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Here at Bink Inc, my aim is to break down the DraftKings player pool and give you the skinny on the various GPP options at your disposal. I will be going through all positions and all pricing tiers, as well as dropping GPP lineup construction knowledge. Due to DraftKings new regulations regarding selling lineups, we can’t actually give you pre-built lineups. With that said, each week the Bink Inc. article will provide you with all of the information you need, so that you can craft lineups from our suggestions. In many ways this is better for our readers, as you will become familiar with the different strategies for GPP lineup construction and be able to identify how value shifts from position to position depending on the pricing each week.
Drew Brees ($8,200)
Saints @ Giants
Projected Team Total: 24.25 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 20.2 points (2.4x salary multiple)
Last week’s matchup with the Oakland Raiders had the highest projected total score, and the Saints had one of the highest projected team totals. Both sides of the matchup did not disappoint, with the Raiders taking a late 35-34 lead on a two point conversion from Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree. Drew Brees was his usual brilliant self, completing 28 of 42 passes for 423 yards and four touchdowns. This included the longest play of Brees 16 year career, a 98 yard hookup with Brandin Cooks. Brees dropped an absolute dime in between corner and safety coverage, hitting Cooks in perfect stride to the extent that Cooks was not even touched on the play. This game will most likely serve as a microcosm for Brees and the Saints 2016 season. They scored 35 points and lost because the defense could not come up with a stop when they needed it most. This is their Achilles heel as a team, but it also serves as a huge boost to Brees fantasy value because he will be tasked with throwing the ball as much as any quarterback in the league. This week the Saints travel to New York to take on the Giants in what will be a rematch of craziest shootout of the 2015 season, a game where Eli Manning and Brees combined for 12 touchdown passes. The Giants are in a similar place as the Saints, only with a slightly better defensive unit that is capable of shutting down the opposing team’s rushing attack. Brees will once again air the ball out 40+ times, and I would look for him to top three touchdowns and 350 yards passing. Despite the value to be had at the quarterback position this week, Brees is worth every penny at $8,200, and is someone I want at least 10% exposure to, especially in a great matchup against a suspect Giants secondary.
Eli Manning ($7,600)
Saints @ Giants
Projected Team Total: 28.25 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 21.2 points (2.7x salary multiple)
Eli Manning will receive no “attaboys” for beating rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and the Cowboys in week 1, but it was an important divisional win for a team that had struggled in the early part of the season in year’s past. Manning had a solid, if unspectacular game, completing 19 of 28 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns. His touchdown passes went to rookie Sterling Shepard, tight end Larry Donnell and Comeback Player of the Year candidate, Victor Cruz. Missing from the list of recipients was Odell Beckham Jr who had a relatively quiet night, catching only four passes for 73 yards on eight targets. The Manning to Beckham connection should find much easier sledding this week against a New Orleans defense that is not just bad, but historically bad. The Saints defense continued their dreadful ways of 2015 right into 2016 without skipping a beat, allowing Derek Carr to complete 24 of 38 passes for 319 yards and one touchdown. The only reason Carr was kept to one touchdown pass, was because the Saints couldn’t stop the Raiders on the ground either, yielding 175 yards rushing on 25 attempts (7 ypc) that went for three touchdowns. This included a 75 yard touchdown scamper by rookie Jalen Richard. Manning will have his way with the Saints defense, and considering the lack of talent at the cornerback position, stacking Beckham Jr. along with Manning is a combination that will among the highest point scorers in week 2.
