Week 1 of the NFL season and the Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale tournament are officially behind us. If you’ve fired a few shots in the Battle Royale tournament, I sincerely hope your lists have been more inspiring than mine.
The good news is, if you’ve followed my advice, which I may need to follow more closely in the future, then you probably did well in week 1.
Recap of week 1
In last week’s article, I mentioned that we should be focusing on drafting players who play in games with high projected totals. These games, if you don’t remember, were:
- Kansas City (-6) v Cleveland – O / U 54.5
- Tennessee (-3) vs. Arizona – O / U 52
- Indianapolis (-2.5) vs. Seattle – O / U 50
- New Orleans (+2.5) vs. Green Bay – O / U 50
- Buffalo (-6.5) vs. Pittsburgh – O / U 48.5
- Cincinnati (+3) vs. Minnesota – O / U 48
- Atlanta (-3.5) v Philadelphia – O / U 48
- Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) vs. Chicago – O / U 47.5
Interestingly, if we look at the squad that won the Week 1 Battle Royale contest, we see that many players on this list showed up in one of those eight matches.
Of the six players who landed in this lineup, which was tied for first with 152.68 points, five of them appeared in the most screened games last week. And four of them were in the top three games. Tight end TJ Hockenson ended up being the only player in the winning lineup who wasn’t in a game with a high projected total, with the over / under for that game at 46 before kick-off.
Hockenson’s landing in the winning roster is one of the least surprising things that came out of Week 1 after spending the entire season being drafted into the tight top 5 that would have a chance to lead his team into the Goals. Hockenson ended his week with an 8/97/1 receiving line on 10 targets. His 10 targets led all Lions receivers and tight ends.
Hoping the process is correct when it comes to the type of games we want to target players in, here are the eight most projected games for Week 2 according to the DraftKings Sportsbook.
Spread and over / under
- Los Angeles Chargers (-3) v Dallas – O / U 55.5
- Baltimore (+2.5) vs. Kansas City – O / U 55.5
- Seattle (-6) v Tennessee – O / U 53.5
- Tampa Bay (-12) vs. Atlanta – O / U 52
- Arizona (-4.5) v Minnesota – O / U 51
- Philadelphia (+3) vs. San Francisco – O / U 50
- Miami (+3.5) vs. Buffalo – O / U 48
- Cleveland (-11.5) vs. Houston – O / U 48
- Pittsburgh (-5.5) vs. Las Vegas – O / U 48
- Indianapolis (+4) vs. Los Angeles Rams – O / U 47
Justin herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Choosing the best quarterback on this slate is no easy task. The two most screened games of the week feature some of the best quarterbacks in fantasy, and it’s easy to imagine a scenario in which these two games play out and lead to some great fantasy days for all quarterbacks.
That being said, Justin Herbert is the quarterback I want the most in this elite squad.
Underdog projects Herbert for the eighth-highest point total among quarterbacks at 22.9 points, meaning he could outlast the draft a bit longer than other top QBs. Last week against the soccer team, Herbert was solid. He completed 31 of 47 passes for 337 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also lost a questionable fumble, but overall it was a strong day for the 2020 Rookie of the Year. This week Herbert gets a Dallas defense that allowed 379 passing yards and four touchdowns. moves on to Tom Brady in week 1.
Our rankings at 4for4 have Herbert screened for a fantastic 22.2 points, but as the sixth-highest QB on the slate.
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
If you’re looking to gain a bit of influence on the pitch, and even in your own six-team draft lobby, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford could be a solid fulcrum.
Stafford and the Rams travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts on Sunday and looked like a much improved offense with Stafford and Jared Goff.
In their Sunday night clash against the Bears, Stafford recorded 24.3 points (QB9) while completing 20 of 26 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Last week, the Colts gave Russell Wilson (QB8) 27.1 points as Wilson threw for 254 yards and four touchdowns.
Our ranking gives Stafford the eighth toughest game of the week and projects him for 18.2 points, but he could be worth a leaflet given his QB11 ranking on Underdog this week.
Nick chubb, Cleveland brown
Simply put, I want Nick Chubb this week.
