The giddiness of doing all the research for the preseason and Week 1 for the NFL led to me pushing harder than expected at DraftKings. I boxed 150 teams in the $5 Millionaire Maker plus added one lineup in some high-dollar leagues. At halftime of the 1 PM games, I sat in first place in the $333 Wildcat event with a hand on $100,000. Unfortunately, my scoring came to a screeching halt in the second half, leading to only 34 more points. The final touchdown by Patrick Mahomes to Travis Kelce pushed me out of the money and 53 points from the top prize.
The winning team in that event pieced together a Cardinals’ stack (Kyler Murray, Chase Edmonds, DeAndre Hopkins) plus the two top scorers on the Chiefs (Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce). The late long touchdown by Melvin Gordon (1.6 percent own) pushed him to the top of the leaderboard.
My other two players were Antonio Gibson and Washington’s defense. I couldn't give up the defense, leading to me dropping from Robert Tonyan to Gerald Everett in this event. At halftime, this roster had six touchdowns.
In the low-dollar Millionaire Maker, my best team finished in 2,089th place out of 1,193,785 entries with 185.08 points. Overall, I won back $546 of my $750 in this event, which isn’t bad considering the weighted prize pool at the top end.
This week, I head back to the drawing board with a shorter stack and my tail between my legs.
The prices of the quarterback salaries tighten up in Week 2 at DraftKings with no starting option priced below $5,000.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
A Cardinals’ stack with Murray does offer some salary-cap relief with Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore, but it would be challenging to leave DeAndre Hopkins off this team structure. SI Sportsbook has Arizona favored by four points over the Vikings with an over/under of 50. Both teams should move the ball, and Murray has one of the highest floors at quarterback, thanks to his running ability. The Cardinals also showed more explosiveness in the passing game in Week 1 (six catches of 20 yards or more), pointing to quicker drives and improved scoring in 2021.
Opposing Options: Dalvin Cook ($9,100), Justin Jefferson ($7,400), Adam Thielen ($7,100)
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs moved the ball well vs. the Cowboys, but they did turn the ball over a couple of times. Brady looked sharp as ever, and Antonio Brown regained the previous form that he showcased with the Steelers. The trick for playing any passing players for Tampa is the Falcons putting up a fight on the scoreboard. Brady should pass for over 300 yards with an excellent chance at four touchdowns. Mike Evans and Ronald Jones came up empty in Week 1. I expect the Bucs to get Jones a touchdown with plenty of touches in the second half.
Opposing Options: Calvin Ridley ($7,500), Russell Gage ($4,800), Kyle Pitts ($5,200)
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Allen threw the ball 51 times against the Steelers, but he gained only 5.3 yards per pass attempt with one completion over 20 yards. In 2020, he barnstormed the Dolphins in Week 2 (434 combined yards with four touchdowns) in Miami with a respectable showing in Week 17 (224/3) at home (pulled at halftime). In addition, his receiving corps has more depth in 2021 while continuing to receiver a top of chances (23/221/1 on 40 targets).
Opposing Options: Myles Gaskin ($5,900), DeVante Parker ($5,500), Will Fuller ($4,800), Jaylen Waddle ($4,500), Mike Gesicki ($4,000)
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
I came away from Week 1 impressed again by Herbert. He attacked a top defense, and his secondary receiving options showed more life than last season. Mike Williams was active, and Jared Cook had plenty of free space in Washington’s secondary. The only missing link in their offense was Austin Ekeler being active in the passing game. I’m going with the theory that the Chargers wanted to limit his hard cuts after landing on the injury report with a slight hamstring issue. Dallas lost one of the better pass rushers, and their offense will push the issue on the scoreboard.
Opposing Options: Ezekiel Elliott ($6,200), Amari Cooper ($6,800), CeeDee Lamb ($6,400), Cedrick Wilson ($3,100)
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Some part of the Steelers’ offense will come in this week. Najee Harris should draw the most attention based on his salary, and the Raiders struggle vs. the run in Week 1. If Pittsburgh runs the ball better, they will also be able to take more deep shots downfield in the passing game, something they lacked last year. Roethlisberger is fairly priced, and he has three top-tier wideouts plus talent at the tight end position. I expect him to be a low percentage own in Week 2.