Mathew Stafford ($7,300)
Titans @ Lions
Projected Team Total: 26.25 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 19.6 points (2.6x salary multiple)
If you read this column last week, you will remember I recommended game-stacking two matchups in particular, the Raiders vs Saints matchup, and the Lions vs Colts matchup. Both games provided high totals, and interestingly enough, both visiting teams that came into the game as underdogs, won the games outright. Mathew Stafford was instrumental in the Lions 39-35 upset of the Colts, throwing for 340 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 31 of 39 pass attempts. Stafford has never been known for being a shrewd caretaker of the ball, however, under Jim Bob Cooter’s tutelage that is exactly what he has become. Since Cooter took over the Lions play-calling duties midway through last season, Stafford has now thrown 22 touchdowns to just two interceptions. When you add in Calvin Johnson’s sudden retirement, Stafford’s efficiency becomes even more unlikely. That is until you think back to all the jump-ball downfield passes that Stafford threw to Johnson when that was all the offense the Lions could muster. Now, Stafford has an array of weapons that are able to take advantage of his quick release and velocity, namely free agent acquisition Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Theo Riddick. Add in second year back Amir Abdullah and the talented, but previously often injured Eric Ebron, and the Lions offense has the makings of a well-rounded aerial attack. This week the Lions face off against a Titans defense that was unable to sack the cement shoe wearing Shaun Hill. If Stafford has time to cycle through his progressions, which he will, he should have no problem carving up the Titans secondary en-route to another 300+ yard, multi-touchdown performance. Due to the many options at Stafford’s disposal, it is best to either vary the players you stack alongside Stafford, or opt for the naked route, and save the money at receiver for players with higher upside at their respective salaries.
Derek Carr ($7,200)
Falcons @ Raiders
Projected Team Total: 26.75 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 19.2 points (2.6x salary multiple)
Carr was the quarterback I felt most strongly about last week, with that confidence coming through a combination of both his price and his matchup. Although Carr failed to throw for multiple touchdowns, he still put up 300+ yards passing and a two point conversion, which helped him total 25.4 points. Carr looked the part of an emerging star by challenging the New Orleans secondary with his accuracy and arm strength. He showed great poise in the pocket, working his way through his progressions and correctly diagnosing the different coverages he faced. On one play in particular, Carr found Amari Cooper on an in-route after his first two reads were bottled up, and turned what would have otherwise been a 10 yard gain, into a thirty-four yard gain by looking the safeties off and allowing Cooper to create space in the middle of the field. He saved his best for last though, a “big cajones” jump ball fade route that had to be delivered perfectly and in the right spot to give Michael Crabtree the opportunity to out leap his defender and secure the win on a two point conversion when they were down one point. It was a statement win for the Raiders, and that statement said they were not content with being a young team on the rise, they wanted to prove they belonged…now. Carr will head back to sunny Oakland for their home opener against a Falcons team that got exposed in week 1 by second year quarterback, Jameis Winston. Winston threw for 281 yards and four touchdowns and exposed an Atlanta secondary that was supposed to be the strength of the defense under new head coach Dan Quinn. That seemed like the furthest thing from reality though, so I will once again be placing my trust in Carr and his two gifted wide outs, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. This game has the second highest projected total of the week, so targeting Carr for heavy exposure in GPP’s makes a lot of sense in a game that could easily turn into another shootout.
Blake Bortles ($6,700)
Jaguars @ Chargers
Projected Team Total: 22 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 18.9 points (2.8x salary multiple)
Bortles was a…rather, thee, DFS darling among quarterbacks in 2015. The Jaguars got down to their opponents very quickly most weeks, which put Bortles in pass first mode and helped him finish with the 3rd most fantasy points at the quarterback position. His passing stats were impressive for a second year quarterback, 35 touchdowns to 18 interceptions and 4,428 passing yards. What really boosted his stats from week to week though, was his rushing yards. He finished with 310 yards rushing and another two touchdowns on the ground. His emergence as a legitimate franchise quarterback was helped by having two extremely talented wide receivers on the outside, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. Add in a mismatch at tight end in Julius Thomas, and two capable running backs with varying skillsets in TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory, and you have all the makings of a juggernaut offense. Bortles got off to a good start in week 1, posting 320 yards on 24 of 39 passing with a touchdown and an interception, but the Jags lost a close game to Super Bowl contenders in the Green Bay Packers. This week the Jags travel to San Diego to take on a Chargers defense that gave up 363 yards and two touchdowns to Alex Smith in week 1. Smith also managed to score a touchdown on the ground, boosting his fantasy total to 32 points. The 363 yards passing were the 2nd highest of Smith’s career, so the probability is high for a big game out of Bortles. The Chargers brought a lot of pressure with constant blitzes, but this ended up being their undoing, as Smith repeatedly found running back Spencer Ware, who finished with seven receptions for 129 yards. The San Diego cornerbacks are no match for Robinson and Hurns, so I will be employing one of my favorite DFS plays, the vaunted Bortles Triple Stack (Bortles/Robinson/Hurns). A word of caution though. Earlier this week it was reported that over 70% of the money pouring into Vegas was being put down on the “over” for this game, however the projected total points was actually down one point from where it opened. This points to sharp bettors going in the opposite direction of the general public, so the smart money is on this game not eclipsing its 47 point total. Regardless, Bortles is a strong play and a great candidate to go over 300 yards passing with multiple touchdowns.
