This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.
With only days instead of weeks to digest DraftKings' salaries, it became clear quickly that we might be able to take advantage of some slow price changes for players from the two Monday night games, and there were also some curiously slow movers from players who had big games in Week 1. There are some values to be had at running back, which is where we'll begin for the main Week 2 slate, which includes 13 games but only two with totals over 50.0 and five under 45.0.
Josh Jacobs, OAK v. KC ($4,700): Consideration for Jacobs is going to start an uneasy feeling that you might want to...wait for it...stack some Raiders in cash games. It's a scary proposition on a number of levels, not to ignore that stacking in cash games isn't usually a preferred path to an optimal lineup. Jacobs handled a significant workload Monday against the Broncos, rushing 23 times for 85 yards and two touchdowns while catching his only target for a 28-yard gain. The high number of touches was a result of the Raiders being up – due, in part, to Jacobs' scores – and while that situation isn't expected against the Chiefs, we've seen that Jacobs is surely the main man in the backfield. Backup Jalen Richard ($3,300) will probably get more opportunities this week since they could be playing from behind, but Jacobs' price is too low for the opportunity, a benefit of salaries coming out before the two Monday night games.
Austin Ekeler, LAC at DET ($6,100): There are going to be plenty of eyes on Ekeler in cash games and GPPs after his stellar Week 1 against the Colts when he had 39.4 fantasy points thanks to 58 rushing yards and a score plus six catches on seven targets for 96 receiving yards and two more touchdowns. It was obviously a ceiling performance for Ekeler, who played 48 snaps (75 percent of the team total) while Justin Jackson ($4,400) was only on the field for 16. The matchup this week is is roughly equal to last, as they're now 2.5-point favorites in Detroit on DraftKings Sportsbook, and Ekeler's price is still not where it should be for his role. There are comparable running backs in Ekeler's price range, namely James Conner ($6,800), Chris Carson ($6,400), Leonard Fournette ($6,300), Sony Michel ($6,200), Mark Ingram ($6,000), Derrick Henry ($6,000), Marlon Mack ($5,900) and Matt Breida ($5,200), but you could argue none of them have as good a matchup or touch-share, other than maybe Ingram. One last consideration is the Bengals' Giovani Bernard ($5,300), who could see a considerable increase in touches if Joe Mixon ($6,500) is unable to play.
Alvin Kamara, NO at LAR ($8,200): Kamara is one of three expensive running backs that many will be considering this weekend, with the Giants' Saquon Barkley ($9,200) and the Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott ($8,700) the other members of the trio. Kamara, who played Monday night, is the cheapest of the group but is playing in the game with the second-highest total (52.5) on the slate by nearly a touchdown (Dallas-Washington is 46.0 and Buffalo-New York is 43.5). Elliott made it clear that he's ready to handle a full workload, though that's something that's not really in his control since he isn't calling the plays. He looked good during his time on the field last week, but he still missed all of training camp leading up to it. There's no question that Barkley will be heavily used because the Giants don't have many other good players, especially if Sterling Shepard ($5,100, wide receiver) is held out because of a concussion. Meanwhile, Kamara failed to get into the end zone against the Texans on Monday night, but he was still incredibly effective, rushing 13 times for 97 yards and catching seven of eight targets for 72 more. The presence of Latavius Murray ($3,700), who scored on a 30-yard run, could give some hesitation because he's likely to get more touches than either Wayne Gallman ($3,300) or Tony Pollard ($3,700), but Kamara continues to prove that he can produce with whatever touches he gets. On the other end of the salary spectrum, Washington's Chris Thompson ($3,900) should have his expectations elevated because of the absence of Derrius Guice ($3,900), and while it's probably more beneficial for Adrian Peterson ($3,400), you have to wonder how many touches he'll get when they're 5.5-point home underdogs. If anything, the Bills' Devin Singletary ($4,200) looks more likely to make an impact if they actually give him the touches, as he was nearly untouchable against the Jets last week.
