Daily fantasy football isn’t all about who you are going to use. Sometimes it’s just as important to determine who you aren’t going to use. That way, if the salary happens to fit for your last spot, you’ll know which names to disregard in order to produce the greatest overall fantasy point output. Here are the guys to cross off your list heading into the 2nd week of the NFL season.
Andrew Luck, Colts, $14,600 – In the opening game of the 2016 season, Cam Newton and company squared off against the Broncos. On Thursday evening, Newton strung together a decent performance that included 54 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown (TD) and he ended with 22.16 fantasy points. For cash games, this fantasy point output was fine but rostering Newton last week (or Andrew Luck this week) assumed concessions had to be made at other positions. While the score is fine in a nutshell, rostering the top quarterbacks (QBs) only makes sense if they are going to separate you from the pack. Here are some QBs who produced more fantasy points than Newton Week 1: Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford and Alex Smith…all of which were significantly cheaper. This is the exact case against rostering Luck this week in a battle against this same tough Broncos defense. The odds of him completely erupting against a team that features arguably the best duo of cornerbacks in the league is highly unlikely. In fact, the Broncos allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs of any team in the NFL last year. If Luck were cheaper, it would be worth a shot, but there’s simply no value to be had at a $14,600 price tag.
Todd Gurley, Rams, $14,100 – I apologize in advance is this fade is way too easy but did you watch the Rams offense on Monday Night? They scored zero points. Zero. After the game, Coach Jeff Fisher eluded to the fact that he will not be changing QBs for the Week 2 tilt against the swarming Seahawks defense. If he isn’t bluffing, and really is this crazy not to make a move, then the Rams offense cannot be expected to produce anything of note. The passing game is so damn awful that it actually drastically affects Todd Gurley’s effectiveness because opposing teams are just going to load the box. Last year, the Seahawks defense allowed the fewest fantasy points to RBs, so there wasn’t much upside to this matchup anyways. Even as a contrarian play in tournaments, you’d be nuts to spend up for Gurley.
Melvin Gordon, Chargers, $9,500 – On the surface, Melvin Gordon’s Week 1 explosion was encouraging. For the first time in his young NFL career, he actually scored a TD…and then he scored another one. So opening the season with a two TD performance has to be an excellent sign, right? Wrong. The team utilized a RB-by-committee approach and Gordon ended up on the wrong end of it. Gordon was out-snapped by Danny Woodhead 50-23, out-touched 21-14, averaged just 4.1 yards per carry (YPC) to Woodhead’s 5.6 and the only member of the duo to not catch a pass (Woodhead caught five and scored a receiving TD). Receiving touches in the red zone and converting is all well and good, but Woodhead seems like the guy to own in this backfield…especially since he finished as RB4 in the format just a season ago. Gordon’s first game can be chalked up to luck and he’ll face a much improved Jaguars defense in Week 2. The price is still low but he’ll have to score a TD and run for a fair amount of yardage to provide value since he doesn’t catch any passes. I’m not willing to take a shot on that proposition and will be happily leaving him out of all of my lineups.
Allen Robinson, Jaguars, $14,600 – In 2015, no cornerback graded higher on Pro Football Focus than Jason Verrett, so Allen Robinson is in for his second consecutive difficult individual matchup. After this week he is in the clear, but the Chargers arguably possess the best duo of corners in the league. Last season, Robinson gutted out a 5-56-1 line against San Diego on 11 targets. In Week 1, Robinson was similarly ineffective and still caught six passes for 72 yards on 15 targets. The issue here isn’t the amount of looks he’ll receive, because he’s always going to be targeted heavily, it’s the low conversion rate the targets will likely equate to. Facing one of the game’s best, it’s hard to project much more than the line he produced against this very team last year. With a trio of top receivers in fantastic spots (Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr.), rostering Robinson limits a lineup’s ceiling because any of the others could easily eclipse 100 yards with a TD (or multiple TDs). When the Jaguars take on the Ravens in Week 3, it will finally be the right time to unleash the beast, but this is just a tough task even for an upper-echelon receiver.
Stefon Diggs, Vikings, $10,100 – After eclipsing 100 yards and 20 fantasy points against the Titans in Week 1, Stefon Diggs will now attempt to take on a corner who quieted the aforementioned Allen Robinson last week. Unlike Josh Norman of the Redskins who stayed on one side of the field, the Packers used Sam Shields to shadow Robinson at all times. With only one real threat in the passing game for the Vikings, it’s a virtual lock Shields does the same with Diggs. Sure the 100-plus yards promoted confidence that Diggs could in fact be QB-proof but he hasn’t shown that he can consistently beat the game’s top corners. Diggs finished with six receptions for 65 yards in his first game against Green Bay last year and registered just one catch for eight yards in the second game. Furthermore, the Vikings are likely to make another QB switch in this game so he’ll be working to find chemistry with Sam Bradford. There are simply too many obstacles to expect a solid performance so take a firm pass. UPDATE: Sam Shields is going through concussion protocol and is listed as questionable. If he were to sit, this matchup would become slightly more appealing but I’m holding strong with the recommendation of fading him.
Greg Olsen, Panthers, $10,500 – Even though the 49ers were playing the lowly Rams last week, they’re defense looked excellent. Although San Francisco was just plain bad last year, including their defense, they only allowed the seventh fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends (TEs). The issue with rostering Greg Olsen is Jordan Reed is slightly more expensive and Delanie Walker is slightly less expensive. Olsen’s target total should have already been expected to regress this year with all the receivers healthy and this just isn’t a matchup he should be schemed heavily into. Sure he caught seven passes last week but the Broncos’ weakness in the defense is over the middle in the passing game. The 49ers are the polar opposite. With a low floor and a high price tag, there just isn’t much value to using him.