For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, we will be providing free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. There are loads of information and NFL DFS showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 2 Thursday Night Football slate featuring the Washington Football Team vs. New York Giants.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 2 Thursday Night Football
Week 2 is here, and there has already been a dramatic shift, with key injuries across the league during the opening week. The Washington Football Team lost Ryan Fitzpatrick to a hip issue that could keep him out until after the team’s Week 9 bye. Curtis Samuel was placed on the injured list prior to the season with a groin issue. Suddenly Washington looks a lot like their playoff team last year. New York is without tight end Evan Engram, and after the first game it would seem that Saquon Barkley is going to be eased back into things, not quite seeing the field on half the snaps last Sunday.
Daniel Jones is pretty much who everyone thought he was, plus he is not aided by injuries and offseason turnover with the New York skill positions. For all of their offensive struggles, Washington has a consistently great defense on all three levels. In his last four regular-season games against this division rival, Jones has topped 225 yards passing once. That was back in a Week 16 laugher in 2019 where he had five touchdowns and 352 yards passing. In the other three games he has a combined three touchdowns and a meager 183 yards passing per game. Jones should be able to get a couple fantasy points on scrambles, but anything else looks like it will need to come via a broken play or a fortuitous red-zone strike.
Week 1 saw Saquon Barkley play on 29 snaps (48%), Devontae Booker 24 (39%) and 11 total snaps going to Gary Brightwell and Elijhaa Penny. Keep in mind that while teams are generally fresher for the first couple of Thursday Night games while dealing with short weeks, it is hard to see Barkley surpassing Sunday’s workload. Even if he does, he is going against a fierce front seven from Washington. A couple of red-zone carries could get him there, but his current DFS salary is based on a full workload from a lead running back.
While Kenny Golladay is the big-name wide receiver, Sterling Shepard continues to be Jones’ lead target. After wrapping up last season with 12 and 10 targets in the final two games, Shepard led the way on Sunday with a team-high nine. On the short week against another tough defense, it would make sense that we see a similar situation where the Giants are forced to rely on the pass to move the ball.
Darius Slayton was second on the team with seven targets, and Golladay was third with six. Engram being out and Barkley being on a limited snap count should keep the receivers heavily involved tonight. They will likely see a similarly tight target distribution, whoever ends up in the end zone has upside.
Golladay tends to be more of a jump ball receiver, so the lean for tonight will be to look to Shepard and Slayton for the steadier production. Kadarius Toney and C.J. Board had two and one targets, respectively, in Week 1, so they are long shots at best to even get a catch tonight.
Kyle Rudolph saw five targets on Sunday as the lead tight end. Engram’s injury is opening the door for Rudolph, and with his reasonable salaries on FanDuel ($7,000) and particularly on DraftKings ($3,200), he is a core option in cash lineups.
Despite the iffy fantasy reputation, the New York defense is above average. Washington is going to be rolling with an inexperienced quarterback and that means mistakes are going to happen. This game has a low projected point total, so the defenses and kickers likely will see the importance of even normal fantasy production magnified in the single-game contests.
While Taylor Heinicke is on his best day a replacement-level quarterback, coach Ron Rivera is not going to hold him to outlandish standards and knows how to craft a gameplan that can grind out a win as long as Heinicke does not spontaneously combust on the field. Even with the Awesemo projections giving Heinicke targets of 237.5 yards, 1.5 touchdowns and a turnover, he still projects as one of the best options on the single-game slate and higher than Jones.
Antonio Gibson seems to be pigeon-holed by DFS gamers as the rushing-down back, while J.D. McKissic is considered the receiving back. Gibson was actually a wide receiver in college who converted to a dual role during his senior season. Last year Gibson worked his way into the starting role and averaged 4.7 yards per carry despite dealing with a mix of nagging injuries and quarterbacks. McKissic was second on Washington with 110 targets, which also was the tops among all running backs. Peyton Barber is now with the Raiders, so this backfield is just a two-man show.
Terry McLaurin is close to breaking through to the elite tier of NFL pass catchers. Though his first two seasons he averaged 14.5 games played, 7.8 targets, five receptions and 70.2 yards per game and 11 total touchdowns. Though he is noted for his speed, he is a capable receiver in all three levels of the passing game. Behind McLaurin are Adam Humphries and rookie Dyami Brown.
Logan Thomas also logged 110 targets last year, which ranked third among tight ends. In what is likely to be a conservative gameplan with Heinicke under center, the 25 to 30 pass attempts are likely to be consolidated among McLaurin, Thomas and McKissic. In Week 1 Thomas was on the field for every offensive snap, and Ricky Seals-Jones was in on 10 (18%).
Washington is a solid play tonight, as Jones can get happy feet and is not afraid to make risky throws into coverage.
Thursday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy
The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.
Week 2 Thursday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings
Week 2 Thursday Night Football Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Taylor Heinicke: Though he is clearly the highest-projected option, it does not feel great going with a quarterback that is making his third career start.
- Antonio Gibson: Biggest beneficiary of a conservative gameplan.
- Daniel Jones: Considering Barkley is likely to be limited if active, Jones defaults as the top New York option.
- Terry McLaurin: Speed alone could break this game wide open, plus he has great hands.
- Sterling Shepard: Appears to be the preferred option, even though most casual gamers will lean towards Golladay.
- Graham Gano: Gano missed only one field goal last year, and it was from over 50 yards.
- Logan Thomas: Rookies and inexperienced quarterbacks tend to find the closest and biggest target first.
- Kyle Rudolph: Salary-saving option and seems like a bargain for the discount to the Giants wide receivers if he gets five targets.
- Dustin Hopkins: This is his seventh season kicking in FedExField; not much for distance, averaging just four 50-yard attempts per season.
- Washington D/ST: Saddled with a premium salary, they fall below the kickers and tight ends but are still a core option.
Week 2 Thursday Night Football Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- J.D. McKissic: With his discounted salary at $7,000 on FanDuel and with DraftKings full-PPR scoring, McKissic is a strong secondary option.
- Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton: The preference would be Slayton for the salary discount, familiarity with Jones and as a bonus he will be a third less popular than Golladay.
- Saquon Barkley: Really needs two touchdowns to be a difference maker at this salary.
- New York D/ST: On a projected point-per-dollar play, they are arguably better than Barkley, though they really need an implosion from Heinicke to achieve any sort of upside.
Week 2 Thursday Night Football Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Kadarius Toney: Rookie first-rounder saw two targets but was on the field for only five snaps.
- Dyami Brown: Bargain option but may only get two or three targets.
- Adam Humphries: New to the team, he does not have a rapport with Heinicke and may only see a couple targets.
- Devontae Booker: If Barkley ends up inactive, move Booker into his slot above.
- Kaden Smith, Jaret Patterson, Gary Brightwell and Ricky Seals-Jones: DraftKings only, though there is utility in their sub-$600 salaries for a chance at a couple touches.
- DeAndre Carter, C.J. Board and Cam Sims: If they come back to haunt us, so be it.
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