Whether you've played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are giving it a try for the first time, this new weekly column will take an early look at the DFS landscape, revealing whom I like building lineups around, stars to fade, undervalued plays and bargain bin options to help you construct a better team.
Lineup building blocks
Calvin Ridley ($28) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs were the league’s No. 1 pass-funnel defense last season and watched the Cowboys attempt 58 throws in Week 1. Matt Ryan struggled badly in the season opener, but Atlanta should be forced to pass a ton against Tampa Bay. Ridley disappointed last week but had a 51% air yards share and still projects to be a top-three fantasy WR moving forward. Expect a big bounce back performance from Mike Evans ($27) in this game, too.
Christian McCaffrey ($37) vs. New Orleans Saints
It’s tough not to use McCaffrey as a building block given his usage, as he was the No. 1 fantasy RB in Week 1 even in 0.5 PPR despite not scoring a touchdown. And he’s not even Yahoo’s RB with the highest salary in Week 2 (Alvin Kamara is at $38). The Saints allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs last season and shut down Aaron Jones in Week 1, but CMC’s role and skills make him matchup-proof; the Saints’ defense is also currently not even close to full strength while dealing with multiple injuries.
Nick Chubb ($34) vs. Houston Texans
The Browns are 12.5-point favorites at home in a smash spot against a Texans team with the worst roster in football despite a Week 1 win. LT Jedrick Wills avoided a serious injury and hopefully is able to play, but Chubb should run wild regardless. Chubb gets a boost in the 0.5 PPR format and faces a Houston defense that allowed the most touchdowns and rushing yards to running backs last season.
Stars to fade
Derrick Henry ($35) @ Seattle Seahawks
Normally I’m into chasing star players coming off disaster weeks, but I worry about Henry. The Titans’ offense can’t be much worse than Week 1 and will improve, but the loss of play caller Arthur Smith (to Todd Downing) could end up hurting them all season. Henry encouragingly saw four targets last week, but it’s likely bad news Tennessee is 5.5-point underdogs in Seattle, as game script may not be ideal for the power back. The Seahawks had the No. 7 run defense in DVOA last season, and Henry sports the fourth-highest salary (non-QBs) on the board this week (more than Nick Chubb).
Deebo Samuel ($26) @ Philadelphia Eagles
Samuel enters Week 2 leading the NFL in target share (48%) and yards per route run (7.56) by a mile (Tyreek Hill is second with 5.18). While Samuel took full advantage of his opportunity and is a must-start in season-long fantasy leagues while healthy, he shouldn’t suddenly have a salary of a top-12 WR like he does this week (more than Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb). The 49ers are a run-heavy team that changes weekly game plans dramatically; Samuel benefitted from Brandon Aiyuk’s no-show and a quiet George Kittle game during the season opener. The Eagles’ secondary looked like a major strength in Week 1.
Jalen Hurts ($26) vs. San Francisco 49ers
I’ll be forced to continue highlighting Hurts here until his salary properly adjusts. After averaging the most intended air yards (9.5) as a rookie last season, Hurts averaged the fewest (3.7) in Week 1, as Philadelphia’s new coaching staff made dramatic changes. Either way, Hurts is going to be an extremely valuable fantasy QB, as he’s averaged the second-most rush attempts at the position since taking over as Philadelphia’s starter. Hurts gets a tough matchup on paper, but Jared Goff put up a big fantasy game last week against the 49ers, who lost their top corner Jason Verrett for the season. There are 15+ quarterbacks with a higher salary this week — that won’t happen again.
CeeDee Lamb ($23) @ Los Angeles Chargers
Lamb saw a whopping 15 targets in Week 1, finishing third in air yards. He figures to remain as busy as ever with Michael Gallup sidelined and Ezekiel Elliott struggling to break tackles. Dak Prescott looked terrific during his return, and Dallas has 10 days to prepare for a “road” game in which they will have most of the crowd’s support. Lamb should have a top-five type salary among wideouts, but he’s tied for 17th this week.
Tyler Higbee ($16) @ Indianapolis Colts
I’m certainly regretting not having more Higbee in my season-long leagues after seeing him play 100% of the snaps while running a route on all but one dropback from new QB Matthew Stafford, who looked fantastic in his Rams debut. If Higbee is going to continue seeing close to a 23% target share from Stafford (and Gerald Everett signed in Seattle), he’s going to help a lot of fantasy managers win, including this week in DFS.
J.J. Taylor ($10) @ New York Jets
This is more of a tournament long shot, but with rookie Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris losing fumbles last week, Taylor could be next man up in New England’s backfield. At 5-foot-6, Taylor may not last all season in a featured role, but DFS players can temporarily take advantage of the rest of the team’s RB room being in Bill Belichick’s doghouse. The Patriots have a strong offensive line and face a Jets defense that’s absolutely decimated by injuries right now. Taylor impressed in the preseason, and he’s the stone minimum here.
Elijah Moore ($10) vs. New England Patriots
Moore flopped during his NFL debut while finishing with negative yards. But he also was top-30 in air yards and a slow start could be expected after he missed time late in the preseason with a quad injury. Moore otherwise received as much practice hype throughout summer as any rookie in recent memory, and the Jets are unlikely to run with much success against the Pats. Moore is well worth a minimum flier and isn’t going to be rostered much after Week 1’s disaster.