Opposing Options: Kenyan Drake ($4,900), Henry Ruggs ($4,200), Bryan Edwards ($3,700), Hunter Renfrow ($3,600), Darren Waller ($7,600)
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Last week I had 66 teams with Burrow doubled stacked at wide receiver. Unfortunately, the Vikings didn’t force them to the air in the second half with a minimal fight on the scoreboard. I love the Bengals’ wideout, and the Burrow train will pay off multiple times this season. The best part of the equation is the low salaries by his wide receivers.
Opposing Options: David Montgomery ($6,100), Allen Robinson ($6,200), Darnell Mooney ($4,200), Cole Kmet ($3,700)
Foundation Core Players
Christian McCaffrey should be a low-owned player in Week 2. His salary hurts roster development, and the Saints tend to play well vs. the run. He did everything right in Week 1 (187 combined yards with nine catches) except score and hit bonus points for 100 yards rushing and receiving.
The top option for me at the top end at running back is Nick Chubb. He has a primo matchup, and the Browns will undoubtedly play from the lead. I expect a minimum of two scores with a monster day in rushing yards.
As much as I believe in the playing time and upside of Najee Harris, I’m going to fade him in my single-entry leagues. He will be a popular option, and his matchup and salary screams, “play me.” For anyone building a balanced lineup, his salary and opportunity make a lot of sense.
Ezekiel Elliott looks out of place this week based on his lower salary. His last game with over 25.00 fantasy points came in Week 1 of 2020. Dallas should score multiple times, giving him a high floor.
When playing daily fantasy, sometimes it’s about finding two-game winning streaks. David Montgomery played well at the end of 2020, but no one fought for him in the season-long draft season. Last year the Rams didn’t allow any back to rush for over 100 yards. Montgomery ended that streak with an excellent showing in Week 1 (16/108/1). Cincinnati has risk on defense, giving him a chance at follow-through in this matchup at home.
The hottest commodity on the waiver wire this week was Elijah Mitchell. A season-ending injury to Raheem Mostert and one inactive game by Trey Sermon puts Mitchell in the driver seat of a high-profile run game. His salary makes sense, but Sermon will be active this week, and the 49ers will undoubtedly rotate in another running back.
This week I need to find a way to get in two of these four wideouts (DK Metcalf, Justin Jefferson, Stefon Diggs, and Keenan Allen).
Metcalf turned in a steady game in Week 1 (4/60/1), but a trip back home against the Titans sets up a chance at a special game. Tennessee struggled vs. wide receivers in Week 1 (17/246/4), and it won’t get any better against the Seahawks.
Game score should lead to plenty of throws by the Vikings this week. Justin Jefferson failed to score the road in his rookie season while shining at home (48/812/7). His data points to a fade, but I’m going with it’s his turn theory.
The Bills threw the ball well last season against Miami, and I’m expecting a bounce-back game by Stefon Diggs and Josh Allen. In his matchup against the Dolphins on the road in 2020, he caught eight catches for 153 yards and a touchdown.
Keenan Allen played well in Week 1 (9/100) while owning an outstanding resume at home last year (69/701/4 over seven games). Dallas gave up 17 catches for 250 yards and two scores on 28 targets in Week 1.
My top two choices at tight end in Week 2 are George Kittle and Noah Fant.
The Eagles had no answer for Kittle in 2020 (15/183/1). Philly will try to take away one of the 49ers’ wide receivers with CB Darius Slay, forcing San Fran to use their stud tight end in this matchup. His salary fits a balanced team build, but Kittle needs 25.0 fantasy points to fill his salary bucket.
Fant should get a bump in chances with Jerry Jeudy injured. His salary makes sense when adding his talent and potential ceiling. Teddy Bridgewater will try to dink and dunk his way up the field, creating more overall chances for the Broncos’ receivers.