Tyrell Williams, OAK v. KC ($4,400): Would you pay $4,400 for a player who is the no. 1 receiving option on his team after a six-catch, 105-yard, one-touchdown game and is now facing a defense that allowed 350 passing yards and three touchdowns to the combination of Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew last week? Well, here he is! Williams was excellent in Monday night's win over the Broncos, picking up the receiving slack left by Antonio Brown's release, and a matchup against the Chiefs' secondary is surely one people will be looking to take advantage of in cash games and GPPs. His price would be higher if salaries were set after Monday's game, but like Jacobs, we'll take the one-week gift. There could be some second-guessing that we're chasing a solid Week 1, but there just aren't that many guys to catch passes in Oakland. And speaking of chasing Week 1, John Ross ($4,600) is also in this price range after catching seven of 12 targets for 158 yards, including 167 air yards that were the second-most in the league, and the home game against the 49ers is surely worth considering. And if we're looking ahead instead of behind, Mecole Hardman ($4,800) is also in the price range and should see a significant increase in action following the injury to Tyreek Hill. Sammy Watkins ($7,200) is the top wideout for the Chiefs now, though there are more-reliable wideouts around his price who are probably safer for cash games.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT v. SEA ($7,500): Smith-Schuster is one of those more expensive wideouts, and he'll get to face off against a Seahawks secondary that allowed 418 yards and two touchdowns to the Bengals in Seattle last week. He's the top receiving option for the Steelers, and while a toe injury slowed him a bit last week against the Patriots, there are plenty of indications that he'll be a full go against Seattle. GPP players interested in stacking the Steelers should also consider James Washington ($3,600), who led the team (and finished sixth in the NFL) with 153 air yards last week, though he only caught two of six targets for 51 yards. Then again, Donte Moncrief ($4,000) finished with 100 air yards himself (Smith-Schuster only had 66) but caught just three of his 10 targets for seven yards, a pretty impressive yardage figure for 10 targets (not in a good way). Consideration for Smith-Schuster will inevitably bring the Chargers' Keenan Allen ($7,600) into the mix because their prices are similar and he figures to get many more targets with Hunter Henry out and Mike Williams doubtful. Allen was excellent in Week 1, finishing with eight catches on 10 targets for 123 yards (109 air yards), and he could have one of the highest target projections of the week. You'll have to pay up a little more for DeAndre Hopkins ($8,100), who reminded us all Monday night why he's such a great fantasy play, though he'll have to prove Sunday that he's actually matchup proof, with Jalen Ramsey likely sticking to him most of the game. If anything, maybe that opens up more for Will Fuller ($5,300) and Kenny Stills ($4,100).
Terry McLaurin, WAS v. DAL ($3,800): McLaurin's NFL debut couldn't have gone much better from an individual standpoint, as he caught five of seven targets for 125 yards (140 air yards) and a touchdown against a strong Eagles defense. This week's matchup against the Cowboys will be tougher, but that kind of volume can't be ignored when you're looking below $4,000. A few others who fit the mold of being under that price with high air yards last week: Cody Latimer ($3,700), who was targeted eight times for 157 air yards, Danny Amendola (121), who had 13 targets for 121 air yards, and KeeSean Johnson ($3,100), who had 10 targets for 112 air yards.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT v. SEA ($5,800): The Steelers were absolutely putrid last week against the Patriots, but the Seahawks' secondary was just burned by Andy Dalton for more than 400 yards in Seattle, which is why Roethlisberger is likely to be popular, especially in GPPs because it's easy to stack his receivers. There are a number of affordable quarterbacks who seem safe for cash, including Jared Goff ($5,900), Philip Rivers ($6,100) and Drew Brees ($6,200), which is why we could see lower ownership for guys like Patrick Mahomes ($7,500), Lamar Jackson ($6,700) and Deshaun Watson ($6,600), who each have solid matchups but are the three most-expensive quarterbacks.
Tom Brady, NE at MIA ($6,400): The Patriots are huge road favorites in Miami, and it's always tough trusting Brady when they can punish teams on the ground almost as easily as they do through the air, but the Dolphins getting carved up by Jackson's arm last week has to make Brady a serious consideration this Sunday, especially after he threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns against a much better Steelers team. It's still unclear if Antonio Brown ($7,000) will be cleared to play, but Brady still has plenty of weapons and could be slightly under-owned because the Patriots score in a plethora of different ways. Then again, a stack of Brady, Josh Gordon ($5,800) and Julian Edelman ($6,900) isn't overly expensive for the team with the highest implied total.
T.J. Hockenson, DET v. LAC ($3,000): Hockenson had a historic NFL debut last week against the Cardinals, catching six of nine targets for 131 yards (147 air yards) and a touchdown, and yet his price actually decreased by $100. His receiving yards and air yards were the most among tight ends and represented the seventh-most and eighth-most among all positions, respectively. Facing off against the Chargers will be a different animal because of their excellent pass rush, which theoretically could reduce Hockenson's routes (he ran 37 last week), but at near minimum-price, there's little reason to think he'll be under-owned.
Darren Waller, OAK v. KC ($3,300): Waller is coming off a very solid debut of his own, and he'd probably be heavily owned if not for Hockenson's price. With Antonio Brown's projected targets needing to be accounted for, Waller is certainly benefiting in that respect, as he caught seven of eight targets for 80 yards last week, and the matchup against the Chiefs is surely one that should allow him to keep being used.
Evan Engram, NYG v. BUF ($5,200): The Bills defense showed last week that they can put significant pressure on opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks, and while that theoretically could mean Engram will be needed to block more this week, the Giants simply don't have enough pass catchers to keep Engram from running routes. He had a monster 11 catches on 14 targets (both tops among tight ends) for 116 yards and a touchdown last week, running routes on 43 of his 53 snaps, making the salary difference between him and George Kittle ($6,800) or Travis Kelce ($7,300) seem a bit silly.
New York Giants vs. BUF ($2,500): The Ravens ($3,800) and Patriots ($3,700) could be popular options on the higher end of the salary scale, though we saw New England finish with just 10.0 fantasy points last week despite winning by 30 and the Ravens scored 13 in their 49-point win. Meanwhile, the Jets scored 18.0 fantasy points while losing to the Bills. The Giants defense is pretty awful this season, but despite directing a comeback against the Jets last week, Josh Allen is always susceptible to turnovers, and the variance associated with defense/special teams plays right into that. It's even more helpful that the Giants are one of the cheapest teams available.