs in touches last week, D’Andre Swift played the most snaps, ran the most routes, and saw the most targets at the position. Swift is a low floor, high ceiling RB at low ownership if that usage continues.
BEST PLAYS BY POSITION
Stud: Lamar Jackson (@ Houston)
Lamar didn’t have much opportunity to compile raw statistics, as 3 Cleveland turnovers left the Ravens with multiple short field drives. Even so, he still managed to post a solid 275 yard, 3 TD day through the air. It’s highly unlikely Baltimore will start three drives on Houston’s side of the field in Week 2 - meaning the passing and rushing game upside Lamar carries will still be in play here. Jackson should feast on a Houston secondary that didn’t give Patrick Mahomes much resistance in Week 1. The Ravens have the 2nd highest implied team total on this slate.
Value: Josh Allen (@ Miami)
Paying up for Jackson may be a lot easier in Week 2 thanks to some of the opportunities discussed below, but it’s certainly not required. We can get other high-floor dynamic QBs in our lineups, and the next best option? Josh Allen going up against a Miami Dolphins defense that just allowed Cam Newton to run wild. It’s highly unlikely that Buffalo runs 81 offensive plays again (that’s the absurd total that allowed Allen to throw for 300+ yards in Week 1) - what’s not unlikely? Buffalo stomping on the Dolphins and their 30th ranked DVOA pass defense. Allen’s ability to find either John Brown or Stefon Diggs only elevates the floor we already knew he had due to his rushing upside. Buffalo is a 5.5 point favorite this week.
Value: Kyler Murray (vs. Washington)
With 91 rushing yards against the 49ers in Week 1, we have a leading indicator that Murray may be more willing to take off and make plays with his legs in 2020. His 13 rushing attempts were more than what he had in any game in 2019.
Despite their comeback victory in Week 1, Washington still ranked poorly against each play type - they are currently the 26th and 27th DVOA defense against the pass and run, respectively. As a 7 point home favorite, Kyler should be able to leverage his own dynamic skill set and provide a high floor for fantasy owners here. Murray is a better value on DraftKings ($6,100) than on FanDuel ($8,000).
Stud: Christian McCaffrey (@ Tampa Bay)
We actually have a slate here where you don’t have to pay up for CMC. While his usage will always provide a high floor for lineups, there’s so much value available in Week 2 that he’s merely a luxury play now. CMC is a stronger play on FanDuel thanks to the scoring, and that’s reflected in his projected ownership - we have him as the 5th highest owned RB there, versus just 8th on the DraftKings side. We project 34.8 weighted opportunities for him to touch the ball this week - once again, the most on the slate.
Tampa was the best rushing defense in 2019, and was stingy against the Saints in Week 1. His 4 targets in Week 1 - under a new head coach - matched his 2nd lowest total from 2019. Food for thought - if that doesn’t improve here shortly, we should expect CMC’s price to start declining from these five figure all-time salary highs soon.
Stud: Derrick Henry (vs. Jacksonville)
While it didn’t seem like Henry was having much success in Week 1, he still tallied 116 rushing yards against the Broncos. Now drawing the start at home against the Jaguars, he has a much better matchup as an 8.5 point favorite.
Tennessee kept just one other traditional RB on the active roster at cutdown day - rookie Darrynton Evans. Evans will likely be active for his first NFL game in Week 2, but doesn’t represent any real threat to Henry out of the gate. Henry is our top overall RB play on FanDuel, and projects for the 4th highest ownership on both FanDuel and DraftKings. We project him for 33.7 weighted-opportunities this Sunday.
Value: Raheem Mostert (@ NY Jets)
The 49ers-Jets game is loaded with value opportunities on both sides. The 49ers have a banged up secondary, which dovetails nicely with some of the WR value for the Jets (covered below). With Kittle out for the 49ers, pass catchers on SF who don’t normally shine may get more attention from fantasy players.
The player who should be firmly on your radar? None other than American Dream Raheem - that’s right, if you don’t play Raheem, you don’t love America! I tweeted about his elite Week 1 usage earlier this week:
60% of Week 1 snaps, ~30 weighted opportunities (15 carries, 5 targets), at least one touchdown in 9 of his last 10 games?— Chris Rooney (@cdr02989) September 16, 2020
And breakaway speed? Even if Tevin's volume creeps up due to no air quality issues - Raheem SZN. https://t.co/AyytEhsWX6
Mostert has scored a touchdown in 9 of his last 10 games for the 49ers (playoffs included), and saw 5 targets in Week 1 - more than he had in any single game throughout the 2019-20 season and postseason. He played more snaps than either Coleman or McKinnon. He’s also one of the fastest men in the entire league. With San Francisco being a 7 point favorite against a #bad Jets team, Mostert’s mid-range price makes him one of the best overlooked values on a slate loaded with value traps. One cause for concern - McKinnon’s usage in the red zone was strong, but not strong enough to outweigh the fact that Mostert is one of the most talented healthy skill position players for an offense that is losing talented players seemingly by the minute. He’s a great play in all contest types in Week 2.