Joe Flacco ($6,500)
Ravens @ Browns
Projected Team Total: 24.75 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 18.5 points (2.8x salary multiple)
There are two general schools of thought when narrowing down your player pool each week. How does a player compare to his counterparts—factoring in salary, floor, ceiling etc.—and what is the most likely game script for the player in their particular matchup. It Joe Flacco’s case, you can pick a number of different reasons to like his chances this week, whether it be his cheap salary, lack of an effective running game, or most importantly, the fact that he gets to play the Cleveland Browns. While there is a team or two out there that may challenge the Browns for the title of “most likely to make you fans cry”, it is a foregone conclusion that the Browns will not be giving up that moniker this year. In week 1, the Browns gave up 29 points to an Eagles team that was piloted by a rookie quarterback with no career starts, who played his college ball at North Dakota State. Add in the fact that said quarterback was actually third on the depth chart before an unlikely bounty of riches was thrown down in the lap of the Eagles brass in exchange for Sam Bradford, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how bad the Browns defense played. Cleveland didn’t just give up 29 points though, they were carved up to the tune of 278 yards and two touchdowns on 22 of 37 passing by Carson Wentz. As I mentioned above, the Ravens lack a rushing identity as of right now, which puts the offense square on the broad shoulders of Flacco. He was efficient in a week 1 victory over Buffalo, completing 22 of 33 passes for 258 yards passing and a touchdown. This included a beautiful deep ball to newly minted Raven, Mike Wallace, which resulted in a 66 yard touchdown. At $6,500 Flacco has salary on his side, and he has proven in the past to have a relatively high ceiling (five 300 yard passing games in 10 starts in 2015). With an advantageous matchup against the Browns in week 2, Flacco should have no problem reaching 300 yards passing and multiple touchdowns, making him one of the better PP$ options on the board this week.
DeAngelo Williams ($7,100)
Bengals @ Steelers
Projected Team Total: 25.75
Footballguys IVC Projection: 22 points (3x salary multiple)
DeAngelo Williams is our highest rated running back for week 2, with a projection of 22 points against division rival, the Cincinnati Bengals. Over the last three years, the #1 running back in Pittsburgh has proven to be a very a valuable commodity, regardless of whether that player is DeAngelo Williams or Leveon Bell. It should be pointed out though, that both are true three down backs that are capable of handling a heavy workload, excel on third down in passing situations and convert a high ratio of red zone touches. Williams was featured in this column last week, and he will most likely be featured until he has to hand back the keys to Bell, as the Pittsburgh offense is essentially matchup proof because of the consistency at which they are able to move the ball and give their skill position players scoring opportunities. This was on full display last week against the Redskins, with Ben Roethlisberger (3.3x), Antonio Brown (3.5x) and DeAngelo Williams (5.4x) all returning salary multiples in excess of 3x. On the higher end of salaries, getting a return of 3x or greater is consistent with very good GPP production. Williams was the high scorer at the running back position, totaling 143 rushing yards on 26 carries (5.5 ypc) with two touchdowns, while also chipping in six receptions for 28 yards on nine targets. Williams will face a tougher test this week against a solid Bengals rush defense, but his volume alone nearly ensures that he will provide a ROI that makes him valuable in GPP’s. In the Jets week 1 matchup against the Bengals, Matt Forte totaled 96 yards rushing to go along with five receptions for 59 yards. This seems like a good baseline projection for Williams this week, although I am confident in him being able to punch in at least one touchdown. This would move his total up over 25 points, which would give him a 3.5x salary multiple, more than justifying his price tag of $7,100 and making him a solid GPP play in the top tier of running backs.
