Football’s back. The first week of regular season NFL football is in the books, and we have certainly learned a lot already this season. … Value may be harder to find as the year goes on, but we can certainly find some plays to take advantage of every week with enough digging. Let’s get into the Week 2 Fantasy Aces value plays.
Phillip Rivers vs. Jaguars, $6,400
Rivers’ perceived stock took a big hit on Sunday when Keenan Allen was lost for the season with an ACL tear. However, he already faced Jacksonville in this same situation last season. In that contest, Rivers passed for 300 yards and four touchdowns. The Jags were 31st in Football Outsiders pass DVOA rankings in 2015, and this game has a 48-point total, with the Chargers favored by three. Rivers accounted for 29 of the Chargers’ 34 touchdowns last season (85 percent). At QB15 he is a tremendous value.
Derek Carr vs. Falcons, $6,300
Carr is probably the best dollar for dollar value at quarterback on the slate. He thrashed the Saints for 319 yards in a thrilling victory, and the Falcons just got lit up by Jameis Winston to the tune of 281 yards and four touchdowns. Carr is the QB18 in price, but much higher on the other major sites. He is the QB9 on DraftKings and the QB6 on FanDuel. That is crazy value just from a price arbitrage perspective.
LeGarrette Blount vs. Dolphins, $4,650
Blount is the ultimate game-flow running back. Since 2014, he has averaged about three times as many fantasy points in wins versus losses. New England is a 6.5 point favorite at home against the Dolphins, and that should mean plenty of Blount touches as the team tries to survive without Tom Brady. He is RB28 in pricing this week, and has strong odds for at least a touchdown. Last week in a competitive game that the Patriots were trailing in late, Blount played 44 snaps to James White’s 26. That gap should be even wider this week.
Danny Woodhead vs. Jaguars, $4,550
The Chargers got off to a big lead against the Chiefs in Week 1 (before ultimately losing), and Woodhead still out-snapped Melvin Gordon 50 to 23. Like it or not, he is locked into a big role in this offense, and Jacksonville was 27th in DVOA against running backs in the passing game last season. Continue to play Woodhead until his price comes way up.
Travis Benjamin vs. Jaguars, $4,500
Do you think I like the Bolts this weekend? The loss of Allen will directly create more opportunity for Benjamin, who saw eight targets on Sunday, and is the best wide receiver the team has left. With Rivers throwing the ball now instead of the carousal of Cleveland quarterbacks, I like him to drastically out-produce his WR38 price.
Steve Smith at Browns, $4,400
He wasn’t a major producer in Week 1, but Smith was the target leader for Baltimore with nine. Cleveland is a disaster defensively, coming off of a contest in which they gave up 29 points to the Carson Wentz-led Eagles. The Browns gave up long scores to both Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor, and were 27th in passing DVOA in 2015. The target load and matchup are both incredibly appealing at this price.
Dennis Pitta at Browns, $3,900
If you told me before this season started that I would tout Pitta’s name again, I would have called you a mad man. But the injury to Ben Watson has given him some tremendous opportunity despite the presence of other talents. Pitta played 82 percent of the snaps on Sunday despite seeing just four targets. A big role in a great matchup makes Pitta fantasy relevant for the first time in about four seasons.
Jesse James vs. Bengals, $3,600
James had a major role in the passing game Monday night and should continue to do so for as long as Ladarius Green is out. How his price remains at TE33 is a mystery, as he is TE15 on DraftKings. I have to imagine it is just a discount due to his Monday night appearance. James is a fantastic value if you are looking to go cheap at tight end and I would like him even more if Markus Wheaton continues to be out for the Steelers.
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