Value: Jonathan Taylor (vs. Minnesota)
Marlon Mack’s 2020 season came to an extremely premature end due to injury. Taylor’s emergence as the true RB1 in Indianapolis has arrived sooner than expected as a result.
He is a dynamic, elusive ball carrier - one who also has head coach Frank Reich’s stamp of approval as the starter. At his affordable price tag against the Vikings this week, expect Taylor to be the highest owned RB this week, certainly in low-risk formats. He’s a must with 28.1 weighted opportunities to touch the ball projected in our Model.
Stud: Davante Adams (vs. Detroit)
As we wrote above, Adams ERUPTED in Week 1 thanks to 17 targets from his pal Aaron Rodgers. While we can’t project Green Bay for 44 pass attempts again with certainty, we still think Davante is a lock for 30-35% of this team's targets - the 10.7 targets we project in the Model is the 2nd most on the slate. Adams benefits from below average matchups on the outside and in the slot, as Detroit is just the 22nd pass defense in the NFL. Adams is going to be a monster in PPR formats this year without any real reliable contender for volume.
Stud: DeAndre Hopkins (vs. Washington)
Kyler Murray simply could not stop using his brand new toy against the 49ers last week - we expect more of the same here in Week 2, as we project 9.6 targets for Nuk here. He’s our 4th highest ranked WR on DraftKings, 3rd on FanDuel. If Arizona expects to meet their 27 point implied team total, Kyler will need to pepper Hopkins with targets once again. He’s far and away the number one option in this offense in 2020.
Value: Quintez Cephus (@ Green Bay)
Cephus - a 5th round draft pick out of the University of Wisconsin - is surprisingly the DFS darling of the early season at WR. Why, you ask? His 129 air yards against the Packers was the 10th most in the entire NFL last week, and he underperformed them considerably with just a 3/43 line on his 10 targets.
With Kenny Golladay out once more, there’s no reason not to pencil King Cephus in for the exact same role - he ran the 2nd most routes, and played 2nd most snaps in Detroit’s offense last game. At dumpster diving level prices for salaries on FanDuel and DraftKings, Cephus is a low-risk lock against a Packers secondary that allowed Kirk Cousins to find a lot of success down the field.
Value: Breshad Perriman (vs. San Francisco)
It’s unreasonable to project any WR for 50% or more of team targets in a game. And yet, when you look at the personnel the Jets have available - it’s hard to see how Perriman doesn’t have access to an astronomical ceiling. Jamison Crowder? Out. Le’Veon Bell and Denzel Mims? IR. Ex-Pats Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios represent the next men up at the position, with another strong value play below at TE. On top of all that, at least the top 2 49er cornerbacks are out this week, and potentially a third.
Perriman played the most snaps and ran the most routes at WR last week, even with Crowder healthy and getting 13 targets. And that’s the only real cause of concern here - if Sam Darnold simply prefers to target other players on shorter, safer routes, Perriman owners are in for a bad time. Darnold’s 7.5 intended air yards per attempt ranks in the bottom half of the league.
Perriman’s a phenomenal tournament value, with slightly less low-risk appeal than King Cephus for this reason.
Stud: Mark Andrews (@ Houston)
In 2019, Mark Andrews constantly battled nagging injuries. It limited his playing time - he only ran a route on 64.5% of Lamar Jackson’s dropbacks on average last year. Last week? He tied with Marquise “Hollywood” Brown for two team highs! They each ran routes on 92.9% of dropbacks, and saw 6 targets. Andrews also had a strong red zone role, with 2 TDs.
Andrews was unreal in 2019. And now his usage is better? When you put all of this together, it tells us his results in Week 1 may not be a fluke - Andrews is a highly preferred option for Harbaugh and Jackson in this version of the Ravens attack. So while he’s expensive, it’s not without good reason. Andrews projects for 6.8 targets in our Model.
Value: Logan Thomas (@ Arizona)
Washington fans are well acquainted with this sleeper; the rest of us are starting to wake up from that slumber thanks to what he did last weekend. Thomas projects for 6.3 targets in the Occupy Model against the Arizona Cardinals; the same Cardinals who were the “duh” defense against TEs in 2019.