Spencer Ware ($6,100)
Chiefs @ Texans
Projected Team Total: 20.75 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 15.8 points (2.5x salary multiple)
Much like the featured role in the Pittsburgh backfield, the #1 running back in the Chiefs system is extremely valuable and capable of putting up points to rival any running back in the league. Talent is part of the equation, and few running backs have as much natural talent as Jamaal Charles, but the Chiefs system has proven that they can feature a wide array of skillsets and still put up #1 running back numbers. This was true with Kniles Davis and Charcandrick West, and Spencer Ware is the latest in the Chiefs bloodline to prove that he is capable of putting up monster fantasy points in any given week, regardless of opponent. Ware has done well to change the perception that he is nothing more than a short yardage back, and you don’t have to look much further than his performance last week for the proof. Despite splitting the carries with Charcandrick West near evenly, Ware out-produced him by such a wide margin that it would be surprising if their timeshare continues in the same fashion going forward. Ware gained 70 yards on 11 carries (6.4 ypc) and added a touchdown, which stood in stark contrast to West’s -1 yards on three carries. Where he did most of his damage was in the passing game though, and he was instrumental in the Chiefs come from behind victory. He turned seven receptions into 129 yards, which included a 45 yard reception that jumpstarted the Chiefs in the 2nd half and led to an Alex Smith to Tyreke Hill touchdown. West totaled 24 yards on six receptions, and wasn’t nearly the threat that Ware was in the passing game. The Chiefs will travel to Houston in week 2 and face off against a stout Houston defense that limited Jeremy Langford (Bears) to 63 total yards on 19 touches. Given his ability to contribute both rushing and catching the football, Ware is still underpriced at $6,100, regardless of the tough matchup on the road. His ownership should come back down to earth after landing at nearly 30% in the majority of GPP’s last week, which will make his production go that much further than it did in week 1.
Danny Woodhead ($5,200)
Jaguars @ Chargers
Projected Team Total: 25 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 15.1 points (2.9x salary multiple)
The Chargers were dealt a death blow in week 1 when superstar wide receiver Keenan Allen was lost for the season with a non-contact knee injury believed to be a torn right ACL. San Diego was in the process of beating up on the Chiefs when Allen went down, and it is hard to ignore the fact that Kansas City eventually stormed back to win the game in overtime. Much like the scenario last season in which Allen was lost for the year, Danny Woodhead immediately stepped up and assumed a large role on offense. Unlike last year though, he had some help from fellow backfield mate Melvin Gordon, who finally lived up to his high draft stock by scoring two touchdowns, before finishing the game with 57 yards on 14 carries (4.1 ypc). It was only the third time that Gordon was able to top 55 yards in his career, and his last two touchdowns were also the first two touchdowns of his career. The most telling aspect of the timeshare between Gordon and Woodhead was the lack of Gordon’s involvement in the passing game, a phase where Woodhead has proven to be an elite contributor. He made his presence felt against the Chiefs, rushing 16 times for 89 yards (5.6 ypc), while also totaling five receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown. Woodhead will be called upon to take some of the pressure off of Philip Rivers, and his upside is that of a top 10 running back in PPR formats. For the upcoming week, Woodhead’s pricing is soft, although even in his prime last season, his salary did not rise much above his current price tag of $5,200. He gets a Jaguars defense that is much improved over last season, but can be beaten in the passing game by running backs because of their aggressive nature blitzing the quarterback. Woodhead may be inconsistent at times from week to week, but due to the high quality of touches he sees on third down and in the red zone, his ceiling is as high as any running back in his price range.