RB Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills (DK – $4,900/FD – $5,600)
Buffalo decided not to activate Zack Moss for Sunday’s game, giving Singletary 75 percent of their running back snaps. He finished with 80 combined yards and three catches on 14 touches. With his current salary and a repeated opportunity, Singletary would have to add a touchdown to his stat line to come close to filling his salary bucket. The Bills should score in this game, which increases his overall chances. Miami allowed 200 combined yards with nine catches to the Patriots’ running backs in Week 1.
RB Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos (DK – $4,400/FD – $5,500)
The new kid on the running back block over the summer draft was Williams. He pushed his way into the fourth round in some leagues. Denver used a 50/50 split at running back, but Melvin Gordon won the week thanks to a late 70-yard touchdown. Williams finished the day with 15 touches for 41 yards with one catch. The Jaguars left their run defense at home against Houston (41/160/2), and backs caught four catches for 24 yards and a score. Williams brings plenty of talent, and his salary looks favorable if the game breaks his way for scoring.
WR Marquez Callaway, New Orleans Saints (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,700)
The hot summer commodity at wide receiver finished as a losing proposition in Week 1 (1/14 on two targets) despite receiving a team-high in snaps (52 – 84 percent) at wideout. New Orleans barely threw the ball in Week 1 (14-for-20 with 148 yards), but they torched the Packers at the goal with the passing game (five touchdowns). Carolina applied plenty of pressure on Zack Wilson, but his wide receivers caught 12 passes for 185 yards and two scores on 20 targets. Callaway should be much more active in this matchup.
WR Will Fuller, Miami Dolphins (DK – $4,800/FD – $5,700)
After sitting out Week 1 due to a suspension, the Dolphins get to add their new weapon vs. the Bills. Miami struggled to pass the ball against New England (202/1), and Buffalo kept Ben Roethlisberger in check (188/1). This matchup isn’t ideal, but Fuller does have the tools to win at his low salary level.
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cleveland Browns (DK – $3,000/FD – $5,000)
The masses will be locked and loaded on the Browns run game against Houston, but Cleveland’s coaching staff isn’t afraid to open up the playbook early to take advantage of some mismatches in the secondary. Peoples-Jones had WR2 snaps against the Chiefs, but he only had one catch for four yards on one target. The Jaguars' wideouts beat the Texans’ secondary for 16 catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns. With Odell Beckham out again this week, Peoples-Jones should have a bump in targets. I expect a long touchdown, setting up a winning day for his salary.
Other Options: Terrace Marshall ($3,300), Elijah Moore ($3,500), Darnell Mooney ($4,200)
TE Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers ($3,900)
Cook looked to be a good fit for the Chargers’ passing game in Week 1 despite turning in only a quiet day (5/56 on eight targets). Los Angeles had him on the field for 58 percent of their tight end snaps. Tampa drilled Dallas with Rob Gronkowski (8/90/2) on opening day. If I’m playing Justin Herbert, Cook will be on some of my Charger stacks.
Here’s my perfect lineup in Week 2:
My final decisions in this team build came between Laviska Shenault ($4,900) and Cleveland defense ($3,500) or CeeDee Lamb ($6,400) and Panthers defense ($2,700). I’m buying into Jameis Winston turning the ball over a couple of times and Lamb getting more chances in a possible chaser game with Michael Gallop injured. I also had the option of using Najee Harris over Ezekiel Elliott at the flex position.
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More Fantasy & Betting Coverage:
- Week 2 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running Backs
- Week 2 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Wide Receivers
- Week 2 Rankings: Wide Receivers
- Week 2 NFL Betting Preview
- CFB Week 3 Composite Picks
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Senior analyst Shawn Childs is a multi-sport, high-stakes fantasy legend with lifetime earnings in the high six-figures. He has been providing in-depth, analytical break downs for years all while helping his subscribers to countless titles and winnings across season-long & DFS. An inaugural inductee of the NFBC Hall of Fame, Shawn can teach you how to prep like a champ!