Thomas is the best value play at TE on FanDuel, while just 2nd best on the other website. That’s because this last player is cheaper than him on DraftKings:
Value: Chris Herndon (vs. San Francisco)
Herndon’s 7 targets in Week 1 were 2nd on the Jets to only the now absent Jamison Crowder.
Will the volume go to Perriman down the field (discussed above), or will Herndon simply soak up extra opportunities?
Crowder’s aDOT in Week 1? 6.67. Herndon’s? A virtually equal 6.43.
There’s a really really high probability that the 3rd year man out of Miami is simply the best playmaker on the field in Week 2 thanks to his seemingly similar routes to those Darnold prefers with Crowder.
Defenses are not typically going to be written up in detail in our Daily Plug on main slates. One of the optimal ways to select defenses for low-risk contests? Focus on defenses facing opponents with low Vegas team totals. We also want to target turnover prone quarterbacks when it makes sense. You shouldn’t ever pass on a player at another spot just to jam in a defense. We’ll always provide a list of low and high risk defenses in the player pool below.
Use 4-5% of your bankroll.
There's a juicy amount of GPP's with big prizes for NFL compared to other sports. Depending on your bankroll tier, take advantage! Read Contest Recommendations below for suggested contests by tier.
If playing low-risk, focus on the same spots we normally recommend - H2Hs, single entry double ups (as always, multi-entry double ups are OK if you can max enter them).
Our studs and values by position above are intended to be a roadmap to help you win in low-risk contests. For high-risk, there are plenty of strong GPP plays in the "Best of the Rest" player pool.
Check out the player pool below. In low-risk contests, you should continue to try and play 3 running backs from the write-up and low-risk sections. Often, the highest projected owned RBs in the Occupy Model end up being the sharpest low-risk plays. Smart players have all week to figure out who to run, ownership projections reflect that.
This week, that's 3 out of Jonathan Taylor, Ezekiel Elliott, Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey. As of Friday, Raheem Mostert's ownership doesn't project highly - as we explained above, we still love his matchup and situation for all contest types.
Building 5-10-20, even 150 lineups for large-field GPPs? Stick to a core of top plays (outlined below) that are projected to be highly owned, and build game stacks around that core. We strongly recommend stacking the highest total games on the slate above to accomplish this.
You can use our Lineup Builder to set your groupings using the Occupy Model rankings! Free for Week 2 for all members. You probably should - look at what our NBA writer and two members did on Opening Night!
Best of the Rest
If building player pools for mass-multi entry is your thing, consider using these names in addition to top plays above. Please remember - the Occupy Model is designed for high-risk contest optimization. Lower-ranked plays may still be great low-risk plays for that reason.
LOW-RISK: Dak Prescott, Ryan Tannehill
HIGH-RISK: Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, DeShaun Watson, Matthew Stafford, Patrick Mahomes
LOW-RISK: Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Melvin Gordon III
HIGH-RISK: David Johnson, Todd Gurley, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, James Robinson, Austin Ekeler, Kenyan Drake, Aaron Jones, Miles Sanders, Nyheim Hines, Duke Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Williams, Mark Ingram, Chase Edmonds, Jerick McKinnon, J.K. Dobbins, D’Andre Swift
LOW-RISK: DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley, Allen Robinson, Russell Gage, Darius Slayton, Parris Campbell
HIGH RISK: Julio Jones, Tyreek Hill, DJ Moore, Will Fuller, Keenan Allen, John Brown, Adam Thielen, DeSean Jackson, Preston Williams, Amari Cooper, Stefon Diggs, Marquise Brown, Allen Lazard, Christian Kirk, Michael Gallup, Jalen Reagor, Mike Williams, Terry McLaurin, Mike Evans, Marvin Jones Jr, Isaiah Ford, Randall Cobb, CeeDee Lamb, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Sammy Watkins, Corey Davis, Scott Miller, Trent Taylor, Brandon Aiyuk, Willie Snead, Miles Boykin
LOW-RISK: Travis Kelce, Hunter Henry
HIGH RISK: Zach Ertz, Hayden Hurst, TJ Hockenson, Dallas Goedert, Jonnu Smith
LOW-RISK: Bills, Steelers, 49ers, Titans
HIGH-RISK: Bears, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Chiefs
Plays are listed in order of preference (OF Index).
Always, always always play freerolls. We have one on DraftKings this week. The $5K Beat Bettis Contest Series presented by Modelo.
Look for no-badge users for low-risk H2Hs in the lobby. On DraftKings, post your own H2Hs and make sure you limit the opponents to 1 entry (per price point) against you (FanDuel doesn’t have this option). With the rest of your low-risk allocation, play single-entry double ups.
