DRAFT Week 2 NFL Picks: Round by Round AnalysisBy Mark Dankenbring | Published: September 15, 2017 at 1:18 pm
Weekly contests on playdraft.com feature a new format for DFS players. Instead of a salary-based selection process, DRAFT went back to the basics and implemented a live snake draft format for players. For weekly contests, players must draft 1 QB, 2 RBs, and 2 WRs/TEs. There is only one option with more than six players (10 players), meaning only 30 players are taken off the board in the majority of contests.
With just five rounds to draft and a 30-second pick clock, it’s important to know who you want before the clock starts ticking. Therefore, each week I’ll give you round by round advice, factoring in depth at each position to help you nail each and every pick in your draft. Let’s get started.
DRAFT Week 2 NFL Picks: Big Points Expected in Falcons-Packers, Patriots-Saints Games
Target a top skill position play with your first pick. I’m partial to wide receivers this week, as I love Julio Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Brandin Cooks. I would have no hesitation pulling the trigger on Julio or Jordy for my first pick, and while I like Cooks nearly as much, he’s gone later in all the drafts I’ve participated in for this week (projected as WR16 on DRAFT).
Jones faces a Packers team that has surrendered 11-227-1 and 9-180-2 performances to Julio in two their last three meetings. In the third matchup he fell short of expectations with a 3-29-0 line, but in a contest where we have to finish in the top third to cash, he’s well worth the risk.
Nelson hasn’t been quite as lethal as Jones in previous match-ups, but he caught a touchdown in their last two meetings and has 13 in his last 19 games. Although they may try to run more with Ty Montgomery, Green Bay is still pass-first so Nelson provides a great floor in their offensive scheme and a high ceiling due to his big play and touchdown ability.
If those two are gone by the time of your selection, I would target a running back. Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon, and LeSean McCoy are the top options for me this week. Zeke faces a Denver defense that allowed 130 rushing yards per game last season. After averaging 21 touches per game in his rookie year, the second-year back handled the ball 29 times in Week 1, including five receptions (a career high). We know Dallas is going to exploit Denver’s weakness on the ground, so Zeke is an easy pick for me this week.
Melvin Gordon is my next favorite target. The Dolphins allowed over 100 yards rushing in each of their last seven games last season and the third most in the league. Gordon saw 76% of RB snaps in Week 1 and 82% of the carries, even further solidifying his grasp on the backfield opportunities. He’s also averaged four catches on six targets from Philip Rivers since Week 7 last season, so his floor/ceiling are pushed even higher.
While it isn’t a dazzling matchup for McCoy in Carolina, he’s still the number one option in that offense. He racked up 159 total yards on 22 rushes and five receptions in Week 1, and would’ve seen an even better fantasy performance if Mike Tolbert didn’t vulture a TD from the 1-yard line. Shady will get his usual 25+ touches again this week, and we have to be confident in his ability to turn those into a solid fantasy performance.
Rounds 2 and 3
If you were able to score Julio or Jordy in round one, I would stack them with Matt Ryan or Aaron Rodgers with one of these two picks. If you landed on a running back in the first round, I would try and swoop up Tom Brady and Brandin Cooks in back-to-back selections. All three QBs have stellar matchups and are in the two games with the highest point totals entering the weekend. They’re in a class of their own this week, so I’m content selecting them in the first three rounds after waiting on a QB last week. If somehow none of those QB options remain, wait until round four or five to select a QB, as three teams will already have the position locked up and you can get the best value from other skill position players
My favorite skill players to add in these middle rounds are Ty Montgomery, Tyreek Hill, Rob Gronkowski, and Keenan Allen. As you can tell, I’m really high on the GB @ ATL (total is 54) and NE @ NO games (total is 56). They have the two highest point totals by far and I’m looking to load up on players from these games in all formats.
Montgomery saw 90% of Packer running back snaps in Week 1, the highest mark in the league. His transition from receiver to running back is complete and he’s one of my favorite RBs going forward. His pass-catching ability is what stands out to me this week, as Atlanta allowed the most receiving points to opposing RBs in 2016. That along with his usage rate in a high-scoring affair makes him a favorite of mine this weekend.
