Only two weeks into the NFL season, it's still too early to determine many megatrends about teams and players, but some things are abundantly clear -- the most horrible of teams already have red flashing lights attached to them.
The most obvious of these are the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets. It also looks like the Indianapolis Colts -- without quarterback Andrew Luck -- may also be in that category.
And then there's the Cincinnati Bengals, who are still without a touchdown after two home games and already have replaced their offensive coordinator. However, with the obvious talent on the Bengals roster, it's hard to put them in a class with the Browns and Jets this soon.
For daily fantasy purposes, one of the surest things a DFS player can do is bring on players who are playing against poor teams. Unfortunately, this week two of the above mentioned teams -- the Browns and Colts -- play each other, so there's no obvious mismatch (Cleveland is a 1- to 1.5-point favorite). But week-in and week-out, stocking your roster with players who are going against exceptionally bad teams is a solid strategy.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles: Wentz has attempted 85 passes in his first two games, an obvious reflection of head coach Doug Pederson's offensive philosophy. Expect the Eagles to try to run the ball more this week against the winless New York Giants (as the Detroit Lions did on Sept. 18), but guys like Pederson can't help themselves. Wentz is near-certain to attempt 35-to-40 passes and his salary is extremely modest, especially on FanDuel.
Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins: This is a situation where DFS players must monitor an injury situation (and there a lot of them around the NFL this week). Ajayi did not practice Sept. 20, and it's hard to tell this early if there's any real significance to that because the Dolphins know they need to be careful with him if he's going to touch the ball 25-or-so times a game. If he's ready to go, he'll be a little on the high side salary-wise but with a great matchup against the Jets.
Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers: Montgomery is becoming increasingly important to the Green Bay offense when you consider his versatility and nagging injuries to wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb that limited their DFS contributions in Week 2.
Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks: This may be the cheapest Carson will be for a long time. His salary for this week puts him in the mid-20s among running backs (26th on FanDuel, 24th on DraftKings), but he seems to have emerged as the starting ball-carrier in Seattle. The Seahawks draw the Tennessee Titans, who have a middle-of-the-road run defense. Picking Carson seems to represent a bargain in both cash games and GPPs (guaranteed prize pools).
Russell Shepard, Carolina Panthers: Admittedly, this is a risky pick that can have huge benefits -- but it involves another injury watch. The injury is to Carolina's top receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, who has a bunch of aches and pains and did not practice Sept. 20. The Panthers play the New Orleans Saints, who have a notoriously poor pass defense, so you have to consider a Carolina receiver. Benjamin would be the obvious pick if he wasn't hurt, and even if he plays it's hard to gauge his likely effectiveness.
Golden Tate, Detroit Lions: Tate's targets dropped off last week because the Lions were able to run the ball and still win handily against the Giants. This week, they play the Atlanta Falcons, so count on far more targets for Tate.
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans looked like Mike Evans during the Bucs' game against the Chicago Bears last week, with seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. This week, Tampa Bay draws the Minnesota Vikings, which also has a suspect pass defense.
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: Ertz's salary is creeping up to where it probably should be (we said it would happen), but he continues to be a favorite target in Philadelphia's pass-heavy offense.
Matt Prater, Detroit Lions: Prater is the cheaper of two good kickers (the Falcons' Matt Bryant is the other) playing in a potential shootout.
Miami Dolphins: At this point, go with any team playing the Jets.
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