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Week 2 lineup picks for Thursday night football


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Week 2 opens with a game.

That is the best way to describe the New York Giants hitting the road to take on the Washington Football Team in an NFC East battle.

It is vital to remember that single-game slates are not simply a “max salary, play as many big names as possible, and submit” format, especially in larger tournament fields. We need to identify players who can be pieces in their offense’s success, whether in the lead or trailing, as well as the players who could be focal points in a neutral game script. The ability to then take those players and identify which will succeed in the single-game format will put us in a better position to succeed as daily fantasy players.

Vegas Total and Spread

Washington is a 3.5-point home favorite and the game has an Over/Under of 40.5 points. The Football Team has an implied team total of 22.25 points while the Giants implied team total is 18.75 points.

Potential Game Flow Scenarios

If we take the over/under for what it is, expectations are low for both teams. Daniel Jones ($20) is one of the most turnover-prone quarterbacks in football playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Opposite the patchwork line is one of the best defensive lines in football that is hungrier than my 2-year-old son after 12 hours of sleep (parent brag).

The limitations of the Giants offensive line limit the upside of every offensive player. Saquon Barkley ($24) is unlikely to play like the Barkley we saw before his ACL surgery because of the repair and iffy o-line. It probably makes sense to sit Barkley and let the rest of the running back corps figure out how to solve WFT’s defense ($20).

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26)

We can’t expect Saquon Barkley to be back to form in Week 2. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

Jones was a different quarterback in each of the two games against WFT in 2020. He attempted 19 passes for 112 yards in their first win with one touchdown and one interception. In New York’s second win over WFT, Jones attempted 34 passes for 211 yards with one TD and one pick. Jones has as many wins against Washington (4-0) as he does against the rest of the NFL (4-19). He can be successful with the help of a productive running game and utilizing his safety valve at receiver, Sterling Shepard ($13). Shepard enters Week 2 with nine targets, seven receptions, 113 receiving yards, and a touchdown. That performance was against a Broncos defense that entered 2021 fourth in schedule-adjusted defensive positional rankings (aFPA) versus wide receivers.

WFT will run the ball with Antonio Gibson ($24) and then run some more. The Giants entered this season 22nd in aFPA against running backs and Washington will do as much as possible to lighten the load for Taylor Heinicke ($23). Heinicke deserves credit for keeping Washington in their game against a solid Chargers defense but his limitations as a thrower cap the passing game. Heinicke also has zero issues tucking and running; he finished last week with 17 yards and had totals of 22 and 46 in two starts last season (one in the postseason).

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Heinicke will be targeting Terry McLaurin ($23) and Logan Thomas ($17) the most, but Dyami Brown ($10) and Adam Humphries ($10) make up a boring, if uninspiring, second tier of targets. The Giants defense ($16) is top 12 in aFPA against quarterbacks, receivers, and tight ends. It would not be surprising to see the Giants sell out to stop Gibson, forcing Heinicke into passing. This could be advantageous for the WFT passing offense. McLaurin finished with 189 yards in two games against the Giants in 2020 with two different QBs — Kyle Allen and Alex Smith. The two combined for 605 passing yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions. Heinicke’s rushing and lack of experience are more of a preventer for picks than with Allen and Smith, but turnovers are very much in play.

Close, low-scoring game DFS options

  • Saquon Barkley

  • Sterling Shepard

  • Giants defense

  • Antonio Gibson

  • Washington defense

Close, high-scoring game DFS options

Blowout for home team DFS options

Blowout for away team DFS options

  • Taylor Heinicke

  • Antonio Gibson

  • Terry McLaurin, Cam Sims

  • Logan Thomas

  • Washington defense

  • Daniel Jones

  • Devontae Booker

  • Sterling Shepard

  • Kyle Rudolph

Cheap/Unique Stacking Option

Traditional stacks such as QB/WR1 or WR2, QB/TE, and RB/DEF are stacks seen used in winning lineups. The obvious choice is not always the winning choice. Below is a cheap stack with at least one unique quality that could break the slate.

J.D. McKissic ($10)/New York Giants Defense ($16)

McKissic disappointed as a backup option last week with one target and eight yards rushing. Recency bias is an exploitable situation in DFS and there’s leverage in pairing him with the defense that will see lower rostership than WFT’s. The total and spread make it too close to ignore a scenario where the Giants win and force Washington into a two-minute offense. McKissic was targeted 11 times in two Heinicke starts last season.

Low-Salaried Volatile Plays

Kyle Rudolph ($10)

Rudolph saw 13.5% of the Giants target share Week 1 against a tough Broncos secondary. WFT is in the top half against opposing tight ends in aFPA but Jones is going to have to be efficient and look for quick outlets. Rudolph is that guy.

New York Giants tight end Kyle Rudolph (80)

Kyle Rudolph could be the safety valve Daniel Jones needs against WFT. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

Adam Humphries ($10)

Humphries’ low average target depth does not get me overly excited but he played 60% of snaps and is the favorite to continue to run routes out of the slot with Curtis Samuel on IR.

Darius Slayton ($11)

Seven targets at a near-minimum salary is always in play. It would be nice if Slayton caught more than three of them in Week 1. I have concerns about Kenny Golladay ($20) at cost when he saw one less target and had one less yard than Slayton.

Superstar Picks

Antonio Gibson ($24)

I expect Gibson to be the highest rostered player in the Superstar slot since he has the best matchup of any skill position player. Gibson out-targeted McKissic 5-1 and only lost three rushing attempts to McKissic and Jarret Patterson ($10). Gibson has the safest role in this game.

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Logan Thomas ($17)

Thomas as the Superstar enables one of the more optimal WFT-stacked lineups available on Yahoo. Thomas played 100% of snaps last week. I expect him to be the third-most rostered WFT skill position player in the Superstar slot. Thomas saw 21 targets in two Heinicke starts in 2020.

Devontae Booker ($11)

WFT will do everything possible to stop Saquon Barkley, and there is the potential Barkley is inactive on a short week. This is as close to a galaxy brain pick as I’ll have but no Barkley/decoy Barkley opens a lot of touches for his direct back-up.

Daniel Jones ($20)

If I am going to roster a QB at Superstar, I want the one with better offensive weapons and some signs of success against the opponent. Despite barely eclipsing 300 passing yards in two games against WFT in 2020, Jones had one strong rushing game against their defense in 2020 — 74 of his 78 rushing yards against WFT came in Week 6. Even if his rushing upside is 50 yards that’ll help alleviate a potential drop-off in pass attempts. QB rush attempts help keep a defense honest.

This article originally appeared in its full form on 4for4.com

Jeff has played fantasy sports since 2001. He has covered fantasy and traditional sports at the pro, semi-pro, and amateur level for the better part of a decade. Born in Illinois and currently living where James Robinson made a name for himself in college, Jeff enjoys running (establish it), followed by doing absolutely nothing.

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