With his 75-yard reception against the Pats, Tyreek Hill has now scored a 60+ yard touchdown in an NFL record five consecutive games. His explosiveness is unmatched at the moment, and while he’s dominated in big plays, he still gets plenty of opportunities. He’s seen a 22% target share ever since Jeremy Maclin left the picture, and I don’t expect that to change against a secondary who just lost CB Ronald Darby to a dislocated ankle in Week 1.
We see Gronk priced like top-notch WRs on FanDuel and DraftKings, but people seem to undervalue him on DRAFT. He’s projected behind guys like TY Hilton, Dez Bryant, and Travis Kelce (all on my fade list) in the WR/TE section. People must have forgotten how game-changing of a player Gronk can be due to his injuries. He’s caught 77 TD passes in just 99 career games, including 14 games with two or more. He has a perfect matchup against the Saints, and could easily go for another two-touchdown performance.
Allen is another guy that’s getting overlooked due to his injury history, but he’s been a clear WR1 when healthy. He’s averaged 10.5 targets per game from Philip Rivers in his last 18 full games. He’s coming off another 10-target game against the Broncos and put up a solid week against the league’s best pass defense (5 for 35 and a TD). This should be the week he reminds fans just how good of a fantasy wide receiver he really is.
Rounds 4 and 5
This is where it gets a little tougher to make decisions. Almost all of the top options for the GB/ATL and NE/NO game should be off the board, so we’re left with the rest from games with point totals in the mid-to-low 40s. The running backs I would target in this range are Jacquizz Rodgers, Dalvin Cook, and even James White for a boom/bust play.
Rodgers has seen at least 17 touches per game in Doug Martin’s five absences. He’s been a double-digit scorer in four of those five games, and I like his chances to make that five of six against the Bears. Chicago allowed the 12th-most points to opposing RBs last season and just lost starting ILB Jerell Freeman for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. He makes for a solid floor play with touchdown upside as one of your last two selections.
The rookie from Florida State, Cook, will head to Pittsburgh after posting 137 total yards in Week 1. Most of his damage was done on the ground against the Saints, but I like him to see more work in the passing game this week. The Steelers love to bring pressure on defense and Sam Bradford has no issue settling for short gains to keep drives alive. I expect a lot of those short passes will head Cook’s way as he saw nearly 80% of the RB snaps in Week 1.
Although Bill Belichick’s usage of RBs is historically frustrating for fantasy purposes, I still like James White’s upside in this matchup. He saw 53% of the RB snaps against the Chiefs while no other back logged more than 30%. He saw more carries (10) than he did in any game last season, and we know he’s a priority in the passing game (averaged 5.3 targets in ’16). White is someone with two-touchdown upside against a terrible Saints defense, and he’ll almost definitely be available for your last pick.
With just a WR spot left to fill, I’d go after Doug Baldwin or Larry Fitzgerald. Both are presented with elite matchups (Baldwin vs. SF, Fitzgerald at IND) and should be available in these rounds.
Baldwin posted a monster game against the Niners at home last season, catching eight passes for 164 yards and a TD. He’ll be overlooked compared to wide outs from games with higher totals, but he should have no problem producing in a game that is expected to be a blowout (14-point spread). With a weak offensive line and running game, I expect the offense to stream through Russell Wilson and the passing attack. Baldwin is the #1 option for Wilson, so I love his value as fourth or fifth rounder here.
Most drafters won’t even see Fitz on their WR list, as he’s hidden with the 37th highest projection (10.2 points). He topped that mark in Week 1 by catching six passes for 74 yards (10.4 points), and didn’t even reach his potential as he was targeted 13 times. Last week Rams rookie Cooper Kupp worked the slot against the Colts for 4 catches 76 yards and a score. I expect Carson Palmer to look Fitzgerald’s way a ton again on Sunday with David Johnson injured. He should approach eight catches and 100+ yards, and should be the favorite option on the Cardinals to find the end zone.
Lastly, if you weren’t able to score Brady, Rodgers, or Ryan, look to Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, or Derek Carr to fill your QB position.
It’s impossible to predict exactly how different drafts will play out, but if you end up with a roster full of players mentioned above, you’ll be in a great spot to finish in the money.