DeMarco Murray ($5,700)
Titans @ Lions
Projected Team Total: 21.25 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 15.2 points (2.6x salary multiple)
Murray has seen his stock go from NFL rushing leader, to high paid free agent, to high paid free agent turned flop to being traded…and now it looks as though he has come full circle again and landed in the perfect scheme to take advantage of his specific skillset. Murray is a north-south runner who has great vision and instincts running behind his blockers. What he isn’t, is a running back who you want trying to wiggle behind the line of scrimmage and try to make a living out of making defenders miss. This much was obvious in the failed Philadelphia experiment. He has found a new home in Tennessee, home of the exotic smash-mouth offense of Mike Mularkey. He is paired with a franchise quarterback who is still developing but has a high football IQ, as well as Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, who is in many ways a more physical version of Murray. In his first game as a Titan, Murray finished with 42 yards rushing on 13 carries. The majority of his fantasy points came in the passing game, where Murray caught 5 of 7 targets for 35 yards and two touchdowns. While the overall numbers were a great start for Murray, he didn’t impress as a runner. Still, he holds value in the Titans offense because he is being given the majority of the carries, is staying on the field on third down and is being given red zone touches (at least for now). In the upcoming week, Murray will have a great opportunity to establish his ceiling in a matchup against the Lions. The game has a projected total score of 47.5, and the Titans have gotten a lot better at the wide receiver positions with the signing of Rishard Mathews and the drafting of Tajae Sharpe. Marcus Mariota has proven he can move the ball, which will prevent defenses from stacking the box, and Murray should be given his fair share of chances to hit pay dirt this week. There are other options in his price range that deserve consideration, many of whom have been priced much higher in recent memory, including Devonta Freeman, Doug Martin, Eddie Lacy and Latavius Murray, but if you are looking for the one guy who will be low owned and maintain a high ceiling, Murray is definitely worth a look in an advantageous matchup.
TJ Yeldon ($4,700)
Jaguars @ Chargers
Projected Team Total: 22 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 14.9 points (3.1x salary multiple)
There are some very interesting options at running back this week, many of whom have seen their prices slashed like a New Year’s Kia Sale. DraftKings must have realized how inflated the prices were last week, and they chose to discount every position with the minor exception of wide receiver. This is going to have a dual effect on running backs. First off, it is going to spread out the exposure amongst different players in the $5,500-$6,200 range, and I don’t see there being much rhyme or reason to how the ownership percentages end up other than preference. Secondly, it is going to encourage owners to spend on several running backs in that price range, which will also spread out the exposure in the top tiers at the other positions. This gives owners who recognize and anticipate these preferred options a huge edge, as you can fade the popular lineup construction strategy and load up on value plays at the running back position. One of the better value plays this week is TJ Yeldon, who will have the backfield all to himself after Chris Ivory was hospitalized with a yet-to-be-determined source of pain. Yeldon had the feature role to himself last week against the Packers but was not able to get much going, totaling only 39 yards on 21 carries, although he did find the end zone on his only rush inside the five yard line. He also chipped four catches for 30 yards. I can see why owners would be skeptical of Yeldon after last week’s performance, but there are a few things that warrant consideration. Most importantly, the Packers defended the rush very well and it is not as though Yeldon had clear running lanes and missed his holes or danced too much in the backfield. The holes just simply were not there, and that is going to happen when you play a team that has good interior lineman. The other thing to consider is that the Chargers (the Jags opponent this week) are not nearly as good on the defensive line, and are coming off a game where they gave up over six yards per carry to Spencer Ware. The Jags should also be able to create more lanes for Yeldon by going to the air early and often and taking it to the Chargers cornerbacks with Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas. Once they have softened up the middle of the field, Yeldon will find much more room to operate both rushing the football and catching it out of the backfield. With the potential for a high scoring matchup and no one in the way to threaten his workload, Yeldon has a great opportunity to rack up over 100 total yards, 5+ catches, and at least one touchdown. At $4,700, he could realistically provide you with a 5x return, and he will be doing so at a low ownership percentage because owners will either be using other running backs at higher price points, or they will be gun shy from last week’s performance.
