Safety is the name of the game in cash games, but FantasyDraft also pays out at least 25 percent of the field in every single contest, including tournaments, as well. This should motivate users to lean towards safe options in all formats on a site that puts #PlayersFirst. Without the top-heavy nature of tournaments, single entrants do not have to go with a “YOLO (you only live once)” mindset in tournaments, but can play for a solid cash instead. That makes life a whole lot easier.
Here are the “safe bets,” or players who can be inserted into lineups without fear of a dud, heading into Week 2:
Marcus Mariota, Titans, $11,300 – Titans/Lions opened with a 47.0 point over/under and the Lions opened as -5.5 point favorites. Having watched the Lions defense against Andrew Luck and the Colts’ pathetic offensive line last week, the 20.8 implied points for the Titans seems low in this one. Marcus Mariota now has a running game to take some pressure off of him and an actual receiver he can rely on: Tajae Sharpe. Sadly one reliable option at wide receiver (WR) is more than the team had last year but Mariota has said repeatedly he trusts Sharpe and proved it in Week 1. Moving forward, Mariota can rely on his legs, his rock solid TE and now at least one solid receiver, which gives him a fair amount of weapons. Playing in the dome helps eliminate the elements and encourages offense. A fairly quiet season debut (18.74 fantasy points) may lead to a low ownership but the price is right here. For a dual-threat QB in an above-average matchup, this price tag is a joke. He should compete for the lead at the position in fantasy-points-per-dollar and allows you to roster expensive players at other positions. What more can you ask for?
Jeremy Langford, Bears, $9,100 – Easily my favorite safe running back (RB) play of Week 2 is Jeremy Langford against a very mediocre Eagles defense. Unlike the Browns, nearly all of the production for the Bears comes via one RB (instead of splitting it up amongst two). Isaiah Crowell found the end zone in Week 1 and rushed for 62 yards while conceding most third down snaps to Duke Johnson Jr. For some reason, Langford is priced like a bum but is a workhorse who catches passes and receives goal line work. He’s almost worth using in any matchup at this price but he’s absolutely worth using against one of the NFL’s bottom five teams against RBs last year (even though it was a Chip Kelly system).
Theo Riddick, Lions, $8,400 – On the surface, this situation looks like a typical case of a workhorse back and change-of-pace back playing their roles in a single backfield. In the opener, Ameer Abdullah played 40 snaps while Theo Riddick played just 24. However, most will forget Riddick sat nearly an entire quarter while he was going through the head injury protocol. Therefore, he actually would have more than likely played a nearly identical number of snaps, especially considering he was the more effective back on a per-play basis. Not only did he average more yards per carry (YPC) than Abdullah (6.4-5.3) but he also averaged more yards per catch (12.6-11.4) and scored two TDs to Abdullah’s one. Riddick quietly caught 80 passes last year or exactly as many as both Eric Decker and Allen Robinson. Essentially, Abdullah and Riddick are more of options 1A and 1B instead of top dog and complementary back. After running the ball down the Colts throat in the opener, the Titans present a much more difficult task as they only allowed the seventh fewest fantasy points to the RB position last year. I think the Lions try to pound it with Abdullah, revert back to last year’s form where running comes at a premium and decided to ditch it at times for the short passing game. This game script is conducive to Riddick’s style, and even if I’m wrong, Riddick will be heavily involved regardless. His price tag is simply way too cheap and he possesses a high floor due to all the receptions. Start him with confidence.
Odell Beckham Jr., Giants, $18,000 – The Saints defense possessed exactly one defensive player to worry about heading into this season: Delvin Breaux. On Sunday, Breaux left the team’s tilt against the Raiders with a broken leg, so naturally he will be out this weekend as well. That leaves Odell Beckham Jr. matched up against a group of subpar Saints corners; none of which graded inside the top 45 at the position in Week 1 according to Pro Football Focus. Last week, Beckham dealt with a Cowboys scheme that has now kept him quiet in three consecutive games but allowed Sterling Shepard to run free. No matter how the Saints choose to scheme Beckham, he should be able to roast this group of scrubs. Hell, Amari Cooper was able to haul in 6-11 targets last week for 137 yards. One can only imagine the havoc Beckham is going to wreak on this poor secondary but I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable setting a cash game lineup without him this weekend.
Julio Jones, Falcons, $17,300 – The great thing about the elite WR tier is they are a threat to produce on a weekly basis. After making this article next week, it’s time to go back to the well with Julio Jones once again against the Raiders. Oakland’s top corner, Sean Smith, received a $40 million contract in the offseason and was benched halfway through the game against the Saints in Week 1. If you missed the game, he was burned for both the Willie Snead TD and more importantly the 98 yard Brandin Cooks TD which directly led to the benching. Now he’ll have the easy task (sarcasm) of guarding one of the best two receivers in the game who is coming off four receptions (RECs) for 66 yards and a TD in his season debut. In 2015, Jones averaged over 25 fantasy points per game, and I expect him to get back up around that total in this game. Spending up for WRs is absolutely the preferable roster construction in cash games this week with all the monsters in excellent spots.
Delanie Walker, Titans, $8,400 – As mentioned, I believe the Lions defense is susceptible, but numbers prove the Lions are susceptible to opposing tight ends (TEs). Last year, only the Giants, Saints and Raiders allowed more fantasy points to the position and no team allowed more TDs to the position than the Lions (tied with Raiders). While there are more viable options in town this year, Delanie Walker is still a legitimate playmaker. It’s doubtful he leads the position in receptions in back-to-back years (90 in 2015) but he’s better than his three receptions for 42 yards in the opener. Due to the quiet game, Walker’s price tag remained affordable, and now is the time to pounce. Expect him to be heavily targeted again in a high scoring affair and go back to catching a healthy amount of passes. There literally is no safer play at this position this week.