This is likely most people reading this - single-entry GPPs are the best high-risk tournaments to play. You want to give yourself the best shot to win; being on a level playing field with every other user by max-entering a contest is the way to go. Single entry contests are the easiest places to do this.
The first place you can do that are with “Contests” - these low priority, blandly named GPPs come with smaller field sizes and (usually) less experienced players. On DraftKings, the $0.25, $1, and $3 Contests are good places to start looking at playing. On FanDuel, the single entry 3-100 Player leagues meet this criteria. Everyone is drawn to the sexy, high-dollar top prize contests - you can lay low in here and (hopefully) grow your bankroll. You can 20-25x your entry fee by beating just 99 other people in these formats - it's a great place to play.
On DraftKings, the $3 entry fee, NFL $100K Pylon or $12 entry fee, NFL $300K Fair Catch are great places to spend your high-risk allocation.
On FanDuel, there is also the $5 entry fee, $100K Sun NFL Spike, $2 entry fee $40K Sun NFL Safety, and $1 entry fee $30K Sun NFL Squib you should look at for single entry GPPs.
Want to practice your multi-entry skills? Max enter a three entry max contest like the $5 entry fee, $150K Nickel on DraftKings.
The $40K Quarter Jukebox is a 20 entry-max tournament that costs just $5 to play at $0.25 per entry. Practice your mass-multi entry skills with our optimizer with a shot to win $2,000!
Want an even bigger challenge? FanDuel has a 150-entry max contest at just $0.05 per entry, the $40K Sun NFL Pooch Punt. There’s also a $0.25 cent version, the $75K Sun NFL Hail Mary.
Satellites are the best way for us to accumulate entries to the big contests each week. On DraftKings, play for Millionaire Maker Satellites tickets you can use in later weeks. There are satellites for the NFL Wildcat GPPs, and a KC vs BAL Monday Night Millionaire Showdown contest next week.
There are also generic “NFL $3 Ticket SuperSatellite” contests - these award 4 tickets and are $0.25 single entry GPPs. This would be a great way to accumulate Pylon or Play-Action tickets.
There’s also satellites into the $2.25M Fantasy BBall Millionaire, which is a $25 entry fee contest for Game 1 of the NBA Finals, as well as future Fantasy Golf Millionaire Makers.
On FanDuel, the WFFC Fan Championship on 12/20 is a great place to start - it’s a $250 entry fee online live final.
100-player Leagues/Contests remain great places to play - on DraftKings look for Contests in the $5 to $50 entry fee range, these are the best places to build your allocation around.
We introduced 20 entry-max contests to the Smaller Bankroll contest players. At your level, you should consider max entering the $3 entry fee, $2M Play-Action on DraftKings. This contest comes with a shot of taking down $200K, so you should have exposure to that nice prize here.
You can also probably look at some of the higher dollar value single entry GPPs at your bankroll size - The $27 entry fee $100K Blind Side and $50 entry fee $200K Red Zone stand out. The $400K Spy is a $100 entry fee GPP that awards $100K to first (there’s a smaller version with 20K to 1st, too).
For FanDuel users, the best single entry GPPs in the next tier not mentioned above? The $25 entry fee, $100K Sun NFL Sweep, the $100 entry fee, $100K Sun NFL Cover 2, and the $50 entry fee, $70K Sun NFL Hot Route.
Have enough to (WITHIN our allocation guideline for your bankroll) max-enter a larger GPP? Congrats on being a big baller! Teach us your ways.
On DraftKings, the $150 entry fee, $555K Power Sweep is a three entry-max GPP with a $100K prize to 1st (there’s also a $250K Power Sweep with a smaller field). Consider this heavily every week it's offered at your bankroll size.
The $4.5M Fantasy Football Millionaire is a $20 entry fee, 150-max contest with a $1,000,000 top prize. We like to say don’t play these contests with your own money without being able to max enter, so unless you’re a big baller, use your satellite tickets only for this.
The next best 150-max contest is the $9 entry fee, $500K Slant this week. It has one of the flattest payout structures on the slate, and a $50,000 top prize.
FanDuel users, you’ve got the $3M NFL Sunday Million which is a $4 entry fee, 150-max contest with a $1,000,000 top-prize.
The $500K Sun NFL Bomb is a $44 entry fee, 150-max GPP that offers $100,000 to 1st place that is also a decent GPP to consider for you.
Sports Betting disclaimers
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Situation statistics sourced from Stathead.com. DVOA data from FootballOutsiders.com. Air yards data pulled from AirYards.com. All salaries from contest providers. While we like the player pool selected above, we reserve the right to roster other players should news and trends closer to lock push us in that direction. Pay attention to our stream schedule for discussion of those thoughts!