Antonio Brown ($9,900)
Bengals @ Steelers
Projected Team Total: 25.75
Footballguys IVC Projection: 22 points (2.2x salary multiple)
As long as I am writing this column, Antonio Brown will occupy the top spot at wide receiver, and I don’t foresee a scenario where I would not recommend him as a top-flight GPP option, unless of course Ben Roethlisberger were not starting at quarterback for the Steelers. Many analysts see Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr as #1A, 1B and 1C, and given their production over the last two seasons, I can’t argue against that logic. With that said, Brown is the clear cut choice for me even though he does not have Jones size, or Beckham’s touchdown upside. What he does have is elite speed, quickness and athleticism in short space. He is the best route-runner in the NFL and it is not even close, and he is dedicated to his craft as a receiver more so than the aforementioned players. What really sets him apart though, is the connection that he and Ben Roethlisberger share. Matt Ryan is a franchise quarterback, but is 1-4 in playoff games despite having the nickname, “Matty Ice”. Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP who beat Tom Brady in both of his Super Bowl victories, not much you can say there but he still struggles with inconsistency from time to time and is still developing that sixth sense with Beckham that the best quarterback/receiver combos have. Roethlisberger and Brown have developed that uncanny connection through six years of playing alongside one another. As a facilitator, there isn’t another quarterback who consistently put their receiver in the best position to make plays as well as Roethlisberger. Last week, Brown caught eight passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdown passes were put exactly where they needed to be in order for Brown to make the play, without ever giving the cornerback or safety a chance to disrupt the pass. Browns point total of 35.6, marked the seventh time in his last 17 regular season games where Brown has scored 35+ points. There is not another receiver who has as high an established ceiling (49.5 points) and reaches that ceiling as often as Brown. He is the one player you cannot afford to fade for even one week in GPP’s, because when he reaches his ceiling, it is nearly impossible to win tournaments without having him on your roster.
Alshon Jeffery ($7,700)
Eagles @ Bears
Projected Team Total: 25.75
Footballguys IVC Projection: 18.5 points (2.4x salary multiple)
There isn’t another player who is waiting as anxiously for Kevin White to get his NFL career going as Ashlon Jeffery. For the better part of the last two seasons, Jeffery has been the only real receiving threat that the Bears have had, and defenses have certainly noticed. He is constantly double teamed and when he is given the opportunity to operate in one on one coverage, there is almost always safety help over the top that limits the routes Jeffery is able to run. Despite all of these things working against him, Jeffrey still manages to make big plays for the Bears because his size and speed combination is sneaky due to his long strides, and his catch radius is as wide as any player not named Mike Evans. Dating back to last season, Jeffery is averaging 5.8 catches for 91.2 yards per game over his last ten games. Due to his status as the only real playmaker the Bears have, Jeffery is an absolute target monster, averaging over double digit targets over that same time span. In their week 1 loss to the Texans, Jeffery caught four passes for 105 yards on six targets. He has a great chance of improving upon those numbers in a primetime matchup against the Eagles on Monday Night Football, as the Eagles will be without their top cornerback in Leodis McKelvin, which means Jeffery will be matched up against Nolan Carroll (5’10) or Jalen Mills (6’1). Carroll and Mills are not capable of defending Jeffery, and Jay Cutler will make it a habit of picking on them as often as he can. The Eagles had trouble defending the likes of Corey Coleman and Terrell Pryor in week 1, giving up receptions that went for 44 and 58 yards. Jeffery has the type of matchup this week that he had when he put up games of 10/151, 10/116/1, 9/107/1, and 8/147/1 last season. Get him in your GPP lineups.
Jordan Mathews ($6,900)
Eagles @ Bears
Projected Team Total: 25.75
Footballguys IVC Projection: 16.7 points (2.4x salary multiple)
With the knee-jerk trade of Sam Bradford the week before the season started, Jordan Mathews saw his value take a big hit when it came out that rookie Carson Wentz would be starting in place of the departed Bradford. For all of Bradford’s deficiencies as a starting quarterback, the one thing you can’t knock him for is that he was capable of sustaining a #1 fantasy receiving option in Mathews last season. He locked onto him a bit too much at times, but there can be worse things than having too many targets, if that is even possible. Mathews had four 100 yard receiving games in 2015, as well as three games of 30+ fantasy points. In his first game with Carson Wentz at quarterback, Mathews picked right back up where he left off last season, catching seven passes on fourteen targets, for 114 yards and a touchdown. He was owned by less than 5% of participants in several GPP’s, and his price of $6,700 allowed him to return a 4x multiple on his salary. It was no wonder that he was on the winning teams in many GPP’s. This week he will face off against a Chicago secondary that let up big plays to Texans rookie receiver Will Fuller, including a 18 yard touchdown pass where Fuller just ran right by the Chicago secondary. Mathews is the unquestioned #1 option in the Philly passing game, and will continue to see double digit targets. Mathews production will move inversely with Wentz’s development as a passer, but he has already shown he is capable of putting up the type of numbers than can win you a big GPP. Don’t hesitate to put him in your lineups on Monday Night, he should continue to be low owned at a price point where the risk is certainly worth the reward.