Chubb was on the best team in Battle Royale last week and could be there again this week. His 21.1 points put him in the overall RB3 standings as he rushed for 83 yards and two scores against Kansas City.
Assuming the Texans return to earth after their surprising Week 1 victory over Jacksonville, the game’s script could put a heavy workload on Chubb. We have Chubb projected for 19.6 points. Christian McCaffrey is screened as the RB1 with 20.3 points, but he draws the toughest defensive game of the week against the Saints.
Najee harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Despite a ridiculous rush charge in which Najee Harris handled 16 backstrokes for the Steelers in Week 1, Harris finished with just 45 rushing yards and a fantastic 5.4 points.
In week two against the Raiders, expect Harris to bounce back.
The Raiders allowed the Ravens’ running backs 25.7 points last week, including a 35-yard touchdown to Ty’Son Williams. The Underdog folks project Harris for 13.9 points in this one (RB11), while our ranking has Harris projected for 16.4 points (RB9). If Harris is drafted closer to his Underdog projections, then by our projections he’s a solid value.
Amari Cooper/Lamb CeeDee, Dallas Cowboys
I’m probably cheating here by choosing both receivers, but the reality is if I can’t get one, I’d still love the other.
Cooper and Lamb were both turned off in week 1, with Cooper posting 25.9 points (WR2) and Lamb posting 16.4.
Cooper led all receivers last week with 16 targets, while Lamb was immediately behind him with 15. Drafting one of those Dallas receivers could create well-correlated lineups if you manage to land Justin. Herbert (or other Chargers players for that matter).
The same could also be achieved if you happened to draft Dak Prescott and correlate it with the Chargers’ positional players. We have forecast Cooper for a fantastic 14.5 points this week (WR10) and Lamb for 13.6 (WR13).
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp has given himself a day in Matthew Stafford’s Rams debut.
Kupp was sprinkled with 10 targets, a high for the team, and turned them into a 7/108/1 receiving line and fantastic 20.3 points (WR11). Kupp now gets a clash with the Colts in Week 2, which gave Tyler Lockett (WR6) a fantastic 24 points and DK Metcalf (WR28) 14 points. Both receivers found the end zone last week, with Lockett scoring twice on receptions from 23 and 69 yards, respectively.
The Rams and Colts are in the lower end of our best game totals this weekend, but it’s tough to make the Rams’ offense go away after what they did to the Bears in Week 1. Underdog Fantasy projects Kupp as WR11 this week with 13.6 points. We have Kupp ranked WR14, but his points are almost identical to Underdog’s projections of 13.4.
Rob gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I just don’t see how you could consciously leave a draft without one of the tight ends of the elite – in this case, Travis Kelce and Darren Waller.
However, assuming you do, the next best thing we can do is find someone who we hope comes close to their production.
If Week 1 against the Cowboys was any indicator, Rob Gronkowski could be a good player to bet on. After all, Gronk was the overall TE1 in Week 1 when he scored 25.0 points converting his eight targets for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
Gronk made another generous game in Week 2 against the Falcons, who just gave up 12.2 points to the Eagles’ Dallas Goedert (TE6). While I wouldn’t expect a consistent 20+ point performance from Gronk, his connection with Brady seemed as strong as ever last week.
George kittle, San Francisco 49ers
Okay, maybe I forgot to include George Kittle in that elite tight ends list earlier. But make no mistake, it’s just below Kelce and Waller’s level. Every now and then Kittle may even make you believe he’s on the same level as Kelce and Waller.
Whichever way you see it, make no mistake that Kittle’s status as an elite fantasy producer remains elite.
Last week against the Lions, Kittle turned five targets into four receptions and 78 yards – good for a whopping 19.5 yards per reception.
Kittle gets the Eagles in Week 2, a team he absolutely gutted in Week 4 of last season to the tune of 15/183/1 on 15 targets. He finished this week with 32.6 fantasy points and was the TE1 overall for the week.
Our projections have Kittle as the overall TE2 of the week with 14.1 points. It is the sixth easiest clash among the TEs on the slate.