Mike Wallace ($4,700)
Ravens @ Browns
Projected Team Total: 25.75
Footballguys IVC Projection: 13.5 points (2.8x salary multiple)
If you told me three weeks ago that Wallace would be a feature in this column, I would have ran to the bathroom in a hurry because sickness was sure to follow. Plainly put, Wallace has never been the same since leaving the green pastures of Pittsburgh in search of big contracts and sub-par quarterback play. His time in Miami was marred by inconsistency and Wallace continuously being exposed as a one trick pony type deep threat. He then moved on to Minnesota where he enjoyed a double digit touchdown season in 2014, but his development as a complete wide receiver never seemed to happen. He was overly reliant on his speed and ran sloppy routes that infuriated his coaches and quarterbacks. He finally hit rock bottom last season when he failed to catch 40 passes and reach 500 yards receiving for the first time in his career. Luckily for him, he moved onto the one place where a premium is placed on speed, Baltimore. Joe Flacco has made a living out of being one of, if not the best deep ball passer in the league. He was able to get the most out of Torrey Smith, another speedy wide receiver who was able to stretch the field even when safeties would shade him over the top. Wallace’s arrival in Baltimore was a match made in deep-ball heaven, and it didn’t take long for the Flacco to Wallace go-route to be on full display. In their week one matchup against Buffalo, Flacco connected with Wallace on a beautiful 66 yard bomb straight down the middle of the field where Wallace ran right by safety Duke Williams. Flacco and Wallace have another advantageous matchup against Cleveland this weekend, and a have a great chance to continue the momentum they created in week 1. The Browns secondary has graded out as one of the worst in football over the last several years, and this year is no exception. Wallace may not have 75 catch upside in Baltimore given the depth of young talent that the Ravens want to develop alongside Steve Smith Sr. and Wallace, but he doesn’t need to catch six balls a game to have an impact on your GPP lineups. At $4,700, Wallace is one play away from hitting value each week, and the nice part about GPP’s is that you can take that on that risk while surrounding Wallace with players who have high floors. He is not an every week starter, but this is a week where you want to have him in your GPP lineups, and something around 5-8% exposure makes sense.
Julius Thomas ($4,400)
Jaguars @ Chargers
Projected Team Total: 22 points
Footballguys IVC Projection: 11.9 points (2.7x salary multiple)
The Jaguars have assembled one of the most exciting offenses in football, with young, explosive talent at the skill positions. Blake Bortles is the captain of the ship, and Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns combined for 144 catches, 2,431 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2015. It is scary to think that Justin Blackmon was suspended for the last two years, because he was a player that many thought resembled a Dez Bryant type level of talent. The one position that the Jaguars needed some help at was the tight end position, and they wisely went out and signed Julius Thomas in free agency when he became available after a breakout season with the Denver Broncos. Thomas has struggled with lower body injuries the last two seasons, but when he is healthy, he has the speed to be a mismatch against linebackers, and cornerbacks cannot handle his 6’5, 247lb frame. Bortles and Thomas are starting to develop a rapport on the field, and that was evident this past week when they hooked up for five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. The Jaguars have too much size and speed for defenses to adequately cover, so opposing secondaries are forced to play pick your poison. Due to Hurns and Robinson’s ability to stretch the field vertically, Thomas is going to find himself in one on one coverage more often than not, and he finally has the opportunity to match the production he had in his breakout year in Denver. This week the Jaguars travel to San Diego to take on a defense that is reeling after letting Kansas City mount a huge second half comeback, and eventually win the game in overtime. The Chargers had trouble slowing down Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who finished the game with six catches for 74 yards. This was nothing new either, as Kelce has terrorized the Chargers in recent years. With the high likelihood of a shootout on the horizon, Thomas deserves meaningful exposure in your GPP lineups. He is a red zone threat who has the potential for 6+ catches and 100 yards. It is rare to find that type of ceiling in a tight end at $4,400.